I had a goal. 1.49.
I had trained for that. I had a plan for that.
It was to be my first ever, all-out, half marathon race.
4 of us had planned to run together. Mulraj, Vishal, Urmi and me. We huddled together at the start line and then bolted out of the B corral like colts and fillies at the derby. As we made our way through the crowd, we were gaining pace rapidly. Mulraj and Urmi fell back (they controlled their pace as per the plan!), but Vishal and I barged on. My Garmin was alarmed and I let my emotions get the better of me.
I went for it. Neither was this my training pace, nor my required race pace. But this was Delhi. And I was flying. So I let it go. We held this blistering pace for a full 10k (my fastest ever!) and then the inevitable happened. I crashed. Vishal held on strong and went onto to complete the race was relative ease. For me it was a long hour as I slowed down, stopped 3 times during the second half and struggled my way to the finish.
Never have I had such a difference in the splits. But then never have I ever run so hard. I learnt what it takes to dig deep and finish a race – when you realise that when you feel you are done and you need to stop and cry…you cannot, as there are still 5 km to finish. I had to gather myself at various points…rationalise. And push myself. For the first time, I felt this race to be as hard as a marathon.
Along the way, of course, Urmi and Mulraj overtook me. They finished the race – and rather comfortably too- in the planned time. Whereas I huffed and puffed to the finish 70 seconds later. 1:51:05.
What defines me as a runner
Neither is it about the race
Nor is it about the time.
It is about…
The sweat on my body.
The burn in my legs.
The pumping of my heart
The determination in my mind.
The desire to conquer the fear within
The need to give it my best
The craving to move outside my comfort zone
The want to feel the fire burn.
The exhilaration of running free
Feeding the emptiness of my mind.
The clamour to quieten the voices in my head
And the power to find my strength from within.
Let my hard work speak for itself
Let my running define my person.