It could not have been better. Everything went as per the precision planning done the previous night. I got up at a little past 3am and was able to get out of my house by 4am and start the run at 4.15am.
As I had anticipated the first 3kms where the most difficult, not because of anything to do with running, but fear, fear of stray dogs chasing me. And they did not disappoint, I encountered four set of stray dogs during the first 15 odd minutes (they are usually packs of 3 dogs). But, by now I sort of know how to handle them and am able to get rid of them in no time (as they say, dogs smell fear and one needs to be firm to be able to put them in their place, without any aggressive actions. All that sounds complex, but when you got to save yourself, you automatically learn all these things). After the first 15minutes, things started to settle down and I was able to run with some sort of rhythm. To my surprise the traffic was quite heavy (I run on the shoulder of a 8 lane (4+4) highway), mainly due to commercial vehicles (as they are not allowed to get into the city after 8am), but the speeds they can achieve on a Bombay highway are not too high, so its not really intimidating at all.
I was also pleasantly surprised to have bunch of young boys cheer for me, with words like come on run and run India run (thanks to the successful Mumbai & Delhi marathon campaigns with similar themes) and no nasty comments, thankfully.
I reached the halfway mark, which was more like 11km in 1hr 1min and 15seconds. And when I look back at the graph captured on my phone, the pace was not very even, especially the first half hour. On my return after the first 15minutes, I settled into perfect rhythm and it became completely effortless (this was again confirmed by the pedometer & distance calculator on my hand phone). I finished the second 11kms in 1hr 1min and 40seconds; overall I was able to run at a reasonably uniform pace.
I finished the run just as the sun was about to rise. The weather was quite humid and for the first 45mins, I lost lot of fluid but after that my body got used to the temperature and the perspiration cooled the body. I managed quite comfortably with 500ml of Gatorade. I did not need the carbohydrate bar which I was carrying.
After the run I was feeling good and was in good enough shape to carry on for another 5-10kms. It was one of those days when one is able to run almost effortlessly.
I got home and replenished my fluid and carbohydrates requirements, cooled down my muscles and then straightway hit the bed for some really peaceful and enjoyable sleep. I am usually not able to run after I have done a 20km+ run, as the body feels very tired and exhausted, which makes sleeping impossible. But, today was very different.
The variation seems to have worked for me. Need to come up with more interesting stuff in future, so that I am able to push myself further. Am already looking forward to the next one….