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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Auroville Half Marathon 2013 - Journey from Start to Finish Line - Part 2

Hey am back, and without any further delay; this is my journey from the START to the FINISH line!
By now, you all know how much we (Runner’s High) enjoyed our trip to Pondicherry. Visit this picturesque little town through my eyes in this post.

D Day arrives: We wake up at 4.30 am to prepare for the run, a quick pre-run meal and we are all geared up to get to the START line.The start line is a buzz with runners, the Full Marathoners had already set out at 5.30 am and we were to start at 6.15 am. The atmosphere was electrifying with loud music (I think this was mostly to wake any sleepy runners J). A quick warm-up with music on was just what we needed to get us going. With only a few minutes left before the start, running jitters have set in. I am trying hard to ignore them while wishing all my fellow runners a great run and repeatedly looking at my watch.
WOOOHOOOO the countdown begins 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,GOOOOOO!!

Distance: 0-5k
I set off knowing that I am going give my 100% no matter what and enjoy this beautiful run!
What my mind says: Ohhh LA LA LA LA - It’s a lovely morning, the birds are chirping, the weather is perfect..ahh I am loving it. What!! am I hearing right, is this really happening?? The Aurovilleites are playing the drums; I feel I am running to the beat of the music…so want to stop and dance J. The sun has just started to peak through the clouds, wish I had my camera to click snaps. I will do that next year for sure!! Let me run to the next curve to listen to some more live music.

Running to the beat of the drums Pic Courtesy - Sunanda Patnaik

View of the Matri Mandir Pic Courtesy - Sunanda Patnaik

Auroville Route Pic Courtesy - Sunanda Patnaik

This is really innovative - Pic Courtesy - Sunanda Patnaik

Distance: 6K-10K
The music still continues as loud n lively as ever!

What is going on in my mind: This route is so beautiful, just like an Enid Blyton story, I must come back here with my picnic basket with some scones, muffins, sandwiches.. STOP thinking about food Gauri and focus on the run. You have to complete this one within 3 hours, you have worked hard for it! FOCUS!

Distance: 11K-16K
Still going strong and enjoying it, crossed some lovely places.

What is going on in my mind: OMG 10k is over so soon?? I must be running really fast. I look at my watch to realise I was slower by 2 minutes than my regular 10K time. I panic a bit, the music has stopped now, sun is shining bright, and it has started to get really hot. I refuel to get my energy levels up for the next loop. I am feeling strong; so push myself a bit harder to get into the sub 3 hours category. Keep pepping my-self up - C’mon G you can do it! I start chanting mantras which I used to while trekking - ‘Jai Mata Di’ ‘Sat Nam Vahe Guru’ ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’. I look at the distance sign more n more
11K done - peeked at the watch and I panic as I feel am getting slower.
12K done – looked at the watch and some more panic.
13K done – tell my-self no looking at the watch but I still end up looking.
14K completed a bit tired but done no looking at the watch.
15K managed and looked at the watch for the last time.
16K breathing heavily, legs have started to give up.

Distance: 17K -19K
My mind is not talking much; I am breathing harder n harder, dragging my legs towards the finish line. I stop and walk for a few meters, its ok I tell my-self, better to finish strong than injured. I take a quick refuel at a pit stop to pump some energy in my last few kms. I start running towards 17 K mark, by the time I reach 18K I am breathless. My eyes take a sneak peak at the watch only to realise I have been running for 2 hrs 31 minutes. Panic sets in; in half an hour I have to finish 3 kms. It’s easily doable but I am not so sure. I tell my-self to keep the negativity away and slowly n steadily conquer 19 kms. My mind finally screams at me ONLY TWO to GO!! Don’t Stop NOW!!!

Distance: The 20th km
I am in the 20th km, my mind is pushing me to run faster but my legs are getting so heavy I can barely lift them up. I DO NOT look at the watch; just keep running towards the finish line all the while telling my-self Go GAURI GO!! You are almost there.

As soon as I hit 20K I see another fellow runner Sangavi who paces with me for few meters. She keeps pushing me and encouraging me. My mind is blank unable to process much, my eyes are searching for the finish line, I cannot see the finish line and I keep asking her ‘where’s the finish line’?
Sangavi reassures me that’s it’s only a few meters ahead, she leaves and I am joined by Prasad who runs with me for the next few meters, I again wonder where is that damn finish line?? He too keeps reassuring me that it’s just around the corner.. Where is that corner then????
Prasad leaves and Sourav joins in, I ask him the same question – ‘where is the finish line’!!! He calmly tells me to slow down, relax my shoulders and take it easy as the finish line is just in front of me.. which I cannot still see.

