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.
The names of all the people who showed up on the tracks in West Valley College in the 24-hours that Anil and I spent between 7:15 a.m. Saturday and 7:15 a.m. Sunday.
To say that Anil and I were moved would be an understatement. This outpouring of support and love was incredible. Most of them shared one or more laps with us. We are indeed blessed to have such friends on our team.
Friday, August 11
I left work early to pick up Nishad, Anu's son, from his school. Anu and Raj had left for Santa Rosa around 2 p.m. Anu was doing the Half Aquabike (1.2 miles swim, 56 miles bike) on Saturday. I was spending the night in her home. Vandi, along with Anu's dad, stepmom and the twins (Antara & Meghana) came over in the evening. We watched a Hindi movie, Iqbal, until 11:30 p.m.
I just could not sleep that night. It had nothing to do with nervousness. I think the room I was in was unusually warm in the beginning. It finally cooled down once I opened the windows. The dogs were restless too. They woke me up at 4 a.m. with their pattering down the stairs in order to go use the backyard.
Saturday, August 12
I finally called Anil at 4:30 a.m. to ask him if he minded starting an hour later, at 7 a.m. He agreed and that's when I finally got an hour or so of uninterrupted sleep.
I was at the tracks by 6:35 a.m. By the time Anil arrived and we moved all our supplies from the cars to the tracks, it had become 7:10 a.m. We posed for a couple of photographs (Rashmi was the photographer) before starting at 7:15 a.m. on the dot.
We were not bothered about total mileage. Our purpose behind the whole endeavor was to (a) learn what it felt like to be on the move for a day, (b) experiment with different foods and drinks along the way, and (c) find out how to keep awake during the wee hours of the morning.
We learned a lot along the way.
Anyway, we used my Timex Ironman watch (100 laps) and Anil's watch (100 laps too) to keep track of the laps. Since almost 95% of our running was in Lane 8, where 4 laps equalled 1.12 miles, it would be relatively simple to multiply the eventual number of laps by 1.12 to get the total distance. We wound up doing 218 laps for a total of 61 miles
Every 100 laps, our plan was to reset the watches and start over again.
The first hour went by in a flash. Rashmi, Anil's wife, took off right after we started to go and get us coffee. She came back around 8 a.m. with coffee and eventually left around 9 a.m. for a root canal. Brave lady!
Rajesh Agarwal was the first one to show up, around 8:45 a.m. He gave us company until 11:45 a.m. Along the way we talked about his upcoming first Ironman race in Ironman Canada. He is a very strong athlete and I am sure he will do very well.
The scripting could not have been better had we employed professionals to write the story of our run. Arul showed up promptly and he ran with us from 11:45 a.m. until 3 p.m. Those 3 hours were the hottest. A slight breeze, now and then, helped us cool a bit but we relied primarily on our Cool Off bandanas, partially filled with ice, to keep our necks cool. They worked like a charm. Before we knew it we had finished a fourth of our run! Rashmi, around 1 p.m., had brought us pasta and soup from Pasta Pomodoro. I could not eat much at all because of the heat. I put the pasta into a cooler for later consumption.
We had decided to try Clip2, an energy drink supposed to help ultra runners. We mixed Succeed salt tablets (350 mg of Sodium per S!cap) and Cytomax with the Clip2 and kept drinking that concoction pretty much through the day and for the better part of the night. Now I know what to use for Rio Del Lago!
Around 4 in the afternoon, Vidyamani and Shalmali, runners from Team Asha 2005, showed up to offer their support. Vidyamani ran a few laps with us. They finally left around 6 p.m. In the middle Mohan, Anu's brother, showed up with his Dad and stepmom. They were on their way back home from a day spent in San Francisco and they dropped by to check up on the 2 nuts!
What a day Anu had! She swam the 1.2 mile swim in an awesome time of 52 minutes. Her 56-mile bike ride, which included long stops at every aid station AND a semi-nasty fall off her bike, was completed in 4:33. She too will do very well in her upcoming Half Ironman in Miami in November. She brought coffee before heading home to shower and relax a bit before returning.
The late afternoon was much more comfortable. We could feel the temperature dropping perceptibly. The breeze had picked up a bit too. This is when Vandi, Suchu and Anju showed up with all the children - Antara, Meghana, Nishad, Malhar, Sameer, Shaunak, Naina and Trisha.
