Sunday, May 21, 2017

Expect nothing, apt to be surprised - TCSW10k experience

TCS World 10 K Bengaluru

The last time I ran a timed 10 k event was in the year 2015. It was my fastest and the most exciting run with a timing of 00:47:23, it was indeed painful to sustain that speed.  It took a toll on my body and I spent few days to recover from the hard efforts.

I did not have any plans to run the #TCSW10k this year since I just came out of my long enduring #424242running campaign as part of the SahayaLRTS's initiative towards road safety, followed by a full month of complete shutdown and bracing myself for the 12 hrs stadium run in Chennai.  Running a short distance event was not listed in my 2017 plan.  I was keeping myself adequately fit due to my regular and fun filled fitness and exercise sessions with my KaysFIT Academy members.

About two weeks back, I received an invitation to deliver the "The Next 48 hrs" session at the #tcsw10k expo, and I was excited and happy about it. I was totally soaked in the preparation for the talk since the time the invitation arrived. The more I prepared, the more I wanted to run... Nevertheless, the big day came too soon, and here's what I planned to speak. I put myself as a 10 k runner who would go through every bit of planning meticulously to prepare for the race.  I wore my running coach hat to provide the best advise to my clients.  With them, I wanted to travel back in time, over 16 weeks, starting from the foundation of the run, planning for the nutrition, rest, recovery and tapering.  I also created my bullet list to talk about how to “prime the body before the race day” to give the possible best performance.

I wanted to give the best experience for my audience like in a short & sweet 10 k race. I summed up my best personal learning both from the things that worked well and the things that did not.

Unfortunately, I felt extremely odd that I wasn’t going to run this marathon...

Hence, instead of running the race to my best efforts, I had decided to give my best preparation for the talk at the expo.   I wanted to fare well in delivering that and that was my race.

At the race expo

On Friday, when I entered the expo hall at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium, I felt something was missing.  I hadn’t registered for the event and for a change, I was only theoretically prepared well.

When the time arrived, I delivered my session.   It was well received by the runners who attended the session and the organizers alike.  I also received a wink from my little daughter and a big thumbs-up from my wife who was sitting in the front and recording.

The Next 48 hrs - session

With Mr. Venkat, an inspiring person who runs
It came as a pleasant surprise when I fount that I could complete a manual registration to run the race. Hastily I registered for this run! I was happy to run and had no expectations from myself for the race.

I collected the bib which had no name and with a starting lineup stamped as 'F' pen.

Few of my friends asked me whether I had any target finish time in mind.  My mind was wandering for an answer.   I did not plan for this race.  I wasn’t doing any speed training.  I told myself to settle down any time closer to my 2015 10k time or even few minutes slower due to the 'F' starting lineup.  I wasn’t sure if I could run the race better than the last time since I haven’t trained specifically for a short distance race.

Race day

On Sunday morning, I reached the Coffee Day junction just around 4:50 AM.  I completed a 10-min warm-up behind the Coffee Day and rushed to the porta-potty before the start.  After 10 minutes of waiting in the queue, I walked out with great relief, victoriously.  The time was 5:10 AM.  I started clinging to the crowd and crawling towards the ‘F’ pen, inching towards the stands, 2 levels up.
Runners queuing up to enter the 'F' pen due to an unexpected water logged stands entrance, 5 minutes to start
The 20 mins that I spent bumping other runners shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet was very chaotic.  There was a growing impatience among the runners when they realized the queue was due to clogged walk ways at the entrance.  The rain that lashed the night before was one of the reasons.
View from the 'F' pen - Pens ahead of us were already ready to start the race
From a long distance at the stands, I watched the flag off at 5.30 am.  My legs were tap-dancing to the ambiance, craving to run.  With a slow crawl towards the start line, I managed to cross the start mat at 5:42 am, a good 12 mins after the official start.  I started running and carefully cut across a massive volume of runners to get to the open section of the road outside the stadium.

With thousands of runners filling the streets on a chilly morning, running was getting fun.  Going through the crowded streets and getting past the runners was like playing a complex maze game.  I ran faster whenever I saw space ahead of me, hopped to the right and left whenever I came close to other runners, slowed down when I did not have any space to move and accelerated whenever I could.  I ran on broken banners littered on the road and ran through the ankle deep water-logged sections.  The only thing missing was the presence of hurdles to completely call the race a steeplechase.  I was on a constant roll.

I finished with a memorable personal best of 00:45:34, 24th place out of 881 in my age (40-45 years) category

Pace split: 4:43, 4:23, 4:57, 4:33, 4:45, 4:32, 4:35, 4:10, 4:32, 4:08

At the finish line, I treasured the medal with no pressure.

“If you expect nothing, you're apt to be surprised. You'll get it"
-  Malcolm Forbes

Somewhere inside the Cubbon Park - sprinting

Extremely dangerous stretch for runners entering the stands post race to collect medals + breakfast
About me,

I'm a random writer who enjoys the basic act of sharing and teaching others.  I'm an ACE certified personal trainer, an ultramarathon runner, and a running coach with a personal touch.  I left my corporate job after 24 years of working and have founded KaysFIT Academy in 2016.

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