As an ophthalmologist, I hardly find time for fitness and my frequent bouts with the same last only one hour a day on alternate days at the gym. It wasn’t until I completed a 10 k marathon at Salem in October, that I rekindled my passion for running. This half marathon at Tanjore in December 2013 would further rejuvenate me for my future runs. It was a cool morning in Tanjore, when my wife and I woke up at Hotel Laxmi at 5 am, to start preparations for the marathon at 6:15 AM. I had hit a lukewarm shower at midnight, gotten up at 3:30 Am for a small snack of two bread slices with peanut butter and 5 ounces of Gatorade. Now, as we prepare to start for the site, we discover our pal Mohan had failed to show up at our place on time. We rush to Ashok Lodge, pick him up, then proceed to the marathon – start. I thanked God for helping us scout the site the previous day, hence helping us reach the place on time. As luck would have it, the start was delayed by half an hour. My wife would be running the 5 km race, while Mohan and I would be running the 21 km half marathon. The event started, and as usual an enthusiastic pack made their way at an incredibly fast pace, only to fall behind after I started picking up speed. I started with an 8kmph speed, then picked up to a steady speed of 11kmph. I grabbed a banana and some electrolytes at the 8 km mark (I saved the banana for later), then met a good runner who was running at my pace, so decided to run by his side, till I realized I would not be able to complete the race if I kept running that way. I eventually slowed down at around the 10 km mark, and let him pass. Two incredibly fit old men passed me on the way. I took in the sights of greenery and encouraging villagers, especially the cute children as I pushed on. I allowed nature to embrace me, enjoying the cool wind brushing my face, helping me forget the harsh sunlight that was now playing everywhere. The fields and water canals gave me some awesome sights to look at and pretty soon, I was back to a speed of 10 kmph passing a professional female athlete, who was running with her trainer. I discovered fatigue slowly setting in at around the 15 km mark, but not before I managed to overtake the over enthusiastic runner who passed me 5 km back and two other youngsters who had resorted to walking. I started nibbling on the banana at the 18 km mark, and settled for a steady speed of 8 kmph. Two young boys probably around nineteen passed me soon after, moving quite fast, probably at around 12 kmph. At this point, it was all about finishing the race. I managed to stick to the pace, ignoring the rubbery feeling in my knees, the burning sensation in my feet and my sweat – drenched clothes. In the last 500 meters, another extremely fit elder tried to pass me. I put on a burst of speed toward the last 100 meters, passing him and finishing the race at exactly 1 hour 59 minutes and 43 seconds (Mohan arrived 20 minutes later) while my better half had completed her 5 k run in 30 minutes and was waiting for me. We enjoyed a good breakfast, got our finishing certificates and medals, replenished ourselves with electrolytes, then made our way back to Tanjore, and from there back to home. Was an awesome experience – looking forward to many more races in the coming future.
My first half – marathon