ADHM 2015

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I woke up tired and pukish. I hadn’t slept too well, probably woke up atleast ten times at night. So did all the other runners, I am sure. I felt weighed down by all the expectations (all mine. Nobody else could care about my timing goals). Every year in January, runners in Delhi NCR wake up from their hangover after New Year parties and decide on a goal for ADHM. The entire year is spent chasing that ambitious goal. It is a lot of pressure. There are runs organised every month by various stakeholders- Run with me, Running and Living, MCM, Adidas, Puma, Rebook etc etc etc but nothing, absolutely nothing matches up to the ADHM mania. For Mumbai runners, SCMM holds that place.

“Calm down”; I told myself. “Think of it as the Dwarka half marathon where expectations were low. Forget timing or maybe try to better the Dwarka one and you will finish strong”. I got dressed at 4.30 am for the long day ahead.

My strategy was to complete 17 km in 2 hours (until then I had done only 16 km in 2 hours) and the balance 4.1 km in 30 mins would take me to 2 hrs 30 mins easily. Basically, 8.5 km in 1 hour, 8.5 km in the 2nd hour and 4.1 km in the last half an hour. I didn’t join the 2.30 pacer bus because they planned to run faster in the beginning and slow down in the latter half of the run while my strategy was the opposite.

The initial part of the run is quite simple, just let the crowds carry you along. I had to make the effort to not go faster than my usual pace. It is the latter half when everyone around me starts walking that I need to push myself. Runs like ADHM are not about the route or weather or exploring the city or even being outdoor- reasons why I run, they are about loving the act of running for 2-3 hours non-stop with little to distract you. There are so many people around doing the same thing over and over and over again that it actually gets quite boring. Usually, music is how I keep myself going but I had major issues with it today. I had to walk and restart the music after every 2-3 songs. Most of the times the song wouldn’t play and I had to pick the correct song. Probably cost me a few minutes in the timing.

Apparently, you cannot connect your windows phone to the mac because the app has been discontinued and saving music on the memory card meant that some of it wouldn’t play. Serves me right for leaving the important part for the last moment.

The runtastic app is also off by 1 km in the distance measurements these days.

Is it an app issue or signal issue?

I think I reached 16.5 km in 2 hours. 4.5 km in 30 mins was do-able if I sprinted. I had done sprints after 8-10 km at Dwarka half so this shouldn’t have been a problem. Except there were too many runners on the road. I get an adrenaline rush during my long runs after a certain distance – 4 or 8 or even 12 km which helps me push myself hard but that was clearly missing today. There was no space or motivation to sprint in the crowds. Somehow, I managed to atleast run faster. In the last 500 m, I didn’t care because sprints or runs would only save a few seconds. And then I saw 5 cameras pointed to all the runners, probably the only pics I was going to get after the run, and I had no option but to sprint. The cameras carried me to the finish line for a personal best (PB) timing of 2 hrs 35 minutes 23 seconds.

My first reaction wasn’t “Yay… I did it . I shaved off 4-5 mins off my last half marathon just 2 months back and 13 mins from last year’s timing”. It was “Shit. How the hell do I beat this timing next year?”. I have rarely run below a pace of 7 mins/km and never for long distances. How am I going to do it next year?

As a serious runner, I already know what my goals for ADHM 2016 are:

  • Shave of 10-15 mins (very realistic) off today’s timing
  • PB of 2 hrs 20 mins or at the very least, sub 2 hrs 30 mins… I don’t care if it is just a few seconds or minutes short of 2 hrs 30 mins but it needs to be less than that

Now am off to worrying about how am going meet this target and have another sleepless night.

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