Auroville 2012 was the first time I went for a marathon run. Wait, I wasn't running. Since @Jmr_chn was offering me a free ride from Chennai to Pondy and as usual, since I didn't have any big plans that weekend, I went with him. What I saw there did a make a difference in my seriousness about running. I saw lot of young kids, elders running with joy. I didn't think many of them were running for some kind of competition. It was more of how we would celebrate a festival. There is no winning/losing in a festival, right? Same here. People were running with their kids, life partners, friends. I also always thought running as an activity to enjoy, than of an exercise. I had days 3-4 years back when I would go for a run instead of playing cricket with colleagues. Somewhere deep down there I decided I will also start running more.
Come back to 2013, here I am , after a very good fun run in Auroville for 10 Kilometers. Like last time, thanks to @jmr_chn for the free ride and motivation. This time group was big and we had all kinds of characters in the team. There were people who won't understand a simple joke unless explained to people who 'try to joke' every word they say. People who would stretch for 2 hours for a 70 minute run, to people who ask "What Stretching?" Hilarious. Good that I was not running in same race (most were running 21k), as otherwise i would have laughed for the entire run and never finished it.
As Wiki says, Auroville is an experimental township en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurov... . I was told many come for the search of inner peace and the divine experience. I will not get into the politics or economics of how Auroville runs. Looks like it is more complicated than what you would think.
About the event, Auroville marathon is one unique marathon event in south India, where you run mostly on unpaved way. You will be surprised of number of Auroville residents who run barefoot. An event within India, where you will see good number of foreigners running with you. The arrangements they do are best in class and the trail is superb by itself. Though we started the run around 7 AM, I don't think I got dehydrated at any point. Wherein during my practice runs in Chennai, if I start around 6:30 AM, I would be dehydrated by 5th KM. There are enough trees on either side of the road and the road by itself is just wide enough for 3-4 people to run together.
Because of the narrow roads, when we started, it was difficult to get my pace for first 750 meters. I have to overtake many and for that I started running in the edges of the road. There was one point where I almost slipped because of uneven surface. Then I decided to run slower or at a comfortable pace till the crowd gets leaner. By the end of first KM, I started running at better than my regular pace. Then by 4th KM, I started slowing down a bit thinking I might exhaust energy before the finish. By 6th KM, I was back on the regular speed. There was one beautiful girl and an elderly person running with me from that point till the end. Never got a chance to get her name and/or her number though ;). The crowd throughout was encouraging. Towards the end, people were shouting for you on both sides. Incredible feeling. There were drum beats all over the place. At the end, I felt almost like running another 10K. I was not at all tired, felt excellent at the end. In my clock, I finished by 62nd minute. My personal best. Decided that I will stick to 10K for some more time and reduce the timings.
I did two things differently on this run from other runs. I took about 1/3 of my regular morning Insulin about 1 hour beore the run. I think it did help with the run. But one mistake was, I took a whole banana before the run. I kinda felt heavy throughout the run and I have to run to restroom as soon as I crossed the finish line. We had a buffet lunch in the hotel we stayed and we almost emptied that restaurant in 30 minutes. I am sure you will see more posts like this as months come.