After considerable dilly-dallying and much against the advice of coach Dharam I confirmed my entry for 50Km at the 8th Bangalore Ultra on the last date of registration. An easy pace 25Km on Oct 19th (HM at the Bangalore marathon followed by a 4.7Km after a 10 min break) gave me the confidence to do a slowish 39Km(4:30) on 25th October - my first 25Km+ run since Boston 2014 in April. As my left leg seemed to be holding up I went with my heart to keep the streak at the Bangalore Ultra going.
My target was to run my slowest ever 50Km to finish between 6:15 and 6:30 - hoping that doing such a distance at a slow pace will reduce the risk of recovery from the niggle that been hampering my running since Dec 2013. My performance at the ultras so far :
Year Distance Time
2007 52 Km 5:51
2008 50 Km 5:50
2009 50 Km 5:22:29
2010 75 Km 8:57
2011 50 Km 5:24:17
2012 50 Km 5:07:31
2013 50 Km 4:52:22
The lead up to the race on November 8th was not ideal with personal and official travel resulting in my sleeping in different places each night from 1st to 6th. Thankfully the stomach held up fine and given my goal of running slow I was not worried. Bobby picked up my bib and left it at my apartment security on 7th afternoon. I coordinated with Pankaj Rai to ride in his Red dragon for yet another race.
Pankaj picked me up from the Pizza Hut on IRR around 4:35am, Rishi and Amrita joined us from Kalyannagar a few minutes later and we were at the venue quite early by 5:20am in spite of the RFL banners en route giving directions not being very visible. Unfortunately a front wheel of the car went into the drainage pit. Deciding to retrieve it post the run we joined hundreds of other runners at the start area. As always met several familiar runners(and took a few pictures) and some new ones.
After the usual announcements by Atul and A1 the race started at 6am sharp as daylight was breaking out.
I started at an easy pace of about 6:30 per Km as planned chatting with a couple of runners doing their first 50Km. Between Km 4 and Km 5 I tripped on a stone and fell scraping my left elbow and knees - 2nd year in a row that this happened probably around the same spot though last year it was in the 2nd loop. I washed the bruises with water and dabbed some dettol using cotton at the next aid station and continued running at the planned pace. Ran alone most of the race running/walking with others in short stretches(should have probably taken my music -I normally do not take it to events).Completed the first half in under 2:54 at average pace of 6:50/km about 10 mins or so faster than planned and felt quite comfortable. It was amazing to see so many runners doing 75Km, 100Km and 24 hours and many of the runners looked extremely strong.
The 2nd half took about 10 minutes longer as I crossed the finished line in just under 6 hours - about 15/20 minutes faster than I had planned. Felt strong enough at the finish line to have gone on and done another 25Km at similar pace. The left leg did not feel stressed. My official timing details are below. RFL report on this years's event is here.
|Rank||27 / 105 Finishers|
|Category Rank||6 / 21 Finishers|
|Gender Rank||23 / 87 Finishers|
|Split@6.25 Km||00:33:20 Avg. Pace 05:20, Avg. Speed 11.25 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 65 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 15 / 21 Finishers
|Split@12.5 Km||01:27:01 Avg. Pace 06:58, Avg. Speed 8.62 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 66 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 14 / 21 Finishers
|Split@19 Km||02:20:17 Avg. Pace 07:23, Avg. Speed 8.13 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 63 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 12 / 21 Finishers
|Split@25.5 Km||02:54:22 Avg. Pace 06:50, Avg. Speed 8.77 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 54 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 11 / 21 Finishers
|Split@32 Km||03:30:41 Avg. Pace 06:35, Avg. Speed 9.11 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 50 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 11 / 21 Finishers
|Split@38.5 Km||04:25:21 Avg. Pace 06:53, Avg. Speed 8.71 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 41 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 8 / 21 Finishers
|Split@45 Km||05:23:42 Avg. Pace 07:11, Avg. Speed 8.34 Kmph|
Gender Rank : 26 / 87 Finishers , Category Rank : 7 / 21 Finishers
|Net Time||05:57:41 Average Pace 07:09, Average Speed 8.39 kmph|
For the first time in recent years I did not place in the top 3 in the ultra. By the time I completed Pankaj et al had finished their lunch. Soon after the prize distribution ceremony they went to retrieve the car. I joined them after my lunch. We left around 1PM and I was back home by 2PM after yet another ultra!!