Monday, June 02, 2014

Comrades - What went wrong?

As I got into the Runners' Rescue bus for the third time, couldn't resist the sinking feeling of "Taking these bus trips often".  I certainly didn't come all way to Durban to get into a bus full DNFs, some puking and some barely holding up.  But, for three years in a row, I seem to be joining the same crowd.

So what went wrong?

In one word, it is training.  I needed to have trained harder, further and longer.  Here are some revelations, while things are fresh in my mind..

Hottu and Flatu is OK but not sufficient
I take pride in saying.. "I am from Chennai, where it is always 'hottu' and 'flatu'".  The heat part is good for training but not the flat part.  The flatness of Chennai doesn't train the muscles that needs to be in great shape for the undulating of Durban hills.  I should have strengthened my quad and core lot more.  The unending Durban hills demand every bit of juice you have and more.

Though St. Thomas Mount and Peru Hills help, should have done more of that more often.

Each on to themselves.
Running is certainly better with company for training but when it comes to Ultras like Comrades, each is unto own.  I switched my running seed to be with a friend, hoping we will run together.  But, that hardly lasted a few kms and we lost each other.  Partly due to crowd and mainly due to the fact our minds were in different game plans.

After a while, I got up with Neepa Sheth before the halfway mark and the same thing happened.  While I stopped, she started running and when she stopped I started running.  We were in different rhythms, even then I played the cat and mouse game trying to latch on to her. But that didn't last long and I lost just past midway. (Congratulations Neepa on your yet another finish.)

Similar thing happened two years back as well.  Balaji and I tried to stay together but after a few miles, we found ourselves out of synch and had to go on our own ways.

In a long run like this, each of us end up fighting different demons and its best fought alone.

Train both mind and body
This is common sense but not common practice.  All long distance runners know that, it is as much mental as physical to see you through the finish and you got to train both.  But do we really train both?

Going through the Durban hills, I found my body and mind out of synch.  Beyond a point, my legs refuse to move at the speed the mind wanted it to.   It was kind of unreal, to feel the 'slowness' of the legs though my mind was telling otherwise.  It was like watching a 'slow motion' movie capture of my legs

When I was stopped, I was simply blank and didn't know what to feel.  One side of me felt shitty, otherside gloated for putting an end to the misery.

ps: Though not a finisher, I am planning on a few posts about Comrades - travel, stay, food, dress etc.,:-)