This was me in my first half-marathon in June 2022. Though I am smiling in the pic, that’s because runners care more about their appearance in the marathons. They pay for the pics.
Under that smile, there is a slight disappointment. I could have done a little better but never mind, it was my first. And given my habit to derive some wisdom from setbacks, I started reflecting on the outcome. That’s me, can’t help it.
A couple of weeks back I read somewhere that there is a part in the marathon where you walk. Not a universal truth, but in hindsight, it makes sense.
It was 26th June, and at around 12km, I became aware of the fact that this is not going as planned. Thanks to humidity and the hills. My wife with whom I prepared for the marathon had already taken a 1km lead.
Things started getting tough after 15km. The 17-19km stretch was a 300m elevation. I had to walk. Even if my brain was pushing me to run, I could hear my heartbeat thumping in my ears. 170bpm, on the watch. I could see other runners walking too.
When you complete 80% of the distance, the runners around you are very much like you in terms of fitness and willpower. The whole cluster around you behaves exactly like you. Maybe it is their first, they are uncertain, walking seems inappropriate when you have actually signed-up for running!!
It is funny because, at such moments, quotes like “ You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with” become more relevant than ever. Except in this situation, it was not by choice.
Anyway, life is like a marathon. There will be a stretch where you have to walk. Sprints will burn you out. If you don’t walk, you might not survive and achieve your long-term goals. Walking might seem inappropriate but have you walk.
Just take it slow on the elevations, save your energy and do your best when the road gets better.
When I met my wife at the finish line, I asked her whether she walked that stretch, and she replied “Yes, I had to” it was crazy! Everyone was walking!