Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Running Resume

Inspiration to make this post was drawn from lindsay’s blog here

My Personal Best Timing for various distances

  • ·         5k - Urban Stampede 5k (5 Aug 12 and 2 Aug 15) - 19:38
  • ·         6mi - Mizuno Blaydon Race 6mi (9 Jun 09) - 42:11
  • ·         10k - Bengaluru 10K Challenge (9 Jul 17) - 39:01
  • ·         21.1k - Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (20 Sep 15) - 1:28:18
  • ·         42.2k - Shriram Properties Bangalore Marathon (15 Oct 2017) - 3:20:15
  • ·         50k - Golden Gate Trail 50k (6 Feb 16) - 5:28:33
  • ·         51k - Run to Nandi 51k (26 Sep 09) - 6:57:00
  • ·         75k - Bangalore Ultra Marathon 75k (15 Nov 09) - 10:36:14
  • ·         78k - Bangalore Ultra Marathon 78km (16 Dec 07) - 12:07:00
  • ·         100k - Bangalore Ultra Marathon (07 Nov 15) - 14:18:43
  • ·         110k - Malnad Ultra 2016 (08 Oct 16) - 13:44:48
  • ·         12hr - Bengaluru Stadium Run (29 Jul 17) - 102.4kms

(* Indicates Personal Best at that point)


  • ·         Lipton Bangalore International Marathon (15 May 05) 6:05:00*
  • ·         JSW Bangalore Half Marathon (18 Dec 05) 2:30:00*


  • ·         TOI Bangalore International Marathon (17 Sep 06) 05:35:00*
  • ·         Moonlight Bangalore Hash Half Marathon (8 April 06) 03:00:00
  • ·         Run #408 of Bangalore Hash House Harriers (26 Feb 06)


  • ·         Bangalore Midnight Half Marathon (19 May 07) 2:22:00*
  • ·         Kavery Trail Marathon (18 Nov 07)  4:47:00*
  • ·         Bangalore Ultra Marathon 78km (16 Dec 07) 12:07:00*


  • ·         Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (20 Jan 08) 4:29:52*
  • ·         Sunfeast World 10k Bangalore (18 May 08) 47:54:00
  • ·         Hampi Heritage Half Marathon (June 08) 5:00:00
  • ·         Great Tibetan Marathon (19 July 08) 5:20:01 – 18th position
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro 10k Run (8 Sep 08) 44:51:00*  – 5th Position
  • ·         Kavery Trail Marathon (19 Oct 08)  4:35:32
  • ·         Bangalore Ultra Marathon 75km (16 Nov 08) 11:04:20*- 4th Position


  • ·         Bangalore Midnight Half Marathon (14 Jan 09) 1:57:00*
  • ·         Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (18 Jan 09) 4:50:09
  • ·         Auroville Marathon (15 Feb 09) 4:01:06 – 7th position
  • ·         Mizuno Blaydon Race 6mi (9 Jun 09) 42:11
  • ·         Urban Stampede 5k (22 Aug 09) 22:20 – 18th position
  • ·         Hyderabad Hi-tech Marathon (30 Aug 09) 3:50:01* - 4th position
  • ·         Run to Nandi 51k (26 Sep 09) 6:57:00
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro 10k Run (10 Oct 09) 44:11* - 2nd position
  • ·         Bangalore Ultra Marathon 75k (15 Nov 09) 10:36:14
  • ·         Bangalore Midnight Marathon (12 Dec 09) 4:20:00


  • ·         Auroville Marathon (14 Feb 10) 4:08:31
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro 10k Run (09 Oct 10) 44:30 - 1st position
  • ·         Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (05 Dec 10) 3:50:08
  • ·         Bengaluru Midnight Half Marathon (11 Dec 10) 1:43:50*


  • ·         Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (16 Jan 11) 4:26:17
  • ·         Mysore Celebration Half marathon (02 Oct 11) 1:40:28
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (09 Oct 11)1:39:06* – 2nd position


  • ·         Auroville Marathon (12 Feb 12) 4:11:00
  • ·         Cluj Napoca Marathon (22 April 12) 3:58:25
  • ·         TCS World 10k (27 May 12) 42:51*
  • ·         Puma Urban Stampede - 5k (5 Aug 12) 19:38*
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (15 Sep 2012) 1:35:58* - 1st position
  • ·         Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (26 Aug 12) 3:31:33*
  • ·         The Wipro Chennai Marathon (02 Dec 12) 3:27:59* 


