It was a slightly mad idea to start with. I wanted to run up to Morni and Tikkar Taal, but not come back the same way. So, this was the map.
It would be 75k, which would help me prepare for the Comrades on the 10th of June.
I ignore my alarm clock at 2AM (both of them) but wake up at 2:25 with a start. Jagteshwar and Avi pick me up at 2:45, their cycles on the rack. We start at Nada Sahib around 3:15. It is cool, and my strategy is to go out fast as an experiment. Am I more efficient at faster speeds? Sure I am, but I also use energy more quickly. I have my backpack with 2l water and my moon bag with my phone, a protein bar, snickers, nut mix, and a light. The first 12k is on the highway in the dark and there are trucks, but not too many. Then we turn left and find that this road is mostly empty.
And the countryside is beautiful.
The first 21k is done in 1:52. Not bad, but can I keep going?
The uphill starts and so does the suffering. I leave the cyclists behind since uphill means even more suffering for them!
With it comes the promise of cooler air which is the only way this run will work out. But the hills get tough, and it is slow going up. Then we are over the ridge and descend to the lake. The cyclists catch up. I feel the extra impact the downhill running makes on my legs, but all is still good when we reach Tikkar Taal around 7:15AM. 37k is done. I stretch and then sit down to a coke while the other two dig into some paranthas. I am continually nibbling on my proviant, so I am not hungry. Then I put my feet up for a bit. The lake is as lovely as ever.
We cannot stay too long since it is already heating up. It takes me about 2k to get back into some kind of rhythm as we start going up to Morni. This is the steepest part of the road. I am all alone (except for my Friend). But, the silence and the awesome surroundings help.
Our next stop would be at the turn near Bhoj. But it seems further than I remember. I thought it was only about 15k from Tikkar, but it turned out to be more like 20. It is getting hot. Avi and Jagteshwar catch up with me shortly before reaching “Maggi point” as Avi likes to call it. I get another coke and fill up my water. We rest too long…
We decide not to take the Bhoj turn since it would be 2k further. But regret it, we did. Where we thought the last 21k would be mostly downhill, it isn’t. It is what they call “undulating”. This is a euphemism for climbing the same ^&*#@! distance again and again without making much forward progress. And the heat starts climbing into the higher 30 degrees (C). It sure feels like 40. And all my sunscreen have already been washed off by sweat.
I walk a lot towards the end. I start up conversations about anything, just to take my mind off the task. And then we are back on the main road. Cars, dust, heat, I run out of water and buy some with only 2k left. Then painfully slowly I jog the last bit back to the car. It is done.
That was the peak of my Comrades training, 79k. The race will be 91k this year, so “just” 13k further and I hope that it will not be as hot…