10km in the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2017... and pardon me for the very long narrative below, for I am smitten!!! :-)
I know that for ardent runners, a 10km is next to nothing! It is almost a starting point for most long runs that the Hyderabad Runners organize and run every Sunday!
But for a 5'2" girl weighing 102kg and a body fat percent of 52%, who would huff and puff after climbing up 22 steps, it sounded like attempting to climb Mt. Everest!!! "Are you kidding?" were the first words out of my mouth when my friend Moorthy, asked me to start running with him. He had just started with the Hyderabad Runners group and said it was exhilarating. I didn't start running right away then, but vowed to reduce my weight a little and strengthen my legs and joints a bit before starting to sprint. Thus began my fitness journey, in 2015, with yoga, gym, monitored nutrition, walking, etc and the help of my trainer Eshwar, and I managed to get my weight down to a stage where I started running in Feb2017 with the Couchto5k program organized by the Hyderabad Runners. A big thanks to Manoj and Siva for giving me the tips that started off my running journey.
From a simple 50mts jog/walk in Feb2017 to a solid 10km run/jog in AHM2017, my journey not only happened with an increase in km but also with a 32kg decrease in my weight, which now is at 70kg and my body fat percent is at a 35% and on its way down further! And this made running much more fun...
I registered for AHM2017 in the week that the registrations opened. I immediately registered for a 10k, and though over the months, many asked me to consider doing a HM, I chose to go slow n steady, and stayed with a 10k... The constant emails and messages through the registration period kept my interest alive.
In the last 7 months, I had already participated in ICRISAT, Alankritha, Heritage, and Club Runs, and the 12hour Stadium Relay run, so I thought that AHM would be similar to them. It was however, mind bogglingly beyond them all! Let me explain how...
First off, running in groups is a huge motivation... just huge! All the practice runs organized by the Hyderabad Runners had such energy infused in them that were enhanced by the sincere appreciation that every runner had for every other runner. Whether they knew me or not, so many of the runners would clap on and encourage me as they passed by me. The intense training I took up at the Gachibowli stadium with Ravi and Shiv, the MAF runs with Moorthy, testing out different running gear, etc., only made me stronger and more determined to make running a part of my daily life.
There were a few moments during the AHM2017 run that were high points for me...
1. The run flag off gave goosebumps for those in the arena, irrespective of where we were! In fact, that moment that 3, 2, 1... was counted and the bang sounded, I felt a sudden rise in my heart rate! It had started... The T-0 hour was here...
2. That moment when I jogged left from the Hitex arch and turned onto the road towards Cyber Towers, the sea of blue visible in the slightly downward slope, was a sight for sore eyes! That was the moment that made me feel most that YES, I am a part of the AHM2017 run, I am not in the sidelines any more, not sedentary any more, but am here right in the midst of activity and energy! That was the moment that I knew I will be doing more than one city HM next year n will train for a FM the year after!
3. As I turned right at Cyber Towers, seeing the half and full marathoners joining us from the other side perked up my energy levels... I turned right just as Maruthi, a co-runner turned left from his full marathon route. I called out his name n gave out a hi-fi. He clapped my hand n then clasped it and pulled me along with him. For the next 1 minute, my speed was double than usual as I ran in line with him... and as he moved on, I kept that tempo, that energy, and it pushed me to perform better in the next km. The power of a partner runner even for a minute makes such a difference!
4. Finally, my experience of AHM2017 will be incomplete without writing about the Gachibowli flyover! I have often heard that it is a dreaded dragon for everyone running the Hyderabad Marathon. It's the only flyover and toughest part for those doing the 10km and for those who have already done 2 flyovers and rolling hills, it just saps energy.
But lo and behold! Just as I, a little scared, start to jog up the flyover, I see the army playing drums on the divider in the middle! Patriotism just ups energy levels and the Jai Hind that other runners shouted out and the thank you they yelled out to them made those 200mts seem like nothing at all. The pride I felt in running that stretch is one I shall remember always!
And on the way down the flyover, were the school children waiting; spread on the divider all the way to the end of the flyover, hands stretched out to give us a hi-five. I just put my left hand out, increased my speed, and breezed through the Gachibowli flyover in a matter of minutes, it wasn't one 10mts after the other; it was one hi-five after the other! Kudos to the organizers for making the toughest part, the most cherishing part! I never felt more alive...
5. I love music and the last 7 months used iPod as a support for running... I came prepared with a set of songs I like but I didn't even have to use it. The entire run, the iPod just sat in my waist-pouch. Now that, for me, was another great achievement... running the entire 10km without my iPod, n a testimonial to the power of AHM2017!
From every single person who stood on the road cheering us on, every band and DJ that played music to energize us, every volunteer who smiled and nodded as we passed each aid station, and last but not the least, those quirky runners in the group who would suddenly scream 'run guys run... come on come on don't give up now... run Hyderabad run', every single individual had a role to play so much so that I didn't even realize how and when I finished 10km!
I will for sure run many more marathons in the future, starting with a Half Marathon in Hyderabad next year, but AHM2017 will stay close to my heart forever!!!