Monday, 18 February 2013

The party at Auroville 2013

Around here people run marathons as often as...they occur. Who knows? I might do this next year. But this year, I ran the Mumbai Marathon in January, and intended to run only the Auroville Half Marathon in February. This was a smart choice as I took a (forced) week of rest after SCMM 2013; and felt in no shape for a full on Feb 10th.

My husband was also running his first Auroville half. We had run the 10km together (well, we start together but don't really run together) last year, and sort of hated it. Its hard to run a fast 10k on the trail, especially in vibrams, so I was a bit blah about it. He didn't like it either, for some reason. So I signed us both up for the half this year.

We reached there on Saturday, child in tow. We had lunch (which sucked), and headed to Auro. We picked up our bibs (no frills, a bib, 4 pins), and went to visit an aunt. Played with the kids, and dogs, and returned fairly early to the hotel room for some room service dinner. I flipped through the Murakami, as usual.

The race was really awesome. We reached the start point late (which was bad, but, whatever). I bobbed and weaved to get to my comfortable pace group, and then stuck like a leech to my pace. The goal was to run strong and at even pace. I was armed with my phone, and a gu. No music even.

Not that you need music in Auroville. Such a beautiful place. This is my fourth outing here, and I think it looks somewhat familiar now. I felt peaceful, every step was giving me more joy. I felt a little fatigued around the 12km mark, probably thanks to the rushing at the start line. I told myself 'only 9km more in this serene are going to miss it till next year, enjoy it Aghalayam.'

I had only one slightly difficult interaction where a guy was bearing down on me and a slow, slightly large person was directly in front of me in a single-file-only type part of the trail. I was like 'Oh Shit' and tried to tell the person in front that I had to pass on her right ('cause we were all too close and I couldn't stop my feet).

Well she turned right at exactly the time I was passing her and bam, my shoulder connected with her arm and I had to mutter 'Sorry' a lot. The guy meanwhile was pissed off at both of us and took off ahead. Oh well. It was deep into the race and I never have full control of my legs in such situations. But I guess I should, henceforth.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed the run. I took a couple of water breaks though I didn't really need them. I pulled in comfortably to the finish in what was 1:58 on my watch and 1:59 on the race clock (Officially 2:00). My left calf was tight for a few days, I think because my even-pace goal meant I pushed a bit after 15kms or so.

Thats my speed graph (vs. time), and considering that its a winding trail, I am pretty happy with it. I have a twinge of regret about that first kilometer - which I would have run better if I wasn't stressed out about the clock going off as I was walking from the loo. But, that gives me unfinished business to deal with next year, so its not so bad!

We ate at a roadside dhaba on our return journey. Some simple sambar saadam and poriyal and kootu. It was funny to watch the child try to eat buttermilk-rice with her hands on a banana leaf!! We stopped by Point Return, to meet up with the farmers. It was super to breathe in the fresh air, chat, and walk around their vegetable patches.

I zoned out in the kitchen with the farm fresh veggies and cooked up a storm of a dinner which was polished off in no time and then Monday was another day and it was all back to usual work. I had an interesting week for sure with a Delhi trip, and workouts, and hanging out and should have technically almost forgotten about Auroville by now, but I haven't. It was very fun!