After crossing the 2 KM mark, my calf pain resurfaced. The left leg refused to move. Just the thought that I will not be able to run further sent a huge disappointment and shattered my hopes of crossing the finishing line in my first ever marathon. I told myself I can’t quit this early into the race. There are so many people who look at me as a source of motivation, I can’t let them down. So I kept running at my pace. At the 8th Km mark it became impossible to run further. The pain was so sever that it felt as if the calf will crack open and I will collapse.
Then I thought about Dad who had woken up at 2:30 AM and drove along to drop me and cheer me during the run. He would be waiting somewhere with excitement on the route to cheer his son. I just couldn’t have let him down even if that meant that this will be my last run in life and I end up at the hospital. And I gave a last push. Unbelievably the pain vanished and I finished my first ever half marathon, my first 21.098 kms in life in 2:12:57 seconds.
I started running this year in March. I hated running and could hardly even walk half a KM. I took a challenge to run 100 Days continuously minimum 2 KMs every run. As I travel a lot so it was a challenge to run continuously for 100 days. I ran at odd places – Bera in Rajasthan with leopards around, In jungles of South Africa full of all wild animals, at Changi Airport Singapore. But I completed my challenge running 380 kms in those 100 days.
I was now hooked to running. But it was just another fitness routine for me. I had never thought I will run a marathon. One day out of curiosity, I checked Airtel Delhi Half marathon website and was exploring should I register for 21 Kms. I had hardly run 10 Kms few times before that stopping many times in between. Found out I have to qualify in a chip timed 10Km race to register. In three days there was 10K race in Indirapuram and I registered for that and somehow huffed and puffed to finish in 1: 06:37 seconds. And first thing I did was to register for ADHM.
I started training for the same and within a week got into this calf injury. I could barely walk and would limp badly. After various sessions at the physio I restarted running on 28th September with barely three weeks left to race day and having never run more than 12kms in life. The calf injury resurfaced one week before the race. Now I had no time target for ADHM and just wanted to finish it even if it meant walking the 21kms.
Its hard to explain ecstasy and joy of completing the race, of completing the first half marathon.
Some lessons I learnt that day –
- Marathon is the only sport where no one is competitor. Everyone encourages and peps you. There is room for everyone on the finish line. Its not about winning or loosing. Its about experience and being in it together. Imagine how much better this world could be if everyone encourages each other and doesn’t compete.
- Nothing is impossible. Always Dream. After my car crash and artificial disk, had never imagined I will every run forget a 21K. Dreams can be accomplished, one step at a time.
- I always ran with my music on. Few Kms into ADHM, my air pods lost connection with the phone. I removed them. I ran most of the race without music. I started to love the quietness. I was able to listen to my body and focus on the run. Realized that silence is so much better. Not just in running but thereafter also
- Running with head up and strong always helped me pace up. Metaphor for life. Stay positive and confident. Look where you are going
- Few kms into the race I became part of a group of runners. I found the necessary encouragement from the group. This distance would not have been possible without them. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
- All through the route, there were thousands of people and volunteers giving high fives and cheering you. They had nothing to gain by doing this so early in the morning. They were there to cheer all the runners and offer energy drinks or water on the route. There are plenty of good people in the world still. Be one of them.
- There were many occasions when I needed a pass to move ahead or had to give way to someone to pass by. We should follow the same in our life. Let the more faster, deserving person pass through you. We should not stand on way of someone more gifted or hungry for success. And cheer for them when they do. Life will be good.
That two hours on the track taught me many valuable life lessons. I have now restarted my training with discipline to experience my first full marathon in 3 months from now.