I was not confident about SCMM. My last long run of 14 km was before 25th December 2014. I had hardly run after that because of the weather. Sure, some/most people put on layers and run in the cold and fog but I cannot do it. I don’t like running in the cold and no, I didn’t make enough efforts to run on the treadmill. Fact is I didn’t train enough for SCMM. My strength training schedule was not followed and I only have myself to blame. BUT I knew I would be able to run 21 km. I had done it twice before and I would manage to finish. The only question was on the timing. My target for ADHM for 2:45 hours but I managed it in 2:49 hrs. Logically, I didn’t think 2:45 hrs was possible at SCMM. The ADHM course is flat and smooth. Runners- even elite ones record their highest run times in Delhi. They break records year after year after year. Not so in SCMM which also has a slope I needed to cross. So, I wasn’t too hung up on the time. 2:45 hrs was on my wishlist though.
We started running in the dark at 6 am from Bandra. 1 km and I was tired, my pouch (which carries my phone and money) was feeling uncomfortable, I didn’t think I was running fast enough and nothing felt right. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, broke away from the crowd and started running on the extreme right where there were very few people. I run alone and I like it that way. I run to listen to music, to enjoy the view, to listen to my breathing, to think. Running in/with a crowd/partner is not my thing.
I focused on my running and shut out the people around me. That helped. At 2 km I reached the Sea Link. It was too dark to enjoy the view but I looked up and the structure looked majestic. The road was really good and I got into the groove. It always takes me 2-3 km to start enjoying the run. Until then, am not sure what I am doing. We crossed Worli but again it was too dark. I covered 10km comfortably in 1:16 mins which is good because my fastest 10k has been in 1:15 mins. I was running at the same pace as ADHM which was quite good. Then we came to the Peddar road slope which is a bad road but I walked the way up and sprinted on the way down. I started running each km with a sprint and kept up a fast pace after that.
At 17 km, my left knee cramped up. I couldn’t run at all. Walking was a pain and I slowed down. If this would have happened midway, I would have stopped and not gone ahead. But I just had 4 km. I could have walked to the finish line and I would still finish in 3 hours. I walked for a km and talked to my knee like it’s a small child ‘Please… let’s finish this. It’s just 4 km more. That’s it. Just 4. Less than 30 mins. I wouldn’t push you if I didn’t think you could manage it’.
At 19 km I realized 2:45 is off the table unless I sprint. Could I have sprinted? Maybe. I don’t know. It didn’t seem worth it. This wasn’t my first or even last half marathon. I have many more to cover. I need the knee. Between timing and body parts, I need the latter. There is no question about it. There will enough opportunities for achieving the timing target. And so I gave up and just focused on finishing in the earliest time I could manage.
It has taken 2 massages to get the knee in working order. I am not sure if this runners’ knee and will find out more if it still hurts.
I guess every half marathon is going to be a new experience and the more I run, the better I will understand my body.