Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Here Endeth The Lesson

Its over. The target race. The first 50miler. Culmination of all the hard-ass training.

Turns out the finish was nothing like the training or the run itself. It was a great 3months of real hard training. It was over 11 hours of extraordinarily good feeling during the race itself. But the finish was largely inadequate. I stopped because the race was over and the organizers were wrapping up the course, and our crew had called it a day. It was over, and that was it. No sense of achievement, no sense of accomplishment. Only a sense of looking forward to the next training.

Turns out at this distance, the finish mattered scarce, if at all. What mattered was all the training, the running 50miles, knowing folks are donating because I am doing this -- the age old adage "the end matters not, the means very much" coming true to each of its words.

As I look forward to more races and longer distances, I can only think of Thoreau -- "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Please to donate

The race is over; and the fundraising isnt. All the running and these stories are for nothing without the funds for the projects.

Please donate using this link.

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The pit crew at Sunmart

Our pit crew at Sunmart was the greatest ever. Every single one of the 1000 runners at Sunmart saw them and was intensely jealous of the 6 of us. Our crew was simply fantastic. On a particularly freezing day, they cared not to warm themselves, but kept the boiled potatoes warm for us. When any of us reached the end of our loop, they egged us on with great gusto and a vibrant vim. Bub will particularly testify to the kingly treatment meted out to him at the end of his race.

Hoping I am not leaving any out, the crew consisted of ArvindR, AshwiniT, Roopa, Murali, Arun, AshwiniG, ArvindV, Sharanya, Savitha, Sandhya, Salil, Mahesh, Divya, Dwarak, Itisha, Venkatesh, Bharath, AnitaI, and Priyavadan!!

The race was painless and so easy only because of this crew! I cannot do gratitude justice to their support.

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.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunmart 50M 2006 Log

29 Workouts, 375 miles later...

  • Dec 09 : 50 miles : Race
  • Dec 06 : 6 miles : Easy
  • Dec 03 : 12 miles : Easy
  • Nov 18 : 26 miles : Warda
  • Nov 15 : 7 miles : Hill
  • Nov 12 : 14 miles : Easy
  • Nov 11 : 31 miles : Long run
  • Oct 31 : 05 miles : Easy
  • Oct 29 : 12 miles : Easy
  • Oct 28 : 31 miles : RR50K
  • Oct 25 : 06 miles : Hill
  • Oct 24 : 07 miles : Easy
  • Oct 22 : 26 miles : Chicago
  • Oct 21 : 08 miles : Easy
  • Oct 19 : 04 miles : Easy
  • Oct 18 : 02 miles : Hill
  • Oct 17 : 05 miles : Easy
  • Oct 14 : 24 miles : Long run
  • Oct 12 : 05 miles : Easy
  • Oct 11 : 06 miles : Hill
  • Oct 10 : 05 miles : Easy
  • Oct 04 : 06 miles : Hill
  • Oct 01 : 14 miles : Easy long
  • Sep 30 : 22 miles : Long run
  • Sep 28 : 05 miles : Easy
  • Sep 27 : 06 miles : Hill
  • Sep 23 : 19 miles : Long run
  • Sep 23 : 19 miles : Long run
  • Sep 20 : 06 miles : Hill

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The last (12th) week of Sunmart training

The last week went by mostly in thinking about the race. There was one training run on the Wednesday where Joe barred us from running hills. We were to go down Hill Of Life slowly, run along the creek for about 30-40 minutes, and then run back and walk up the HOL, not run. More precautions were taken in the form of obtaining the Succeed caps for the race, adequate clothing etc. For the most part an uneventful, mostly waiting-in-anticipation kind of a week.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The 11th week of Sunmart Training

This was the week after thanksgiving, spent mostly in the continued inertia of the thanksgiving week. Which essentially meant didnt run the two short runs, or the tempo run on Wednesday. I was still feeling ill from the previous week and promptly indulged myself into not running through the week. Come weekend, I skipped the 12mile run in favour of running Dekker on Sunday; and come Sunday, I skipped Dekker and instead did run 12miles around IF and some roads of North Austin. Nothing hilly.

Sunday evening came with a lots of anecdotes and advice and fun. We met Joe and Joyce for dinner at Gaurav's place. Ani and Gaurav made chole, pulav, and chapatis. Joe was at his raconteur-ing best, and regaled us with anecdotes from the history of races in Austin. Apparently about 12-15 years ago, there were no training groups in Austin, and Joe was among the few who were training with Paul (Carrozza of RunTex). More stories came out about Steve (Sisson, our marathon coach) who started out in the running business and was very fast. As the evening progressed, there were stories of Greenbelt runs, Steve's airplane superman demonstration, and also many an advice on eating on the trails. We ended the evening looking forward to the next weekend's race and another dinner with Joe and Joyce.