Monday, September 2, 2013

The Airtel Hyderabad HalfMarathon

The Hyderabad Half Marathon!
I was all enthu to run on home ground and with some external help (read, you-can-do-it level stuff), I registered. The elevation map literally made me feel dizzy. And like everything else, I forgot about it. Did my first Half Marathon on July 7th-DRHM-best organized run so far.
After two weeks of break, I came back to insti and trained. Probably for three weeks. Much better than DRHM prep. I felt a bit confident. And that’s when things hit me. I started having some weird pain in the foot. 1 week of rest. Walking around and a 2k run (at 11:30 in the night) to check if my legs (or me?)  were sane enough was how I spent the final week.
And the journey began. One of my juniors was going as well. Met so many CRs in the station! I was super excited. Got tips (and food) during the journey. They were so kind and friendly. :’)

My place was really far from the expo. It was like a partial route recce and scared the hell out of me. I got my bib (#4222), met my guruji (Adhok, you only) and started back(after clicking a cliché pic). Dad was surprised to see so many people, young and old.
Back home, I was tired and sleepy! Now only those who have run a race will understand what a boon that is. Usually the pre-race night is spent in sleeplessness. 
The cabs were all over booked. And finally, managed to get some booking.
Sunday morning- 3:50 am- Cab cancelled. Sorry. (Lesson-Book a cab way in advance)
I started panicking. Plus the whole, most-difficult-city-race was getting to me. My parents were trying to calm me. And we luckily found an auto on the road. 
Amma gave me money and asked me to take an auto to the finish if the run was difficult.
The starting point was fun. We saw some full marathon guys enroute. Met more runners, friends and insti passouts!  Parents clicked more pics. Now I was all enthu and did not stretch much (as usual).
This time I was alone as I didn't know anyone running with my target- 3 hours. And I started running maintaining a steady pace. First 3kms were a bit painful, and then it all fell in place. My pace was better than I expected. First flyover flew J I was in some trance till about 8-9 km. Running alone in that crowd. The feeling- just amazing. At this point, 2 seniors from insti called out my name. I was surprised that I was ahead of them. They told me that my pace was good enough for a decent finish. One of them had an injury, so I went ahead. It was all good till 12km or so when I was really hungry. Ate some banana at the 15k mark. The route- I do not remember the buildings and other stuff, but my feet definitely remember the rolling terrain. It was one hell of a challenge. But I was going strong. I was doing all sorts of calculations (2 hours of running makes you do such things). I felt I could aim for a 2:45ish finish in the worst case. And that is when the Gachibowli flyover hit. It slowed me down. I walked. A lot of people overtook me. I think, mentally I was low. I needed some external push at this point, I guess. I will remember this forever. Another lesson learnt.
Soon(well not so soon also) the stadium was in sight. I was overwhelmed and cranked up my speed. Only to realize I had more than a kilometer to go! Luckily I saw some friends who finished their run (the speedsters, you see). Called out their names. They cheered me. Feels good when someone says- You look strong. Go get it.
It was like a never ending loop outside the stadium. Then it hit me, maybe I was nearing the end and asked someone how much more- 150m was the answer. I sprinted. Like crazy. Almost felt like puking. People were cheering me. It was a moment of stardom. And I went past the finish line. Got a medal. Got the best hug ever by my dad. My parents were so overwhelmed. Amma was surprised to know I had so many running buddies- Some new world it is- she said. 
That excitement. That rush. Runners high (Myth you say? NO). That’s probably why I run. 
I clocked 2:51. My Personal Best on this difficult terrain. My 3 hours of alone time was over. I stretched a bit. Gulped water. I was struggling to walk up the stairs to get my refreshments. Well, it was done. Months ago it seemed so difficult. 
I want to go back, every year and probably get more friends on board. And thulp it. So many lessons learnt.

It was great to meet so many runners. 
Here are some pics-

 At the start point- all determined. I was probably thinking what to think for the next 3 hours.

The scary elevation profile

The tanned and tired me. With the awesome medal.