On June 8th, I started prepping for my first half marathon. Quite ceremonially, I skipped the first workout – stretching and strengthening exercises for 20 minutes. Over the next 9 weeks, I skipped a few days and once a full week, but managed to vaguely stick to the plan. I was already running 10Ks at that point quite easily, and I used the plan to make sure I didn’t overexercise and stuck to some sort of sane schedule. I used the Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan. It had the right mix of continuity and long runs. I modified it a bit to squeeze it into 9 weeks rather than the original 12 weeks. I think I’ll be continuing my training for a while in the same pattern – Stretching and strengthening on Monday, 3 days of training runs on Tuesday, Wednesday (recovery), and Thursday; cross training on Saturday (cough which I never did), and a long run on Sunday.
Last year, I ran my second 5K in 39 minutes and I remember thinking about the folks running the 10K. I thought it was far too long and difficult to achieve. On Sunday, I finished my first half marathon in 2:46:28. It’s been a long journey to get here and I honestly probably wouldn’t have been as consistent if it weren’t for being around Souvik, Bhavya and Sumit. We’ve done quite a lot of long runs that end up in Cafe Lota.
Every time I’ve raced, I set a new “This is the toughest run ever” record. This race will truly be memorable for the next several months. We started off with a good deal of humidity. I took about a kilometre before I was ready to start running. The first challenge came at 3 km mark or so, where we had to cross a “small pool of water”.
A little after that point, we entered the cross-country part of the route. It was mostly uphill and kind of difficult. My clothes were completely drenched in sweat. Just when I reached the highest point in the run and started going downhill, it started raining.
It started as a slow drizzle. I felt like I walked into a shower and out of it the first time. And then it hit. The rain was incredibly refreshing and my pace increased for a while. The only problem was the route. The already muddy trail became slightly more challenging. It felt like I was running on cheesecake. Every step was unstable on some stretches. The next 7KM or so was on roads. This stretch was tricky. The rain kept going and there were large puddles of water. Initially, I tried to avoid the puddles. Later on, I just went through them. My shoes were wet anyway and there was not much I could do by avoiding them.
I made friends with Shivang from when the rain started. We were running at about the same pace from then on. He made sure I didn’t run too fast or give up. At one point when he was giving up, I encouraged him to just keep going. Once we crossed the final turn and the finish line was kind of visible, I went all out (I think I actually beat someone at the finish line).
I couldn’t walk very well or climb stairs the rest of the day. Today, I finally ventured out for a run and it seemed okay. Can’t wait to do it again next month at the Dwarka Half Marathon.