What can i say about today’s Thane Half Marathon?
That it was tough, hilly and challenging.
That it showed me how weak i really was.
That it brought out my best.
I had a goal for the run today, which according to Savio was a little difficult to achieve as i had not specifically trained for it.
It was a chilly morning when we started a few minutes after 6 am. As per my strategy I kept pace with Sunil, who is a much faster half marathoner. After a series of slopes, I lost him only to find Santa at 5km. As I struggled on the uphill I would lose him, but catch up in the downhills. This game of cat and mouse carried on until 10km, when a long, steep hill got the better of me.
I lost Santa and my nerves. I cracked. I walked. For 20 long seconds. I just could not bring myself upto running. I could feel precious time trickling by. I could not afford that today!
I kept my eye on the pace, and in the first hour i had completed exactly half the distance. This was not good news. There would be no relief for my tired legs as I pushed them relentlessly in the second hour. I had a Eureka moment when i realized I had to complete 8km in 45 minutes to achieve the desired Sub -2.IMPOSSIBLE!
I announced this to the group whom i had been running with for a while now. It was a motivated bunch, which included several like me- who were looking to break the 2 hour Barrier. They were quite motivated by my words and kept at it.
On the next climb i lost them as well. My spurts of walking was really doing me in. I tried my best to race on the downhills to make up time- but the damage was already done.
At the 15km mark, I met 2 first time runners. They had been following me a while, and finally gathered enough courage to strike up conversation with me-the “experienced” runner! She told me how my encouraging words all along the way had helped her as well! These words, although intended to encourage others, really helped me! Suddenly my burden felt lighter! I needed all the motivation I could get. There was minimal crowd support. No friends to talk. The pace was unfamiliar- much faster than my usual conversation pace! I was clearly in a new place. A place I had never seen before.
I could not afford to “chug along”. So I ran, I pushed myself and the 19km mark appeared, along with a steep hill. My heart sank! I walked again. That the dream of the Sub-2 was shattered, sank into me. Now I ran, to teach myself how it is to fight a losing battle. I often wondered how tennis players, who are down 4-1 in a set, play on sometimes to win , and other times go down fighting.
I pushed and ran as fast as my weary legs would take me. Abbas paced me for the last kilometre, encouraging me, and motivating me to beat the girl who was only 10m ahead. But i did not. I could not. I sprinted the last 50m to cross the finish at 2 hours- 4 minutes.
Today,I Desired something.I set a Target. Chased it. Faced disappointment. For the first time in my life i learnt to “ Go for it”. For me it reflected a change in my thinking and attitude.
2.04, is my Personal Best for a Half Marathon. Surely but steadily, i inch closer towards the elusive Sub-2.