Home > Marathon, Running > Rambling on my Running, and a Day I’ll Remember

Rambling on my Running, and a Day I’ll Remember

I started running a couple of years ago as something that I was almost forced to do. The alternative theory is that running is the most boringly predictable urban lifestyle response  – buying a Bullet comes a close second – that people of my age resort to when mid-life crisis hits, but that’s another story.  Bangalore had an annual event called the Duathlon which involved a combination of running & cycling –  a 5Km run + 10km cycling category for beginners and a tougher 10Km run+20Km cycling  category for others. As an occasional cyclist, I was happy to sign up for the 20Km ride, except for the fact that it also involved 10Km of running – and I couldn’t run a few metres to save my life. No kidding.

The first practice jog around my apartment block (1 circle is approx. 300 metres) left me gasping for breath by the time I started the second round.  Cursing the organizers for not having a pure biking event, I steeled myself through a few more training runs, till I could manage about 1Km before my lungs and feet started out-screaming each other for an ambulance. Felt super thrilled a few days later when I completed the Duathlon (beginner category) and duly put it in the memory archive as my most significant life achievement.

Fast forward to the ending first. Last weekend, I went to Bombay, the city where I was born and grew up in and got married, where A1/A2 were born, the city that was home for the first 30 years of my life… and on Sunday, ran my first Full marathon at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. 42.195 Km in 4:35 hours.

48 hours later, still feels like a dream.

Long distance running is the last thing that someone like me would have got into, and more importantly, keep at. Physiologically, I’m not the right type. My history of wheezing impacts lung capacity which matters in any endurance sport.  While am very fortunate to not have weight issues, the flip side is that I have very poor muscle & bone strength that probably makes me prone to injury very easily. In the last running season, I struggled with knee issues. This time, I had a strained calf muscle a couple of weeks before the Kaveri Trail  Marathon in August, where I ran a Half marathon and turned it into a tendon tear that dogged my training through the next few months. It almost scuttled my plans for Bombay, till an intense week of physiotherapy in early December and a decent 34KM run at the Bangalore Midnight Marathon gave me hopes of taking a shot at the Full marathon in SCMM.  I’ve had more than one physio hint to me politely that I don’t have the legs for a runner.

Temperamentally, I’m a complete lost cause. As those who know me will vouch for, I am pathologically lazy, have perfected the art of procrastination into a science and seem almost wired to happily give up anything in life that takes some effort. Wherever things like tenacity, will and determination play a part, I tend to invariably not show up. And anyone who runs marathons will tell you that in the end, it all comes down to the mind not giving up.

On the morning of January 20th 2013, about 3 ½ hours after I started running my first Full marathon, I was ready to give up. It seemed like I had hit the  dreaded ‘runners’ wall’ at about 35KM.  I remember looking up, completely exhausted, cramping badly.. only to see the Peddar road up-slope & flyover looming ahead and saying to myself, this is it. You are not going to make it, let’s come back next year and see what happens.

Am not sure how I managed to break through that phase over the next few minutes… I remember the enthusiastic kids there lining up the street, handing out water and heartily cheering all the runners.. and feeling like how I couldn’t quit in front of them. I thought of the many times V has exhorted me to not give up (btw, she clocked her PB for the Half too, so a great day overall! J). The two women just ahead of me who were visibly struggling too, but kept plodding ahead and how I focused on just looking at their their shoes for a while. I tried to recall the many tips that B, my running mentor/role-model had talked to me on dealing with such situations. All of these helped, I guess.

Dad rocking chairI also thought of dad.  On an impulse, I had asked V to take a picture of his rocking chair just before she   left home for her flight on Saturday afternoon ( I left Friday evening to collect our race bibs in Bombay on Saturday, she stayed back for a day to help A1/A2 with their prep as exam fortnight is on).

Didn’t think much of it at the time, but spent a few seconds looking at the picture before I went for the race. On that Peddar road slope, I think that rocking chair played a part too.

When I crossed the finish line about an hour later wearing dad’s t-shirt and raised my tired arms, theSCMM image of that chair flashed again.

I don’t know if I will run a Full marathon again. Maybe I’ll get all inspired and shoot for a sub-4 hour goal, maybe I’ll stay true to type and be happy with running only Halfs. I really don’t know.

Whatever happens from now,  appa –  this one was for you.

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Categories: Marathon, Running
  1. January 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Remembering chitappa. Could not deal with rocking chair photo without tears.

  2. Palu
    January 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    HI Satish, Great blog and congrats on the marathon! What an amazing achievment.

  3. Shubhranshu Patnaik
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Fabulous feat, Satish & this piece is superb!! Enjoyed it.

  4. Bhasker Sharma
    January 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Congrats Satish on a great first FM finish – and a wonderfully written post!!

  5. Revathy
    January 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Awesome Sats! I am sure dad’s reading this and smiling wherever he is! Proud of you!

  6. January 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Congratulations Satish once again. Clocking SCMM PBs together two consecutive years by being with you and staying at your mumbai home has been a joy and energizing. Like I said, post the race, this run is dedicated to dad (even mine, I mean it) . He will be watching and very very proud of you ! Cheers !

  7. January 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    My favorite line is the one that goes “Temperamentally I am a complete lost cause”! Lends a human touch to a superhuman achievement 🙂

  8. Dhileep
    January 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Satishji,
    Nice read as always.. congrats on the achievement.. Came by the weeked you went to US. Will catch-up once u r back.

    dhileep

  9. Kartik Jay
    January 23, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Loved this write-up, Sats. Got all choked up reading this…

  10. Aruna Kartik
    January 23, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Awesome dude!! Brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations! You( and Vani) are an inspiration. Love you guys.

  11. Gopal
    January 23, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Satish, that was a fantastic transition you have gone through in the last couple of years, this being the peak, and it was very appropriate and symbolic that you dedicated it to your dad! I am sure he feels proud, from where he is… well written.

  12. RV
    January 23, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Very cute read; keep it up pal. Liked the way you wrote the 6th para – had me in splits

  13. Mahesh
    January 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Hi Satish, amazing achievement……hearty congratulations to you! Inspiring thoughts……keep it up and good luck!

  14. January 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for all the lovely thoughts and words, everyone!

  15. February 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    would you like to do the half marathon in the goa marathon on march 3
    http://www.goamarathon.org

    • February 13, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Hi Maria.. I didn’t know Goa had 2 marathons, I was only aware of the Goa river marathon which happened a couple of months ago.. Thanks for letting me know, but March 03 is too close to plan now. Next year, maybe. Have a great event!

  1. January 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

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