More about me as a runner

2017 Target Events

  • 15th Jan - Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon - 3:49:54
  • 12th Feb - Auroville Marathon HM - 1:46:28
  • 29th April - Western Pacific Marathon
  • 15th October - Bangalore marathon - tentative

Blog Archive

Sunday, February 2, 2014

9th FM at Mumbai done and dusted...

After 8 consecutive years of timing improvement in the FM at SCMM the trend changed this year -not unexpectedly as I was not strong enough either physically or mentally being  under prepared due to  injuries in the last 7 weeks leading up to the race.I completed my 9th FM in Mumbai( and 40th FM+ finish overall)   in 3:46:23,  nine minutes slower then my PB in 2013. Though this was my 2nd best time at Mumbai and 4rth best overall ( being pretty much same as the time in AHM 2013) I felt a little disappointed in not being able to do a sub 3:40 and sad that the upward trend in timing improvement had ended.  With age catching up and so many variables in training for a race and on race day it had to happen sooner or later. I am hoping it is a blip this year and can reverse it again in 2015 - of course that will not be easy at all.

The race itself was well organised as usual with traffic control, clear Km markers, good spectator support and well stocked aid stations(though runners who finished after 5.5 hours had a different experience). Over the years the event has grown in stature and size. The numbers in the picture above show that it is by far the largest race in India. And an amazing growth in the number of FM registrations going up from 2500+ in 2013 to 3500+!! The growing running community in India looks forward to this race and it fills up quickly. The organizers have already announced the registration dates for the 2015 edition!!

As has been my practice I reached Mumbai on Friday 17th January night. However, unlike the past 10 years when I stayed with a relative in Govandi near Chembur station, this year I stayed with a nephew in his PG accommodation at Nariman point. After eating a Domino's pizza I went to bed around 1130PM on 17th and woke up around 7am on Saturday. I collected my bib(and that of my brother Chandru running is 1st HM in Mumbai) from WTC by 1130am. The expo was buzzing with the high energy of outstation runners(Mumbai based runners collect their bibs the previous weekend). I hung around for over an hour chatting with them before heading for lunch at Samrat near Churchgate station. The north Indian food was nice as ever though a bit heavy on the stomach. I relaxed in the room from about 4PM - laying out the gear for the morning , reading a bit and doing some light stretching. After a pasta dinner at Moshe's - about a km walk from where I was staying - I lay down to sleep by 10PM setting an alarm for 4am.

I had a decent sleep and woke up just before the alarm rang. After eating 2 large bananas and some pecans and almonds I left the room at 4:55am. The holding area in azad maidan was less then 2 Kms away. However, I did not get a taxi for several minutes. And when I did get one I realised that due to traffic barricades along the route of the race the taxi could not get close to Azad maidan. So I had to walk briskly (gobbling my 3rd banana on the way)  for about a Km reaching Azad maidan around 5:25am - 10-15 minutes later than I usually get there when taking the train from Chembur. By the time I checked in my bag, used the port-a-loo and headed towards the start point it was past 5:35. The area was crowded with runners and by the time I rushed through sections D,C and B the section A(for runners faster than 4 hrs) runner had started the race. So I started a minute late. That was not really an issue - I picked up pace soon and ran the first 4Kms in under 5 mins/Km pace going past several familiar runners(Pankaj, Shantanu, Vishy, Sridhar et al) . Focusing on my pacing strategy I completed  10K  in about 51 minutes. I ran the race pretty much alone not chit-chatting with fellow runners and not interacting with volunteers at all. The half way mark was reached in similar time as last year(see comparative splits below) - 1:48 at an average pace of about 5:08/Km. This was in spite of strong headwinds in the sealink stretch. I managed to sustain this pace till about Km 25 despite the growing discomfort in the left glutes, calf and sole. At this point the numbness in the front half of the left foot became quite severe and the foot started feel heavier and heavier. It became difficult to move the left foot quickly enough. My mind seemed to have also given up quite easily and I just could not dig deep and push myself. The pace dropped quite a bit. Having given up on sub 3:40 time I knew that even a  sub 3:45 was going to be challenging and reconciled myself to a sub 3:50.  In fact for the 1st time ever in Mumbai I walked for a minute or so around Km 36. However, soon after the Peddar road flyover  a  sudden spike in inner strength enabled me to push hard  through the last 4 Kms, weaving past slower runners/walkers  and finish comfortably in  sub 3:50 time . 

 Mumbai Marathon 2014 - Marathon 5:40 Start            
Bib Number2905
Overall Rank149 (80)
Category Rank4 (17 - in veteran category)
Gender Rank143 (77)
Split@10.5 Km00:53:15  
Split@15 Km01:16:10  (01:15:32)
Split@20.1 Km01:42:02 (20Km/1:41:48)
Split@21.1 Km01:47:14  
Split@27 Km02:18:14  (2:16:03)
Split@29.2 Km02:30:38 (29.5Km/2:28:37)
Split@30.3 Km02:36:44  
Split@31.5 Km02:43:49  
Net Time03:46:23  (3:37:20)
Gross Time03:47:20 (3:39:07)

After hanging around with my brother Chandru and other runners for some time inside Azad maidan  I slowly walked back to my nephew's place  Nariman Point. Though my run was below par  I indulged in  a post run beer+lunch with runner friends at Leopold before heading to the airport. 

The numbness in the left forefoot disappeared a few minutes after the race. The slight  soreness in the calf and shin lasted for a day. The glutes was strained for several days after the race. Hopefully with renewed strengthening exercises over the next couple of months the issue will be addressed soon - And the 3rd and biggest race of the season in 11 weeks from now at Boston will  be better compared to the previous two in Hyderabad and Mumbai.


Unknown said...

Well done Bhaskerji. Do overcome your injuries and have a great Boston Marathon - will keep following your inspirational training blog


SureSesh said...

lovely one Bhasker..reading this blog for the first time..inspiring sir

manoj said...

Hi Bhasker. Yes. the slope on the inspiring curve of your Mumbai performance had to reverse at some point, but you held it for 8 years! You walked for the first time in the Mumbai marathon, wow, that's another gem, right there... Good luck for the big one! Cheers!