Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Bangalore Midnight Marathon

The Bangalore Midnight Marathon
19th May 2007

I finished the half marathon at 3am, clocking a not-so-impressive 2:22 hours, creating history in what was arguably the first ever midnight marathon.
The marathon was to be the acid test for the success of my
knee surgery in Oct last year. My initial target was to just finish in one piece, I started getting ambitious during my training with RFL. After a 90min, 16km practice run during training, I set a sub-2 hour target for the D-Day.
There were 4 runs organized, the IT run (5.5km), half and full marathon and a corporate relay run. The IT run, started at 630 in the evening and had a large enthusiastic participation. This was the first time I have witnessed the start of a shorter run and I was amazed by the energy on the course. There were people of all age groups, running, walking, sprinting, even breaking into a dance step when they passed the Dollu kunita drummers. My colleague, Srini, who had signed up with more enthu than practice, finished in an impressive 40mins.
The atmosphere was festive at iGate grounds. Food courts, flea market and live performances from a lot of local bands. The Dollu Kunita, fire eaters and stick men added to the festivity.
I slipped into office for a couple of hours of sleep before getting back to the venue for the half marathon.
I now train with ‘Runners for life’ for the marathons and we were nearly 50 of us running the half marathon. RFL had thrown a pasta party at Brigade Bistro the previous night and the excitement was in the air. The pasta, desserts, plenty of aloo and rice ensured that I was carbo loaded. Had to make a lot of adjustments for the midnight version, finishing dinner by 4, and getting a good amount of sleep through the day were crucial.
Conditions during a midnight marathon are very different. The circadian rhythm, which brings you up during the day and down during the night, is working against you. Moreover, running in loops accentuates the mental fatigue caused by the lack of sleep.
The full marathon started at midnight and was flagged off by the Kannada actress, Ramya who ran real fast to the starting point. The half marathon started at 0030 and the iGate CEO, Paneesh Murthy did the flagging off honors. Since the starting point was not the same as the finish line, there was a pseudo start and a crowding up at the start.
My first lap of 5.5km took me 35mins, throwing me off target at the very beginning. I pulled one back, 30mins on the second lap. At 1:40 on 3 laps with one last lap to go, I knew this I was not going to improve my timing on this one.
The weather was oppressive, humidity was more than I had expected.
A CNN-IBN interview: (To be read with a Forrest Gump tone)
As I passed iGate a second time, I found a long red object also being stuck up my nose. And a soft feminine voice was asking me, “Why do you run?” A question as fundamental and profound as that, and I had like 1sec to come up with an answer. By the time the next question came up, “Any reason for running the midnight marathon?” I had my wits back! I said, “at least you don’t have the sun for once”. They liked the reply so much, that it came up on TV, a lot of times (I presume) on CNN-IBN. So if you saw some creature with a brain band, jumping up and down in front of camera on Sunday, that was me.
The video is available on this link
here, watch it while it lasts.
I was contemplating for the next 10mins about what all I could have said in those 4secs that could have changed my life. Either I didn’t think hard enough, or nothing can change my life, for I kinda drew a blank.
Anyways, as I was running with all these thoughts, passing a cursory glance at the onlookers and suddenly recognized Freya, Abhi and Vodka from RTMC in the crowd near a U-turn. The next time I passed them, Abhi was loaded with a camera and Esha had joined them. There were quite a few cheer groups and I should thank these people who came out to cheer some weirdoes run in the middle of the night.
I began to feel a slight ankle pain on the last lap and forced me to walk the incline. In the end, I managed only a 2:20min but with, for the first time, no knee pain when I finished. The ACL surgery has indeed been a success.
Minute maid was available for free for everyone at the finish line. Well, that is just a new drink from pulpy orange. Medals were given to HM and FM finishers.
Fellow RFLers had done better, but the no. of guys improving on their personal best were few. RFLers bagged the second and third position in the women’s category. Manan from RTMC, who was running his first HM finished in 2:45 hours.
The next 25kms I did in 45mins riding back on my thunderbird, reaching home by 5am. Thanks to the training this time around, post-run recovery was a no problemo. It was a great experience in the end and a night to remember.

Four months to go for the Bangalore Full Marathon on Sep 16th.


Naveen Javarappa said...

Congratulations, Manoj. Looks like your training paid off.

Rishi said...

"at least you dont have the sun for once"..:)..classic "manoj" stuff eh?...nice post again..

Chetak Sasalu M said...

Good stuff Manoj ! You were on CNN IBN - aLIVE and kicking !

Did Paneesh Murthy say/do anything naughty ?