The friend, who pushed me into running, also pushed me into running my first half marathon. This half marathon is by far one of the most gruelling experiences I have ever encountered both physically and mentally.
Well, without any training (yes, I know, you have got a hint on how bad it was!), so without any training, I plan to run my first half marathon on the hills of Mukteshwar. A 21k run on the hills!
Travelling to the hills on road from Delhi to a place I have never been before plus with my friend’s house there was good enough to lure me into a weekend getaway that involved running a half on the hills! How could I have said no to this offer? Also, when your friend tells you that its one of the prettiest places to see and it will be “FUN”! How could I ever say no to that?
We left from Delhi in the early Saturday morning; we reached Mukteshwar by 2 p.m., where we first visited the area where we could collect our running bibs and other running goodies! Mukteshwar is a small place, it is a small quaint town mostly run by an NGO, and the proceeds from this run were going towards the NGO.
After wards we went to our friend’s house, which was half an hour away from the starting point of our half marathon. It was pretty cold in the evening there! Thanks to my friend’s lovely parents who had kept blankets and warmers in the house! We had a good dinner and a lot of snacks. We had taken a lot of food all sorts of junk which is big in carbs, they always tell you to eat a lot of carbs before a long distance run. And sure we did lots of chocolates, maggi and chips. Definitely, the diet of would be champions!
Next morning, we had to wake up early, way early than my lazy self. Alright, so it was not really that early that it was dark outside, but it was that early that the sun was not fully out and if I was at home I would be still snoozing off all the alarms (of course, I keep more than one alarm!)
I was feeling excited about my first run, when I reached the starting point of the run with my other 3 friends- two had ran half marathons before and one was training regularly to run his first half marathon- at the starting point, there were about a 100 people, some of them looked pro. You know the ones, with fancy outfits, dri fit t shirts, headbands and armbands. Also, the same ones who I could see warming up by running up the hill and then stretching like I would only after I had completed the run. Ooh the calves! Yes, that’s how spot the pro runners or the regular marathon runners- the calves.
Obviously, I did feel quite a pro in my new nike shoes and my favourite pink adidas jacket! I did a few stretched here and there before I assembled with all the other runners at the starting point. Then with 1,2 3 and GO, started one of the most gruesome but fun experiences of my life!
The thing about running on the hills is that there is never a smooth terrain, even going down the hill isn’t easy since a lot of pressure is on your knees, sure you speed will be faster as you run with gravity, though the amount of pressure on your knees is also a lot!
I could see a lot of runners getting past me, I was determined to run as long as I could. Though the distances on hills can be really encouraging, with all the curves running downhill and uphill, you would think you have covered a lot of distance only to realise the metrics say something else! So, you would think you must have covered at least 3 k, only to realise its not even 1k!
I was lucky to find a fellow runner, who helped me in my run. He started running with me and stayed with me throughout the run. After I touched the 10k, I never thought I will be able to complete another 11k. I walked and I ran, then towards the end I mostly walked. I really wanted to complete the run within the time limit of three and a half hours!
I could feel my spine wince in pain as I walked up hill and at times when I tried to run a bit. I would stop in between to take few minutes of break where I could stretch my back. I took a volini form one of the volunteers and applied that, which did help to subside the pain just a bit. Thanks to my fellow runner, he kept me motivated and told me that I should not think about the time and just enjoy the scenic beauty which is around. He did have a point, though when you are in pain and you have kilometres to finish all you are thinking of is “ I need a massage and a bed, to die peacefully” (well, massage would ease the process of dying from running on the hills, definite.)
My dear friend came back looking for me with a group of volunteers in the car. She was grateful to know I was alive and asked me if I would want to just go back in the car. Now, come on if you were me would you do that? After going through so much hell, just a bit more wouldn’t be too bad right? Especially when only a few kilometres were left?
So, I decided I will finish it off, walking and running, with a lot of pride 😀
I did. It was a good feeling. I completed my first half in 3 and a half hours.
Thinking about it again, I would never put my body through so much pain. Definitely, train yourself before you decide to run your first half marathon. Or if you just want to run, then what the hell?! Do it anyway!
glimpse of the trek