There has again been a big break in my blogging. The past one month has been really hectic and things are just flying by.
I had enrolled for the TCS World 10k marathon in the Open category. I ran the marathon on Saturday, the 4th of June. It was one of the most amazing experiences that I have had since I arrived in Bangalore. It was conducted by Procam International and there were professional athletes participating in a separate category. They ran the race first and completed the 10 kms in less than 30 mins. The sight of them running at close quarters was one of the most beautiful things that I have seen. Their poise, fluidity, long swinging legs that give the impression of looseness but are strictly controlled, all, together was just awe inspiring.
I decided to go for the race upon an impulse and had not really given a thought as to whether I would be able to complete it. I also had not done any practice for it. The day before, I had almost decided to not go. But, one of my friends here at TI asked for company and so, I went. I thought, “What the heck!?, I will just walk and complete it”. Once, I arrived there, I was struck by the number of people who had turned up. Senior citizens, disabled people, celebrities, soldiers, police, college teams, children, ordinary guys and girls etc. etc.. They were all there and they were all full of enthusiasm.
After the pros had finished up, we set off. There were timing chips attached to our shoes which were used to record our timings at various check points. I started slowly. All around me there was a huge mass of people and there were people trying to navigate through it and trying to get ahead. I was not feeling very competitive and wanted to just finish the race running. So, I just ran behind a few hot girls admiring their dynamic beauty and did not pay attention to much else.
I thought that after a few kms, most of the people would stop running and start walking or even better, just give up. Then, I, young, fit and strong would breeze ahead of these old guys, children, fat people and weak girls. That is what I thought. After all, there were some 40 thousand people running and I expected at least half of them to give up.
But, boy!! Was I ever so wrong!? After what seemed like several hours and hundreds of kms later, I thought… “ok, now the finish line must be near”. My brain passed the FOD(“eff-Off and Die!”) command to the pain messengers from my leg muscles. I pressed on bravely. Very soon… a banner popped up as I rounded a corner. On it was written “5 KMS“! That was the most demoralizing thing that happened to me during the race. I looked around. Everyone seemed to be rock solid. No one seemed like they were going to give up.
I thought, “hey, I am not going to let a bunch of old guys beat me at a marathon. I will not give up, come what may!”. All along the route, there were people who had gathered to watch the spectacle. They encouraged and cheered the runners. It was a heart-warming sight. Even the guys who were overtaking me cheered me and encouraged me on. I was struck by everyone’s warmth and good heart. All along, there was water and refreshments. I didn’t stop though. On rounding a corner, suddenly, there was a jam and I had to try and stop running. But, I found that I couldn’t and there were all kinds of strange sensations shooting up my leg. It was like something had taken control of my body and I was in charge of just processing the pain. I continued….
Km by painful km I neared the finish line. On seeing the line, I mustered my remaining energy, focused my attention on a super-hot girl blazing away towards the line and ran like she was the last woman on this planet. It worked and I got to the finish line! On stopping I suddenly felt like I was about to faint. But, the genius organizers had arranged for a stage filled with dancers dancing to energetic music with clean beats. For a few moments my attention was diverted and I stabilized. I bit into an orange that I had picked up on the way. After that I went to refreshment counter and met up with my friend.
All in all, it was pretty amazing experience and it opened my eyes to the technical nature of running and the unique challenges it offers. Running unless done properly is not a smooth sport and can result in injury. Also, running marathons is a very intense activity. Another thing that I learned is that age does not matter when it comes to enjoying sports. Everything is in the mind and all that is required to enjoy it is determination and discipline.
Btw, I completed the race in 1hr 5 mins which is not bad considering my condition.