So first thing first. Ultra marathons are really long and runners are crazy. For instance one runner did 220 kms. I cannot even imagine what it is to run such a distance. Its like running to Dehradoon from Delhi. The other crazy ones were attempting 100km, 80km and 50 kms.
I’m from the hills, shimla to be precise. We have shortcuts everywhere. No one likes to take the main road if its long even if it means you literally climb a incline to take the shortcut . But unlike Shimla roads there are no shortcuts in running. The more you practice the better you do during the actual race. You just cannot run away from the running the miles before the run. You know this, I know this but somehow every morning I have this struggle and ultimately the bed wins and running is pushed over to the next day. I don’t like to train hard but I want to run better.
The second is about running in the company of someone. I think that makes all the difference. I ran about 40kms alone and after that I had the company of Dharshan and Swara. Dharshan talks a lot and this slowed me down 🙂
I finished Bhati Ultra miles 50 kms in 7hrs 29 minutes. I’m pretty disappointed to be honest. To make matters worst all the girls finished ahead of me :(. I thought I could do this race in 6 and half hours. I guess I ” thought” wrong. Just to give some perspective of my time. It is about two hours more than the Aman Yadav who came first at 5hrs 17 minutes. On the positive side I have a ultra marathon under my belt. I’m also supremely grateful that I completed the run without any injury. But for next time I will choose my runs carefully.
A fellow runner was running with a t-shirt that had this message ” Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”. This is NOT true. If you are running Bhati then don’t believe in this. Both pain and suffering are part of the race. The trail is tough and there is not even a inch of shade. There are some nice lakes around but don’t let that fool you. Acute pain goes through your body every time you land on a stone in your vibrams . I don’t know what took me through the whole race. Some divine intervention for sure because I was ready to give up at 40 and then suddenly I see Dharshan emerge from now-where ready to help me through the last 10. And then at the 5km mark was Swara who hitch hiked on a bike in the middle of the jungle with some unknown lad from the one neighbouring villages just to run the last 5km with me. The last 2 kms were the longest but then Dharshan shared something interesting and before I could realise we were at the end point.
This brings me to another profound learning. Runners always run to better their own records but we never fail to ask ” Tera time kya hai “. I’m myself guilty of this crime. Lately I have been obsessed with improving my time vis a vis others. May be there is something in us that always need a validation from outside that we are growing and improving. May not be the best thing but this is how life is.
For a long time to come Bhati will always be special for me. Beyond 42kms was a unknown territory but I finished it in the company of some of the most important people in my life. I don’t think I will attempt an Ultra Marathon again. Definitely not without adequate preparation. I’m getting old. Casual running and running half marathons is where my heart is but then sometimes my head interferes and I ask ” Tune Full marathon kitnee mein kee hai”. And that precise moment my heart leaps and makes a commitment- Next full under 4 karnee hain.
But winters are coming and Ojha will say ” Ab subah kaise uthoge Nainwal jee”