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.