Every time I have gone to run a race, I have tried to do a review of my preparedness a week ahead of the run. Here it is, for whatever it is worth.
1. Garmin: I have one Garmin in working condition, (I own 2 other garmins which don’t work much like the local support that they have in India) I have located a charger which too is working fine. I was in a state of panic last week when I discovered that one of the chargers that I had for the Garmin was simply not working. I then came up with a back up plan, to use my iphone with endomondo installed.
The Garmin is important for two kinds of runners:
One, is what I call SILK (Srivatsan and his ilk) who are constantly running with a geometry box in hand with protractor, compass and all to plot the shortest route through the course of the race. They are particular about running the exact distance so that they get a PB and nobody gets ahead of them by running more efficiently. Vatsan’s training in the stock markets, dealing with candle sticks (no reference to a runner’s long wiry legs) and all gives him an edge over others. In the markets it is about trends, on the roads it is about bends. Big D.
The second, the group has people like me who wear a Garmin not just to show off that they completed the course but to show that they ran more than what the race required, not so much because of incorrect measurements of the course but their own poor running. Occasionally, people like us stop and swagger off course to garner sympathy of the by standers, to get that extra orange from a kid (usually it is the pretty mom whose attention we are trying to catch) on Peddar road. We crib after the race that the course was too long but if that gets debunked, we can always say that we lost our way or that we had to navigate through the slower runners, adding otherwise avoidable centimetres that we pass off as the reason for a poor finish.
2. Race day attire: Even if you can’t be a good runner, atleast dress like one, that is my principle. there are good runners, good looking runners and runners who show up all dressed up. I belong in the last category. When the world was running in cushioned shoes, I ran in Vibrams, to get noticed. now that the world has moved to minimals, I am simply at a loss. so I have decided to wear bright clothing, fluorescent green tee with equally bright green shoes. If it gets cold, I may have to wear a full sleeve, which will dampen my fan following but hey, something’s gotta give, no? My race day attire is all washed and ready to be worn. I am ready. Tee. shoes. socks. cap. Fuel belt too.
3. Music: Two things have not changed in my running over the last decade or so since I took to the roads. My choice of music and my running pace. I have discovered that there is nothing like a loud rendering of Raag Todi by Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar to make way for yourself on the crowded sea link. Especially if the musician has taken off to a slow start and you make all runners around you listen to it by strategically letting the ear plug connecting to the ipod come loose. At a time when they are listening to the cacophony of the latest punk artiste, the mere sound of a Chembai or a Semmangudi is enough to make them freeze in their tracks and let you go past. My ipod too is ready.
4. Waist pouch: The high point of my races overseas is my shopping spree at the expos, never the race itself. So, I picked up this waist pouch in Cape Town which can hold like a ton of stuff. It serves me in two ways. It can hold my phone, some money and an ID to help people identify me as being of a different vintage if, by some quirk of circumstances, I end up running so slow that I end up finishing at the top of the pack of the finishers in the 2015 edition of SCMM which they have now announced. But this pouch also does a fine job of reducing my own middle to look like the rim that sits inside a car tyre.
5. The 2P strategy: this is usually not mentioned as openly as I am going to, but as i said, this is critical to all runners to work out in advance. It is about the pee and the potty. Comrades runners don’t think twice of peeing in their pants. But when you are running in broad daylight on Mumbai streets, this is not really an option. It is better to know where the loos are. I have mine identified. there is one under the Marine drive flyover, the next is at the Prempuri ashram at the beginning / end of Peddar Road. I am also certain that every one of the buildings on Peddar road will have a servant’s / driver’s loo better furnished than any of our own living rooms and I am sure that one can find a caring chowkidar who will let you in.
The potty is a tougher one. Unlike the pee which creeps up on you and you can make an assessment as to how long you can hold on, the potty descends on you suddenly, like, thump. When you gotta go, you gotta go. If you manage to walk long enough, the urge will ebb, but is it in you to walk that long. And in the course of this long walk to a loo, you will go through discomfort of an order that will make you go contort in ways that will leave onlookers wondering. I have faced this more than once, I must confess and I might have even have heard bystanders remark that I am giving it my all to my run. The one thing that should worry you is if the medical tent takes you in and starts administering the wrong treatment, perhaps for the glutes, without realising that the problem is really between the glutes! It is best in those situations to take them into confidence right away so that a solution is found quickly. They may even have a bed pan, though i confess i have not checked. This year, this P could well be the most vulnerable aspect of my race, I am dreading it. It may well be the factor that keeps me away from a PB.
6. Weigh in: Running is much unlike a boxing bout nor are there weight categories though I sometimes think that there could be a separate overweight category. On the last occasion, I had arrived at the starting line weighing 85 kg and there is a distinct possibility that the number could be south of 82 this time around. I am aware of all the benefits of this but my greatest relief is that it will be easier for me to suck my tummy in whenever i spot photographer. Even if I were to be ambushed by a hidden photographer, I will look better than I looked the last time. small mercies, wouldn’t you say.
7. Have I had a good taper ? The only time when I am training like the elites and the more committed runners is during the taper. Because the rest of the time, my running is really a caper. If someone said that I am on a perennial taper, they would not be exaggerating. The only difference is that when the taper period sets in, I stop making excuses and instead make myself feel like one of THEM.
8. Training: Oh no. I knew I had forgotten something.