13 Feb 2011

My first Half Marathon

Many wise people have said “The more you do something, the better you get at doing it!” January of 2006, and it was time to put my discipline and commitment to test. The impudent scary goal – to attempt the half marathon in Mumbai. And the simple goal, to somehow stagger across the finish line.

In preparation, I duly filled up my registration form. I started reading about long distance running through books and from various websites. I also strictly followed the Jeff Galloway half marathon training program and paid attention to my diet and hydration.

I was excited to receive confirmation by post of the acceptance and dates for race entry pack collection. I reached the World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade to collect my running bib and goodies bag on Jan 13th. It was my first experience at the Marathon Expo.

The organization at the marathon expo was superb, with its various stalls of fitness equipment and products. I still vividly remember the goody bag, which contained biscuits, noodles, iced tea mix, timing chip, safety pins, course map and the vital bib number. The Mumbai organization did full justice to being a part of "the great race on earth".

This was also my first encounter with the Kenyan runners (or should I call them Kenyan Gazelles!) Oh boy! Did they look fit and toned? They had the perfect runner’s physique. They walked around, totally relaxed signing autographs and posing for the camera.

One part of me was palpitating thinking about the morning of Jan 15th, just three days away. While, at another, I realized that I would actually be running in the very footsteps of these elite worlds best runners and for a few hours we would be sharing the same road. I returned home feeling good with this thought and eagerly looked forward to the race day.

On the night before the race, I set the alarm for 3.45am and snuggled into bed with a sense of excitement and anxiety, feeling like a little school girl about to sit her first exams in school. Race Day (Sunday Jan 15th 2006), dawned soon and I woke up to the alarm bell, after about five hours of sleep.

As I geared up into my running attire, my husband prepared my carbo-loaded breakfast. And then I started hydrating myself with electrolyte loaded water, while he drove me to the starting area near Victoria terminus, playing my favorite music loudly in the car stereo.

It needs to be mentioned that his support, encouragement, interest and enthusiasm has been essential for many of my lifetime firsts. As he dropped me off at the holding area, I remember his words of encouragement in my ear "When you go out there, burn the tracks and enjoy the journey, you will see the finish line.” Ever since, this has been my big mantra for all future half and full marathon races to follow.....

More on the actual race experience in my next post.

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