Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) 2017

My 28th event of marathon distance or over, was a bitter-sweet experience.

While I was handing over my bag at the baggage counter, I realized that my Garmin had somehow managed to discharge itself before the start of the race, despite being fully charged the prev night. I decided I'd run on feel. It wasn't a major concern and I have dreamed of doing this for a while now.

I was in good shape to run close to 3:10 if all went well on raceday and 3:15 if something went wrong. Since I had landed on Fri, I had treated the news of the cold wave in Mumbai with some amusement since SCMM has almost never had cool weather on raceday. So I expected it to pass.

While AJ and I warmed up, I knew it was going to be a warm day as I was already sweating at what must have been around 7 min/km pace during my warm up.

The race start was a bit dodgy and the organizers could have done a much better job of handling the corrals and almost none went into the marked B, C, D areas and everyone just rushed into A.

I started very conservatively and had only effort to guide me. There were a bunch of people who I know, run around the same pace, who were all ahead of me but within sight. That helped.

At the 9.6km mark or so, I got confirmation of my first time check as the elite HM runners were on their way to the finish and 43:31 was the time on the lead vehicle's clock. The next time check happened at the 21.1 km mark when I went thru in 1:35:18. So far, so good. I was looking forward to doing a mild negative split or worst case, even split. My left knee which has been a bother for a while now, began causing a minor gait change from around the halfway mark but I wasn't too concerned as my pace was on target. At around the 30km mark, I began to feel mild cramps from my butt all the way to my calf in both legs and began slowing down. The only saving grace was that unlike last year, I didn't walk for even a moment during the entire race.

If you see my relative position in the race, I stayed in pretty much the same overall position till about the 30km mark. Thereafter 5 people overtook me if the timing data is to be believed. I finished in 3:26:12 as per the official time, although I thought a few more seconds should show up as lag b/w my getting to the mat and the elapsed time. I don't really care as 3:10:01 is as unsatisfying as say, 5:40:00 to me if I step out to race today in an event I have run since 2004. Some minor consolation/major sobriety check is provided by my AG top finishers - the 3rd of whom finished in 2:53:50! I am quite pleased for the talented and hard working Nanjundappa in particular, as he finally broke 2:40 in a full marathon at Mumbai! The studly Henrik Westerlin ran 2:49, although he too ran a +ve split. A bunch of other known runners had incredible runs, incl. the ridiculously good Mahesh Londhe, who I saw for the first time at the Ultra this year. And then there were the runners from Shillong, who looked so good running smoothly. On a warm day, all these guys went sub-2:55! And then a bunch of my AG toppers from prev years all suffered much like I did, to varying degree. Some credence to the argument that it wasn't just me.

My BIG takeaway is that I can now run a sub 3:30 marathon w/o a watch, which is a nice ego-massage but my weakness against the heat persists.

Chop wood, carry water.

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Bibliomania 2017

I have discussed the concept of a Benevolent Billionaire (BB) here. Turns out that my world is not short of them at all. One such BB gave me a coupon to Blossom Book Shop and I recycled some of my business books. And then, I promptly went nuts...

The Property by Rutu Modan
Life by Keith Richards
Getting Things Done by David Allen*
The Hindus by Wendy Doniger
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett
Awakenings by Oliver Sacks
What If by Randall Munroe
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

* is the 1st business book I have bought in a while. I got tired of trying to find books to fit my budget and finally picked the first thing in my sight.

2017's reading is already off to a good start since I finished the Modan book :) Now to do something with the other 364 days of the year. Happy New Year to you, my dear reader...