Around the 16 km mark - near the Marine Lines Station, there is an enormous feeling of despair. Only the top atheletes will still be raring to hit the finish post. Except the first time (when I ran very much within myself), I have always asked myself, " Why the hell am I doing this?".
There is no $31000 waiting for me. People on the side seem to mocking me- watching my flailing arms, my widly bobbing neck, my shorts dripping fluids (water I poured in them to cool my muscles). Too many long days in the hospital (with the baby), less sleep and severe cold meant that my body was never relaxed and not at its bit. Also didn't stretch/ loosen up sufficiently during the last 2-3 weeks. And didn't acclimatize that much.
And if you are running against a target, you can never dare to take it easy.
This year had to beat the 2:05 time. So, had been running extra hard during training. Cross training was good, by virtue of ample badminton, football and swimming.
Most of what you do during training is really manipulating the mind - prodding it to go a bit further, run a bit harder, bear the pain a little more. Yes, all of this is physical, but the crazy thing is your body can keep going if the mind commands it to. A little bit of stamina building does happen during training. But its really all in the mind. How else can you propel yourselves as soon as you glimpse the finish line (even if it is a km away), but can't bear to drag on for the next 10 meters when you are at the 16 km mark?
This year stopped about 7 times, more than previous occasions. Had more drinks. Still, really chuffed with the time. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I collapsed on the side. Was so drowsy, that I thought I would drown in it. Somehow managed to bite into an energy bar. Inside the certificate collection tent, it was chaos - the software was not working. Stood in the queue for an hour, but then decided to call it quits. The announcements were thick and fast (very helpful) and decided to trust their promise that certificates can be collected later.
Otherwise, the facilities this year were much better - more water stations, more electrol (though if the bottles are color coded, it will help tremendously). Fruits, water and biscuits were served to all certificate collectors. The announcer was urging people to sit down and relax. Really kind.
I would like to thank a tall, lanky guy who kept pushing me during my torture stretch. You helped!