In the preparation for a race, one can train to the best of their capabilities, and hope that things go your way.
My grand ambition to was do a Sub-2 Half Marathon at Vasai (yes, I took a train and actually went there!) I had worked hard for it. Fought the Demons of Doubt, and actually convinced myself that I was capable of doing this. This was it. Do or Die.
Unfortunately, Die, it was!
27th October, Vasai, one step behind the elite runners at the start line. (We had wormed our way all the way up!)
I took off with a flying start at 7 am. I saw the red sun, rising above the grasslands, and thankfully the sky remained cloudy. I blessed the weather gods as I developed a good rhythm within a couple of minutes of 5.30 mins/km. Soon there were a lot of familiar faces, a runner from Hyderabad and a girl I had met in than and the usual suspects we see while training, in races within Bombay and other cities. We stayed togethe,r with the two hour bus, which we thought was going too fast. After a while Rahul and I decided to let them go but keep it within our sight. All was well!
It was 8.02 am .We completed the required 11 km in 62 minutes. The hard work was done, now only 10k in the second hour.
At 8.03, something changed, in me and around me. I just could not keep going at the same pace. My pace was slacking, I stopped checking it, I ran on instinct. Sweat was flowing down my back faster than my feet were running. I could see the flag of the sub -2 bus disappearing into the crowd. Then, life got more interesting! A flyover showed up and a couple of kilomteres along, another one, which was much bigger than the previous. The momentum of the entire pack had dropped.
All along the way, the crowd support was rousing. People were out in large numbers and children in their crisp school uniforms lined the streets high-fiving all the runners. School bands and djs blaring pulsating music were at every corner.
Despite all this, I could not pick up my feet to match the pace that I was supposed to be doing.
By kilometre 16 I saw that the dream was gone, a part of yesterday. So I plodded along, found an injured Rahul and Mulraj, both accomplished runners, struggling was in elite company ;).
Anyway. 2.08 it was.
What can I say about the run?
It was organised very well, from the buses to pick up from the station to the well stocked and covered finishers area. I should treat this as just another 21k run, and not a race for my personal best, due to the crazy October heat.
What do I learn from this run?
You can train all you can, as hard as you can, but the outcome depends on various factors, some of which are beyond your control. Yes, we can fight them, try our best to go against it, but at a point we need to weigh whether the struggle is worth it, and to what end.
Had I pushed a bit harder I would have cut a couple of minutes of my time, which would still have not brought my time to the much coveted timing of 1.59. I had resigned to my fate when the outcome was certain.
The acceptance of reality.
We can analyse, regret and repent.
But accept we have to. We must
The sooner we face the certainty of the reality after overcoming all the excuses, causes, factors, the sooner we can resolve it and move ahead.
So sometimes…….que sera sera