Showing posts with label Airtel Hyderabad Marathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Airtel Hyderabad Marathon. Show all posts


43 seconds and counting

Third year in a row ran Airtel Hyderabad half marathon yesterday. There was many things which were different from 2013. Looking back 2013 was my second outstation race with PaceMakers. We traveled in train and return journey was not a great one as we had to travel in sleeper class. The fun was most of us did not had bed linen as we forgot how it was to travel in sleeper class. So Last year though I went with group in train booked my flight ticket for returning and that way I was back home on Sunday itself.

Coming to 2015 booked air tickets for going as well. Left Bangalore in the Saturday evening as reached Hyderabad in time for an early dinner and heading to bed. My roommate was running full 42.2KM in the toughest city marathon of India. Did not had a good night sleep not from pre-race anxiety but due to poor room quality of WoodBridge Grand. This hotel is getting dropped from our Hyderabad running hotels.

In the morning all the autos were asking exorbitant price in the early to morning to take me to starting point which was only 2 KM away. SoI kept walking and good Samaritan offered a ride in his car to Necklace Road railway station.

Was delighted and surprised to meet up with Prithvi Reddy. It is great that he is running and this was his second year doing Half Marathon.

Did proper warm-up with few PaceMakers and was confident for a good enjoyable run. But my Garmin went off before even the race could start :) Not sure what went wrong as I recollect had charged it before leaving Bangalore. Had one large Banana at hotel around 4:45AM & Clif-Gel around 5:45. The digital clock went down before the race director could flag off the race so it was not just me having trouble with watch in the early morning.

Knew  I was running strong as was able to see Brojen in front of me even though the gap between us was widening. Till the first flyover I could see him but  after 5KM mark he really took off.  I had a glass of energy drink around 7/8KM mark and another gel around 11KM with water. I love my coffee. I tried my best to cover up on the downhill parts knowing the course my heart now. Naidu (another PaceMakers) caught up with me around 15KM mark. Asked him what speed he was running and he mentioned something around 5, did not bother with that data as I had only one thing in my mind the last 3 KMs with Gachibowli flyover. Last two years this is where had my trouble and had to walk for few steps. Surprisingly this year there were families with nice Bollywood numbers to cheer runners and I crossed it without much trouble.

But the at the end there was no mark of how much is left and once again there was surprise. As this year also the entry to the stadium was changed and I was not sure how much is left. Only once I saw the stadium entry I started sprinting to the finish line. The clock at the finish line was clicking 1:43:XX and my heart had no joy as at last I felt I cracked the 1:45 mark. I was not super confident with the clock as did not have my own watch to double confirm the same.

So with lots of selfies and groupies and chit chat with known runners we headed back for hotel. But getting taxi was not easy but at the end we managed one with bribe ;). The driver switched off his GPS phone with Uber. The uber guys caked him few times and he ensured to maintain a silence.
The lunch was HUGE at DineHill but these year we were very few runners there. But the whole celebration of 1:45 got busted as soon we reached hotel with SMS from TimingIndia. It said my provisional timing is 1:45:43.

Oh! Now you tell me the value of 43 seconds and the difficulties I had to explain the same to my non running friends.  It was great  to run at an average 5 KM pace for the whole distance. The weather helped big time but somehow feeling down. In three years my ranking and running had improved (2013 - 2:01, 2014 1:50) but I am no longer super excited.

At last and not the list, thanks a ton to Hyderabad Runners for their execution in a flawless running event. There were volunteers who were excited and enthusiastic not just holding glass of water. The post run arrangement was also great with zero waste. Even though there is nothing new after this 3rd edition for me might comeback one day to complete the ‘toughest city marathon’ one day. Till then À bientôt.


Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon 2014

After Chennai DRHM event the event I signed up for was Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon. This run is little special to me as received my first ever finisher T-shirt last year as a proof of my improvement in running. Also there is the big culinary charm of Dine-hill and Karachi biscuits as post run celebration.

Booked myself a return flight as soon as the dates for AHM 2014 was out. Few of my fellow runners also opted for the same as soon as I posted the same in our FaceBook group.

The initial count was around 40 people going from our group alone this year but pre-race almost half of them dropped out due to various reasons. Myself was in worst running form as I got a Viral beginning of August which kept me away from any physical activity for 2 weeks. Just before the race week restarted running and was not even in a position to complete an easy pace 20km before the race week.

The train journey on Garib-Rath was wonderful with all the fellow runners. This time I did not took any food for myself for own dinner but there was so much homemade food on the train from others. I did not get much sleep over night but it was OK.

We got down at Begaumpet railway station and another running group (BHUKMP) from Bangalore joined us. This time we were staying together in a super nice hotel called Marigold. It was a chatty walk from the railway station to the hotel. Hotel staffs were super-efficient as they managed to checked-in 60+ runners with ease and then we had a big breakfast. I had lots of healthy stuff lots of curd, fruits and muesli. 

We went to expo from hotel thanks to Uber for free ride ;)

The expo was mixed bag most counters were well-organized and we were handed our running BIB and goody bag promptly but few were not so lucky. Met with lots of great runners with full ‘Josh’ (enthusiasm) whom came from across the country. Realized there will be no finisher t-shirt for the top runners from Nike. In a way it took off lots of pressure from me as I was not really ready for a race yet.

