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Softly, as in a spiritual sunrise

ultra_spiritual_sunrise_picTwo years ago, I ran in 3 races. Last year it came down to two. This year I ran the Kaveri Trail Marathon and it’s my first (and last) race for the year.

My running goal for 2015 was rather basic – “just keep running”. Under normal circumstances, this would have meant following the Triple Jump running plan. But work has been all-consuming and my lungs haven’t been too happy since last November.

After three consecutive years of running the 75km Bangalore Ultra, I missed this year’s edition. It was inevitable of course.

There was no wistfulness at having missed the race (jeez! I was plenty busy) but there was something else – a subliminal brew that surfaced last weekend.

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On Sat morning, I modified my regular Dandi run with a detour that took me to Gandhi Bazaar and a breakfast with an old friend (visiting from California). Can’t complain much with a 2.25 hour long run. The next morning got me to the NGV park. While the boys played basketball, I ran in the NGV park. A rather unique 400+ meter rectangular track which features 6 turns (instead of 4). The basketball coaching session went longer than usual and, before I knew it, my Sunday run had become a 2.5 hour run. A barefoot friendly ‘paving blocks’ track with very few walkers (and just 2 other runners who showed up in the last hour) combined for a rather tranquil and circumspect run.

The thought of an unsupported solo ultra run had entered my head earlier this year. It seemed like a good compromise – no race pressure yet experience the pleasure of an ultra. The ‘unsupported’ element seemed to add to the challenge.

As I ran circles around a park with 6 edges, ultra thoughts wafted in.

How about.. running from home, run beyond the airport to a suitable lunch venue?

What was a suitable distance? 50km?

Nah! Didn’t like that answer. I had done 50k 4 years ago. Sure this wasn’t my strongest year but still..

More running.. and a new idea emerged. A 50 miler that would end at the Nandi Hills summit.

Much to like about this idea.. Tactical thoughts took over at this stage.. a cab to drop me off at a suitable point on the highway.. refueling options along the way, etc.

And, for the strangest of reasons, I recalled a mythological story. The one where Ganesha and Kartik (sons of Shiva and Parvathi) decided to race ‘around the world’ to settle some sibling rivalry.

The spirits of NGV Park had been talking to me of course..

Guess what my next thought was.. Hey, I could run my own personal Ultra right here.. in NGV Park. Running circles for as long as I wanted to (or was capable of).

So what’s the plan?

A 12-hour run starting 5am on Sunday, Nov 22. Considering that the maximum distance I’ve run is 75km and, more importantly, the maximum time I’ve been on my running feet was 9 hours 45 min, it should get interesting.

(Gulp!)

There I said it and also thumbed a finger at an old superstition to not announce my runs *before hand*.

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