Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 looking back...

2012 races

2012 was a busy year with 747 miles of racing (swim, cycle & run combined) which adds up to a little over 5 days of actual race time (124 hours in total). With a vacation in December the 2012 season is now officially over. My next run is scheduled for Feb 2013 and nothing more planned for the year with the possible exception of Chicago marathon in October 2013.
The year had a few highlights:
My first trail ultra (AR 50) in April.
My Marathon Personal Record of 3:29:42 (3 Hrs, 29 mins, 42 Secs) at the Chicago marathon.
My first DNF (Did Not Finish) Ironman Coeur d'Alene.
My first 100 mile endurance run at Run d'Amore in 29:29:29 (29hrs, 29 mins, 29 secs).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Run d' Amore - 100 mile run

Oct 20th a bunch of us ran the ‘clothes encounter of the turd kind’ run - a 12 hour night ‘training’ run around the tracks at West Valley College in Saratoga. I managed to loop around the 400 meter track about a 172 times (give or take a few). The run began at 6:30pm Saturday and finished at 6:30am Sunday – with that crazy event - I was done with my training for the Run d’Amore 100 mile race on Nov 10/11.

Run d’Amore is a 2 mile loop around a bike path in San Martin, CA. I had done my first 50 miler in 2011 there in the Run d’Vous event. So given that I had looped that 25 times – I should have known better...but Rajeev Patel asked me to sign up for the 100 miler as a training run for our upcoming Rouge-Orleans 126.2 mile run in February.

Before my race report, let me congratulate some of my friends who ran and finished the race:
Congratulations to the following finishers: Balu, Naresh Kumar, Navneet, Shashvat, Sangeeta, Suchu & Vassu for finishing the 50K, Anju, Bharti for finishing the 100K on Thursday, Rajeev Patel and Anu - 100M coming back to finish on Sunday, Raman 125M he ran on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday!

The event:

Renuka dropped me off at 5:45AM and I just about managed to set my stuff up at the start as Alan Geraldi (Race Director) started making the last minute announcements. 6:03AM we were off! It was cold! 37F! My plan was to walk as much as possible and jog every now and then. Balu who was doing the 50K hung with me during his laps and Shashvat jumped in for a few laps between volunteering and doing his own 50K. We set a decent pace – walking about 14/15 min miles. RD and the volunteers did a spectacular job of taking care of the runners. The event had a 50K, 50M, 100K, 100M and a 200K option. The event was set up to be a fun event, it was envisioned by the two race directors (Alan Geraldi & Rajeev Patel) to be an event that encourages people to fulfill their dreams of doing an ultra. There was an early start option on Thursday for those who wanted to split the run over a few days – kind of a stage race. The few who did that Thursday start were caught in some nasty weather – it rained and it was freezing...most of them stopped at the 100K mark and luckily none of them fell ill. Some of them came back on Saturday and Sunday to finish their various distances.

At about the 40 mile mark I started feeling the hot spots on my left foot (the beginnings of a blister) – Rajeev Patel took a look and bandaged the area. The guy is amazing! The day progressed well, it never got hot (San Martin does get pretty warm), in fact it was chilly in the late afternoon and there was a strong cold breeze blowing – I switched back to running tights, track pants, three shirts and a jacket. I snacked on food at almost every loop, there was pizza, risotto, veg & chicken soup, broth, casadia, chips, PBJ sandwiches … what a spread! Alan was busy cooking, heating stuff all day and night. As the sun set the temp started dropping – Martina, Harry and Renuka dropped in around 8:30PM and Harry paced me for about 12 miles...that was a good boost as he switched me from a fast walk to a jog / walk which helped use other muscles. It was cold and I knew Martina was tired and cold...I felt bad to have them out there so I told them I was fine and they should go home and sleep...they did so reluctantly – wonderful people! I reached into my bag for a change and added several layers of clothing – I also pulled out my iPhone to listen to some podcasts and music (the first time I’ve run with headphones). The loops melted away – at around 2:00AM I started to feel really sleepy and actually shut my eyes a few times on the course. Alan suggested that I should sleep for 20 mins...'you will feel good as new' he said...I saw a pot of coffee and said I’ll try that instead and it helped for about 6 more miles...then at 3:30AM I took Alan up on his offer and climbed into the changing tent and was out like a light.

4:00AM I was back out on the trail, thankfully there was no wind throughout the night, but there was a lot of frost - the temp had dropped to 27F in the night and the scene of zombie walkers looping around the course would have been funny had I not been one of them. Folks were shuffling, zigzagging due to sleep deprivation and still managed to pass on some words of encouragement to each other...Alan managed to keep the aid station stocked and manned throughout the night. The Ultra running community is a really friendly and awesome bunch of people. As the sun came up more people came in, some had taken a break and come back to finish their miles others came to cheer. Shashvat was back after volunteering the previous day - I had 6 laps to go (12 miles) he had 6 laps to finish his 50K so he gave me company. Renuka was back too, so with Shashvat and Renuka I limped (the blisters were in full bloom) the last of the miles...the 'death march'. Naresh came in as I had the last lap and we all came in for the finish...I tried a lame attempt at running for the last 20 feet and Alan had a good laugh at that sad attempt. My finish time was 29 hours, 29 minutes, 29 seconds! I got my first 'buckle' - I was too tired to celebrate, but we took a few photographs. Rajeev and Anu were at the aid station during their final loops so we did celebrate a bit. Renuka, Naresh, Shashvat, Sangeeta helped load the car and I was asleep within seconds of getting into the car.

Big thank you to everyone who helped, emailed and called. It is truly a collective effort that makes these events fun ( and satisfying. The fact that I just walked/jogged a 100 miles (160 Km) is still sinking in...

With Race Director Alan Geraldi

Food intake during the event:
Sports drink, coke and water (no gels)
PBJ sandwiches, risotto, soup, chicken broth, pizza slice, pumpkin soup, sports beans, 2 half cups of coffee, 1 tequila shot :)), cookies...

Well used running shoes (2 pairs), well used office shoe (they are comfy and I did a lap in them), sandals, running socks and woolen hiking socks (did not use the hiking socks), 5 full sleeve quickwic shirts, 2 running tights, leg & arm warmers, gloves and beanie.

The Buckle

Day 4 after the event, an update:
While I was not physically devastated by the 29 and a half hours of walking/jogging, it was definitely the most sleep deprived I have ever been. The recovery has been quick for most part, there are a few areas of concern that I am focusing on a bit more aggressively, they are (all right foot):
A slight swelling around the lower portion of the shin (around the tibialis anterior area) which has impeded dorsiflexion. With regular icing and self massage it has improved significantly in four days, thought the swelling still persists. There is no pain while walking, only if I try and flex the foot.
The blisters have closed up and healed. They were a problem on Monday and Tuesday, but today (Thursday) the pain has gone.
Foot: Bit of soreness still around the mid foot still persists. The swelling has abated (Swelling is normal as 29+ hours of walking will cause that). I still have a bit of a sudden pain that feels like a tendon that is ‘cross wired’ (my best uneducated guess) this disappears once I supinate the foot a bit. This happened before Chicago Marathon as well, so it is was not caused by this event.
Cause of the issues: My take is that my stride while walking is a bit longer and I am not used to walking at my fastish pace for such long stretches. The long stride probably leads to a more pronounced dorsiflection on the recovery portion and that is irritating the muscles involved. Solution? Well, run a bit more :).My 85-90 strides a min would be better for the foot and the muscles are probably stronger, given that I run a lot more than I walk.