Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Run Auroville for the joy of running - Part #2

Run Auroville for the joy of running - Part #2

Getting to the start line

I had some tense moments on this front.  Ended up rushing to the startline with only couple of minutes to spare  and started running with no time to settle in.  Want to know how I ended up rushing instead of being cool, calm and relaxed like a monk?? Read on..

Last minute rush doesn't work for me.  I generally get to the start line at least 30 minutes ahead of gun time.  This gives me ample time to deposit bag, stretch and soak in on the pre-event energy.  This time, I ended unwittingly adopting kanban (just in time) strategy and got to the start line as the race was about to begin.

I thought, I planned it well.  Staying in Pondy and not having my own transport, I had two choices; 1)Take the Auroville shuttle at 3:30 AM or 2)hitchhike with other FM runners staying at Surguru.  Lucky me (or so I thought), I stumbled upon couple of FM runners staying at Surguru and entered into a pact to ride with them to Auroville.  This got me another 30 minutes of sleep and I was happy.....Hooray

Sunday morning, we left at 4:15 AM instead of the appointed 4:00 AM. Even then we had adequate time to reach Auroville.. So far so good

Head north on ECR without knowing the 'miss if you blink' left turn.. Not so good

Missed the 'miss if you blink' left turn and didn't even realize it... .. Not good

Realized the goof up much later and called Google for help.  We were 10K north of that crucial Auroville turn... Definitely not good.

Make U turn and fly south on ECR like the cars in Fast Furious..  Not good at all..

Rush through the infinite speed bumps on Auroville Road.. Oh S***

Reached Auroville parking with just 8 minutes spare..  Finally..!!!!

Forgot Camera, Music and Vaseline.. Too bad

Arrived at the start area 2 minutes before the gun time.. Thank You God

I was totally stressed out and rushed to the start area without even waiting for Srikumar and Balaji forgetting that they are also running FM.  Thanks Srikumar for staying calm and ensuring that we reached on time though I was a wreck.

But then, things got better from there.... Read on..


Route and Enroute

From the very start, I had company.  Though the company kept changing along the course.  I was fortunate to have good company and had engrossing chat with all my running buddies.  This is one of the perks of running in familiar environs; ran with lot of known faces.
E Ramesh gave me company for about 30k.  (Photo courtesy - Bindu Upadhyay)

First I started out with Karthik Gangadharan (of TNagar Trend Setters) and Ramesh (of Chormpet Chettahs).  Though it was pitch dark for the first hour and we were moving forward gingerly with the help dim torches, conversations with Karthik helped miles melt.  Karthik warned me that if he stops he wouldn't be able to restart.  As luck would have it, Karthik did have to stop to fix his shoe lace at around 12k and that was the last I saw on the course.

Next to give company Bib Bala and Athmanand Perumal.  We tried to recite slokas aloud and sing bhajans.  Though we were exerting and spending energy, miles chugged along.  But that exertion caught up with me.  First Atha and later Bala sprinted ahead leaving me slumbering along.  But a while later, I saw Bala slowing down and this tortoise had the pleasure of overtaking the hare.

All the while, I had Ramesh for company.  He put up with all my singing and still gave me company.  But he was adamant on one thing though.  He refused to sing even after repeated requests (badgering).  But he also sprinted ahead at around 36k leaving to chug along.

With just around 1.5k to go, Geetha (of OMR) joined me and got to run faster.  I checked my Garmin and the last 1.5k was the fastest on course.  Thanks Geetha for taking me to the finish line faster than I would have on my own.

Thanks Karthik, Bala, Atha, Ramesh and Geetha.  For, your company helped me to keep moving and achieve a PB on this course.

Distance
Getting an accurate reading in Garmins have been a challenge at Auroville.  This I attribute this due to the terrain.  As the route takes us through thick forest and criss-crossing trails,  it is possible that GPS don't give good reading.  This year also, there was lot of discussions about the actual distance.  I heard many runners comparing their GPS watch readings and conclude that the distance was shorter by about 600 meters for half and close to 2k for lot for full.
Route grab from my Garmin 620
At the finish line, my Garmin read 40.26 km, almost a full 2k short.  I wonder if this helped me do my PB here at 4:05. 

Medal
In the past, not all editions of Auroville Marathons had medals and there was none this year as well.  I have seen lot of discussions in the social media on this subject.  Runners are 'upset' in not getting a medal.  I understand their disappointment as medals have become a norm for most of the running events.  Having said, I also saw 'no promise' by the organizers.  So, I was cool not getting one.

As I said before, I go to Auroville for the sheer 'joy of running' and on that front, Auroville hasn't disappointed me in the last 8 years.

With this first marathon for the year, my marathon count is at 53 now and hope to do a couple of more this year.

Tags - Marathon, Running, Auroville

Photos from the 8th Auroville Marathon Expo (2015) - Here