Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bangalore Ultra '07 (Dec 16th 2007)

"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible" - Doug Larson

'Are u sure? 78 kms?".......... "Oh my god! U are some guy eh!"......... "Do u still think u can do it?"....... "Remember Sudhir, u are well short of training for this"........ "Its ok..... Its doable. But, be sensible".......... "Hey! No way! Its impossible".......... "Why are u doing this to urself?"........ "Wow man...... All the best"........ "wtf maga! U serious?"......... "Good good! Keep urself hydrated and full of electrolyte".......... "There's a limit to which u should stretch ur limits"........ "I never thought this fellow will grow up to run crazy distances".......... "Sudhir, i know its ur dream and all, but if u ask me, i think u should do 52"........... "Good! I have company now"......... "Are u still sure u r doing 78 and not 52?"........ "He is MAD"........ "Might be the distance, but doing it in time.....?"

Everytime someone said 'are u still sure?', i was getting more surer than before...... I had to do this! I knew i was mentally prepared for it....... Physically, although fit, short of training........

"I do not suffer from insanity..... I enjoy it"

The course: A to and fro distance of 13 km making a lap, amidst a picturesque trail in Hessarghatta (A place on bangalore outskirts). Ppl ran different multiples of 13 km, starting from 26. But most runners fell into three categories: 26k/52k/78k. I was doing 78. It was to be completed in 12 hrs

6 am: We started bang on time........ I started out too fast..... "The brighter the flame, the shorter it lasts"....... tried my best at slowing down...... Finished first lap much earlier than i decided to (1h 40 min)......

If the cloudy weather would stay, i could probably hope to keep close to this pace throughout......But the pictures wont turn out as great if its cloudy (very selfish of me, i know) ........ Second lap - Bang on target (1h 50m) ..........

Had been running juggling between different gangs of runners...... Then alone for a while, listening to music, clicking pictures ...... The clouds were clearing, the sun shone gently....... From halfway on the third lap, ran along with Manoj and later Lingu too........ Plugged out the music and chattered with manoj all the way (and we were together till almost the end)..... The sun was up now and cloud cover was almost completely lost...... so target lap times got revised....... Third lap done bang on time (2 hrs)......

Started 4th lap in good shape, but the uneasines was creeping up the legs, even though ever so slightly..... The temperatures rising now, and the sun at its peak, stealing away the gallons of gatorade that went in...... Mild cramps showed up, but managed it with ease, thanks to the medical assistance and also my friendship with cramps since childhood....... Finished 4th lap surprisingly on time(2h) (for which i got called 'the god who gave me half an hour' for showing Manoj that his math was screwed).......

Started 5th lap worrying how hard this one's going to be....... fatigue now evident on our legs...... mild cramps popping up a little more frequently....... The temperatures were still high...... Struggled a bit....... we declared all flat roads to be uphill as well, and walked them...... Finished 5th lap much behind schedule (2h 20 m).........

Sixth lap..... 2h 10 min left for race deadline....... The temperatures were getting to more tolerable levels..... But, we were close to thinking we should stop at 65..... but we dint express our thoughts to each other...... we went a considerable distance into it.... then there was no turning back...... "The finish will be tight........Have to see if we can actually make it atleast less than half an hour after deadline"......... "No way! I want to do it in time!"...... Manoj was not upto pushing too much on hmself... after all, he had to ride us home on his bike......... And also our philosophies abt finishes differed.... To him, "U have to finish ur run in good shape. U should be able to party the next night"...... Well, i had to go to a party the same night in fact, but yet to me. "If u r not totally useless just beyond the finish line, u havent pushed urself hard enough"...... I know most regular runners would rather agree with manoj than me.... But yes, i am weird and stubborn at many things, including the fact that i was even running this distance........

I decided my legs were fresh as new...... My legs dint agree however...... But went some distance....... Then at the aid-station, there was a goddess, named Leisl (hope i've spelt it right), who coaxed my legs to listen to me, by that amazing massage she did for the calves......... The legs were happy at last.... reached the halfway point along with manoj with 1 hr left for deadline...... Still at the edge of doability, but still its hoping too much....... "I am going to try doing it at least"......

