Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Straight from the heart: Personal accounts of the Bravehearts who ran the 2013 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

There is an inexplicable sweetness in setting a lofty goal for yourself and achieving it.  After all the accolades of your family, friends and peers have settled down what remains with you is the quite sense of achievement. But what happens, when you are not able to achieve the goal you have set, even after trying with all your heart?
The first few moments, and even the first few days after your 'disappointment' can drag you down, and in spite of all the consolatory comments of the same band of supporters, it is hard to shake off that losing feeling.  However, after all the dust has settled down, and you sit down and analyze the course of events, you may end up realizing that the adversity that you went through has made you even stronger, and considering the situation, you ended up a winner.

Here are the stories of a few of our Bravehearts from the Cardiac Health and Rehabilitation Center at the Asian Heart Institute (Mumbai), all of whom have heart disease and ran the half marathon in the 2013 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.  Most of them tell a tale of heroic courage in the face of great pain, and all of them are looking forward to take a crack at the run in 2014.

My Run and Pain: How I confronted and conquered it

The day finally dawned after a year of hard training and injury. Woke up at 3.45 am to a warm morning. Had a steaming coffee, cleared my mind and told myself to give the race all I have as the next few hours was what the whole year was about.
The run started, with me doing the 80/20 ratio (run:walk) and maintaining a good speed. At 8 km my watch read 58m instead of 61m as per my practice time, felt good! There was a crowd cheering when we got off the sea link. Makes you feel that you are a hero and the world has come out for you, a great uplifting feeling. Of which I saw the result at 10 km when the watch read 73m, little did I realize what was in store! At Worli dairy the pain came up, I stopped running and walked and prayed for the pain to go away. Tried running after a while, the pain became excruciating. Knew I could not run and would have to walk the balance distance. A painful decision when you gave this day your whole year. When pushed the heart and mind can work like there is no tomorrow. Got myself to a resolve that I will not give up inspite of the pain and started walking like I have never done before. A few times I actually overtook people who were jogging! Now the cheers of Run Mumbai run were hurting me, but, kept my mind focused on what lay in front of me and how I had to conquer the same with severe limitations. At Babulnath the African pack thundered past me on the opposite side, maybe someday I will like them, but today it was a difficult and different challenge. I was walking at a good pace, alone with my pain and fears and finally could barely run past the finish line at 2h 41m 30s a full four minutes less than last year. I was hurting physically and demoralized. It took me a full 24 hours to realize that considering what I was up against the outcome was pretty good. I was proud the way I faced and dealt with it and finished faster than last year.  
The race has left me braver and wiser to the point that Life is going to throw tough challenges at me but will have to rise above them, I did on Sunday, and will try to do so always.


I did manage to complete the marathon but this will be the 5th one but the worst one till now . I have injured my knee during last week’s badminton game, for which I had taken pain killers and applied ice.  I even did 30 minutes running in treadmill on the 17th ,that was before the marathon and nothing happened then.  So I took the challenge and participated in the marathon ,which I think has been a mistake on hindsight . I ran the marathon for more than 9 /10 kms but after that my knee gave way and ended up in severe pain, everytime I took a running step .
I walked the distance after that and completed and hence took nearly 3 hrs 40 minutes !!!
I am ashamed of my timing when i was sure of doing better than the last marathon timings and have my garmin records to prove was not  to  be !!!
 Now I am determined to get the knee examined and try to run the 21 kms within a month or two. Of course all will depend on the reports ..
I thank You, Dr Kiran and Dr Priyanka for all the help and support

Before the start of the Race my target was to finish within 2 Hours and I had decided to stick to the group of 2-Hour Bus. When we started at 5.40 AM, it was pleasant, and the air was cool. Keeping earlier year’s experience in mind, I was carrying Half ltr. bottle of electral to avoid dehydration. I was feeling quite comfortable till the Jaslok Hospital incline. My left ankle started giving me trouble around that time. I slowed down a bit, walked for 1-2 minutes and again continued my run. But that point onwards I could not catch up with the group running with 2 Hour-Bus. Due to ankle pain I could not dare to increase my speed beyond certain level. Ultimately I finished my race in 122.34 minutes. Since I was not carrying Stop Watch, I thought my timing was 121 minutes. Maybe next year I will finish it within 2 Hours.

I must thank Team AHIRC for their continued support and encouragement without which it would have been difficult for people like us, ex-Heart Patients, to get over traumatic experience of earlier years and become physically Fit. That is the reason I prefer to run with Team AHIRC rather than with my Bank’s Team which also participates in Mumbai Marathon. I hope to continue my association with AHIRC for ever.

Thanks for the encouragement and guidance, due which I could attempt and complete, for the first time in my life, a half marathon.  I could not practice as much as I wanted to due to sciatica in my right leg and pain in left knee which surfaced after the 21km practice run at BKC, on 15Dec. Subsequently, I did manage 3 bouts of 10km, including the Powai Marathon on 02Jan, apart from shorter ones, but this was not enough strengthening, as I found myself tiring out and loosing steam around the 15 km mark on the slopes of Pedder Rd.

My target was to keep it below 3h, but lost out by 3mt and 29 sec.  I could not attain my target of 8km in the first hr due to to bunching up on the sea link. And then I missed Mr Venkat’s 3 hr bus as we exited onto Marine Drive.  Positives are that there was  no injury, undue pain and I am back to running, after a days rest. Now I know that I need to be regular thru out the year and will be aiming for 2:45hr in 2014.

Congratulations to ALL !!

As decided earlier I was going to walk with my wife Malini entire Marathon. IT was cool on marathon day. This year as marathon was to start early it was nice and pleasant early in the morning. Though previous day was cold. I was walking casually and Malini was on speed walk she has to pace with me. On sea link we over took one physically handicapped person. He had Jaipur leg. He was with one companion. He used to fast walk some distance and than slow down and walk slowly. This gave malini boost that when his man can do it even I can complete. This was there till Lotus and after that we were ahead of them. Even on sea link visually blind man ran past us. He too was with one companion. I was enjoying my walk along. At worli we were greeted by Mr. Vikas Desai. Crowd on the way were cheering  participants offering biscuits, oranges, sweets, home made soft drinks and glasses of mineral water. On the way Asian Heart staff at respective medical camp were very helpful and were cheering participants. After crossing furnishing line I hugged Malini that she has finished without any injury though she has injury on her right shoulder. It was great moment for us.

Tks a lot for your and your teams support. Ours was one of the few teams, where all happily finished.
I started a bit slow to avoid crowd. It was nice cool climate  so sea link was v. Enjoyable. Till lotus cinema, I was with the 2.30hr bus but then slipped may be due to wet/uneven surface. I continued slow jogging till cadbury house. As the home run approached I became a bit more confident & started fast up pedder rd slope and  that was mistake, and I  slowed & started walking, and a angel tapped from the back saying, “run run”. Gathered breath started jog till wilson collage. Slight pain started in right knee so slowed(walk/jog) till jazz by bay where used pain killer spray got boost from my respected trainer. I continued slowly till the finish enjoying my run as I understood that I was behind my planed timing with little pain in my knee which was damaged in early 90s due to my bike stunts. Last 2 runs I never had right knee pain don't know where it came from but today its gone. Went for a nice walk this morning enjoying cool Bombay climate which is GODs gift for  runners.
(The angel who tapped fm behind was non but our own Roshni fm AH family)


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