Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The year that was

 After four days of regular running, even if only a Half marathon, coupled with Gabbaresque roads after the incessant rains, my soles, particularly the recovering left one were a bad mess today. Had it not been for the sentimental reason of signing off the year in style, I would have given in to Biscuit’s invitation of getting into bed after his morning walk. Sundar Purush had his own personal battle with year end work pressure, but, he too sacrificed sleep for ceremony. Our tribe is growing, DrAvk Mohan, had fixed up for rendezvous at Lighthouse at 5:45 AM today!
 So I was like the brave Basanti marching off to dance on broken glass, but, to make the impact easier, I taped the left toe portion and hoped that it would hold. We started the run at 5:02 AM with Sundar clucking over my left foot with tape showing on top. I told him that I feel like a junkie who after repeatedly injecting himself does not mind the prick for getting his fix, only my brand of the drug is Endorphins! It was a drier day and I hoped a less pebbly road.
 There were many places where we walked and timing was not an issue. We met lot of runners as we entered the Kamarajar Salai on their way back. We reached Lighthouse at 5:46 AM to find the good Doctor already there stretching himself on the railings. The drier pavement meant a better grip and the plaster was still on. Sundar being back in the fold meant cow spotting was perfect (yesterday I could spot one only on the way back!). The fair one who was looking regally chewing her cud was the first choice for all of us, but, she had other plans. We settled for a less sophisticated one who was munching away at a distance. She obliged!
 We met a lot of boys and girls practicing skating on Sivananda Salai. Their perseverance and their coach/parents dedication makes one feel good. I was reminded of children practicing on the road around Nehru Park in Delhi in peak winter. Today army men were in full strength probably trying to impress the Doctor. Readers will be impressed to note that the case of the missing ‘O’ in the Officer’s colony has been solved by the good Doctor and the fair name of Army restored!
 We reached the Gandhi statue at the stroke of 6:45 PM (yes it strikes every quarter of an hour at Gandhi statue and I learnt it today!). We parted with the Doctor with promise of another run same time same place as today. Return journey was not too bad and we were ahead of Venky (he followed us on his cycle, bells blaring!) till he reached his post. I walked most of the bad stretch and limped back outside the colony gates at 7:25 AM and as Sundar said, the Doctor did hustle us today! An idea has been mooted to save my foot till it heals that I take the bicycle upto and from Venky’s ATM and make up the 8 odd Kms lost by doing a extra loop. Let me see how my foot holds tomorrow.
 I thought a summary of the year that went by is in order;
1. Stopped participating in regular events from Auroville this year, did slip up to run the 50K Ultra and Sohar marathon.
2. Participated in Mysore to Bangalore run and two 12 hour runs at Bangalore and Mumbai and had my first brush with cramps.
3. ‘Run pe charcha’ , informal runs in various cities, including Kakinada, Mysore, Bangalore and Pune whenever I went there on official or personal work, better one to one interaction and bonding with runners.
4. Stayed Vegan the whole year without any major health issue, became closer to cows.
5. Switched from Dailymile and stopped counting my kilometers logged.
6. Brush with media with a few newspaper reports and a movie debut thanks to Ash Nath
7. Heart wrenching break from my affair at Hubli and its highway NH-218, still coming to grips with this mega city. Loving the running community and thir attention though missing the leisurely long runs.
 Watch out for tomorrows dispatch for the New year resolutions!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Random thoughts

I have fallen behind in my daily narratives. Having had a busy weekend and a rainy and depressing Monday has left my head bursting with memories gathered on the last three days of running (I bunked on the 26th after the long run to ECR road on the Christmas day!). They seem to pop up back when I cross the same place on the subsequent days run. I need to format my hard disk!
Instead of boring you all with timings and stuff which I have got mixed up by now suffice to say that in the last four days I have run the usual one loop which is a little more than a half marathon with timings ranging from 2 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 31 minutes (the slowest today!). On Saturday and today I ran alone and Sunday was Sundar Purush and me and yesterday of course was the quartet of Muthukrishnan Jayaraman, DrAvk Mohan, Sundar and me on a post paid plan run after brother’s birthday celebration the previous night. Today again I ran alone as Sundar ducked out in the last minute due to office pressure.
I shall try and post incidents during the runs on the last four days for my future record.

One of the incidents led to the familiar debate with the guardian of the law asking me to run on the edge of the road. Why this incident stays in my mind is that he started to throw his uniform at me and then after I explained the edge of the road having pebbles and not being barefoot friendly, he came down to explaining how an Army officer’s daughter hit a runner a few days back. I told him there is no protection from a novice driver losing control whichever part of the road or pavement one runs on, he agreed with me and went away shaking his head (kids will be kids!). I then realized that he himself was not wearing helmet!

On Sunday morning when we (Sundar and I) had just got off the flyover where the MRF man was perilously holding on to the ‘Tyre with a muscle’ which our God of cricket used to advertise for, a young boy came on the other side of the road divider and struck up a conversation with me. What struck me about me was the way he started the conversation, ‘Can I ask you how young you are?’, I parted with my age and asked him back how old he was, he was all of 20 years only. I asked him why he was on the road at such an ungodly hour (he was not dressed for a ride like professional cyclists who ride for exercise in the morning!), he said he got up early and since he did not want to sleep again and risk missing the Sunday choir where he plays keyboard, he came out for a ride. He had the usual questions about the distance I run and whether running barefoot hurt (surprisingly, my attire did not invite any questions!). With youngsters like him (his name is John Daniel!), there is no reason to despair of the younger generation!

Our friend Venky has been regular in his duty as our unofficial cheer leader, but, he disappointed us by slipping in commerce into what I thought was a platonic affair between us three. I had detected this in his parting question to Sundar on the day we were running to ECR road and he was busy talking to Vipul Kumar. Venky has been asking Sundar for a mobile instrument. My attempt at playing Santa to him was shot down as my home ministry refused to part with an old spare instrument we have at home (it is spare unless Biscuit demands his connectivity rights!). I however, seemed to have overlooked the possibility of one of our instruments (most probably mine by my wife’s assessment!) getting out of order.
Another incident which showed the adage that power corrupts in a run organized this Saturday stays fresh in my mind. While Sundar was busy taking a water break at War memorial, I saw one of the cycle riders who was acting as a road marshal (fully attired in his riding clothes and helmet) blowing at his whistle at an old man pulling a tricycle and trying to get out of the way. What took the cake (or Idli if it pleases you!) was the way he kept shouting ‘Move’ in his heavily accented English much to the trycyclists confusion and embarrassment. The irony was the runner whom the marshal was guiding was not any elite runner at any express pace and the runner had lot of space to maneuver around the cyclist. I gave the marshal a mouthful and asked him to be polite and at least speak in the local language. The policemen standing nearby seemed to appreciate the support for the tricyclist! Why I mention this is that the same rider (now marshal for the day!) is pushed around on the road by the policeman and heavier vehicles on any normal day was returning the favour to a person lower down in the pecking order. I could not but see how this plays out in bigger situations like class monitors, gram panchayat members etc.

