Refering to my post on resolution around the last time I was here writing something - one of them was to run atleast two half marathons. Ofcourse, it was towards the end of the last year and I was full of energy and enthusiasm fueled by the possibilities created by an idle mind in mid of a two week vaccation. Needless to be said, this enthusiasm can quite often portray slightly to very wrong image of the execution of future plans, especially for people who lack any discipline whatsoever.
Okay, so quickly to the main point of the post, while I was still suffering from the enthusiasm just described, I went ahead and registered for the Leiden Marathon (15 Euros). Then spent two whole days filling excel sheet with a detailed training plan, which did btw take into account exams and everything (this was when I was supposed to be doing an assignment of quite critical relevance to my work life at TU Delft). Then, the first day the snow had melted (it was still holidays), I was out there running to cross out the first entry on my training plan. Everything was just as per the plan (atleast till the first day of the plan). Well, then ofcourse, you know how this goes. I modified the plan in March (1 day), as I was yet to cross out more than two entries of the training plan (this time it was during the exams). So it went on. I did ocassionally run in April and May - but I had stopped looking up the excel by then.
Finally the d-day arrived, I was supposed to run my first half marathon. My training status - a 10k run 2 weeks ago - and a 3k training 2 days ago. I had run couple of 10k runs in Bangalore without much practice, and I said to myself - its okay I will manage the 21k somehow. To cut a long story short - half marathon is called a half marathon for some reason. I was alright upto 15-16k, little down on energy on 17k, dead on 18th. Some walking-running in the last few kms got me to the finish line in an embarrassing enough time.
Even so, I regret none of it. It was just plain awesome. Leiden was awesome, the organization was great and efficient, spectator support was fabulous, the route was beautiful and weather was great. Top it up with great refreshments at the end of the race - without which I was not going to make it any further after the finish line.
They gave everyone a medal saying "20e Leiden Marathon" and "21 km" - so it felt pretty nice. There aren't any prizes for guessing that I havent had many medals given to me in my plain old boring life. There were atleast six places where the cheering crowd included a band playing, there were great people who put out water, drinks, fruits and all from their own home out for runners. They had cute sponges shaped like a running man. There were kids all along the way asking for side-fives (its a high five for the kids though).
Will I run it again - oh damn yes! Hopefully with more preparation next year. Will leave you with some pictures. What is not visible is my shoulder and knees that hurt for a day. Still worth it, yes!