Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PB at TCS World 10k 2012

Quick Stats

Category U40
Overall Rank 64
Category Rank 38
Gender Rank 62
Split@4 Km 00:16:21 at an Avg Speed of 14.68 Kmph
Split@5 Km 00:22:55 at an Avg Speed of 13.09 Kmph
Split@7 Km 00:31:56 at an Avg Speed of 13.15 Kmph
Split@8 Km 00:36:53 at an Avg Speed of 13.01 Kmph
Net time    00:42:51 at an Avg Speed of 14.Kmph

Race Report
I wasn’t sure I wanted to register for this edition of the TCS World 10k this year. The registration was up to Rs. 700 (inflation catches up with running?), last year’s race had me stuck in traffic (of slower runners) and had handed me a 47-min 10k.

But Ujjivan, where Shreya works, was running for Parinaam foundation – both Shreya and I registered through Parinaam. Read all about Parinaam on their website here.

Registration and Pre-race
Procam has now set the benchmark for any running event in India – the registrations, the collection of goody bag, timing chip, facilities on the run - have become something of a given now. I tried the gait analysis at the Nike store at the Expo and that didn’t throw up any surprises, either; a small over-pronation on the right leg, but not something that needs stability / control shoes.
The only glitch was that I had provided a race timing certificate that would get me into the ‘B’ (under 1h:15m) corral, but I was slotted with corral C (above 1h:15m finishers)

Flash back, June 5th – TCS World 10k 2011
In the last year’s edition, I was in the middle of no particular training schedule. Shreya and I had both registered for the Open 10k. I waited near Tiffany’s circle for the elite athletes to pass and then made my way to the holding area. I ended up being caught in the middle of large crowds of runners at the start. So much so, that even after crossing the timing mat at the start line, I was unable to run. It had taken me plenty of shoving, dodging, running-through-ing -  3m:20s for the first 500m and 5m:30s for the first km! It was only after 2km, when I was on Cubbon road that the crowds began to thin.

It wasn’t a great race - I had 5k splits of 23:28 and 24:06 and finished in 47m:34s. Shreya picked up Plantar Fasciitis injury during the run that nags her to this day.

Fast Forward Sunday, 27th May 29, 2012
I knew I had to be in the front of the pack this year. I arrived at the stadium gates as soon as it opened at 6:30AM and entered the pen/corral for the A category runners. The security at the gate was only instructed to look for the “pass” (bib) and not the corral mentioned on the bib. After I sneaked in, I found a corner and hid myself. I didn’t leave the front position for next 1.5hours – no toilet breaks, no warming up. And so, when the gate opened and we were ushered to the track at 8AM, I was right behind the wall of bouncers!

Once in the front and with running buddies (Athreya, A2, D, Pani, Siddesh, Sampath), the challenge was to hold back on pace and not get carried away. While running up on Kasturba road, I kept the pace down to 4:20/km. D passed me on MG Road, but I maintained a steady gap with him all through Cubbon Road, at the end of which I managed to get past him.

At 3k when a pro-looking female athlete passed me, I latched on to her pace for the next 3kms after which she took off.
Just did some research on Google and found out that the “pro-looking athlete” was Disna Malkanthi, a Srilankan athlete who has HM timing of 1:27 and FM timing of 3:17.

At the U-turn point (4k), I must have had a lead of about 30s over Pani & gang. I kept pushing pace to make sure I stay ahead of Pani, who was targeting a sub-44min finish.
All along I heard people on the course shout “Go D, great going D, etc” referring to the now famous consultant-turned-coach, Dharam or D. I knew he was breathing down my neck.

I normally calculate percentages to see how much is left while running my marathons. In a 10k, the math is simple and refreshing, when you start to struggle, you only have 30% to go, unlike a marathon where you may have 60%!
I also knew the last 2-3k was a mild downhill (if you think it is otherwise, don’t tell me. Its best I don’t know) and I could therefore keep pace. The pic below was taken when I passed Shantanu with about a km to go.

I shouted out to him then and almost immediately felt a side stitch. I made a mental note to keep my mouth shut and not try anything fancy for the last 1k.
It was Damian who gave me the wings I needed for the final sprint. He had walked down the course a few hundred meters after he had finished (in 36mins), stood there and yelled “Just round the corner”. I understood and sprinted to the finish line, which stood hidden right after a turn into the stadium. Some other runners thought there was more after the turn and were deprived of the sprint finish.

I finished where I should have, in the company of runners that I admire. The PB finish time of 42m:51s was incidental. It was a PB for a 10k, that came after 3years – the last one (44:11) was at Spirit of Wipro Run in Oct 2009.

I ran a comparison chart of the km splits of last year and this. There are 2 obvious reasons (given that the course was unchanged) why there was a near 5min difference between this year’s and last.

I have circled the reasons in the above graph
  1. The crowded start – very obvious (The first bar could very well be the petrol prices of last year’s and this, that obvious)
  2. Almost all other km splits showed an average 23s improvement/km – An entire year’s worth of training… 


Rishi said...

This is Awesome performance. You are out there in the league of the great Bangalore runners. Congratulations.

I did 50 mins 5th year in a row. No improvement but luckily no decline as well :-).


Raghu said...

Congrats macha..

Risky .. 5th year ?

Rishi said...

It is a different Rishi. Not Risky Rishi. I am yet to complete my first year of running!

manoj said...

Thanks Rishi for giving me the distinction! Still have a lot of catching up to do, esp in the longer distances...

@Raghu. Thanks!
Rishi = Rishikesh Basu, founder of BHUKMP, strong runner, old-time RFLer
Risky = Rishi Madhav, impatient newbie runner

Anantha said...

Hey Manoj,

Congrats on achieving your PB. And I must say, I felt humiliated to see you sipping your drink and walking out of the stadium when I was still 500 mts away from finishing the race :-D

manoj said...

Hey Anantha,
Thanks! And congratulations to you too, for a great run. "Its a long race, and finally, its only with yourself, buddy", so cheer up...