Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bangalore Ultra 12.5 km 2013

It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. 
- Mario Puzo through Michael Corleone in The Godfather
For me the 12.5k in Bangalore Ultra 2013 was personal. I had a point to prove to myself that I can do it. To understand why I will have to rewind and take you through a flashback to the last year's Ultra 12.5k which I will not do here. My saga and my sob story of last year's Ultra is all here http://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=181885437573362202#editor/target=post;postID=4874353547741586006;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=2;src=postname  


The pre race day or the day of the Ultra Marathon is a day that I cannot forget. Rashmi, Anu and I had volunteered as support crew and our shift was from 8:30 to 11.00. We arrived early as we did not want to be late with the breakfast for our Super Heroes. About an hour after we arrived we welcomed the first set of Super heroes Srini P, Mani and Asad led by the Captain himself. It was such a beautiful sight to see the pack gliding in megestically into the RH tent. They all looked so fresh and I wondered whether they had run at all or were they about to just begin. They were so quick and efficient in their eating and left as quickly as they came in. The second pack of Chandra, Kaiwan and Vinay came in next and again they were quick to leave.

A link to a video uploaded by RFL on their FB page of our cheering https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151760500117636&set=vb.321307937635&type=2&theater

We were left in awe and in a daze. We spent some time cheering all the other runners and waited for the
better halves of the runners to arrive. The better halves arrived right on time and we were supposed to leave. But we were so engrosed in the whole process that we did not have the heart to leave. It was as though some invisible force has taken over us and was not ready to let go of us and we were also bound to this compelling force. We decided that we would wait till the runners come once more and then we would leave. And we were treated to the glorious sight once more. The pack led by the Captain zooms in and this time the better halves and Santhosh's parents took over. Chandra had her son
as her man Friday. Next the second pack arrived. It was a beautiful sight to see them being pampered by the better halves and children. Vinay's son filled his cap with water each time to wet the cap. Chandra's son force fed his mom every time she came in reminding her about the way she used to force feed him as a baby.

We had been told by Santhosh to go back and rest during our support crew meeting as we were running the next day and so with steely resolve but with a very heavy heart we left the venue. Pani decided to stay back and we left our hearts and minds behind but only took our bodies home. The rest of the day was spent in annoying Pani continuously by making iccessant phone calls and demanding updates from him. In fact Rashmi and Anu could not sleep all night wondering how things were going on.

THE RACE DAY - My Tryst with the Ultra Trial.

We arrived at the race location at the nick of the time as we had to wait at the Hennur ring Road junction for
the RH train. The people who had informed us that they would join our train had managed to reach the location without us and we had ended up waiting without necesity. We had to park the car at quite a distance and it was a good 10 min walk to the venue. As we walked into the RH tent it was good to see a sea of familiar RH faces. A lot of hi's and hi fives were going around. 

We quickly kept our bags in the RH tent, gave tea and coffee to whoever demanded and joined the other runners to start the race. The hold up area was as usual very animated and noisy with exited runners and we could not hear a word of the announcements. RH folks were busy clicking photos and we posed for a few. Suddenly the count down began and the flag was waved and off we went for 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs of running and funning.

The starting 1 km was open skies. But the weather Gods had cast a beautiful cloud cover just for us and there was the cool chilly Bangalore winter morning breeze. As we trudged along we all remarked about the glorious weather. The crowd thinned after the first right turn and we had space to start running. I got into a rhythmn and I was doing good time. Once we crossed the 1 km aid station we entered the thick bamboo forest area. The trail is very beautiful from here on. It is covered on both sides with bamboo trees and creates a canopy under which we run throughout the course. There were a few puddle which we had to negotiate around. There were a few RH cheerers here cheering us on.

The entire run seemed like our RH weekend long runs. I kept crossing RHers every second. We were continuously waving at each other, saying our 'heys' and hi five-ing continuously. I felt like a celebrity who was being recognised and acknowledged by everyone. On our return back I met up with Ramakrishnan and stuck with him for some time. Somewhere about this point my thighs started feeling like lead and I had to take walk breaks continuously. At the 10km point Rama assured me that we were doing our usual time and were well within our Byalakere timing. I kept taking walk breaks and Rama kept going ahead and I kept catching up with him at every aid station. He would patiently wait for me and give me encouraging assurances. We passed the RH cheering squad here once again and they urged me to run and not walk. Finally at the last aid station I asked him to cruise ahead and that I would follow. 

I decided to ignore the heavy feeling and run at a slow pace. I had read things about running with the mind
when the body refuses. I wondered how the RH super heroes of yesterday carried on for 16 to 24 hrs despite excruciating physical pain and discomfort and mental fatigue. I willed my legs to carry on but they refused. I continued this run walk and lo! behold!! I saw Madat screaming, shouting wildly and waving his hands. I stopped in front of him and started complaining and told him that I could not run anymore. He said 'come on! I ll make you run' and literally made me run fast. We reached the RH screaming cheering crowd. I heard many people scream my name. But despite that I stopped again and told Madat "leave me, I think I accelerated too early. Now I cant run'. But he pulled my hand, told me 'I will not let you stop' and made me run. Again I stopped just about 150 mts shy of the finish point. Even those 150mts looked like never ending to me and the finish was looming large ahead of me but seemed too far away. I heard someone shout 'move your hands' and I moved my hands. Madat said "forget about your legs, concentrate on your hands". I ran with him doign just that and Madat dragged me to the end and told me to race to the finish line and race I did!

I crossed the finish mat and stood in front of the volunteer who was putting medals around everyone. She was congratulating the runner ahead of me. When it was my turn she looked at me and asked 'are you ok maam?' with concern. I shamelessly just gesticulated to her to put the medal around me. I was blank for sometime till I went to the RH tent and found everyone congratulating me and hugging me.


One more run completed very well thanks to RH and the fantastic coaches. Special thanks to Chandra, Kaiwan and Srini P who has been amazing in checking with us on our progress regularly and giving us tips and feedback. 

Our car pooling group makes it possible for me to reach the venues on time and more importantly to not miss any runs because if I come up with excuses to miss a session I always have to check if the excuse will hold its salt with the group. 

Our buddys of the buddy group who always motivated me to run and some of them took it upon themselves to make us slow coaches run faster by constantly motivating us on Wednesdays. 

And our crazy girl gang that is full of fun and laughter and makes every run a celebration and a party.

So the parddddy has just begun folks ..... Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost ...........