Waiting for the Airport taxi to arrive to go to Cambodia, on the 27th of March, I registered to run the 10K which was on the 19th of May. I had also been inveigling Praveen to run with me, and managed to even send him his own photos out of what I had. He registered a week later.
I returned from Cambodia on the 1st of April and the following week began my training. I wasn’t a novice as such, just that the max I had run was 3K. I had been running 3Ks since the end of 2011 and had been promising myself to take it to 4K and then 5K. Like with most things, unless you find the motivation, it’s more difficult than you can imagine. So as part of the training, I started off just lifting my running to 5K with a couple of minutes’ walk thrown in and finished at 37 minutes. And this was on the 8th of April. Since then, I kept at training runs, but with 2-3 minutes of walking in between. Instead of distance I concentrated on the time I could run, aiming for 45 minutes, until I was able to stretch it to 7K and then 7.5K over 51 minutes on the 2nd of May. Later I maxed it at 8K on the 9th of May at 54 minutes and began the cool-down for the run on May 19th. A cool-down meant a 5K run and then another 3K run a few days before the D-day. Considering my running times for 5K, 7.5K and 8K, I figured I’d be finishing at 1:08:00 thereabouts.
May 18th, the Saturday evening, the evening before the run, I took my brand new bike out to get a Poojai done. The poojai finished at 6:30 PM and promptly it started raining. I went into the temple and waited it out. 1 hour later it didn’t look like subsiding and I took the bike out and went home in the rain worrying about catching a cold.
Not risking the rain anymore, I took my car and headed to Praveen’s place to spend the night and leave with him in the morning. Not risking anything I even packed a ration of oats to be had in the morning. I woke up at 5:15 AM, had my oats at 5:45 and we were off at 6:10 AM on his Activa. The Sunday morning ride was supposed to be nice and easy, but we were greeted with crawling traffic in the city centre. The Run had meant that those roads in use would be blocked for traffic and all traffic was forced onto the remaining roads.
We found parking near Hudson Circle and we joined the long queue on Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road to get into the Kanteerava stadium complex. To give you an idea, our bib numbers were in the 5000s while I could see some in the 10000-11000 range! And this was only for the 10K run. There were other run events for which there were 1000s of other participants.
After close to 20 minutes of the queue we made it into the stadium complex and then another long queue to get into the stadium itself. Both of us were in lineup C as we hadn’t run the previous year to submit any timing certificates to put us into lineup B. We found ourselves in a gallery and there were volunteers near a gate to let those in the gallery into the ground.
Once the group B runners were out, they opened the gates and we streamed out with Hurrays. It was close to 7:20 AM and considering that I had to run 10K, I was already feeling dehydrated after all the waiting. We walked along while others ran as the starting point was still some way away. On the way I tied my shoelaces – the trusted runners’ knot. Just around the starting point, we started to jog and at 7:26 we crossed the starting point and the run began.
The first 1k was fun with a lot of people outside screaming wishes. The run itself was crowded and we had to jostle our way up Kasturba Road. Just in front of the Museum my “runner’s knot” came loose and I had to retie it. Not an auspicious start. 1K came pretty fast, just as MG road was hit. I had clocked in at 6.5 minutes. I picked up a bottle of water to hydrate myself.
The run continued along MG road, before taking a left at Anil Kumble Circle towards Cubbon Road. We took a right on Cubbon road after finishing 2K. Around 3K there was a stall for energy drinks and I took one along. We continued along Cubbon Road till Dickenson Road, taking a brief left there before a right on Ulsoor Road. Just before we touched Kensington Road, there was a U-turn and we turned along. I had gone ahead of Praveen after 1K and on the reverse-path I ran past him in the opposite direction, around a couple of minutes behind. We made our way back to Cubbon Road and 5K came. I had done this stretch in 32.5 minutes and 1:05 looked possible. But this is where I had decided to walk and walk I did for 2.5 minutes while sipping the energy drink.
I started running again, finishing 6K in the 41st minute, 7K in the 48th and then I had reached 8K in 53:44, bang on schedule for my initial plan. During this time, we had come back to Anil Kumble Circle the same way, continued along MG Road, taken a right to Raj Bhavan Road, all the way till the GPO and taken a left to Ambedkar Veedhi, passed right in front of Attara Kacheri, the High Court and just entered Cubbon Park.
I couldn’t continue anymore and started walking. This was a 1 minute walk and I promptly began running again, going past the Central Library towards Hudson Circle. After the 6K mark, I had started experiencing cramps which I had gotten over by slow-breathing, something I had practiced during training runs. After this point, when I started running after the 1 minute break, it was what I realized was the zone of running – there were no cramps, the body felt lighter, maybe it was the endorphins kicking in. I finished the next 1K in 5-6 minutes, my fastest part at close to 1:00:00. Then began my run for the final 1K. Somehow it being the final 1K wore me down a bit. Also, this is the section when you see a lot more people walking along and it kinda tempts you too! But I kept at it, and went past the finishing line at 1:06:54 on my watch. But I had started my stop-watch some time later. That difference turned out to be close to 30s and the official time stood at 1:07:21 and I was in at 8:33 AM.
There was a huge line to get the medal and refreshments and enough jostling for an already tired man to be knocked over. Somehow I stayed on two feet, collected my stuff and waited for Praveen for close to 20 minutes before heading to the parking lot. He joined promptly in a few minutes and we went home, a 10K run conquered, promising to come back again in 2014.