Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sports Story # 3 - Women, Running and Cornell

A year and a half ago, i was all pumped up to run the 1st marathon of my life. I trained with a bunch of guys in Chennai and having seen the benefit of training as a group, i was keen to bring this idea of running the marathon into my Alma Mater's alumni group ( BITS Alumni Association ) . Mails were shot to the yahoo groups and about 10-15 of them were extremely enthusiastic. One of them was Anu .
I was very much suprised on seeing her interest mainly because she was the only girl expressing interest in the initial days ( At the back of my mind, a doubt lingered that her enthusiasm won't last long ). With every passing day, the doubt cleared way for appreciation. She used to hit gym regularly to improve stamina and increse strength. She also was upping her running limits every week, from a 20 min continuous run to a 45 min continuous run.
The group communicated over e-mails and till now (july 2007), we have never met face to face. Each of the members mailed their running experience and pushed the rest to run. Anu did her bit and more, with the mails and encouragement for fellow runners. All this while, she was in Hyderabad and most of the others were in Bangalore and i live(d) in chennai. We met up when she came to Chennai ( her hometown) for what else - Run! We decided to start early at 5 am, starting point being the Gandhi Statue at Marina and decided to run a distance of 10 km ( would be her longest so far). I thought running with her would be relatively easy ( the group i train with in Chennai, pushes me to exhaustion every time i run with them and thats a HIGH!!) and i had a long night with pals and went to bed at 1 am.
I was really hoping she would call me at 4:30 am and feign tiredness ( infact, i was sure she would!). When she didn't , i thought she might be sleeping and decided to give her a wake up call (in reality, i was still in bed when i called and was hoping she was fast asleep and would not answer the call - its a double win for me , i get to sleep and still i won't be blamed for the missed run). The phone rang and the worst thing i could hear - she was on her way to Marina!!!!!! and i was still in bed!!!! That news bolted me out of bed and i was rushing through the morning activities! Grabbed a gatorade bottle and rushed to Marina! Just made it on time!!!
We met for the first time offline - though we were batch mates at BITS for 4 years, we haven't spoken a word. We stretched for a little while and started running. Ran steadily for 15 mins and soon we reached labour statue at the end of Marina ( i was hoping she would stop and we could walk back to Gandhi statue ). She was running at a steady pace while i was cursing all the drinks that i had the previous night ( i was keeping up with her though!!). We kept running at the same pace and at 30 mins, we were past the war memorial and were on the Mount Road and still haven't stopped. At 45 mins, which was her longest ever run till then, we hit Anna square, having run 7.5 km. She was still looking strong and by then i was fervently wishing she would stop ( though my longest ever run till then was 26+ km, i was dehydrated and tired from lack of sleep). I didn't want to lose face by walking and i was telling myself that i would lose respect !!!
It helped that we had good conversations and that took away all the ugly thoughts. Soon, i was crusing as well and at 45 mins, we decided that we will up the speed and do the 10 km run under 1 hour. We pushed hard and she matched the pace i set and she was raring to go even faster. We sprinted the last 500 odd metres and finised the 10 km run in 58+ mins!!! Her longest ever run!! The joy on her face was clear!! She managed to win the mind battle and went past a milestone!

We would later help co-ordinate the run for a cause program at BITS-aid . The program was a success - 15+ runners ran the Bangalore Marathon 2006 and managed to raise about INR 50K for the causes the BITS aid supports. Anu did her first big run - Completed the half marathon (21.1 km ) in under 3 hours ( the only girl who i know, had run the big distance ) and i completed my first Marathon ( 42.19 km in under 5:59 hours).
She would go on to run the half marathon in Mumbai, jan 2007 and regularly hit gym and keep fit. While doing all this, she was also aiming to get into a top Bschool in US. She got a top score in GMAT - 710 and had worked in a top tech company. She had also volunteered at BITS aid and had run a few marathons. Just the perfect match for the Bschool admission committee.
She just heard the big news - She made into the 2007 Batch at Cornell ( Johnson school - a Top 10 Bschool in the world).
A survey of top School admits would reveal a high number of the big race finishers!
Its not a coincidence that marathon runners make it to the top B schools!


Boston said...

A lesson or two for all ye men/women out there!

Amritha said...

just goes to show..women kick ass :)

Karthikeyan....KK said...

Boston - Looks like the section will feature the men's equivalent, soon !!

Amritha - hmm hmm Lets just say some men and some women rock!! ( fair this way !! )