Home > Important_Day, Running > Aug 8, 2010 – Sunday: Running & Living Town and Country Half Marathon

Aug 8, 2010 – Sunday: Running & Living Town and Country Half Marathon

Ran the Running & Living Town and Country Half Marathon this morning.

Summary:

Not a very easy course – with about 4k on trails and rest on tarred roads, but the trail was very tough, and the roads were rolling hills. I made it more tough on myself by trying a little too much in the beginning, and getting lost off the course (!!) and doing ~1.something km more – that too on the 19th km.

So, final stats count: 22.6k in 2:23. Not great, but I’ll take it anyday. 🙂

But, all that apart, the lesson that I learned today was that I need to run on hills a lot more. Hills knock me out, and being so used to straight , flat roads, anything outside that zone kills me. But, having said all that, still had a lot of fun, made some friends and got a nice medal. 🙂

Details:

The summary is good enough.

Caution: Read on only if you are really bored or something.

Pre-race:

Akhilesh (a volunteer) picked me up from the main gate at around 4:00 am and drove me to the start point at Sushant Towers. He happened to be in procurement in BT (one of NSN’s big customers). So, the world shrunk a little bit right there. We got there by 4:10.

The event was very well organized (points here could be used for the ECR run):

  • The water point volunteers were given clear instructions and dispatched well in advance. I think there were about 3 or 4 water points (and since it was an out and back course – you could double that)
  • R&L had solicited and secured the services of the bikers team in Gurgaon – This was probably the best thing. They had flashing lights and were very visible in their biking gear. They either manned a turn, or cycled back and forth the course to make sure that runners got the right directions/ any strugglers were attended to immediately.
  • Boards and mile markers were set up quite clearly (it’s a different story that I missed one of those despite all that) as well
  • The police was informed and permission sought
  • There was a Med ambulance available on call (though I am sure it cannot make it up the trail 🙂 )
  • Photographers were positioned at a 2-3 points (though one guy couldn’t get his camera working, and the other was busy shooting his friend and ignored me – but understandable)

image

The map up here is marked in miles, but the description below is in km. You make the conversion.

Race start and initial 0-3 kms:

The start was exactly at 5:00 AM. Flagged off and we all burst out. I had set it up for a 4:1 and thought I could run somewhat fast since I was going to be walking anyway. So, this bit went well, though in retrospect, it might have been better to have run slower even at this point, and then build it up. The 1st 3 kms were on roads leading up to the trail. It was still good going at this point.

Trail section: 3-7 kms

At 3k, you get to a point where there is a fork. The right turn takes us through a trail section.

This is an out and back trail section from the 3 km point – with an uphill trail section till the 5k mark, turn around there and get down to the same fork by which you would hit the 7k mark.

[In fact, the 5k turn around point marks the half distance for the 10k runners].

This part, specifically the 3-5 kms busted me. It is something like this (though this is a picture of the toughest 100 mts I think 🙂 and the remaining parts are much easier)

image

This threw the 4:1 out of sync as well, and it took me a while to get back on that. The problem with the 4:1 is that if you face a big, tough patch where you had to walk in the middle of the 4 mins, then there is a dilemma on what to do when the 1 min break comes – which inevitably came during an “easy” patch – so, I would run that, and put the whole run-walk system out of gear. Once that goes, the whole rhythm goes.

So, plenty of lessons for me just on this patch: When you get a hill like this – forget the damn time and take it easy. Save yourself for the easier bits later. Next, I shouldn’t bother with trying to make up during the easy patches. I just ended up tiring myself faster and much too earlier. I think I tried to come down fast and when I reached the good zone, the roads, at the end of 7k – I was already tired.

We join back at the same fork and take right to go into a tar road out & back section. 🙂

The long mid section: 7-18:

It took me a while to get back to the run-walk rhythm. Even when I did, there would be this slight uphill-downhill section, which though no comparison to the trail-hill, would still tire me out, and always threaten the R:W rhythm (it made no sense for me to struggle uphill, come to the end of the 4 mins, and walk downhill during that 1 min).

But, I took a gel at around the 10k mark, turned around at the 12k mark and felt much better. There was this really nice patch from 12k to 18k on a good rhythm where I passed a lot of runners and was slowly gaining some decent momentum. This was probably the most enjoyable part of the whole run when I looked around the country side, took in the buffalos grazing and stuff like that. The watch didn’t matter and surprisingly the up-down didn’t hurt that badly.

Now, when I look back at the course – it is actually a very nice open course through the countryside. We had fields around us. Lots of trees, good air, hardly any vehicle movements, no pollution and overall a super place to run.

Buggered at 18k:

At 18k I arrived at the same fork – the one that peeled off into the trail at 3k. I had got to this point well under 2 hours, and was probably considering a finish time of about 2:15 give or take a couple of minutes.

Partly my mistake for not having remembered and not to have looked for the sign post; Partly the mistake of the biker crew who was supposed to warn me to turn right.

Whatever, I just kept running and went into the trail section once again. I think places look different at different times. It looked different at 5:30 in the morning when there was not much light and day was just breaking, and now, when it was nice and bright, at 7:30. So, I went ahead, but thankfully, in about 4-5 minutes of running, I saw a volunteer who was plucking out all the signboards and bringing them back. He looked at me quite incredulously (he thought I started the 10k very late! duh!), and it was only then that I realized that I had gone off track.

Ran back and got back on the right track, but now, I was a little bit pissed off and a little deflated. The 4:1 was out. I actually started doing a 1:1 from there to the finish.

Finish:

I finished at 2:23. Got a nice medal and made sure I smiled for the picture. 🙂

Post race:

Stretched out. Made friends with another runner called Param who dropped me at my hotel. Showered, changed and went to Radisson for the post-race breakfast. Pigged out as you can expect and that was it.

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Categories: Important_Day, Running
  1. August 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Congratulations!! 🙂
    That course certainly looks rough in that pic and 2:23 for this sounds great to me!!

    • karthikpadmanabhan
      August 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Well, I was cheating. As I said – that patch was just 100 mts :-). Rest were all fine, just a little up and down. But seriously, my hill run ability sucks.
      How is your training coming up?

  2. August 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Tra…? what ?? 🙂

    Its not quite that bad – I have been stuck with dance practice all week so haven’t run during the week at all .. but last sun we ran 6 and hopefully will increase to 7 this weekend.. keeping my fingers crossed..

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