After the finish
Dharam leading the way
Dharam leading the way
The Hennur RFL run on 19th April was my 20th completion of a Full Marathon/Ultra distance. My first attempt at a Full Marathon in December 2002 ended disastrously - more about this in the enxt post. I am happy with my 4 hours 32 minutes finish (my second slowest f in the current series after KTM in October 2008) considering the stressful week (professionally and personally), the trouble we had locating the starting point and the hot weather.
The week leading up to the run was extremely hectic at work – with post 11PM conference calls on three days. The Saturday was a stressful day with personal chores – I had dinner after 11PM and went to sleep at quarter past midnight to wake up at 3:45am. Dharam, Manoj and I had planned to meet at the ring road/Hennur Road intersection at 4:45am with the goal of starting the run between 5:15 and 5:30. Unfortunately, both Dharam and myself overshot the intersection(albeit from opposite directions in the ring road) and woke up Manoj to get some directions. Dharam and I then drove down Hennur road and missed the right turn towards the start of the run. Eventually we reached around 5:40am and started run just after 5:45 – that is over an hour and a quarter after I left home - which was a bit frustrating. The route is a full trail run on either side of the start point – one loop measuring 4.4Km and the other 4.1Km. Dharam and I completed the first couple of 4.4Km loops at an average pace of 5:56minutes per Km. While running the 4.1 Km the first time we were joined by Manoj. And at the end of this loop Uday also joined us. At this point in time over 60 RFL runners had hit the trail. That’s a good number considering the location was quite far from the city and not easy to get to. As the foliage was dry in several areas there was less shade than what I had experienced the previous time we had run here. However, still a nice route to do a long run – no traffic, no pollution and occasional sights and sounds of birds. It was great to have the company of Dharam, Manoj and Uday. I am thankful to them for ensuring that I had company for pretty much the entire 4 and a half hours. Also many regular RFL runners who were aware that I was doing my ninth FM in nine months cheered me very enthusiastically which was a high motivator – not that I needed any external motivation. We kept a steady pace and by the time Dharam (and Manoj) stopped we had clocked 30Kms in 3 hrs 15 minutes or so. Not a bad pace and still on target to finish below 4 hrs 30 minutes. However the last 12 kms turned out to be much tougher and the pace dropped considerably. I did 3 loops of 4.1Km accompanied by Uday in the first and the third one. He had cramps and took a break while I did a loop solo. Even though there were more gradients in this loop and the terrain was a bit rougher in parts I still felt it was easier to do mentally. Mainly because I could visualize this loop much better than the other 4.4Km. This can be very important. Specially at distances beyond 30Km and in warm weather it helps to know what to expect. I finished just after 10:15 to loud cheers from Nikhil and a bunch of RFL support staff and as always it felt great to have another one under the belt – the ninth in this series. The great thing is once I got going I was able to keep a reasonably steady pace and the thought of giving up did not come to me even once. Just three more to go to complete the 12 in 12 – the next one will be in the RFL run on 17th May!