Friday, February 13, 2009

It's not just about the distance....

I am excited. I am nervous. I am happy. I am jittery. My head and heart are full of wide ranging thoughts and emotions - all related to the race that is day after tomorrow. I know.. it's my third half marathon. Shouldn't be that big a deal. Right? Wrong. Well!! it IS a big deal. There are many things that are different from when I ran 2 years back.

For starters, I wasn't stewarding a project two years back. I hadn't visited Humana's school in Sahibabad. I hadn't seen the real plight of the urban poor. I wasn't fundraising for any specific project that time. I didn't know about the way Asha-Austin's funds impact lives of so many underpriviledged. I didn't know about the tireless work of so many grass roots individuals - dedicating a substantial chunk of their lives to help those, who we look away from on our visits to India (I know I do and I have only started to become aware of every little instance of my apathy to the less fortunate ones.)

Then there is the fact that I have trained on my own this time (not technically because dear husband accompanied me in all our training runs). I had to make and follow a training schedule. All thanks to the expert advice from Gaurav and Ganesh, my training calendar was full of the whole shebang - long runs, quality/speed workouts, hill training, easy runs, strength training, cross training, running drills, foot drills and what not. To put it in short, it wasn't as easy as I had thought it would be. But it was challenging and hugely satisfying whenever I could meet those challenges.

And then there is this new "injury" - my ever tight quads and Illiotibial band leading to pain in my knees. In spite of all the rehab work (deep tissue massage, foam roller, stretching, icing), all my plans of running a STRONG race seem threatened at this point.

The past two years have made me a more 'aware' runner and a more 'thankful' runner. My aim to raise funds for schooling of children in Sahibabad gives my half marathon a whole new meaning and I am going to be aware of that at every mile marker! I am thankful, to all the people and circumstances that make this possible for me, AND for having the chance to do this little something for those children!

Yes I am nervous about day after tomorrow but I am not too worried about that because in the words of my previous coach, "It's a good thing if you are nervous, it means that you have a healthy respect for what you are going to do." Respect! Yes I have that. Lots of it. Not only for the half marathon distance but also for our ongoing mission.

So I guess I WILL have a strong race, no matter what knee troubles come up. I'll have the inpiring thoughts of the children at school, wonderful (!) company of my hubby and the support of an incredible team to keep me going.

I wish each and everyone a meaningful and memorable race.
Go Team Asha!



Charanya said...

I LOVE the quote from your coach!! All the very best Iti for this Sunday!! Can't wait to see you come smiling across that finish line!! :)

Sharanya said...

Iti, you will finish strongly! You're a tri-babe now. ;) After your awesome tri performance over the summer, I know you will be able to ace this easily.

I'll be waiting at mile 7.75 to give you your water bottle! (and more gyan!) :p Good luck!