My 12.5K Ultra experience

At the start of this season, 12.5 seemed big after 10! It seriously did. As a couch to 10K-er every additional km felt like a distance to be tackled by the head and heart. In the first 12.5 weekend run at Byalkere Peacock reserve, I had to really push myself to finish the “extra” 2.5 and I did not want the same experience at the event. I worked on mentally prepping myself saying it is not 10 and 2.5 extra. It is 12.5k and 6.25 is the half, not 5. 
After the KTM event day experience I was looking forward to this event day also. Loved the buzz, the energy and the build up to it (RFL and RH had been posting pictures and updates about the 24 hr, 100, 75 and 50k runs). 
Reached the venue, saw familiar faces, all smiles, all excited, all set to run. Santhosh, the person who started Runner’s High, was sending off the 25K-ers, cheering and shouting although in a very hoarse voice. Then he cheered and sent all of us 12.5k-ers off, again shouting!! All this after a whole day and night of being up and running/pacing/encouraging/cheering. Where does this guy get so much energy man?? Heard stories and later read about the “support crew” for the previous day and night’s runners and was in total awe. How much passion, selflessness and love must be there in their hearts to do this for fellow runners? (Some were not even family in the traditional sense, right?) You guys are awesome, hats off!! 
The trail was lovely, the bamboo trees, the slight breeze at times, the music in between, all made it even better. The weather was kind. Everything felt perfect. I started running. After a bit saw the 25K-ers on their way back and looked for RH faces. It was nice seeing people I knew. I said hi, cheered them on or just smiled the runner’s acknowledgment of another runner, to as many of them as possible. In fact I don’t remember seeing the km milestone markers till almost the 5K mark coz I was busy running and scanning the oncoming runners for RH-ers. You guys did keep me going in ways more than one. Thank you all you lovely fellow runners!!
At the last Wednesday workout of the season, at the group breakfast, I told Vinay, one of my coaches, I am able to run 4K non stop at a stretch now. But then I do need a walk break and then the pattern repeats. Also during a real run or event there is this additional stress of thinking “Should I stop and walk?”, “Should I take a break now?”, “Will I be tired and not finish strong if I keep running non stop?”, “Salt pill now or later? Do I really need it?”. He told me to stick to the 10min run – 2min walk from the beginning. No matter what follow that and don’t let your fatigue meter hit the red mark, because after that it will go only higher. I will admit, I was skeptical about it. And during the first 2 min walk period I did feel antsy and resisted the urge to ditch the walk and start running. BUT, I did stick to it and walked the 2 min and walked it faster than a usual walk to keep the pace going. I realized it did help. I stuck to the pattern and it felt great. I was getting my rest without having to think about it. Salt pill at 45 minutes then one after the run. No variables, nothing to be decided during the run. So the race planning worked great and I loved it. 
Thank you Vinay!!
Reached the 500m mark at the end and saw my son and husband. I couldn’t grin any bigger, my son, all of 5, had woken up at 4 am in an instant, to come along and had told me he will run with me at the end. And run he did! The husband ran along too, telling me I was almost there. The adrenaline had kicked in and as I turned the corner, I could hear more than one person shouting “Simraaaan run run run” I was “Whoa!! I love you guys”.
Saw RH-ers every where I could, the rest of the people, the place, seemed like a blur. I was looking for Santhosh and spot him I did. He started pacing me, shouting “Lift your legs higher” and the striding changed to sprinting. I love finishing my runs strong and I couldn’t be happier. The grin on my face would have said it all.
Thank you Santhosh for who you are and everything that you do. I am sure all of us at RH say this to you a bazillion times, just know that we mean it from the bottom of our hearts!!
A big big thank you to all the coaches! My coaches Vinay, Ajay and Asad for making it a point to keep track, push and encourage all of us, always. You guys are such inspirations. I can see myself, eventually,doing a half, full, an ultra distance and don’t know what else – all because I see you people doing it and think “Wow, they can do it and I am sure they will help me do it!”
I feel that each of us have a different story, different background, different inspiration and motivation that we bring to the group and to our runs. We run for different reasons too I guess! In spite of all that, what I have felt is that there is no judgement, no stereotyping and no negativity in RH. And that along with the people, is what makes this group such a lovely, enriching and encouraging experience.
Looking forward to many more seasons, runs and events with all of you at RH!!You all are amazing people and a wonderful part of my life now.

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