Around the same time, Anurag and Arpana (2005 runners) showed up along with a 2006 runner named Dinesh to log miles on the track. The husband and wife ran just over 12 miles in total while Dinesh did 10. The track was beginning to get crowded! It was a great boost to our spirits. We had been looking forward, especially during the noon to 3 p.m. period, to the cooling off of the day and, when it came, it felt so good!
The ladies left around 7 p.m. with the children. This is when Anu came back to spend some time with us again. Rashmi brought us dinner around 8 p.m. Simply the most fantastically tasty pizza from Cicero's!! We loved it so much that we asked Mohan, who was planning to come to the tracks around 9 p.m., to pick up a couple more.
By now there was starting to be a steady stream of people coming and going from the tracks. A co-worker of Anil's, Aseem (also part of Team Asha 2006), brought more ice for us and was with us for about an hour. Sandhya Mohan (2005 team) stopped by to offer encouragement. Deepak and Aruna dropped by too. Abhijeet and Anjali showed up and spent many hours with us.
Shekhar Hemnani showed up around 10 p.m. and was with us until almost 2 a.m. Sunil and Renu spent a few hours with us. Rajeev Char and Renuka joined the party around 11 p.m., straight from the Toyota dealer where they bought a brand new Camry. They were there till just past 1 a.m.
Sunday, August 13
Anu Mayuran and her husband Ganesh brought us beer around midnight. I chugged down a warm Gordon Biersch Marzen before resuming the laps.
Anil had been bothered by a swollen right foot all evening. He finally decided to chuck his shoes and run in his socks the rest of the way. He put on flip flops in the early hours of the morning (around 2 a.m.) after we decided to walk the rest of the hours until 7 a.m.
I took off my shoes and put on Teva Wraptors (a trail running sandal of all things!) for a few hours. My original intention had been to try them in RDL in the latter stages of the race (after 80 miles). They seemed to work quite well. I will try them out a few more times in the remaining days before the race. I was starting to feel a bit sleepy by now. I popped a NoDoz as did Anil. I think it worked. I had to pop another one around 4 a.m. in order to conquer the last wave of sleepiness.
Venkat, Anju's husband, got us well needed coffee at 2 a.m. We had been joined by Kaarthik, Kasturi and Pavan by then. They left around 4 a.m. Right around 2:30 a.m.Pragati, having flown in on Friday after 2 weeks in Tuscany, joined us. She gave us much needed support until 5 a.m. Venk left around 3 a.m. Kaarthik, Shekhar, Pavan and kasturi left soon after. Sam and Anju showed up around 4 a.m. It was thus Pragati, Sam, Anju, Anil and I who formed the cavalcade around the track from 4 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. Anju left around 5:30 a.m.
Sam, Anil and I welcomed daybreak at just past 5:45 a.m. The sky gradually lightened as Helios chased Selene back into her boudoir.
Anu brought her cheerful and bubbly personality to the track at 6:15 am. We decided to stop the laps at 6:30 a.m. We then spent the next 20 minutes cleaning up and carrying our stuff up the steps to our cars. We were about to leave at 7 a.m. when Vidyamani, Shalmali, Abhijeet and Anjali showed up with cameras and a Finish line banner.
Both Anil and I posed in front of the banner while numerous photographs were taken.
It was a hungry and happy throng of people that sat around Anu's dining table at 7:45 a.m., eating the delicious breakfast Anju, Gayathri and Arul had made for us.
How fortunate Anil and I are that we have such loving people in our lives. They give so selflessly that it humbles me and makes me realize that the world is filled with more loving and kind people that most people think.
Running round and round on a track for that long is hard on the body. My right arch hurt as did the outsides of both my knees (ITB pain). I hope that RDL will be a different story altogether.
Did Anil and I have any problems mentally? Nary a one. The longest we had spent on our feet in a race was the 17 hours in TRT 50. We were confident of being able to spend an additional 7 hours without any worries whatsoever.
Running on trails is so much more fun that I look forward to Rio Del Lago and know, deep in my heart, that I will have fun doing it. Whether I finish the race or not will not be something I will worry about. If I finish, so be it. If not, so be it too. Que sera sera.