What it took to run my first 10k Marathon at Auroville !
For starters, read my previous post to get an idea that I am running again.
My sister wrote this on facebook and shared my photo,
“He chose, he trained, he fell, he cursed, he screamed, he inspired, got tired but never stopped. Raghav’s first professional 10k run at Auroville was a success. When he chose to run, he kept in mind that he is running for freedom, from disability , for others in need of courage and for me too (the juvenile Arthritis community). Kinda very proud. Can’t wait for his half marathon in August and the Mumbai marathon next year. Between us, he reminds me of Glenn Cunningham (Google if u didn’t who he is). Run, boy run says my heart to Satish Peri”.
I owe this run to all those who made an impact in my life and now it’s time for the story. So grab something to eat or get a strong coffee before you sit to read because this might take some time. When I woke up on last Friday, I didn’t know that I was going to be sick but soon after my break fast I had a severe stomach upset. I needed to work from home and by afternoon all my energy is drained out because of irritating bowel syndrome which started me worrying a lot. As I eat outside every day, these kinds of incidents have become commonplace. I took some medicines, strictly kept to liquid food that day and by night, I was doing much better. When I boarded the bus, I felt good and with all the fun we had in the bus by singing, cracking jokes and chit-chatting with other runner’s, I did not think much about my dehydrated body. Once we collected our bibs and settled in our rooms, I had a good time talking about all sorts of things with my room mates Swami & Sumit. Then, we decided to go out and explore the beach and do some shopping if possible. Malay who came along with us kept saying that my hand is so hot and I thought I might have got some internal fever, but pushed the thought to the back of my mind. We walked somewhere around 3kms and that got me tired badly. Once I finished my dinner and took a nice warm bath, I felt light and got to bed immediately.
Next day morning, I got up at 4AM and said to myself this is it…… “If I can’t pull it off today may be I can’t do it any time” .All the months of mental preparation has come handy and I have blind faith on Kanishka who is going to run beside me. We trained together most of the season and we both did it on different terrains and whenever I said “Kanishka, I can’t do it”, he will say something encouraging which lifted my spirits and I pushed myself. He is a great coach, a good friend and an awesome runner to be with, during the runs and at all times. He doesn’t miss anything while on the run and guides me by saying “uneven surface, concrete path, stones coming ahead or a bump” so that I can adjust my position and pace accordingly. When I met him on the morning of the run, he asked whether I slept well. I said ‘don’t know’ but Swami swiftly said “Man, you slept really well because you were snoring nicely”. We got ready, arrived at the Marathon site and stood at the end of the crowd so that we can run at our pace.
Once we got started, Kanishka said that we will run the first 5 kms without any breaks with an easy pace, then 3 kms with run walk and final 2 kms with a much quicker pace. I agreed for it because he guides well in this and when I did my long distance run at declathon(12k run), this plan worked out. The terrain is not much different from Decalathon where I did couple of runs but here in Auroville trail, there are many trees and lots of runners, so we both needed to be close and be alert all the time. Kanishka got a shampoo bottle which he filled with some dal which makes chik-chik sound. I follow that sound and was doing this all the season. Problem with the Auroville trail is that my eyesight was of not much help because we were moving from dark to bright and vice versa so 90% of the time, my eyesight was dark totally and I had to rely on sound made by the bottle and kanishka’s voice. At one point, a female runner got in between me and Kanishka, I ran into her directly. Thought she might shout or slap me, but for some reason she said sorry and ran ahead…when I reached the 5k mark, we decided to alter the plan and run all the 10k without taking any breaks. I realized that I was stronger than before and realized that my breathing is not rapid…my runs to improve lung capacity helped me a lot to achieve that control. Kanishka methodically guided along the path and a lot of ‘Runners High’ runners cheered while they passed me.
At one point, I said “Kanishka, I think I will be the last because I see everyone is passing me with a great speed” to which he replied ‘don’t worry about that. You must finish strong and that’s all matters’. At the 8k mark, Kanishka said that we are just about to finish in few minutes and asked me to keep up with his pace and while we ran together, I heard people clapping and shouting ‘only half a kilometer more’. We increased our speed and Kanishka asked if I am ready for the sprint to which I replied ‘yes’. He told me to wait until he tells me as to when to run at full speed and sprint, and said “Now, you will surpass most of the runners and finish strong”. After few minutes, he gave the signal at which I ran with all my strength. I was feeling as if I was flying in air and when we ran 200 meters, I said to “Kanishka, I will be out of energy. How far is the finish?” In return he said something which made me run with more speed and strength. He uttered the following magic words “Bolt runs 100 meters in 9seconds. You can run it in 15 seconds, so just concentrate on your run and speed”. I heard ‘Runners High’ runners shouting and cheering my name as I reached the finish line and finally I did it. My first 10k marathon at Auroville took 1hr 30mins, and this is my best timing.
I personally thank every runner in the Runner’s High community and I hope to run along with each one of you soon and also accomplish the dream of running a full marathon soon. It is very difficult for a BLIND person to run a marathon, but it is more difficult to train someone with a visual impairment to run. Santhosh said “You need legs to run, not eyes”. Now I know that when you put your mind onto your dream and when you find people who help, you just need to believe that destiny will fulfill that dream and move ahead.