  • ·         TCS World 10k (19 May 13) 45:35
  • ·         Dream Runners half marathon (7 Jul 13) 1:47:19
  • ·         Bangalore-Hiriyur-Bangalore Brevet ride 300k (22 Jun 13) 15:30
  • ·         SFS Bangalore road bike race (28 July 13) 49k in 1:32
  • ·         Puma Urban Stampede - 5k (4 Aug 13) 21:31
  • ·         The Wipro Chennai half marathon (01 Dec 13) 1:41:10
  • ·         SBI Bangalore midnight marathon (14 Dec 13) 3:29:44


  • ·         Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (19 Jan 14) 3:27:34*
  • ·         Horseshoe lake trail 50k Ultra (18 May 14) 6:09:27* - AG 2nd position
  • ·         Dream runners Half Marathon (22 Jun 14) 2:27:52
  • ·         Puma Urban Stampede - 5k (3 Aug 14) 0:20:12
  • ·         Burnham Beeches Half Marathon (17 Aug 14) 1:31:03*
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (21 Sep 14) - 1:29:41* - 3rd position
  • ·         Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon (19 Oct 14) 3:22:57*


  • ·         5k - Urban Stampede 5k (2 Aug 15) - 19:38*
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (20 Sep 15) - 1:28:18* - 3rd position
  • ·         Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon (18 Oct 15) 3:42:02
  • ·         Performax Bengaluru Ultra 100k (07 Nov 15) 14:18:43 - AG 4th position


  • ·         50k - Golden Gate Trail 50k (6 Feb 16) - 5:28:33* - AG 3rd position
  • ·         10k - TCS World 10k (15 May 16) - 39:33* - AG 4th position
  • ·         60k - Pedernales Falls Trail (25 Jun 16) - 7:32*
  • ·         12h - Bengaluru Stadium Run (6 Aug 16) - 92.8kms*
  • ·         50k - Cinderella Trail (13 Aug 16) - 6:25 - AG 4th position
  • ·         110k - Malnad Ultra 2016 (08 Oct 16) - 13:44:48* - 2nd position
  • ·         Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon (18 Oct 16) 5:13:46 - Pacer


  • ·         10k - TCS World 10k (21 May 17) - 39:07* - AG 4th position
  • ·         10k - Bengaluru 10K Challenge (9 Jul 17) - 39:01* - AG 6th position
  • ·         Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (17 Sep 17) - 1:28:52 - 2nd position
  • ·         12hr - Bengaluru Stadium Run (29 Jul 17) - 102.4kms*
  • ·         Shriram Properties Bangalore Marathon (15 Oct 2017) - 3:20:15* - AG 7th

    • ·       10k – Kalenji Pre-race 10k (13 May 18) - 39:11
    • ·       24hr - Bengaluru Stadium Run (4-5 Aug 18) - 189.8kms* - Winner
    • ·       Hyderabad Ultra 50k (4 Nov 18) - 04:52:54*
    • ·       24hr – Asian and Oceanic 24hr Championship (1-2 Dec 18) – 126kms – Team Bronze
    • ·       24hr - Delhi Stadium Run (15-16 Dec 18) - 176.8kms
    • ·       Bengaluru Ultra 50k (23 Dec 18) – 5:18:19

    • ·      24hr – Tuffman Chandigarh Stadium Run (9-10 Mar 19) - 202.2kms* - Runner up
    • ·      24hr – Bengaluru Stadium Run (9-10 Mar 19) - 198kms
    • ·      TCS World 10k Bengaluru (19 May 19) – 40:48
    • ·      Bengaluru 10k Challenge (7 July 19) – 54:55 - Pacer
    • ·      VSA 5k Run for a cause (11 Aug 19) – 19:41 - Winner
    • ·      The Bull Run 50k (8 Sep 19) 5:10:39 - Winner
    • ·      Spirit of Wipro Half marathon (22 Sep 19) – 1:28:06
    • ·      Shriram Properties Bengaluru marathon (13 Oct 19) – 4:00:01
    • ·      Malnad Ultra 110k (2nd Nov 19) 16:24:17

    2020 to 2079

    Stay tuned in...

    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… 

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    A Polish Weekend

    This is a dated post, going back to end-July 2011, the weekend just before the CAM ride. My work place was Huta Katowice at Dąbrowa Górnicza, the biggest steel producing plant in Poland. I was put up at Katowice, a neatly laid out city in southern Poland.

