abhidenverhalfmarathon.jpg

The journey to my first half marathon can be best summed as a classic Bollywood film. It had all the masala (spices) to become a box office hit – action, emotion and drama. Like many such movies it all started with a dream for getting the magic number of 26.2, but then realization dawned in and I had to settle in for a more realistic goal of a half marathon – a simple 13.1 miles. As I slowly built up my muscles and miles through a lineup of races (Donor Dash 5K, Bolder Boulder 10K, Cherry Creek Sneak 5M, Highlands Ranch St. Patrick’s Day Run 5K) during the year, my passion slowly transformed into an obsession. And like many others I tried to push myself a bit too hard too soon. After a few long 8-10 mile runs, I found myself coping with a tendonitis trouble (Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis) on my right leg. The root cause, as I see it now, is an engineering deficiency on my right foot – I have a flatter foot than what it should be! The recovery required a depressing 10 days of no running, barely 4 weeks away from my race. Thankfully my therapist told me what I wanted to hear – he would work with me so that I can run the race!! If you think this was the end of the film – you are wrong. It’s just the intermission!! Barely a week into my recovery I gathered that the inaugural Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was sold out – and I even haven’t registered. That was Sep 26 – barely 3 weeks before the race on Octber 17. I started exploring the possibility of running as part of a fund-raising group. Finally, Bill Mell, captain of the running team (Miles for Tuesday) came to my rescue. He offered me a position within their team. At that time, I realized that my running was just not for my own sake – but an honorable cause to raise donations for pediatric cancer research by the Denver Children Hospital. It made all the difference.

Saurav Ganguly (one of my two favorite captains of the Indian cricket team) has recently said – “It’s not important how many times you fall, but how you get up every time”. True I realized – it was a mind game after all. I was fortunate that I had the support of my running coaches & a running community from the Highlands Ranch Running Club, a great therapist (Tim Runyon from Proactive Physical Therapy) and my family & friends. I even got superstitious that I would only go to Alex, my new friend at Boulder Running company, to tape me up with KT tapes. As the weeks turned to days, I started preparing for the race day which included right from getting a hair cut to loading up my iPod with an updated playlist.  The race day was perfect for a runner – temperature in the 60s (Fahrenheit), rock groups lined up at every mile point and supporters all along the course who won’t let your adrenalin fall below threshold. I would have loved to finish within a 2:15:00 mark, but I landed up with a final chip time of 2:23:20. In light of all the sinusoidal emotion and drama, I am relieved that I could run in the first place.

I can say that like most Bollywood movies, this also ended with a smile. But then as you step out of the theater, you may ask – Why take all the trouble? And I would say what Boss had once said: Tramps like us – Baby – we were born to run!!