Tuesday, December 10, 2013

50K PB at the 7th Bangalore Ultra

A fastish first half ,a fall between km 29 and km 30, a PB time of 4:52:22, a 2nd place finish in the senior category (and fifth overall) sums up my 7th consecutive 50Km+ finish at the Bangalore Ultra on 9th November 2013. Though I felt that I could perhaps have managed a  sub 4:45 finish if I had not  lost time due to the fall around 29Km ,overall I was very satisfied with the outcome and the experience. In a way it was probably a blessing in disguise that the fall forced me to slow down as I was running at a faster pace than I had planned to. Having done my regular interval and tempo workouts as per my 'Run Less,Run Faster' based FIRST training program pushing harder on a 50Km run could potentially have increased the risk of injury and fatigue and disrupted the rest of my training for SCMM 2014. The good thing was the bruises due to the fall were minor and my recovery was quite fast. Most of the soreness was gone within 36 hours after the run and I was even able to climb up and down staircases quite comfortably. It usually takes me 3 days before I am able to do that. As a precaution I skipped the scheduled  interval training workout of the week following the race. However, I was able to do a 10K tempo run and 21K long run at the targeted paces fairly easily. 

Waking up at 3:35 after about 4.5 hours of sleep I had 2 small bananas and some walnuts and salted pecans before leaving home at 4:20 am.  As in 2012 I left Domlur around 4:35 am  - with Shilpi Sahu and Shilpa Deo riding in my car(I ended up waking up Naveen who was also supposed to come with us and had overslept. He nevertheless made it to the race start on time !). We waited at the ORR/Hennur road junction for a fellow runner Rajesh Swaminathan's car to join us. Following the well laid out RFL banner directions from the point of right turn from Hennur road we reached the start point at Kingston county just after 530am. After warming up, checking in a bag and using the port-a-loo I was at the starting line by 545am. As usual met up and chatted with a number of familiar runners from around the country while warming up - it was quite a nippy morning.  Post the  customary announcements regarding the race, route, aid stations etc by A1 and A2 the 50K run was flagged off ,on the dot, at 6am, by Rev. Samuel Reddy - a 11 times finisher of the gruelling Comrades marathon.

I started  at about 5:20/Km pace and was joined by Pani around the 2nd Km. We ran the 1st half of the race pretty much together. As a result  I ran faster than planned - completing the 1st 25Km in about 2:12 at an average pace of 5:17/Km versus a goal of 2:20 or so. I had the (Powerbar) energy bar in two installments : at about 18Km and then 27Km. After picking up some water at the aid station at Km 27 I was chatting about my race strategy while running along with a fellow runner bicycling the trail when I tripped on a stone and fell down quite hard. In the process  I scraped both my knees and  my left palm(lesson: never take your eyes of the route specially on a trail where stones, roots and generally uneven terrain is part of the course).Getting up after a couple of minutes I slowly continued my run with blood streaming down both my knees. At the next aid station I washed my knees and hands and with the help of Jaggi sprayed relispray in all the bruised areas. Though I felt much better after a few minutes I decided not to push myself and continued at between 5:30 and 6:45/Km pace. I stopped at every aid station to have water,enerzol and some salted peanuts. I also took a couple of short walk breaks in the 2nd lap. I sensed that I would comfortably better my Ultra 2012 timing of 5:07:31 and if I remained steady do a sub 5. I managed that easily with 6:01 and 5:49 in Kms 49 and 50 finishing 2nd in the senior category behind Pani!

Though it became quite warm towards the end of the 2nd loop it was not very hot. In fact my hands and finger tips were cold till the end of the 1st lap. Another unusual thing about this run was I stopped for a loo break 3 times - in the past it has been once for sure and sometimes twice in the ultra. 

A number of friends did their best times and/or longest distances - though the number of true ultra runners is still much smaller than the non-ultra distance runners in this event the Bangalore Ultra has certainly helped a number of runners achieve distances much beyond their imagination a few years ago!!

I left Kingston county at about 12 after lunch and got back home by 1PM.

The video of the event shot by Runners for Life is available here.

PS. This race report is very late - I started it about 2 weeks ago but could not complete it due to travel over consecutive weekends. 


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