The first day of the Great Run of Punjab is done. I do not have the energy for a long post, so here is the short version. (That sounds ironic. Nothing short about the run)
I decided to do 70k and run at a 5:15 pace with a short walk every 5k. However, I felt so good early morning that I went a bit faster. Who knows if it counted against me later in the race? It may have.
It was cold for about an hour, but I soon took off my gloves and extra top. Two runners went out faster. One guy overtook me after about 5k, so I ran 4th. We carried lights, but the street lights in Amritsar was good enough, and soon the sun came up. I felt light on my feet and ran most kilometers around 5:05 or 5:10 until about 15k.
At that time I caught up with the guy who overtook me, and we ran together for a while. We turned off onto a road that was terrible to run on. Full of rocks. (Like what they do before they tar the road) A half marathon was done in 1 hour 50 minutes.
I got away from my co-runner shortly after that and saw only the support staff every 5 to 7k until mid-thirties. Still feeling pretty good I saw a glimpse of two runners up ahead. Balbir is fast, and when he saw me coming, he took off and became small ahead of me. I overhauled the other guy soon enough.
At the 40k aid station, I saw Balbir again as he started running after what must have been a good rest. I took only a minute to fill my bottles before running again, but he again disappeared ahead of me. Not for long though. He was walking, and I caught up with him. We then ran together for a while. He had a sore knee, and the rocky road sapped his energy. We crossed a full marathon together at 3:49.
At this stage, my energy also started getting less, and I started slowing down. The heat usually does that to me. Balbir found my pace too slow for him and set off again. I saw him again at 50k where lunch was served. I did my usual routine of just stopping as long as necessary to eat lunch (that involved a bit of rice and some cucumber slices for me). Then I left while Balbir was still there. I saw him again only at the 70k mark while I was already done for the day. He also finished there. The last 10k included a 7k stint on the highway which was hot and polluted. However, we also crossed the Beas river which was a magnificent sight.
My time for the 70k was 7 hours and 10 minutes which was a bit slower than I had hoped but my position was a surprise. We waited for an hour before one of the 80k runners came past. Around 1.5 hours after I finished we have not seen any other 200k runners. That’s when the support crew took us to the hotel where we will sleep tonight.
I have a 14 minute lead on Balbir. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s hope I can sleep and that somehow my reset button gets pressed so that I can do it all over tomorrow.
Keep running (Seriously)