Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bangalore Ultra 09 - A Successful failure

Pain is temporary, quitting is forever

The true meaning of this quote is becoming apparent to me, now even after close to a month after finishing the Bangalore Ultra 09.

I have been lucky to have other things to keep myself occupied, in the meantime – a lot of Shreya, first visit to in-laws, apartment search, rejoin work, more house hunting, getting a place, moving out of home, setting up the new place, cutting vegetables, etc. But occasionally, the devil pops its head out. At the changing room, after a short workout at the office gym, I look at myself in the mirror. My thoughts go racing back to Oct, when I used the same changing room, after a 12k run & 13k cycle ride to get to work. And a smirk comes on the lips; I didn’t complete what I started out to do…
“I only did a 75k at the Ultra…”

The Training:
Run October Run – the 100km weeks, the adrenaline highs, the residual fatigue had taken over my non-working life. I was following this schedule, where I ran 12k and cycled 13k to reach office and repeated this in the evening. This gave me mileage of 24k by run & 26k by bike each day. 4 days of this and a weekend long run and I was running 130k & 135k on 2 weeks and well over 100k for the other weeks. Heady stuff, but I knew I needed this training to do the run-a-ton. I had also managed a 60k run in under 7hrs on 24th Oct, running in GKVK with the BHUKMP brothers.

The Honeymoon runs – My wedding on the 5th Nov, 10days before the Ultra didn’t hamper the tapering much. I also ended up packing my running shoes into the honeymoon luggage and ran twice in Rajasthan.

My paranoia during the week leading to the Ultra was justified, when a feverish malaise crept up. My return from Mumbai was delayed and I landed in Bangalore on midnight Friday. I didn’t have a great Saturday before the run, either. My sis was kind enough to make some yummy pasta for me for lunch. With requests for an early start, RFL had provided the 50k+ runners to start at 5am.
Although it meant that I had to wake up at 2:30am, I thought it was worth the effort. Mahesh gave me the lift to Hesarghatta. The plan was that my folks and Shreya would join me at about 3:30pm and drive me back home. Despite the slight feverishness, I was confident of sticking to my plan – 10kmph pace for as long as I can (50k?, 60k?)

The Bangalore Ultra ‘09:
Do the means justify the end? I wish the answer was yes, we would have indeed found that short-cut to success. I clocked my personal best for a 75k; I finished the Ultra in 10:40hrs. This was better than the 12:07hrs 78k in ‘07 & the 11:06hr 75k in ’08. But hard facts have soft underbellies.

The splits say the entire story:

The second loop with an average speed of 6min/km proved expensive. I cramped at the start of the third. I almost never cramp that early and the pace was nowhere close to fast! I struggled between the 30k and the 50k and had to overcome a huge urge to stop at 50k.

I stopped at every water station (esp. the 2nd and the 4th) where the medicos from Wockhardt, iced my stiff thigh muscles and loosen them up. I had to spend nearly 10-15mins at every stop before I could get back on trail. It was tough and very very disheartening.

I was walking most of the distance but surprising, I was beginning to feel better after about 4 loops. But in my mind, I had given up well before the 50k mark. I had good company through the run – Athreya initially and Chandrasekhar towards the end. Ramesh Palani was a great help, riding on his bike on the course and offering ice & water.

I also saw far greater no. of runners on the course than the previous two occasions. My friends from L – Venkat & Kamal pulled off good finishes for the 50k. Sunil stuck to the job with a 15hr effort for his 100k, Athreya yet again proved how strong he is – a 12:30hr for his 100k. I had timed the finish so that Shreya could join me for the last km or so. My parents were cheering as I neared the finish line. It was success in many ways, but I can never erase the dejection when I see myself in that mirror. I quit.


R, Venkatachalam said...

Machi, I am happy and sad... Happy bcoz I find a mention in ur blog! :) Sad bcoz u cudnt achieve what you intended to... But in case you are planning to run 100K in 2010, am there! Me too putting it in my bucket list! You may lap me 3 times in the process, but wll be there to cheer u thr till the very end, after which u will hav to wait for ages for me to finish. :)

Bhasker Sharma said...

Hi Manoj

I can understand your disappointment in not being able to complete 100K - not being able to meet the goal that you have trained for is always tough. However, you should be proud of being the only RFL'er to have done 75K+ 3 years in a row! All the best for a great year 2010!!!

Athreya said...

Been there! :) It helped me figure things out. I'm sure 20(100) will be an awesome running year! Catchup on a run sometime!