After returning to the hotel I declined to join the group lunch as every one headed to Paradise for the famous biryani and ‘qubani ka meetha’

After watching TV and some nap I got up in the evening and joined the group again for a early dinner. Had a light dinner with lots of Dal (lenthil) and curd.

Race-day : Woke up around 4AM, had a quick shower and had two banana and couple of dates. Dressed myself for a hot and sunny day. Again thanks to Uber reached the starting point of Necklace road. By the time we finished warm-up could already feel it was going to be a very hot day. 

I ensured to take water break at 2KM and 6KM early on. Thanks to Metro work there was some shades from those safety partitions. But soon they were also gone. I was running alone all along as could not find any one with a similar pace to run along. Most of the time I was crossing someone but there were few who crossed me along the whole path. 

As I ran this race before I was mentally strong and was able to map the course mentally and pushed myself for the best. I was also ensure that I was enjoying the run I ensured to thank many volunteers and give them high-five as I crossed them The volunteers specially Waste Warriors did a superb job of ensuring the street remains clutter free. I had my Glue-Gel around 11KM mark I did not tried any pre-race gel. 

All was going fine and I knew the last fly-over will be a killer and it really killed me. It was the worst as I almost lost the battle with it 18 KM was my slowest when I reviewed my Garmin later. I tried my best to push myself as I was approaching G. M. C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium. But to my surprise the entry to the stadium was changed from last year and I was completely hear-broken as I did not have any energy in myself to push further. Somewhere I knew it was only 500m to complete the race but I also not sure if it was 700m as did not want to victim of heat, dehydration and another DNF at the last meters.

I did what I best could and finished the race at 1:50:29. It was huge improvement compared to last year the result below is the testimony. The heat and sun was a killer this year and my face tells that. 

In a way very happy that I finished strong but on the other hand I wished I had little extra energy and strategy to finish the same around 1:48 and wished to run along someone as it was a boring city roads and flyovers.

It was the last outstation race of the year 2014-15 for me. 



Blessing is a simple word, but yesterday night (Monday) just before sleeping I was thinking about the same again and again. Wished for a gadget to record my thought as I was too tired to use any keyboard or voice recorder. At times we  wonder and sometime make fun of those award ceremonies where people on the stage  keep on thanking people around him or her and sometimes even their dogs. I always love to read the preface of a book where authors thank about their loved ones and early critics and business partners. Webby Award (considered as Oscar of Internet) being techie kept it simple --- as they have "5 word Acceptance Speeches” rule. Well I was not thinking about those awards and long speeches but more about the people around me who are allowing me to cherish my daily life on my own way.

After a horrible finish in Bangalore TCS 10K(1hr plus) and Chennai Half Marathon(2:27 my watch/2:09 race web site). I was determined to be regular with Coach Kothandapani K C and Pacemakers group. Earlier, was just running once a week with the group on weekend for long run and that too bit irregular. Now for one month started to leave home at 4:30 AM to reach Kanteerava Stadium for Tuesday and Thursday training. Tuesday, is interval training something I never ever tired before when I  started to run,  in early 2000. I struggled for weeks but eventually saw some improvement in me but there is still a lot to go. Thursdays we do tempo or core strengthening exercise which really helps running as core is the power house of our body. And couple of Nandi hill runs on the weekend ensured we were not scared of those flyovers in upcoming Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon .

In recent time, asked my younger brother to ship a  pair of running  shoes (4E-wide feet) & Garmin(GPS Watch). These items were personally carried to Bangalore by friends and colleague from US. These items are not easily available in India and if they are, they cost an arm and leg.

Can not thank enough Pamela for being there like a rock. Now a days, Pamela rushes faster than Bolt on those 2 days as she prepares breakfast, lunch box  and ensures Aarush and herself is ready with shower, breakfast and out of home by 07:30 to be at school on time.  Also,  in recent time lucky to have family members around who baby-seated Aarush on Saturdays as we are now running on Saturdays for long run instead of Sundays.

The result just speak for itself, finished Hyderabad Half Marathon strong with 2:01:33 on my Garmin. It is my best in recent time and  I am happy with the split timing for each Kilometers. I was consistent throughout and had only few kilometers where I ran slower than pace 6. The last KM I was able to push myself and was around 5:10 pace again ; where crossed a fellow runner from the running group and felt like winning the Gold medal. Yes, there was hard work, determination, strategy which helped me to achieve this. A minute shorter would have been a icing on the cake. But again, all these could not have been possible without these people and their belief in me; so feeling really blessed.

The race was an amazing one, met few finest Indian runners from other cities. The arrangement of transport, train tickets, hotel arrangement was too good; again special thanks to Coach and pacemakers team for that. The post-run lunch was something which I am going to drool and talk about for months to come. It was a unmarked restaurant named "Dine Hill", we were bit hesitant initially but once went inside for food; seeing the people and their plates we got a big cultural shock. There were those huge dishes which are as big as the size of the table and 4-5 people eat together from the same plate. We asked the restaurant guy if he is going to give us separate plate; He said YES but added why do not you try this way of sharing and eating food with friends - love grows between friends.

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...