I have been running Urban Stampede quite regularly in the last few years. I have managed to keep a perception of being a fast runner in work circles and have found a place in the Corporate relay in this 4 x 5k relay race year after year.
While I have changed companies, the reputation has remained and with that, my place in the team. This year, (like last year) I was a part of the Dell ‘A’ team in the mixed category for the 2014 version on Aug 3rd. The two Racy Rai’s - Pankaj & Shuveshek in the team raised hopes of making it to the podium. Diversity has always been our weak link and this time was no different. It does call for a better effort in creating a culture of running in the organization to be able to sport a winning team. Wipro (my past employer) has moved leaps and bounds in this regard and are now very competitive in these races.
With Pankaj taking on the lead role and Shuveshek chosen to be the anchor, I was relegated to the third position after Sakshi.
The location for this year’s race was Bharatiya City – a gated community off Nagawara. As I rode to the venue, it was discouraging to see 10k runners running substantial distance on the dusty, polluted approach road. Especially with the real estate activity picking up on that section, the movement of trucks and buses ensured that the Sunday morning was not spared.
I entered the campus, hoping that the 5k runners do not have to brave these vagaries, but was proven wrong.
Siddharth Bahuja, a flier, had offered to pace both Pankaj and me. Pankaj finished in a respectable 22:20. I prepared myself to start with about 50mins on the clock. My turn only came at 58mins and with that timing, hopes of the podium evaporated, as the sun came out to add more grief.
I had asked Sid to stay just ahead of me to draft me from the head winds on the way out. In about 1km or so, we were out on the Thannisandra main road. Even if you somehow ignored the chaotic traffic on the other side of the road, it was impossible to ignore the long uphill sections. It didn’t help that you also needed to lose all momentum at the U-turn point.
It was the section between 2-4km that I lost the plot, perhaps the course-related issues were playing on too much on my mind. I mentioned to Sid post-run, that if were not for him, I would have stopped to take a breather. The time/km splits tell the story – 3:54, 4:08, 4:07, 4:08, 3:57
This was the 5th week of my 16-week training for Bengaluru marathon and served as a good time trail, to set goals for the rest of training ahead of me.
A 5k finish in 20m:13s will have to do for now. The Dell A team was placed 7th in the standings in the mixed category and I managed a 25th place overall for this lung bursting effort…