Finally, I would finish by giving the analogy I gave to Dr. Mohan about our usual running route. I call the run from home to light house as the soup and the return run from the lighthouse to home as dessert. In between we have as many loops (or courses if you will!) depending on the time and appetite.

Here is wishing all friends a very happy new year 2015 in advance, our plans as of now are for a marathon on the new year’s day followed by a temple visit!

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Christmas run

 Having abstained from running since the previous Saturday and having an opportunity to run with my brother, Muthukrishnan, I invited Sundar Purush for a 50K run on Christmas day. It’s a different matter that we two had conspired about this in the preceding weeks (no we had not consulted our better halves!). The plan was to run 50 kilometers and take the bus back home. My brother was to join us enroute and run back in time for his onward trip to Pondicherry later in the day.
 We planned to start at 4 AM and run towards ECR road where my brother was to wait for us and join us for the onward run. My tooth and the toe being what they were, I was feeling like an Indian batsman hiding my fitness (or lack of it!) status. I was going for my morning walks in my slippers and was still not sure how the barefoot would feel on the road. Biscuit’s walk at 3 AM was with my slippers on. The Divas outside the Diva shop opposite the colony had decided to be in darkness and go easy on the controversial Christmas and wait quietly for the more secular New Years day.
 Promptly at 4:02 AM, Sundar and I started on our run. We started at a slow pace mindful of the longer run planned. I was landing softly on my left leg and the toe was not flat and full in meeting the road. I did not know that this would have repercussions later in the run. The stretch upto Lighthouse being our home run meant we were doing it unconsciously. We spent the initial part of the run in discussing my injuries, Biscuit’s appetite and his trip to Bangalore.
 We met Venky with his friend on the road outside his ATM, we did not tell him our audacious plan of the longer run (he would have clucked like the mother hen!). Vipul Kumar joined us soon after and he accompanied us till the Lighthouse. His plan was to run 25K and we had interesting exchange about our earlier run together in the Redhills in Peter’s event where we had first met.
 We say well illuminated churches and excited devout thronging the streets. There were many youngsters on the road who gave me the now familiar cat calls seeing my unfamiliar attire. I am reminded here of what Ezhumalai my young barefoot partner of the TeraMerahRRRun on the previous Saturday told me today. He asked why I am not affected by people making fun of me when I run in my unfamiliar attire. I just told him that I only see it as way of engaging with me and that such introduction usually leads to friendship and mutual appreciation of position for people with whom I have repeated interactions. For the one off interaction, I find the pleasure that the other person gets as a way of my making his life happier. We reached Light house at 4:44 AM.
 My tooth was holding and my foot was not too bad (I seem to be landing more evenly now!). Now we were on the route I had run the previous Saturday and this I was informed by Sundar was his usual route for many years. We did meet a few stray runners and cyclists on our way. We bypassed the Besant Nagar diversion and proceeded towards the OMR road. We crossed lots of runners who enthusiastically exchanged greetings. My brother meanwhile had reached the OMR road intersection from Madipakkam and started to run towards us on the OMR road. We met after the TIDEL park and after a brief introduction started to run together.
 The last we two had run together was in the 50 K run in Pune and we had lot to exchange, but, the Doctor in him got the better of him when he inquired about the foot and the tooth. Thankfully, he took my word that All was Well! We ran non-stop till the Sholinganallur cross where we decided to take a water break and a little selfie session for the facebook. The shopkeeper obliged to be our cameraman and agreed to keep the unfinished bottle for my brother to pick up on his way back. The time was 6:46 AM. Refreshed after a break and drink of water we started towards the ECR road, the plan for my brother was to turn back at 7:30 AM so as reach his parked vehicle before 9 AM, his curfew time for his planned start to Pondy!
 After a few minutes his top came off, and Sundar outnumbered two to one, promised more to himself than us that he would consider going topless when he gets fitter! We topless brothers surely must have been a sight to the onlookers.
 In all this activity, my limp in my left leg had not been missed by the Doctor brother and the concerned foster son. They kept asking me if I am good to go on. Sundar took another drinks break after a KM on the ECR road (it was 7:10 AM). My limp was pronounced after the start after this break. The riot act was read out and I was shown the red card when we reached the Toll gate. Here again we had a photograph taken, 7:28 AM!
 I appealed the sentence and it was suspended for half an hour, the revised plan was for us to return from the Toll gate. I bargained for running back upto the intersection where my brother was to turn back to reach his vehicle. I ran well or so I thought, I was also called Arnold Schwarzenneger by one of the kids working at a Tea stall (my trophy for the day!). We reached the intersection at 7:58 AM. We had run for close to 4 hours and the consensus was we must have done 35 KM’s. My brother cantered off to reach back to his vehicle and home and we waited for a bus to take us back. I came back with a dissatisfied feeling and the thought that I may have spoiled Sundar’s plan.
 The ride back on bus was very comfortable as we got good seats and had ringside view of the fights in the bus and got to relive our past memories of the places we crossed. We ended the trip sharing the dates I had carried for the run and parted promising runs over the weekend to be gradually increased. Merry Christmas friends!

