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TCS World 10k 2017 – Bengaluru 2017

The last time I ran a timed 10k event was in the year 2015. It was my fastest run with a timing of 00:47:23. It was indeed painful to sustain that and took a toll on my body. I spent 3-4 days to recover from it.

I did not have any plans to run the #TCSW10k this year since I just came out of my long enduring #424242running campaign as part of the SahayaLRTS’s initiative towards road safety. I took a complete shutdown from running for about a month and decided to focus on my 12 hrs stadium run in Chennai in July.  

About two weeks back, I received an invitation to deliver a session on “The Next 48 hrs” session at the #tcsw10k expo. I was certainly excited and happy about it was totally soaked in the preparation for the talk since the time the invitation arrived. The more I prepared, the more I wanted to run.

Nevertheless, the big day came too soon. I had put myself as a 10 k runner who would go through every bit of planning meticulously to prepare for the race.  I wore my running coach hat to provide the best advice to my clients.  I decided to travel back in time, over 16 weeks, starting from the foundation of the run, planning for the nutrition, rest, recovery and tapering.  I also created my bullet list to talk about how to “prime the body before the race day” to give the best performance.

I wanted to give the best experience for my audience. I had gathered my best personal learnings those which worked well and those did not.

At the race expo

On Friday, when I entered the expo hall at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium, I felt something was missing.  I hadn’t registered for the event and for a change, I was only theoretically prepared well.

When the time arrived, I delivered my session.   It was well received by the runners who attended the session and the organizers alike.  I also received a wink from my little daughter and a big thumbs-up from my wife who was sitting in the front and recording. Know more about the session –> The Next 48 hrs – session

With Mr. Venkat, an inspiring person who runs YouTooCanRun.com

It came as a pleasant surprise when I found that I could complete a manual registration to run the race. Hastily I registered for this run! I was happy to run and had no expectations from myself for the race. I collected the bib which had no name and with a starting lineup stamped as ‘F’ pen.

Few of my friends asked me whether I had any target finish time in mind.  My mind was wandering for an answer.   I did not plan for this race.  I wasn’t doing any speed training.  I told myself to settle down any time closer to my 2015 10k time or even few minutes slower due to the ‘F’ starting lineup.  I wasn’t sure if I could run the race better than the last time since I haven’t trained specifically for a short distance race.

Race day

On Sunday morning, I reached the Coffee Day junction just around 4:50 AM.  I completed a 10-min warm-up behind Coffee Day.  After 10 minutes of waiting in the queue, I walked out with great relief, victoriously.  The time was 5:10 AM.  I started clinging on to the crowd and crawling towards the ‘F’ pen, inching towards the stands, 2 levels up.

Runners queuing up to enter the ‘F’ pen due to an unexpected water logged stands entrance, 5 minutes to start

The 20 mins that the runners had to spend bumping others shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet was very chaotic.  There was a growing impatience among the runners when they realized the queue was due to clogged walk ways at the entrance.  The rain that lashed the night before was one of the reasons.

View from the ‘F’ pen – Pens ahead of us were already ready to start the race

From a long distance at the stands, I watched the flag off at 5.30 am.  My legs were tap-dancing to the ambiance, craving to run.  With a slow crawl towards the start line, I managed to cross the start mat at 5:42 am, a good 12 mins after the official start.  I started running and carefully cut across a massive volume of runners to get to the open section of the road outside the stadium.

With thousands of runners filling the streets on a chilly morning, running was getting fun.  Going through the crowded streets and getting past the runners was like playing a complex maze game.  I ran faster whenever I saw an empty road ahead of me, hopped to the right and left whenever I came close to other runners, slowed down when I did not have any space to move and accelerated whenever I could.  I ran on broken banners littered on the road and ran through the ankle deep water-logged sections.  The only thing missing was the presence of hurdles to completely call the race a steeplechase.  I was on a constant roll.

I finished with a memorable personal best of 00:45:34, 24th place out of 881 in my age (40-45 years) category

Pace split: 4:43, 4:23, 4:57, 4:33, 4:45, 4:32, 4:35, 4:10, 4:32, 4:08

At the finish line, I treasured the medal with no pressure.

“If you expect nothing, you’re apt to be surprised. You’ll get it”–  Malcolm Forbes

Somewhere inside the Cubbon Park – sprinting to the finish
Extremely dangerous stretch for runners entering the stands post-race to collect medals + breakfast

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