The Great Delhi Run

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I participated in The Great Delhi Run yesterday. It is a 6 km marathon.

Yesterday we woke up at 6 am, left home at 7 am, caught the metro at around 7.15 am. We had to reach Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at 8.30 am since the marathon started at 9.30 am. We saw quite a few people getting on the metro from Gurgaon at that hour. KC and I shared a mug of Bournvita at home. We didn’t carry any food or water. I assumed water would be available at the venue and maybe even food.

We changed trains at Central Secreteriat and even at 8 am it was packed with people heading for the TGDR. The half marathon started at 7.20/7.30 am. There were a lot of corporate teams. One guy was telling another that 400 people from his company had participated. We went to the Hudson News Cafe shop at CS station but they did not have sandwiches… only water, cold drinks, chips etc. I am not big on eating before a run. I generally have an apple/banana but KC was quite hungry. On reaching JLN station we found the street outside littered with crap. Did you know that there are no dustbins at the metro stations (except in the shops)? I know ‘coz I have looked for a dustbin at Rajiv Chowk station. The organizers should have placed dustbins outside the JLN station.

Anyway, we reached and I headed to the loo. There was a long queue… it was a makeshit loo and placed at many locations. We looked for food/water but there was nothing. The Kingfisher run in costume event was going on. Basically, charities came in costumes, spoke for a few minutes and could win a prize. It was fun.

Around 9.20 am, we headed towards the entry. By the time we reached the road, it was 10 am. No kidding… it was so crowded and there was only 1 entry. For the half marathon, people are divided into groups basis their timing. For confirmed entry, you need to submit a timing certificate for any 10k run. Basis the timing, you are lined up on the marathon day. The fastest runners start first and slowest last. Those without timing certificate get confirmed on first come first serve basis. One of the reasons I didn’t participate in the half marathon is the lack of timing certificate. I am going to participate in marathons this year to get a timing certificate.

Coming back, TGDR is the most non serious race ever. These are the kind of people you meet:

– People like me.. those who want to run 6 km before they can try for half marathon next year

– People like KC… dragged by friends, family etc

– Charities… they have come to promote their charities and raise awareness… they just need to finish the 6 km… doesn’t matter in how much time

– Corporates… most people were there out of compulsion… it was like working on a Sunday… they gossiped on the road in groups… horizontal groups not vertical (blocking the road)… clicked pics at every km …. took U turns and skipped half the distance where ever possible… 60% of the junta was in this category

It was kind of frustrating… for the first 1/2 km, the road was packed…. running was impossible. After that, you had to weave in and out of the crowd while running. In the end, I said ‘fuck it’ and said ‘Excuse me’ to all the gossiping people.

KC left me behind in the first 1/2 km itself. His strategy was to run his heart out in 2 km and then walk it. I decided to jog as much as possible with sprints in between and walk when tired. I had been running 6 km every Sunday for the last one month. My time was 51-55 mins. I completed 6 km in 48 mins yesterday and could have done it in 45 mins if it wasn’t so crowded.

I started running 1 year back. I had decided to work out at home and not spend on the gym. I started with 2-3 km walk/jog/run every morning in 30 mins. In Mumbai, I joined the Gold’s Gym but hated cardio there. There was a DJ who played horrible music very, very loudly. I got tired of telling him to lower the volume since I could not hear my ipod. Finally, I decided to just jog on the road. That was my cardio. I only went to the gym for strength training. Running on Mumbai roads is not fun since traffic starts at 6 am… there are no sidewalks… and I had to worry about traffic, bus stops, autos parked haphazardly, broken roads, shops on footpaths. And then, it started rainning… it rained all the time… and that put a stop to it.

I started with 4-4.5 km initially. After enrolling in the TGDR, I ran 6 km every Sunday. The Raahgiri has also helped. I now have a stretch of 4 km to run. And if I am early enough, there are no kids on the cycles.

This is when I started:



And now:



This is how I train:

– 1 day of run of 4-4.5 km

– 1 day of run of 6 km every Sunday

– 2 days of Jazz- warm up, stretch, pilates, technique and dance

– 2 days of strength training in gym- either upper body or abs and sides or legs

I have a 10 km run next Sunday and next week onwards I will move to the 10 km long run with short run of 5-6 km on weekdays. And then I will move to 12 km… then 13 km… then 14 km… and finally to 21 km… for the half marathon next year.

The best part about running- its free.

Here are my tips if you want to start too:

– Any place is good enough to start… If I can run on Mumbai roads, anyone can run anywhere. There are 3 stretches around my house which are 4 km and I run there.

– You do not need to buy special shoes. I started with normal shoes I had… then, I bought running shoes (cost me 1100 bucks after discount). And now I have bought shoes worth 3k (after 30% discount). Don’t go and spend 4-5k on expensive shoes. There is no point if you wont keep up. Go slow. Today’s shoes are good enough for you to run on the road. Also, do ensure the shoes are light weight. When shoes have weight, it makes one slow.

– Winters can be a problem in Delhi. I could not run for a week when winters started since it was so dark. Now I have figured out that the sun comes up by 6.30 am and thats when I run

– Do not cut out carbs from your diet. If you run you need the carbs. Also, you will eat more ‘coz it makes you more hungry.

– Always eat something before a run. I eat an apple or banana. It gives me enough energy for a 30-45 mins run. I don’t carry water for short runs. But I may have to for longer runs

– Eat something after the run. It makes me quite hungry

– Wear appropriate and comfortable clothes. A well fitting bra is very important. I wore the same clothes for my trial run before TGDR to make sure I was comfy. Also, some clothes add weight. My Puma sweatshirt feels heavy, adds weight and slows me down. So, I avoid wearing it.

– I use the app ‘runtastic pro’ to keep a track of my runs- distance, time, calories, pace etc. It is very, very helpful. The app is available on adroid, apple, windows and even ipod touch.

Thats it. I won’t get into benefits of running ‘coz its a no brainer. I have taken today off ‘coz I am exhausted. A 6 km race is never about 6 km. We woke up at 6 am and reached back at 1 pm. The metro was packed and we were on our feet throughout. And then there was Jazz. For a 5 mins performance, we had to wait for 4 hours. I am getting my feet massaged today to relieve the stress.

I am proud of KC. Despite no practice, he completed 6 km just a few mins after me.





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