I started running and training myself seriously in October, 2015 when I started to train for a 9k run which was scheduled in January, 2016. The training continued for my next run that was scheduled in April, and it turned out brilliant. In the meantime, I thought I had prepared myself enough to compete and complete a half marathon i.e. a run comprising straight 21 kilometers. My lab mates told me that I should focus on my thesis as the date of this HM was not very far from my oral presentation, but I was not an easy fellow either. I registered for it and continued my training amidst my research.
There were nights when I would work up to 5 or 6 in the morning and would head to the track to train myself for this HM before getting a well deserved sleep. There were times when I would go to lab in my running attire so that I could save some time before heading to the track. All this continued for a month and half during which I made sure that I am not taking either my research or this run for granted.
On the race day, my roommate was kind enough to accompany me, to cheer me, to motivate me and to fill me up with some pre-run boosters. I told him to pin my BIB and I was very happy that he was there. Before the run, I warmed myself up by running/jogging for around 1.5k and stretched out enough to get my muscles geared.
The race started.
For a minute or two, I was barely standing at my place among a crowd of more than 3000. I started slowly as I had planned to. I knew I had this habit of starting out faster which later would wear me out earlier than usual. After a couple of kilometers, I started passing by some slow runners and joggers. Water stations passed by. It was a riverside run. People were riding bicycles on the same track. It was silent and beautiful. I was checking my watch after every passing kilometer to check on my progress.
Long distance running is a lot of time for you to think about a variety of things. The mind thinks about running, running slower and faster, about others who are running ahead and behind, about the sky above, about the earth below, about the training, about friends, about life.
After some 17 kilometers, my bipolar brain started its activity. It thought about taking a break, it thought about slowing down. Few runners who passed me by during this conversation encouraged my brain to let go off the flow. It is then I understood how a strong willpower is required for running such long distances. I had trained myself enough and I held on to that. I held on to the efforts I had done on the track, on the roads for the past couple of months. I maintained my running form, forgetting about the pace I was at. Remembering the things I have read, watched and felt, I put that experience into the moment and kept running. I was getting eager to cross the finish line. My roommate had challenged me to be in the top 200 and I told him that I will do my best. It is my race against me and there is no way I can monitor my rank in real time.
With every falling step, I was able to see the stadium more clearly from where we all had started. I passed by a couple of runners which further encouraged me not to slow down. I could now remember the track because now I was at the road where I was jogging before. I knew I was nearing the end. Excitement kept on rising. It was a now or never kind of feeling. We took the last turn and I could see the finish line. I heard my roommate shouting as I was 20 meters away. Someone was behind me. I took on at that moment making longer strides and crossing the finish line without letting anyone else pass me by.
I was embraced with the finish medal instantly and I looked for the water stations and I gulped down nearly a liter of water and I laid down on the ground looking at the sky, thanking it. I laid there for sometime and got up. My shoes were burning. It had gone considerably hot in there. I took my shoes off and throw a couple of water drops on my feet. With my shoes in one hand, I met my roommate and I handed him my result. I had ranked 114 with the chip time of 1:57. He was happy, I was happier. I had set a decent timing which I would look forward to break in my next HM.