How it all started-
Having run the half marathon a couple of times and many 10km runs, the full marathon was on my mind for a few years now. It’s something that I guess many people go through when you have achieved one goal. You tend to ask yourself what next? I was sure about one thing, delaying it will only make it more and more difficult…..
So, when a friend told me that if I registered early for the Bangalore Marathon, I would get a T-shirt with my name on it, I signed up.
“I grew up around people that enjoyed life day to day and found pleasure in simple things” – Josh Turner
Once I got this done, I told many friends that I have signed up for the 42.2km marathon. Few of them thought I was mad but all of them were full of kind words. “Don’t worry macha, you can do it” “Proud of you dude” “Totally cool man” are things that I heard and this surely strengthened my resolve.
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, because they want to do it” – Dwight Eisenhower
With 3 months to go I figured that I have to start practicing. I started running around 8 to 9 km every morning and occasionally 10km runs as part of the Go Heritage runs. It’s an interesting concept and highly recommended. I did Hampi, Belur, Ooty, Coorg & Badami over the last year and the next one is at Srirangapatnam.
Many people advised me that I should at least do at least one 30 km run to give me some confidence. My lifestyle (excuses, excuses ) didn’t permit me to practise enough.
“In football, the worst things are excuses. Excuses mean you cannot grow or move forward” – Pep Guardiola
And pretty soon, it was a week to go for the day of the run.
The week before the run-
This is when I realized I was being foolish mostly because I hadn’t prepared enough. The thought of having to run 42km, was making me nervous, more scared actually. I spoke with my wife who urged me to not to give up. Have faith she said.
“I realized that I’d rather give it a shot than not attempt it at all, The battle in any case was from within” – Krish
I did some reading to get sense of what to expect:
- Blisters on your feet – I’ve had them before but the shoes that I have are very comfortable and I have been using them for close to 2 years so was sure I’d be ok.
- Chaffing of skin– Vaseline helps. Lots of it.
- Cramps – I haven’t had them before but I heard drinking water helps.
- Pain in the chest – This, I told myself was when I’d walk away… Didn’t want to die of a heart attack for sure, or worse as I joked with my friends, being carried away on an ambulance
“Leaders are interested in gains. However, they acknowledge that there is no gain without pain. They embrace the pain” – Israelmore Ayivor
I had to be there at 3am. I was hoping that the last minute warm up would compensate for lack of practice over the last 6 months. I pre booked an Uber, woke up early, showered, received calls from my friends who were partying wishing me luck, A little prayer at home and off I was at 2am with my son, dog and wife wishing me lots of luck. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few whatsapp messages with words of encouragement from many loved ones.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved” – George Sand
There was a slight drizzle which normally would have felt romantic, but running with wet socks would only make it more difficult. As I reached the stadium, I saw people gradually trickle in, some oozing with confidence and some not so much. Warm up sessions had started and people making polite conversations asked me if this was my first. More tension :
The run – The true test-
The first 16km was a breeze and I’m not sure if running in the dark helped.
“Philosophically speaking, sometimes being in the dark helps” – Krish
At this point I thought I had nailed it and was smiling away. It was at the 17th km that it dawned on me ( as the sun started to rise, coincidentally) that this wasn’t going to be easy. At 21km, the halfway mark and the maximum I had ever run in my life, I was clearly struggling.
I called my wife for moral support and my son says to me, Papa I hope you are not going to quit. At this point I sensed the expectations, people around me had. I wasn’t going to let them down.
I kept running and running and running and at 26km I started having cramps. This is something I had never experienced till date. there was absolutely nothing I could do, At the next medical station I sprayed some muscle relaxant but that offered only temporary relief and soon enough the stations ran out of these too.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” – Charles R. Swindoll
As i was trudging along in pain, I saw a man participating in the 21km run using a crutch. He had only one leg.
“I knew then, that this is a mind game. The pain was not going to go away but I could certainly use my mind to deal with it”
I saw my wife and kid waiting for me at Coffee day square. Just seeing them there, made me emotional and I told myself that I will complete this. I gathered my energy and kept running until I reached the finish line.
The crowning point-
5hrs 52 min from the time I started, I completed my first 42.2km Full Marathon. Not an ideal time but phew I’m glad I finished it. I was ecstatic and the pain felt worth it ( as cliche as it may sound) and the adrenalin rush that you get reading the various whatsapp messages, on your way back home is something else. But most importantly there were many lessons I learnt along the way.
“The unconditional love and support that you see from random strangers makes you realise that the world has a lot of nice people”
Personally speaking, it has given me a deep sense of realisation about many, many things. I’m not sure if I will do it again, but for now I am wondering what next…?
Oh and I forgot to add, I never received the T-shirt with my name on it. In a way maybe thats was a good thing.3