A couple of years ago, as a teenager, I had made a list of things I’d like to do when I’m older. Running a marathon was one of them. Fast forward to 21st October 2018, I got to tick that off my list.
About 3 months ago, I came across an article about the Bangalore Marathon. On a whim, I decided to sign up for the half marathon. I was deemed crazy by family and friends alike.
I have run a 10k before, how hard could it be?
I was wrong. So very wrong.
The last (and only time) I had run a 10k was about a year and a half prior to this.
I used to run a couple of times a month, but I never considered myself much of a runner.
My training consisted of a couple of short runs on the weekdays and one long run on the weekend. Training for the race was hard, often with work, studies and sickness getting the better of me. Even a couple of weeks before the race, I was almost convinced that I wouldn’t be able to conquer this seemingly impossible distance of 21 kilometers. Yet, I decided to go ahead and book my tickets for Bangalore, hoping for a miracle. The aim was to somehow finish the race, hopefully, alive and well.
Race day was greeted with a mix of nervousness and excitement. Thousands of runners gathered at the Sree Kanteerva Stadium, where the race would begin and end. Standing at that starting line, I got to witness people from different walks of life- young, old, some differently abled, yet all eager and joyful, united by their love for running. The first 10 kilometers were a dream- while I was a little slower than usual (as a result of not being able to get past the large crowd of fellow runners), the weather and route were beautiful and the energy around me was infectious, making it an easy run. A strong playlist to keep me company, and the friendly bystanders cheering us on with placards, dhols and even snacks only added to the beautiful experience.
I sprinted for the next 3 kilometers in the thrill of finally being able to make it past a large wave of people, unaware of what was soon to come. Looking back, this seemed like a rather foolish thing to do. As a result, things started to get really tough around the 13th kilometer – it got hot, I began feeling weak and dizzy and my entire body felt like it had been set ablaze. Unfamiliar with this degree of discomfort, I was absolutely gutted. Running alternated with walking, and I could see that crowd of people I had previously run past now running ahead of me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. As paradoxical as it might be, while the pain was excruciating and I felt like I was going to die before making it past that finish line, I also felt absolutely alive. While my mind was foggy from the pain, the entire experience began feeling almost metaphorical to life and its struggles. Mind vs. body, yet spirit indomitable. I resolved that I was going to enjoy this run, and take things as they come. Pushing along, I could finally see that finish line. I was overcome with pure joy.
It was at that moment, that split second, as I crossed that finish line that I realized what this journey truly meant to me. What started out as an impulsive decision that was driven by a bucket list made many years ago had become nothing short of life-altering. It was 2 hours and 10 minutes of joy, struggle, misery and pain that has given me a lifetime of lessons. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of family, friends and fellow MRCians, whose constant encouragement and guidance helped me sail through. If you’re reading this and wondering if you should sign up for your first half marathon, I have two words for you- do it! The sense of accomplishment and pride at that finish line after months of hard work and sacrifices is second to none.
As for me, this only the beginning, and there’s no looking back from here