Goa, I come running towards you!

 Moving ahead Ups n Downs,
~~~~ With the Calm sea Waters by the Side,
And Cheery birds by the Fresh morning skies,
>>>> Ran Ahead I.......

♪  ♫ Spicing with wonder Goan musik,
~~~~ With fabulous flavor of support,
Taste of 21 was nothing less than a curry!
♣    Was it really just a run,
☼ ☼ Wonder I wonder...

-wrote while travelling back from one & only one Goa of India completing Goa River Half Marathon!!!
With a couple of other engagements and constraints hovering all around, giving Goa River Marathon a miss was all on my mind. But do you really it's that easy? Or rather not going would have helped me any better..No..straight NO..reason being a year is too long a time for me to wait for such an exclusive running event in "Goa" ! Yielding to temptation was the only way to get past it, I realized! :O So, there I got registered for Goa River Marathon on the last day.

While Sri & Meena had reached a day earlier, I joined them up later. We settled up in Margao before actually venturing out. Although I was all abuzz about the happenings & places-to-visit in Goa- all thanks to our friends & fellow passengers I met en-journey, we didn't really cram out any exhaustive plan whatsoever. After collecting the marathon bibs & tee at Vasco, we then ventured over to Majorda! Do I need to mention anything beyond,,,Goa & its beaches...Woaahh! Goa is such a lively and colorful place that it can make the saddest of saddest alive to dance to its tunes(pun intended)! Went on ahead to Colva beach  and snapped a deal of Indian Rupee ₹ 200/- per head for short round of parasailing. Further on realizing the time and preparations required for next day marathon, we dropped down the plan for Paloleum beach, another beach off south. Finally after a day abuzzed with Goan flavor, we were back to the rest place in Margao. A curd rice and there the pre-marathon-desi-dinner was checked! Enough Carbo-loading, I guess!:O Don't know but when there seems not much option, curd rice is the safest bet! With all the jerseys, bibs, shorts and shoes and time-chips all around, the exciting & enthusiastic fever of marathon was already picking up that night!:)

After whole lots of preparation, riding as early as 5, we drove through pitch dark chilly winter-y mornings of Goa all the way to marathon start point! The day was 19th Dec, Goa Liberation Day! Starting point being at Baina beach, the cool breeze all the way from the Arabian Sea, welcomed the enthusiastic runners from almost all the major cities of India. Well, why would one miss running at Goa in the month of Dec?! I wonder!! Runners - Pros & Amateurs alike  (around 200 participated for half marathon event) could be seen stretching & warming up just by the backyard of beach surrounded by bunch of coconut trees. Well, after having my traditional date-feast (khajoor!), I was all set..!!!

An early morning start, cool breeze, birds chirping around, low humidity levels, lovely music bands, ever so enthusiastic volunteers & last but not the least flock of energetic runners summed up for an awesome start to the half marathon! Well, if the start point, being the beach, was so captivating, wonder how the route would be? From Baina beach onwards, all along the Zuari River, went on the route. For the first couple of miles, run went on all through the otherwise sleepy town of Mormugoa. Further on,  a couple of climbs and descends added to the flavor of route while Zurari river made up a for lovely viewpoint all along the left side. As for 21k, we were supposed to do 10.5k forward and then back 10.5k to the initial position. So, every climb was a slope turned on the back journey! Though my start went out a little slow, I picked the pace post 10k, possibly because I didnt really warm-up initially. 

As for the support, Mobile Toilet booths were placed at couple of locations while water stations were put up every 3 km or so. Kudos for organizing such a wonderful event to RunnerforLife team. And Goan folks for making it so special for us even on a rather lazy Sunday morning!

Eventually, I got my personal best performance till date of 1:58:09 for 21k. Really felt good to have achieved sub-2 goal.
Further on, we went around to Don Paula beach thats closer to Panaji. Met a friend from Ladakh tour before it was time to return my rented bike & resign back home!

I bid adieu to this lively & colorful Goa only on a note to myself that I'll be back soon......very soon!!!:)
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