First 2 kms, in the narrow lane of South Mumbai ( with all the diggings, South Mumbai lanes are now comparable to Kashi byelanes), was really crowded and its was difficult to run at a pace.When I entered the marine drive and turned left towards NCPA, I could see the buses in the opposite side, at least 1.5 kms away from me.
Over next 1 hour, I crossed the 5:45 bus at Pizza by the bay, 5:30 bus at Babulnath turn and 5:15 bus at Peddar Road.
The energy, the music, the cheering in Marine Drive was enough to bring out the best out of you. Thank you Mumbai, for being there at wee hours of the morning to cheer your running buddies.
Now I was running between 5:15 bus and 5 hour bus.
There were lot of runners who crossed me during the initial euphoria and have started walking during the steep Peddar Road stretch. I crossed them too.
From Peddar Road onwards, you could see your fellow HM runners running in the opposite side. I could see Vidyasagar, my running buddy, crossing me from the opposite direction, in front of Antilia. The rigour with which he was beating the Peddar Road slope, I was sure of his Sub 2 finish.
By the time I reached Haji Ali, the lights have started coming out. Lights of hope, that this morning you will be able to deliver as per your expectations.
The Sea face starts with Breeze of Freshness. You could see the Sea by your side. You are moving towards the Sea Link. The excitement of running on Sea Link is new, every year.
Midway on the Sea Link, I could see the Sun on the right hand side, looking like an orange, hiding half behind a sky scrapper.. Few runners stopped to take photo of this beautiful natural picture like scene. The sun by then, have come out like an obedient model and have started posing.
Throughout the Sea Link, i was following Ankur who was driving a team of fellow runners. He himself looked a stronger runner, but was sacrificing his time to motivatea bunch of 5 - 6 runners. Hats of Ankur. I crossed Ankur at the end of Sea link.
Post Sea Link, you take a right turn towards Mahim. The cheer support is extensive from here. Mumbai stands there with oranges, salt, chocolates, high fives and free hugs. And you will get it throughout your journey Siddhi Vinayak. I kept on enjoying my running journey.
Post crossing Siddhi Vinayak and running towards Sea Face, it was time for a short 30 seconds break and little stretches.
Once I turned right towards Sea Face, I could see the 5 hour bus on the opposite side, at least 2k away from me. That gave me enough motivation to bring up my pace. From Sea Face till Haji Ali was like a breeze. I had one of my best pace during this phase. Flat route with sea breeze coming. Added was the Navy stage where one of the fellow Navy Comrade was singing a Mohd Rafi song. Beautiful vooice soothed out the muscle pains.
Purposely, I dropped my pace in Peddar Road. Little children were standing with Oranges, Salt, Biscuits and above all, their heart melting smiles. How could I not stop at every point and grab something? The objective was to say a heartfelt thanks to all.
From Kemps Corner flyover, I picked up my pace with a goal to continue with the same pace till finishing line. Crossed my running buddy, Sunil, at Wilsons College.
Now the last leg, From Chowpatty, till finishing line. This is the point where "Suryadev" is in his full vigour to challenge you. No shades at all. Still when I heard " Baar Baar Dekho, Hazar Baar Dekho" in front of Gymkhana, I had to dance to the rhytm.
Just post crossing Inter-Continental hotel, I had a thigh muscle cramp. Unfortunately, could not find a single Volini Station. Grabbed a large Ice Bag, started putting it against my thigh and walked. 3.5 kms. When I saw the last 500m board, then picked up the pace with all my energy and finished strong. The last song during the 500m was " First time dekha tujhe, hum kho gaya, second time mein love ho gaya"............
The entire 42.195 km taught me few important learnings:
1. Its important to prepare. There is no substitute of strong preparation and training, be it any sphere of life.
2. Whatever you plan in life, the live situation may get totally different. Its important that you think of the feet and execute then and there.
3. You start alone in life. In between you will have companions, some known and some unknown. However, this is your own fight. You will have to fight and survive. Sometimes you will be ahead, sometimes you will follow others. Does not matter till you know your goal and a way to reach there.
Looking forward to more such life changing experiences from this Life's run.