Friday, October 7, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon. Oct 2nd 2011

Team Asha Runner's Marathon story
Training Season:

I trained well this year and I thought of running San Francisco full marathon in July. But dropped out at mile 19 as the longest I ran before the race was 13miles..
Weekend after SF race, I ran 16 miles and I got confidence that I can do really well in the race this year. That confidence kept me going good in training runs and I did two 18 milers and 20miler. I had tight muscles and had trouble after 20 miler. I went to the Savior(SMI), Greg twice. I kept on consulting coaches and Srini every weekend on what I need to do that week. I went to backpacking trip on Sep long weekend. After that my right knee started bothering me. for even for weekday runs. Didn't do any considerable runs for whole September. Because I thought its good to rest the knee and save it for the race.
I picked TCM because my sister lives in EDINA (few miles from Minneapolis) and my younger niece birthday is on Oct 1st. My brother also planning to come for my niece Bday. Family reunion and race on same weekend.

Pre Race Day(s) and Expo:

I reached Twin Cites on Thursday night. Friday morning after debating between mind and heart I decided to run couple of miles and see how I do. I ran on Streets of Edina for 3 miles. It was a bummer. Weather was cold and I felt my legs are not good for the race. I was disappointed, cameback and worked remotely till evening. Somehow not in a good mood as my legs were saying, "we don't want to run". I went for Shooting range that night with my brother and Brother-in-Law.

Saturday morning I took my nieces to run the kids race near Capitol. It was well organized and it gave me some +ve energy. Expo is near to that place. Picked up the bib. At Expo, I saw Rock tape stall, The people there looked very experienced on how to and when to use rock tape. I explained them my problem. They said "you should try taping today itself so that it will work better tomorrow". I did use rock tape earlier but I wasn't sure trying a new thing on the race day. I told them that, I need to think and moved on. I went to other stalls but I was still thinking about rock tape. Given my situation I thought its worth trying. I went back there bought rock tape. They helped me in Taping my calf. I came back home and taped my right leg all the way. It took one more day to realize that it worked perfect on the race.
I reached home from expo around 2PM and did all the regular race stuff (Bib, Chip, Sweat Check, Gu, Waterbottle, cash).

Attended my Niece Birthday party in the evening. My sister made yummy Pasta before she got busy with party stuff. I had my dinner (Pasta) and left in the middle of the party and slept at 10PM.

Race Day:
Alarm started ringing at 5:30AM. I sw lazy thought of waking up in 10 mins and went back to sleep. Thank god, my sister came and woke me up at 6:15AM. I quickly had my breakfast ( Oatmeal and Banana) and started to the race. My Brother-in-Law (BIL) and brother dropped at the start line and left.
I tried to reach Naresh/Tony. I couldn't reach them. Weather is nice and perfect for the run. It is the 30th year for TCM race. Race is very well organized.
I started slow with clear mind and no plan on how to do, what pace, how to split, where to use porta potty etc.
Only one thing in mind. With my past experiences with TA training I never failed. Moreover this years training and fitness, some corner of my mind I am confident (little bit)t hat something will happen for me to finish the race smooth. That attitude worked. :)

Miles 1-10:

I bumped into Naresh in first mile 1. I told him not to wait for me (@finish line). I missed mile 1 marker. I assumed I passed it as I was already running for 15 mins. First 3 miles are in city roads and cheering from crowd is Awesome. Afterwards slowly it started getting near lakes. Trust me, It was very scenic. Fall colors, Mild Sun, Lake, Awesome crowd to cheer, music bands, what else I can ask on a race? :). I got the rhythm set by all these. I guess it is all around mile 4 onwards. I met one of the Chicago Asha runner (Tara) at mile 3, We both almost at the same pace till mile 17. Afterwards she took off.
My family came at mile 7. I was in good rhythm by then and don't want to stop to talk to them so just made eye contact and moved on. I saw them at mile 10. I went near to them to give a High 5, again I didn't stop.I know I was so mean not talking to my niece when they are shouting loud saying "Go Somu Mama Go"

Mile 10-20:
I met my family again at mile 12. This time I took a picture with my niece(s). Later moved on. It was pretty cool and nice running on the bridge across Mississippi river. I finshed half Marathon by 2:48:24. I got confidence that I can do sub six and around 5:45/5:50.
Around mile 16 onwards, I started getting calls from Balu/Shashi, to know how I was doing.
All the way, the crowd support is awesome. Music Bands /loud music along the course gave extra boost for running. Moreover people calling out names to force to running. All over Cheering Squad saying "Nice legs!!". It all needed at those miles.

