“It was a joyous experience to finish strong in a Half Marathon after such a long break. I started out slow due to the initial crowd. Went on to maintain a steady pace for 17 km. The last few km were tough but I managed to pull it off with a steady effort. I am very happy that I could make a comeback in 2 years” recalls 45-year-old Dinesh Victor after his 2:11:50 HM at Skechers Performance Chennai Marathon. In terms of his running career, this is close to his Personal Best of 2 hours 11 minutes that came from his 2016 Coimbatore HM performance. In a general overview, this might seem like a dip in his performance standards. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Rewind to October 2016 Coimbatore Marathon, Dinesh had trained really well with proper structure to his run schedule with right mixture of intensity & endurance specific to Half Marathon. Despite his busy traveling schedule across the country with regards to his business of educating the children in several rural & urban areas, he managed to comply to the training regimen to a great extent. With fair bit of training through the season in preparation to his Half Marathon, he clocked 2:11:10 in a course which is considered to be the best in Tamilnadu, in terms of weather-terrain combination.
Following his personal best performance in 2016, Dinesh was on a high which is generally referred to as the runner’s high, registered to and was gearing up for his 6th Full Marathon that would happen in Mumbai on 15th January 2017. However, in preparation to his FM, he couldn’t train much due to his erratic travel schedule that did not only hinder his training but also disturb his sleep pattern & food habits. Nevertheless, Dinesh ran another Half Marathon in 2:11:14 in Chennai as a preparation in a warm up race.
Riding high on confidence, Dinesh travelled to Mumbai in January 2017 to attempt his Full Marathon despite his family, friends, colleagues & his own coach warning him, owing to his lack of training with respect to a Full Marathon. In his mind, he neither wanted to compete with others nor even with himself but just complete the 42.2 km and get back home safe & sound. But little did anyone anticipate a disaster to strike Dinesh.
A man with great mathematical background had his own smart calculation to pace evenly throughout the 42.2 km in a slow & steady pace. Dinesh ran the course really well up to 41 km at a 7:04 min/km nearly even pace except for a brief walk period of 500 metre on 34th km to adjust to slight inclines on the famous Peddar Road. After 41 km, with just around 1000 metre to the finish, a typical all excited runner, would start speeding up. Few hundred metre to the finish, a very tired Dinesh gradually slowed down from a run to a jog and then to a walk and finally collapsed on to the ground.
Rhabdomyolysis results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications such as renal (kidney) failure. This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death.
Dinesh was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with the above condition, rhabdomyolysis, an alien term to most of the runners. After few days of intensive care in Bombay Hospital, Dinesh survived the near fatal syndrome and walked out alive. “I don’t remember anything between 41st km of the race and 2 days of ICU” recollects Dinesh. After surviving such a disaster, Dinesh vowed to get back into running in the future promising everyone that it would be with proper training in accordance to the race distance.
Within just 6 months, Dinesh started training regularly once again, not accounting the casual jogs 3 months after the disaster. Dinesh got into structured training once again in September 2018 to get over his past ordeal. Little bit of extra effort, despite his usual erratic travels, he prioritized his sleep & diet and to a certain extent, managed to stick to his training regimen that was getting demanding by the day to participate in his first HM post-rhabdomyolysis, in Chennai Marathon that would happen on January 6th, 2019.
With a goal of a strong finish, Dinesh was focused about a steady slow pace. Little did Dinesh expect to surprise himself to finish at a timing – 2:11:50 – so close to his personal best that came a little over 2 years ago. Dinesh defied death and believed in himself. He kept pushing himself, keeping in mind his promise, of a properly structured training, to his family and friends. This half marathon was a battle of both his mind & body and boy did he shine.
Dinesh Victor is the Managing Director of SIP Academy India Pvt Ltd, who strongly believes in educating the children for a better future.