Monday, January 21, 2008

Mumbai Half Marathon 2008

Which is about racism... in "road race"-ism, which we periodically suffer from. Staggered through the half marathon at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon yesterday. All didn't begin well, thanks to last minute event in Madras, which forced us to take a very late flight to Bombay, resulting in us landing up at Kenny's at around 12:30 in the morning.

Scant 4 hours of sleep, wake up, unmentionables, dozy (but very fast, as the peeking through semi-closed eyelids showed) taxi ride from IIT to Azad Maidan, and we got into the holding area for runners well in time for the start. Points to the organizers for starting bang on time (0645). Didn't realize that the holding area wasn't the real start, so turned on the gizmo a trifle too early. Quick bathroom break (which, in hindsight, looks really funny on the map) and finally made it to the start (VT station).

It was impossible to run, there were apparently more runners in the half here than there were 10kers in Hyderabad! Nevertheless, we jostled and edged our way through the mob, trying to keep a steady trot, and it wasn't before we were well and truly on Marine Drive that we were able to get close to anything like a steady pace. Gizmo revealed alarmingly that at this time our pace was all over the graph.

Right from the beginning, it was evident that there were industrial quantities of doubtless essentially well-meaning but fundamentally clueless morons fellow citizens at hand. These ones had no clue about how to last for a long run, and were completely carried away by cameras, RJs with the attitude of varsity cheerleaders, and generally thumping music and tamasha, and were tearing down the beautiful streets of Bombay. To our horror, we discovered that we were also unconsciously playing catch and doing a brisk 6:00ish per k.m. right at the beginning, which was not part of the plan at all!

Deep breaths, and secure in the knowledge that somewhere after the 12-15k mark, a certain separation of milk from water etc. would occur, we took it easy and attempted a more manageable 7:00+ per k.m. It was a good day for running, the first half anyway, and the sights and sounds of Bombay kept us going for much of the time. Just a great feeling to be running in one of the world's great cities.

(Aside: Race log here and map here)

Somewhere near Kemp's Corner (we're estimating), our breaths were taken away by the sight of the elite buggers come hightailing down in the opposite direction at a crazy, insane pace. Much self loathing and inspiration followed. A little further, and very impressively, Milind showed up. The crowd was really good, egging us all along, especially right at the beginning. Of course, some of the more voluble "Run, Mumbai, Run!" freaks got a dose of "Run, Hyderabad, Run!" from us.

By the time we'd hung a U-ie (somewhat before Worli Dairy), the Great Separation had started to occur. Hapless souls floundering on the side of the road, general looks of despair and disillusionment, and this was enough to send Ludwig into rapturous inspiration, and we really started running. Caught up with Dhanraj (i.e. he was doing some stretches and we passed him) and motored along. Found that the ascents were really the best time to kick into gear and overtook hordes and hordes of mor... fellow citizens.

Ms. Right Knee did start an interesting conversation with Mr. Central Nervous System, intimidating the latter about certain twinges and aches and so on and so forth. HRH Brain instructed CNS to totally ignore RK, and we thundered along, very very very confident that we will end up paying for this in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, there was no time to lose, and so we kept at it.

All was hunky dory until we turned a corner and found ourselves on Marine Drive with the mid-morning sun all ablaze. Took the wind out of the sails for a bit, had to do some slight ratcheting down, drinking, and general self motivation. Can't say that the last 4-5 k.m. were too pleasant, although we didn't slacken pace. Charge of the Light Brigade only...

Right at the end, approximately 20 steps from the finish line, we spotted someone trying to sneak up on us and "win". It is useful to consider some facts at this juncture.

1. We are, in fact, cognizant about the Gebrselassie-Tergat photo finish.

2. We really, really, really HATE people who cut lines and queues.

3. We are not really thayir saadam type.

Taking all this into consideration, there was only one outcome. We sprinted, and judicious pumping of shoulders and elbows ensured that the would be Haile wouldn't be. Hah! We play hard, but fair.

Staggered towards the chip counter refund tent, where we ran into King Julian quite randomly after 6(?) years, which was well met. Alack, we lost him soon enough in the chip return melee, of which the less said the better. Kenny was there thankfully, so timepass was easy. Someone from the class of 96 was randomly run into, which was cause for joy.

The rest of the day happened per Kenny's story. The monster child isn't a monster at all, but really needs to learn to make better faces. We drew a ghastly Mickey Mouse using crayons, something from a Ramsey brothers version of the cartoon, in her rough drawing paper, which was fun.

Lunch, nap, drop to airport, caught up with S (who did the full and had horrible organizational stories to tell) and Y (who incredibly finished the half with approximately zero planning and prep). Late flight, got home by 12:30 a.m.

Phew. We learnt that that Energizer Bunny Dhammo had been spotted during the marathon course, zipping around like a chinkara on steroids. One wonders how the rest of the race was.

Anyway, now these revels are ended, and we're back home with an insane deadline, a wedding reception, and a quiz in the offing.

Onward, Christian soldiers...


kbpm said...

so you are back at the helm and able to speak and so forth? good good.

it was really a pleasant surprise to hobnob in the chip tent, and, especially a joy that you collected back the DUBLOO and had to hand it to me with alacrity, you know, cause it was my money and all. Ha. Oh shoot I have left that money(and a small banana) in the bag & put it in the cupboard. Yikes.

So whats the next race? Hyd 10k sounds inviting, especially cause its 9 k vonly. I will try to do it next year I think.

Ram Tekumalla said...

Many congratulations on getting your arse across the finish line. Now, insane deadline + wedding recepton - what is going on?

D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D said...

EBD didn't have such a great race, but is alive and getting ready for the next yr. had some mishaps pre-race had hence toned down expectations.

how was the quiz? rather how were the quizzes (the big O and the Anna)? we heard the bengaluru bais redeemed themselves after n years at the big O and are hoping the hyd sultans did get some coupons atleast.

Ludwig said...

[kbpm] Hyd 10k is really only 8.5k, so it's a lot of fun. Your fastest ever 10k timing guaranteed! Will keep you posted.

[ramtek] A day of chilling out and meditation on the nature of Liff has happened!

[EBD] We read, we read. More's the pity. All good now? Quizzes were the usual. Made the final, came 4th and 5th. Am kind of done with this whole quiz thing, methinks. Coupons were obtained, thankfully. Odyssey != Landmark, phew.