Saturday : 21 hours to Raceday
I woke up with a catch in my back, which only gets aggravated during the day. As I obsess over it, it grows, then disappears only to reappear again! By evening it appeared to have subsided after a small massage. It was time for a sustained release pain killer. Watched “Chariots of fire” for inspiration and imagined myself sprinting to the last 400m like the guys, with the much played theme song, ringing in my ears and me running in beautiful slo-mo(of course no such thing happened!).
Sunday 3.52 am
Slept well, woke up feeling fresh. The back spasm was still around to torment my head. I decided to kill that thought with a combiflam. Then I armed myself with a brand new ipod( for the last 15 k) and my gels and was off!
Battle gear on….SCMM 2014 here I come…………
The race strategy was worked out well in advance. A a slow warm up, followed with a constant pace through the race with a bit slower pace on the inclines.
The 3 musketeers (Rohan, Vishal and me) started well and stayed together and bang on target race pace.
It was a glorious day and I felt invincible.
I was running with Faith,Faith that I could make it happen.
With Confidence, that it was my day.
With Belief, that I could do it, that I would do it.
All along the way, as usual we were chatting away as if it was another Sunday long run. My refrain for every km was, “Don’t make me talk! I should not be talking!” Just before getting onto the sea link I discovered that my ipod had fallen off along the way, and the first of my demons returned! I would have to battle the slog kilometers by myself!
By kilometer 21, we became a quartet with Raghu, a runner from Bangalore who like us, was a 4.30 runner, running for his personal best! He had been tailing us the whole way and after 2 hours we officially inducted him into our bus. More conversation! Whew! The pack stuck together for the next 7-8k. we motivated each other and got into rhythm. As we reached Worli sea face, the boys felt the heat and they faltered. I gathered all my courage and decided to keep going.
I maintained the same steady rhythm and pace until the 35km mark. I was all alone; I had passed some good runners who had run out of wind. My wily mind was playing new tricks on me by the minute. I surrendered to the steep incline of Peddar Road, as I walked 20m, and then started a slow jog, just in time to save my face, as I passed by friends and family, all rooting for me!I increased my pace with their encouraging words and once the uphill was done with, I started flying. Approaching my building, where I knew a large crowd was waiting for me, I was in high spirits. A fellow runner nick named me : “Celebrity of Peddar Road” The hard work was done and the hardest part of the race was over. Now only the home stretch – 6 km to go. I blazed downhill, with Rhea and Aadit (my niece and nephew) in tow- as I did my fastest 1 km with them! I was on a roll…….
Come Chowpatty , Samir Bhatia ran an inspiring 500m with me. He restored my confidence for a great finish at a consistent pace. I looked strong, and felt strong.The battle between my brain and my fatigued legs had started to get ugly! After every kilometer I was pushing the pace for 20-30 steps and I just kept going. It was a glorious feeling to pass by the brave marathoners who had now slowed down to a walk. Each step was me reinforcing my belief- I was going to make it happen.
“Failure is not an option”
“I have not come here to walk!”
With this mantra I forged ahead. Passed by more family at Marine Drive and Churchgate, by when I had run out of steam and greeted them only with a tiny wave of my left hand! I had only one focus.
With 500m to go, my partners from my previous marathons- Raina( my friend’s daughter) and Sukpreet paced me. I struggled to keep up with them. I saw the 300m mark approaching and then the finish line appeared. An open road ahead of me. I left everyone and everything as I sprinted to the finish!
SCMM 2014: -4:09:21: my personal best
I set a target.
Trained for it.
All the hard work paid off.
All my words worked. Words and dreams, which are strong enough to start wars.
But it has all been worth. In one month all this pain will be forgotten, as I set new targets, and gear up to push myself harder than ever before.
The end of something is merely the beginning of something else.
New horizons await.
A new frontier beckons.