The patellas were terribly paining, lungs were lusting for more air, heart was pulsating as if exploding, body was perspiring despite drizzle, Bruce was inspiringly belting out Wicker Man in my ears, mind was constantly pushing the body to run - this was the precisely my state at 8th kilometer of the 10K running event that was held last Sunday, 24th August 2008, a day to be highlighted in the diary of my life. It's the day I participated in the first ever running event since I came into existence 27 years ago! Sad but true! I'd never been a runner throughout my life, I was better off as a swimmer.
Soriana along with City Club and other co-sponsors like Gatorade, Yoplait, EPura water etc., had organized a 10Km running event at Parque Fundidora, Monterrey. Dressed in gaudy saffron tee of the event, it was 15 minutes past 7 when I reached the venue with my co-runners - Chen Liyan, Mallesh, Lokesh and Vikram. I was a bit nervous, though I could hide it successfully from my folks. The weather Gods were so supportive that they never allowed the Helios to shine. The starting point was crowded with runners of ages ranging from sixteen to sixty or even more. I stretched my muscles a bit while waiting for the trigger to be pulled. The emcees were too noisy and annoying, I paid no attention to their words. There were a few young chaps holding boards marked "40 minutos", "45 minutos"...all the way till "85 minutos". They were the ones responsible for maintaing timings...in other words if I were to finish in 45 minutes, I had to follow the guy bearing the "45 minutos" board. And along with us ran some of Gatorade givers, dressed in green, skintight outfits.
It was 8 and the emcee started counting down...dies, nueve, ocho....tres, dos, uno - TUSHHHHHH!!!
The packed throng started moving slowly initially and I began gaining pace as the mob loosened out. If we were to be witnessed aerially, probably we would have looked like a gushing river about to flood the town. I maintained a steady pace...slightly less than 5min per kilometer, though my worst case was 6min per kilometer. At second kilometer I snatched a water packet from a gorgeous, electrifying señorita which boosted my spirits greatly. I drank half of it, poured the rest on my head and kept running wishing well to that señorita.
I felt I was in the middle of ocean when I had to take a sharp turn at 4th kilometer, there were runners as far as my vision could reach both ahead and behind me. I got mixed feelings...both inferior and superior. Former seeing some old men and ladies ahead of me, latter seeing some really well built muscly men and healthy women behind me. There was a certain degree of confusion too, I saw some runners overtaking me at times and at other times, I was overtaking them. Not sure if it was due to my speed changes or theirs. It was exactly 25 minutes when I crossed the 5km marking, I was rather happy.
All the great bands kept my spirits high - Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Opeth, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth - helped me maintain the rhythm to a great extent. There were Gatorade arches sprinkling water which was so damn welcoming. At about 6th kilometer we exited the park and started running on the streets, guarded by cops and hazard warning cones. The public stimulated us by applause and cheerful screams. There were prettier señoritas handing out water packets. At 8th kilometer, we re-entered the park from some unknown, unseen entrance.
I was exhausted, I slowed down a bit. It was 38th minute, the fatigue made me stop worrying about timing. I kept running unhurriedly until I saw the guy carrying "50 minuto" board overtaking me when I was about half a kilometer away from finish line. I felt "I must finish it within 50 minutes, no matter what"...I pushed the volume on my iPod though I don't remember what track was playing. I started striding with all my energy, I overtook the "50 minuto" fellow. There were so many faces all around...applauding, photographing, cheering for their near and dear ones. I reckoned all that was being done for me and nearly sprinted the last 100 meters. It was exactly 49 min 34 seconds when I crossed the finish line.
I was panting and gasping for air, legs were sort of numb with pain and totally drained of energy. I cooled myself down with a couple of deep breaths. Got the chip pulled out from shoes, walked along series of stalls which provided us with 'free' Gatorade, water bottle, yogurt, fruits and in the end, the most anticipated finisher's medal. The medal has the magic of making you forget all the fatigue and bringing a smile of satisfaction on the sweaty, stressed countenance.