Day 74/ 365 – Mumbai Marathon


Yesterday, I participated in Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in the half marathon category. I have been running the half marathon for the last 5 years and this was the first time when I was running without any practice. I started to practice sometime around Oct/ Nov for this year’s marathon but because of scheduling conflicts I was not able to prepare for it all. I started running around 5:30 am in the morning; but then there would be sometimes I would reach home from work around 4 am and sometimes around 6 am and would be like super exhausted and just didn’t feel like going for a run(mainly because I would be tired and just felt like hitting the bed).

So I reached the race start point on time at 6 am and was hoped for the best. I did get to see John Abraham (who is the event ambassador for SCMM) and started running hoping that I would be able to complete the race. I was targeting to complete by 2 hours 45 mins and I decided to join the 2 hour 45 mins bus. I kept following the group for 6 kms before the lack of practice caught up with me and I started walking. After walking for a couple of kms, I started to run again however by this time my lack of practice had really started to hurt my legs. I was cramping up and was in some pain. At around 12 kms mark, I stopped running altogether and decided to walk to the finish line no matter how long it took. In between I met Prem, my old colleague and we talked together for a few kms before he took to finish the race.

Post this experience, I am not sure if I am going to participate in any further marathons unless I am able to practice regularly.

PS: A shoutout to all Mumbaikars for coming out to support the runners. It is really amazing to see so many people out on the streets cheering the runners and offering them with biscuits, water, bananas, and in some cases jalebis!! You guys are awesome!!!

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Day 29/ 365 – Preparation for Mumbai Marathon Begins


Finally got my confirmation to participate in the Mumbai Marathon 2014. With less than 60 days left for the race, it is about time I start practicing for it. I ran the Vasai Virar half marathon last month and was seriously not prepared and it showed in my race performance wherein I finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. In the last edition of Mumbai Marathon, I finished in 3 hours and 1 minute (here I was also trying to help a friend run his first marathon). However, in this edition I intend to finish the race in less than 2 hours 30 minutes. And with this goal in mind, I seriously need to start training and running. Also, we now need to finish the race within certain time limits to participate in the next year’s event and hence I really have no other option but to prepare seriously. Every year I start preparing for the marathon and then half way give up or in some instances, just don’t prepare and run and it really used to show up on my race day performance. So this year I am not going to procrastinate and ensure I practice. The good part is I have lost quite a bit of weight since I have joined my new workplace, as I have been working nights and have reduced my food in take. However, not sure how much of that is really going to help me prepare for the race. The 8 week training plan begins from today!!!

 

Day 13/ 365 – Race Day


Last mentioned in my previous post, I was in two minds whether to run the half marathon or no. I hadn’t been practicing since the entire last month and was not too comfortable running the half marathon. Post a lot of persuasion by my brother, I decided to run the race, even though I was not at all prepared for it. The night before the race, I also caught cold, even though it wasn’t too serious to be worried about. Sunday morning came very early for me (4:30am, time when I am usually going off to sleep). Got ready to head for the race with my brother, who was super charged up. Met P along the way. He was running his first marathon, but he was prepared as he had practiced enough. We reached holding area at around 6:20am and did some warm up for the race to begin at 7am. We slowly moved towards the start line and in between I got to see a beautiful sunrise. There were a lot of people who were participating in the race and it was good to see so many people turn up for running. Indian’s are normally not known to run and all, even though we produced the Flying Sikh. So it was nice to see so many people turn up for this event, though this was a fraction of what turns up at the Mumbai Marathon.

The race started sharp at 7am. In the beginning I was able to keep pace with P and my brother. But the signs of not practicing started showing up, once I crossed the 3km barrier. At this point I was simply wanting to kill myself for participating in this event with no practice at all. My ankle had started to pain and swell and even though I was wearing an ankle band, it wasn’t doing much to stop the pain. I had now almost made up my mind to not run the race any further. I could see the Vasai station exit and all I wanted to do was go straight and board the train and head home. My mind kept saying straight and my heart kept saying turn left, turn left and that’s what I did. I turned left. I was running, walking, running, walking and after 30 mins, my running app said you have completed 7kms. I was ecstatic. I knew I still had a very outside chance to beat my  existing time and I started pushing for it. The heat and humidity were now really taking a toll on me. I started to get the same feeling again. Don’t want to continue any further. I wanted to sit down and take a break, but I realized, if I sat down anywhere, I wouldn’t be able to get up and continue. So I kept walking. I tried to run, but my knees were starting to hurt and I felt like ankle was going to swell so much that it would burst outside my shoes. I had managed to complete around 13kms in 2 hours. The remaining 8 were going to be bitch and I knew it (prior experience of running the marathon).

I was now only walking. I tried to run again, but I was just not able to do that. I was extremely tired and all I wanted to do was to finish the race. I trudged along the rest of the route and was able to finish the race in 3 hours and 17 mins. Not the worst that I have performed. The entire race made me realize that I need to be a lot more fitter and at the same time, need to practice before I participate in the next event. I also need to manage my schedule better as currently, I reach home and then go to sleep. May be I should run for a little while and then sleep.

On the side note, the event was extremely well organized. Though I felt they should have managed the traffic better as there were vehicles on the road while the race was ongoing. There were also people walking along the route and were definitely a distraction. The organizers had kept water junctions at various places and that was really great. One more thing could be – they can start the race an hour early as starting the race at 7am is a bit too late, considering October heat and humidity. Overall a good event and well managed and organized.

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Day 12/ 365 – Vasai Virar Marathon


This year I have registered for Vasai Virar Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 27/10. I have never participated in this marathon, though I have been running the Mumbai Marathon since last 5 years. I remember running my first half marathon when me, and my best friends spent an entire night talking and then took an early morning train from Kharghar to CST to participate. I participated through a NGO then. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but at the same time was very enthusiastic for running in the event.  The encouragement that people provided while running has been really great. Since then, every year I have been running Mumbai Marathon and get very excited to run. However, this time it is different. While I have gone ahead and collected the bib for the event, I am not sure if I am going to participate in the event. For this race, I haven’t been able to practice at all, due to change in the sleep cycle, and thus not very sure that I should be running for such a long distance.  I tried running in the National Park over the last 2 weekends, but was not able to run more than 6 kms. So I am guessing, running a half marathon is going to be a huge struggle. Still in two minds about the race. Will probably decide if I am going or no.

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Help for donation!!


I have signed up with The Akansha Foundation which helps educate children from low income families. I will be running the half marathon and try to raise as much funds as possible for them. Please find my donation page below:
http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/2318-akshaydvarma.htm

All the money donated would go to The Akansha Foundation. Would request you to help donate in whatever possible manner. Any donation will go a long way in helping these kids change their lives.