Last year’s Ultra was my first long distance running event. Besides the fact that I had no idea about the route (especially the uphill sections), I had also not run more than 10–12 kms in training. So it was quite an experience for me. But what was really motivating was the fact there were so many runners out there doing it for the first time and giving it all they had. Very inspiring.
|From Bangalore Ultra 2008|
This time around I was a little better prepared. I made sure I put in a couple of long runs (of course, the training never seems enough on D-Day). The day of the ultra dawned on us : it was cool and there was a cloud cover : in fact it was drizzling lightly as we packed up in Pankaj’s red bus (comprising of Prateek, Toufeeq, Meher, Satsang, Ashok, Pankaj and me) and left for Hesaraghatta at 5 am.
At 730 am (the start time for the 25K run) the cloud cover hadn’t gone yet : I was keeping my fingers crossed. Anything is better than running in the blazing sun.
Unfortunately, I got off to a really bad start with my calf muscle swelling up just at the 2 km run after the first incline : it was painful to say the least. I had to resort to putting loads of Relispray then itself and the lady at the aid station kneaded the area to ease the discomfort. After that, the pain was quite bad for the next 3–4 kms and I was wondering what was happening.
After completing loop 1 (12.5k), I started feeling a little stronger (loaded with peanut butter sandwiches and electrolyte). I ran a little better till the second turnaround point (12.5 + 6.25 = 18.75 kms) and then picked up my pace. After that, I settled into a decent pace and managed to amble and not walk the uphill sections too.
At around the 23 k mark, I bumped into Mr Patel again who claimed he was waiting for me to pass by (for reference, I had finished the KTM with him)! He, of course, insisted that we run together to the finish. We set a comfortable pace and then finished off the 25 kms in 3 hours and 29 minutes.
The weather was perfect, the trail was lovely : green in parts, grasslands in others and narrow trails through tree cover and some road : a little different from the last time around but great never the less. It was as usual awesome to watch all the 50/75k runners still going long after we’d finished. One runner, Santhosh, had been on the track since 630 pm the night before (attempting a 200k) and he was still going strong when I saw him at around 130 pm. He finished at 156kms : what a feat!
|From Bangalore Ultra 2008|
Personally, I’m happy with 25K (paltry as it seems compared to the 50, 75ks) and I am not very sure I want to go beyond it for the moment :-) I’d like to keep improving my time over the next few months and hopefully get better at it.
Next: a half marathon in January : Mumbai here we come!
~ Santhosh’s 156 km effort and his work for Team Asha — Must read!
~ Shumit does a 100K
~ Swaroop about his 25K
~ Jayadeep’s first effort
~ Sathish on the highs and lows of his 50
~ Venky on crossing the 25 k mark
And thanks to Tanvi for his painstakingly gathered list of ultra related blog posts that I quickly borrowed!