Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Kakinada Express tangos with Hubli Passenger

Have once again fallen behind in my daily missives, now the dates and incidents in the runs over the last few days are sufficiently jumbled up in my head. Now any of those have to do something special to become a supplement in a daily narrative and have lost the relevance to a post by itself.
To build up consistency, mileage will follow, I have started starting for my daily run at 4 AM since last two days. The idea was to do two loops and get to 32K quota of daily run! Yesterday, I did it behind Sundar Purush’s back and today Sundar himself requested me to carry on with the promise to meet me in my second loop at Light house at 5:45 AM. DrAvk Mohan (he is being nicknamed Kakinada express from now on!) with his child like enthusiasm was very keen to start early. We fixed the meeting place at Light house at 4:45 AM (each doing about 6K to reach there!)
Ashwin Govindasamy had called me yesterday asking me if he could run with us for his easy paced running, the speed merchant wanted the stability of middle overs of Mohinder Amarnath from us oldies for teaching him patience for the full marathon. For the benefit of readers, it is relevant to mention here that he runs HM at 1:28. I was feeling conscious when I started for the run at 4:07 AM today, I felt like a Maruti Alto going to go and get hitched to a Ferrari. I had asked him to meet us at Lighthouse at 4:45 AM.
I have seen this phase in Hubli when regular passersby stop asking you the questions about why you run, etc. They instead knowledgeably tell something to the effect that ‘this old man runs every day’ to the tune of ‘What do we do with a problem like Maria’ to their partner. With this kind of incident happening increasingly, it seems, I have been finally accepted in Chennai. A gentle wave of hand, a smile has replaced elaborate verbal greetings. My friend Venky was holding forth with his gang of followers outside the ATM (almost on the road!) when I crossed him. After my wave to him, I could hear the old story being upstaged by my exploit (he has the older version of my route which was to RBI and back!).
As I turned into the Beach road, the clock opposite Gandhi statue chimed the time, 4:45 AM. Hubli passenger was almost on time to Lighthouse. Kakinada Express was stretching itself in preparation for the run. We started at a leisurely pace after he was informed that Chennai Express has promised to meet us at Lighthouse station at 5:45 AM. Implicit in this was the exhortation that we should complete the 10K loop in an hour. There was no sign of Ashwin and I thought of calling him, but, the struggle in the darkness with my mobile dissuaded me.
I stopped to feed the first cow I met, she was the same one which was the receiver of my affection of the previous day. Now, this lady is quite aggressive and believes in going straight for the cover. I carefully removed the banana peel and after safely putting the cover back in pocket, fed her and petted her.
We both were missing the enthusiasm of the young Sundar and conversation hung in the air many times between us. As a result we ran quietly to the accompaniment of the thuds of the feet and the sounds of breathing. We runners can judge the partners comfort from the breathing rhythms while running together. The good Doctor got lot of attention from Army colleagues who seem to have come out in large numbers today. I like the way they exchange greetings by the subtle stiffening of the back and arms. We also got charged by seeing the smiling faces of young skaters whizzing past us in their slithering snaky formation. The familiar parental escorts have now started recognizing me and we exchange smiles.
The clock chimed when we crossed the Gandhi statue meaning that we have done the loop in a little over an hour. I was expecting to meet the Chennai Express as we did the previous day well before hitting the Gandhi statue, but, seeing no sign of him at Lighthouse, I knew that he must have chosen the warmth of the bed to the solo run.
The second loop was in better light and the Doctor was pleased to have seen the GOC crossing us on the Mount Road. I hoped that he would have seen the Doctor on the run. More socialization with the Army runners and walkers and we were back on home stretch. We reached the Gandhi statue at 6:45 AM completing a pacy double loop. We parted on the other side of the road promising to meet ‘at the same time at the same place’ as today the next day also.
The return run was comfortable and my left foot was now getting used to the road without the protective tape. I finished the run at 7:29 AM, a 3:22, 32K run. I hope the quartet performs on the Beach road tomorrow!

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