The Day of the Marathon… 69th Republic Day of India…26th Jan 2018
For all those who read my previous post The Run up to the Marathon and have been wondering how it went today, here it is. I hope by the end of this post, I have been able to inspire some of you to put on your running shoes and hit the track. No, not running but walking and slow jogging. And for those others who are already running, let me know if you felt this way on your first ever Run (I call it Run because I was told by the professional Marathon runner in our office who I introduced in previous post that a 10 Km run is a “Run” and not a Marathon).
The Night before the Marathon
I had been asked to sleep early by the Expert and have loads of carbohydrate and keep myself hydrated. I did none of those, not because I’m a rebel of sorts but well, I just hadn’t been able to do it. I drank some water and only remembered when I was going to bed that I was supposed to drink a lot more but I was too tired then to get out of bed. I went to bed at 11.00 p.m. because I was writing the post that I published yesterday The Run up to the Marathon
I probably managed to sleep at half-past eleven because I was nervous, excited about what would happen the next day or maybe it was both.
26/1/18 The Day of the Marathon
I woke up at 4.00 a.m. not because I had a nightmare but my sub-conscious mind had probably not slept at all and was making my stomach all queasy and I needed to rush to the washroom. Well, that’s what happens to me when I’m all nervous. I’m not sure how but my brain and my stomach seem to have a wonderful relation that I’m not able to get in between. I simply have to follow their instructions. I went back to bed again only to go back a second time and then a third time and then it was anyway 6.30 a.m. It was a good thing; now I wouldn’t have to worry about my stomach during the run. All clear!Time to rise and shine!
All through I’ve been praying, stretching my legs, massaging my feet and hoping my legs stick with me today.
I look out of the window. There’s a dense mist. That’s good. It means it will not be hot during the run.
A shower and then wear the T-shirt given, pin up the bib and all set to go. Pinning up the bib to the T-shirt was a challenge. First, it was too high, then it was too low and the third time it was perfect just like Goldilocks’ experience when she went to the Three Bear’s house. You know that story. O.k. if you don’t know it, it’s fine. We don’t need distraction at this stage.
Getting back to the Marathon, I message Gayathri at 7.15 a.m. The phone is unreachable. I manage to gulp 2 boiled eggs that Hubby dear very kindly makes for me.
7.30 a.m. Gayathri calls to say she will be down in 5 minutes. The plan is she takes a taxi and comes to my home which is 400 m away and we head to the venue.
7.40 a.m. There’s no call from Gayathri. I head down and decide to buzz her. My elder daughter puts her arms on my shoulder, looks into my eyes and says “OK Ma. Run!”. It sounded more like I was going to battle but it definitely helped; just the way in which she said it. The younger one, just extended her hand from under the blanket and holding my hand, she says, “Energy Transferred” and she was fast asleep again.
7.45 a.m. I call Gayathri and she asks me to get a taxi or walk up to her place so we can go together. Walking up 400 m is not a big deal but when you’re going to run 10 kms for the first time and you haven’t practiced, every ounce of energy must be stored and not wasted.
With no taxi in sight (the mist did not allow much sight anyways), I decided to walk. Then out of the mist, from nowhere, a taxi appeared. That was a good sign. It was God sent. I open the taxi door and I realize that I’ve forgotten my Smart watch. Damn! Now, I’ll not know the time. “Should I ask my daughter to run down and give it to me?” “Forget it, I’ll run at my pace. I don’t need a watch to tell me” and I get in.
Gayathri is waiting wearing a pink t-shirt. We’ll never miss each other with that color. She is not in her best spirits. She hasn’t had her coffee. And Gayathri without coffee is better left alone.
The taxi driver is a friendly man. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about the Run when you have a case of nerves. We reach the venue at 8.15 a.m. There’s a huge crowd and now even without coffee, Gayathri, the extrovert is feeling better and we are ready for our first selfie.
Over to the start position, The Boss and the Expert are there. It’s a km walk to the start which is fine considering all participants have to walk it. So, can’t be considered as a waste of energy.
8.30 a.m. We’re there at the Start. We have to wait a whole 30 minutes for the Run! There are at-least a 100,000 people there and there’s so much positive energy. Sharmistha calls (a.k.a Binny. You remember her from the last post. She is the friend who gave me the Mantra that helped me to run). She is there at the venue but in that “massive humanity” (as The Boss said), it was impossible to find her or get to her.
People are jogging, stretching, talking about all the Marathons they have run and somehow everybody seems super-fit. Was a little unnerving until, I overheard some people behind saying “I’ve come here to participate. The timing is not important. I will just walk”.
