1st November 2015
“It’s already late. I’m constantly yawning, but I can’t get a good sleep because I am stuck in this horrible Delhi traffic, while my stomach is noticing me he’s having a bad time as well.
Gurgaon. A city right next to Delhi.
After a full week of craziness, traffic, industry, constructions, etc. Saturday seems to be the most polluted day of the week. Sundays are somehow better. Improved visibility, the dust settles for a bit, just before everything will start Monday again.
First Dwarka, two weeks ago. Now Gurgaon. I think my stomach really hates Delhi. In Dwarka, I ran 21k thinking about a toilet, and this weekend I had to face a whole marathon, 42k.
I reached Delhi Saturday evening. On the road, I had some cashew and almonds. Probably this was my first mistake, but I thought I will fix it with a latte and a veggie dinner.
The start was scheduled at 4 30 AM. In India, people have quite a passion for morning runs. 5 30 AM was alright, but 4 30 AM is a painful time. Throughout the week, I woke up at 5 AM on a daily basis, and now I had to wake up at 2 AM.
The latte and dinner didn’t solve a thing. Arsenal won against Swansea with 3-0. It was 9 PM, I was already in bed, and I was worried that I won’t use the toilet.
I took my socks off. Blisters from a week of training. Feeling the cold sheets was almost the best thing ever. Taking a shit would complete the scene. I fall asleep. Nightmare. I was late for the marathon, the driver didn’t find the location, we took the metro, missed the stop, we turned back, I had to drive an SUV, I had problems parking the car, ditched it somewhere, but eventually I got there just in time to take the start.
Suddenly I woke up. It was 1 AM. I had to use the bathroom. But it was a No. 1. No sign of a No. 2. I go back to my bed and fall asleep for one more hour.
I wake up again. I give it one more try. One more warm coffee. That should do the trick. 20 minutes left before departure, it happened! A little no.2. I felt better, for 10 minutes. When I got in the car, I realized that that was just the foreplay. There was plenty more where that came from.
I know. By now this may look like a diary about shit. But what can you do about it? If you ask me, this should be one of the main concerns for runners. It’s always better to run lighter. Or maybe it is, but not so many talks about it. Perhaps, after many events, you know what and when you eat, to have the perfect schedule, but how many marathons start at 4 30 AM?
So far I am afraid of blisters, running in the rain, sand in your running shoes, big temperature differences, strong winds when you’re T-shirt is soaked, cramps, nipple chafing (I had to google this word). Basically, I am worried about anything that you can fuck your mojo during a run.
The good part is that for today I managed to find energy gels, and I will run in my new running shoes. I bought them from Amazon, and I remembered to take a +1 size.
I reach the start area. I pick up my bib number, 110. We were all warming up and aligned at the start.
Many runners today. Some of them I’ve seen before. In Shimla, Dehradun, or Dwarka. They recognized me as well, and we shared some thoughts before the start.
We start running. It was so dark. Just as in Dwarka. Runners in line, truck lights, shadows everywhere. I was paying attention to this unique scenery. It didn’t felt like running yet. I was in the zone.
I reached a pacemaker. 4h 15min was written on his balloons. People here were chatting. About running, marathons, cities. Keeping the pace was easy. I joined the group for 20km.
The course started near a stadium, and it went to a future residential area, which was now under construction. That pollution is difficult to describe. Two laps, four lengths of 10.5km. After 5-6km, on the side of the road there was a large area with garbage, and, on the other side, tents, where people lived, probably workers on the construction sites. I don’t understand why they waste so much to build high-rise residentials. They pollute so much just to build them, and once they complete, nobody will want to move there because of the high pollution.
I had 4 hours to think about all these. About pollution, architecture, poverty, costs, and, above all, how am I going to take a shit? In fact, the question is not how, but where.
After the first two hours, I was in trouble. The sad truth was that it was impossible to cross the finish line. I had to stop. I knew it, and I had to plan accordingly. I saved two small water bottles (you may never know if you’ll have toilet paper or not around here). I was determined to go to the first restaurant, gas station, or whatever, as long as they had a restroom.
I finished the first loop, 21km, and I noticed a restaurant 1km away from the start line. I asked where the restroom is and they pointed towards the backyard. I was still running. I entered the first restroom. I hear knocks on the door. That one wasn’t working. I get out, and they tell me that I have to go inside the building and go to the right. I sprinted up the stairs. It was cleaner, and my fear was confirmed. No toilet paper.
I will skip some details (even though I usually don’t do this).
So, I was back on the course. This other runner was in a pretty bad shape. I imagined he had the same problem, so I told him that if he was searching for a restroom there’s this place less than 100m away.
It was so much better now. It felt like flying. I added the energy gel, had some water as well, and, after a couple of km, my stomach was troubling me again. It’s not fun at all to run while you’re stomach is giving you such a bad time.
At km 31, I took another break. There was an eco-toilet on the side of the road. I expected the worse, but it was surprisingly clean. It smelled like spring and they had two untouched toilet paper rolls. Probably I was the first one to go inside. I took all the time I needed. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes, after which I sprinted towards the finish. Only 10km remaining.
3km remaining and the wall hit me. In a polluted place like this, it’s hard to breathe, especially when you’re running, and now the cool night turned into a hot morning. I slowed down a lot, and I crossed the finish line after 4h 44min.
That’s all about the, literally, shittiest marathon I ran.
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