Wednesday, December 13, 2006

11 hours and 20 minutes in Huntsville

The race story starts the day before the race. Got out of work right after lunch and we got a head start before the evening traffic rush. Roopa had already come over the previous day. In all, Roopa, ArvindR, AshwiniT, Ganesh, Santhosh, and myself we left together in a minivan. Santhosh had managed to upset AshwiniT by bringing a boxed chicken lunch into her kitchen!

The drive over had the usual strange encounters at restroom breaks in tiny towns of East Texas. This time at Navasota (some 30miles north east of Brenham -- where the previous encounter had occured). Ani, Sanjeev, and Gaurav had been to Houston for the packet pickup and we arrived at the same time as them. The rest of the night was spent sorting out the immense race packet, dinner and preparing for the race.

Race morning started in the usual fashion for us (Ganesh, Santhosh and myself) -- putting on the Spanish channel and watching a rabbi sing songs as hot girls shook their bodies - gauranteed to wake up Santhosh! In the next room Roopa and AshwiniT were up before us and had boiled and peeled all the potatoes. We were all ready and dressed for the sub-freezing point start of the race.

The race itself was in four loops of 12.5 miles each. We started off together for about a mile and then each of us took the race at our own pace. Santhosh as fast as he could, Sanjeev faster than he could (but he needed to for the cut off) , Gaurav a little behind Santhosh, and Ganesh and me together for the next few miles. Then as the miles grew, people spread out more and the concentration slowly set in. The day was a little cold, but we were prepared for it. The course was mostly flat and the roots were easy to negotiate in day light. The first loop ended in 2:23 and felt good. Had some potatoes, said hello to Murali who had driven on the morning of the race and went off on the next loop.

Then the loops came and went. The second was slower than the first, mostly because I wasnt sure what pace I was running at. The second took 2:42 and the third was really slow taking 3:09. The third loop was mostly introspective and it took my mind better part of 2 hours to beat the bodily devils. The last loop was faster than the third, and went slower than true time with the darkness coming in before I was done. Murali ran with me the first 3 miles and the loop went by in 3:06 and the end in full darkness was quite surreal. Through the race, except for the introspective parts of third loop, I was in great spirits, and nary a moment when I felt a cramp or low sugar. Thanks to the pit crew, the race was perfect in terms of nutrition and hydration.

At the end of it all, this was the result:

Viswanath Vinod
Loop1: 2:23:00 (pace 11:26)
Loop2: 2:41:09 (pace 12:54)
Loop3: 3:09:47 (pace 15:11)
Loop4: 3:06:40 (pace 14:56)
Overall: 11:20:35 (pace 13:37)

and this is what Coach Joe had to say about me:

Vinod, Looks like you were not sure what to run the first 2 loops. It may be that your first loop time was true but you need a lot more trail time to hold that. But for this race and where you were, it either worked against you or you took a long break back at our tent. Loop 2 was 20 minutes off the first loop. And another 20mins + on the next loop. I suspect that you should really be well under the time you ran. More likely around 10hrs. I suspect you will be the most improved when you run this race again.

1 comment:

anil said...

Very good report Vinod. As Joe said you are capable of doing it again within 10hrs if you pace right.

great job on training so systamatically with your PhD. you are my Idol :).