Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marathon #2: Namma Bengaluru!

Well, here we go again! At least I am sure that's what my family was thinking when I said I was going to run the inaugural Bengaluru Marathon. I had some reservation on how well it will be organized considering that the sponsors were doing it for the first time, but with some persuasion from my running partner, Bipin, I also registered. Bangalore hosts many runs already, TCS 10k, Midnight Marathon, Life is calling/Celebration half marathons as well as the Ultra Marathons. So, why is this inaugural? Well, the organizers are trying to position this as a signature FULL (42.2 km) marathon event for Bengaluru on the likes of Chicago, London, Mumbai marathons. Accordingly the run is through the main city streets so that the citizens can also take part albeit by cheering. Of course they have a long, long way to go, to even be thought of in the company of those mega events. But a start is a start, so inaugural run it is!

We allocated about 4 months training for it, which should be enough as we both run regularly and were already fit to run 10 km comfortably. For me, the debacle at my first marathon attempt in Mumbai was hanging over my head.  My primary goal therefore was to correct those mistakes and have a good comfortable run. It helped that my friend was also looking to just complete without any injuries.

And so began the grueling training. My training schedule was to run 2-3 times a week with a long run on Sunday with my friend. In addition,  I played about an hour of Badminton twice weekly and couple of hours of Basketball once. Enough for fitness, I thought. Total running distance per week started from 20 and went up to 45 km with the long run at 10 km in the beginning and reaching up to 30 km in the last month. I also did the Mysore celebration half marathon during this period in 2hr15min. In total for the 14 weeks, including the final run, I had done about 400 km. Ideally, some more running is advisable.

Even though the event publicity was low key, the organizers did a great job helping out the runners prepare. They organized many long training runs with support of volunteers and critical aid stations. We could participate in only one though, the pipeline run behind Art of Living center, where we were able to run for 28 km. It was great and gave us the confidence that indeed we were ready. They sent a free training t-shirt with our name, providing some much needed motivation. Pacers were designated early enabling runners to contact them and get some useful training and nutrition tips for our target time goals.

Some mistakes which I corrected by leveraging from the experience of my 1st attempt and advice of veteran runners:
1. Train more this time. I did 4-5 long runs (20+ km)  compared to just one last time.
2. Carb(Carbohydrate) loading. Started 2-3 days prior rather than just the previous night! I snacked on bananas, apples and bread(multi grain or whole wheat). Too many apples did cause constipation, so I laid off it a bit the last day. Also ate extra roti/chappathi and 25% more rice for lunch/dinner in the days prior. And the obligatory, runners favorite, Pasta for lunch the day before. These preparations are very much individual, so figure out what works for you during the training runs and NOT on the actual run!!!
3. Hydration. This time I planned to take electoral laced water as early as possible and continue that all through the run.
4. Painkiller spray. I also decided on getting the painkiller sprays as soon as my legs start aching instead of gutting it out as I did until the cramps hit.

Did it help? Well....find out below.

Race Day!  Our morning routines and commute went as planned. My friend and I made it in perfect timing to the 5 am flag off and soon we were pounding the streets inside Cubbon Park on a very cool and pleasant early morning. There were plenty of aid stations with friendly volunteers to follow my hydration plan. I did
not grab and run but neither did I stop too long. Just enough to drink comfortably and continue running. I took bananas or biscuits at each station. Few times both. Oranges only a couple of times. In all I must have eaten about 10-12 (small) bananas, 15-20 glucose biscuits!

My family had come to cheer me up at Adugodi U-turn with bananas and water. It was nice that they could see my huffing and puffing. Advantage of a local run! Kudos to a gentleman near Ulsoor Lake who was handing out chocolates and reminded me of Mumbai! Traffic Police did a great job cordoning off the roads until about 4 hours into the race. It is so much easier to run without having to worry about vehicles zipping past inches from you.

Highlight of the Bangalore Marathon for me were the awesome Army people who lined up along the inner ring road near EGL for about 2-3 km stretch. They read out the names from our Bibs and clapped all the time as we passed them. Both ways! Fantastic. Of course, thanks to all others who took time out of their Sunday routine and cheered along the way.

I was feeling really good as I crossed the 30+ km mark which is where I was worried about hitting my wall as in Mumbai. But it did not happen! Guess all my precautions and the slower steady pace paid off. Body felt really good coming into the old airport road near Domlur Flyover. In fact, I increased my speed slightly here even though it was going up! If not for the traffic getting released I could have gone even faster but maybe it was for the best that I stayed with the pace. I was on auto-pilot from here on out running steadily on a fairly free and very pleasant infantry road and started stretching (6 min/ km) as I went down Kasturba road for the last few kilometers. The final ping at the finish line on the Kanteerva indoor running track was a welcome sound. I had completed and was still able to stand! Very different from Mumbai where I had immediately limped over to the medical tent looking for help! Here, I did not even notice the Medical tent! :) Instead I walked over to the water station and hydrated well.

We had some nice breakfast provided by the organizers and then drove home happily treating ourselves to some well deserved ice-cream on the way.

So, preparation, planning and sticking to a reasonable pace and goal were the keys to a successful marathon run. Good luck on your attempts!

My official timing/splits can be found here: http://www.timingindia.com (find Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon 2014) and enter my name Nanda Ramesh or bib 43115. I finished 410 overall out of 716 finishers. 61st out of 108 in my category. Veteran (45-55yrs) Mens.

You can check out a flyby of the route (click onthe 3D button) and much more details like elevation/pace at the following link where GPS data from my actual run is uploaded.  http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/770801595

By and large, a commendable effort by the organizers in pulling of this event. Their support and encouragement during the days before the race was fantastic. Race day logistics could have been better but then this was their first time and their enthusiasm balanced out the hiccups.

Thanks to all who contributed making this event a success!  And here's wishing you will be bigger and better next year. Target: 2000 finishers! Looking forward to it!


Anonymous said...

Nicely written. I finished my second half marathon under 2 hour and started dreaming about full. I read your marathon #1 post and again in a dilemma! Let me start training and do couple of 30+ kms long runs before signing up for full. Thanks.

Nanda said...

Thanks for the kind words. It is nice to know that my blabbering does help others! :) and not disappear into the internet black hole.

If you have already done 2 half's you are surely ready for the full. However, the training and planning required increases exponentially. The main reason being most people hit the wall around 25 to 30km. So, you avoid that in a half. Plan your 30+ runs esp hydration and nutrition (pre and during) well and you will learn how your body responds. This will depend on the pace you run. Once you get the confidence, you are all set to go! Good luck.