Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The ghost of Pheidippides

Couple of years back,  on a fine day @my office, one of my good friend  had send me an email with an attachment of his Dam-Dam run(16km), holding the medal. I looked at that picture and , I'd wondered !

wow! 16 km   running..  Is that possible?  I can't even think of running for 5 km.  10 was like on the border line .. 16 was like. Edge of Universe !.. But that whole day this running theme was going thru my mind like a screen saver .. now and then.. it  kept  flashing on my white matter..  and at the end of the day

I thought ..Maybe .. I mean maybe ..I would be able to do it.. I was looking for articles , forums.. and I could get some info for long distance running.. Those days I used to  run in the tread mill for 15-25 minutes.. but then the distance was like  3-4 km , taking breaks in between(unless there is some good looking girl in front of me running in another tread …!).

Anyway, the following summer, I shifted my running session from my gym to outdoors and was getting the buzz out  of it, But still short distances. It was during this time, I moved to another office for my project and my new project leader and colleague both happened to be long distance runners... So during project breaks ( for me whole day was the project break!) , I asked them questions and  they would tell me about running, the pleasure, the pace, the pain, the phase , the pare  ..everything about running. Even the kind of shoes and rest of the gear .. 

Almost everything 

So in the Year 2008 , I decided to do my dam to dam. But my mind was still like a hanging bridge. Can I do 16 or shall I try the 8.  For the event, the registration , like every year is on the 1st of April .(I am not fooling!).  It was the first day of the registration and I was still undecided.. Second day ..Same … I waited for a week  for my decision and later , say after 7-9 days, I decided to register and lo!  Registration was complete and I thought.. hmm..bad luck ..  maybe next year..  But Later someone told ,that the registration usually finishes within 1-1.5 hrs from the opening time ..which will be easily filled by 
35000 people didn’t have a second thought and here I was like .. Shall I ..shall I not? But then I was like .. 
What the fire Truck!!!

Ok, next year , I am going to do the 16k . Now no turning back. If I am healthy enough for that day , I am going to do the 16k. So the following year on April 1st, in spite of my heavy work @office,(again I am not fooling! ), I was able to register my name for the 16k .  I had 5 months time for the training. Meanwhile I was doing my 5-7 km on the road, but never touched the double figure yet.
So one summer evening I decided to do the big go of 10km . I was prepared. My gear was good. The Sun was Shining. My Pulse was pounding .The Mp3 player was charged . And So was I. I completed it with a good timing, better than I expected. I was in sheer joy.. had one of the most sweetest beer that day.  Now I was almost prepared for the big day . Ran more than 10k couple of times before the race and once also covered 16 km and I was like,
Man! I am doing something which I never thought I could do!!! I am running 16k!!  I did control a lot of things for the race. My smoking, junk food, drinking , eve teasing(nah! I couldn’t control that;)
Since it was the 25th year of dam-dam, there were two sessions, I was lucky to get the evening session. Performed well. Still remember the finish line . the moment of glory. walking with the medal ..friends shouting for me. I was literally flying. A moment of winning! 

Running became a passion.

3 weeks later, there was this business relay marathon for the Amsterdam Marathon 2009  and my part was to do the 10km. The whole route was divided into 5 parts and my run was for the second part of 10km. After the 10km , I have to give the chip to the next runner of my team. , But seeing the people , the atmosphere , What I did was , I gave the chip to the next runner, told the camp ‘don’t wait for me ..I am goin to the next base’   and start running to the next base just to get the kick of it!! I did change the base three times and finally  did a 25km run that day . My legs were really torn. I couldn’t walk for 2-3 days, but I was very very happy that I could  do a 25k which I was not even prepared to do at any cost!.
 For the following months I did some short running sessions  here and there including a  11km run in the sand(beach).

And one day…

That one day …

The ghost of Pheidippides  got hold of me !

I thought  , Why not do a Marathon? If I train well, and with the support of my family, friends, colleagues, birds  ..maybe .. maybe.... I might be able to do a  full Marathon.

 42 km. 26 miles.

I know it is going to be difficult.
But then everything is difficult in this world. Unless u strive for it, nothing is easy. You see young babies try to get up and walk. we all know Nature takes its course , but  nature also gives the strife to take the course..
I started reading  articles regarding marathon (nothing from professional runners, but from ordinary people)
I checked for the training schedules and tried to do at least 40-60 % of it. Tried to control lots of things which would affect my training ,  like working hard at the office ;).

 The day was getting closer. Was I getting burly or was the barley still taking off the spirit! ;)   The training was not up to the schedule, but was still able to do 50%-60% of it.  Had  to eat lots of Carbohydrates  the week before running;  didn’t want those fatty acids to act smart after the race! 

A week before the race, I was thrown a little off the track by the demise of a good friend. 

It was kind of mixed feeling all over.
And finally......

Oct17, the D-day for my running!!!
Tried to get some good sleep the previous night ( after a party , for which I had to stay dry , and that happens very very rare ! )..
During the night, I got up 2-3 times ..
My inner conscious had already started running!
Got up, dressed up , went to the stadium. The atmosphere was very good..
Around 10000 people from 70 countries ready for the 42k! I was like ! wow! this is like I am running with earthlings .I could see the spirit… the enthusiasm.. the running fervor ..all over.. And this stadium , It was special for me as an Indian.
India made her Olympic debut here  in this stadium.. got her first hockey medal here.. and The legend Dyan Chand‘s magic started here .. this very stadium ..and I was here, ready for my Marathon.

