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27th Oct 2012

13th Annual Chicago Lakefront 50/50 Ultra marathon
- 50 miles

OMG was the buzz word turned into reality on 27th Oct 2012. I know now a days people run 100, 150miles, it is easy when you read and just say OMG. But when it came to oneself you forget all these words and I realize that and guess with all who participate in such races that mentally you are prepared very well to take such challenges. Whether you complete the race or not that might be another story/reasons etc.

For me multiple things happen to decide to run this 50 miler Ultra marathon: 1. Now days my family is away for some time. 2. My club "Bhramanti" completed 10 years. 3. I wanted to learn myself how I react in terms of pushing myself beyond my limits. 4. This year happen to me to run more races and unintentionally I started building my race mileage and later converted into a minimum 100 mile coverage.

Really! I was in delima after my 2012 Chicago marathon what should I do since I am unable to get good timing now a days. I decided to forget about timing, just run for fun and enjoy my run. Based on my above 4 trigger points I started thinking of running Ultra marathon either 50k or 50m. I checked on internet, searched preferred races and except 50m trail run by North Face in San Francisco in Dec 2012 nothing popped up. I just went and registered myself but discouraged to knew that I am on waiting list and only chance will be available only if any registered participant dropped out of race. I again searched and found another race in October and that was Lakefront 50/50. I was happy since I will not have to worry for dependent expenses like travel and hotel. Further to that what happen after the run, its easy to stay when you are close to home just to fill more comfortable(another psychological advantage). Looks to me it is not that popular race (may be all ultra runs are not that popular) but it didn't matter to me since decision already made. Only question arise is 50K or 50M since I never ran more than 26.2 miles in the past. Then my office colleague/friend helped me to decide as baby steps 50K to start with. Somehow I was sure either its 1 time or many time I might run this its opportunity why not to run 50M. So I did registered for 50M. Only issue was I was not up to the mark in terms of mileage practice runs that is 30 miles a week at least due to various other factors. I called Tony Cesario one of the ultra runner whom I knew well to find the tips for what all things to take care and that helped me a lot mainly mental boost other than food/clothing preparedness. I was happy when my other office colleague registered for volunteering at aid station.

Atin Gupta helped me to drop at start line early in the morning of the race day. Later he was supposed to come back to pickup once my aid station colleague update Atin for my last loop. There were two races one 50M starting at 6:30am and 50K starting at 8:30am. For 50M we were supposed to complete 4 loops of 12.5 miles (starting from Hayes Park till McCormick place and return back to Hayes Park) while 50K 3 loops of 10miles. Approximately around 90 to 100 runners I saw at start line. The race started on time. I met a fellow Indian female runner "Karnika Shah". Without knowing her by face I just asked her while run after the race start that are you "Karnika" and she replied yes. I was happy to knew that someone from my home country is running with me and she ran this marathon 4 times earlier. She had good timing last year. I told her that this is my 1st ultra run. She used to cheer me up time to time till she disappeared. My 1st 2 loops (25miles) was bearable since I had practiced that in my regular marathon but last 2 rounds was cruel specially the due to cold wind (40-45F) temperature and less fuel to drive. Though I used to eat in the 3rd Aid Station mainly the cookies, banana, m&m, raisins, water, gatorade and coke. I used to fill energetic and made kind of schedule after 1st round when to eat and what to eat/drink. I see lot of people might have dropped out of race in 3rd round since I did not see anybody behind me. But I never care for this and keep myself moving as much as I can wherever I felt too much of pain I used to do fast walk but no short-cut at any point of time. Though I saw one of the female 50M runner skipped the 2 mile run and took turn at 50K turning point. Anyway it was hard for me in the last round. I planned the 4 loops to run for myself, wife, daughter and final round for my club Bhramanti. At last round return and 2nd aid station I asked the volunteer if I don't finish the race on time am I eligible to get the Finisher Medal? He didn't discouraged me because still 25 minutes left to 11 hrs limit at that time. And I was so sure I will not be able to make it on time but firmed on my decision to compete the race any how. As soon I was about to nearing the finish line I saw the crew were winding up the camp and I tried to wave them with my running cap from the other side of road. I reached closed to 11:25 minutes. Atin was waiting in the my recently bought used SUV. One of the crew member was reluctant to give me 50M finisher buckle, instead he gave me the 50K finisher medal. I asked him to give me my hard earn 50M buckle somehow without argue he gave me the 50Miler buckle and took some pictures with my cell phone to record this event at finish line. is great experience for me and unbelievable for my supporter that managed to finish the race. I was the second Indian Citizen and only Male Indian runner to participate and finish this race. The result will be published at chicago ultra running site and also at ultra running magazine.

Atin dropped me at home, I was unable to get out of my car, even climbing home stairs was painful experience. Alejo along with Wash(friends) visited me at home to celebrate my run. Atin bought Pizza for all of us. Wash did helped me to massage using message roller stick mainly on my stiff thai and calf muscle. His son is also a runner completed Chicago Marathon recently representing north side schools. I could not able to eat anything that night till next day morning. I was supposed to jog the next day for some distance to get away from the stiffness but didn't dare to do so instead went out and return back from the nearby Mexican fast food with food.

Thank you everyone for all support.

Lakefront 50/50 Ultra marathon route

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