Last Sunday i.e on 14th October 2012, I participated in my first national event of any kind, which happened to be a half marathon organized by Vasai Virar Muncipal Corporation VVMC. I was able to complete the distance in time of 2:53:14. Considering that I was injured even before the race has started and also my training before the race was not up to the mark, I am satisfied with my time.Here and the next few post I would like to share my experience regarding race, training, preparation, nutrition and recovery.
First I would like to share what exactly happened on the race day itself. I woke up at 5:15am as per my schedule. I had tea along with couple of toast(Bread). Also, I had a couple of banana and half beet root(boiled). Since I was injured I decided to take hot water bath, so that my body is completely warmed up. Also I decided to carry a bottle of lemon water with glucon-d added in it. I had to bandage my right knee so as to minimize the chance of getting injured. This whole process was over by 6:00am and I left my house unsure of what was going to happen. I decided to walk till station(1km) so as to test my knees, which where giving me trouble since past 8 days, in fact I havent trained in past 8 days before the half marathon. So i had my doubts going into the race. Still as soon as my knees felt better I decided to participate.
I boarded the 6:23 am Virar local, reached Vasai at 6:40am and then found a couple of guys with BIB followed them and went
outside the station, there found a few more and we all went to the buses which were arranged by the organizers of the marathon. Once in bus, I found the guys besides me very anxious of reaching on time. Since the half marathon was about to start from Vasai Court at 7:10am and we where not sure whether we will be able to reach on time. Finally the bus started, I was busy attaching my timing chip to the shoes, took me some time to figure it out how to do it. Still I havent attached my bib number. While reaching the start point we could all feel the vibrant energy on the roads, as there where loudspeakers every other corner blaring to all kind of tunes, also the volunteers where very enthusiastic. Finally when we reached the start point the race had already started and we didn’t knew about it. From my final timing chip result I could see that we came late by 2 mins and 14 secs. There was a big hoarding through which we entered, I heard a beep and my race had started and I didn’t even knew about it. I though that this was a warm up area, I inquired with my fellow mates and they thought we have to go ahead and there will be start point somewhere ahead. So we all started walking, I had finished all the lemon juice I had bought with me and also went to toilet immediately after the start of race. I still had my BIB in my hand and had not put up on my T-shirt. As I kept walking I saw a lot of school children encouraging, I still couldn’t figure out that the race has started. couple of runners went past by me and then i realized that the race has started, still I continued walking for few hundred meters embarrassed, then at one corner I requested a gentleman to pin my bib number on my chest which he readily accepted and i also inquired that the race has started, he said yes and couple of kilometers have been covered. Walking initially turned out to be blessing in disguise, as I was able to complete the race.
Once my bib was in place I started running, my knees were still hurting, still the atmosphere was so charged up, I decided to continue with the race. As my body warmed up I started to feel better. My pace was bit higher, so I needed to overtake a lot of other runners, but since I was running a while and then walking for a while, these same runners use to overtake me while I was walking. I made sure that whenever I was passing a group of school children I would better be running, rest of the time walking seems ok. Also, I was enjoying the race itself. I took my first water break at 4 km, took couple of sips while running, felt good. Also, immediately I needed my second and last toilet break. After a while saw the first distance marker which showed that I have run 5 km, was very happy with my progress. In the morning when I woke up I decided that even if I am able to complete 7/8 km, i.e till Vasai station I would consider my race as successful. So crossing 5 km was like a minor accomplishment in that regard. While running I noticed the volunteers trying to note down the bib numbers of the participant, who were passing them at certain points. Finally we reached the main road towards the Vasai station, in the mean time I drank lots of water, also as the weather was getting hot, I poured water over my head and neck to keep myself cool.
While running on the main road I could see for the first time the marathon runner running from the opposite direction towards their halfway mark. I was feeling good while running, my knee was still in pain but I could still run. The day was getting hotter, I was pouring more water over my head than drinking, as the race went on. Somewhere before 7 km mark I had my first electrol water break. It is not only essential to keep you hydrated but also the salt level in the body should be maintained. I was running mostly on the middle of the road or near the divider, whereas my fellow runners where running near to footpath. I felt comfortable running near the divider. I could see the Vasai skywalks now, and felt extremely proud that I was able to achieve my goal which I set for myself in the morning. Having crossed that boosted my confidence, also for first time in the race I was feeling the effect of sun, I missed on not wearing a cap. I was soon more walking than running, this went on till I was able to cross the over bridge to goto Vasai east. While on over bridge I had a chat with one of my fellow runner, who inquired about the distance we have covered so far, I guessed rightly about 9 km. I could see more marathon runner on the other side of the road.
