Tuffman 6 hrs stadium run, is what which I signed-up for.
That too is going to happen in Panchkula stadium, hardly 2 kms from where I live currently. Not a chance, I can miss upon.
The time I registered, it seems to be challenging one due to following reasons:
- I haven’t spent so much time on track
- I haven’t ran so much earlier – Full Marathon distance (42.2) was maximum I ran which is minimum distance here to qualify
- It was a loop of just 423 mtrs meaning coming around the same position after every 2-3 minutes which is mentally very tough.
- I just finished my FM back 2 weeks so recovery was in air.
Back 3-4 days of race, my throught become sore which is a sign my body will get weak with fever. I tried hard to take every possible precaution as I have already missed my 1 ultra before and didn’t want to miss this one.
1 day before, I was taking medicine to make sure I can run easily.
I used to improve little, tried that I will sleep early before night on March 9. But on that night, my friend was running 3rs from 6-9 PM and after that when we came back home, I tried to go sleepy by 11 max.
Call it excitement I saw in stadium, fear if I will be well to run a race or imagination of running strong, I couldn’t able to sleep even for a minute.
Finally, I wake up at 3 in the morning, had morninig chores, sip my black coffee with banana & peanut butter (and a piece of brownie), packed all my stuff and went to stadium with my running partner Pankaj who was also going to commit crime of running 6 hrs with me.
Stadium was full of champions running 12 and 24 hrs and it was so delighted to watch them run. Some are runninng slow, some are just walking but their commitment to not stop in between was tremendous.
Had some stretch, met fellow buddy runners, those everyone was just hoping to cover minimum distance required like me as well. Started my watch, and went towards start line where 12 hrs runners are finishing their run with smile & proud.
Time came, when flag off to be done for our slot. Every runner stood in their designated lane and on whistle, flied with shout.
From very first loop, I took a lead and with 3rd loop, I have crossed 1 runner and then overtaking everyone lap by lap goes on. It was beautiful.
I have listened many fellow runners cheering me up everytime I was crossing them and that was inspiration for me. I saw many 24 hrs runners running strong giving me extra energy.
Around my 14th Km, 1 guy (Kannan) crossed me who was around 3-4 laps behind me and he fly at a very good speed. I thought of increasing my pace, but after just 100 mtrs I got slow intentionally so that I should have my energy preserved for later part as I was aiming to finish 50kms strong not to compete with anyone else.
So, I kept my pace as it is, and within next few minutes, I crossed him again many times.
Around 18 km, I felt shoes is getting me into trouble, so I removed them and planned to run barefoot which I successfully sustained till 50+ km
After 3 hrs, when I hitted 34+ kms , we were required to reverse our direction and now have to run clock wise instead of anti-clock direction. This time, I was at good lead (more than 10 laps ahead of runner next to me) knowing that I can easily finish at podium.
It was the time around 39-40 kms, I felt little pain in my right leg (mostly hips & right side below my knee), I got little slow.. at the same time it was calculated that this is time for beating my Marathon PR so I kept moving and hit the marathon distance in 3:48:31 and increased my target from 50 to 60 kms now.
After that, things got completely changed, my pain becomes so severe that even walking was difficult for me, forget running. I touched 50km mark in little less than 5 hrs (means 70+ mins for less than 8 kms)
My friends, who were cheering for me before started caring for me during the run (That was the actual victory I had). They forced me to go for physio check in between the run so that I run injury free.
Somebody was saying ‘You will not be beated and finish at podium even if you walk rest of the hour’. What an inspiration !! But, now, I really started thinking about podium as ‘Kannan’, champion of the game who crossed me once at 14km mark started crossing me a lot.
I spent around 6 mins at physio which gave me little relaxation but it didn’t worked for long.
Kannan was really a true sportsman. He also felt that I am getting injured now and pushing myself just for podium. He was pushing me to be little fast (even though he knows he was behind many laps, still getting slow down to motivate me and pushing me to run along with him).
Not only that, he was constantly saying me that Don’t get injured just for podium, it’s already yours.
One of the runner, I don’t know him stop in between just to help me out stretch in between. Some runners offering me hydration at cost of their time. Volunteers coming on track breaking the protocol to provide much needed hydration.
Some of my friends were just there to cheer us up.
It was a hard time, but excited as well. As it was my first ultra run and I am finishing it at podium, which were never thought of. What else you can expect.
Finally, I picked up and finished that hot 6 hrs with style covering whopping of 58.54 kms per Garmin and 136 laps officially and placed at 1st runner up in Male category 6 hrs for the event.
No doubt, after the race, I was not able to walk comfortably .. getting me treated from Physio as I had another marathon lined up after 2 weeks, feeling why had I ran this bloody time.
But, the excitment enegizes me and giving me more confidence to run more and better in next events.
I came to about the winner of the game ‘Kannan’ was just doing his training run there. He is actually a national level ultra runner already finished 24 hrs run once with podium, youngest runner from India to cover 100 miler and lot more is in his kitty.
I wonder, what an endurance and sportsmanship he had at this age. He’ll surely gonna do big in coming time. All the best buddy, you rocked that day!
I don’t know the reason why sharp pain hits me but these could be the reason I believe:
Running barefoot require different muscles to activate especially hips & gluteus which I never focused on. So, for future I need to strengthen them up.
I was not aware about rule of changing direction after 3 hrs. And I have never practiced in that direction. I don’t know if this creates some impact or not, but I believe that running in loop most of the time we are
bent little towards the inner lane as we need to turn a lot which also requires different muscle fibres to take care.
Anyhow, I would definitely be taking care of these two before my next stadium run.
I signed up for my first ultra in November 2018 to run 50km from Ropar to Chandigarh which I couldn’t able to run due to some unmanageable circumstances.
But I had that fire in me, and I didn’t let that fire to fade and is the reason I ran here with power. Thanks buddy for the fire 😉
Journey has just started with Ultra, many more to come!!