My 7th marathon at SCMM, 11th overall, was tough, sort of a mixed bag for me. I finished in 4:12, as compared to 4:11 last year. I was a bit disappointed but after seeing the splits, I feel good about how I ran this year.
I reached Mumbai on Friday morning, giving myself ample opportunity to rest. I realised that I had forgotten to pack my wrist watch, which I use to keep track of elapsed time. I had no plans to buy another and reconciled to run without a watch. I had done this before for a half marathon and am pretty comfortable in judging my pace without a watch.
I went out for a 30 minute easy on Saturday morning, around 7:00, and was sweating at the end of the run, clear indication that it was going to be a tough run on Sunday. I was hoping for cooler weather at SCMM.
Left my sister’s place at 3:35am, was at the station by 3:40, thanks to Ravi for the drop.
Western Railway had special trains as early as 3:45 from SantaCruz. A short walk from Churchgate to Azad Maidan, entry into the maidan was smooth, unlike last year. The holding area logistics was chaotic something for the organisers to improve upon.
I made a mental note of the time, 5:41:15, as I crossed the start mat. My plan was to stay conservative in the first half. While I was okay not having a watch but still needed some way to check my progress. My first time check was the clock just before the link bridge it read 6:54. Running and doing math is not always easy but it was clear that I was going faster than plan. I eased the pace a bit and reached the half mark at 1:58 – (I am glad, I did not know this then – remember, I was not wearing any timing device – knowledge of the time could have altered my performance)
I met Srini Padmanabha just before the half way mark and we chatted for a while. I kept my pace steady promising myself an easy 1 km, after 1 more km. This technique works for me when I am tired, I promise myself some rest later and then forget about it.
I caught up with Srini and Vinay at around 28k. Vinay’s words were like music to my ears – “Good running Murthy, you are on a 4 hour pace”. Those words kept me going.
Soon I hit the 30k mark, and I was anxious to know the elapsed time. I asked a spectator – “Nau meh Dus kam” (8:50) was the response – now that seemed really disappointing and I felt something was wrong. I quickly ignored that data and continued at a steady pace. [Key lesson: rely on event clocks and no other]
My left ankle started bothering me, this was something new I had not experienced earlier. I relaxed myself, dropped the pace a bit but continued running. By 32k it seemed to vanish on its own. Somewhere around the 32k mark, Saurabh called out wishing me a sub-4, which I was hopeful for. Not having a watch kept me hopeful and away from distractions or stupid actions on my part.
Last year the Elites passed me somewhere just after 30k mark and this year I was at around 32k and expecting them to pass me anytime. The pilot vehicles passed, followed by the double decker with the photographers and then those magnificent runners – it was a treat to watch them attack the climb.
The fun lasted only for a few seconds and it was my turn to climb. I had budgeted 7 min for the Peddar road climb but I ended up walking most of it, don’t how much time but it was clear that I lost a lot of time here – something I need to work on. I hit my goal pace on the downhill and the last 4k was steady but slow with one walk break of less than 30 secs. The sight of the finish line is always exciting and it is somehow easy to pick up pace for the last few meters.
One more FM done thanks to Veda, my better half, who supported my passion running in more than one, my coach Tom for the guidance and all my FB friends for the encouragement