After completing a 30 KM race on The Buddha Trails, I was eager to challenge myself with another 30 KM race on Solang SkyUltra. I anticipated that the difficulty level would be similar or perhaps slightly more challenging. With my previous success in completing the Rimbick race in 6 hours, I felt confident in my ability to finish within the allotted time. However, I did experience a minor knee injury during The Buddha Trails, which did not hinder my walking but presented some discomfort while running. Despite this, I remained optimistic that rest would improve my condition and that walking the entire route would not pose a problem.
At the start of the race, I maintained a comfortable pace, but as I approached the Anjani Mahadev temple on the route, I found myself almost walking and lagging behind the crowd. However, things soon took a turn when the incline slowed people down, and I began to pass them one by one. My confidence soared until I reached the downhill section where I made the foolish mistake of trying to overtake even more runners. In doing so, I landed my foot poorly on some rocks, twisting my ankle in the process. The pain was excruciating, and I had no choice but to slow down to a walk, taking some time to recover before continuing. As the road led to the Dhundi bridge, I picked up the pace with fast walking, passing others who were attempting to run or walk on the climb. But the respite was short-lived as the trail started again towards Beas Kund, marked by rocky and uneven terrain. Despite being tired and drained, I kept moving, twisting my ankle several more times and getting wet during water crossings. I was getting tired on the unending climb.
After reaching the Beas Kund aid station, I took a well-deserved break, nourishing my body with some food. However, my joy was short-lived as I gazed at the dreaded next section of the trail- Lady Leg climb, known to be the toughest part of the race. It was a steep 200m climb over a mere 500m distance, the steepest I had ever seen. I took my time, moving slowly, taking around 30 minutes to complete it. At last, I was on the downhill section, which I had been eagerly anticipating. I broke into a run, enjoying the exhilaration of it all, but my joy was short-lived as my legs started to ache due to the rocks and boulders littering the trail. It was a grueling experience, but one that I wouldn't forget anytime soon.
This is the gist of my race. See a water crossing, think about how to cross it without getting wet, attempt to cross it without getting wet, fell into it, come out of it and laugh.
As my knee began to ache more and more, running became impossible, forcing me to resort to quick walking. However, even this proved unsustainable as I found myself unable to walk for extended periods of time. After crossing the Dhundi bridge, I found myself frequently halting on the road, switching between walking, running, and resting. It was clear that I was in danger of missing my deadline, as I still had 5 kilometers left to cover after already being on the move for more than 6 hours. I soldiered on at a snail's pace, but even that proved difficult. Thankfully, I crossed paths with a fellow runner who urged me to keep pushing, and so I did. Alas, by the time I reached the finish line, my knee had given out completely, leaving me dragging my right leg in excruciating pain. I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone.
This is how I finished with my injured knee. I am not sure if I will ever want to repeat this race again. Maybe if the route gets changed.