“That felt better. There were going to be others like us”.
8.45 a.m. “How does time move so slowly when one is waiting?”
8.50 a.m. We stretch too, a little. With 100,000 people around, you can just bend a little, move your head a little…Gayathri is not feeling too well but she is not the kind who will give up once she’s made up her mind. We decide to do the Run at our own pace which would mean us splitting sometime after the race starts.
9.00 a.m. The Run Begins!
The three of us – The Boss, Gayathri and I cross the Start line together and within moments we’ve lost each other. The weather is amazing. I’m jogging at my pace and praying all the time that there are no catches. I have no watch to measure my pace or see the time, so I keep going like everybody else.
I’m wondering why there are no boards with markings at regular intervals, showing the amount we have run .
Finally, there’s a board which says 1 km. “Just 1 km?!” and I thought I’ve run 2 at-least by now. I’m not tired though. I think it’s the group effect. Everybody’s running together and that’s helping, a lot!
At 3 kms, there are a lot of volunteers holding placards, “ Dig Deeper”, “Focus. You can do it”, “You’re doing a great job. Keep at it”. Added to the placards, they are cheering and that’s helping far more than I thought it would. So many voices urging you to go on, saying “You can do it” has a magic effect. It just shows how the mind works. Positive reaffirmations have a great impact. So if you think, it’s just inspirational jargon, you need to change. Use it all the time on yourself, your teams and your kids.
“It’s getting tougher” I’m thinking. “5 kms is always difficult”, I remember Binny’s Golden words and it keeps me going. I kind of know now, the girl in the pink top (not Gayathri) who seems to be behind me at times when I’m jogging, then she’s ahead of me when I’m walking. “I need to keep up with her. She matches my pace, keeps looking at her smart watch. She probably knows her goal. I simply have to follow”, I make a mental note. Then I lose her. No problem, there’s another lady in a tiny black skirt and a green top who seems to be around here and there. There’s a man too who’s now stopped to tie his laces, next he’s ahead of me, now he’s stopped and he’s stretching his leg. In those thousands of people, I had found my motivators or those whose pace I needed to match to ensure I wasn’t slowing down.
Loads of runners are returning and there’s no sight of the turn. Now, I pace up. “I’ll feel better if I reach the turn”, my mind’s saying.
Finally I’m on the other side. As I walk, I ask a person for the time and he says 9.35 a.m. “Great. I’ve managed 5 kms in 35 minutes”.
I walk, jog and ask another person who tells me we’ve done 7 kms. I have a deal with God. “Please stick around with me. We just have to do 3 kms more”. The sun is high overhead. It’s hot now and I feel my ears burning. Everybody is sweating profusely. Volunteers are offering water on the way. Cleaners are quickly clearing bottles thrown by runners on the road. There are ambulances, Police cars and camera men recording the run. It’s exceptionally well organized and I’ve slowed down my pace as I notice everything and everybody on the way.
That’s when a hand rests on my shoulder and says “Run, Go. Just a little more”. It’s Binny! She found me in that ocean of people. Talk about friendship. And I run with her and stop when she stops and run again when she does and we’ve finished 1.2 kms together. And I can’t keep up with her anymore. My mind’s telling me “Stop. Keep your pace or you’ll break” and I slow down.
The last 500 meters I’ve lost Binny. I’m walking now. An old man from the stands says “Go. Give it your best shot. Run!” and I run to the Finish line and manage to finish 10 Kms in 1 hour 12 minutes.
I actually did it! I still can’t believe it’s over. It would have been fun and maybe I’d actually feel I’d done it, if there was a band playing as I crossed the Finish line like I was a Super star and had flowers or confetti showered on me. But it’s ok, my mind did it all for me and once the medal was on me, it felt absolutely great.
The Boss did it in 1.22 minutes. Binny finished in 1 hour 2 minutes 33 seconds. “What happened to Gayathri?”, I hear you say.
She finished too. She walked throughout, carried on taking selfies along the way and finished in 1 hour 50 minutes.
We were all winners. We had taken part. We had crossed the Finish line and with that we had broken the mental barriers that we started the race with.
We all have our own personal stories of our journey through this Marathon. This was mine. I feel blessed that I was surrounded by wonderfully encouraging people who pushed me to give my best. God had been kind and had conspired in every way to make it work for us.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our marathon journey. Do share your comments on your first experience or if you’re motivated now to give it a shot.
Now for some pictures of the event 🙂 since I’ve been talking of selfies.
Wishing all Indians reading this blog a Very Happy Republic Day!
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