The Gun fired! 

My Mp3 player was having music from the Woodstock to the 80’s to Indian pop to Malayalam oldies to some Carnatic ragas.. ( just to boost myself..;).
At 30km , my friends were waiting for me with some chocolates and some energy drink, along with my sons.
After seeing them , I was in a real good mood. At 41, some more friends were there .They even gave me a garland with some chocolate in it . A real boost towards the finishing line.
During the run , I had a lot of time to think many many things.. I was at a constant pace. I was literally thanking everyone I knew …every single kilometer, I was thanking everyone..  

At 33 or 34th, I saw this man who had only one leg .Half his other leg had a steel clamp .
Imagine until 33rd km, he was ahead of me.. I looked at him and thought, this is courage.. This is self-determination. I also saw many people who were much older than me , way way ahead of me..

I can now  say, everyone can run.. everyone can do  Marathon. Itz a matter of your will, plus your training and definitely, god-willing, your health. For me it took a year plus  . But this was not something impossible. You all can do it. Try to run a little. Enjoy every single meter. Thank everyone.. Smile at everyone.. You don’t have to compete or beat anyone.. This is you and your 42km. 
You own running streak of 42 km!
I was expecting a time between 4.5 and 5 hrs , but after  4hrs 18 minutes 59 seconds.. I crossed the finishing line.. A moment of truth.. a moment of pursuit…a moment of thankfulness.. 
I still would like to do couple more Marathons. Will try my best as long as the passion is there and the support from all of you . More than the scaffold from you all , I need a healthy brisk health which definitely depend upon the omnipotent and other factors.

As long as the matrix is in right pattern, I will run… just run…. 

While running  , at the 27th km , I met my friend...The first friend I met during the whole course of my run.. When he shouted my name.. There was a resonance of something u just can't define.. that feeling ..the boost.. ..the enhancement.. the running .. the friendship… 

He was taking the video of me running.... And was asking me how do I feel and he said to me ..”Buddy ..this is the 27th  km+ and u r still running!''  He said this to me  with a confident smiling face like “You can do it buddy.. you can finish the race”!

It was my same good friend  who had send me the email with an attachment of his Dam-Dam (16km),picture ,  couple of years back.. I looked at him and I said quietly.. 

Buddy, I owe you a lot  for this running..”


Ganesh said...

Super article nobz..I am running 16 next yr for sure...

Rohit said...

Noby, as I told you before, this is such a fabulous achievement - truly inspiring too.

What makes it so much more fascinating is your story of how you 'got to the 42'. :-)

I don't know if I will ever do it, but atleast I know where to look for inspiration.

All the best for many many more marathons.


rati_menon said...

It is a fantastic achievement , Noby!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Noby!! And you write so beautifully. Congrats on the race. Keep running ol' pal....and I agree with you, it's not about the competition, it's about you. Keep writing. Adding myself to the list of those who follow your blog.....

Nick The Schemer said...

Frantastic work...keep it up. All the best for the next one!

Shilpa said...

Beautiful reading Noby..It's a very inspiring.. I was almost in tears by reading it :-)
Your example is a wonderful lesson for all of us.
There is so much to learn from you than any teacher!!!
Good Luck for the next one and keep on writing

Rajani said...

U r an inspiration ....many should follow...i do a daily small time walk of 1500 10 to 12mts.time & feel great i can do that..dont u think love for music,sport&animal should be in one.....?
Congratulations!! time let us know we will be there to cheer....

shanoj said...

Fantabulous, Inspiring.... once again Congratz Knobzzz..

Another beautiful write/read.. Keep running, keep writing..

Wishing miles en miles of marathon moments...

sumesh said...

Knobz....really inspiring....


ROSY said...

NOBY! NOBY! NOBY! You definitely did'nt hear me cheering you this way that day, did u? No, I did not.....The only reason was becos I was not there. But believe me,U made us run with u from Dam to Dam, all 42kms.
I never in my wildest dreams thought my brother-in-law wrote so touchingly. we were all in tears. I really feel you made up for our absence through this most inspiring narration. Love u Noby!!!!KEEP GOING!!!! REALLY PROUD OF U BROTHER.

Neetu said...

saagaa kidilam,felt like crying

vava said...

Good noby good article. You are great. I was thinking how could you run for 42km. you did it great....
Shibu Thomas.
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dsreeji said...
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dsreeji said...

Knobz, your words visually transported me to the marathon run. Thanks for sharing such a huge experience in such a lucid way. Your achievement gives hope for anyone and everyone who doubt their abilities, not just in running and sports but whatever they dream or wish to do. Hats off to you Knobz, really proud of you.

dsreeji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ani said...

Well written Nobs :-) ...Enjoyed reading thr !! Congratulations again :-)

justin said...

man, you can write.. i dont know what to say.. this article has inspired me a lot.. im gonna start running from today.. wish me luck buddy..

Yourfriendpr said...


This is very inspiring.. I'm so proud of you

I'm feeling great after reading your article.. I always wanted to ask you about your 'running' story.. you have written it really well! hats off! Keep running :)


Dibin Das said...

Very inspiring,.. and very well narrated..
I think anyone who reads this before his/her run will get the boost and kick to do it..

Keep running.. Keep writing.., keep touching lives..