Sunday, January 25, 2009

Race Day - The Carlsbad Half Marathon 2009

Yep, it's done. My first ever half marathon. The results are in:

Overall: 1664 out of 7147
Men: 1119 out of 2863
M 25-29: 197 out of 455
Age/Grade: 52.86% Place: 3283
Finish: 1:52:02 Pace: 8:33
Tag Time: 1:52:02
Gun Time: 1:56:26

I guess I'm going to start by saying that I did achieve my preset goal (see "target" in this post) and a little more (which is always a nice feeling). And when I say "... and a little more", I don't just mean, those golden 7 minutes and 58 seconds, that put me into the category of a "sub-2hr halfer" (which for some reason seems to have a halo around it, although, for the record, I think a 2:01 is just as spectacular as a 1:59). I am referring to the fact that I totally enjoyed running this race. And by "enjoyed", I mean everything from actually running the race, to watching people around me run, the sights and sounds (the rock bands, of course), the many thanks I said to the people with the thankless job of picking up after us folks in a hurry (the volunteers!!), all the posing I did for the photographs and the many short conversations I had (with known acquaintances and strangers alike).

What was interesting was, that I have actually never had a conversation with anyone during a race, in the past. That may have to do with the fact that all my past "official" races have been 6mi (10K) and under, which really doesn't leave much room for conversations now, does it? But, what I really think it had to do with, was 2 reasons:

1. My T-shirt
2. Dane Rauschenberg

My T-Shirt: Before I explain how my T-shirt ended up being a "conversation starter" (if there is such a thing, in a "race"), I think it is important for you to see the front and back design of this thing (and many many thanks to Pradeep, for coming up with that ultra cool logo of the running-man-India-flag). Now, I know what I you are thinking... that is one terrific looking T-shirt. Sure is. Both, the front and the back and very well thought out and extremely creative. Except for one small flaw. The logo for the back was designed by a bunch of Nerdy Engineers (yours truly, included), who, as ironic as it sounds, failed to foresee how the physics of the intended application could come into play to mess things up. You see, the logo on the reverse was supposed to portray our "world-peace" or "anti-terrorism" theme, which it does perfectly (with some minor restrictions, as you will see). As it would turn out, when the logo on the reverse is in motion at an average speed of about 7 miles an hour, coupled with an upward/ downward rhythmic, bobbing movement of a few inches and a slight sideways wind (from the Pacific Ocean), it is pretty easy to garner responses from fellow marathoners, along the lines of "... is that a list of all the races you have run so far?" or "... wow, you actually ran in New Delhi?!" (although, I must give that guy credit for being able to read "New Delhi" under those conditions). And that is the story behind how I got into several of those short conversations (still beats me, why anyone would think I would decide to put a huge "STOP" sign next to the list of my races :).

Dane Rauschenberg: If his name doesn't ring a bell right away, you're not alone. I had no idea who he was until the day before my first half, either. I happened to bump into his "motivational speech" at the half marathon expo. Now, I am usually not the kind that gets drawn toward "motivational speakers", maybe partly because I think I am pretty darn motivated to begin with (or, so I'd like to think ;-) and partly because, most of the motivational speakers I've come across in the past, have had little to prove their case. In Dane's case, that was ruled out off the bat, when I read the brief description on the event schedule posted outside the room - "this man ran 52 full marathons in 52 consecutive weekends of the same year (2006)" (and may I add, while maintaining a day job). Now, before I went into this session, I was, for the most part, convinced that the Carlsbad half will very likely be the only event of it's kind for me for a while (at least for 2009). But, for some reason, after having listened to what he had to say about his "52 in 52" experience and talking to him in person, I realized, if he could sign up for 52 in 52, I should at least allow myself a crack at 1.5 in 52 (that's 3, 0.5 mathons = 1.5, just so we're talking common denominator ;-). So, long story short, I left the expo convinced, more than ever, that I was going to at least "attempt" 3 half marathons in 2009. Alright, now how does this connect to the main topic (conversations on the half)? Well, as it turns out, I have historically always been the type that gives every race the every last bit (I guess it must be easy to do on 10K's or something) of energy... and the Carlsbad half was going to be no exception. The plan was to race the hell out of myself, and not worry about whether I could limp out of bed on Monday morning, to go to work. Unfortunately, the events at the expo that resulted in me deciding to pursue my "attempt", which meant I didn't want to "risk-it-all" on the Carlsbad Half. As a result, I decided to only push it a little bit more than I was used to, on my training runs, thus creating all that time for "enjoyment".

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do let me know either ways (comments).... and hopefully, see you on the LJHM


Anonymous said...

Awesome post dude...very inspiring...Your first half and sub2..very impressive..Keep those PRs coming!..good luck at LJ!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post dude...very inspiring...Your first half and sub2..very impressive..Keep those PRs coming!..good luck at LJ!

Arundhati said...

great job on the blog Anil.....felt as though I was running just behind you sharing the same experience :).....Thanks for all your help on the t-shirt, was a lucky one for all of us !!!

Anil said...

Thanks very much for the comments guys (increases the chance of other runners finding this and possibly joining us!)

Arundhati, thank YOU for all the initiative and the unyielding determination to get those T-shirts done!

Vikraman said...

Man - every time I read your posts, I feel like going running. Your passion is evident and infectious. Maybe you should consider a career as a trainer/motivator or something :-).

I timed myself last week. Did 2 miles in 25 minutes (which was my target), albeit on the treadmill. Would it translate to about the same on the road?

Anil said...

Hey Vikraman, Thanks for the nice comment!

That's a great start! I personally think, getting started is the hardest part, so you've done that, now it's just to keep doing what you are doing!

Just one thing, I would suggest not worrying about pace, at the moment. Don't worry about how fast you are running, as long as you are running. Just try to stay running for as long as you can at a time. Once you get to a point where you are able to run at a constant speed (whatever speed that is) for about 45 minutes, then start to kick it up a notch at a time.

Anil said...

oh, to answer your question about the treadmill/ road difference. Running on asphalt is a *tad* harder than the treadmill, because of the *slight* cushioning the treadmill gives you, but, then again, running outside is a whole lot more fun (esp in a group) so, that makes it feel a heck of a lot easier.

rachana said...

Pretty neat writing there Anil. The blog sums up my experience at the Carlsbad half. Can't wait to read more..

Vivek said...

Anil......baaaap....tu too much hai looking forward to reading stuff geared to the LJH (hill training etc)

Vijay said...

Good job. One needs 2 be a hell lot passionate to write so much details abt his run. Well i guess passion is not something we can doubt about in u for running :). I guess the next target must be 1:45.

Anil said...

Nice to see comments from all of you folks!

Anonymous said...

now I feel sorry for missing Carlsbad and energized to do LJHM. Keep flipping bits and running :)

Surabhi said...

on completing your first 1/2 marathon. you are so passionate about your marathon that it has inspired me and many others.. way to go!!
I loved the t-shirt design too.

Dane said...


Congrats on your race! You must be very pleased. I am flattered you mentioned me.

As an FYI, I have the new shipment of books in and look forward to signing copies for you and your friends.

Furqan said...

congrats dude..good job..

PoP said...

Hey Anil,
That is a nice write up, I was able to visualize it well.
Thanks for the nice words about the T-shirt design, I was LOL at your comments on the "dates and place", I was telling the same to Arun :)
Glad it worked out finally and proved it lucky for all of you, great timing on the run by all of you and good luck for your future runs and hope ti run along with you all soon.