The past week since the Ultra I have been pigging out with a couple of buffet lunches at the Unwind Island and dinner at Jalsa on Outer Ring Road(all official as my Manager from the US was visiting).
Last Sunday, Vetcha Rajesh (who stayed over with me on 15th November) and I left home by city taxi at 3:30am to ride with Dharam in his car from Cubbon at 4am. On Old Madras Road half way to Cubbon Park I felt quite low on suddenly remembering that I had forgotten my Garmin 305 at home. Having got used to running with one I was despairing that I might not have such a great run without it. The ride to ONV was very fast and when we were there by 5am I regretted not having pushed Dharam to take me home to pick up my Garmin. So when Dharam offered me the use of his Garmin I took it up. Even though the unit did not have the Average pace as one of the display settings I am quite certain that, without it, I would not have managed as good a run. Dharam - thanx very much for letting me use your Garmin.
About 70+ runners started off at 6:30am after a motivational speech from Madhu - the race director and visionary behind the Bangalore Ultra. We havce certainly come a long way from the time in September 2006 when Madhu first posted the idea of organising an ultra in Bangalore. This time there were 4 aid stations which were well stocked as expected. Almost 4.5 KM of the 6.25 Km route was open. Though the trail was beautiful, had the weather god not been so kind and provided the perfect running weather , all the runners would have had a much tougher time. The last 500m or so to the turn around point was a real magnificent stretch. At the turn around point in the first loop one of the runners from the opposite direction shouted to me saying I was in the 43rd place. I was not surprised - at the pace that I run I am usually middle of the pack in the first half of a race. I completed 2 loops (25Km) in about 2 hours 45 minutes. And then of course the pace started to drop. In the first 3 loops I ran quite a bit with Gopal and Lingraju . I am very satisfied with my 5 hrs 50 minutes completion time which gave me an overall 9th place among the 50K finishers. While I felt quite strong at the finish , with an average pace of 6 minutes 55 Secs per Km and average heart rate of 153, I don't think I can ever push myself to run beyond 50K or so. The one problem I have is I cannot pick up my running rhythm if I talk a walk break of more than a couple of minutes. And I believe it is almost impossible to go beyond 50K distances without walking for fairly long stretches. Hats off to Jacob Bhoopalan and Mukesh Singh for completing 100Km and several runners who did the 75K : Sunil Chainani, Manoj Bhat, Athreya etc. And the amazing achievement of Santosh Padmanabhan of Asha Foundation who ran 156Km in 24 hours with Doc Rajat and Shumit Vatsal giving him with 127Km and 100Km respectively. Shows there's no limit to which the human body can be pushed with the right physical and mental training. Check the complete results of this year's event and the pictures. Also the pictures from Sabine and Anita. Overall, the event was well organised and I look forward to the most runner friendly race in India going from strength to strength.