Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Almost there - The Mysore Half Marathon 2011

                The clock showed 6:55 a.m., 10 minutes more than the scheduled start time of the Mysore Half Marathon 2011. All the runners were waiting patiently at the start line - The imposing Mysore palace. Okay, the “patiently” part was a lie. We had all warmed up for a 6:45 start but apparently Chief Guest Javagal Srinath does not mess with his 8 hour sleep cycle. We greeted him with a loud ‘boo’ when he finally ambled along to the start line. I was targeting a finish of 1 hr. 40 mins, which meant running faster than 5 min/km for 21 kms. My friend Bala from Bangalore was targeting 1 hr. 45 mins but he gamely agreed to run with me for the entire distance.
                The elites simply took off as soon as the start gun went off. Not sure if it was the pace the elites set or our own stupidity, Bala and I decided to give them chase. Big Mistake. We ran the first two kms in around 8 mins, way faster than what I had planned. Any distance runner worth his salt would tell you that you should not run somebody else’s race. And here I was disobeying the most basic tenet of long distance running. I settled into a nice breathing pattern, slowed down and let Bala compete with the elites!
               My plan was to finish the first half of the race in 50 mins. But realized that I would get there about a minute or two early at our current pace. The route meandered into Kukkenahalli kere, the best running place in my beautiful hometown. We ran into the elites returning from the midway point. And the three in the lead were blazing. Their coach was on the sidelines and screaming at them to pick up pace. Hah! That is one coach I hope to avoid for the rest of my natural life.
              At around the 8k mark, the effects of chasing the elites caught up with Bala and I ran alongside him for the new few kms.  My lace came untied twice and I wasted sometime getting it right. My hands were unsteady and my fist and jaw tightly clenched – a clear sign that I was trying too hard. Stopped for water at the 12k mark aid station. With little humidity and cool breeze, I decided that I could manage with only one stop for water. And that certainly helps.

The Celebration Mysore Half Marathon
                I checked out my GPS watch and found that I had to run the last 8k in 39 mins to finish within my target of 1 hr. 40 mins. My usual running pace at that point in time was 5 mins/kms meaning 40 mins for 8 km. I just had to run a couple of kms faster. Sounds easier when I put it on paper but the second half had a few up-hills and increased traffic which meant that saving that one minute was not going to be easy. My mom had promised to come to the route to cheer me, but I missed her as well due to my decision to go for glory.
  The final push never came. Somebody on the road shouted “Boss you are 28th… Run faster, so many people have gone ahead”. That brought a smile to my in spite of all the pain/pressure I had put myself in. Finished in 1 hr. 41 mins and Bala finished a couple of mins behind me. Missed my running season target by around 1 minute. Almost there but not there. Story of my running life really.
  Soni Mathew finished in 1:09 mins and took 1st place in men’s division and Kavita Raut in 1:20 took 1st in the women’s division. As for me, I have time until the Auroville 2012 to reach my season target of 1 hr. 40 mins. With all the arrogance and confidence I can muster, I declare myself good enough for a 1:40 HM in the coming months. Only time will tell!


Dr Umesh K Dash said...

Hi Bharath..amazing run..contnuously running at the pace of 5 or below, sustaining the same for 1 hr and 41 mins..your description was fantastic, as if I also ran in that super speed. Wish you many more such amazing run

Keshav Ram Narla said...

haha..this was a fun read Bharat!

I loved when you guys booed the Chief Guest. Here every second is precious and they come at their own leisure 10mts. But then again we cannot expect him to understand as a non-runner!

But WoW on your time.

Do you what was my recent Airtel HM time, my very first HM - it was 3:51.

I cannot even imagine 1:41 and funny thing is that you really care about that extra 1 min :-)

Loved your post - short, funny and surprising (I had no idea serious runners cared that much about time)

Bharath said...

Thanks Umesh.
@Keshav - Generally during my long runs, I do not even wear a watch. But during races it becomes tough to avoid thinking about time when you are so close to achieving your season targets.

Don Quixote said...

Good read, esp the booing part as Keshav mentioned.

All the best for Auroville!

Vikas SS said...

Nice post.. and congrats on ur superb 1:41 finish, too good!!.. I was at the event too and finished at my PB of 2:39... it's my hometown too..

The boo-ing was not only there for Srinath but also for that starlet and that politico.. I guess Srinath was there earlier than them, at least.. The sickest part was not only that it started 25-30 mins late, but also that these celebs did a mock-run for the media, that was very silly on their part and that too wearing HM and 10k bibs..

BTW, do visit my blog too.. there's a post titled 'My Journey to a meaningful HM'... Cheers!!

Keshav Ram Narla said...

OMG mock runs for pics...morons!

Bharath said...

I did not know about the mock run. I thought both Srinath and Nidhi truly did a 10k run. Drama queens all of them.
And I did read your blog on the RFL site. Very insightful and charts your journey and the effor you put in. Keep blogging.

Ganzy Boy said...

Thats a super pace. This being my first 10k now any runner mentioning about the speed/pace makes sense to me. Congrats on the run. Certainly a great effort and saving up the last minutes to reach the finish line ain't easy.. Thats the most toughest.. knowing that you might just be behind a few seconds :-)

Anonymous said...

Few corrections to the blog.
Srinath was there much before the start. He was waiting for the Mr. Minister Ramdas. He did complete 10K in about 1 hr plus some change.

First time I tried going beyond 10K and I clocked 2:09...I know how hard it is to reach 1:40..kudos to you.

Vikas SS said...

@Bharat.. thanks for dropping by my blog post on this event...

BTW, as per the data on timingindia, Srinath did a 10k in 1:10.. If you look up for that starlet's bib no. u wont find it in the list coz frankly she lookd like a sleepyhead in the promo pics, a very bad choice for a brand ambassador for a sporting event..

The mock run was done by them prior to the start of the HM.. it was visible in the front.. Also, if u see the pic in star of mysore on 2-oct, u'll see them all running.. while the celebs wore 10k bibs, the politico was wearing a HM bib.. And since the race start for these two events was different, it clearly serves as the evidence for their silly act...