Last 250 meters left and I finally hear his voice, there stands my truly better half, having finished his Half Marathon already. He joins me for the last stretch; gives me some electrolyte to drink while reassuring me that we have 8 minutes before the 3 hour mark SO I SHOULD NOT PANIC (he had set his watch with the Marathon watch before coming to get me awww I was so overwhelmed) Then we run together, I hear RH team shouting and cheering me, Santosh (our super coach) joins me we all run together towards the finish line which I can finally see yipeeee. On the last turn both these men leave me to let me FINISH in style with a BIG SMILE on my face, which gets only BIGGER when I see the Marathon Watch show – 2 hrs 57 mins and some seconds!! I CROSS THE FINISH LINE!!
This was a special marathon; both better half and I ran this one, it was his first half marathon which he conquered in 2 hrs 29 mins!!

Running is a drug, the moment I crossed the finish line I wanted to run more, I want to come back for another one next year, want to run faster, better, longer, stronger!! 


  1. Well done Gauri! I've been waiting for this post and I enjoyed reading it so much :) I love the way you've written it- I can really relate to some of those thoughts you had on the way! Will you be training for a full marathon now? I have yet to conquer 10k, but I'm getting closer, and I'm thinking of doing my local half marathon in October if I can get enough training in. You have certainly inspired me! Hope you and your husband have recovered and are cooking lots of yummy healthy food :)

    1. Thank You Sarojini,
      A full is definitely on the cards but not now, I want to run faster, stronger first and then go for the full. I have the stamina but I also want the speed and fitness.
      I am sure you will conquer the distance successfully in October,its all in the mind trust me :)) All the Best for that.
      Yes! Hubby and me fully recovered for the next 10k on 3rd march!

  2. Excellent achievement Gauri. You are an inspiration to all the Women like us who need to get out of kitchen and simply run with joy. Amazing feat.

    1. Thanks Deepa.. I strongly believe in Running for the Joy of Running!

  3. Welcome and lovely post as usual. Gr8 and keep going dear. Way to go.

  4. My heart was pounding at the 18th Km ! The post was very well written. Congratulations. What an effort.

  5. o..really great dear..unique ur.

  6. Congrats dear, really a very gr8 job :-)

    1. Thank you Radhaji, Maha and Sangeetha!

  7. Yay!! Good for you :) So glad you made your goal and happy to read about it!

  8. Congrats dear :)

    I would like to invite you to ongoing Giveaway event
    Announcing My First Giveaway !!

    Don't miss the chances to win the giveaway- Fall in love with the Coffee Maker or Sandwich Toaster or Coffee Mugs its your choice which one you want to go with :)

  9. Lovely lovely write up. I know the feeling when you are going somewhere else and all you want to do is stop and smell the roses on the way. I am so proud of you of having done what you set out to. Now back to baking is what I am waiting to see and amaze myself yet again.
    Love Ash.

    1. Thanks Ash.. :) The event is not happening, but I am going to try the recipe and will post it!

  10. Wonderful :-)
    Congrats. Great reading ur blog post. Much Awaited.

  11. I miss running marathon. We always participate in the Annual Pune Marathon, but this year we had to skip it because of my in-law visit :) Beautiful writing, I'm feeling like running along with you :)

    1. Hopefully someday i can meet you at the start line of the Pune Marathon as well. Its my hometown and dream to run there!

  12. Congrats on your achievements! Thanks for sharing those beautiful photos too...

    1. Thanks Kala, Treat and Trick !

  13. I hung on to every word you wrote. SALUT!! Well done indeed and how inspirational are you! Bravo!!

  14. Lived every word you for my 1/2 marathon, perpetually feeling that am not training enough...your post has totally motivated me...keep going, keep running, cooking and posting. Some day, hopefully real soon, we can both do a "Pune Marathon" dreaming for that day...Salute You!!

    1. Hopefully Kasturi some day we should at least one marathon together where ever it is :)

  15. loved the write up..!!! i can feel the experience you had...!!!