Was hoping to complete the half marathon in sub 2 hours. In 2004, I completed the Half Marathon in 2 hrs 22 min, 32 sec. But the conditions were tough, my preparation was hardly flawless, even though far more rigorous than for 2004 run.
My start was very good - smooth and evenly paced. At about 4 km mark, I hardly broke into a sweat. But it was slower than my expectations. I was hoping to be at the end of Chowpatty in 30 min. I was there in 40. Still, legs were going strong and I was confident of not losing any more speed. Dad and wife were supposed to catch me there, but they got there a bit late.
But then the Babulnath stretch started. It's mostly uphill, with a gentle slope towards Haji Ali junction. The upward gradient saw the first of my 4 walking breaks. I had taken Glucon-D powder in small sachets, in case electrol was hard to come by along the way. And it was. There were stations where I am sure it was available, but the volunteers were tepid in handing it to the runners. At a medical station, I had to shout and then stop to get my first energy drink. It breaks your momentum and also sets some pain-alarms on. Also, taking 5-star as an enery bar was a bad-idea. It tried one bar, but the caramel is so chewy, that you are out of breath and want to spit out the chocolate. But overall, water stations were aplenty. I saw adequate toilet signs as well, though not sure about the state of the loos.
On my way back, I was struggling along Chowpatty stretch. It was probably because I was trying to increase my speed to make it within 2 hours. As soon as you exceed your normal speed, you struggle with your breathing pattern and are quickly breathless. Then your pace drops. At one time, I had a stiffening in the neck and then another, I was feeling so light-headed, that I thought, I would either collapse or just float past the finish line. I was looking at the tall Ambassador Hotel, for an indication of the distance remaining along the Queen's Necklace, but you know how it is with tall buildings. They are actually farther than they seem.
Finally, after some dragging along and last mile burst, I made it past the finish line.
The queue for timing certificate was huge. Waited for about 1.5 hours to get it. My colleague who finished later, had to wait 3 hours. That's ridiculous amount of time just to collect a document. The printer is on the critical path and then can certainly arrange for more printers. I hope the organizers look into it. Not only did I miss the action of dream run (costumes, celebrities, crowds), but was also not able to stretch properly after the run. My knees hurt badly.
Still, in spite of not meeting my expectations, I am glad I participated. I completed the run in 2 hours 5 min, 32 sec - exact 17 minutes off.
A sign on the road said "Make mole-hills out of mountains"