Okay, BR called me "baliw at bingi" (crazy and deaf) after crossing the finish line for BDM102 yesterday. The crazy part I understand as who would have thought of doing the back-to-back BDM races (BDM102 after a week of racing BDM160). The deaf part was when I was talking to my friends and I could hardly hear him calling me out for the standard photo shoot at the finish line. Funny moment.
At any rate, the impulsive plan which I initially revealed in my past blog entry (http://jon-ultra.blogspot.com/2010/12/pre-race-thoughts-on-bdm160k-race.html#more) became a reality. Truth be told, my training actually started after I finished GNW100 (November 2010). At that point, I purposely deferred to announce the plan until I could have done some basic test. Primary test was doing two marathons a week apart. First race was the QCIM marathon where I paced 2 friends for their PR. That was 3 weeks after GNW100. The run went fine as I also blogged about it. Now the real test came a week after QCIM for the prestigious MILO Finals. For MILO, the plan was to experience doing two marathons 1 week part when all "conventional" wisdom says I should not do it because I could not have been fully recovered after the first race (I don't subscribe to this). What I had in mind was to take it easy but as soon as the MILO race started I realized we belonged to the few and thus, it would be a shame to just take it easy. To make the story short, I ran faster than I initially planned and it was not without difficulty. At least, I knew what I was up to if I ever I would be doing the BDM double races. The only obvious difference though was the sheer distance. The consolation was that it is doable but with some inherent risks and difficulties.
Now that I have actually accomplished what I initially set out to do, there are some important lessons to be learned.
1. Full mental determination - One has to have no doubts on pursuing the plan.
2. Training - Simulate the races months in advance and have a realistic feel of one's ability and training.
3. Economic preparation - It is not cheap to run BDM races. Save, save. Seek out sponsors, friends and good Samaritans. After all, one can move heaven and earth just to accomplish something really important to him/her.
4. Understand the inherent risks and be prepared to face them - Running and finishing the BDM160 one week before the second race is no joke. The risk of injury is too high during the second BDM. One cannot be fully recovered after the first race especially when one raced it to win. I would even dare say that even if one is an elite runner, there will be lingering soreness or breakdown unless he is not human :) The distance of the second BDM will reveal your weakness which will be magnified as the race progresses. At least, that was my experience.
5. When the going gets tough, it will - It did not help me at all that after 7k into the BDM102 race (coming out of the hill from the start), the fear of injury actually manifested itself. There was this subtle pain outside my lower leg. It became worse later on. Runners must have seen me limping during the last 20K but was not enough to prevent me from overtaking some runners :)
On hindsight, running BDM102 after BDM160 is like venturing into a totally unfamiliar ground. In terms of whether it is safe to do, there is no way of knowing during the days between the two races. It must be noted that those days are reserved more for recovery than trying to find out one's fitness for the 2nd race. For this endeavour, I opted full recovery and did only walking and a few jogs 3 days after BDM160. Even then, I knew the risk of injury was high. But then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So why did I do it? No apparent reason at all. I just wanted to do it just like humans, it seems, are meant to run. Perhaps, add another layer of challenge to an existing challenge? I don't know I just wanted to do it :)
Right now, I have earned the right to rest and recover and earned it big time. Perhaps, my injury (nothing serious) is a blessing as it will force me to rest before I start training (trail) for UTMB in August. (No, I have not decided on TNF Camsur. No budget earmarked for it :)
Now, the question is: Have I established the record for the first successful BDM double finish? Only Baldrunner can answer that. He is the RD and it is his races.
Will I do it next year? Nah. I will concentrate on breaking the course record of either BDM160 or BDM120 (with the good weather during the early morning, I thought the winner would come in in under 10 hours. As the results would have it for BDM102, the winner's time for 2011 is only good for a 3rd or 4th place as last year's. Still good time nonetheless). Specificity seems to be the better approach for next year. Or maybe the extra challenge is to do the double BDM runs and place within the top ten position for both. Now that is something else :)
double BDM cheers,
Jon (looking forward to the awarding ceremony to see my 2011 BDM160 and 102 classmates :)