It has been a poor 3 weeks running wise. I managed a 35Km on 22nd Oct and a 30Km on 29th Oct -the only 30Km+ runs since Hyderabad marathon on 28th August. However my left glutes and left calf were stressed at the end of both these long runs though I did not run either of them too fast. Therefore I went through(albeit briefly) the thought process of whether or not to run in this year's Ultra and if so whether to downgrade to below 50Km. I made up mind pretty quickly to take a chance and do 50Km thereby trying to keep the streak of an Ultra run for the 5th consecutive year.
After collecting my bib today and now with less than 36 hours to go before the event I am less nervous than I have been in the past before an event. This is probably because I have decided not to worry about a time target for the race. I anyway have never run the ultra with aggressive time goal - for me the Ultra is a race to enjoy the route and the comraderie and energy of other runners and have a good time.(It is not , in my personal experience, easy to run a very hard race and also have a good time though of course the joy of beating the time target makes up for it at the end!). In the last 4 editions of the event I have run 52Km, 50Km, 50Km and 75Km respectively and have ended up finishing in the top 3 in my age category. In 2008 I completed the 50K in 5:50 and in 2009 I managed it in 5:22:24. Therefore there is some implicit peer pressure towards timing and a podium finish. However, that is not going to be my primary focus. My priority is to enjoy the race,finish strong and ensure the strain in the left glutes and left calf does not get worse so that I can start training for Mumbai 2012 in right earnest a week after the ultra. Having said that ,if all goes well, I do hope to finish between 5hrs 15 minutes and 5hrs 30minutes. I am intending to do the 1st 25Km in about 2:25 at an average pace of 5:45 minutes per Km and then depending on how I feel at that time take it from there.I am not sure what impact the route change is going to have on the pace. In any case I am looking forward to enjoying another ultra experience!!
It is amazing how the event has grown over the last 5 years. With over 200 runners running 50K+ and an incredible 30+ runners doing the 75K and 25+ doing 100K the Bangalore Ultra is on its way to becoming a true ultra event. Personally I hope within the next 3 years there will more than 50% 50K+ runners in the event !!