Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spirit of Wipro 2010

We had a fab race – Shreya came in second in the women’s category and I came in first in the 10k race in the Spirit of Wipro Run last weekend. The race was flagged off by Premji and we received our medals from Anurag Behar and Suresh Vaswani – ROI was very high for a 10K run!!!

We would have missed this year’s edition of Wipro’s Run if it were not for the Ayodhya verdict, which postponed the run by a week.
I had a good idea of the course, which was unchanged from last year, gradual gradient in the first 2km, then nearly flat to the U-turn point and a fast last couple of kms. I had used the last stretch well last year, to finish second piping competition by 1sec. Read the report of last year here.

But, the build up to the run was not the most ideal – late night meetings, low morale at work did not help energy levels. In fact, I had to work well past midnight on Friday and could barely sleep for a couple of hours when I rolled in bed. Pre-race butterflies – maybe, maybe not.
Later during the week, I read Danny Dreyer’s book where he talks about the importance of visualization. I those sleepless hours, I’d run the entire course in my head and had pushed myself to finish on the top.

It was Shreya’s first race after she had started to train for the half marathon and she now runs those 10ks comfortably. It would be good to see how she fared in a race.

Come race day, I did not need waking up from the 4hrs of light sleep. We reached the venue, registered, picked up our free tee-shirts, and met regular RFLers at the start line. The run was flagged off by none other than Azim Premji and the Jt. CEOs were in attendance.

Race Analysis:
Here’s how it compared to the last year’s race.

The field was much less competitive this year, which accounts for the slack in the last few kms. Last year round, I had to push myself hard (under 4mins for the last km) to cling the second place. This year, I didn’t have any contest – the second runner finished a good 1.5mins behind.

I took lead right at the 2k mark and held steady around 4:30min/km pace for most of the run. After the U-turn, I noted that the next runner was a good minute or so behind. I passed Naina Lal in second and Shreya trailing a few secs behind her in third place. She was looking good.

I went into cruise mode on the downhill and managed to put a lot of distance between me and the next runner. It also helped that I had a police escort (a un-uniformed policeman on a bike) to keep the walkers out of my way. With no competition around, I didn’t need to push the last few kms and ended up somewhat similar timing as last year, the official timing put me at 44:30mins for the 10k, as against 44:11mins last year!
I pushed aside the melee of reporters (yes, really ;) ) at the finish and got back on the road so I could accompany Shreya in her last km or so. I saw her in second place with 1-1.5k to go and she had about 30sec lead over Naina in third. She held pace and finished in 60:11mins, ahead of Naina by about 20secs or so. She did extremely well for someone who started distance running not so long ago.

Roberto Narain’s Drum-jam kept the crowd engaged till the start of the medal distribution. Shreya and I were, of course, the star couple on the podium, yaay!!
In the photo (from right): Suresh Vaswani, Anurag Behar and the star couple!
Some media here.

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