With the new date for the Bangalore Midnight marathon rumoured to be 10th January 2008, Deepak and I decided to do our December Full marathon as part of the RFL run at Bellandur on 14th December 2008. After duly informing the RFL run organisers Arvind and Nikhil, we decided to start our run an hour earlier ie at 530AM. Even though early mornings are quite nippy the day gets quite warm if and when the sun comes out. Also, starting an hour early also meant that we would finish our marathon with the 30K+ runners by 10:15 or so(with a 4:45 finish). I parked my car at the Mformation office and hopped into Deepak's car at AMand we reached the run site by 5:20AM. Arvind, Nikhil and the other RFL volunteers had just got there to mark the route.
It was cold, dark and foggy when Deepak and I set off on the dot at 5:30. Fortunately I had the foresight to carry a pocket torch with me which came in handy as we ran through the forest area. As a result of the rains the bushes were overgrown in many areas. On top of that the grass and the bushes were quite wet with dew. We made our way through the trail area a bit slowly covering the 2Kms in a little over 15 minutes. While doing so, we spoke about how difficult it must have been for Doc Rajat, Shumit and Santosh to run in the night at the ultra. We reached the RFL water point at 3.8Km before the point was set up and continued on. Not being able to locate the turn around point we made a U turn at 5.3Km. With daylight breaking through we picked up pace a bit on the return leg. I wanted to get back to the starting point in time to start the 2nd loop with the RFL runners. It was nice to get a cheering from the 40+ runners gathered at the starting point. We had done the 1st loop of 10.6Km in about 68 minutes.
Took off for the second loop around 6:42AM. I happened to be in the front and led the runners astray due to an incorrect white arrow mark put by A2 inadvertantly (while marking in the dark). We ran through a different section of the forest and got lost a bit and eventually came out on the road at a different point. Deepak went ahead with faster runners like Hari Bharadwaj and Ravi Balasubramnya while I ran with Rahul for a large portion of this loop. It was great chatting with Rahul. And before I knew it the second loop was done. I had covered about 21.6K in 2 hours 15 minutes. I had Navdeep Singh for company in the 3rd and 4rth loop. Navdeep is a fast Half Marathon runner and long distance cycling enthusiast. Running with him helped me keep a decent pace though of course it was slower than his normal pace. I greatly enjoyed running with Navdeep who is moving out of Bangalore -so it is unlikely I would be running with him again anytime soon. Usually, I find the last 4-5 Km of a marathon (post 37Km) quite tough. Surprisingly, today I felt great towards the end and was able to pick up pace a bit and complete 42.2Km in 4 hours 29 Minutes. I felt so good that I could have continued on for another 3-4Kms.
This was probably my best run in the current series after the first one in Hyderabad in August. I even had sufficient energy in the evening to drive across town to Jayanagar to attend a colleague's wedding reception. My only regret in today's run is that I forgot to take photos after the finish. Deepak and I were FILO (First In Last Out) today. The Bangalore weather was, once again, ideal for running - partly cloudy with a light breeze. The run route at Bellandur is quite nice with a mix of trail and road except that the 100 metres or so towards the end of the trail part is terrible - the garbage and the stench seems to have increased - this spoils the fun and beauty of this route. Overall I am very satisfied with my run today and am now looking forward to my first sub 4:30 finish in Mumbai in January 2009!