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  • Lt Cdr Bijay Nair (R)

TUM....HUM AUR RUM (My Blog on Tata Ultra Marathon - 50kms)

When you know your Training Plan Worked- Smile .

Around 47th Km , I looked at my Garmin and I smiled for two reason :

1. I knew I had executed my run in a planned way

2. When I looked up to the hill , I knew I am fucked because the next 2kms was leading to heaven , it appeared as if it was steps to heaven and Yamraj with his team was waiting to welcome you .

Tata Ultra Marathon (TUM) as it is abbreviated was a must do suggested by whos and whos . Some even rated it as the best race in India .

Ok here is the big reveal , with confidence and in full sanity , I have registered for Comrades this year i.e 2019 and it is UP Run . It was not just a fluke decision , actually I made up my mind as I felt this was the year I am the fittest . TUM is a must do for comrades aspirants and I was motivated to register by friends.

My comrades training started from 01st Feb and I am training as per plan by Viv . My body type , I am from the category of runner who have to put mileages to improve the run . Thus my plans were charted accordingly. Training for comrades means to look at the mirror and say to yourself, boss you are your own training partner.

I am blessed to have Satish Gujaran as a mentor and a close friend , who is one of the ace marathon runners of India and also only Indian residing in India to have done comrades 09 time in a row . Wednesdays are hill rep with him and doing hill rep thrice and a 30 Kms run at Malabar Hills inclined routes boosted my confidence. Initial few days of mileages I use to feel very drowsy and tired throughout the day. As they say body is amazing it adapts .

Deepak sir from striders gave me the invitee bib and pre-race day I was here at Lad Niwas , I reached around 4pm and slept for an hr; satish sir had mentioned that 5.30 will have comrades talk , since many who have done comrades earlier and many who are aspirants this year will be assembling for experience sharing talk . Talk was very informative and it did make a impact that comrades training will require dedication and discipline .

We retired at 9pm ; race was to start at 2.30 am; this was my first such experience of a Night Run . We reached start line around 2am , it was glad to see many known faces at the start line of 50kms . Must say the arrangement were perfect . Race flagged off at sharp 2.30 . First km itself was a silent incline which started from Lonavala city , the route traversed through the dam road towards Bushi dam then to my almameter when I was in Navy the INS SHIVAJI . Many memories reside in this academy. It was around 7th Km , I gave a silent look and all those memories flashed past while crossing the stretch , here on the route was inclined the tiger hills , the first of the major inclines which was to last 2kms . I felt strong and I ran most of the same and where I couldn’t I was following the Number counting method as was explained by dear friend Pratik Desai . There on it was Rolling hills , kabhi UP toh Kabhi DOWN , hills kept teasing in various structures and forms . Around 23rd Km a stray dog joined along , initially people were shooing him away thereafter , we realized she may be a marathoner who would have died paying hefty registration fees and now she runs free - reborn.

At 25th Km took a turn from Amby Valley along with Umesh , Pratik and Rohan in tow . We took easy strides , treading the hills and running flats and down . I was feeling very strong and along with Rohan , I altered my speed a bit i.e on the upper side . Around 30th Km , I saw runners from the 35 Kms events arriving for them it was 20th Km , I could see a Motor cycle escorting one of the female runners of TUM , I assumed she will be the podium winner types , she was running steady and I matched steps with her ; around the descent from Cloud 9 on to Pawna , the roads converged in to trails . I ran along with Rohan , at a point close to 34th Km , I cud see he running gud and hence requested him to go for a sub 6 . Thereon I was running good , with the stray angel acting as my pacer .

Angel Stray - Who paced me ....Strong she is...

I did a time check and crossed 40kms well within the mark almost 40 mins before cut off . I was gauging my self and I cud feel I am strong, never got carried away to speed . Saw Chitu Bhai enroute and other known faces . At 43rd Km suddenly the hill started playing havoc and I could see a mental battle , but treaded it by walk run . At this point I never imagined , there is a atom bomb waiting at 47th Km . Finally when I reached 47th Km , time read 5.54 something and I knew , my planned target time which was revised to 6.15 from 6 hrs was to be achieved . I gave full respect to the uphills and a passerby enquired in Marathi “Kashala evda traas” (Why you taking so much of trouble) he meant was why to run and suffer . 49th Km was rolling hills and I ran strong towards the finish line Garmin reading 6.16 …. I did search for beer…..pyaas lagi thi….nahi mila.

Met many inspiring people enroute and also throughout the event .

Reached home and during evening met my bestie Old Monk… Tastes Good.

My Recommendation : A Must do.

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