Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First 24 hour adventure on foot

Date: Aug 12th, 2006


West Valley College Tracks
Saratoga, CA

Total Distance: about 63 miles

To run/walk for 24hours around a 400 mtr track. primary goal was to be on feet and see how it would be to run all night.

History of 24 hour runs:
Running around the tracks is not a recent phenomena, the first multi-day walking across the tracks was accomplished by E.P. Weston. Listing a section from Multidays.com

It was at Washington State Rink in 1874 where Edward Payson Weston attempted to successfully walk five hundred miles in six consecutive days. There were 6,000 spectators in attendance composed of all classes of society including the Mayor and the Chief of Police. It was almost necessary to alert the Newark police force and the militia to guard the soon to be prized and historic pedestrian. This was the third time that year that Weston was attempting such a feat. His first attempt was in 1861 where he tried to walk to the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. He started at the State House in Boston on February 22 and finally arrived on March 4.

Over the years Sri chinmoy have become the defacto organization for multi day running, infact worlds longest ultramarathon of distance 3100 miles is organized by Sri chinmoy organization. Runners particpating in such events believed in going beyond the mental and physical barrier, and attaining a spiritual state. The winner of these races takes about 40-41 days of continuous run/walk.

Why 24 hour run?
During QS 50 I had thought of running a race longer than 50 miler. I was not prepared for 100 miler but was interested in doing a 100k distance or a 24 hr run. After few days Rajeev
expressed similar interests. After googling we couldnt find any organized 24 hr run in Aug, 2006 timeframe.

So we decided to organize our own version of 24 hr run at West Valley college.

Main motivation behind this run was to get experience of
- all night run/walk
- find refueling strategy that would work for longer races (say 100 miler)
- to meet long lost friends

For Rajeev it was a training run for his RDL 100 miler in Sep, 2006.

One fine day on foot?
The idea of running around circles seems very crazy, infact Rajesh had rightly said
"It will be interesting to see what gets you first: boredom of running on the track for 24 hrs or just exhaustion"

Since we werent concerned about distance, we knew walking(one of greatest gift to mankind) is always a option, but I was more concerned about boredom and the impact of running around the track on the body.

During the race week we decided to shop for elaborate list of items required for the run, as listed by ultra running resource. It turned out our expenses were more than the race entry, now going forward I knw race entry is totally justified.

Rush had flown from SB on thursday night, she was our lone support crew in the first 12 hrs, we had decided to start at 6 am on Aug 12th, but we decided to postpone by an hour so as to get some extra sleep.

Race week I had some nagging gluteas pain, but Race day morning seemed totally different, I was feeling great and we were pretty comfortable with the idea of running for 17hrs, based on our time at Tahoe rim trail 50.

Rush dropped me to tracks and after unloading, setting up the aid station we started at 7:15am. We had decided on 20/10min run/walk ratio for the initial few hrs. That worked very well.

(Setting up aid station)

Our Support/Pacer's for the day?
I like Trail running/Ultra running mainly because of the runners, it's a small community, we share our experiences during and after the race. I knew I am going to miss that community during this run, but I didnt know what was in store for us:

Friends from Asha community joined us to pace and support at different points of the day.

Rashmi, Rajesh Agarwal & Sarita, Arul & Gayathri, Kalyan, Mohan, his Dad and Satyavati, Shalmali and Vidyamani, Anurag, Arpana, Dinesh, Anu & Raj, Vandi, Suchu, Anju, Antara, Meghana, Naina, Trisha, Nishad, Malhar, Sameer, Shaunak, Aseem, Sandhya Mohan, Deepak & Aruna, Abhijeet & Anjali, Arun Simha & Sowmya & Vibhas, Anil, Shekhar, Sunil &Renu, Rajeev & Renuka Char, Anu Mayuran & Ganesh Pattabiraman, Venkat Kalkunte, Kaarthik, Pavan, Kasturi, Pragati, Samanvitha.

Rajeev's blog has very well captured the series of events and how each one of them made the difference to us. It was overwhelming to see how each one of them turned up at such odd hours:

- some @ brutal heat
- some waking up at 1:45 am and making coffee for these freaks
- some fighting jetlag, still there to support
- some fighting the tooth-ache but delivering lunch/dinner at the right times
- some being their with their usual enthu after a tough race
- some fighting the boredom of tracks but still doing the long run with us
- some reminding us , our motivation "its the beer "
- some fighting the sleep, but still being their to pass-on the support baton
- some fighting the morning sleep and being their with finish banner
- some promtly showing up at 4am to lead us to finish
- ALL being their, inspite of their personal commitments
- ALL being their with their cheerful self
- we were their to relish upma,chai, idlies..in the morning

Thanks for being there friends, it meant a lot to us. Appreciate all your support.