Of extractions

            Yes I have been a long time in putting my finger to the keyboard! The heady feeling after the MeraTerahRRRun could not mask the pain in the tooth and the foot for long. The tooth took the pole position and forgetting the pipe dream of completing a marathon by running back I ran for the first offer of a drop back home. The next two days were unmitigated pain and the added shame of hiding from meeting the loved one’s eyes, the dreaded ‘Why don’t you see the dentist?’
            Steeling myself with the thought that the dentist would take an x-ray and give some antibiotics to soften up the tooth before going at it, I proceeded to the hospital on Monday morning, talk of Monday blues! Knowing a Doctor friend and having fixed up with the dentist in advance, I was fast tracked into the ante room to be greeted by the tooth fairy (the dentist’s assistant!). The Doctor sent my Doctor friend away and sent me to the Dentist’s vacant chair in the other room. I tried to distract myself with the photos messages about dental hygiene while waiting for the Oral exam. I tried reciting a mantra which I usually do to keep time during my long runs and deep breathing to calm myself.
            The Doctor came with the tooth fairy in attendance and after a brief ‘how do you do’, to which I am sure he knew the answer looking at my pain grimaced face, he peeped into my mouth. The result was not good my molar tooth. He gave it no chance for redemption. To think that I had suffered so much pain to get a Root Canal for that ingrate tooth and so much money to give it a silver crown (I could have done better to get a trinket for my wife or daughter instead!).
            Now our Dentist was a man of action and I would call him the Quick Gun Murugan for what he did next, he pronounced, do you want it removed right away? Fed up with the pain it had given me, forgetting the long relationship we have had, I gave short shrift to the due process and acquiesced to co-operate with the Doctor. He held out a thin syringe filled with an anesthetic (he did not know that I am a regular with that drug, having just had my hearts fill on my toe for the stitching there only last week!), a few pokes later and a little general talk for the drug to take effect he was ready to do the trick.
            A sharp pain later (which I thought was the loose crown coming off!), I saw through my bleary eyes the tooth fairy showing my tooth and smiling showing her set of pearly whites for effect. The enormity of what I had gone through did not strike me till later when I was riding back to office for my meeting which I had reschedule by an hour (won’t the executive member love to have a silent finance member in the tender committee meeting!). I listened to the do’s and don’ts and collected my booty of medicines and made my escape after thanking my Doctor friend (She was shocked to find that I had got an extraction done so soon!). The entire operation had taken only 10 minutes including the sweating time in the Doctor’s ante room.
            The enormity of what I had submitted to struck me when the anesthetic started wearing off on my train ride back to office. If the tooth had been crooked, the Doctor could have ended up in mauling my lower jaw in trying to extract the errant tooth. I only consoled myself by thinking that my freshly tonsured head and a khadi shirt must have given the Doctor the hope that there was not a crooked bone in my body and I thanked God for it!
            Being a Vegan, the one perk of the painful extraction, the endless cups of Ice-cream were also denied to me. I messaged my Jeeves (read my P.A.) to arrange supplies of lots of ice to numb the massacred and bereaved gum. He must surely have doubted my Gandhian ways to have asked for ice-cubes during office hours. I reached home to a hero’s welcome even if I had lost a tooth and a decorated one at that. At work I must make up for the loss in biting powers by enhancing my barking!

            To cut the long story short, the next two days were fast recovery made sipping on ice cold water. I was surprisingly not much in pain even after the effect of the anesthetic wore off only emphasizing how much pain the infected tooth must have been causing me. As I go to press all is well in my mouth except that I have lost a molar and probably the ability to chew my cud to that extent (that I know is a vital loss for an ageing person!)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Flagging off Mera TerahRRRun

Yes, Hubli Passenger has been promoted or shall I say kicked upwards! My good friend Jagdish Damania ably assisted by his better half Sindhu Naikh overruled all my objections and got me to agree to do the honours for the Chennai leg of the run which takes the team to 13 cities in 13 days running 13.1 miles (21.1KM, Half Marathon) to raise money for their cause ‘Rejuvenate India Movement’. Another reason was their irresistible argument that this event combines trains and rural development (my Gandhi imitation gives me a credential in this direction!).
 My reservations for this senior role is that this seems to me to be a polite way of saying one’s running career is over and one must make way for youngsters, something akin to calling a star of the yesteryear to give away the award on an awards nite. So, my only condition was that I too should be allowed to run the event.
 I was looking forward to the run and had taken a precautionary day off the previous day so that my leg does not play the spoilsport.
 Fate had something else in store for me, what was a slight swelling of the gums in my molars since yesterday morning became a full blown case with the entire right side of my face throbbing in pain by the time I got back from office. Fearing my wife showing red flag to my maiden venture of waving the green flag the next day, I made a two pronged attack. Cloves and a pain killer tablet and earlier to bed praying for the pain to subside in the morning.
 I woke up with the pain having reduced the area of influence if not the intensity. I also tried the ‘Oil pulling’ technique for added effect the first thing in the morning. Luckily the start of the run being 6:30 AM from Kannagi statue meant I could have a later start than usual. I got in one Banana and some green tea during the spinning session. During Biscuit’s walk I realized that a bigger crises in the other antipode (Kashmir/Peshawar) had made the Lankan crisis (read my recovering feet!) take a back seat. Biscuit (my six and half year old Labrador pet) co-operated in quickly completing the rounds and we were back in the hut with the same alacrity as the Indian cricket team at Gabba. The show room with the beautiful mannequins was steeped in darkness even as the adjoining bungalow in the railway colony across the colony seemed to flaunt elaborate serial lighting secure in its official cover.
 I was back at 4:30 AM and with the start of 5 AM being enough to reach the start point in time, I spent the time in doing stretching and plank exercise to keep my mind off the throbbing in the jaw. I trusted the endorphins delivered during the run to counter the pain.
 I was at the gate at 5 AM and started with a very leisurely pace. My plan before the tooth ache episode hit me was to try and complete a marathon with the Half marathon planned by the runs before and after the event. That is why I had refused the kind offer of Gerald Martin Joseph to give me a lift to the start point. I did not encounter any runners on the way to the Light house, presumably due to my late start. The throbbing in the jaw reduced in intensity and the leg was as good as new. I reached Lighthouse at 5:41 AM.
 I was only carrying one banana peel with me for the cows as our trusted Jeeves had cleared the previous accumulation. I was dreading to meet the duo of Ramu and Shyamu fearing that I may set off chain events of brotherly strife (like what a mango did to the Lord Siva’s family!). I need not have bothered, the lone black cow of ample proportions took the offering without as much batting an eyelid.
 After reaching the Kannagi statue and looking to the time available I reckoned that I would be able to run my usual loop and still be in time for the start (with a little help from Indian Railways!). I was near Munroe statue when I got a call from one of the organisers that the team has landed are on the way to the start point straight from the station. I pressed on the accelerator so as to not be seen as behaving like the usual Chief guest arriving late for the event at my first promotion itself. There was not many army men also on the run today, a touch of winter? I was cheered by my group of admirers who sit on the bridge near the start of the Mount Road with a cheery ‘Thalaiva’. I reached the start point at 6:29 AM, more punctual that what Indian Railway could manage with the Ernakulam Express.
 Warm welcomes and hugs to the team and a quick warm up by them made us start at 6:46 AM. The sun had taken advantage of the late start and climbed a few notches on the eastern horizon. The memento giving and welcome address was thankfully short and sweet. I did admirably at flagging off my first train full with cap, flag and whistle. I quickly handed over the gear and the memento and joined the runners. It felt the station master changing uniform and climbing on the last coach of the suburban train after completing his duty!
 The Police team which I thought had come to assist us in running instead hustled us and advised us to run in smaller groups, I think most runners being in same T-shirt must have scared them of the likely disruption to the traffic. We started on the inner Tar road instead of the walkers pavement, now, this road is bad for the bare foot and I knew the effect on my sole would make it give competition to my now asserting jaw.
 I ran at a steady pace and tried mingling with runners by stopping for each of them, but, by the time I crossed Lighthouse and eased into the main road, my instinct to go at my natural pace took over. I met Manish Suri of Marina Minnals near the Lighthouse. Initially I had the company of Ranjini and Brijesh Gajera (who was pacing her on her first HM!). I was asked by more than one person about my running partner Sundar Purush, yes you were missed!. Later Elumazhalai, a youngster who was also running barefoot gave me company for the entire run. He is studying in 12th standard and had come all the way by bus to participate in the run just by having seen the facebook post about it. I felt good about asserting my youth my matching pace with him all through the run. I felt like I did during my Nilgiris Ultra run when I ran with Kieren Dsouza.
 We avoided the water points, but, the Sun coming out in full glory made me regret refusing a drink particularly when we were at the last stretch in Beasant Nagar. I did have a few water breaks on my way back. We met Jagdish, Patrick Pitchappa and a few others on our way back and had an impromptu photo session.
 The traffic on the way back was choc a block and some stretches particularly near the school and Ayyappa temple were negotiated by walk only. There was a little jockeying between Elumazhalai and me near the end (from Light house to Kannagi statue) when we were on freeway of the walkers pavement. Neither had the energy to beat the other and both of us fittingly ended together at 8:53 AM. He was magnanimous in letting me have the first drink of water. Such competitions within the event keep me young and I really ended up with a lot of respect for the youngster. But, what the burst in the end and the fully blazing sun had done was putting paid to any of my dreams of planning to run back home.
 The other runners came back in a little time and seeing them running topless made me take of my top again and join them in a victory lap. A few group photos later, I gladly accepted Gerald’s offer of lift back and was home before 10 AM. Hope the home remedies work and I don’t have to visit a dentist!
 All the best, team Mera TerahRRRun for the remaining legs of your journey, I really envy you and wish I could join you all for the remaining 10 days of companionship and running together!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Peshawar blues

