Posts Tagged 'Ultra Marathon'

A Marathon effort

This was it..months of preparation..step after step..mile after mile…weekend after weekend….mind over body…this was what it all boiled down to.. A marathon effort. This was going to be the biggest and toughest day of my life. A test of endurance. The tagline said “It’s tough, are you?”. I had to do it. I had to prove that that I was tough. That is what it all meant to me. It was not a race to be the No.1. It was not the race against the other 500 odd people that day. It was a race against my own mind, my own body! This was the Ultra – Bangalore Ultra.

In the weeks leading up to the big event, I had practiced hard. I had gone through the process! The long weekend runs, the diet, strength training, the mental preparation, motivation etc. The only thing that held me back was that I had not done a full marathon before. The longest run I completed successfully had been a 30K. Nevertheless, I was in it knee deep and I was not going to look back.

The trail was familiar. I had done the 25K race last year in the same course. I had also done another 25K a fortnight before the Ultra during a mock run. It was scenic, but you had to be up to it. The mock ran had been tough. The sun was harsh and the effort painful. The subsequent 30K run was tougher. The territory was familiar – Int. ring road, my backyard, but the effort left my body in shambles. At the end of it, the pain made me realize that I had muscles in the most strangest parts of my body. My nipples were bleeding because of the abrasion. I had not used nip guards. Yet, it was part of the process. It left me more confident. It left me more optimistic. If I could do this, I would not do badly at the Ultra. Everyone had to go through the process.

The race started on time and was efficiently organized. RFL guys are pros. They care for the runners and hence this event was “for the runners”, unlike the other commercial runs in most parts of the country. The 50K course was 4 laps of 12.5 K. This meant that the mind had to win the race by passing the start/finish point 3 times. The first 2 laps were a breeze. Come on, I had done this before and I could do it again in my sleep. I completed the 25 K in 2hours and 47 minutes. Then the body gave up. My legs felt like pillars, I could not bend the knees. My legs felt as if they had been tied to steel bars weighing a ton each. My hamstrings were stretched. The tendons were aching! My nipples were bleeding again. I slowed to a walk. Yet, I kept at it. Rajiv was with me and he was a motivator. Surprising that given his age, he kept at it and did not even stop running when confronted with steep slopes. Some determined guy! The third lap was the toughest. It took me 2h 15m to complete the loop. But I did not give up.

Towards the end of the third lap, I ran into Rahul Varghese from Running and Living. Rahul was attempting a 75 K run. Couple of years ago, I was a near-obese young man hitting 30. I happened to read some articles written by Rahul. He had quit a exec job at Motorola to pursue running and to encourage like minded Indians to run. Rahul was the reason why I was there that day. I stopped to shake hands. I told Rahul how much I appreciated his articles. He reciprocated, mentioning that he was motivated to write because of people like me. That was it! I had my moment.

The fourth lap was easier. The body had by now relented. It was waiting for the finish line and the ice cubes at the end of it. In the out lap, I crossed the 42 K mark at 5h30m. I looked up and thanked the lord for the first full marathon that I had done. We now turned back for the one last effort. I walked up the last slope and started jogging towards the finish line. The last 2 kilometers to go. I was now concentrating on the finish line. Step by step, I was getting there. I crossed the last aid post, took a swig and soldiered on. I turned into the resort and I could see the finish line. People were cheering me on. As I stepped across the finish line, I could feel the goose bumps. My chrono read 6h44m. There it was – my first Marathon, my first Ultra. I was in tears……….before I stepped into the ice tub!

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