95 to 21 in 20

It’s not as cryptic as it sounds. And no, I’m not trying to boast. Just want to tell the avid readers of my blog (whom I can count on a miniscule part of one finger tip) that if I can do it anyone can.

On January 1, 2008, I clocked in at a light heavy weight 95 kg. Just over a year and a half later, I completed a half marathon.

For a body that has undergone multiple decades of abuse and neglect, I must say it’s quite remarkable that I could do anything of this nature.

The Kaveri Trail Marathon, now in its 3rd year is a grueling 21 km path starting at the Ranganthitu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna (near Mysore). The picturesque surroundings are immaterial to the runners as the heat and humidity get to you pretty fast. The start time of 7 a.m. ensures that the sun is well out and burning bright in all it resplendent glory providing no respite to those of us embarking on this needless mission.

This year saw over 600 runners participating, with about 80 doing the full marathon, 300 or so doing the half marathon and the rest doing the relatively less strenuous 10K. I was surprised to see so many folks well over 50 in both the full and the half.

The running track is mostly without any undue inclinations but the problem is avoiding the stones, potholes, cow dung and deep ravines that have been cut due to rain and the bullock cart wheels. I was constantly adjusting my trajectory and by the time I had done the first half of the run, exhaustion and fatigue had set in for good measure.

I willed myself to run back the remaining 10.5 km and barely managed 5 km before I thought I’d just collapse. The sun was now high up and there being absolutely no cloud cover, I was all set to give up. I walked a couple of kilometers at a reasonable space and it seemed like I would never finish. 4km came and after a lifetime, it was 3 km. I stopped at the water stations and doused my head with water and immediately felt a lot better.

2 km - 1 km was hell and the last 1000 meters was even worse. This was easily the longest kilometer of my life and at about 300 meters from the finish line, I gave it all I had left and crossed over the finish line, beaten and battered but not defeated.

It took me a good 3 hours to get through this madness and there were actually people who finished behind me. However, most of the people older than me finished well ahead of me! Oh well, I’m just relieved I completed this damn thing and don’t have to worry about it…..till next year! Hell yeah! I am going back for more!

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