Thursday, January 29, 2009

3M Relay - Race Report

I ran the 3M Half-Marathon relay this past weekend with another Team Asha runner Vishwas. It was the 2nd time that I was participating in a relay race – the 1st being the Silicon Labs Relay Marathon last year with G31 and G32. Relay races have a different dynamic to them – as a relay team member, you are not just focused on how you personally run, and how well you do, but also on how your relay portion contributes to the team’s success, and how your team members do. Vishy had been complaining about a knee pain the previous evening, but I knew that despite that pain, he would still run a great race – and I was determined to do my part in helping to acquire an overall good time!

I was running the 1st leg of the race – and started off slowly, letting the crowds pass me. I saw the Asha cheersquad at the start waving our brand new posters – which made me smile. The weather was cold that morning, but that worked for me since I LOVE running in the cold. I took off my jacket after the 1st mile and settled into a comfortable pace. I was carrying my own Gatorade, and did not need to stop at any of the water-stops. By Mile 2, I was doing sub 11-min miles, which for me is pretty good! I was excited at Mile 3 to see that I was maintaining that and started to pick up my speed a little.. I ran past a few familiar faces along the way – and cheered on a couple of Asha runners as well. I was feeling great. We ran through the lovely Spicewood neighborhood and finally hit Mopac. I crossed the 5 mile marker right after the Mopac intersection and really picked up my pace. I had just a mile left and figured I might as well give it my all. Praveen – another enthusiastic Asha volunteer was cheering so loudly it really got me all motivated to keep up my speed! Before I knew it, I had crossed the 10K marker and reached the relay point shortly after. I had completed 6.4 miles in 1:07 h – which is a personal record for me! I was thrilled and gave a Hi-Five to Vish after taking his sweater and waved him off. I then rode the shuttle bus to the finish point.

Vishy reached the finish just 54 mins after the relay exchange – which is quite incredible! We had an overall time of 2:03h! Vishy’s knee was hurting a little but we were both excited about how the race had gone and stayed at the finish to cheer on the rest of the Asha runners and our friends who were running the race.
Here are Vish’s thoughts on how the race went!

My race season has finally started - three races in a span of four weeks! Up first was the 3M Half Marathon Relay. I was running the relay with Charanya. Both she and I have our big races coming up next weekend and hence decided that doing the relay was the best option. I for one didn’t want to get a freakish injury and jeopardize my target race. The 3M course is famous for being a fast one. Being mostly downhill, the course offers good prospects of setting personal records. The relay is split up such that the first runner runs 6.4 miles and the second runner runs 6.7 miles. The plan was for Charanya to start us off and for me to finish the race.

The pre-race events were good. I got to see the start of the race, I saw the elite runners jet by and then the ASHA runners followed. I then was dropped off to the relay exchange point by ASHA volunteers- Murali, Gaurav and Bharat. It was a bitterly cold morning; I managed to stay warm by constantly moving and stretching. As I waited I cheered on the runners who were passing the relay exchange. I struck a conversation or two with some of the other folks who were also waiting for the racing partner to get to the exchange point. Around 8.20 or so Charanya appeared from the turn, and this was my cue to take my layers off and get ready. She gave me Hi-Five, I gave her my hoodie and off I went.

It took a long time for my body to warm up. My toes felt numb, my gloves didn’t help much but my brand spanking new shoes felt great! I had been battling some left knee issues, but it felt okay at that point. I was zooming past people, partly because I had just started the race and they were more than half way through it. I was running 7.5 min/mile pace for the first two miles, at which point I decided to slow down a bit in order to conserve some energy for the finale. This was about the time that my knee pain kicked in. This knee pain is a strange one, it happens on the inside bone on my left foot and no stretching/exercise makes it go away. I decided to suck it up and keep going. I passed the 10 mile marker and before I knew it, my pain was increasing. I decided to totally change my running form; I changed the way my foot landed - but it still didn’t help. So I decided to run by just straightening one leg- the right one. I somehow managed to keep the pace up in spite of a strange running step. Once I got to the 12 marker I forgot about the pain and dashed to the finish line.

All in all, it was a satisfying race. The course was easier than some of the other routes I have run in Austin. I managed to run a sub 50 min 10K, which is a PR for me. Mentally it puts me in good shape for my target race ahead. But the same cannot be said about my left knee. I have been icing/rehabbing it constantly for the past 4 days. It feels better, but I will not know for sure till race day Sunday!

Overall, Vish and I had a really great race and truly enjoyed ourselves! We are both extremely grateful to the awesome Asha volunteers for cheering us on at the various points of the course – despite the cold, and boy was it cold!! We are both now looking forward eagerly to our target races this weekend in New Orleans! Hope we have a good time there as well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

still waiting with bated breath for your New Orleans marathon race report .... did u do a sub 5 hr finish ???? guess still nursing back all those sore leg and thigh muscles, huh ????