    Running in Katowice

    Some quick enquiries at Hotel Angelo reception and some more Google maps browsing later, I had sorted out a route for an early morning run. The weather was perfect, the sun-rise at 5AM or so and Katowice is a safe city. My question if it was safe to run, was met by a rather surprised look at the counter and I was assured. I carried some cash and my mobile phone for insurance.

    So here I was, half way round the globe from home, glancing past signboards in foreign language, a map in hand, doing what I do best – Run.
    The 10km loop took me past the Silesia City Center mall with its antique tower and locomotive exhibits from its mining past, and past a Saint Barbara’s Chapel. A few hundred meters to the right was entrance to what looked like a massive park (it claims to be the biggest park in Europe). There was no a soul in this picturesque park, complete with floral statues, a Zoo, ponds, fountains and my favorite – the naked lady statue.
    I ran this Silesian loop on every chance I had – twice!

    Early on Saturday morning, I coaxed my colleagues into catching the 7am bus from Katowice to Krakow. I had made enquiries and spoken to a guide of a ‘cool tour company’ and had tentatively confirmed for the 10am bike tour. I had to scramble around to find the main square from where the bus dropped us. I had a map, but with markings in Polish, I ran around all directions before setting off towards the square. Eventually, when I found the office in Grodzka! the tour had just begun. I ran into the store and got myself a bike (a steel bike, with some basic components), filled out the mandatory forms and paid up. I joined the group, just as it made it’s way to the Main Market Square. The group itself was multi-national – Americans, to English, ppl from South East Asia and some Polish too!

    It was a chill morning with mild drizzle at times. The English-speaking guide kept us informed and in good humor, with the typical accent and a naughty smile. The Market square was bustling with activity, restaurants & pubs were filling up, tourists were everywhere, the massive but elegant horse drawn carriages or electric carts. We rode along clobbered roads past the Old University quarter to the remnants of the Old Town walls and the Krakow Main gate. I was told here that Krakow was the historical capital of Poland. The knowledgeable ones in the group tested the guide with many questions on the history of the place. We then rode towards the Wawel Castle. I was surprised to find Amitabh Bachchan’s handprint etched in the walkway alongside other greats like MJ. We rode along the Vistula river, crossed over and rested at a waterfront restaurant over coffee.

    The ride then took up past the Jewish Ghetto area to the Oscar Schindler’s factory. The factory that was once dishing out Enamel dishes was taken over by Oscar Schindler during WWII.  He started to save the Krakow Jews by employing them, by paying bribes and contacts and making a significant financial loss. A major part of the movie was shot at this site, where a museum preserves some of the machinery and products from the factory.
    The ride lasted about 4hours and we had covered close to 15kms!

    I made friends with a svelte marathoner from UK and her friend and an Englishman from Singapore and a brother-sister couple from Germany, who was a professional wine taster. After the ride, I settled down with my new friends in the Market square for some Paulaner Weiβbier. I took the last bus out of Krakow to Katowice after a memorable Saturday.

    Oświęcim / Auschwitz

    Sunday was kept aside for a visit to Auschwitz, my (by now frequent) query at the reception led me to believe the bus to be taken was across the street. By now I have found a way to ask for directions – I carry a paper and pen and write down (say Oświęcim) and point to it. If the onlooker understands what I am saying, he draws the directions on the paper. All this to beat the language barrier.

    But on this occasion, I was astounded. I was (as usual) scrambling to find the bus stop for this bus and making futile efforts with my paper+pen method. It had begun to drizzle and I zipped up my jacket. I zeroed in on a elderly bearded man to ask for directions to the bus stop. He looked up at me, tried to explain in Polish, figured I didn’t understand a thing. Then, in a stroke of remarkable gesture, he beckoned me to follow him. Shielding against the heavy drizzle with his umbrella, he walked briskly, about a km to the bus station, checked the exact stop with the helpdesk and walked me all the way to the bus stop. I am not sure if it was my intended destination (Oświęcim) that evoked such reaction.

    I took the bus, then walked about a km to the Museum, bought the entry ticket and another ticket for the English guide. Little did I know, what I was to see would scar my memory forever.