Since the news of massacre of school kids in Peshawar was streamed in the office, a numbness followed by a sinking feeling persisted the whole day. Sheer helplessness and the emotional turmoil played havoc through the night. The premature return to running after the injury had left me limping the whole day and this meant a possibility of missing the run. While wife’s objections were easily overruled, the powerful combination of the Doctor brother and lawyer daughter put paid to any hopes of a run yesterday. Biscuit continuing to refuse food added to the gloom.
I know no drug to numb the sadness than a good long run and with that denied, I turned to my guru the Mahatma. I thought about what he would have asked the people to do. I decided to have a longer session of spinning. I instantly decided to observe a day of fasting. The posts by friends on facebook particularly the one by Kalpana Rao did have a cathartic effect. The sight of schoolkids in uniform whom I usually cross every day caused fresh bouts of tightness in the chest. I thought about how I could respond to this atrocity. Clearly there seemed no clear answers. My thoughts took me to Kailash Satyarthi’s acceptance speech where he pleaded strongly for restoring childhood to all children. By end of the day I resolved to practice non-cooperation with any establishment which uses child labour.
A phone call in the evening from dear friend Milind Soman inviting me to join him for a run next day was the first good news which lifted my spirits, 5 AM at Light house it was to be! Daughter wanted to join me for the run, but, I did not have the heart to wake her when I started for the run.
I had a decent spinning session. Biscuit was energetic despite his dieting the last few days. The mannequins were standing tall in shimmering dresses, to me they appeared as Bamiyan statutes, challenging the environment of intolerance. Police picket nearby was probably to make sure that the demands of good governance do not clash with Christmas festivities.
We had decided to start at 4:15 AM, my plan was to reach Lighthouse before 5 AM. Sundar Purush was not told of the VIP company to expect at Lighthouse and I wanted to surprise him in person, but, he messaged that he would not be able to join due to a late night.
I started at 4:14 AM, but, my right thigh was not co-operating even though the sole was better and I had it plastered for added protection. I was not sure how long the plaster would hold. It was good I had started early as my run was slow and laboured, but, I hoped that it would get better with time. Did not meet any of the runners till I reached Light house at 4:57 AM, well, the Hubli Passenger was in time to receive the Mumbai Rajdhani (read Milind Soman!). He told me that the ETA was 5:03 AM, and I decided to get over with the job of feeding the cow.
Ramu (the white one with black spots!) was dozing but awake to offer of food while Shyamu (the fully dark one) was in deep sleep. Ramu enthusiastically gobbled up Multi grain chappati (Biscuit’s left over, our left over is called the doggie pack, what do we call Dog’s left over?). It refused to eat the banana peel. Must mention here, we are trying to set up a vermin-composting unit at home for generating fertilizer for the roof garden planned ( TN administration has a handy self help kit and the neighbor and our house are planning a start this weekend, so wish us Thomas Bobby Philip!). So, the Banana peels and other cow refuse shall be the inputs to the Compost bin!
After a bit of hide and seek, Milind and I spotted each other. His effort at joining the group doing stretching near Lighthouse had the group tongue tied, he must visit us Chennaiites more frequently. Can’t blame the runners, It is not every day that celebrities give us a surprise visit at five in the morning!
We took leave of the group promising to join them for warm down after our 10K loop at 6:30 AM. I suggested our regular 10K loop from Lighthouse and back and he readily accepted. He is in town for finalizing the route for the Pinkathon run at Chennai likely to be held on 15th Feb. He found the walking pavement a bit slippery (I too did initially, and am now quite comfortable on it!) and switched to the road. I needed this run with him to reestablish faith in barefoot running. He fully agreed with me that most injuries during running are due to bad technique or lapse in concentration and not because of lack of shoes.
Most of the discussion was centred on the massacre of school kids in Pakistan. There was a general sense of helplessness over the course of action as repeated cycles of violence and counter violence was only making the whole thing sordid. Hearts really went out to the grieving families. I came to know during the run that Milind is a Railwayman and was appointed to represent Western Railway. Being from Western Railway myself found another bond with this humble barefoot runner who is really using his star status to serve social causes.
We had a good run even though I may have slowed him down due to my limp. We did not meet any army men today on our run. On the way back he took off and I had a tough time chasing him down and Hubli Passenger came a poor second at 6:08 AM (we must have started at 5:05 AM from Lighthouse). Then we had lot of photo shoots with the star. I took leave at 6:24 AM after he assured me that he would find his host for his trip back to the hotel. The return trip was done at a slow pace without exerting too much, but, I was back at my colony gates at 7:02 AM.
Wife and daughter were eager to hear all about the run, Milind is sure to get one participant in my daughter for the Pinkathon (he has promised an autographed photo of his with her!). She may also get some of her friends to join. Chennai would surely beat the Mumbai record where 10,000 women are said to have participated in the Pinkathon this last Sunday. Come on Chennai, show Mumbai what we are made of! I must rest tomorrow if I must do justice to the Mera TerahRRRun on Saturday, but, I hope my wife does not hold me to this. I could still run if I feel better tomorrow morning, fingers and toes crossed!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hubli Passenger back on rails

