Monday, January 21, 2013

Half Marathon at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2013

1:32:23 (if you are like me and can't wait till the end of this post!)

I ran in the half marathon event for only the 3rd time in my 10 straight years at running in the SCMM event at Mumbai. Most of the reason to run the half rather than full was my CIM which was around 6 weeks ago. Since that was a hard effort and I recovered for 2 weeks after it, I had about 4 weeks to train for this race. And I did.

I had no plans to run a PB. Mumbai is not the course for a PB for me, whatever the distance and besides my body does not handle hard efforts so close to each other. My plan was to try and run 1:35 or  just a bit faster. I did 2 half marathons in practice but those were pacing efforts, below my PB pace. I did one 10 miler at just faster than target pace.

Since I had run below 2 hours, I was in the A corral. The start was good and within a mile, I had only the Indian elites and a few Western Naval Command runners ahead of me with a few assorted faster runners not aligned to any group.

I started with my first mile in 7:01 which pleased me immensely since I hate to run the first mile as the fastest of the race. The sea-link appeared soon enough. By the time I got to the highest point on the sea-link I had crossed at least 1 runner ahead of me, just by putting in a hard effort to hold pace. The 2nd & 3rd miles were both under 7 min each.

This was easily the best section of the run. I was feeling fresh. The sunrise was over an hour away. There was a gentle breeze and there were hardly any runners around! Pretty much to my liking.

I continued to hammer after 3 miles and the downhill helped me cross another runner or so. I am not sure I liked the stretch of the route where we went to Cadel Road and then came back to the Worli Sea Face, but I couldn't care less. I had a bunch of minor contests with fellow runners who were trying to peg against me and cross me. By the time we got to Pedder Road, all such contests were settled one way or the other because  we had a little over a mile of uphill to climb. And I really love uphills. On that section, I managed to cross at least 2 runners who had burned too much fuel by that point and lost pace. I did cross a bunch of Bangalore runners in the full marathon, all of whom I gave a good shout to. I think I will lay partial claim to the no of PBs set by my buddies ;)

My plan had been to run steady till 10 miles and burn the last 3 if I had any strength left. This didn't quite play to plan. While my average pace didn't dip, I couldn't push any more than I was running at. This was a surprise as I felt good but what seemed like a gentle upward slope from Wilson College to the Air India turn, ate up whatever strength I had, in just maintaining the pace.

To massage my ego further, I did manage to cross 2 people at least in the last mile, incl. one in the last 400m. The clock showed some 1:30:15 or some such time and I knew it was about 2 mins off since my Garmin showed 1:32:30 or thereabouts.

I am more than happy since my target was to not go slower than 1:35 and stay uninjured from the experience. While I had planned some celebrations at Leopold's with my trainees, only some of the Mumbai group turned up. So that was somewhat muted. However that was more than compensated within 36 hours by a series of visits to the Pint Room in Bandra, the home-bar of an ex-colleague, Rajdhani's in Phoenix, The Pali Village Cafe in Bandra and Lemon Tree also in Bandra and an overdose of filter coffee  - homemade as well as from Cafe Mysore.

The week-long visit to Mumbai was also made memorable by not just the run but also a meeting with Haile, Fauja Singh as well as the charming Tim Hutchings who I managed to meet before the "meet & greet Haile" session happened.

Since I had such low expectations from my own rather unvenetful run, the results were pleasing by largely being in line with expectations. I guess there is a lesson in there somewhere :)

I am looking forward to at least a month long layoff from running now!


Venkatesh Neel said...

Well done D! Or is it Bangalore Tiger now?

Nishad said...

Must have been nice to run without much pressure and be able to actually enjoy the race. And a super time to boot!

D D said...

Thanks Venky, Nishad.

Nishad, The stillness in the air is quite something at 6 in the morning if you don't have too many people around you. Feels like a training run since most spectators aren't on the course yet.

Back to rest/training now.