Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Comrades, did i finish it?

Map of Comrades (89.2k in the hills)


At 33k, my first cramp hit me in the hamstring. The horror is that it just suddenly comes. Your feeling good at one point and next second your hamstring starts hurting. I knew that was trouble straight away and did not mention this to Danny who i trained with. From 33k to 43k i struggled and ran with pain which is fine. I kept slowing the pace and made Danny walk more than he should have. It reached a stage where i just stopped and told Danny to go. I was honest and told him that its a tough road ahead for me. Even at this stage i could not run 50 mtrs at a stretch.

Danny left reluctantly and then i tried to figure out what went wrong. My body just had no energy. Never had i experienced such extreme fatigue and it felt as if i my legs had deserted me. My glycogen levels were gone. How is that possible when i had taken my gels, gatorade and carb booms. Even worse, i started feeling giddy in the head. There seem to be no oxygen coming through. I felt like going to sleep. For the next 30k, i just drifted in and out of the race. My strategy was to walk 10 steps and then run 10 steps. I found this almost impossible to do. I knew i was in trouble and realized that there was less than a 10% chance of finishing. You cannot finish comrades by walking and running a bit for several hours which i must have done. I had accepted the fact that i would not finish but still i would fight till they took me off the course. Runners were passing my in the hundreds and then in the thousands. For nearly 3 hours, i barely went pass anyone. It was bizarre. I had tanked and how. Never had this happened to me in training. The key was to give it my best shot to finish. If i didn't, thats fine. No shame lost here. For me its about staying ultra fit and having a very clean diet. If i didn't finish comrades, i would be back.

I was just in pain from 33k onwards. I had to run 56k more in really impossible conditions. My brain was blank. My mind gone. Glycogen gone. Cramps all over. I had run three ultras in training of 56k, 56k and 65k. Never had i even gone through 15% of the suffering which i faced now. All the ultra training was done in similar altitude and conditions. I guess it was just not my day.

I eventually finished in 11 hours and 51 minutes. No clue how. A lot of luck i guess and my will to do it. I had pictured a hundred times running into the stadium and finishing. I guess that helped me through. After going through trouble from 33k, it was remarkable that i finished. At some point in the race, i would take a 11:59:59 finish. :) It was great to see my family as i ran into the stadium. They were my fans.

Reflection :
This is a really tough race and i have the utmost respect for those who even attempt to run it. I met hundreds of veteran comrades runners from all parts of the world and they all concur that this is the toughest ultra under 100k in the world. I only now understand what they mean after running it.

Maybe some day i will return. I know i can do a sub 11 hour. But this is comrades. You may never ending up finishing. Each year about 20% don't finish. Thats what makes this race special.


A big thanks to Rujuta Diwekar whose nutrition guidance is spot on and helped me lean out and hence even dream of attempting to do comrades. Make no mistake that nutrition is key. Had i had my day, the results would be .....:) A big thanks to all my running buddies whose support pushed me on.

My Expectation :
Going into Comrades i expected to finish the race under 11 hours. This was based not on wishful thinking, but purely on my training times. Mumbai marathon Jan 2010 was done in 4 hours 10 minutes and then given below are my key runs.
42k ( 7th Feb, 4 hours 25 min, pace 6:19 per k),
56k (28th Feb, 6 hours 10 mins, pace 6:36 per k),
56k (21st March, 6 hours 16 min, pace 6:43 per k),
42 k April 11th, 2010 ( 4 hours 30 minutes, pace 6:26 per k)
May 2nd 2010, 65k in 7 hours 37 minutes, pace 7:03 per k.

Most of the above runs were done with hardly any cramping and i felt good after the last 65k run.


My finish results.



Year Pos Race No First Name Last Name Gun Time Category Cat Pos Gender Gen Pos Medal Status

2010 13522 38875 Dalal Sanjay 11:51:36 Ages 40 - 49 3688 Male 10558 Vic Clapham Finished

My garmin had stopped working during the race but little did i know it captured the info. The screen was blank. The finish time was a 11:51 so i guess the watch was on for a while after the finish.

Time:12:05:36
Distance:90.82 km
Elevation Gain:1,165 m
Calories:6,053 C
Timing
Time:12:05:36
Moving Time:11:34:32
Elapsed Time:12:05:38
Avg Pace:07:59 min/km
Avg Moving Pace:07:38 min/km
Best Pace:04:09 min/km
Speed
Pace
Elevation
Elevation Gain:1,165 m
Elevation Loss:1,816 m
Min Elevation:7 m
Max Elevation:825 m
Laps 91
Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary12:05:3690.8207:59
100:11:551.0011:55
200:07:421.0007:42
300:07:111.0007:11
400:07:251.0007:25
500:08:171.0008:17
600:07:291.0007:29
700:07:221.0007:22
800:07:011.0007:01
900:07:281.0007:28
1000:07:141.0007:14
1100:06:531.0006:53
1200:08:001.0008:00
1300:06:491.0006:49
1400:07:021.0007:02
1500:07:461.0007:46
1600:07:271.0007:27
1700:07:111.0007:11
1800:08:111.0008:11
1900:07:021.0007:02
2000:07:051.0007:05
2100:06:481.0006:48
2200:06:421.0006:42
2300:06:431.0006:43
2400:07:001.0007:00
2500:06:451.0006:45
2600:06:451.0006:45
2700:07:001.0007:00
2800:07:161.0007:16
2900:06:551.0006:55
3000:06:581.0006:58
3100:07:221.0007:22
3200:07:351.0007:35
3300:07:191.0007:19
3400:07:341.0007:34
3500:07:201.0007:20
3600:07:471.0007:47
3700:07:151.0007:15
3800:07:161.0007:16
3900:07:491.0007:49
4000:07:021.0007:02
4100:08:341.0008:34
4200:08:051.0008:05
4300:08:351.0008:35
4400:07:221.0007:22
4500:06:591.0006:59
4600:08:331.0008:33
4700:09:301.0009:30
4800:08:561.0008:56
4900:09:591.0009:59
5000:08:161.0008:16
5100:08:591.0008:59
5200:07:561.0007:56
5300:09:001.0009:00
5400:07:571.0007:57
5500:07:261.0007:26
5600:10:211.0010:21
5700:09:131.0009:13
5800:08:241.0008:24
5900:08:211.0008:21
6000:08:211.0008:21
6100:08:261.0008:26
6200:08:401.0008:40
6300:07:391.0007:39
6400:08:391.0008:39
6500:07:241.0007:24
6600:07:071.0007:07
6700:06:541.0006:54
6800:07:051.0007:05
6900:07:211.0007:21
7000:08:261.0008:26
7100:07:491.0007:49
7200:07:301.0007:30
7300:10:031.0010:03
7400:07:551.0007:55
7500:06:541.0006:54
7600:08:201.0008:20
7700:08:251.0008:25
7800:07:011.0007:01
7900:07:481.0007:48
8000:07:071.0007:07
8100:07:271.0007:27
8200:08:251.0008:25
8300:08:381.0008:38
8400:07:401.0007:40
8500:08:431.0008:43
8600:09:051.0009:05
8700:08:201.0008:20
8800:08:061.0008:06
8900:07:431.0007:43
9000:08:321.0008:32
9100:19:120.8220:00





1 comment:

  1. Congrats Sanjay! You are fortunate and brave to have even made it to the finish line in that shape, most runners would have simply given up hope much earlier! Thanks for all your help in helping me to the finish line too... I went with the GU stuff on your suggestion, and I would like to think it helped, since I too finished :)

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