Thursday, April 4, 2013

Never ever thought it would happen!!

There are thoughts that come to mind of my days back in middle school and Jr. High when we had to do the mile run in PE, and of course I was one of the slowest students and had to run/walk almost every 2 minutes it seemed!!  Mile time was never better than 11 minutes and until college my thoughts of ever winning a race was 1 in a billion/non-existent!!!!

Then last weekend something of the unimaginable happened!!!! I WON A MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):)  We went to Corbett National Park where RunningandLiving hosts the Corbett Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km, and 5km races!!!!  Having just finished Mumbai 2 months prior, I basically maintained for the last 2 months and signed up for the full, goal time of 3:15 (record time for the course is 3:16:35)!!!  So I thought since I ran a 3:06 in Mumbai, a 3:15 would be quite doable without putting too much strenuous training!!! Coming off 6 straight months of strenuous training for Mumbai, I didn't want another 2 additional!!!  Needed to give my mind and body a little break!!!!:):):)

Now this Corbett Marathon to me is something special and something of a chip on my shoulder!!!  Last year we went to Corbett and I ran the full marathon and had to quit at mile 22!!!  The heat was too much and I know I wasn't as prepared as I could have been!!!  So finishing Corbett was my ultimate goal, just to say "yeah I dominated it"!!!!  Placing top 3 in Corbett was somewhat in the back of my mind, but more of a bonus to finishing!!!:):)

Day before the race we went to pick up our race packets and of course I looked at the number of runners running the full marathon, and there were roughly 60-70 runners signed up!!  So about 10 more than last year, meaning the field should be a little more competitive!!!  Now between 2009-2011 I really didn't compete to seriously in any marathons so even though I've been running for 7 years, there was a gap that I took off from serious competition (at least in fulls, did many half's)!!!  So establishing a race week and pre-race day routine was something I wanted to do for Mumbai, which I think I have established now!!!:):)  Running the exact same distances and time that I did the week of Mumbai and having almost the exact same meals the day before AND morning of, I was feeling  a LOT more confident mentally than I was last year at this time!!!  It's amazing how much a routine can help settle the nerves of an athlete!!! You don't have to worry about what will negatively effect you because you've done it so many times!!!  Even though this is the second time I did this routine, with my time in Mumbai I know I did something right!!!:):):)

Morning of the race had my granola bars, snicker bar, cup of straight black tea, gatorade, and 2 bananas (my marathon morning meal)!!!!  Arriving to the starting line was a little more hectic than I imagined since they moved the starting line 1.5km's and that meant taxi's had trouble getting to the starting line!!  The guards wouldn't let the taxi past the 1.5 point so I did my begging and pleading, which in India I have found out if you stay persistent enough they will soon bend the rules!! So it worked, we got our taxi (of few) to drive all the way to the start!!! Like heck I and my runners were going to walk 1.5km to the start THEN run an entire full or half marathon too!!!;):):)  Gotta look after Woodstock of course!!!

The race started and there was one runner out in front of me: BENDIX!!!! That made me feel good!!!  Knowing that Bendix was on his way to winning and his pace was slightly faster than mine!!!!:):):)  The course was a down and back (for half), down and back, soooooo pretty much saw the same thing the second time out!!!!  I don't like these types of courses, but hey what can you do!!!:):)  On the way out to the first turn-around I kept pace with these 2 guys from Delhi!!!!  Ironically enough we started talking and one of them graduated from Doon School (the town down the valley from Mussoorie) and I told him I was the CC coach for Woodstock and he said that being an alumni he knows the CC coach for Doon and they were looking for teams to run against!!! I said GIVE WOODSTOCK A CALL!!!!  Having this conversation with these two guys made me solidify my theory that running is by far the MOST competitive-friendly sport out there!!!!  What other sport can you be competing but have friendly conversations, cheering on other runners, and still stay in motion/keep the heart rate up the entire time (said that last part to eliminate golf!)!!!!  I mean the friendly competition you have in running gets beat no where else!!!!  You are mainly competing against yourself, WHILE competing against others!!!  But it's the personal goals that make you bond with the other runners and make you want them to succeed just as badly as you do!!!!  IT'S AWESOME!!!!!!

