Aug30, 2015 – The Airtel Hyderabad Marathon
Hyderabad half marathon, aim was to finish strong. Previous year 2014, Hyderabad weather was too hot, was expecting the same, but it turned to be better than previous year. This year, I did start and end and all my splits/kms at 6:30 min per km. So for some days I was proud, i had conquered India s toughest city marathon with the same constant speed. Looking at the huge number of runners I overtook in the last 5km, and there was a sense to achievement.
Then someone pointed out to me, that I had run under capacity and that’s why I had a lot of energy left after the race. Why didn’t I run faster and attempt to scrap some more seconds on my finish time. So this was one of the lessons I took from my Hyderabad run: NEVER RUN UNDER CAPACITY.
Airtel Hyderabad Timing Certificate
Zoom to the preparation for SCMM 2016. I made sure I wont repeat my Hyderabad mistake, training was a full 19 weeks.
Next, all my well wishers requesting me to stop doing it barefoot. I decided to move to simple flat canvas like New feel shoes from decathlon, without the cushion.
The Preparation for SCMM 2016
The schedule was color printed and laminated to be made into a dining mat for my office desk. This is how fanatic we runners are. We breathe running even at work. The dining mat reminded me of my next schedule, whenever I sat to eat. Also were pics from me and my families (the team) previous runs . I started two weeks early, giving me some time off in the between to spend with family and my out of town visits.
Then in the middle came Sanjay Rao’s interval training sessions and I learnt how to not be a loner and group interval training did help me. Towards the end of December 2015, I had attained an average pace of 5:15 mins per km,first sub 1hr 10k. I did most of my long runs with the Pune Marathoners group.
I might have skipped some 5-6 mid week sessions in the full 19 weeks , but never missed a long run. The last long run was supposed to be 42k, 3 weeks before the race and i did it so easily, that I added some more extra KMs to achieve the distance of 45.69 equal to my age on that day. After that long run, I didn’t get any cramps or pains, in fact I was back to doing errands at home after 2pm. This gave me the confidence that I should try to be better and maybe run 15 secs faster than the 45 k. Run.
Then taper began and mental game started. One week before the race, I met a friend of mine and he said he would order drinks only if i would have it. He didn’t force me but I gave way, I had it on the rocks on a cold night. Three days later, the sore throat came in. The taper made me store lot of carbs, hence i was feeling stronger even though I was coughing.
Mumbai, 16th Jan 2016 – SCMM Pre Race Day
Pre race day 50000 runners have descended into Mumbai. Total prize money USD 3,77,000. Of these 5,000 will be at the start line of the full marathon.
Baring a few hundred, they were not competing for the money, they were competing against themselves, to better their previous record. To gauge that they are fitter than themselves. They have the same passion as me. After all I wanted to push my limits come out of the comfort zone and better my previous record.
The weather in Mumbai was very pleasant in the evening. Made me feel better and more convinced, that I should be trying the best for a better finish. This was the first race after a long time, that I was so serious. No painting on my feet, No barefoot, while Prasad, my room mate would go barefoot, bare chest and bareheaded. He was enticing me to do it, but I kept my discipline, to stick to my decision. I forgot to run for fun, like in did my previous runs. The cough was getting a bit worser and I wasn’t drinking too much of water. I didn’t practice what I preached. When you have cough, drink as much water are you can. Secondly you have to keep hydrating yourself with electrolytes on the day before the run. All that had been forgotten.
The Barefooted, Barechested, Bareheaded Prasad Patil – Room mate of Jitendra
Mumbai, 17th Jan 2016 – SCMM Race Day
Over enthusiastic people were rubbing their shoulders with me. If Google/NASA/ISRO had an app that tracked locations in world with highest enthusiasm on 18th Jan 2016, it would be at the start line at the CST st 5:40am. I started it at a pace of 6:30. The cap was supposed to protect me from the sun and keep me cool but it blocked my sensors. I drank less water, even though the pacers were shouting to drink water.
After all I was coming from my Hyderabad “lessons learnt” and didn’t want to waste my time. After 25k or so, I realized that I was loosing pace. I reminded myself about the strong finish I did a few weeks ago. I was alone runner, with no friends around me. While most long runs i would have been accompanied by a group, we would sing-talk, have discussions and encourage each other, today I was alone.
Came 32k and I was looking why I wasn’t seeing the Haji ali junction it was a bit further. I was so tired, that I was relying on the magic to reduce the distance for me. Then reached the foothills of the dreaded Peddar flyover, dreaded because we runners discussed it so much, but we have many rolling hills like this one in Pune.
The Dreaded Peddar Road Flyover
I decided to take a break and met Pravin. Pravin told me he had blisters on his feet, he asked me what was my problem, I said I don’t have a problem. Was it my manly defence Actually i feel I had lost the sense to detect a problem, so we did walk run walk run to complete the race in 5:24:00.
The pain went away, looking at my dad, who had travelled 60kms to surprise me at the finish line with Hema and the kids. But I was sad, because my target was 4:40:00 and I got 5:24:00. Then the cramps kicked in, and the volini camp was like a five star massui center. I was feeling giddy. I really didn’t want my kids to see the pain, I was going through. If I tried to walk, there was no energy to do my stretches, to cool down my muscles. I got the spasms in my calf area. It took me a good two hours to get back to my senses, yeah good two hours of drama. I pray, that no other runner displays this in front of their kids.
Next day, everyone was posting their timings and pics on facebook, I didn’t, I was at shame. I made some spectacularly good choices and some awful bad mistakes. That’s the human me. A work in progress. I slipped. But as Robin Sharma says, “Nothing fails like success”.
Post Run Analysis: Things that might have gone wrong
1: I drank less water
Vikas: This has been a continual problem with lot of the marathoners. In an attempt to go faster we stop drinking water and is most probably the biggest cause of cramps.
2: No barefoot and no foot art. Because I was damn serious for this run,not a joker this time. This hurt me,because no one was giving me the thumbs up anymore and that made me a loner. You do get a lot of respect for being a barefooter. People ask how do you do it, isn’t it painful. The conversation itself would bring a lot of positivity in me. But believe me, I felt the road leading to Sea Link bridge really needs some tar and my decision was well made.
3: Was the 46.+ kms , 3 weeks before the race, helpful or did it hurt my SCMM
4: Last min change in pace from 7 to 6.5 mins per km.
5: The cough. I removed my discipline and became a yes man to an offer of drinks.
After few years, all these reasons would look minuscule, the main reason is I could have trained better to achieve that target. After all, I have next year to give my best attempt. I am a work in Progress
Jitendra Patel run with Pune Running
and Pune Marathoners Club
. He has dramatically improved his timing in the last year and is now a serious threat to some of the faster runners..