Friday, February 19, 2010

Auroville Marathon -2

The Path

The race day

Reached certiude at 5:40Am. A small crowd had gathered maybe a 100 or 200.
I hogged half a dozen bananas and finished of the electrol.
The countdown started 5 minutes before and sharp at 6:00 AM we were off. There was a bit of a melee during the early part , it cooled off after the first km or so. then on, it was mostly each man to himself. Everyman running to the beat of his own drum. This time my strategy was to preserve as much of my energy as possible for the last 2-3 kms as that is where we waste a lot of time walking, when running deserts us.

I kept a slow pace but maintained it till almost 14-15 kms. Also I took brief rests whenever I saw a water booth. From 50 feet or so before to another 50-100feet after i just walked as I drank the glass of electrol and banana. This provided brief rest periods and i guess all that paid off in the end.

This time since I was running with a time target in mind I missed out on the scenic beauty of this marathon. Running through mostly unpaved muddy paths filled with clay and somtimes a half buried rock - makes this a alltogether different experience. I remember passing the "Grace" , The "Tibetan - something " . While passing grace I was thinking about "Amazing Grace" i dont know why? The birds sang their usual numbers, the drummers beat their drum like last time - i had actually intended to take a lot more snaps along the way but my mobile just hung - so I turned it off - thinking it muast have been due to some sweat seepage. But luckily no such thing happened.

10th Km

Self Portrait @ 10km mark

Between the 18th and the finish line there was a stretch of open ground which was, I felt the toughest part of the race - as by then the sun was beating down - Managed to walk run that strech and the last km or so was a dash. Entered the certitude at almost max speed with lot of clappings and cheer and as I crossed the finish line received a fantastic hug from a grey haired pony tailed gentleman and got garlanded by a pretty lady with the medal ribbon. ( would'nt mind if it had been the other way round too).A few others congratulated and WOW! the race was over - was I happy!!!. Not the least for the Hug at the end .

Then I was surrounded by family . The kids were witheir story of how they participated in the 2km race and finished it. I collected the T shirt and had my leg massaged by a Sikh co marathoner. Well , hats off to his spirit. I did'nt get his name. It felt great after the massage - though the toes got a trifle crushed in the process.

We had a short wait in the que for pongal and Vada followed by a much longer wait for Dosa / Sambar. Both waits were well worth it.

Sat around and Chatted for another hour or so before we left for the room as I wanted to catch some much needed sleep prior to the drive back to bangalore.

Today the times came in , I did the half in 2:14:45 and placed at 94. Not bad at all. Target is to finish the next half marathon inside of 2:00 hrs.Achievable.

I am running the 10km "strides for life" run on Sunday. Hope to find some familiar faces.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Auroville returns !!

The auroville marathon lived up to its expectation. After missing out on the Mumbai marathon - I was intent on going for it and all the planning paid off. A wonderful run and my best in a longtime. Our Original plan was to go by train but the return options from Podi to bangalore had dried up. No trains on Sunday and no buses available.

Packed our selves up in our beatup Santro and off we went leaving home at 2:15 pm. The drive was our first on this route and I had not planned on the night driving on a 2 lane road with no dividers . It was a tough experience driving at 9:oo pm on such a stretch. Luckily in the Thiruvannamalai - Tindivanam stretch I latched on to a Maruti who drove at a manageable speed and just followed him . From Tindivanam it was just another 40 kms and its was done in as many minutes. By the time we checked in it was 10:45pm . 8:30 hours we were at it except for a brief stopover for dinner at Tiruvannamalai. Now that was another experience - food was great absolute home made food except that the restaurent turned out to be a single bedroom house. Sudarshan A/c had one small room 10ft by 10 , with two tables and an aircon.
But we were not complaining as the food was great and had it not been for the fact that we were entirely out of change we might have tipped the waiter luxuriously ( by thiruvannamalai standards).

We straightaway crashed and were still asleep at 8:00AM when my sis called to say that were on the way from chennai and would be reaching by 9:30. After a quick break at Nallas and brief stopover at our room were we placed sis and families' luggage we were off to brief visit to Pondicherry town and then to Auroville to collect the bib.