Ultra marathon run is not merely a race but also has individual challenges.
The only thing I told myself before starting was, “be positive!” While I was registering myself and collecting my Bib No. I kept telling myself that this time I would complete it.
The previous time I had participated in a similar run was 2 years ago in the same event venue which was for 75kms. I could only finish 62kms because of excruciating pain in my left knee. I finished 55kms hopping in one leg. This time I was not injured and I kept telling myself that If I could run 50 plus kms with one leg then I can definitely run 100kms with both.
The run started at 5am. We moved into the Bamboo Forest. It was still dark and I hadn’t carried my torch. Fortunately there was a generous person named Mr. Vishwas who helped me see the uneven and muddy trails.
He was a part of a running group from Mumbai, Thane called “Runtastic Dil Se”! The runners in his group were quite friendly, so I began running at their pace. Their coach Mr.Hari was motivating them to carry on at a good pace.
You have to keep all your senses alive when you run the Ultra. The terrain was challenging with ups and downs, pebbles, water, concrete, stones etc. which are a part of the run.
The experience was that of once in a lifetime.
You get to see nature very closely and can feel every change in its course. It was pitch dark at 5am in the bamboo forest when we started. It began with the morning freshness, then the mid afternoon heat, evening sunset, and finally towards the end it got tougher and dark.
It’s more to do with the mind than the body. The Initial 30 kms were a mix of running and walking which seemed comparatively easier. I gradually started losing my running partners one by one. After 35 kms I began to run alone. It’s usually not easy to run alone but there was no choice apart from moving forward. After 50 kms my legs started to send signals of initial fatigue and I started figuring that the tough part of the run was yet to come. After completing 70 kms, my left calf muscle felt a slight cramp and I started walking for a while in order to rest my legs. After 80 Kms I wanted to restart running. It took me quite some effort to resume but somehow managed.
My motivation was the medal which I had seen while collecting my bib. I didn’t touch it because I wanted to feel it around my neck only after completing the 100k. I was visualising myself wearing it and going back home with it.
After 85 kms there was no chance of looking back. The previous time I had quit 12 kms from the finish line but this time I was going to make it home no matter what. I kept pushing myself and got even more determined after 90kms. My motivation level shot up, I knew for sure now that I would be able to do it. Thanks to the people who cheered for me which helped me push myself even harder. 95 kms and my left leg calf muscle was cramped and I had to run very slow but somehow managed to reach the finish line with a smile. At last I got that medal around my neck. That was a moment which I will cherish for a very long time.
I can only say that the 100kms made me more humble. I learnt a lot of things from this experience. It taught me that if we decide to do something big it will not be easy but with a positive mindset nothing is impossible. I realised how every single km was so important, similarly every single day in our lives are very important and If we keep pushing ourselves every day we will surely reach our goal someday with a smile.