The Last Long Run 2016 – The Ultra Run Experience
When you know that every mile will be worth your while, you can go the distance.
There is nothing better than an ultra-run experience, to end the year on a high note. The Last Long Run, from Goa to Gokarna; 140 km in 2 days; was an experience that cannot be easily forgotten. It isn’t just about the amazing memories you make, it’s also about the confidence and that unbeatable sense of achievement that you get after you complete such a feat of physical and mental finesse.
The Date - 30th-31st December The Stage - Goa to Gokarna The Plan - A 140 km run; 72 km for the first day, and 68 km on the second.
While many may balk at the prospect of running 140 km, there was a team of 8 people who were willing to take on the challenge and face it head on. On the morning of the 30th of December, 2016, Milind Soman (@milindrunning), Sandeep Raj (@sandeeprajsays), Aakash Nambiar (@nellipotnambiar), Spoorthi (@SpoorthiRuns), Inderpal Khalsa, Abhishek Mishra (@AbhiRunning), Nitika Singh, and Sunil Sharma, prepared for a long day ahead, where they were planning to reach the first stop, Karwar, by 6 PM in the evening.
You could train and train and train, but the secret behind running an ultra-run, goes far beyond the actual training. It is more of an amalgamation of the physical and the mental. An ultra-run is not a sprint, it’s not going to be for just a few minutes; it’s going to go on for hours and hours. One of the most important aspects of such marathons is to be prepared mentally to face all that lies ahead.
Of the body – The Physical Side of it
Though the morning began with pleasant weather, the change in temperature during the day took the weather towards a sunny day. The road was full of declines and inclines, where the inclines demanded more stamina and took more away from the body, increasing the time that it took to cover the stipulated distance. But the landscape was not the only obstacle, as the sun shone brighter, making people sweat more, tiring them, and dehydrating them quicker.
4 of the 8 runners took the challenge barefoot, which increases the adversities that have to be faced. As it happens with a lot of people, it is not necessary that the run will be held in your home town. One has always got to adjust in different environments; whether it is for lodging, food, being away from family, etc.
It is a strong passion for a common goal that keeps the runners running, facing all adversities and coming out on top. When it comes to the physical challenge of a long run, you need to remember a few things. Discipline in the beginning of the race will allow you to carry on for longer. A running buddy can always help, at times when you are slowing down or feeling the heat. Constant intake of liquids is essential for success.
And of the mind – The Mental Side of it
Preparing yourself to run 140 km is not the easiest thing. You need to have a very strong will to go along with all your training. The Last Long Run had 8 participants, 7 of who had participated in some ultra-runs already. But the 8th participant, Sunil Sharma from C.VOX, one of the co-sponsors of the event, had till date run a maximum distance of 35 km. He needed some major psyching up, mentally as well as physically. It was however, not compulsory for him to complete the entire run. So he planned to complete just the first day of the run, in order to avoid injury. But it was his passion and his judgment that made him get up the next day to run, to complete the entire Long Run. When you have determination and endurance in equal measure, there isn’t much that can deter you, and that was exactly the case for Sunil.
When You Run, You Learn.
Every long run has a lot to teach us; it lets you realize how even the toughest times come to pass, if you keep cruising through them. Such runs give you that confidence boost that you need to achieve your goals day after day, through sheer persistence and self-belief.
Now gear up, and go run your heart out!