    The Katowice in your pocket guide gives a grim description of the site, it is available on its website here. Excerpts from the pocketbook “The Auschwitz Museum and tour present one of the most horrific acts in human history with a level of tact, passion, poignancy and professionalism that is so profound, it almost makes as lasting an impression as the site itself. Without being heavy-handed, the history of the site is presented in all of its contexts and guests are perhaps spared from fully surrendering to their emotions only by the sheer relentlessness of the information. No matter how much you think you know on the subject, the perspective gained by visiting is incomparable. Whether or not you choose to go to Auschwitz is up to you to decide. However it should be understood that Auschwitz is not a site of Jewish concern, Polish concern, German concern, gypsy concern, historical concern... It is a site of human concern. As such, we believe everyone should visit.”

    A poker faced lady was the guide for my group. We plugged in ear-pieces and tuned into Channel 9 as we walked around various blocks where Jews were kept, now converted into Museum displays.

    Most of the tour that was given to us by a lady was conducted in silence. There was nothing to say. Everything was before us to imagine and access what would have transpired there. Even though there are hundreds of visitors in several different groups that move about, not a sound is heard from anyone. No one speaks, and no one exclaims. A motley crowd of tourists simply walk about from one locale to another as though in a stupor.

    I will resort to shameless plagiarism here, for what I saw on Amitabh’s blog was very nearly what I would have described myself. You can read all of Amitabh’s experience of Auschwitz on his blog here.

    And within the halls where dormitories existed of the prisoners or those that were about to be gas chambered are now kept some of the remains of those that were exterminated. Here hundreds of suitcases. The owners wrote their names and date of birth on the boxes as dictated by the Commandant of the camps. Notice the prominence of Jewish names and dates of birth. Some of them a few years old - children! Women were the first to be exterminated. But because they refused to go without their children, they too went into the gas chambers!”
    “The entrance gate with those words on it which I think said ‘through labor will you gain’ … a decoy to mislead all those that were being brought here to be exterminated. They were given to understand that they were being brought here to do labor. The fit and healthy were indeed put to such task, the ill and weak were gassed. Ironically, the fit and healthy were used to pick up the dead and either bury them in mass graves or assist in incinerating them. The barracks were actually not especially built for concentration camps. They had housed Polish soldiers during the war. When the Germans invaded, they removed the soldiers and made this into what later came to be known as extermination camps. They got them free of cost ! Many that were brought her never entered the barracks ever. They were taken straight from the trains that came in bearing them and marched into the gas chambers, stripped of all clothing naked in front of their families and strangers it was the humiliation and embarrassment of the moment. They were told that they were being subjected to a process of disinfection to make sure no disease was being carried in, but in fact were brutally killed.”

    “Tons of human hair of the prisoners kept in a glass enclosure from the shavings of all those that came to the camp. The hair was used to make clothing material by the Nazi’s ..”

    “….. at the far end, the house of the Commandant of the camp. Not more than 50 feet in front of the gas chamber … living there quite normally in his domesticity, with his wife and 5 children. Did they not ever feel the horrific atrocity that was being enacted in front of them every day - in front of their house - with women and children ! What did these people do to exist in such circumstances. What were they made of. Surely they were not humans !! But this particular Commandant was caught after the loss of Germany and tried and found guilty and hung in front of the gas chamber as you see now ~ on the gallows below!”

    I visited Auschwitz II as well to view the train that brought the Jews to the dreaded camps. The feeling was heavy when I left the camp. Although one full year has passed since I visited Auschwitz, the memory is fresh and no less depressing.

    Last day at Katowice – Tour de Pologne

    The cherry on top was the Tour de Pologne. I was to leave Poland on Tuesday and there was a sudden spike in activity on Monday, 1st August at my Hotel Angelo. The tour of Poland was passing Katowice on Tuesday and the bikers were staying at Angelo!

    The taxi back from work had to take a detour to avoid the massive pile up and I had to take a tram to get near the hotel vicinity. I stood by the barricaded road and watched the bikers zooming past. They had to do 8 loops with about 15mins for each loop for this last leg in Katowice. To get to watch the Pro-bikers first hand was awesome. I bought a “Tour de Pologne” tee shirt as a memento.

    In all, it was Perfect Polish Week…

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Cluj Napoca Marathon report

    Photo courtesy – Ozana Muresan

    In ideal running conditions, I ran a 3:58:25 marathon at Cluj Napoca last month. More important than the timing was the fact that I finished strong and did not suffer anytime during the race.
    So, what went right here?