I was a little skeptical of resuming my run today as it was the 13th day after the incident which derailed the Hubli Passenger on the 3rd of December. Sindhu Naik’s post explaining that we Indians don’t have “triskaidekaphobia” (fear of number 13, i learnt it from that post only!). The sole is not fully healed, but, I needed a run badly. I am working against time to keep my tryst with the Mera Terah RRRun at Chennai on the coming Saturday.
Tried my first barefoot walk while stepping out with Biscuit (my 6 year old Labrador for those who still don’t have the pleasure of knowing him!) to give him his morning walk. Now, he has been refusing food for last three days and we have all been concerned something like Lord Emsworth was when his Empress of Blandings refused feed. I initially took it as his pining in my absence (been off to attend a marriage in Mysore over the weekend), but, my happiness was short lived as his fast extended even after my coming back yesterday. To cut the long story short, he has broken his fast with Papaya and curd and markets predict that he would expect his full spread from today’s dinner!
Fasting had not dimmed his enthusiasm for inspecting the grounds of the colony and I was finding it difficult on my still somewhat sore left sole to keep pace with him. A fully festooned Christmas tree has sprung up outside the ladies apparel shop opposite the colony. Two reindeers in thermocol glittering in the morning darkness were looking like the famed golden deer trying to woo the mannequins. Oblivious to all this, the guard was dozing under the Christmas tree, in a state of Nirvana. Later start for walk (Hubli passenger rescheduled to 5 AM for the curtailed run!) meant no Shanmugam darshan. Milk of human kindness was at the door warming up in a pool of condensed humidity. I was tempted to call off the run as the gravel was a bit harsh on the injured foot.
Sundar Purush messaged advising me to tape my foot as the road was wet. In that split second I decided to run and test my foot for an HM. I was pacing at the gates doing some warm up exercises when Chennai Express steamed in at 4:59 AM.
Having gone through pain in the last two weeks over this injury, I have realized that I had always dreaded the next episode, be it the stitching after the numbing injection, or the injection after the clean up and finally the removal of sutures. Now the dread was the bad stretches of road! The promise of pain expands to fill up ones capacity for pain.
During my recovery phase lot of well wishers led by my friend Venky have been making representations asking me to give up barefoot running and take to shoes. I have thought this through. The injury I got through tripping over misaligned slabs could have happened even with shoes on. Instead of hurting my foot I could have fallen and broken something. The fault was not in my bare foot, but, lack of concentration. Even the best helmet could not save Phil Hughes! In this matter I am as fanatical about not wearing shoes as Gavaskar was about not wearing helmets. My version of his trademark skullcap is the lowly slippers when the going gets really tough. Today I kept my eyes skinned for any undulations on the road. The left sole was a little tender but holding well.
We met lot of runners starting with Dr. Ram Rajagopalan and DrAvk Mohan who were returning after their run. We reached Light house at 5:39 AM. No cows in sight today, maybe, they have given up on Hubli Passenger. I was feeling like the driver/passengers of the first train crossing a site after an accident. I was watching my step intently. Due to delayed run, the episode of dog feeding and the meeting with the Parle-G lady was missed. A few dogs ldozing in satisfaction told me that the gravy train must have come on time.
Not many army men were encountered in the run today. The road was harsh on my sole and more than the sole, it was the left leg as a whole which was revolting at the full load after nearly two weeks of light duties.
On the way back Sundar was interested in finding the scene of my accident, my feet winced when they crossed the spot. The feet raised much higher than the gap in the slabs required. We found a cow near the labour statue who did justice to Rotis refused by Biscuit. She however did not accept the banana peel (she was having a running nose, sensilble!). The banana peel was gobbled by a hungry one later. We were at the Gandhi statue at 6:38 AM. Clearly, the pace was not much hampered by the weak sole.
Now for the encounter with Venky! He was waiting at the edge of the road and from his looks I was reminded of actress Padmini’s scene asking Sivaji Ganesan ‘Nalandaana’ in the famous movie ‘Thillana Mohanambal’. He pleaded for me to take to shoes. I told him I shall do so if I can’t manage with bare foot, you can’t argue with logic when the other party is appealing on emotional plane.
The diversion on Wheatcrofts road was the final nail in my weak sole, we decided to avoid this patch from now on. I reached the colony gates at 7:16 AM. The plan is to go easy and restrict ourselves to a HM during this week and get ambitious from next week.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It was all blood and gore today!

