Thursday, 11 April 2013

- 2013 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon : A race review from Joe Woo -

Mumbai Marathon 2013 aka Tour de Mumbai 2013.
This will be my solo assignment and also the first time I'm representing the Freedom Freaks to run the marathon.
I would like to thank coach Izat, fellow brothers and sisters in FF for the supports and encouragements before my departure.
The decision to sign up for the race was made back in July 2012.
No special reason, I just thought of conquering this "Odd Race" for years and I finally seized the chance for this year.
Training was started way back in November 2012.
Did my own runs and LSD around the neighbourhood.
Much prep and sufficient of mileage was done and taper the last week before flying off...
Reached Mumbai few days before the race. The weather in Mumbai was like, hot in day but cold at night.

Saturday, 19th January 2013
Woke up in the morning for a short run. Purpose of the run is to test out the weather and ground condition.
Weather was pretty cold then.
But the run was forced to do it slow due to the traffic congestion. You never want to know how badly traffic was like in Mumbai!
Nonetheless, manage a 6KM and soon settled my breakfast before going for my racepack collection.

Late morning, I reached World Trade Centre to collect my marathon racepack. 
The place was catered to all overseas participants only.
Local participants had collected their racepacks a week earlier.
And because of this, there weren't much queues. System was fast and I collected my stuffs within half an hour.

- Racepack collection - 
After the racepack collection, the whole of afternoon was my own time own target activity. Nothing much, had lunch and merely shop around the town. I then decided to take my early dinner too and head back to hotel for an early rest.

- Freedom Freaks, represented !! - 

Sunday, 20th January 2013
Tour de Mumbai, let's go !!

Woke up in the morning with a positive mood! 
And I can't wait to run my 9th marathon in Mumbai for the first time!

- The start-line - 
Soon, the race flagged off at 5:40AM. I started my run steadily and clock my first 21km in 1:51:33 hours.
I was okay then. 
Along 24KM, my legs were feeling tired. But I bear in mind of AA's advice.
"Never slow down. Be confident and whack your very best for the first 30K. You can do it, bro."
Hence, I did not slowed down and kept my pace maintained at sub-6min/km.
Reached 30KM mark and time checked, 2:38:45 hours.
Cool! I sticked to AA's tip and made it a good Sub-3.
And now I have more than enough time to play with the last 12k where "dramas" usually happen.

I must say the first 28KM attempt was smooth and steady. 
The route was relatively flat and the weather was bearable.
The ambience was good too, especially those little children in the village, they're so lovely and very supportive.
- The lively supporters - 
And when I thought things were going well ...
I lost my consistency at 34KM. 
I hit the wall as expected and suffered a stomach upset the same time.
My body was feeling fatigue at that point of time.
I really thought of giving up and and just walk all the way to the finishing line like how I did in SCHKM & SCKLM last year.
It wasn't a big deal anymore as I was pretty confident to end the race within Sub-5 even if I walk.
The loss - Losing a PB.

At 35KM, no excuse, I WALKED! I walked about a distance of 1.1 kilometer.
And weather soon getting hotter too.
As I've already given up myself and carry on walking, a local runner ran to me.
He persistently persuaded me to keep going and shouldn't give up so easily.
I explained to him of my condition. He paused his run and checked if I'm okay.
He still encouraged me to slow down the pace instead of stopping and walk.
He said: "Dragging your feets and walk in a marathon, it's as good as to surrender yourself and lose the battle."
He tapped on my shoulder with a smile and showed me a thumbup before leaving me behind to carry on his run.

I felt ashamed after learning his words. 
And soon I picked myself up again.
Instead of walking, I stopped and rested for awhile, did some leg stretching.
I bitterly carry on with a slow jog at 7-8min/km pace.
It was really a challenge.
Time and time again, I felt the pain, but I overcame the difficulties.

At 39KM mark, the sun was mercilessly burning.
But surprisingly, I felt alright and I thought I was able to run again.
I waste no time by whacking my best in this crucial moment.
Nearly 600m towards the finishing line, the local supporters were shouting at my bib and cheering at me.
It was really awesome!

Finally, after so much of struggles throughout the second half, my effort paid off.
I raced and completed the Mumbai marathon with a net time of 4:00:59 hours.
Thank god! I was really glad and proud of my achievement.
- Made new friends after the run - 
- Another hard-earned finisher's medal - 
- My official result - 

Landed my "Personal Best" in India.
I told myself that I've made the right choice for coming all the way here and finish the race strong.
That moment, the satisfaction was priceless. 

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