    Time to burst some myths
    1.      If you thought race selection is important; Well, I had absolutely no idea I would be in some East European city in April. Hence I had no say in race selection.
    2.      If then, training is important – Well, after a forgettable Auroville marathon experience (guess why there is no race report yet?), I have only been “Base Building”, running a max of 16k on my weekend long runs at Easy pace.
    3.      And of course, you have to be deep pink in health, right? Wrong again – I was recovering from a terrible cough and cold, as a result of some high pitch singing at my Brother-in-law’s wedding. Neither the 5-hour layover between flights at Munich nor the pathetic train journey from Timisoara to Cluj, helped the cold, sniff.
    4.      It must have been the mind then – a positive frame of mind, filled with optimism. Let’s not even get started on how miserable my business meetings were during run up to the race day.

    So, if you were looking for a short-cut to marathon success, you won’t find it here.
    But despite all the circus, I find myself at the starting line of the Maratonul International Cluj 2012. I guess I would never be as proud for having made it to a marathon start line. For one, it was the first time I was able to participate in a marathon while on a business trip, a first race in a sparingly-English speaking country. Arguably the first Indian to run the Cluj Marathon!

    I fantasized about the idea of participating in this one since March when a business trip was being planned and Google threw this one up. But fearing evil forces (read “client”), I kept this to myself. When the trip seemed more likely than not, I booked myself on an Inter-Regional train from Timisoara to Cluj.
    I will skip the gory details of the lousy train journey and fast forward straight to race report.

    Registration: Saturday, 21 April '12
    Although I was at the Arena (a massive stadium opened in 2011) even before the organizers arrived, the registration was smooth. The race director did not speak English, but I got plenty of help from the University students. T-shirt, running bib and some fancy samples with Romanian instructions. I gorged down loads of vegetarian pasta and made some friends with the race volunteers (if you guys are reading this, please connect with me on FB).

    I spent the rest of the day walking around Cluj – down from the Arena along the Napoca street to the Union (Unirii) Square. A typical European square with Gothic styled buildings, a massive Cathedral and a statue of King Matthias Rex. Seated on a massive stallion, with his head held high reflected a certain arrogance and command over his soldiers around him. It was a treat sitting in one of those benches and just admiring the structure. There was plenty happening in the square to keep me occupied too. My 4 hour walk took me to Avram Square, the Opera – I was ticking off touristy places from a map I was carrying. Matthias Rex would inspire me every single time (of 8 times) that I passed it, the next day.

    Race day: Sunday, 22 April '12
    The race started at a very civilized hour – 9:15am. Despite the cold and mild fever the previous week, I was relaxed at the start line. With the bigger challenge of “getting to start line” behind me, I was now looking forward to enjoy the run. The pacing strategy was crucial –I had planned to stay in sight of a sub-4 finish and keep a steady 5:30min/km pace.
    The course was a 5km and back (almost), repeated 4 times. It was refreshing because it went right through that tourist map, passing all the major squares (and some incessant honking by impatient traffic). It was a flat course, with water stops every 3kms and brilliant cool weather. I alternated between water and energy drink and held the pace around 5:30min/km till 30km, keeping the focus on the 5k lap time. All the 5k laps till the 30k mark were between 26m:30s to 27m:40s. The half marathon had come and gone in 1h:53m.

    The End Game
    After I had run into the stadium a third time, I knew I was entering the most crucial part of the race – the last 10k. In the past, at Auroville this year, I had taken 1h:20m for the last 10k and 1h:30m at Mumbai in 2011. There were niggles, I was slowing down a bit, but made that extra effort to keep pace.
    I only began working backwards from the finish time when I had run 3h:40m. I was running near the stadium, 39k in the bag, with a 1.5k and back to the stadium for the finish. The math was titillating – 3k @ 6min/k pace would get me to finish under 4-hour. I decided not to stop even for water, fortunately my calf gave me trouble only once and a mild massage was enough to carry me through.
    Shouts of “Bravo, Bravo” greeted me into the stadium as I made my way towards the finish line with the clock reading – 3h:58m:25s.

    Pace Comparison between Auroville Marathon '12 and Cluj Marathon '12
    Remember the hare and tortoise story
    Hare: Auroville Marathon finish time: 4:02:37
    Tortoise: Cluj Marathon finish time: 3:58:25

    Moral of the story – Slow and steady wins the race

    Post race
    The results put up on the results board, slotted me at Rank #55 in about 257 participants, a third sub-4 finish for me. I walked 2km to my hotel, where sleep did not come easy. The evening was spent walking ~5k of undulating trails in the botanical garden, before I caught the lousy train back. Only, on the return trip the train seemed less irksome, thanks to the Cluj Marathon Finishers Medal!