Auroville Marathon

It all started with our friend Vanniaperumal asking us to join him for a trip to Pondicherry. He had plans of participating in the Auroville marathon. He has taken up running as hobby for some reason and is spending good amount of time discovering the streets in his village. It was long since we went for a trip together. With the trekking gang disintegrated escaping out of bangalore on some trip was becoming a rare phenomenon. So decided to join him for the trip and for some reason registered for the the marathon as well. We had not given too much of thought on whether it was possible to complete, what sort of training it required etc.

The training started a month before the marathon with a 10K run in lalbagh. 10KM on the first day was not a good idea, we realized it the hard way completing it mostly by walking and taking 1 hour 40 minutes. That day it dawned upon us that 21KM is going to be a daunting task and requires a lot of practice. Tried running in the morning for sometime but sleep is more precious than these stuffs. So hit the gym @ office in the evening for the first time in life. I had decided never to visit a gym but to remain healthy by doing routine activities. But i had no other option this time and started running 3 to 4 KM daily.

Running was fun. Running 21KM was self imposed punishment. Realized that when we decided to try 21KM before the marathon day and tried the same in lalbagh. It took 3 hours 20 minutes, with some running and lot of walking. End result was a lot of pain and walking style like a duck after that. But we knew it was achievable. Few more days at the gym and a week of rest, we were ready for the marathon on Feb 9. Atleast we thought we were.

Went to Pondicherry on Feb 8. Visited Auroville and collected the BIB. Liked the atmosphere in Auroville and how organized they were. After some roaming around Pondicherry and enjoying the TN cuisines in their original taste, visited auroville in the night again as Vanni had registered the pasta dinner. That dinner helps in running better next day it seems 🙂 Mani and myself assumed idly and dosa does the same and had that for dinner. Came back to room and rested. Should say, i did relish the food in pondicherry.

Auroville was bustling with activity when we reached at 5.30AM.  This time there were more than 2000 participants for the half marathon alone so it was crowded. I was supposed to start in the first wave of 600 @ 6:15AM, while vanni and mani were in the wave that started at 6.25AM. The marathon started sharply at 6:15AM and i started running without much plan, with the only intention of finishing it without injuries. Soon i was running a decent pace, overtaking the slow runners and in sight of the leaders. Thanks to the gym, was able to maintain the pace for sometime but soon settled to the speed i am comfortable with, around 8-8.5KMPH. Was excited every time i crossed every KM mark, but as time progressed 1KM looked a little elongated. Could not stop thinking the organizers are playing some cruel trick and increased the distance. Anyway, at the end of an hour, i had completed 8KM. Was able to maintain the pace and completed 10KM in 1 hour 15 minutes.

10KM was a sign of achievement, soon a signal from the cerebrum asked me to slow down. I could see a lot of people from second, third and fourth wave overtaking and disappearing. Since it was expected didn’t care much. But when girls overtook, there was a tight slap on the ego, but body and mind were in unison and made sure there was no increase in the speed. But no sign of Vanni and Mani. At the second hour i completed around 15KM and around here, Vanni crossed me, uttered few words hastily and ran ahead. Mani was nowhere in sight.

After 15KM, succumbed to the pressure of mind and started walking. Tried doing it at a reasonable pace, but dont think i achieved it. It was also turning hot, which was acting as a deterrent. Continued walking till 20KM in the next 50 or so minutes. After 20KM, not sure what motivated me, is that the crowd near the finishing line or the gal who was irritating me by overtaking me and then walking in front and doing the same once i crossed her, i suddenly got some energy to run again. When it was around 300 meters from the finishing line, found that there is a chance to complete the marathon within 3 hours. Was pumped up in seconds and started sprinting. It felt like sprinting, probably was running at a decent pace. Not sure where the energy had vanished after 15KM, and how it returned. Atlast the finish line was in sight, body ached, gasped a little for breath but completed the marathon at last in around 2 hours 59 minutes. Target achieved.

I am still not sure, how running 21KM is fun 🙂 But wont deny getting a medal and posing for a photo, though it is your own camera did give a momentary happiness. A sense of achievement and completion that is missing in this adult life. I was not comparing myself with others, nor did i find think about how will it help  in future, what i had was a childish joy of accomplishing something though it could be worthless. In that way, it was fun indeed.  Now i am running few KMs in gym daily. Looks like there is one marathon on the way, lets see if i run in that as well.

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