My experience:
The first 12 hours seemed to pass by fine as expected, pacing by Rajesh, Arul in the initial hours were very useful, time just flew by. Rush joined us for some time during the lunch after her root canal, which seemed to be quite painful for her, inspite of that she promptly got us pasta and pizza in evening.

(8 hrs into run, Arul, Rajeev, Rashmi looking strong)

I couldnt eat much of pasta during lunch, but in the evening we were waiting for Cicero's Pizza. At 8pm much needed pizza arrived, we took a break to relish the best pizza in bay area, followed by change of clothes for the night ahead.

9 pm -12 was the busiest time at the tracks more than 10 of our friends joined us to pace, cheer and party, it didnt feel like a long run. that really helped us get over the to midnight without much issues.

12-2am was the period when I slowly started to feel the sleep, Venkat had promised coffee at 2pm so body was waiting for it, and Shekar was entertaining us with his songs. At 2am we took NoDoze caffiene pill, and also hot coffee, that instantly had the affect and we could carryon for some more time. Also by this time my foot had swollen a bit I wasnt comfortable in my shoes, in order to avoid blisters decided to run barefoot with socks. That felt lot better. Rajeev didnt have any issues with foot.

2-4am this was the most quite and pleasant period, temp was in 50's and we needed additional top and windbreaker. Again this section we had the lot people cheering so that made it easier.

4am -7am by this time coffee and nodoze losts its affect, we decided to take another pill and a 15 min break on the tracks, I was waiting for sunrise, coz I had heard sunlight brings new spurt of energy which can carry us to the 24th hour. By 6am the tracks lit up so did our mood and energy levels, we new the finish was getting close.

At 6:30am we decided to stop our adventure and decided to wrap-up. Sam, Anu helped us clear the place and as we were about to leave, some of ours friends turned up with finish banner and camera. In the interest of posing with the banner we did some dummy laps and took pictures with every one.

(Friends Vidyamani and Sam with the custom-made finish banner and balloon)

Infact we also got a finisher's medal.

(Anu with the shiniest finisher's medal)

This was followed by delicious upma, idli and much needed chai. Next day was spent mostly
with some occassional dozing and waiting for a long night sleep.

what worked:
- clip2+cytomax+succeed: We relied on this potion as energy drink for the entire day, it went very well with stomach, had no issues with salts, energy levels.
- cool-off bandana
- Cicero pizza
- NoDoze/Coffee: running overnight is not very tough, it is the middle 3-4 hours which one needs to conquer and once sun rises, we DO get over the sleep threshold and can carryon for few more hours. Ofcourse this is presuming one has same set of pacers joining us in the night :).

what didnt:
- pasta at lunch
- extra wide shoes: I need to carry some older shoes, so that I can cut the front part for extra width

Overall it was a very satisfying experience, all went as planned, no surprizes in terms of injuries but we didnt expect so many of friends to show up and make it such a special event. This will be one of the most cherished run's for me.

The team

Thankyou all you for being there.

Ofcourse this run wouldnt have been possible without Rajeev the runner, he is the best in whatever he does.


Rajeev said...


Running with you is the best thing! Time seems to pass by so fast that the race or run is over before I know it. It's amazing how this partnership has evolved. I know that I will (hopefully) finish RDL ONLY with your help. That's how much you mean to me. Thanks buddy.

anil said...

Same here Rajeev, your wealth of knowledge makes running a pleasure.

I am honoured to be in your team for RDL 100, all excited to see you conquer the 100 mile beast.

Goodluck Rajeev

Rashmi said...

WIsh you both the very best during your crazy but inspiring endurance runs. One thing that stood out was your attutudes, I dropped you in the morning and saw that both of you were excited to start your adventure, in the afternon, you looked well pretty much the same, I was surprised that inspite of all that running you were not very inclined to sit down in the shade to have the pasta and were every ready to get moving in the hot sun. In the eve I was totally amazed to see that neither of you had a long face, but still going strong, Rajeev was churning out songs and poetry and jokes and Anil was his smiley self!. I was there till 1:30- and I was exhausted and ready to hit the bed, but you guys went on ..and on..and on.. On sunday morning-looked like you had perhaps run 10 miles!. serious I am not kidding. you guys are incredible and crazy!

anil said...

Thanks Rashmi,

actually as soon you left we used to take naps :).

well it was a great day, things just worked and fell in place for us.

Anonymous said...

Nice report! Read your report from a link in Rajeev's blog. I can't imagine doing a 24hr training run on track, but you both did it. Awesome!

Are you in RDL? You do not mention this in the report. Remember you're qualified for 100Mer.



anil said...

Thanks Chihping,
not doing RDL this year, I dont feel prepared yet for 100 miler this year. maybe next year.

But will be there crewing for Rajeev.