Deepak has always been a perfectionist. He needs to do things in perfect order and regime. His training for the SCMM half marathon was no different. A very strict and meticulous schedule saw him progressing nicely in his training program. Until mid-November.
As the mileage and intensity increased so did the workload on the body. One fine morning Deepak went out for a 14km run with the usual enthusiasm. A short while into the run he felt a sharp crippling pain. He barely managed to get back home. Every run thereafter was a pain story. The next 2 months saw a regime of resting, icing, strengthening, foaming, walking and reluctant attempts at running. All these steps couldn’t stop the pain from returning with every run thus trashing his hopes and dumping his chances of running in SCMM.
Come 10th Jan and he rekindled his dream and decided to go to Mumbai and run the SCMM, no matter what! 3 days prior to the race we went out for a practice run and in less than 2kms the ITB pain was back.
Although I was motivating him all these days to give the race a shot, that day I too started losing hope and, for the first time, was unsure if it was the right thing to do. We sat down and analysed the situation and weighed the pros and cons. The heart said go live the dream but the mind imagined all possible adversities.
Sudhi Haribhat messaged him – “”Evadhi tayari keli aahe tar houn jaude”. Sudhi shared his own experience of running with an ITB problem. This was the clincher; decision made. Deepak simply decided that he will run SCMM and face whatever challenges that came his way.
On 17th Jan 5am we reported at the half marathon start point at Worli. Our plan was to run together all the way. During practice Deepak had identified that if he ran slow he could go painfree over a longer distance. We hoped that my natural slow pace would be the leash to control him.
At the flag-off our worst fears came true and we were separated in the massive crowd. I was frantically trying to reach him on the phone. Finally we spoke only for me to know that he was already on his way!
So our plan of running together came to naught and I was left with a nagging concern at the back of my mind and a helpless heavy heart all through my race.
He started strongly running a steady conservative pace for 7km past the Bandra-Worli sea link. And then the drama unravelled.
The troubles built up slowly. The ITB pain slowed him down. In a while he had to resort to Run-Walk. The pain kept increasing and eventually, he reached a decision point – QUIT or WALK.
He picked the latter and stopped at every medical aid station for icing and Volini spray treatment. It didn’t take him long to realize that the treatment wasn’t working. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
He decided to ignore the physical pain and mental anguish by diverting his attention to the legendary Mumbaikar supporters lined up along the streets. Their boisterous cheering kept him going.
He managed to make a few phone calls too, to his father and to our son Harsh explaining his mental state and funny walk to them.
Harsh has been a big fan of Paresh Rawal’s Hera Pheri (Bollywood movie). He advised dad, “Baba, if anyone comments about your weird walk, just retort with a ‘Yeh Baburao Ka Style Hai Bhai‘”. It is amazing the way our children can sometimes lighten a grim situation.
By now he found a few other runners struggling too. They formed their own little society comparing painful notes.
With all the stopovers and walking, the kilometer markers took longer to reach as he approached the notorious Peddar Road Flyover. Walking up the steep steady climb of over 1km with tired legs was a killer.
That negotiated, things didn’t get any better as he battled through the last 3kms every step of the way. It was the truest test of his mental strength and ego.
He had promised himself that he would run, walk or even crawl to the finish line. The last km almost required him to crawl as he crossed the meters signboards – 500, 400, 300, 200 and 100 and finally the SCMM half marathon finish line!
A dream had just come true.
All this time, having finished my race, I stood behind the finish line, eyes welled up, watching him take each painful step and finally make a brave effort to run across the finish line.
This was the first time that I had finished a race before him and was waiting at the finish line. During the long 40 minute-wait I had a strange uncanny feeling. Maybe he deliberately maintained a distance between us during the run to set me free to achieve my Sub 3 hour target which I did achieve with timing of 2:56. I wanted to shout, “My dear, I don’t ever want to have a repeat. I prefer the way it always has been. Keep you waiting for me at the finish line..”
With head held high and spirits in the sky we both proudly limped to receive our first HM medals!!
We lived our dream of running our first HM at SCMM 2016.
We will come back with another dream in our heart and wind in our wings and sprint in our feet !!
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