Mumbai Marathon: A conversation with the Self

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!
Sandeep (Pitamah)


  1. "Live life on commitment and not by emotions", A wonderful thought to apply in life, I liked it the most, and more so - your stand on it.

  2. Thanks Kishore!

    The point here is to remember when it is required the most and then to implement it. Many a times we remember but some how not able to implement it. In Marathi its called "कळता पण वळत नाही".

  3. A beautiful thought inline with the topic:

    Source of action is thought.
    Source of thought is yourself.
    Whatever thought you encourage about yourself, that is the direction taken..

  4. Pramod PatilJanuary 28, 2009

    Really it was a perfect but toughest situation to apply the knoiwledge " Live in the present" and I am sure this incidence will make it a lot more easier for you to apply the gem sutra of AOL. Many people ask but how to live in the present moment? This is the superb example 'just by living' there is no how hahhaha...

    Keep it up Pitamah!!!

  5. @Pramod: Yes, so start living in the present moment instead of asking HOW! The key out of this incidence is to continue with this commitment in life. Commitment has no value when you are interested in some thing. Its important to show your commitment when you are not interested in some thing but you have to do it.

  6. Hi Sandeep! Congratulations on finishing the marathon. You did great timing especially given the humidity, heat and pollution of Mumbai. I really want to run the Mumbai half-marathon next year. I missed it this year (registration was already closed when I checked). I hope you and Amey will be running again next year.
    I ran the DC full-marathon this year. My blog:

  7. @S: Thanks!

    Amey and Me have decided to be in Mumbai for Marathon next year. So, hope to see you next year in Mumbai Marathon.

    I also liked the theme of you blog:
    "If you want to run, then run a mile.If you want to experience another life, run a marathon".

    Keep going or I should say, keep running!

  8. Congratulations!

    I was not knowing you are so dedicated. Keep it up.
    You are inspiration and ideal for us now.

    Hope I will be also there for next marathon.


  9. Hey pitamah, stop writing such self boosting articles.

  10. @GG: We would like to see you at the next marathon.

    @Anon: Thanks for reading the blog and the criticism. It takes courage to criticize directly. At the same time, I am little disappointed of you being anon. A true friend always passes on the message in the benefit of his/her friend with out being worried about his/her own image.

    That reminds me of saying "Criticize from your throat and praise from your heart".

  11. @pitamah

    It was just a suggestion... I never intended to criticize. Just wondering, what made you to think the other-way around?

    Let me put my intention/suggestion more clearly. An better way to present this article would be to just put it as how the teaching of art of life helped you to complete the marathon ( Infact, I am die-hard against this art-of-living. But lets not open a debate on this. ) But the article, it was a self boasting one, in which the helping hand of others preaching was completely made obscure and all that is shown was the courage and mettle to accomplish the task. I do appreciate the courage/mettle but when manifested in this way, it conveys the message that one is trying to show-off and hence the comment.

    I want to still remain anon, because otherwise my comments will be perceived not independently.


  12. @Anon: Thanks for clarification and they are well taken. I know I am an amateur blogger and hence some time find it difficult to precisely convey the point. And this point itself keeps me motivated to blog. I know, I am improving day by day :).

    Being against art of living, thats your viewpoint and I respect that :). Still, you can experience the Sudarshan Kriya once and decide.


  13. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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