My body was finally getting adjusted to the Chennai weather and I was celebrating the eight days of continuous running. After the Sunday marathon run I had a painful calf yesterday which I was hoping would get okay by the time I would have to report for the run today. My wife has been building up a case for a break and as I was debating in my mind the small voice for the break got emboldened by the pain in the calf. Biscuit knew something was afoot and stayed on the sofa till the decision was made. In my moment of weakness, I texted to both my running partners of the cancellation of Hubli Passenger’s run for the day. An instant relief on sending the text was immediately followed by waves of guilt. I went and slept it off and Biscuit was not complaining. I also decided to have an extended spinning session in the morning to atone for the bunk!
Time to put down the narrative of the run over the weekend. It has not happened since my arrival in Chennai that I have been able to log two successive Full marathons and that way February has been good to me. The Sunday run was to be in sympathy for the missed Auroville run, I started at 4:27 AM and even though the Doctor’s absence due to Sunday being his cycling day was known, my foster Son’s plan was not known. It was the first time when I was running without the goodies for the cows (thanks to my Man Friday using the peels for the compost!). I decided to go at a slow pace without any target in mind. I have been running with a banana before the run (which I did not have today!) after about 750ml of green tea. The spent tea leaves and two fresh dates are what keeps me salivating for the long run. Sometimes I stop for water outside the AVM Rajeswari Marriage hall while getting back from the run in the last five kilometers.
I still reached lighthouse in 42’, at 5:09AM. The first run to Napier bridge was in relative darkness and with sparse walkers traffic. The three loops around the Sivananda Salai and Flag staff road were comfortable even if the traffic built up by the second loop. I reached Lighthouse after the three loops (that would be 24K, by 6:54 AM). On the way to my second loop to Napier bridge and back, a person called out to me and I normally stop to talk without discrimination. This guy asked me that ‘You just went by and are going back, how many times you will run?’ Something in his tone or the smell in his breath angered me. I told him that since he did not seem to have any work, he could stay and count for himself! I felt bad after this, this was similar to questions I routinely get from people on how much I run etc., I seem to have decided based on his attire. He was not there when I came back next and could not apologise.
When I went to Napier bridge on my third loop, a bunch of young kids danced around me and when I stopped to chat with them, after the usual questions on why I run, my age etc, one of them asked if I have acted in the movie ‘Edhir Neechal’ (meaning swimming against the current in Tamil, and a recent movie of the same name as a old classic of the same name starring the comic legend Nagesh). Actually, this movie has a small footage of runners of The Wipro Chennai Marathon, and the hero of the movie is shown winning the marathon. Your’s truly is visible for a decent time and noticed because of the unusual attire. I clarified to the kids that I did not act, the hero of the film did and that the film used my actual running in the movie. I don’t know if they understood, they asked me how many other movies I have acted in. It made my day and I got renewed energy for the rest of the run. The place near Kannagi statue and onwards was crowded because of some run and a registration for Womanathon, how apt registering for Womanathon right under the nose of the Woman of substance ’Kannagi’.
When I was waiting at Gandhi statue for the return trip, Sundar Purush caught up with me and we ran back together. I completed the run at 8:44AM, a 4:17 full marathon. The surprise does not end here, my wife had decided to give me a surprise and she had Pongal for breakfast knowing fully well how much I miss the sumptuous and the typical breakfast after the Auroville marathon (the icing on the cake was that the Pongal was Vegan!). For the record, the full marathon run on Saturday, 7th February was from 4:34 AM to 8:52 AM and the good Doctor gave me company for the three loops around the Island ground. Looking forward to carrying on from where I left off today and making the good form last!