Crossing the finish line of a Full marathon for the first time on 12th January 2003 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in the Chennai marathon was a tremendous relief specially after the DNF in the first attempt at Pune on 8th December 2002. It was also highly satisfying to achieve the goal of running a marathon before turning 45 - a goal I had set myself in October 2001. At that time I was running about 30 to 60 minutes per run, 4-5 days a week for fitness. Being under extreme duress to meet professional goals as head of a venture funded telecom software when I heard about marathon running I decided to gradually increase the duration of my runs and try and at least achieve a personal goal;The longer runs helped me tremendously in managing stress. Not being part of any running group or knowing any other runner in Bangalore nor being too aware of training programs my progression was very slow. I did my first 60 minutes run on August 28th 2001, 2 hours run on 17th Dec 2001, crossed 2 hours 40 minutes on 16th March 2002, hit 30Km+ in 3 hrs 20 mins on 4rth May and touched 35Km on 3rd August 2002 in 3 hrs 52 mins. All the runs including long ones were done in CV Raman Nagar in loops of about 2.5Km - measured using a car. In January 2002 I bought my first book on marathon running namely Jeff Galloway's ' Marathon You can do it!' . While Galloway's run/walk technique did not suit me the book provided a lot of useful information about marathon training and running in general. I was now keen to run a marathon in 4Q of 2002 and started searching for a suitable event. Unable to find a suitable event I enrolled for the Singapore marathon on 8th December 2002 ; however when I later learnt about the the Pune marathon on the same date I decided to give that a shot rather than spending on travel and hotel for my first marathon attempt. To gain confidence in my ability I ran 40 Kms(16 loops of 2.5Km) in 4 hours 13 minutes on 27th October 2002. The last long run before the Chennai marathon was a 3hrs 21 mins /30Km on 1st January 2003. Since then I have been able to maintain the tradition of running on the 1st of every year.
After my pathetic experience of Pune marathon I was constantly in touch with the organisers of the Chennai marathon and re-iterated to them that as a slow, amateur runner I would need support for about 5 hours. They assured me of support and encouraged me to run the event. I reached Chennai on 10th Jan morning by Chennai mail. After registering for the marathon by filling a form I checked out the route by auto and walking around.. The next day on 11th Jan I went to Nehru stadium for a medical checkup and also met Mr. A. Subramanium of Rotary International and also chairman of the marathon. I slept early after a dinner of maggie noodles at my parent's place in Thirvanamiyur.
I reached Anna statue on Marina beach - the start point of the race at 6:15am. The race started at about 7am. The Full marathon was only for men - the women were running the half marathon. As per this article there seem to have been about 470 participants including those for the 5Km. We ran through Adyar, Madhya Kailash junction and onto OMR road. On the return we went via Mylapore, Parrys and finished at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The weather was not too bad - certainly much better than it was in Pune in December 2002. After about 3 hours or so there was no traffic control and locating volunteers to stay on the route was a challenge. The flyover on the 39th Km was a real killer. I had to weave through a lot of chaotic traffic in front of central station towards the end when it also became warm. While the regular water stations had disappeared one of the volunteers supported me for the last 3Kms riding with a water bottle on a bike. I finally entered the stadium and crossed the finish line in 4 hours 32 mins 55 secs as per my stop watch. I felt quite elated and at the same time a bit dizzy and nauseated. The organisers had pretty much stopped looking for finishers and there was no one to record my time nor was I given a finishers medal. I was told that I was the 29th finisher. Anyway I felt great - timing , rank and lack of a finishers medal was of no significance- achieving the goal of completing the 42.2Km was very satisfying. I will always cherish this first FM finish and the tagline of this event Passion,Perseverance,Persistence embodies the history of my long distance running ever since.
|Chennai marathon 2003 bib|
Being ignorant of rest and recovery I continued running 4-5 times a week immediately following the marathon and succumbed to a knee injury. I visited several Orthos and went through extended physio-therapy in the 2nd half of 2003. This was the longest break from running since January 2002 and it was challenging to get back into regular training. A chance viewing of the advertisement for the 1st edition of the Mumbai marathon while watching Indo-Australia cricket on TV in January 2004 changed that. I registered for the HM, did one training run of about 15Kms and ran the HM in Mumbai in 2hrs 19mins 40 secs. Since then my running has been regular though my next event was the HM again at SCMM in January 2005 - this time taking 2hrs 11 mins 32 secs. My second FM was the New Jersey marathon 17th April 2005 in 4:48:46. Since then I have been running marathons regularly. I have managed to run a few marathons in the US around business trips and also do a couple of family vacations around marathons. A list of all 36 marathons/ultramarathons run to date is available here. Six of these marathons are 'unofficial' done in RFL long runs as part of my 12 marathons in 12 months in 2008-2009. I got my first Garmin (Forerunner 305) in July 2007 and have been hooked to it ever since and am currently using a 2nd unit of the same since July 2010.. Before that I was running with a regular stopwatch. In the last 10 years running has taken off in a big way with over 1000 runners completing marathons/ultra-marathons across tens of events in the country.
My weight was 150 pounds(68Kgs) in Janaury 2002 going down to about 140 lbs at the time of the marathon in January 2003. After picking up regular running from 2004 onwards my weight stabilised around 132 Lbs from 2007. In 4Q 2012 post the marathon in Albany in October the weight is now steady at about 125lbs(56.5Kgs). That is a change in weight of about 25 Lbs or 11Kgs in 11 years.
|March 2003 after 1st first FM|
|October 2012 after 35th FM+ finish|