After finishing my first down and back, things got very quiet!! The two guys I was talking to and Bendix had now finished their half and it was basically me and mother nature!!!!!  Picture a road with trees and bush on both sides, and a small village every 3-4 miles, with NOTHING else!! THAT is what this marathon consisted of!!! There were water stations with some volunteers every 5km, but other than that it was deserted!!!  No groups of people cheering with cowbells and signs, no other runners to give you hope and reminders of why you are this crazy to run a full marathon in the middle of no where!!!!  There was nothing!!! So this was by far the HARDEST mentally full marathon you could do!! You don't have the distractions to make time go by faster, or get that small boost of energy from the crowds!! It is YOU and the sounds of nature!!!

On the final turnaround (31.5km) I was in the home stretch!! The same spot I was in last year, but this time feeling energized and a LOT better and less exhausted!!!  After turning around I made sure I checked my watch and looked for the 2nd place runner!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah he didn't show up until 11 minutes after I turned around, which means I had a comfortable lead of around 22-25 minutes, assuming he was slowing down!!!  I couldn't believe it at that point!! That is when it hit me that not only am I going to finish this race, but I am in a very good position to actually win it!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):) I got to my spot I quit last year and took a nice big gulp of water and spit it out on that spot, basically gesturing NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!  That alone gave me a huge energy boost!!!  With only 1.5km left of the race, I took my right hand turn into the final and by far HARDEST (literally hardest) part of the race!!! Picture a narrow, single lane, dirt, rock, and puddled road, THEN multiply that by 10 because you have just ran 25.2 miles at that point!! THAT is the pain level my feet were fighting against!!!!

I took a deep breath, sucked it in, told myself SCREW YOU 1.5KM TO FINISH, I'M GOING TO DOMINATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!  I picked up the pace, basically leaping at some points over puddles and rock patches, and got to the Woodstock cheer squad!!!!  There was Owen and Tara about .5km away, THEN my row of high fives about 500mts from the finish, and then Judy and the rest waiting at the finish line!!! WHAT A WAY TO FINISH RIGHT THERE!!!!!  Feeling so pumped and full of life, the feet were not even a factor anymore!!! Finished acrossed the line with a ginormous "YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and flexing double arm fist pump and then quickly sat down exhausted!!!!!!!:):):)  Immediately I was surrounded by my Woodstock running family, and felt a feeling I have NEVER experienced before: winner!!!!!!!:):)

I didn't know what to feel, all that was going through my head at that time was I KICKED THIS MARATHONS BUTT AND I FINISHED FOR MY WIFE, FUTURE KID, FAMILY BACK HOME, ALL OF WOODSTOCK, AND ME!!!!!!!!  First place was a distant second!!!!  With 2 miles to go that is all I was thinking about: wife, future kid, family, and Woodstock!!! There was no way I was quitting that race!!!:):):)  Not after all the talks about never quitting and giving it your all, always!!!  2 failures in a row was NOT happening!!! Winning was not expected either!!!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOO BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)

Looking back at Corbett and the FUN we had, I think it's these life experiences that only running can bring!!!!  People so often see running as pointless!! Why run from one point to another!! Not even thinking of WHERE running can take you!! Literally!!:):)  With races on every continent, every country, world travelers are made because of running!!!  I would have never seriously considered Finland as quickly as I did if it wasn't for the Turku Marathon!! I wouldn't be talking to people I met in Mumbai, Delhi, and Corbett because of the races!!!  There is SO much more than running from Point A to Point B!!  Friendships, personal goals, connections, world exposure are one of the many reasons why I love running so much!!!!!:):):)

Overall Corbett was ANOTHER lifetime experience I will cherish forever!!!!:):):)  And the students/staff I went with will all have a common bond for the rest of our lives!!!!!:):):) CORBETT 2013 FOREVER!!!!:):)

HAPPY SMILING AND RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)


  1. Steve you are a legend and inspiration...thanks for organising everything for such a great weekend.

  2. THANKS ED!!!!!!!!!!:):):) Nice blog name!!!!;)