Today was the tenth day on the trot of running since my injury concerns. When @Sundar called in to excuse himself owing to his daughter’s health, I was tempted to take a break. As it finally turned out, maybe, I should have!
Started at 4:11 AM. All was well till the first loop of the Island ground was completed. I noticed an axle broken down vehicle on the flag staff road. The signs were all there! I got a catch on my right ankle which I ignored and limped on compensating with my left foot. After two loops when I was returning, while trying to weave through a group of walkers, I lost my concentration. There is a place where the slabs are uneven on the pavement. Possibly because of the right ankle not fully contributing or the lapse of concentration in watching the surface due to the walkers, I hit the left sole (where it meets the fingers) on the raised slab. My sole was stunned for a moment. I continued to run.
After a while, when the numbness wore off, I could sense a wetness and pain in my left leg. I somehow walked to the Lighthouse in the hope of finding some runners from whom I could request a lift up to my house. No luck, they all must be in the taper phase for the TWCM on the coming Sunday. The thought of trudging back the 6+ kilometers with a bleeding foot was daunting. I gave a ring to Srikumar since I remember him having mentioned that he stays nearby. There was no response. I also thought of asking my daughter to come in the car to pick me up. I was not sure if she could take it out of the garage since it was not parked in reverse.
As I was trudging back, I saw the sign ‘Way to Lighthouse MRTS station’. Now, why did not suggest to myself? I got on to a MRTS local to Fort station, changed over to the Tambaram line and was in Nungambakkam by 7:45 AM. Did have my moment of fame in the Tambaram line local, the boy who took the seat in front of me, kept smiling at me. I avoided his eyes as I thought he was mocking my dress/bald head! He then asked me if I ran. When I said yes, he asked if I ran TWCM last time. I said Yes again! He said then ‘I know you, you run 42 KM everyday’. He is Haroon, who is doing D-Pharm at SRM and has run HM in the last TWCM. He is now recovering from a shoulder injury after a bike accident. I commiserated and shared my tale of woe before train reached my stop. The Vitamin C helped me limp back home.
More than the injury (I knew it was bad!), I was scared about reaction of wife and later the Doctor! I will have to explain to the Doctor why I run barefoot (should I seek Milind’s help!). After a thorough wash, the angry break of over two inches looked scary to me also. Wife was quite understanding. We did a initial dressing with Dettol and medical tape.
Now for the Doctor!  I was somewhat reassured to see a young lady Doctor, who examined the wound. She started on why I should not run barefoot. I told her I have run in trails also, this injury was due to my carelessness and barefoot running is not bad per se. For effect, I invited her to read my blogs. She then came to the dressing room and delivered the verdict, stitches it shall be!
I must narrate my previous experience with the dreaded word ‘stitches’. When I was in my middle school, (Srinagesh, my brother,  would remember this incident!), I had got a cut on my chin. The sister at the health unit had declared stitches it shall be. I had pleaded strongly for a simple dressing with Tincture iodine to be rebuffed much to the merriment of my brother. This has been repeated to me many times over. The Sister had said ‘ Am I the Doctor or are you?’. I had seriously contemplated medicine after 12th, but, my fear of the sight of blood and an improperly anesthetized frog (which jumped on me during dissection!), the medical profession lost a brilliant Doctor. What is Medical fraternity’s loss I am sure is IR’s gain(?).
Today my request for exemption from stitches was met with an obdurate smile. She bargained for one stitch and got two in. But, for posterity let it be recorded that in the presence of few of my staff who wanted to see me in action, I was brave and I have the Doctor, dresser and the Pharmacists certificate for it. Another tragedy (they never come alone, do they!), I have to take a course of antibiotics for healing the wound. What would I do to build up my B-12 levels on Vegan diet after the antibiotics has had a poweplay session with my gut bacteria. Will consult Dr. Venkatraman Pichumani after the course of antibiotics are over!
Hubli Passenger shall thus be grounded for next 10 days as per the smiling assassins (read Doctor’s) assessment. I also achieved a PB of 130/90 for BP after the stitching episode, the Doctor says this cannot go in to the record books as it was achieved while in pain!
So much for a 20K run between 4:11 AM to 6:18 AM.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

TASMAC vs Chukku Kaapi!

The number of vendors of the concoction called Chukku kaapi set me thinking. Is it the Chennaites equivalent of Jeeves’s pick me ups? This wonder potion i am told has dry ginger, coriander, cumin seeds and pepper. With the State doing its best to keep its citizenry on a perpetual high through its chain of units vending cheap liquor. The people also get a sense of participation in building the state by contributing to the state’s finances from the taxes they pay on the liquor! This must be a more fun way than the drab spinning wheel the father of the nation wanted to give each of its citizenry!
No wonder the Chukku kaapi sells like hot cakes in the wee hours bringing solace to tormented hung over souls. Add to that the huge population of guards in each nook and cranny, trust me, chukka kaapi is the business to be in!
I have all along felt that running a fixed route and making friends with the permanent establishment of humans, canines and bovines is the best security for a solo ultra runner. Not only does it ensure steady supply of Vitamin C, it is also permanent aid stations in case of any emergency!
Biscuit surprised Shanmugam in the lift when he left for his morning walk. He had a leisurely nose reading session of the entire colony, I think he is able to reconstruct the entire activity since his previous inspection of the grounds. Any loss of sovereignty is remedied by urinating and sealing it with deposit of dirt on top to obliterate any foreign take over attempts. He was secure in the fact that Sundar Purush had taken a day off (reasons, if not confidential, shall be shared tomorrow!) and his master could be flexible in starting Hubli passenger today.
Hubli Passenger left at 4:10 AM to a slightly humid and promise of likely rain. I did say a silent prayer when I crossed the Regional Metrological station on College road seeking rain! One of the ATM guards (also of IOB), maybe not as conscientious as our friend Venky, had thrown all caution to wind and was sleeping covered with a sheet. Absence of Sundar was noted by guards outside the Hotel Taj, he has lot of explanation to do when he runs tomorrow. Balu (lonely walker on the bridge who is now on talking terms exchanged a cheery hello ( I address people by name at lest initially to memorise and seal friendship!). The smartly dressed couple were walking the bridge fully awake and chattering away to glory, they look a happy couple (must get their name for the reader’s G.K!). Venky’s counterpart gave a desultory wave at being called attention to by clapping of hands while passing his ATM, clearly he was no Venky and was in no mood for socialization after a night duty!
Another runner dressed in regular pant, shirts and slippers kept on with me and we were competing with each other. A person sitting at the bus stand commented at your’s truly that ‘I don’t know why this old man runs every day’. I told him that I shall tell him one day was met with much laughter from his companions (I am sure he wasn’t expecting me to understand the language!). My competing runner made a comment that why people don’t know the benefits of running.
I reached Lighthouse at 4:52 AM, the pacer who I worsted near the turning on beach road helped get a decent speed. I was confronted by a smiling person at Gandhi statue asking me what I think of Vitamin I, now this was beyond my rudimentary medical knowledge. The person introduced himself as Ramesh Raghavan and that he was a follower of my blog and his suggestion was Vitamin I should be added for Inspiration.
I have observed this with the cows that the ones who have taken enough in and are chewing the cud do not care for my offering and I should look for ones who are still grazing. Promptly I found one fair and healthy specimen to receive my meager offering of only two banana peels today.
A few people asked me about my absent Son ( I have now stopped correcting them and have accepted the promotion of being Sundar’s father!). Today the pavement was crowded ( I think most people take Monday off after a Sunday long run/walk!).
The Parle G lady was in all whites today and was busy umpiring between two warring canines, not that she would have wanted any human company at this early hour. I really appreciate her taste in choosing her company!
Having learnt my lesson in keeping country over religion, today I greeted all runners with a crisp Jai Hind. While most took to it and came up with a enthusiastic encore, some gave me a surprised look as if I had cracked their unit’s password. My Sikh friend was conspicuous by his absence today. I completed the two loops in one go and then ran back to light house. Arrived at 6:15 AM.
Today, I was despairing that I may not see my friend Parthiban whom I had promised to introduce. He walks with an exaggerated swing of his hands, the face contorted and head bobbing. I had taken few days smiling at him to soften him before seeking the style of his walk/run. I thought this must be the South Indian version of the Madam @Nargis Chi walking! If it was, he was not aware of it and claimed that it was his own invention and was combined with Stomach crunches for best results.
Met two ladies in Chennai runner’s colors at the Napier bridge, we greeted each other, but, was not able to recognize them. Talking of Napier bridge, the Neem tree next to the Police post to me is a symbol of fighting spirit. It seems to be ceaselessly fighting a losing battle against the stinking Cooum giving some hope for the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.
The loop was finished at Light house at 6:53 AM. On the way back, was stopped by a motor cyclist (his name he said is Kebiraj!), who is a Karate trainer at Anna Nagar and comes to Nungambakkam twice a week. He asked the usual questions on running in the middle of the road and running barefoot. Reached home at 7:35 AM.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Man’s best friend?