Doc Rajat, the insanest of us all, just caught up with us as we reached the aid station at halfway point....... Well, he was two laps ahead of us :) He was attempting 104 km....... I decided that I had to part with Manoj and speed ahead if i had to live up to my dreams...... And my legs were upto it...... Reached the divine-Leisl aid-station again for the last time for the day....... She did her magic again....... From there on pushed hard and strong, the legs didnt yell back at me, was running the ups as well now..... I still spared time to click the sunset....... I reach the '2 km left' mark with ~10 mins left........ "Boy! This is gonna be tough. I have managed this speed only during initial parts of short runs. But anyway, still try!".......1km mark with 4 min left......... Ran hard and fast, but still kept it in control so that i dont lose the fizz soon....... I look at my watch again...... 2 min left!!!!! Run! Run! Run!!!!........ I ran with even more gusto....... I could see the crowd at the finish line now...... The fizz was dying out fast...... Loud applause and cheers from everyone......... Fully pumped up, gave a really hard sprint....... so hard, i could feel that my legs were independent beings, running on their own in full pace......... crossed the finish line..... dropped flat on the grass, staring blurry-eyed at the moon seen through the red tinged clouds...... I finished in 11h 59 min.

I lived up to my dreams......... Was happy........ The sky lit up w glorious patterns...... I saw manoj comin in a few mins later......... I was proud that i am part of the cream who can run 78 km
....... I was still soaking it in for a looooong time.......

Partied that night as planned...... But with a lot of pampering from my lab friends (including the birthday boy!)...... woke up the next day with my upper half fully hyperactive, and my lower half still almost dead........ But satisfied......

BubbleShare: Share photos - Cheap Hotels Vegas


Acknowledgements: (In random order)
- All those who both encouraged me and discouraged me to do this....... Couldnt have done it without either
- RFL - 1) for it being such an amazing club..... and 2) for flawless organisation of the best footrace on earth!
- The aid station volunteers and the health crew from manipal, who stayed there for the whole day, counting mad people - without whom i couldnt have dared to push my limits
- Leisl - for doing the magic u did to my legs on the last lap
- Manoj - for pacing me and giving me company for a loooooooong time. Also for the bike ride on his AMAZING bike
- My running mommy, Sabine - for being my mommy in every nice respect apart from the piles of tips n facts
- folks at home - for stayin sane through my insanity.
- Madhu - The guru of us all, whose vision this race was. And also for preventing me from doing some crazy stuff preparing for the ultra
- My labmates - who pampered me after i got to the party
- To KAA - For organising a marathon on the same day, and to screw it up.... making me even more proud of belonging to the smarter crowd.
- To the almighty Flying Sphagetti Monster, for ensuring that the visiting Prof to the lab didnt turn up on Monday!

BangaloreUltra rocks!!

Current mood: excited abt multiple things
Currently listening to: Higher - Creed

6 comments:

shyam said...

Hi Sridhar,
Congrats on your 78 k ultra fantastic effort.After reading your thoughts and others,now i regret that i should have pushed myself and have tried to run/walk the 2 more laps.i finished 52k in 5hrs 47 minutes which in itself i thought was impossible for me,any way i will wait for the next ultra and congratulations again on your great run.
Shyam.
We would have seen each other on the run but have not spoken will defenitly like to eet you on the next RFL run.

Sudhir P said...

@shyam: Thanks. And btw, 52k in 5:47 is still a feat in itself. So be proud of it.... U can probably try 91k the next ultra

c u soon at an RFL run :)

manoj said...

Dude, you beat me here as well ;)
Good writeup, straight from the heart.. will use you fotos on mine.. coming up tomorrow!

Praveen said...

Hey Sudhir,

Awsome feat man!! mighty impressed with your achievement and great pics and report.

Keep it up:)
Praveen

Sudhir said...

@ manoj. He He..... Thanks man.... Sure do use the photos. i can send u the bubleshare embed code, so that u can directly put the exact album straight away if u want to..... I'll be waitin for ur blog post

@pravenn: Thanks

Srikanth K S (ಶ್ರೀಕಾಂತ) said...

again..congrats.