Chennai Half Marathon 2010.
Unlike her, I was fully intending to run this one. I was hell bent on running it, in fact. I had hydration fears - I was telling my husband that he would HAVE to show up at the half-way point with my gatorade. I took one look at him on Saturday and knew I could not ask him to do that, really. He was exhausted beyond measure. He was out the whole day. I went to watch him play basketball in the evening, and was doing stats on my phone, sitting outside. Assists: 0; Attempts: 10; Baskets: 3 (etc.). I was very tempted to play, but had safely worn my sandals. Did not want to screw things up for Sunday, for sure.
The dinner atmosphere was fun with all the boys making jokes. We cribbed about the lack of safety pins (Mumbai always gives us pins!). My hydration fears increased when I saw this lack of attention to detail. We filled up 2+ liters of gatorade in the fridge. I brewed coffee. Went to bed at around 11 pm. I was sure I wouldn't be able to sleep. I rarely do before Mumbai. I was a bit worried about that. Because I can run on less sleep but I cannot do the other things through the day with enthusiasm then.
But I slept so peacefully! I got a full solid five hours of not-moving-an-inch type of sleep. I had not really set a time goal for myself, other than the usual casual one, of coming in within 10 (I came close, sort of. Placed #11 among the Tamilnadu women, whatever it might mean). I am still a bit wary of the Chennai weather. Especially near the beach; running in IIT has one disadvantage that you forget that there is a world out there and its damn sunny all the time. My right ankle, heel, and knee, well they have a lot of conversation usually, and its always best to be conscious of them. Plus, I was pretty irritated with the concept of starting the women's race later. It is a major problem for me because all my running partners are male. Not that I am incapable of running alone, I am, of course, but that was not the goal for this marathon.
Met lot of women there though, a giant shout out to all of them. Sudha, of course, inspiring as always. Anu, and the long haired girl who set such a wonderful pace. My friend from eons ago, VNN, girl, you look good! And the mother-daughter duo (how cute is that?). And the unnamed bare-footed girls who reminded me that its easy to say 'Its not about the bike' when you are a walking hoarding for asics, adidas, and nike, but to put your bare foot on that hot tarmac and to keep your goals, well, thats something else altogether. My (adidas, black) hat off to you all!
After all, the organisation was pretty good. The men and women started together (joyfully I skipped over to where the guys were standing), and, like I always do, I set the pace at the usual 6mpkm. I did intend to up the pace further along, but was not sure if it would lead to something risky. And while it might be my seventh half marathon (Mumbai: 2006, '07, '08, '09, '10; Auroville '10), and the third this year, you can really never tell what going to happen at km 18. Of course, on hindsight, I feel like I should have done that at km 15. We were both going very strong at that point...
It was a very enthu crowd, school kids in uniform, police people smiling, the Free Hugs gang (no, I did not get one from them, felt shy), cameras, that guy on the bike taking my number down every 10 mins, the fantastic beach. I had my voice (and breath) the entire duration of the run. Guns was there at the end (he was ahead by 25 mins or something crazy like that), as were the deshvaasi and his wife, and upon seeing the balloons thing indicating the finish, I gave it my all and sprinted. I was thinking of Kathrine Switzer's knee injury at the point, I do admit, 'my legs feel like champagne flutes' were what I thought. But heck, it was nothing. It was wonderful. This run, I will remember the rest of my life. Half Marathon #7. The sort of run that helps you die happy. I remember every kilometer; and really, have never had such a wonderful time; and no music even, imagine that! I thought Auroville was fun, it was, but yesterday's was really the best run I have run. And really, I am going to die happy because of it.
What did I think about? So many things. Strength mainly, what is my source of strength? Joy. How to live in the moment and be joyful. Perseverance. Which is obvious. I have always been that person who crawls to the finish. Friendship. Gratitude. Love. Song lyrics. (I believe I can fly. I saw a man, walking on the water. Mary McPherson. This is the End. The End.) Bountiful giver, mother nature (the sea, the sand, the waves, the trees, the sun, the rain). What am I without you? And Kathrine Switzer, inspiring woman, painter of nails. Pam Reed, eater of chocolate for breakfast. My family, my bedrock. Myself, slightly idiotic, the rock, the island, always the one to cheer the women (even when they pass me), smiler of inane smiles at bystanders and cops, blower of kisses to the platoon of college girls, Kenny, mildly delusional, majorly emotional...
I dedicate my run to my young friend VV, who registered for the 7, intended to run 12, and ended up sprinting to the finish of the 21. Good job, kid!