The goal (yes there was a goal!) was to finish it within 1:05:00. The last year’s run had been at 1:07:21 and it involved at least 2.5 minutes of walking. I was determined to ensure that there’d be no such minutes of walking to get to the end. That would give me a good leap into the the timing goal.
10 days before the run, I did an 8K run, the big one before the winding off. This came in at 0:50:51 which gave me a good 14 minutes for the last 2k. I had also got some hydrating tablets, to be mixed in water, which I took in at regular intervals during the run. It definitely made a huge difference in getting to 8K in less than 52 minutes. These were specially brought in from Australia, thanks to Neelu. The 8K run was also done at 5 PM with the temperature hovering above the 30s. Given that the actual event would be in the morning at 6:20 AM it was only good news.
Thus it was that on the day of the run I found myself in line-up ‘D’, for those who finished between 1:05:00 and 1:10:00 the last time around. The run promptly began at 6:21 and this time I started the stopwatch just as I crossed the starting line. I had picked up a bottle of water right at the start, just in case and had put in one tab of hydralite. The 1 KM mark was reached and I knew it was going to be different. Very different.
The 2013 run had seen a lot of rain the previous evening, making for a pleasant run. While there were threatening clouds the previous evening, the rain never did materialize. This made for a very humid and stuffy morning and the sweat was clinging to the shirt by the first kilometre itself. Normally, for my metabolism the sweat starts around the 3rd kilometre.
So the plan to start the water intake every 2 Kms after the first 4K was ditched and I started on a regular intake every Km and whenever the lips felt dry. The speed was still good and I was clocking my 4K in less than 26 minutes. The halfway mark came in around 32.5 minutes which kind of meant that I either buckle up now and risk the humidity or go for a finish similar to last year’s. But then, in the Bangalore run, the first 5K is always the more difficult half as it involves most of the uphill running. Beyond that is ether flat or downslope. I decided to see where it goes and kept up the normal speed.
Around the 7K mark, there were two ambulances. Two runners who had crashed. The humidity was taking its toll. The 8K came, along with a huge puddle in front of the High Court, which everyone avoided by queueing up on the tiny pavement. The more regular runners, including Manjunath, just ran through it. At 8K the hopes were vanishing, the clock showing around 52:30. Deciding to bite the bullet, I upped the ante (ah clichés!). It was mostly downslope and the run was easier. There was one guy lying on the side around the 9th and being administered saline right there, which made things pretty scary. I finished the 9th in 6 minutes, seeing something in the 58s and the last one was somehow finished with only the hope of the finishing line and some refreshments after that keeping me going. The clock checked at the end of the line showed 1:04:40 and it was a good 20s margin to get through. The official timing when I checked was 1:04:38, so the target was indeed achieved.
Solid refreshments were refused, settling on water and some Enerzal (which is pretty much concentrated Electral). Manja was met up with, and we headed off to Vidyarthi Bhavan, finding a bus(31E, Shankar’s own) for the journey through City Market, remembering the days of college and bus-swapping at Market.
The aftermath of this humid run was that, my weight has drifted below the 65 kilo mark, which had held steady for the past 6 years. The body seems to have lost quite a bit on this run. I feel regularly tired, with regular headaches. The craving for water is much higher and I have to keep hydrating regularly. Tennis over the weekend was spotty and I needed to take more breaks.
Any run will thus have to be approached with a hydrating plan that starts much earlier than the run. A few days before the run, the drinking of water with hydrating salts will have to begin (thanks Manja for that tip). Weight gain before the run should be encouraged. Maybe get up to 67 before the run. In any case, drinking more water through any normal day is always something that will do good.
As always, you learn as you go with these things and hopefully others also learn along the way as you document it out.