Today was the first ever (as far as I know) Mohali half marathon. Mohali is the place I call home for the last three years. Where Chandigarh stops in the south, Mohali goes on. From where we stay it is only a couple of kilometers to a bit more rural area.
As always I got up about 2 and a half hours before the race to eat breakfast. And then I went back to bed for another hour. To be woken up by an alarm clock once is bad enough. After my second alarm convinced me it is time to go, a warm-up jog got me to the starting point about a kilometer away from our house. There were a hundred and twenty-five of us that started the half marathon. (20 minutes late, which was a problem for staying warm)
I started out slowly according to my conservative 1-hour-35-minute plan and saw others surging ahead as usually happens. Soon I felt my legs have more running in them than I expected and picked up the pace to about 4 minutes and 5 seconds per kilometer. I passed quite a few runners, but many were just too far ahead already.
The route took us through some of the wheat and rice fields. We ran through the winter fog that limited visibility to a few hundred meters. It was as flat as can be and excellent weather for running. Cold, but not freezing.
I could not keep up the pace, especially after around 16k when my foot again started acting up. (I think it is extensor tendonitis, but I should probably get it checked out) I caught up with a lady runner who then picked up speed to stay with me. It is interesting how some company can motivate one to go faster. Eventually, she sadly fell behind. The 5k back-runners were slowly making their way to the finish line. That and the increased traffic helped keep my mind away from the pain in my foot.
Sooner than my GPS was expecting it, the half marathon was done. My time was 1 hour, 27 minutes and 37 seconds – a recent personal best.
After refreshments and medals, all the customary photo sessions with running buddies and anyone else who finds a running foreigner interesting, I went home the way I came, but much slower and with a limp.
I was surprised when Kamal called me after about 2 hours. I already had a shower, coffee and breakfast number two, taken my son to a doctor for a bad cold and was on my way back. “Come quickly! You won the old man’s competition.” Well, he did not say exactly that, but I am using my creative liberty here. So I went and got this and a small cheque (which I hope the bank will accept with the misspelling of my name) and some vouchers. It wasn’t published anywhere as far as I know that there would be a plus 40 category, but I will not say no. Thanks for the surprise!
I want to give honor to my Friend who helped as always.
It was a good run and good fun and the organizing was not as bad as all that. It was an admirable effort and it was in my own valley. (Although, guys, seriously… why 500ml bottles of water at the water points?)