Race Day

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , , ,

April 11th 2010

As I sit typing this, my lower body is so sore, I could use a massage right now and a bath that I will never get up from :)  I am feeling parts of my leg that I did not know existed. I did it and ran my first half-marathon today. This post is a rambling of my thoughts before, during and after the race.

I dreamt today morning that I had slept through the race and did not wake up on time and as a result could not run. Great beginning I thought when I finally woke up to the sound of the alarm. The race would start at 7 am, we had to be in our spots by 6:30 am, which meant I had to leave the house by 5:45 am ( to give leeway for murphy's law). Woke up at 4:50 am and finally left at 5:50 am. The drive was beautiful. I left a sleeping V and K, to drive in the dark morning. But the weather Gods had heard my prayers and it was not going to rain.  Yay! I ate the very first CLIF energy bar in my life today morning. As I drove to the race, I was mentally telling myself that this was not worth it. I had to take time off from family to do my long runs, not what I wanted to do at all. And today, I was alone physically because K was on-call and of course V could not come on his own now can he? Even when I parked and walked in, that is what I felt.

And then bam, it hit me as I walked into the exhibit hall A. It was ginormous, like a huge conference room. And the adrenaline level was so high. I saw people young and old, fit and not so fit, all ready to race. And so many athletic people, it was just too much in a nice way. And at that minute, I was so kicked that I had decided to do this and made peace that it would all be worth it.  The enthusiam was so contagious. I have felt this many times when I trained and I felt it here again too that one should have a partner. It makes it so much fun. In my case, since I trained based on V's schedule I did not want to burden anyone else with my sketchy routine and hence refrained from searching for a partner. But the next time, when I do it..it will be with someone for sure.

The race was very well organized. We had drop off areas for our stuff and a stretch routine before we started. And right at 7 am we began. I lined myself between the 11:00 min/mile and 12:00 min/mile runners/walkers. When we finally took off, to my left and right every one was overtaking me :) Even walkers and that was shameful. But I did not want to tire myself out the first mile, I was being sensible I told myself. At some points, I just looked back to make sure there were some people behind me after all!

I timed myself and was able to do a steady 12min mile for the first 10 miles for the most part. There was water and gatorade every 2 m, which I definitely needed and almost choked trying to drink while running like I have seen on TV. I should have realised I have seen it on TV and I was not on TV! Then on, I would rest a min, drink it and then continue.  I was good for about 4 miles. I did overtake a few people and that felt awesome. The route was not spectacular, but I got to see parts of Portland Downtown I have not seen so far. For that matter, K and I have not seen any of Portland yet.

And then at around mile 4, I got this crazy idea to pick a competitor who was my pace. What can I do,  I am Indian and competion runs in my blood. And I overtook her and kept going. At least it gave me something to focus. And then at mile 6, my shoelace had to come undone. My hands were so cold that I just could not tie it back again for a while. And and and she overtook me :( And that was that. I tried, but I have to admit not too hard. And she was a good 0.1m ahead of me from then on.

Something wonderful happened after mile 8. There was a huge stretch of a straight road where people ran on both sides. So you would go one way and turn out at the end and run forward in the other direction like an U. This was about 3/4 a mile each way. It was just an absolutely wonderful feeling to see so many people running. I really could feel the energy, enthusiam and good will flowing. And I thought, if humanity can give you such good vibes from such a small deed, how much more we can do if we come together for important, crucial causes? And with that thought and volunteering, I saw her again coming towards me as I continued yet to reach the turn. And we smiled at each other. And then competitor became friend and I no longer cared. Couldn't care too as my butt was being kicked royally as is :)

The last 2 miles, the last mile was especially hard. I could really sense my mind taking over my body and telling me over and over that I was not prepared to do this as the longest I had trained was for 10m. In the end, I did finish and here are the results.

Running gives you a lot of time to think. And that I did for sure today. Some things really moved me during the race, I saw at corners spouses waiting with their kids, waiting for their mother/father to show up and cheer them along. It was lovely to see that. I saw women pushing strollers and running the 10K, one lady was pushing twins and I wanted to do a god-salute to her right there. I saw determinatoin, discipline and drive in the people I ran with today. And in all the volunteers who were there at every mile marker, in between mile markers, giving water, picking up cups, cheering us along at 7 am in the cold, I saw good people who inspired me to do something more than what I currently do. I missed having my boys with me today, but I wore on my hand the watch K gave me 10 years ago and felt his support throughout. And that timed me at 2h 40 min, humpf to the chip timer!

