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Chicago Marathon 2014 – Race Report

A marathon that I will never forget !!! 

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Training:

My first Marathon with Team Asha and it has been nothing but exciting. How often do you come across a running group that you can call family ?!

Team Asha has running program that focuses on Half-Marathon and Full-Marathon. Even though, I am part of the Asha Triathlon program, we all still run together.

Highlights of the season: Injuries, injuries and some more injuries ……

– Shin splints

– Achilles

– Glute pain

– Shoulder-blade pain

–  Plantar discomfort

And ended the marathon with Paroneal Tendonitis.

Throughout the season, I have been managing the injuries, only to end up with Plantar issue 3-weeks before the marathon. These injuries were only brief. I managed to get rid of all of them promptly by resting, reducing mileage, strength training, and stretching.

As a result, I had to slow down and do the run/walks.

It was not particularly plantar fasciitis. And the symptoms were mild. So, I got insole for the shoes and that seemed to have helped.

With bit of a hesitation I flew to Chicago. And tried not to think about foot pain as much as possible.

Race Day:

I decided to run with 5:45 Nike’s pace leader. It was a 4min run and 1 min walk team.

– I took a bladder bag with 2-liters of water.

– Took Chocolate Gu and Electrolyte shots (Clif)

– Consumed gatorade at every water-stop.

Met Nandhini Char at mile 3 and got a huge happy hug. My friend Ramesh and his 6-yr-old son came to cheer for me at mile-8. I was super excited to see them.

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Running with this team, I didn’t even realize how I got to mile 16. The four hours flew by so quickly, running with group of really nice people. Anurag, Mittal and Sushma were all with me till this point.

And out of nowhere, I started feeling discomfort in my left foot. So, I slowed down and decided to pull back from the pacing leader. First thing that came to my mind was, if I push hard, surf city triathlon would probably not happen.

I immediately called Chakri and Coach Char to report the issue. I couldn’t see any other Asha runner at this point.

As I walked through the next two miles, I kept in touch with Chakri ,who was monitoring us through live-tracker, every mile, as the pain aggravated.

Coach Char told me to go to medical tent to ice my leg for a few mins. Following his instructions, I stopped at every medical tent and got a little massage done that helped me walk a little further.

And to add to the plantar and outer foot pain, I started developing blisters on the small toes. Once the blister, pain is guaranteed. Had to walk to the next possible medical tent to get my toes taped before I could walk any further.

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Later figured out that I didn’t drink enough water and didn’t take salt that caused the blister between toes.

With Chakri’s virtual support, medical team’s help at every mile, coach Char’s encouragement, I somehow found myself at mile 24.

Mind over matter is no joke !!! I just started running again for the next 2.2 miles. I felt great. I didn’t feel the pain much, and I knew I am going to finish.

Chakri called me while I was at mile 26 to check on me. Apparently due to my frequent medical tent visits, my online tracker was not updating and he didn’t know I was already at mile 26.

I  dashed for the last 800 meters and crossed the finish line at 6:32:14. I was hoping for a sub 6 marathon but I am extremely grateful to cross the finish line.

In this 10-miles of drama, not even once a thought of dropping out crossed my mind.

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I wouldn’t have done it without Chakri, coach Char, Team Asha’s virtual following and cheering, medical tent volunteers and countless strangers who cheered me along the way.

I was thrilled to meet Pooja, Anannya, Vasu, Sushma, and Urvi when I walked out of the finish line. And a special thanks to Anannya for the massage to relieve the cramps.

Eventful marathon with truly awesome people !!

Hoping for a speedy recovery and a genuine attempt to finish surf city half-triathlon on Nov 2nd. Wish me luck !!

 

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