#6 HM Dehradun Half Marathon

11th Oct 2015

“So far, every running event I’ve been to was different from the other. But, after 14-15 of these, a bunch of marathons and half marathons together, I thought that the differences will get blurry.

I ran in the heat, in the cold, wind, heavy rain, snow, uphills, downhills, flat, trail, and, in a 10k cross, hangover.

But today I found out how it feels to run while you are having a cold. I remember reading some articles about it in winter. They said that if you’re coughing, it’s not a good idea to go running. That’s most of what I remember.

I got the cold from somebody in the office. In India, in this period, the season it’s changing, and it seems that this cold is going viral, taking everybody by surprise. Thursday somebody was complaining about the cold, and, by the following day, it hit me. Running nose, sneezing, wet eyes, fatigue, sore throat, the works. Why was this happening to me right now? I mean, karma didn’t know that Saturday I want to run a half marathon?

And, as if not enough already, I am allergic to Paracetamol. I imagine what you’re probably thinking. Who is allergic to Paracetamol? Well, I am. And it sucks. Every time I have a cold, I can’t take anything that’s even related to Paracetamol, so I have either try the natural way to fix it, or to go for antibiotics when the situation gets ugly.

I took some Strepsils, which I had from Romania, plenty of tea, spicy food. Hydrating properly and the spicy food to clear my sinuses. In normal conditions, this should be enough for the cold, but I still had one huge problem. The half marathon was in two days, and I was having troubles getting out of bed.

Saturday morning. When I woke up, I was worse. This cold was having a great party and didn’t seem willing to lower the volume anytime soon. I barely had breakfast. Only the coffee enabled me to pack my luggage and leave. It wasn’t my first time in Dehradun

It wasn’t my first time in Dehradun, but I felt sicker just thinking about the 4-5 hours on the serpentine uphill roads and India’s traffic.

We reached our hotel, and a nasty headache hit me. I don’t know if it was from the cold or from the fact that the hotel’s manager didn’t want to go ahead with the check-in before I showed him my passport. I totally forgot about it when I left Chandigarh. It took us an hour and so many phone calls, to get some pictures of my passport and visa, but now I was finally able to have some rest.

For dinner, I had soup and pasta. I like this whole thing with pasta. You need the carbs. But this was horrible. The soup was fantastic. The pasta was just blah. Too much black pepper. My joke about having no pepper shaker on the table but two salt shakers was not as funny anymore.

6 AM Start. I gave up on my “wake up 3 hours earlier” ritual. I gave up on the breakfast as well. I had just a shitty instant coffee, after waking up at 4-4:20 AM.

I was feeling slightly better now. Running was possible, but I decided I have to go slow. Finishing the race in time was more than enough. I was careful even with the warm up. A couple of minutes away from the start, and I still thought if I should go on and run, or run back to the hotel and hide in bed.

From time to time I was checking the app. It wasn’t that bad so far. 5-6 min/km, and slowly I was gaining confidence. I knew I will cross the finish line.

After the first 3km, the crowd of runners dispersed. We were now a line on the side of the road, and some were already falling behind.

The course was unknown to me. The Shimla Ultra Half Marathon provided a valuable lesson from this point of view. Know when and where are your uphills, or your running will turn into a long, long walk. But there was no altitude chart available. All I knew was that somewhere there’s a 3km climb, on a course with 2 x 10.5km.

The city was waking up. The sun wasn’t visible yet. It was still hiding behind some hills, but the light was pleasant. The humidity was comfortable, I didn’t feel sick anymore, and by constantly running, from time to time, I was passing somebody.

I checked the app again. 7 km so far. One third of the distance was covered. I did the math, and, in fact, that downhill where I was now will be that 3km uphill. The runners in lead were already coming. They were going fast. They had less than 10k to reach the finish line.

Running downhill it’s great. Always. Worst case scenario, you have to worry about how to slow down or stop. But running is easy. So I ran. 3 km of downhill. I went full speed. I managed to run the whole uphill as well. When I got back on the flat surface I thought that maybe it was a bold move to make, spending all that energy.

The hard part was over. 8 km remaining, with no surprises. Now the sun was up, the traffic was more intense, the air quality was not as in the morning, but all was about to end soon.

A total of 70 min passed. I was doing math again. If I ran constantly with 5:30 min/km I was about to finish in less than two hours. This result looked good.

I was running. Slow. I was neck in neck with two other runners. They were handling the course in a different way. They walked, and from time to time, they sprinted. They sprinted every time I was passing them.

The app showed that I was at the 19th km. I was comfortable with running two more km, but after this curve going up I saw the finish line. I sprinted and finished the half marathon sooner than I expected. According to the app I ran 19.94 km. Either the course, the GPS, or both, were not very precise.

1:52:18. Not that bad for somebody just recovering after a cold.

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I found a youtube movie presenting the event:

Most of you probably won’t understand the Hindi part, neither do I, but for sure it was a fun event to run. The landscape worthed seeing, the organizers did a good job, especially for a 1st edition, and the crowd was cheerful. I hope I’ll run again in Dehradun someday.


Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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