Monday, September 20, 2010

Kaveri Trail Marathon

Our convoy of two cars started driving towards Mysore by 5 in the evening, with stopovers at Chamundi tatte idli hotel in Bidadi and McDees near Maddur.  Somehow I was highly inclined towards grabbing a beer can or two, but Bharath kept dissuading me from drinking.  It was about 8 by the time we reached Bharath's cousin's house, the most attractive room of which was the bar.  
Me: Maga inta baaar itknodu kudide irad nyaaya na? (Son with such beautiful bar it's unfair not to drink)
Bharath: Sumne irappa Somvaardinda kuddhilla naanu, ivattu chance illa (Shut up pa! Have refrained from drinking since no chance)
Me: Maga kudide vodadu yen dodd vishya le!  Yaaru kuddh vodalla...aaadre naav kuddhu vodana...prove maadana (Son what's great in running without drinking...everybody does that...lets defy that & we'll drink and run.  We shall prove)
Bharath: Lo sumne hoge haaksotivi sisya...beda.  (We'll all get smoked up student...let's not).

After realizing that his cousin had Red Label in store...

Bharath: OK maga...just yerd pegsu, amel niyattagi oota maadi malgana (OK son...just 2 pegs followed by dinner and sleep)
Me: OK le...yerde pegsu, bega malgana (OK le...just 2 pegs, lets crash early)

The above conversation (highly censored and beautified to suit the culture) happened on the eve of the marathon day, finally we slept early at 1:40AM after guzzling down 2 pegs of whiskey twice!

I switched off the annoying alarm that buzzed at 4:30AM and dozed off again, hoping Bharath to do the same.  Unfortunately that didn't happen, we were on road by 5:15AM driving towards Young Island resort, Srirangapattana.  We rushed to the starting point near Ranganatittu Birds Sanctuary and we were disappointed that the marathon was already flagged off even though we reported 10 minutes earlier than the stipulated time of 6:45AM.  The bloke on the podium said, "Half marathon? It's already started guys! It was an open start...sorry 'bout!".  

Pressing the buttons on iPod and stop watch, we started without slightest warm up or stretching.  the trail was, as mentioned in the KTM website, indeed very picturesque with river on one side and paddy/sugarcane fields on the other.  We found bullock carts and tractors and lorries being loaded with fresh sugarcane bundles straight from the field.  The scenery was plush green throughout the trail and this definitely is the most beautiful marathon I've ever run.   The trail was almost plain with just a couple of slight gradients, but was stony at some places.  There were counters every kilometer serving water, Lucozade, oranges, bananas, biscuits and pain relief spray. Kilometers and directions were well marked on the ground. Overall things were very well organized.

I had a good start and did well for the first half, I had clocked 50min at 10th km.  The return run was the most difficult part (for most runners I guess) coz by then the sun was high and strong.  It seemed as though I was running double the distance on the way back due to fatigue and sun, at times I had to walk and stretch  to ease my knee caps, calf muscle and back.  Oranges and Lucozade greatly energized and hydrated me which really helped.  At the 5th KM mark, suddenly there was an upsurge in crowd, the 10km runners also joined us.  Last three kilometers was the toughest, I met Shyam the regular marthoner half kilometer before the finish line and he greatly upped my spirits by actually running with me (though he was not participating in this marathon) and last 70m I sprinted and stepped on the finish line  when my stop watch showed 2h:20m:12s.  I saw Bharath (he had finished it in just over 2 hours), Manoj and Harsha who were clicking photographs.  My ankle, knee caps and calf pained terribly after I finished, we relaxed for a while, had tender coconut and came to parking.

We came back to Young Island resort, we surrendered our timing chips and got the money back.  We also redeemed our food coupons, but it was quite disappointing to eat meals at the breakfast time.  They gave typical meal with chapathis, curries, rice, sambar, rasam, curds etc. and we were having that at 10AM!   They could have given something better than a meal.  Overall it was a great event, a very picturesque trail and a memorable experience.  Thanks to Bharath's cousin for his hospitality and Red Label, thanks to Harsha and Manoj for accompanying us and clicking our photographs.  

As a final note, donating blood 4 days before the marathon, couple of pegs of Red Label and lack of sleep helped me improve my timing by 3 minutes from the previous marathon.

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