I have been bequeathed the title of Drama Queen by my buddies. My innate sense of fairness doesn't allow me to protest this tag too loudly right now. So this is how it happened. There was a race (half marathon) yesterday. I brought the following excuses:
- My feet are moving slowly and I am breathing heavily if I run fast.
- My feet are definitely moving slowly, here see my splits in the past month from my garmin stats.
- My poor baby child hurt her knee and I spent all Saturday evening being afraid and meeting the doc.
- Although the doc said its fine and the x-ray revealed no cracks I still feel very drained from it all
- I have had a lot of #fml type days in the near past - mid life crisis, moving, new place woes, carpentry uncles, this sub-list is itself very long
After much discussion we settled on the following bet: Each of us would predict our finish time. The slimy person who came in much earlier or much later than the predicted time, would have to treat everyone else to drinks. I declared rather grandly that I would of course not be that person, as I was going for 9 min miles and planning to finish therefore in 1:57. "Lets see" they said.
I went on to speak a lot after that (at 4:45 am, obviously I am at an advantage over others, like normal people are at 9:30 pm, which is my bed-time). We were at the race venue. My list got beefed up by the fact that at that point, my garmin died an ignoble death. "So how will I pace myself? Plus there are so many turns in this route, I suck at turning" I wailed. "Drama" they said.
My friend Sudha, sponsored my loo trip. My friend the Quizzer grandly gave me his garmin. Lots of people said Hi. Then we were off. Krishna zoomed off and I saw that the pace was in the 7s - too much - and tried to slow myself down. Mani passed me from behind and surely that pace was too high, Mani being the type of running partner who beats passing cars and trucks during his recovery runs.
Comrade Shahid and I settled into a rhythm. Shahid ran the Comrades, obviously his legs look super strong. Not to mention quietly Galloway Run Walking the Mumbai Marathon (and finishing ahead of me). I just kept my head down and continued trying to slow down. "This is too fast if your goal is 1:57" he said. "Yeah I ought to slow down" I told him. He was going for 2:00 he said, but continued at that 8:30 pace nevertheless. So I stuck to him.
After about 5 miles we started to overtake various folks. I tried to not be a jerk throughout, thanking all the volunteers and police who helped us out with the route. I said "No, thanks" to all offers of water & gatorade. In my long runs now, I avoid all food up to 21km, and usually have a sip or two of electrolyte at best.
They had oranges though! I love oranges. I smelled them a few meters before I encountered them. I picked one up greedily but soon it slipped out of my hand and I didn't dare to do anything about it. "Obviously I am going to slow down in the next mile" I told myself as I continued. It started raining a bit. I caught up with Krishna and settled into a good pace with him.
Since the bet was specifically with Krishna, I was wondering what to do, strategy-wise. My legs were telling me to go on, not slow down. Wearing the quizzer's watch and being a bit distracted overall, I was unable to properly predict my finish time, so gave up and just let my legs do whatever they wanted. Suddenly, I was alone again, but managed to eat an orange and drink some gatorade.
And also slow down a bit, finally. Quickly, I found myself overtaken by a lady. Damn! I valiantly tried to keep up with her but couldn't. We were in the last few miles at that point and she was pacing well and evenly. I stuck to her back, though I was at least 0.5 mins behind her. The quizzer strongly encourages keeping the splits even, and I owed it to his watch to get over the slump and get to the pace I had in the first few miles.
The last two miles, I wanted to make sure to push. I usually cannot do this and it frustrates me no end when I slow down after starting well. I forgot about the bet. I still couldn't estimate finish time too well, but was sure that it was going to be well under 2 hours (my usual, sometimes seemingly unattainable, goal).
Managed to up-shift a gear and finish strong in 1:51. I lost my bet but won a beautiful second place (women) trophy! On yes, it was also a Personal Best by far. The last time I raced a HM, I did it in 1:55. That course was a fair bit short. This one was also short, but by not as much, thankfully. That muscular person all wet and bedraggled in all-black is me, incidentally.
"Drama Queen" they said. I owe drinks to the guys now for sure! It was ideal PB conditions though. Slightly cool. Slight rain. Flat course. Good organisation by the super enthu Dreamrunners group. Lots of familiar, happy faces. Legs smooth from Saturday's gentle treadmill run at Mahabs. Mind determined thanks to thoughts of a husband who sacrificed his 10k race to stay home with the injured child, and the injured child, who always says I am crazy to run but nevertheless feels proud when I do well; carbo-loading with a Woodlands South Indian Thali; this list is also fairly long!