I have ran several half-marathons in the past, and wanted to go past the 21.1k mark to overcome my mental barrier. I was looking for an opportunity, and came across Bengaluru Ultra, which had 25kms as the race category. I discussed it with my coach Shreyas, who crafted a personalized plan. The plan composed of running and strength training.
Typical week in my training plan has 3 days of strength training and 3-4 days of running depending on the phase of the training. I ran a few long runs of half-marathon distance during the training cycle. I had to travel to the Middle East for work, which made the training a bit challenging. Imagine a Bangalorean running in middle east during summers, and how easy can it be. I tried sticking to the training plan as much as possible, and am reasonably successful.
Since I live in Bangalore, there was no travel involved. The bib collection was in Good Shepherd School hall. The expo set up was bare bones. Apart from the collection counters, they had a photo point where participants could click pictures. The start times of various races were displayed along with their route map.
The Bib collection process is super smooth. The volunteers were using an app to verify the runner details with what is there in the bib collection email.
I was extra careful during the race week to ensure a healthy gut so I wouldn’t face any issues during the race. I avoided dairy during the race week, barring occasional coffee treats. I also avoided fried food. The Pre race day meal was Pongal at 8 p.m. Before the race I had 2 bananas and a salt tablet.
Reached the race venue GKVK campus at 4.45 a.m. The venue had ample car parking space. After the initial warm up with my running group(Runners 360), I proceeded to the start line. The run started exactly at 5.30 a.m. flagged off by Reeth Abhram.
The first 2 kms of the run was packed as the road was narrow. After those initial kilometers the route eased a bit. As I progressed along I could hear calls of peacocks. and we hit the trail section of the route. This section is tricky as the surface is uneven, and had to watch our step. This section of the route was challenging but what I liked about it is the camaraderie among the runners. It is a sight to see the camaraderie as runners alerting the fellow runners about stones and pot holes.
The course was a rolling terrain amidst the greenery of GKVK campus, which made the route challenging and yet scenic. The course also involved few roads around the GKVK campus. The course for the 25K run involved 2 loops.
The weather conditions were cool when we started. I took my first water / electrolyte break at about 5 kms. By then I’ve exited the GKVK campus to the adjacent road outside the campus. The aid stations had water, salt, electrolyte drinks, bananas, and jaggery. The bins were placed right next to the aid stations. That meant if runners carried the cups along, there is no way to dispose of them. In any case, the paper cups weren’t convenient to carry while running.
One of the advantages of running loops is that we keep seeing familiar faces, the cheering from one another. This constant cheering and does help taking the challenge in stride. I’ve settled well with my rhythm. I was cruising comfortably at target pace, post the ‘U’ turn point at the temple. I consumed a gel at the 7 km. The plan was to consume a gel every 7th km.
As I reached the start point, suddenly I could see a sea of runners. Post the ‘U’ turn at the start, the first 2 kms again is packed with runners. Runners running 25 km and 50 km distance, had to deal with sudden rush of runners who had just started a 12.5 kms race. The narrow of the stretch caused problems again. Runners had to shout to make their way. The volunteers were equipped with whistles and made sincere attempts to clear the rush. Nevertheless, a bit of bad planning of the start times by race organizers.
I consumed second energy gel at the 15 km mark. By this point, I was fully familiar with the course, was able to pace my self very well. I was feeling strong as I reached the half-marathon distance, and was content with my performance so far. As I reached the 23rd km I experienced minor cramping in my right thigh. I stopped, then walked and stretched a bit. Thankfully the cramps didn’t hamper much, though I continued to feel them during the final two kilometers. I willed my mind and did a strong run to the finish line with my running mate Soudabi. I was feeling elated. I was happy to reach the finish line within my planned target time.
Next 30-45 minutes was spent doing post run stretches, chatting with friends and clicking pictures. The south-indian style breakfast offered was wholesome with Idli, Pongal Sweet Pongal, and Coffee/Tea.
Several of my running mates had podium finishes, and I was super happy for their achievement. Running many consider is a solo sport, but some aspects of it makes it a team sport. None can dispute that we draw energy from each other.
Overall rating of the event is 4 out 5. The weather and the venue made a big difference, despite the issues with crowd management. I enjoyed the event. Route was scenic and different from the usual city runs. Race support team and volunteers did a good job.
I was able to train properly and execute the race well. Consistency in training and following the process helped me overcome my mental barrier. Strength training ensured that I could handle the increase in mileage.
There is a lot of work to be done. I am prepared to put in the work required to make me a more efficient and injury free runner. I am super excited and looking forward to the next stage of my training cycle as I progress towards marathon distance over the next 6 months.
Rameshbabu is member of Mangalore Runners Club, and is coached by Runners360. He has been running for 10 years, and has run half marathons across the world. He aspires to run a marathon soon.
We have received your feedback. Thank you for helping us serve you better.
Unfortunately, we have hit the wall. Please try again later.