Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Case of Frozen Knees

After many a days of practice and "psyching up" for a big run, the day was finally upon me, a clear and sunny day but chilly nonetheless. today myself and sub didn't plan on doing much. Just a stroll, eat well, sleep, have dinner and run was the plan on our minds, but turned out a little differently, I have to say. Firstly sub had to get his insurance renewed, so was off to somewhere near Mahaveer Jain college, while he was busy honking away at the chicks to make way for his one-shock machine, I was *cough* busy with other things. Once the insurance formalities were done, we were almost near his place when I, like a block head, came up with the idea of going to Gangarams. It was about turn and back to M.G road again, after doing two laps of M.G in search of parking, we finally set foot on the road and were on our way to Gangarams. I made him buy FEM (sorry sub) and I bought Bertrand Russell as usual and some book on time management, well, yes, I suck at it, thanks!
By the time we were done there and came back, it was post-lunchtime and pre-snack time at all the hotels, all except, of course, pizza hut and the good old Murali the waiter! But we didn't want to have something as heavy as a pizza, something which is good in calories, what else, pasta, garlic bread, green salad and ice tea. This is probably not the best combo of food 7 hours before a half marathon, but we couldn't improvise any further.
After that, we split wanting to catch some sleep, but both of us couldn't get any sleep, the nerves had stretched themselves tight by now! so I passed time tossing in bed till it was 1930hrs and arrived at sub's place while he was still having dinner.
There was a small discussion on what to wear and we finally agreed that we would wear something warm. But, I didn't want to run in pants, so, told him I'll change there into my shorts. When we arrived at the venue of the event, it was a medium sized part going on with bands, salsa, food and lights! I saw the Ethiopians warming up at the end of the field, and I thought I would need some warm up too (not to compete with them, mind you). I started running at a very slow pace and immediately felt the tightness in my left knee, it was then I realised that it was gonna be a long, long night!
Start time nearing, I was all set to run, when the clock hit zero, everyone started their own race, and I started mine, so extremely slow, sub was already way ahead of me, I was still cold and showing no signs of warming up. I couldn't possibly run any faster without pushing my knee over the limit, so relaxation and breathing was the key as I set my own pace, acknowledging the every enthusiastic people who were standing at the side of the road bearing the freeze just to cheer us on. At around 15 Minutes into my run, I was swamped by a group of girls each one smelling of a different perfume, perfume! in the middle on the night! the fragrance was the least of my worries! Because these were not the seasoned running girls, these were girls who belonged on the ramp, figures, you know, with the dimpled elbows, knees which've never had a scar in life and rounded calves. seeing them overtake me, caused a panic in my head. With all due respect to those girls, well done for their run, but I have been running for a year and a half now. completed 3 big runs and have been constantly practising for this, being overtaken was the last thing I expected from them. As I looked on while their silhouette kept getting smaller and smaller in the orange light, I began to calm myself down saying, "relax gk, they won't last long, they won't last long, you'll pass them all, they don't know they're going too fast, you've had more than enough training" but I was wrong, they did last long! very long! while I was nearly a kilometre before the U-turn in the course, I met sub, he was nearly two km ahead of me on the course, I asked him how long I had to run before I could turn, clearly he wasn't keeping track of distance cause all he did was shrug his shoulders and point in the direction I was running!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the U turn came. and I was glad to make the turn, I had to go back to the start line and do this once more to finish the half marathon! surely, I could finish it walking at least. But there was something worse waiting for me. Just one hour into my run, my trot became a walk and I saw the first of the marathoners in full gallop as they zipped past me like someone was chasing them on a cho-cho match! I walked to the 10km walk and tried to run again, by then my thighs were too cold, I couldn't feel my hands and my knee was frozen solid refusing to let my leg bend! so I walked again, trying to explain to curious people why I still hadn't worked up a sweat, wasn't even panting for breath, but was already limping on the road. I made it two km and decided that I'd act wise and just call it quits, there was no point in continuing any more, I would have been risking my knee and my entire future athletic life if I had decided to continue. So I came to a stop, jumped the median and hopped on an ambulance to hitch a ride to the finish line. In the ambulance, I found one of the Ethiopians lying with cramps in both his legs, caused, he claimed, due to lack of practice owing to a sickness he'd suffered earlier.
Having reached the finish line in an ambulance, cold and broken-hearted, I went to collect my warmers and jacket, the Ethiopian was helped out of the ambulance, he was in a worse condition that I am, visibly in pain and unable to walk. I collected my clothes and was warming myself up, striking a conversation with some people nearby and waiting for sub to come. But there had been a little confusion regarding the meeting point, cause while I was sitting here waiting for him, sub had finished somewhat of a power nap on the median after finishing the race in a very decent 2hours and 56Minutes! After meeting up with him, we decided to have coffee in the nearby coffee day (we always seem to be lucky when it comes to coffee), there was a mad rush with people waiting in a queue for coffee and the ones who were lucky enough to get access to the restroom, coffee and a chair, in that order, were fast asleep in their seats! We managed to get some seats finish out coffee and were on our way back home riding in the shivering cold. we stopped on the way somewhere at a tea stall hoping to warm ourselves up with some tea. Sub here had a moment spilling the tea with a uncontrollable jerk due to the cold! The rest of the journey was pretty fine, we reached home by six and I was soon fast asleep with the thick blanket sub gave me. He on the other hand was in somewhat of a rush having completed his first half marathon and didn't sleep! so the rest of the day, he was understandably drowsy.
This was the way my first attempt at the half marathon had to end! Sad, but then, looking back at it, I consider myself to be lucky that I was able to get back to cycling the very next day. The next one is a 10k run in May. It's gonna be a different story then! Chao for now


  1. Beautifully written! You should've done with the warmers too!
    And the book has actually done the job of starting off! So it was a good thing to buy!