At mile 20, I got a call from Naresh, he said he is waiting for me at the Finish line. It gave me extra boost too finish quicker.

Miles 21-25:
It was a breeze. No game plan in mind and I am confident that I'll have a PR People on the street started serving Champagne, Pretzels, Candy, fruits. I had oranges at mile 22. They never felt that good before. I started picking up pace around mile 23.

Mile 25-Finish:
I am around 17 mins short for 6 hour cut off. I had 1.2 miles to go. I felt very happy that I was going to do sub 6. All of a sudden I felt like I couldn't move my knee. I stopped, stretched and started. I decided to finish without time goal in mind. Around 25.5, God sent Naresh, (Trust me that was the feeling I got when I saw Naresh), He ran last .7 miles and pushed me hard to finish the race strong, smiling before they close the race officially. I completed TCM race in 6h:05m:39s.

Post race:
First things first, got the Medal. Naresh took me to the food stall . We chated little and we took pictures and picked up my T-shirt (Its a finisher Tshirt not given @ expo) and later he left. My family started following me just before finish line and I went to Caribou coffee to get coffee. I bought ice on my way back home, had a nice Icebath.
I had a the nice yummy home made lunch with GuttiVankaya (Stuffed Eggplant), Sambar and Aavakaya (Cut Mango Pickle). Lunch with these dishes became my post race lunch tradtion :).
I know coaches don't recommend this food (pickles etc) after the race, but sometimes you know.....

I can't imagine running with out support of many people in different ways. Let me tell you my secret of energy. Its not Boost/Horlicks :)
  • Whenever I think of long distance Running, the first person comes to my mind is Sandip Borle. I used to joke with him (before joining Asha) that, "I can do so many things in 4-5 hours which you spend for running every weekend. I am not crazy". After joining I got the taste of running. Thanks Sandip for Introducing me wonderful Organization AfE.
  • Thanks to Chakri, Mouli and Raman who ran/walked with me last 10 miles in my first marathon in 2007. I got injured at mile 13 and was limping last few miles. If I wasn't able finished, I wouldn't had been running marathons or been part of great organization AfE.
  • Thanks to Coaches and Special Thanks to Srini for checking my knee , giving quick massages and suggesting tips every weekend.
  • Thanks to Coach Char for all the mentoring and inputs he gave on every drive back home from tracks. Coach, you really helped me to get positive energy.
  • Thanks to Coach Raman for preaching me about body and mind working together for being peaceful all the time. You called me after my race, it made me feel proud about my accomplishment.
  • Thanks to TA coords and volunteers for doing all the effort in the background which runners can't even notice, to have an amazing running season every year. I don't want to take names because I'm afraid I may miss someone.
  • Thanks to all my fellow TA runners for supporting me and tracking me while I was running.
  • Thanks to Durgesh, Manju and Somnath for running with me on my Weekday runs. Of course I was not regular to join them, but their emails pushed me to go to Gym, whenever I missed the run.
  • Special Thanks to Naresh for pushing me the last leg. Thanks a lot Naresh!!!
  • Thanks to all my donars for helping me in raising funds for the noble cause.
  • Thanks to all my friends who wished me good luck before the race.
  • Thanks to Ganesh who was a colleague and now well wisher of me. Thanks for giving me ride to and from Airport.
  • Thanks to all the extended Asha family who became lifetime friends for supporting me. Without you all I can't imagine being energetic and optimistic about life.
  • Thanks to Raghu, Sudhakar and the friends I met through them, who became my regular hangout buddies. Raghu, You are the one kind of +ve attitude guy I came across in my life. Thanks for all the support during the season. We missed you at TCM. I love to run a race with you sometime soon.
  • Thanks to Subhakar, Syam and Jyothi and their families for their support in all means and being my dedicated donars for my fund raising efforts every year.
  • Thanks to my sister's family and brother for supporting me in all the time.