I am looking forward to doing my first full marathon soon. This thought stays at the back of my mind for 24 hours a day. While I am asleep, I have my dream runs!
I ran my first half-marathon in December 2018. It was also my first ever running event that I participated in. Those days before the marathon I was having the same butterflies in the stomach.
All the pros in the world will tell you that you need to have proper rest the day before the run. You should have slept well. This is scientifically true as well. However, I could not make the science work. My emotions were too strong to follow the logic.
Travel to the Venue
I reached the place of the event a day before. I had to travel overnight to reach there. I was accompanied by my kids and their mom. They were too curious to be left behind the scenes. They wanted to witness the place and the people where the runners descended from all corners of the country – just to run.
Even I was quite curious like a kid. I had not trained myself under a coach. I had no plans or even an idea of participating in running events. I did not even have an idea if would be able to run a distance of 21.097 km.
I was prompted to participate at the insistence of my friend from LA(Los Angeles). In the US, running is a craze. That’s what he told me. I am happy running in hills and in forests. They give me joy in running. I am happy with them.
I got interested in participation with the idea of running along with fellow runners. I have been a lone runner. Most people here prefer to sit at home and watch sitcoms. I am an exception to the whole lot. I have always been unique in my tastes. And running happens to be a good match for a freedom lover like me.
The Running Expo
We traveled to Bangalore by train. Reaching there, we decided to go to the Expo first as it was on our way to the hotel. The running expos are organized for promotion and handing over the running kit. A runner is required to collect his running Bib and the details of the event from the expo. These expos range from a day to a full week.
The expo exhibits the route maps and the pacers for the day. It was all so new to me. I had never been to any running expos. It filled me with excitement and geared me up for the next day. I collected my Bib at one of the counters. I went to another counter to get it verified. Your Bib is your tracker. Every Bib has a unique number and is embedded with a chip for tracking.
Collecting my Bib, we headed straight to the hotel. We were hungry and tired. So, had our lunch and slept over. The evening was spent collecting bananas from MG Road and an easy run.
The event was scheduled to start at 5:30 a.m. It was the first event to go off. We were told to be there by 4:30 a.m. Who gets up in the morning at such an unearthly hour to participate in a social event. You need a very high level of motivation to be doing so. I had planned to get up by 3:00 a.m and be there by the designated time. It was approx. 25 km away from the hotel. As this place was unknown to me, I was not sure how I would reach there.
Though I was on my bed by 9:30 p.m., I was not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow. Will I break my image of a lazy bum and crush the finishing line? How much time would it take if at all I really crossed the finishing line? Would I fall down mid-way or just give up?
I was not sure about my day or the run. Will it belong to me? And this was the reason for anxiety. My wife noticed that I was turning from left to right more often today. She asked, “Aren’t you getting sleep?”. I casually replied, “I will get it soon.” The sleep came to me quite late but I did manage to sleep for some hours. I would have slept for not more than 4 hours that night.
The Run Day
The alarm went off at sharp 3:00 a.m. I got out of bed. My wife woke up the kids as they were equally interested to be there. She is such a supportive life partner. We got up, got ready, and reached there by 4:25 a.m. There was super excitement brewing inside me!
When we reached there, we realized how cold it was! We were all covered with sweaters and jackets. I was to remove them soon and just be in shorts and a T-shirt. I decided to wear full sleeves beneath the T-shirt. It was a good decision I felt later.
When we reached, we could hardly see anyone except the volunteers. But the crowd was trickling and by 5:15 a.m. it was buzzing. There is a warm-up session before the run and it is exciting. The organizers had called a Radio Jockey and Dance Experts to dance to the tunes of loud and peppy music who got us all excited.
There weren’t many runners lined up for a half-marathon. But, I was moved to see that I will be running with people who carry the passion for running in their hearts. Those who rise every day and go for a run.
It was still dark when I heard the gun-shot. It was exactly 5:30 a.m. And the race started. The adventure began. And I