My preparation for Mumbai Marathon started just after Diwali. Although not very regular, I was on the jogging track about twice a week and had managed 3-4 km at a stretch. Things were in right direction and I was targeting completion time of about 3hrs for 21KM (half marathon), which is my previous worst, the best being 2 hr 50 mins.
Amey specially came from Banglore for the Mumbai Marathon. On the eve of the Marathon, Amey and me were discussing things to do before and during the marathon. Amey encouraged me to set the target time to 2 hr 30 mins and I reluctantly agreed to it as I knew its a difficult task to achieve, looking at my level of practice and my previous records. Still, we planned how we can achieve our target. We even chalked out hour by hour plan along with detailed route analysis, the hurdles we might face and few contingency plans. We did not wanted to keep any stone unturned. We were handling the event as professional marathon runners ;) and followed what we could. We went to have Pasta, which is very rich in carbohydrate contents and recommended before Marathon. We bought few energy bars, chocolates, lots of bananas and dates. To save the time on the D-day, we even booked the Meru Taxi so that we don't have to walk to get out of IIT to catch a rick. Every thing was set for the D-day, including the alarms :).
We woke up early and made sure that all of us get ready in time. The taxi arrived sharp at 5.00am. We got in and reached there at 5.42am. It was about 1hr to start the race. Amey and me were running the half marathon for the third time and the other two with us were the first timers, also running the half marathon. So, we were having some fundae sessions for them. We had enough bananas to get some instant energy. We completed other mandatory tasks and were there at the racing point at 6:45am. By the time we reached the start line, in a big queue, it was already 6.54am. So, we had started 8-9 minutes late. As Amey and me had opted for the timing chip, the time we started is noted automatically by the system so we were not worried about that.
To start with, it was very crowded, even smooth jog was also difficult and hence it was difficult to get the rhythm. I burped initially as we had more bananas than we should had. The first two kilometers were like warm-up. After that I got into the rhythm. Amey and I got in touch with each other over mobile and got to know that we were close but still not together. We first met at 5km milestone but separated soon due to nature's call break. We met again at the 12th kilometer milestone and then thought of running together so that we can encourage each other and keep our target of 2 hr 30 mins. It was at 8.20am and about 7 km were remaining. The target was very clear, one more hour to go and 7km. We decided to go for it and hence started running in full swing. We continued till 15 KM mark where I thought that Amey is running faster than me and I am not able to cope up with his speed. I asked him to continue with his own speed and that relaxed me. I was just behind him, but for a short time only. Unfortunately Amey suddenly developed some pain in his knees and hence slowed down. I overtook him and aimed at the target time. I was left alone. Up to that point it was only because of Amey's encouragement that I was targeting the 2:30hrs time. Now suddenly I was running with out him. Both of us continued running independently and kept encouraging each other via phone. Things continued that way, till I managed to reach 17 km mark when my body was all drained. I had no energy to continue jogging. I just wanted to walk the remaining distance.
This was the time when I started conversation with my Self. All the knowledge points that I got from the Art of Living YES!+ course and advanced courses surfaced into reality. I was given a chance to implement all of them. My stamina was all over So, there I was to go for the target time or to let it go. All this conversation continued in my mind and I kept running and walking alternately. Running was for a longer time than walking but still the body was saying the other way round. Finally the equation was left to 2KM and 7 minutes. It was a difficult task to achieve but I wanted not to give up at any cost. So, continued running. The body was not supporting, so the mind started giving me alternatives and giving me option of ditching the target. But I was fresh from my advanced course and hence all knowledge points were alive! The most striking point was Live life on commitment and not on emotions.
So, I decided to go with my commitment and not by emotions. Fitness was not an issue and hence it was only a matter of continuing till the end, with increased speed. I needed some different way to tackle my mind as I was thinking more of the future than being at the present. I was continuously thinking of the distance and time equation. I knew, live in the present moment but how to do that? And it just clicked!!! I committed myself for the goal, and just surrendered to my Guru and the Divine. I dropped the distance-time equation and concentrated on only the next step that I was going to take. At every step, I was asking this question to my Self, can I run the next step and most of the time the answer used to be YES. This helped me and I could run more compared to walk. I was still walking in between but the ratio was 200 meters running to about 10 meters walk. This continued till Hutatma Chauk, from where the finish line was enough to go for the final assault.
The final assault was to start now. I decided not to stop for the last phase of about 1000 meters. I kept going and going. I was totally drained by that time but commitment was to my Self and not to any one else and hence had no option but to continue and continue running. In between, I took a walk break, for about 10 seconds but then got into action immediately. Finally, I could see the finish line, about 500 meters away. It was like "कितने पास और कितने दूर". The sight of the finish line gave me another boost and I increased the speed, although marginal, there was increase in the efforts from my side. And there I was, crossing the finish line and it was 9:25am in my mobile. My time was 2 hr 32 mins, creditable for me. There was no one to welcome me on the finish line but I was celebrating myself, as also all other finishers. Just missing the target time was of no importance to me compared to the satisfaction of making it against all odds and being victorious.
Soon Amey also finished in 2 hr 45mins. As he was having pain in his knees he walked from 15KM till end. The other two friends, Kishore and Pranav, who were participating in half marathon for the first time completed the race in about 3 hrs. A very good time indeed as they hardly had practiced for the same.
A perfect experience of When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.
Jai Guru Dev!