 After a week of uninterrupted runs there was a temptation to take a break today, but, the chance of running again with Sundar Purush and the awesome weather with a likelihood of rain tilted the scale in favour of running!
 I frequently get questions about transition to barefoot, injuries from barefoot running, diet tips and running alone. Yesterday’s question from Virender Singh about how to manage stray dogs menace during early morning solo runs, set me thinking. I thought about how I used to be mortally scared of dogs and how Biscuit (my 6+ year old Labrador pet for those of you who still haven’t had the pleasure of knowing him!) coming into our life has changed all that. I have observed with Biscuit that he barks mostly when he is threatened by some fear he feels. I have used this fact to understand the stray dogs I encounter on my run.
 Most of the dogs are not interested in you, they have bigger problems and better things to do. They bark or come in a group at you when you surprise them with the sound of your footfalls. Stopping in the tracks and looking them in the eye (not challengingly, but, fearlessly!) helps. This should quieten them down, then walk slowly and gain speed. In the unfortunate situation of they continuing to maintain a hostile stance (which I have only faced a few times), I bend low as if to pick a stone and shoo them away. It has normally worked, even if the act is UnGandhian! I have been able to demonstrate these techniques to my running partner during our run together. The ultimate state is when the dogs of various locations (they have their jurisdictions!) accompany you like a royalty gets a pilot car with flashing red light. On a more spiritual level, our own prince Bharat on whom our country is named is said to have counted the teeth of a lion cub and Budhist monks are known to stay with lions who are absolutely tame with them. Ultimately human beings are able to co-exist by taking a non-threatening attitude and not by showing brute force.
 I have elaborated so much on what may be uninteresting to many of the readers only for the reason that I was deeply hurt when one of the neighbours blamed Biscuit for having growled at him, when I enquired further, he quoted instances pre-dating our arrival in Chennai itself. Unless Biscuit haunted him in his dreams, there was no way he could have been guilty of what he has been charged with. It looked like a case of mistaken identity, but, what hurt me most was the tone taken and as if we humans cannot co-exist with even domestic animals. What can we talk of wild animals!
 The whole discussion today was about how to win friends and influence dogs, the success of the lesson to Chennai Express being effective was gauged from the fact that when in the second loop near war memorial where he takes his water break, he spied a stray pup sleeping in the back seat of an auto and wanted me to take its snap for the blog today!
 Today’s run started at 4:04 AM and finished the run at 7:32 AM for a 32K+ run. Other salient events during the run were;
1. The mystery of the silent morning walker on the MRF bridge was solved today as we found him walking our way. I made the first move and got his name, Meet Balu!
2. The tuck van for the dogs at the Labour statue was late today and they were restless and growling at each other, scene was like the orderly queue for the General compartment which breaks as soon as the rake is backed into the platform.
3. I have conquered the state of Punjab with the Sikh army walker responding to my ‘Sat Sri Akal’ with ‘Jai Hind’, a lesson for the Hubli passenger that nation is always to be kept above religion!
4. Our friend Venky was late to start for work today as his grandsons were to leave today. The result, he came with only one side of his face shaved and his coming in white pants instead of his uniform colour blue. He was very downcast for the error, hope he is not taken up for indiscipline. I cross the ED/IOB’s house on my way to office every day, will have to intervene for his good behavior and the extenuating circs.
5. Finally, a new friend I have been dying to report (yet to be on first name basis!), the traffic policemen near the busy pedestrian crossing near Nungambakkam station. I befriended him with smiles and then an enquiry about why he does not wear a mask on his nostrils and mouth. He now regularly gets me across the road on priority! Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai!

Remind me to tell you about another friend Parthiban and his style of Chi(?) running tomorrow!
Signing off in a hurry, more tomorrow!

