Sunday, May 22, 2016

TCS 10K 2016 - a race that was more than a race

To begin with, my TCS 2013 race report is here if you are interested.

Great things are achieved by doing the small things right, they say. And this is one of the seasons which has been most satisfactory for me as I feel that I was very successful in paying attention to detail and tying many of the loose ends and thus improve my running one crunch at a time, one step at a time.

The season started with the crazy dream that Jyothi and me have of doing the Mumbai Full in January 2017. Many would think how can two 3-hour half marathoners even dream of such a thing and achieving such an impossible task. Are they not biting too much than they can chew. But there is a beautiful Kannada song by Dr. G. S. Shivrudrappa sung by C. Ashwath in his sweet melodious haunting voice and in his inimitable way.

|| Kaanada kadalige hambaliside mana, Kaanabalene ondu dina, Kadalanu koodaballane ondu dina ||

It is a beautiful song and if you have not heard it till now, please listen to it immediately

While there are many meanings and interpretations to the song the most literal translation would be as follows: A river is longing to merge with the unseen ocean, its final destination. The river has heard a lot about the sea/ocean and wonders where it is and longs to see it and merge with it. As the river passes through the twists and curves of the mountains and the plains, it is filled with doubts and uncertainty, whether it will ever be able to see the ocean and merge with it and become one with it . But nevertheless it marches on its journey and continues to fulfill it’s destiny. This song finds a lot of resonance with me as I embark upon this beautiful marathon journey with my friends alongside me and RH behind me.

The seed of this dream of running the Mumbai Marathon was sown a couple of years ago when Santhosh used to introduce the Ananya Rabbits and other youngsters (by age) of RH like Ankush etc, that they are the only RH-ers doing distances more than their age. Each time I would think that the only way I would be able to run a distance more than my age would be if I do a Marathon.

Last year would have been ideal to do a Marathon and fulfill my dream of typing in my age lesser than the distance when I fill the registration form. But due to various reasons I could not do it. And therefore this year would be the last chance that I have as I would be turning 42 this year and when I fill the form I can fill age and distance as equal. So 42 @ 42 was my new motto. 

When a group of us, Dilshad, Mukund, Rama, Jyothi and me spoke to Santhosh and Srini V and our respective coaches about this they were all most appreciative of our plans and gave a clear go ahead and green signal. Of course there were many things that we had to do in the coming months and work really hard to ensure that we finished strong, which we were all ready to do. We have been working really hard since then. Srini V’s positive response and complete faith in us boosted our confidence.

Marathon Photos is charging Rs.1600 for all 
my race pics in all formats. I refuse to spend 
more money than I have already spent
With all this in the background, this season became the base building season for the SCMM for us. I did a lot of things right this season. I stuck to the RH schedule and followed it to the ‘t’. I did not miss a single run or workout. My attendance is above 95% (I think). I changed my yoga class and joined Vidya (a former Rh-er) and she corrected many of my poses and the way I was doing them which reduced my lower back ache and neck+shoulder+elbow+wrist pain. I ate right, tried to maintain good sleeping patterns, rested well, did strengthening at home too at least once a week apart from RH strengthening on Sundays.

After the nutrition talk, I took Chandra’s advise of how important it is to take protein immediately after the workout or within ½ hr for recovery and repair of muscles very seriously. Added to that Kavitha gave me the same talk at our BG BF at MTR, which strengthened my resolve to create my own protein powder as I do not like the ones available in the market and am a very strong exponent of homemade food stuff. My family has this wonderful recipe of making ‘Ragi Hurittu’ or sprouted finger millet powder. We add about 5 different grains and 12 different peas, pulses and beans to ragi along with dry fruits, soak and sprout them, dry them, dry roast them, all separately mind you! and finally mix them together and create the powder. I call it ‘my secret weapon to PBs’, ‘The magic potion’ which helped me power my way through the Bengaluru roads and achieve my PBs in every training run that I ran this season. Even Getafix and Snape are both very happy with my secret potion J J J.

All the attention to teeny weeny details that I paid helped me get stronger and I was running quite easily in all the areas where I used to struggle before. The ups and the elevations that I used to dread became easy and I was able to run faster and farther than before. This paid high dividends to me and I was able to do the distances in lesser time. I enjoyed the heat training and got a PB in pipeline 16k run. Enjoyed the run in Stone hill and got a PB there too. Enjoyed the Bylakere run where Jyothi and me did an easy run but had an enjoyable time talking nineteen to a dozen. Had a fantastic and strong run in Decathlon too and stuck gold with my 10K and 14k timings again!

For me the target run is just a clog in the wheel of training and running as a lifetime habit. The TCS run was a walk in the park compared to all the training runs that we has done through the summer in the heat. The start was a bit crowded and we had to walk the first 300 mts, from the start point up to the gate, where there is a slight elevation and this was expected. The RH support crew was astounding and really loud. I looked out for the RH support at each point that Santhosh had mentioned in the mail and crossed over each time to high five them, a few seconds lost be damned!. They called out my name each time which gave me such an adrenaline rush which would take me to the next pit stop easily. RH rocked on that day. No other group had these many supporters. But the last 300 mts, from the left turn that we take from Cubbon Park at Hudson Circle, to the finish point, was so crowded that I could not sprint even though I had a lot of strength left in me to sprint. This was most disappointing. I could only run slowly and especially the last 100 mts was so crowded, with all the runners finishing at the same time, that I had to walk those last 100 mts and past the finish mat. Note to self: try to become a sub 70 or sub 65 finisher by next year so that you finish earlier with lesser people and may have a chance to sprint the last 100 mts JJ.

The icing on the cake that day was my daughter doing the Majja run in support of an NGO called VAANI and it was her first fund raising effort. It was wonderful to see her run and finish so well.

Those who have seen me 4 years ago will remember that I could not even run 50 mts. RH and its coaches and physios have made me achieve so much in the last 4 years. Running has brought about so many changes in so many other spheres of my life. If you pay attention to one aspect of life, giving time to yourself and your own growth, the discipline and dedication that it brings about in you improves you in many other spheres of life also. 

In conclusion, despite sounding like the slides of Santhosh’s intro session all I can say to all the newbies is (1) Stick to the schedule (2) Maintain 100% attendance (3) Do all the things that is told  in teh intro session, by respective BG coaches, physios, in FAQs and RH website diligently including the ones mentioned in the looong emails J (4) have faith in the process (5) success will soon follow.

Happy Running and Happy Staying Fit!!!

Cheers to all!!!!!