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Sprained ankle and choked roads at Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020

A lot has happened since last Friday, but I haven't found the motivation to post about it. But since I received many messages checking for updates about the rather forgettable race ,I have put together an account of how my state of mind of mind quickly transformed from confident to anxious. Read on:

Landed in the maximum city, Friday was going well as I met all the wonderful runners from across the country at the expo. Disaster struck when I headed out for an easy run in the evening and a vehicle grazed past me. In an attempt to keep myself safe I hopped over a curb only to twist my ankle on a pothole. What followed was horrendous hours of anxiety, indecisiveness and a lot of icing. The following day I had the sprained ankle assessed by a physio and we determined it would be possible for me race the next day without causing further damage, thanks to my rather fore-footed running form that limits dorsi flexion of my ankles. There was no way I could do the usual pre-race shakeout on Saturday. All I did was ice the ankle and wonder about my fate. Went to bed hoping for a miracle, woke up to the disappointment of insignificant improvement. While the physio had suggested to pop a painkillers, there was no way I would ever do that. In fact, I would rather want to feel every slightest bit of pain emanating from my ankle, the only language through which my body can warn my mind. So I headed to the start line hoping that I would have the courage to pull out at the earliest sign of deterioration. Yes, it takes a lot of courage and determination to pull out of a race and a lot stubbornness and foolishness to drag oneself through pain to the finish line.

So I set off with a heart racing faster than usual and a mind that focused its attention on the intensity of the pain. A few kilometers into the race, the intensity of the pain unaffected by my strides, I gained back some confidence of executing my race plans and the focus shifted towards pacing, hydration and nutrition. A loose alliance was formed with Nanjundappa as we both agreed on a pace the next 30 odd kilometers. The alliance worked better than I expected as we moved up the race at consistent pace, crossing all the other packs along the way right until 36 kms. As we approached the Pedder road climb, our rhythm was disturbed by the merging stream of half-marathon runners. We were forced to jump across the divider and run on the other side of the road as it became impossible to run our target pace on the designated course. Up the climb we were constantly looking out for timing mats so that we could jump across momentarily in to the crowded side to register our split and them hop back onto the opposite side. While I was still holding onto the intensity up the climb with the intention of conserving for the final 6 kms of the race.

Descending down the climb, I began to look out for the designated lane for full marathon runners where I would finally execute the most crucial part of my race strategy. What followed instead was frustrating bout of screaming out my lungs as I tried to wriggle through the sea of half marathon finishers, bumping into runners, barricades, zig zagging from one side of the road to the other, onto the footpath sometimes, in the hope of finding an uninterrupted path to the finish line, without a drop of water. At one point I almost stopped and walked, wondering how to end this ordeal of desperation and frustration, only to continue running in utter hopelessness.

In my last Instagram post I had expressed my excitement of flowing uninterrupted through the course, firing up the engines that were built through weeks of hard work and toil. Alas, there was no road to enjoy that nitro boost. Though I had bettered my previous best time with a considerable margin of 3 mins, I had worked and hoped for much better. My legs and mind didn't feel like they had completed a race, rejecting the excuses and yearning for an opportunity to realize their potential.

While I have not been motivated to 'say' much but I am certainly motivated to 'do' better, very soon...... Onto the next!

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