Vitamins for the runner

There are two Vitamins absolutely essential for runners sustained interest in the sport. The first is the Vitamin ‘C’ or the crowd cheers.  This is the ingredient which explains an improved performance in an event over the normal practice runs. This keeps the runner hopping from event to event. The other ingredient is what I call the Vitamin ‘E’ or the Endorphins, this is internal secretion and is produced after the runner has run for a bit. This explains the usual lethargy before a run and the high one gets once one starts running. The latter being produced internally is lasting and more satisfying. But, there is a catch in this, the Endorphin secretion per kilometer run goes down with time. As the addiction (passion if you please!) progresses, the runner requires to log more kilometers for achieving the same high (have I made it sound like an addiction?). It is not without reason that it is called the mother of all addictions.
 All is well with the Hubli Passenger and even though it is nowhere near the dream run it had in Hubli, the last week has been truly satisfying! It logged 32+ K on weekdays and FM’s each on the weekend days. As to lack of reporting, the office has silenced the pen. Today’s write up shall summarise the highlights of the last three days;
 Having met the senior IRAS (Indian Railway Accounts Service) officers, serving and retired, the day before, where my first DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) and FA&CAO (whom I met after a gap of 20 years) also came was very heartwarming. Most of the retired officers were sprightly and fit and made one feel good to plan a long second innings. The long list of obituaries for the colleagues who left us in the last year was as usual extremely saddening.  Had a minor GI issue after the lunch which threatened to spoil the Sunday’s run party.
 My nephew turned up in the night after his Inter-school badminton tournament and accompanied Biscuit and self for the morning walk. As a concession to the youngster and the lateness of the hour when we turned in yesterday night, the Hubli passenger was rescheduled by an hour. Shanmugham must have come at his usual hour (my nephew was suitably impressed with his routine!) and must be into his well earned weekly rest by the time Biscuit, my nephew and I walked out to a cloudy and breezy day for the morning walk at 4:15 AM. My nephew got a lot of unsolicited advice on pursuing his passion without being swayed by peer pressure. Sundar Purush had taken the day off as his daughter was having a cranky day after her vaccination. I am sure he must be green with envy at not being able to run in such a wonderful weather.
 I started the run at 4:52 AM. As I turned into the Nungambakkam High Road, I remembered the incident with a bunch of workers (young boys) who were working there on the day before last. As I had passed them, one of them had called out saying, ‘mad man’. I had come back agitated and threw my age at them and informed them that digging muck at odd hours was as much a mad man’s activity as running half naked. Suitably chastised, one of them pointed out the boy who had commented and forced him to apologise. It all ended well as they all cheered me as they crossed me later, the offender was the loudest cheerer.
 This incident had set me thinking, are we all runners not mad? It is a different matter that more so called civilized call us ‘amazing’, ‘inspirational’ etc., they all mean the same, we are out of the normal 3-sigma bell curve and to a evolved soul it should not matter which side of the bell curve we are out of!
 Today I met the ladies, Sita Viswanathan and Harishankar Krishnaswami ‘s wife (I shall call them the Ladies special henceforth for brevity!)walking with their team on the flyover. We exchanged some Vitamin C! I have been meeting a couple on the flyover on some days, they come fully dressed in running gear and do their walk very early. In addition to them, I usually see a man (he is daily) walking down on the opposite side. He is still to warm up to the Hubli Passenger’s waves in the morning. Their company makes the lonely morning lively, otherwise, sometimes I get scared that the MRF man in the Ad holding the heavy tire in his hands could drop it on me! The HSBC bank was lighted up today, is the secret list of its who’s who being compiled!
 Venky was waiting at the road outside the ATM for me. After enquiring about our wellbeing and my partner’s absence, he got down to business! It seemed his attendance was not tallying with only 29days being shown against him when he has never absented! I pleaded that I haven’t brought my spectacles and would not be able to read without them. I don’t know if my certificate (an FA&CAO’s count to 30 surely will not be disputed, even if the finances of the railway does not speak highly of our skills!) could bail him out. We shall have to wait till Monday morning!
 There was plenty of activity around the tea stalls owing to the later hour, some more Vit. C!  The guardians of the law who keep the drivers of the metropolis under check were barricading one side of the beach road. I was interested to know which event it could be!  Reached Lighthouse at 5:36 AM. When I reached near Labour Statue, a group of runners were coming from the opposite direction. They all had a bib on, but, the event had no signboards or publicity, Hmm, the mystery deepens! When I get Vit. C, I don’t count trees, encouragements threw out and back thick and fast.
 The loop around the river Cooum was nice, maybe, I am getting inured to its stench! The smartly turned out Guard and the army man who sweeps outside the Lt. Gen’s house acknowledged the Hubli Passenger. New incumbent had taken over and his name was shining in reflected glory. This loop has now given me lot of friends in the defence, the earlier race notwithstanding. Their way of greeting you is not the usual ‘over the top’ one of our civilian kind, and, they take longer to befriend you. There was this smartly dressed lady in white on a bike who crossed me in each of the three loops twice, which means, I maintained a good enough pace!
 Warm smile from Srinivasan of the uniformed kind, guarding the War memorial, is always like greeting the Sun. I crossed the Ladies special walking back, on asking why the Ladies special is walking, I was informed that the day’s quota was done. I admire the discipline of these runners who neither do more or less than what the coach orders! When I was about a KM from reaching the Light house, I saw Balaji Subramanian running from the opposite direction, I got a war cry ‘Hubli Express!’ from him. Resisting the temptation to turn around and join him, I moved on. Next I saw Bib Bala coming down Beach road, now his path cannot be crossed. I turned around and joined him (for the cricketers in us, this  loop will technically count as a short run!). I then saw Srikumar Rangarajan and Neville J Bilimoria (of the Dusk to Dawn fame!).  I congratulated Neville on his successful conduct of the D2D event and told him that I have been telling my Boss that I know Neville. We had a hearty laugh and shared some time running together! The running stars had truly landed on Marina today. I came to know that they were recc’ing for the TWCM to be held next Sunday. I found this little over the top, to have so many people run for recc’ing and that too with Police bandobust (I remember the more subdued recc’ing done by Dharmendra Kumar and Nagaraj Adiga for the Bangalore Marathon!). Chennai does things in style and from the patience of the traffic, the Chennaites love their running and runners.
 Well I don’t mind the company when it comes to running. I was having a heady cocktail of Vit. C and Vit. E today. Meanwhile, Met. Department was saved the blushes by the weather gods sending a few light rains (if you can call it that!). I hope the monsoons arrive and give us runners the joy of running in the rain soon. Sundar and I have planned a 50K run on next Sunday on the ECR road. Now, we want this to be a self supported run. We need to cross the TWCM route before Chennai wakes up to the mega event. I need to keep myself away from the party lest I gatecrash on the TWCM day!
 On the way back, I had an interesting encounter with a traffic policeman just as I was climbing down the flyover. He summoned me with a beckoning of his finger. I controlled myself and went to him wearing my smile. He launched into a monologue reading me the riot act about running on roads. After he had vented himself, I asked him if could get in a word edgewise. Clearly, the officer did not believe in conversation on the ‘joys of running’ as the early morning diet with a day of heavy traffic. I must catch him on some other day when he is more receptive to my charms (I felt bad that i could not even get him to become my fb friend!). It pays to have friends in Traffic police.
 Today’s run ended at 9 AM, a 4:08 FM (a little over 1K less than that counting for the short run!). For the record books, Hubli passenger ran 4:20 FM yesterday and 3:29 and 3:31 32K+ the previous two days. More than the timing, what is satisfying is that I have been able to run the full week even if the mileage can be improved. I may have successfully check mated the traffic chaos and the Sun. Let us see if the tempo can be sustained.