I know I have not won an Oscar but I want to thank my family and friends for their support and encouragement. For many this might be nothing, but for a non-runner like me it is a big deal and I thank God for making this possible.


  • Invest in a good shoe. I don't mean just buy one. Go to a runner's store and check out how your feet are and what kind of arches you have and what will suit best. I did not and I regret it.

  • Find a partner, so you will feel motivated and enjoy the process at least for the long runs.

  • Pick paths and routes that have highs and lows, flats are boring and tough.

  • Get some kind of a waist strap or band to hold water on your long runs, you will need it.

  • Pick good music to use when you run, create a peppy playlist.

  • Morning long runs are great compared to any other time of the day. Also so you won't skip it.

  • Pick a time in your life that is stressful and don't skip training, invest the 8 weeks or 10 weeks that you need and you will enjoy the journey more.

  • Carry too much on the day of the race, they will have all you need, unless you want to carry energy bars and such.

  • Pick a training program that has only running, pick a varied one so you won't be bored.


Meera said...

Hats off Anu.. great determination and awesome spirit. I only wish i was waiting by the sidelines with a banner :D:D

Lavanya said...

Great buddy! Happy that you could accomplish it and appreciate the enthu and energy! Great motivation for beginners :)

Super Babe said...

"And so many athletic people, it was just too much in a nice way" - that's my favorite part of races!

Liked your DOs list... though I never cared much for a partner to have while running (my husband and a friend would start with me, but I liked running at my own pace, mostly by myself, knowing they were somewhere behind me)... And I never ran with music... it was kind of nice to just have that time to myself...

The best training programs for me are the ones from Hal Higdon (I've done the beginner and intermediate)...

Congrats! I'm excited for you... and can't wait to run the half here next year (this year may be a bit difficult with a ~7 week old around!) :)

MaySan said...

Anu is for determination. You have always come across as determined Anu and you have proved it once again. Congratulations. V (we) will surely join you the next time you run, if you do!

Krithi said...

Great Anu.. You are my inspiration and will be to go to the Gym:-).. wish I too had such opportunities.:-)

Santh said...

great achievement anu!! keep it up.

Sandhya said...

Hats off babe. I have been keeping this on my to do list for awhile now. this is inspiration!

nishaa said...

great going anu!! I liked reading thro and was able to bring the actual scene in front of my eyes!!!

balu said...

My God!! Nancy, Kay ,Sellers to name a few are females above 61 [ one around 71] and they had run full marathon.Phew!!

asha said...

Wow..!! Congratz..!! :) I was able to visualize every scene while reading.. :) Super..!!

Anu Karthik said...

@ meera: you can come even now, I am just a state away.
@lava: thanks!
@sary: thanks. The music kept my mind from thinking about the running. and yes finding a partner who more or less has your pace would be nice. enjoy the new born when he/she comes..running is always going to be there :D
@may,santh: thanks for always being there.
@krithi: why don't you have such opportunities?
@ sandhya: thanks girl
@ nishaa: glad you liked it :)
@ appa: so now can i enroll you and amma in the next half marathon since you are not even 60 yet??
@ asha: thank you very much. is this someone i know?

Narayan said...

Wow, this is great. way to go! get Mr.K also to run with you for the next race.

As I like it said...

Got to read your post just now. I should say, "Kudos". It shows you have run with all you have.:)

Ms.N said...

hey - great going. running can be fun - good for clearing your head, tiring you out and with music, kind of gets u all pepped up. but marathon def is hard work! have been wanting to "see" the marathon in bby, but too lazy!

Sheela said...

Hurray! Congrats, Anu!

Anu Karthik said...

@ mama: then who will watch V?
@ meera: that is correct yes.
@ N: it was, glad it is over :D
@ sheela: thanks!

Brindha said...

wow! it was so inspiring...hats off to u! really awesome effort and commitment : )

Anu Karthik said...

@ Brindha: Thanks very much!

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