2014 was an important year for running.
To look back 15years ago in the last quarter of 1999 when I was studying at NIT, Trichy (Then REC, Trichy) I made my first steps of running around the cricket ground. I was running barefoot then. I used to cycle from hostel to the ground remove my slippers and ran. Struggled even to run 200mts, the ground was 800mts. I was panting, sweating, cursing myself. I kept running almost every day around the ground irrespective of difficulty in running. When I was leaving REC I managed to run 11times around the ground.
2014 also marks a decade of serious runnning. It was in 2004 around November – December that my brother suggested why not run marathons. And from their running got stuck on!
Prior to 2014 running was on and off with bad timings in Marathons due to varied reasons and inconsistent practice runs. Mentally it was tough to overcome injuries and broken bones and get back to running. The vision was in sight. It was time to come back. I started off towards end of 2013 and felt good.
To prevent injuries I also decided to strengthen core mixed with good stretches. Everything was new and it looked like I was a newbie again. The biggest factor was poor performance in previous years was in the 2nd half of running marathons. And this resulted in timings above 5hrs. I started feeling that being on the track for more than 5hrs was not getting justified to say that am a runner.
2014 began with a simple target that I would not run marathons for anything more than 5hrs. If I ran above 5hrs then I would not run any longer.
So began the quest with Mumbai Marathon (SCMM 2014). New strategy to keep running and not walk at any point of time. Unfortunately after 30+kms, I was forced to walk. Old thoughts started coming back but the main focus was to get over the cramps. Finally I managed to cross the line after 4hrs and 15mins. I managed to keep up to my word and that was a good motivation, I was pumped up. There was a learning from here not to avoid hydrating sufficiently.
The next run was “Run the Rann“. This was to be a 42kms run at Rann of Kutch. In the end the distance turned out to be 53kms. It was not about the distance, I spent almost 9hrs and 31mins. It was disappointment. It was not much about the trail it was also not properly planning the run and a mental exhaustion. There were learnings and revised target that no more ultra marathons with such a bad timing.
Few months of break and it was time to restart with TCS World 10k. It was not exciting event but a good platform to start running with regular practice. I did not expect much from this event. Of course 1hr meant I was long enough and would have felt bad. Luckily that was not the case. But am not sure I would again get back to this event in 2015!
Chennai Trail Marathon, this was one event I was looking forward to. I was also getting attracted to Ultra Marathons. Main target was to run 50kms comfortably. Though in the end I would not say so. I was again comfortably running with sufficient intake of oranges and lemon for hydration and salts. And this also had an effect. After around 30kms I started struggling. Finally I managed to finish 50kms in 6hrs 20mins.
The next even which was coming up was Jawadu Hills Ultra. I was keenly looking forward to this run. 50kms on the hills, I was excited and tensed. I did not intend to repeat mistakes of Mumbai and CTM. I kept hydrating myself, avoided lemon and oranges, feasted on bananas and chocolates. There I was running comfortable pace. Maintained one single goal, do not walk. Around 25kms I was getting tired but pushed myself saying that however it is do not walk. Slow job up the hill is fine. Took good few minutes break at all aid stations. Yes I managed to finish in 5.5hrs without any tiredness nor pain nor acidity. I was very happy.
Post this event I wanted to take a break which was when SAP Runners Cup started. This was an event where we form team of 3 across SAP locations around the world. We burn calories basically. With my body weight I had to run more and more to burn little amount of calories. I ran frequently to office from home. This 3months helped in improving my rhythm and also pace. I all times supplemented with core exercises. I did not clock less miles in this period but I burnt only few calories.
Chennai Marathon in the month of December to mark the decade was my best run so far! I picked up pace after 2kms, regularized the run with sufficient breaks. Learnt from all past mistakes. Carried forward from Jawadu Hills Ultra and completed the marathon with personal best of 3hrs 54mins.
To sign-off the year in my own way last 3days I have clocked more than 10kms per day. Today being the last day of the year ran 14kms in 1hr20mins.
With that looking forward to improved performance in 2015!
Thanks to my family of parents, brother, wife, sister and my in-laws and to all my running friends and non-running friends and to my office colleagues for all their support throughout the year.