I collected my bib for the 4rth edition of the Kaveri Trail Marathon(KTM) (19th September) on the way back from an easy paced 15K/1:37 run today at Cubbon Park/Sankey road followed by breakfast at Konark hotel with a bunch of fellow runners. And am now pretty much set for my 1st Full Marathon of the season after a break of over 6 months - the last Full Marathon + run being the Strides of Hope a week after Auroville 2010. As usual, in the week leading up to a race I plan to run a 9K and a 6K on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
After today's run following the 35.8K/3:48 last Sunday I feel re-assured that the quads injury is behind me. KTM is one of the most beautiful and at the same time gruelling races in the country. With one of the Kaveri canals on one side and beautiful open fields on the other side of the trail it is very picturesque. However, the uneven terrain, humidity and heat with very little shade cover makes it tough for runners. I have run the FM at KTM only once - in 2008. It was the 3rd of my 12 marathons in 12 months and my slowest finish in that series with a time of 4:42:16. I ran the HM in the 1st edition of KTM in 2007 - having run a FM in Richmond, Virginia just 8 days before the event. Last year(2009) I gave the event a miss - as I took a couple of months break from distance running after completing the 12 in 12 in July 2009.
In my current form and fitness level I should be able to do better than my 2008 timing at KTM. However, I am thinking of being on the trail for the 6.5 hours that Runners for Life is planning to support runners on the course. If I manage to do that successfully I should be able to do between 55Km and 60Km - this will enable me to test whether I am ready to take on the 50 miler at the Globeracer event Bhati Lakes 100 miler on 19th October. Therefore, I am looking at maintaining an average pace of between 6:40 and 7 minutes per Km which should still enable me to complete the FM in about 4:45. Of course, a lot is going to depend on the weather that morning and how the first loop(21Km) goes. And I will need to strongly resist the temptation to make a fast start with the other FM runners. Also, with a participation of nearly 1000 runners across the 3 event categories(FM, HM, 10K) the route will be crowded after 8am and this could affect the average pace for some period time. One good thing is that the FM is scheduled to start at 630am this year.Also, I will be having the company of ultra runner Santosh who is also doing 60Km+ plus at KTM as part of his training for the 100 miler at the GR event. Any which way I am looking forward to enjoying the ambience and the race and do the best I can!!
Due to the slightly earlier start most runners(including myself) are driving to the Srirangapatnam/Mysore area the previous afternoon so that they can get a good night's rest before the race. It is great see to an event that started out in 2007 as a training run for the 1st Bangalore Ultra grow in stature to be such a popular event by itself. This year more than 50% of the participants are doing the HM. About 140 runners have registered for the FM and the remaining 300+ will be doing the 10Km. Once again, looking forward to the fun next Sunday!