Sunday, January 11, 2009

Completing the TOI Bangalore Midnight Marathon

Vini, vici, vidi baby. As I said, it is a great feeling to complete the run. However, I nearly gave up a couple of times before the run. Here's the lowdown on what happened...

The reporting time given was 7.30 pm. Since I don't travel to Whitefield often, I was a bit apprehensive about finding the venue. It would have been helpful if they put some markers on the way. Anyway, I reached just after 7.00 pm. The race seemed well organised with stall outside for registrations. Inside the school grounds, there was a stage set up and chairs were laid out. Water was provided but there were no stalls serving food or drinks (I mean Gatorade kind of drinks). People started trickling in slowly. I think there were lots of spot registrations, very few people must have registered in advance.

At around 8.00 pm, I started warming up as the 5km run was to start half an hour later. It was a bit worrying to see that there was no activity at all from the organisers end. Finally, at 8.15 pm, an irritating lady MC came on stage. She announced that the race would start in a 'few minutes'. By the time it became 8.30 pm, the crowd became restive. Finally, close to 9.00 pm the inauguration ceremony started after some minister arrived. I was in no mood to listen as I was feeling pretty hungry and irritated with the delay and the cold. After a couple of crowd pulling gimmicks from the MC, two short speeches by Rotarians, 'The Minister' came on stage. However, RK Mishra (who was part of the gig) announced that after the minister spoke, we would start the race and people would have to start walking to the starting point 300 metres away. That's it - everyone started walking immediately.

As I was walking with the rest of the public, I started feeling good. People were all excited, chatting away, giving gyan and energy off. We reached the starting point. I was in the fifth row, looking at the minister who was to flag off the race. As he was preparing himself, people in front just took off!!! It was almost like people were saying that you guys delayed it but we are not going to stand for it any further. I also took off. The first 2 kms were fine but then I started to chant silently - where is the halfway mark, where is the halfway mark? I started slowing down as well and a couple of girls overtook me!! Nothing to do but to put one foot in front of the other. By the time, I completed three kms I was going pretty slow. My left shoe lace had come undone and a couple of people pointed this out. I just couldn't stop as I was scared I might not be able to start again. The only encouraging thing was that there was a pretty girl in white who would overtake me and then I would race her and then she would overtake me and so on.. Twice I mistook some poles to be the finishing point and when I saw it was not I almost gave up. And then the girl would overtake me. We did exchange a few remarks but nothing very significant. Finally the finish was in sight and I am happy to say that I finished with a burst of speed and my hands held high (no, I have not featured in the newspapers). I felt euphoric. I had a bit of pain in my thigh muscles and today my ankles and back are paining a little but it gives me complete satisfaction to know I have another run under my belt.

A couple of things I learnt
- In cold weather it is good to wear a bandanna especially to cover your ears. Also, I wore a sweatshirt (over a T-Shirt) which was good as it kept me warm before the race. However, the material was heavy and it started chafing my forearms so I had to roll it up. A long sleeved T-shirt would have been better. I was thinking that an old one could even be discarded if one was feeling too hot.
- I went alone and hence had to run with my car keys in my pocket. Also I don't have an iPod grip so that too went into my pocket. All the time I was distracted thinking either may fall out. I saw a lady wearing a money belt kind of pouch and realised that would ideal to hold these things.
- To keep your laces coming undone, I have come up with an idea. Stick Band-aids, that ought to hold them. I read on the net that flat laces help, its the round ones that screw up.
- Lots of good looking women turned up. Hmmm, gotta explore this angle further.
- Have a back-up plan in case your run is delayed. I still have to think that one through.

I hope the organisers too learn their lesson and improve things next year. Maybe then more people would stay back and enjoy the rock show and other activities they had planned.

1 comment:

Guruprasad said...

Nice writeup. I was also in the 5K run and it was fun. The environment was bubbling with energy. Lets hope we have more such runs in Bangalore.