September 23, 2012

Marathon Mania : KTM 2012

Kaveri Trail Marathon or KTM is self proclaimed as the toughest trail marathon in the country by the organizers, as put up in their website. Being a bit of a pessimist in my general outlook I suppose it can be termed as one of the toughest trail marathon in the country. Toughest or otherwise this did push me to the wall. Running under a relentless sun with very limited tree cover , in a uneven stone filled trail , my calf muscles were crying with pain within no time. I have a goal of completing at-least one full marathon this year and had been training for it on/off over the past couple of months. I even had a crazy idea of competing in the full marathon category of KTM 2012 , but having never competed in a category other than 10k I was a bit apprehensive (thankfully my pessimist outlook came to the rescue !!!!!! :P) of directly jumping to 42.2k. Hence decided to go with an intermediate goal of completing at least one half marathon before I graduate to the next level.

Harsha, Reddy, Prasad and Suresh
KTM is usually organized in the vicinity of Ranganthittu Bird Santuary, and this year too there was no exception to that. Since the run starts very early in the morning (HM @ 6.45am), people from Blore either have a choice of leaving Blore at around 2.30-3 am to reach the venue or stay overnight at Srirangapatna to have a more relaxed sleep. Initially Harish and I had decided for a bike ride to the venue on the race day itself, but by the turn of events I got registered and Harish did not. Then started my search for some company and this ended when I came to know Harsha and his friends (Reddy, Prasad, Suresh) were planning to travel the previous day and had a free seat in their car. Hence I jumped in at this opportunity. We left Blore in the evening and had planned a different route to reach Srirangapatna since there was a bandh call in Mandya town. But seeing the traffic density moving towards Mandya we decided to try our luck , since there was very less chances of Bandh continueing after sunset, and so was the case. Reached Srirangapatnam and booked a room near to the venue. The rooms were just ok , but these guys were enjoying a sudden peak season thanks to the marathon. More or less all the rooms here and elsewhere too were booked by KTM participants :P.


The run started exactly at 6.45 am. Weather at this time was pleasant. The trail runs along a cauvery river canal and its pretty much a run along a kuchha , stone filled path. This path has very few trees providing the very crucial shade for a runner. The total length of the trail is 10.55kms , that meant HM participants had to run along this path and return on the same to complete 21.1 kms. FM participants had to complete 2 rounds of the path to complete their quota of 42.2 km. There were aid stations loaded with water, electrol, salted groundnuts, bananas, salted potato chips etc roughly every 2 kms. The initial run was slow trying to overtake a lot of slower runners in a narrow trail, but somehow overtaking others gives a big motivational boost. Thanks to the uneven surface the calf muscle started to pain within the first km. Ran more or less nonstop for the first leg of the 10.55km, which was accompanied by pleasant weather. The entire path is very picture-some with it running along a canal and surrounded by water filled green paddy fields, but the shade along the trail is negligible exposing the runners to direct sun. The elevation profile change is also minimal for the entire trail.

The return journey was where the actual struggle started. The sun was up in the sky , bright and shining and with no protection the stamina started to deplete rapidly. I could run continuously till I reached the 15km mark and after that it was a combination of running and fast walking for the next 6 kilometers. Hence took almost 1 hr 16 min to cover the second half of the journey as against 1 hr 2 min for the first half. On the other hand it was fun, where runners themselves try to motivate other runners they come face to face with in the absence of any cheering crowd. Was more or less exhausted until I saw the finish line , when all of sudden I was motivated to sprint the final 100m to have raised arm photo finish (dont know whether this was captured by any volunteer photographers). Legs became stiff just 5 mins after the run. Had to stretch like crazy for every 5 mins in order to avoid the stiffness. Relaxed a bit in a nearby canal dipping my aching feet as I waited for the rest of the gang to complete the race.

With Finishers Medal
Hence in this way completed the "toughest" trail half marathon in the country. The calf muscles were paining for the rest of the day , apart from that didnt have any post race problems. This gave me confidence to graduate to next level. Aiming right now for Bangalore Midnight Marathon in December. What is my motivation to run???, becoz now I can and later on I might not :P. Need to loose a couple of kg's and get more running mileage in the next 3 months in order to complete within my target time of 4hrs. Full marathon , here I come :).


Bib Number: 21426
Rank: 224/675
Gender: Male
Category : Open
Category Rank: 185/498
Split@10.55Km: 01:02:28
Net Time: 02:18:16

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