Another bunk yesterday, partner had early meeting and I did not go because of lack of company (can you believe it, this from the Hubli Passenger who mostly ran alone!). As compensation, we planned to start half an hour earlier and complete a full marathon today. Consequently, Biscuit’s (my six year old Labrador for the uninitiated!) walk was preponed to 2:45 AM.
We saw an Aavin (local state dairy) van standing like a cow with full udders, waiting for Shanmugam and his team to come and help clear her burden. A puppy was following Biscuit all the way during the walk yesterday morning, in fact, he had to be sent away just outside the lift door with a heavy heart (I had half a mind to bring him home for Biscuit’s company, but, we risked sent out with the puppy!). Today he was with his family and friends. They did not take kindly to Biscuit trying to befriend their family member. Despite all the barking and growling, the two friends made cooing sounds with brisk wagging of tails. Finally a friend for Biscuit!
Heavy drizzle started at 3:25 AM when I was waiting for Sundar Purush to arrive. He was on time and we started at 3:30 AM sharp. I had a small niggle on my left gluteus muscle. In fact the discomfort had been there since morning and I have not been able to find the cause for it. I hoped it would go away with some warming up into the run. Within a very short while the rain subsided fully, necessitating Sundar’s watch going in and out of the plastic cover to seek protection during the rain. The shower only led to the killer humidity coming on in full swing. Had an unpleasant experience of a person from a car swearing at us as he crossed us. Looked like a ‘Bigda hua shehzaada’ from his age and size of the vehicle. I only felt pity for the poor rich kid! All night of partying had not given him a happy morning. Hope he finds peace! Venkatesan was in deep sleep covered from head to toe to ward of the rain and the mosquitoes. We didn’t have a heart to wake him up. Found the gentlemen of the police queuing up for coffee from inside the building they were guarding from the mobile cycle borne vendor, I only hope the vendor gets paid!
We reached Lighthouse well before light at 4:11 AM. Niggle in my leg seemed to have subsided, but, the right leg was not fully contributing to the cause of running! The first cow I spied whom Sundar wanted to be fed was sitting with her back to us, I did not like her attitude. Good I did that, the next cow who was the lucky one today, must have been very hungry. She did not require a second invitation to gobble up Banana peels and cabbage waste. She went back to supplementing this with the greens of the lawns under the gaze of Kamraj. Guess she would take up the chewing at leisure after she gets her full quota. She reminded me of an Ultra runner attacking an unlimited thali at an Andhra hotel after the running event. In fact she was busy gorging when we came back after the first loop.
The dogs were in full alert waiting for the tuck vehicle to come. They were getting restless like the crowd outside the ‘first day first show’ booking window. It was dark when we crossed the road opposite the flag staff house. The road was a bit harsh on the bare feet. I hoped it would be light before the next loop, hopefully! The Mount road was deserted and very nice on the soles. The majestic statue of Munro was watching us from his high horse. We had a doubt if this route is of lesser distance than our regular loop to RBI and back. It shall be tested tomorrow. Met many runners, some familiar faces from Marina Minnals waved. The running becomes so effortless when you keep meeting and exchanging greetings with runners. I think this must be the reason of better performance as well as runners doing more than what they normally do in practice runs in regular events. This should partially clear the doubt of a young lady whom I met later near Lighthouse who was not sure if she could crack the Chennai marathon next month, her maximum mileage till now being only 34K. She got a lot of gyan from the limping baba! All the best.
We reached Light house at 5:11, exactly in an hour. Either the distance was less or we were faster and there was no biological break also today, the mystery will get solved tomorrow! Marina Minnals were doing stretching exercises. The second loop was a drag with my left leg playing truant and not even providing minimum clearance from the ground. The right leg has every reason to complain! Today the dog-food guy, gave the dogs home delivery and we saw dogs eating in ones and twos all the way along the walking route. The dogs were in a happy frame when we crossed them near the Labour statue. The policeman at the booth, usually alert and smiling was sleeping with head buried in his arms on the counter, must have had a bad night! Sundar took his water break at the war memorial and that break unhinged something in my left leg. I made a very heavy weather of the dark stretch with pebbles and must have slowed down my partner. I could not see myself doing another loop with this bad leg! As we turned into the Mount road, running became easier and I somehow made it to the safe territory of the pavement near Labour statue.
I discussed with Sundar that he could do one more loop, while I would cool my heels under the Gandhi statue. After some protestation, he agreed to do his third loop. We reached the Light house at 6:14 AM (the nobbled Hubli passenger effect showed!). I sat on a bench and watched the Minnals doing stretching exercises, was even tempted to do something for my bad leg, but, I desisted knowing my stiff limbs. It is when Harishankar joined me there and we got to discuss the leg pain that it struck me, the culprit must have been the long drive on my new vehicle after taking delivery yesterday. The ride had frequent start/stop and bumper to bumper traffic and the bad back must have translated into the pain. Having known the cause seemed to make me happy. I met my good friend Srikumar (we did the Navagraha Ottam, the temple circuit together!), he invited me to a long run. I joined the photo shoot after their exercise session and after they dispersed, I moved to the foot of Gandhi to meditate till Chennai express arrived.
At 7:04 AM (50’ loop) Chennai express steamed in to Gandhi statue signal. My leg had gotten frozen by the rest and I had a tough time restarting. After a bit of warming up on the shuffling run, the leg got better. Sundar kept with me despite my slow pace. I was relieved when I reached the colony gate at 7:46 AM (deducting 50 minutes of staying put at Gandhi statue, I had done 32K+ in 3:26 hrs!). Hope the leg gets to normal for the Sunday run tomorrow!