SKF GOA RIVER MARATHON – We run to discover the world on foot.

Party peeps at the BIB collection , Dinesh Heda leading the pack as always to commit the ultimate crime. 

Reza’s HM debut event

Just another 10k under Rach’s belt

and the delightful Sangho’s another day at Office.

And that is how you owe your life an year ending special to your much loved passion of running and even glad when you have your dear ones signed up for some good company and motivation. This couldn’t have been better without them for sure and gives you every right to sign up for your next big what. 
Hands down, the 20 miler fame hits you different and also happens to give you that much needed boost to graduate to a marathon distance. This is the perfect stepping stone in terms of distance goal that I see being introduced at events now. The ladder to 5km to 10km to 21km to 32km to a marathon gets a well versed reputation without having to break you down half way when you attempt marathon distance without these building blocks. Hence, the recipe for a marathon are those shorter milestones that helps you meet the major ones. 
After the Thump 20 miler event at nice road, the soreness could be felt in the calves and hamstrings. This reminded me of the early days when longer distance back lead to such a fatigue. Guess the muscle in action in an ultra run is comparatively different when compared to the ones that perform in fast paced run. It’s an interesting fact and worth a read if you come across any research article on the same. 
The mandatory BIB collection activity was done a day in advance.

Dinesh was humble enough to give us some insights of the humidity we are going to face in the early stages of the run. With me, not quite well versed with the conditions at 4am in Goa, this was something to look forward to. The remainder of the day was planned to get a good rest and basic food. A short session at the pool added to the feel good factor but ofcourse the cold water at times gets unbearable. Nevertheless, a good 15-20 mins in water made the body feel lighter. 
Pro tip, the stays in and around chicalim gets busy because people are flying in from all the parts of the country for this run. The 20 miler is a good starter kit to hit the TMM next month. 

Dinner scenes as usual was dal khichdi and some potato sabji and in an hours time, it was time to sleep. A 4:10am start required me to wake up at 2:30am. Early morning bowl with muesli and warm glass of water and hot water shower is all that I need to get me started.
Considering the humid weather conditions, wearing a dri fit was no brainer for sure. However, I had to skip the long compression socks as it madee me feel very hot. The road to the venue need not be the same that you have have Google mapped to see how far it is because the roads are bound to be blocked and diverted to the designated parking location and guess what, it was kilometre or more to reach the starting point and I just made it time only to find the chief guest to host the 20 miler category hasn’t reached the venue yet. As a result, a delayed start by 10 minutes already got us sweating standing in the crowd of runners at the start line. The number of runners seemed less and wondered if all weren’t up to explore this new category of run. The 20 miler is meant to judge your marathon finish time and gives you a insight of how much more work is needed to finish a marathon on a high.
With the run flagged off, the initial 5kms was good enough to make you sweat in no time. And like always let me paste here the elevation profile which also helps me remember the moments in the run that break or make the deal for me.

A tiny winny elevation in the first 2kms and turn towards the left towards the Sao Jacinto Island in the black does not bring your site seeing idea to life and I am assuming this becomes the least priority for many wanting to just finish the run as soon as possible and get out from the number of loops that is required to finish the run. And yes, you have to run the loop twice to complete the 32km aka 20 miler run. As you can see from the elevation profile, the rolling hills are at your disposal and you can chase or haste your pace whenever required as per your comfort zone. 

And by the way, the route map is also posted in YouTube for your recce

A single loop of the route gives you all that you need to strategize the repeat that are to perform on the same route. Post an hour up, you are quite drenched in sweat and would also want to run with a water bottle just to pour on yourself than to drink. The aid stations were approximately 2-3kms away and were much needed for relief from the humidity. The gels made the rounds too in my tummy but sips of water after every km or so just had to be done right because you were loosing equivalent amount of water and salt from your body during the run 
In the second loop, things can get little tricky owing to more number of participants of different race categories on the route. Hence shouting and requesting to give way to run becomes the need of the hour. 
The stretch towards the U turn in the loop towards the under bridge is one long stretch that you may feel under your skin because it’s just never ending. Also, this very stretch had a foul smell and going through this ordeal could have gotten tough for some when you are really grasping for some fresh air during the run. 
By the time, it was over 27kms, the heat really started to get on me and the last gradual climb felt never ending. Post this climb, the downhill followed by a flat course is all that you need to traverse to cross the finish line and So did I, after all the agony felt in the calves. 
Only unfortunate experience is the number of official pictures that were available :(. Could have made it a lot better in terms of strategic positioning of the photographers and getting even more along the route line. Nevertheless, the aid stations were adequately stationed and were capable of catering to the needs of water for drinking as well as pouring as it was needed to cool down the body heat and control your heart rates at time. Definitely a saviour act. I did not munch on the snacks at the aid stations as I stuck to my gel intakes for energy burts and replenishment. 
And the beer post run in Goa becomes the USP among all the other events. Folks enjoy it to the core and at times taken aback for consuming some happiness at this early hour in the morning. 
The certificate of completion adds a feather to the cap with yet another determination towards the marathon goal some day. Until then these 20 miler testament are going to be the teaser for the #NEXTBIGWHAT in the running community.

The strava stats in terms of pace to gauges your burn out points 

Quote for thought:-
We run to beat ourselves
We run to step out of our comfort zone
We run to relax 
We run to discover the world on foot
We run, simply because we love running