I was running my first ever full marathon. To be fair and honest, my preparation wasn't even close to what I had aimed for. A shin splint in November and the unbearable winters in the hills impeded my preparations big time.
On Sunday, although I felt good physically, I wasn't sure about it mentally. Hydration breaks, gels, I wasn't very confident if I had got it right. Trivial as these things may seem, running marathon is more about mental tenacity and meticulous planning if you want to ace the run.
I started off the run pretty well and made sure to keep the pace at an optimum level. The first half went as expected. I was feeling good, no cramps and no pain.
It was about 33km and all hell broke loose. I pulled up my achilles. The pain was unbearable. I walked for about 300 metres and sat down. Many a things were running in my mind. Questions about whether I would be able to complete the run boggled me. I took a deep breath trying to figure out things. A gentleman who was cheering came, sat beside me and helped me stretch my foot as an immediate measure. Although the pain wasn't subsiding, someone lending a hand made me feel easy. The gentleman ran and brought a spray. He slowly and carefully helped me perform stretches. He assured me that I will finish the run. About 12-14 minutes had passed. I was able to get up. I thanked the gentleman and began moving. Hobbling and jogging, I felt better and finished the run.
Talking about the spirit of the city, on a Sunday morning, thousands of residents en route came down to the streets and cheered us. Some offered bananas while some offered chocolates. Some helped runners stretch and recover and the gentleman who helped me was no less than a saviour. Early on a Sunday morning, he wasn't obliged to. Yet, he came forward and gave me the confidence to get the job done.
We may talk about the quality of the event going down, the organizers messing up with logistics and distress calls not being attended efficiently. Yet, one things that stands out is the city, its people. A decade back and a decade later, this spirit of Mumbai shall remain eternal.