Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ran my first Half Marathon the Agile way

The Worli Sea Link
On January 20th 2013, I ran and successfully completed my first Standard Chartered Half Marathon in the beautiful city of Mumbai in an Agile way. What an awesome experience it was. 

My skill level with running: Novice,  I had put around 90 km of  a total run in a period of 3 months during training. Just for comparison, average runners put around 100 to 150 km in a month. 

The most I had run at one go was 10 km in the time period of 1 hour and 20 minutes.

 Motivation: To help the Udaan foundation raise funds to support 2 under privileged students for a year.

Release Planning:

           Release Goal: Run 21.097 Kilometers in under 3 hours, which is the qualification time.

           Approx Velocity (Based on past experience): 7.5 kms / hour.

           Total Sprints needed: 21 / 8  =  Approx 3 sprints of 1 hour each.

Sprint 1: The amazing Mumbai weather, the Worli Sea Link being the start location, and a total of over 16,000 participants in the 1/2 Marathon, created an atmosphere that one has to experience and can't be described. All this was motivation enough for me to build a constant pace of about 7 minutes and 30 sec per km for the first hour. The stakeholder (that's me:-) ) was very happy with the outcome of Sprint 1 and decided to continue with the release. The Retrospective revealed a improvement area of slowing the pace down a bit as certain impediments around fatigue and pain had been logged.

The velocity achieved by end of sprint 1 was 8 km. 

Sprint 2: Using yesterday's weather as a forecast for velocity and keeping the retrospective improvements in mind I planned sprint 2 with a goal of achieving 7 km instead of 8 km in the next hour. I nicely built a pace of 8 minutes and 15 sec per km. The face-to-face cheering of the crowd, the loud music by DJ's throughout the route, and the cause of the run lifted my spirit and kept me motivated throughout sprint 2. By the end of sprint 2, I had completed another 7 km and had achieved a total run of 15 km. The product backlog showed 6 km of a run remained for the minimum marketable functionality to there by achieve the release goal. The stakeholder was again very happy with the achievements and decided to continue with the release. The retrospective did not reveal any major improvement area other than suggesting to slowing down the pace even further. 

Champions with Disability
Sprint 3: With 15 km of a run complete and only 6 km remaining, the stage was set correctly for the final sprint. However a little after 1 km in the final sprint there were 2 new impediments - cramping and thoughts of quitting the race. To manage the first impediment, I switched from run to walk and started hydrating myself every 100 meters. The exhaustion was causing my second impediment to grow stronger and stronger putting the entire release at a risk. As I was battling these thoughts of quitting the race,  I passed by the "Champions with Disability" on the other side of the road. The smiles on the faces of these participants with special needs and their attendants was  just the motivation I needed for me to cruise through the remainder of the race. 

And I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds!