The day I ran my first half marathon…

Apparently I was acting kinda weird last evening and this morning before the race. I blame it on nervousness and apprehension. Probably because despite having a plan and a backup plan and a plan C and D, I was still unsure about what was going to be in store.

So the race began at 8 am on a crisp cool Sunday morning. The weather was forecasted to be perfect – clear sky, moderate wind, and a sunny 8ºC. It was quite overwhelming to see the sheer number of people assembled at the starting point. Runners were self-organised in the ascending order of their anticipated finish times – those expecting to finish early (under 75 minutes) were at the front while others were at the back. I stood around the 2 hr 15 min pacer.
I used to be fascinated seeing the runners grab a drink while running, drink it or pour it over their heads, and throw the cup away. I always wanted to do that…
The course:
It was surreal to run with thousands of other people (in 2009, there were approx 5,000 runners). I was kinda cold since I was wearing only a light t-shirt and shorts, but that was resolved shortly. Before the 2km marker, I was already drenched in sweat.

The first water station was setup at 5km. I drank a cup of water eventhough I wasn’t feeling thirsty. But they say that one must drink water regardless because if you feel thirsty then its already too late by then. I also drank some Gatorade. Interestingly, I never had a sports drink before today.

Apart from random people ringing bells, banging drums, blowing whistles, etc, there were few bands playing music. There were also lots of people cheering and encouraging us. All runners had names written on their number bibs, and there were lots of shouts “Go Dave!” “You are doing great Amy!” “Looking strong, Brian!” etc. from random strangers. It was one of those rare moments when I wished my name was something familiar to the average North American… “Rick” or “Alan” or something common like that.

By the 10km mark, there were more water stations and I gulped down few sips every time I crossed one. When I used to watch marathons on TV once in a while as a child, I used to get fascinated seeing the runners grab a drink while running, drink it or pour it over their heads, and throw the cup away. I always wanted to do that. And guess what, I did, except that I didn’t pour anything over my head; hehe!

2010-10-17_0307 Near St. Lawrence Market, 17km

And obviously, my bladder was full now. I stood in the queue to use the portable toilet. It was quite unclean but all I needed was a minute of privacy and it did the needful. Unfortunately I lost quite a lot of time waiting in the queue; it took me another 7km to make up for the lost time. I think in the next run, I will plan better and avoid stopping at a toilet.
There were hot-dog carts, people walking around with coffees and snacks, other runners (who had already finished) with bananas and bagels in their hands. Oh what a torture that was! I wanted to cross the fence and and grab a bite…
It was very interesting to watch the scenery along Yonge street – I had only seen parts of the street before. The hills, turns, cheering crowds, water stations, police and fellow runners kept me busy from getting too distracted from the knee pain. My right knee started hurting at around 5km and the left one joined the party after 10km. However, after a while I became oblivious to the pain.

I unexpectedly saw Chad and couple of close friends around the 17km mark and that lifted my spirits. It was perfect timing. By then, my feet, knees and hands were complaining and I was also feeling significant overall fatigue. I feared I would have to lower my speed. There were a couple of places where runners had collapsed and paramedics were attending to them. The wind was stronger and colder and there were not many to cheer us on the last 3-4 km stretch. Usual problems, you know…

The clock at the old city hall struck 10 o’clock when I was at Queen St W and University Ave, just 2km from the finish line at Queens Park. There were hot-dog carts, people walking around with coffees and snacks, other runners (who had already finished) clapping for us with bananas and bagels in their hands. Oh what a torture that was! I wanted to cross the fence and and grab a bite…

2010-10-17_0314 With the finisher’s medal

The last two kms were quite challenging, but the increasing number of cheering people kept me going. The end is exactly how they show on TV – narrow lane, loud crowds on both sides and a big sign that says “Finish”. I could see the digital clock. I was close – 2 hours, 13 minutes, 5 seconds…. getting closer.. 6 seconds… almost there… 7 seconds… crossed it!! That’s when it ended. 02:13:07

I collected my medal, grabbed a big glass of energy drink, some bagels, bananas, oranges, hydration gel, etc. and got a mediocre free massage. Then I got out of the runners area and cheered for some people that were just arriving. Soon the marathon runners arrived. What a fascinating sight that was. Some day I will be one of them…

2010-10-17_0319 “Mon -Dad, this one is for you.”

So that was my race report. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for the messages, wishes and support during the last 90 days! Ofcourse, I will do this again.

38 thoughts on “Half-Marathon

  1. Priyank, Congrats for finishing, that too in good time.

    I think I need to train a lot harder than what I usually do. I have this 10Km barrier that I haven’t crossed so far. I think I am a better quarter marathon runner :D

    • Thanks Raunak!
      It’s really not that difficult! 3 months back I averaged at 5km, but our body picks up quite fast. Now I think that 5km is just a warm up, haha!

  2. A coding comment for your posts: in any reader software like google reader etc, the snippets from your posts get mixed with the main text So many times sentences tend to repeat themselves. Any solution for that? or Not, doesn’t make much of a difference.

    good day.

  3. Congratulations! You really had your mind set on it and made it. A true North American dream! Minus the last sign… mmm… I wonder what it says. Never mind, the writing looks very pretty! :lol:

    I really admire runners…

  4. Hey, Congrats!
    Great, you did it in almost the same time as you anticipated. Height of planning :)
    I m happy for you and for myself too for having such a brilliant person as my dear friend.
    i have so much to learn from you.
    God Bless.

    P.S: patla lag raha hai, khaya kar jam ke…
    knee pain abhi se kyon ?

    • Rajiiii, scratch your head – the last time you mentioned that you have to come back to check replies, I added this feature rightaway to make it easier!

  5. Hey Zhu, the writing reads as ‘Aai-Baaba, hey tumchyasathi-Dussehra-2010′ and means that Priyank dedicates his medal to his parents as a memoir of ‘Dussehra-2010′. Well, Dussehra is a major winter festival in India.

  6. Ah-huh! That is a twin celebration! We even got a new carpet for the class that day. What fun that was! We also arranged the musical instruments for the vaadya-poojan.

  7. yaar, vo to mai samajh gai thi
    par kuchh gadbad lagti hai
    tera reply nahi aaya email me but jai ke replies aa rahe hain !
    not complaining, just helping u to still work on it : ))

  8. Pingback: Half Marathon Statistics » Final Transit

  9. WOW! and Bravo! I truly admire you. This is fantastic. I love the photos. I was away from the Internet for more than a week, and missed so many things. Please note my new email address. I lost everything (all contacts). Take care. And rest a bit…till 2011!

  10. Hearty congrats. Sorry for the delay. Well how long is the half marathon. I couldnt get that anywhere. You will definately make full marathon and yaa this time you can dedicate it to me. Think so you got it. Anyways all the very best.

  11. One interesting fact : it takes me 1:45 min for 15 km by car to reach home in the evening daily. In that case you will surpass me… Just not kidding

  12. Pingback: Year 2010 in review : Travel Blog

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