December 18, 2011.
My last long run before the Mumbai Marathon in January.
And what a run it was.
We at Hyderabad Runners like running at different places for variety, fun and challenge. Sometimes the routes are flat, sometimes the course goes through some serious inclines that makes the run extremely challenging. Sometimes we run around lakes, sometimes in the middle of town.
This time, we ran at the airport.
Jet-setters will know that Hyderabad boasts of one of the best airports in the country – what is relevant here that it has a fantastic access road with well manicured lawns and shrubs with flowers of vivid colours all along the road. And when the company that runs the airport is hosting the run, they can make you feel like a VIP.
There was a team to welcome us and explain the route. Some of them ran with us too. There were cones kept at regular intervals indicating the distance covered; there were people manning water points and there was a sumptuous breakfast spread waiting for us at the end of the run.
The planned route was 31 kms long with options to turn back at designated intervals for people wishing to run shorter distances.
There were close to 40 runners at the start; we started running at 5.30 am in darkness against the traffic of speeding cars rushing towards the airport to drop off the passengers. The weather was just great – pretty cold while it was dark – cold enough to chill the finger tips as you ran. Soon there was light and since we were running eastwards, we saw this huge red ball of fire rise majestically in the sky and work its way upwards, shrinking in size and changing its color to a dazzling yellow.
I was one of the few who were running the full 31k and was the slowest within that group as well. Ran at a comfortable pace, enjoying the open space, the cool temperature and good music. This would be the last long run before the full Marathon on 15th January and wanted to make the most of it.
Finished the run in 3 hours 25 mins – had recently run a similar distance (alone) a few weeks earlier and that effort had taken me 4 hrs and 10 mins. No doubt the flat surface helped this time but a lot of credit for the increased speed goes to the co-runners who help you improve your performance without you even realizing it.
Though I was completely drained out at the end of the run, the best thing was that the recovery was pretty fast and all through the day I did not feel as tired as the last time.
There is still an untested 11km stretch that is going to test me in Mumbai but even if I have to walk the last few kilometers, I am confident of making it to the finish line.
How long do you think it will take me to finish the 42k? Take a guess and post it in the comments below. We will revisit these comments after my run.