As I crossed the bridge I felt sharp pain in the knees, which had started to hurt, but now it was very difficult for me to stop, unless I am unable to stand or walk. I continued with pain for a km or so. Then I gathered courage and started running again. Now I had crossed 10 km mark and was fast approaching the half way stage of the half marathon. Soon was able to cross the half way mark in 1:23:43. There where lots of students from various schools,who were encouraging the participants. I even had high-five with few of them, that really pumped me to continue the race in spite of a bad knees. There where few girl students who used to shout the bib of every runner passing them which was also encouraging.
I must have entered nallasopara, here the atmosphere was carnival like. Ladies dressed in traditional attire dancing on the stage, students lined up on both side of road offering water and encouraging runners, loudspeakers blaring all kinds of music. In between 13 and 14 km I could hear a lot of noise, i looked back and saw couple of vehicle past by me, then I saw the eventual marathon winner Elam Singh running behind those vehicle, one of which was the lead vehicle which displayed the time elapsed since the marathon started, I looked at it and it showed 1:44:00. I gathered all my courage and started running behind the marathon runner, I was able to keep pace for maybe 400m and then he zoom past me. It was quite a satisfaction. Eventually, thirteen marathon runners where able to pass by me before I crossed the finish line. I was able to run with more than couple of them apart from the eventual winner.
Running with marathon runner made me tired once again, I started walking, by this time I was near the nallasopara flyover, which was also the 15 km mark. I was determined that at any cost I would be able to finish the race now, irrespective of the timing. I was able to run over the bridge quite easily. I continued with walking and running method. Also, I got a packet of glucose somewhere at 16 km and eating a few biscuits helped me immensely. My knee has again started to hurt me, so I decided to take a medical break at the nearest medical camp, which was at 16+ km mark. Here, I applied ice to my knee, also got my knee checked with the doctor, she said it looks fine, also she applied some anti inflammatory spray. I also had a bottle of electrole and sat on for first time since the race started for few minutes. My break must have been less than 5 mins, after which I left the camp and immediately stated running again. The break had added vigour to my body. I was able to run comfortably.
Having seen the route before I knew that major part of the race is over, now this long stretch remained and the final couple of km. While I was still running, most of the other runners where walking. I was also getting tired soon. So I resorted to run-walk method. I asked the people staying nearby, how much more distance is left and they said 3 kms only, so I was sure that I could complete the race in next 30 mins. I also inquired about time and they said its 9:40 am. I was thinking about finishing the race under 3 hours now. There were no water stations towards the end of the race. As soon as I hit the last mile of the race, my feet started to pain, I never had pain in that part of the body. I was on the last stretch towards Viva college, and the pain was increasing with every step. I was walking most of the time now. The other race category like the fun run has started, and I could see runners in various costumes running on the other side of the road, also there where few groups walking with banners in their hand with various social causes. I continued to walk till i saw 500m sign, then I ran for 100m and walked for next 200m and then I wanted to finish the race by running, so I ran the remaining portion of the race and was able to finish in 2:53:14. I wasn’t in any way excited as soon as I crossed, I even felt I had some gas to run a few more km.
Soon, I was carried by a NCC cadet to the half marathon refreshment area. I was on some stage and there where lot of other
fellow finishers who were sitting, lying on the bed provided. I sat in between some guys. Immediately I was given couple of ice pack which I started applying to my knees, legs and back region. After sometime I was provided with a refreshment package consisting of glucose biscuits, an apple, a sport drink and a bottle of water. I had the sport drink, I asked for one more, which was promptly provided. Below they where awarding medals to all those who had finished the race. I was too tired to collect and continued to iced my sore legs. I removed my shoes and saw that my feet have swelled, especially the toes. A doctor who was passing by, I asked him to check for my knees and he said they seemed fine to him. Also after that I did some stretching which helps in recovering faster. I was feeling quite good in fact after finishing the race. I must have been icing on the stage for 20 mins, then I decided to take my medal. After taking the medal, I decided to leave immediately.
I walked from VIVA college to virar station and then took local to borivli. I reached home at 12:40 pm.