Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Wipro Chennai Marathon 2017

A few days before the Chennai marathon on Dec 3rd, I had a cousin Dr. G pay us a visit. A great conversation ensued and it felt like my 50 year old self had time-travelled, paid a visit to give some wisdom to my 30 year old self (yes, that is what literary freedom is for. You are allowed to understate). I shall try to put my Chennai marathon experience through this kaleidoscope.

1.       Invest in your health – I try to keep working towards a running goal and pick up healthy habits along the way. This year has been one of consolidation of some of these habits – along diet, sleep & mileage. Moving away from “English” medicine to getting back to traditional kashayas and Ayurvedic medicines and home remedies.

I signed up for the Chennai marathon, to run this after a gap of 5 years, in a bid to fill the void after the Bengaluru marathon. I was looking to extend the benefits of a good training season this year, keep my weight in check and take another shot at a Personal Best.

I had 6 weeks to train, but was struggling with congestion in the chest for most of this period. The weather had turned quite cold and the rains were incessant.

2.       Live your life, Live in the present – I wear multiple hats; each day I’m an amateur athlete, a cook, a maid (what is the masculine for this?), a chauffeur, a business analyst, a father, a son and husband. I break stereotypes – we don’t have a maid, a cook, a driver, a baby sitter (do you know professional cuddling is one of the highest paid jobs?). We upkeep the house, cook & do the dishes, the laundry, the pressing, a wipe down the car ourselves. I even do my own haircut (and now my son’s) for the last 10years. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should lead yours. Don’t lead the life that your mom wants you to lead, your kids, your spouse or your boss wants you to lead. Live your life.

As always, I took the train, an open/unreserved ticket in the general compartment to Chennai on Saturday morning. I love the vibrant energy that is in a Gen compartment. There is no room for pretensions here, no flab, stripped down to the basic need of getting to the destination and whatever comes with it. Super crowded, not crowded, adjust-ments, suborn fights, smiles, laughs, stories, new perspectives – all of it at a cheap ticket cost. (See, no mobile phones and no tablets)

Right from the 4am start, I tried to run mindfully. I’m also mindful of my breathing nowadays, after reading ‘The Oxygen Advantage’. I only breathed through my nose, except for the last km or so during this run. I kept an easy pace, although a bit slower than target, almost right from about 15km or so, I tried not to worry about the finish time.

For most of the run, till 36km, I kept pace with the lead woman runner (in black stripes tee in the pic) who had a couple of bicycle escorts, made sure I wasn’t bored. I had 2 Fast and Up gels for this run and constantly fed myself bananas and chikkies. The HMers merged with us at 32km, I must have lost focus on my form about here. From 36km, I slowed down a bit to keep off some cramps. In hindsight, I should have tried to run through it, I had nothing to lose. Another day, perhaps.

3.       Count your blessings – I finished the marathon in 202mins, 2mins over my target. But I try to focus on the 180mins that I ran well and not on the 20mins that I didn’t run so well. I feel His love and blessings. I tried to smile, wide, ear to ear on many stretches during the run. Amongst other things (like a good running pic), it helps with running economy, you tend to use oxygen better. I ended up finishing 26th overall. After the finish, a colorful medal and good hot breakfast (of idly upma, Pongal, sira and sundal), I was able to run up the steps (on the double) to the train station to catch the local to the parking lot. Again, I took the evening train back to Bangalore that very evening (was lucky to hop on to a sparsely crowded train and stretch my legs).

4.       Build relationships / Connect – Any marathon is a great occasion to catch up with the running fraternity. I met Suresh, Partha, Bobby, Sampath and Vatcha after the run, in addition to many familiar faces during the run itself. Chennai runners (the club) – the soul of the Chennai marathon, volunteering at every water station made sure there was a lot of cheering and motivation en route. I love the support that I get as my in-laws putting all sops to make me feel comfortable, pre-race and post.

5.       Make a bucket list – Next year, I will make an effort to build some bridges, I plan to invest more in relationships. I’m not where to start, but I will try to put a bucket list up!

Thanks Dr. G, to have made the effort to drop in and spend time.
Coming Soon - Long Hair and Lean Muscle. Stay Tuned!!!

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