When Hubli Passenger chugged in to turn right from R K Salai at the Gandhi statue to go to Lighthouse, the clock was showing 12 O’ clock. It looked like the clock after a late night weekend party was having a bad hangover. The first time I was able to see the clock was at the Madras University building and it showed 5:20 AM.
I have been running without a break the last whole week with my usual appetite of 32K on weekday and 42K during the weekend just passed by. However, I have been consumed by the book ‘Running with the Pack’ by Mark Rowlands which I got last Saturday, the 14th of March on the occasion of my birthday. It is a brilliantly written book and gives an entirely new meaning to running and why it is such a joy. I found myself echoing the author’s experience at most places in his book though I may not have gone so rigorously as a Philosopher’s trained mind which the author has to arrive at those insights. I did mention the book to Milind Soman who surprised me near Lighthouse yesterday and ran with me for a few kilometers before work called him back.
I have not been regular in posting my experiences in the last few outings. I shall post a few events from my runs in the last week after finishing the today’s run saga.
Today’s highlight was running with a group of Army jawans who asked me to lead them for a part of the loop on Mount road and Sivananda Salai. They humoured me by keeping to my pace till we parted at the foot of the Napier bridge. The run took 3:21 for the 32K today.
Where is your shirt Gandhi
I sometimes do get taunted for going bare top during my morning runs. Yesterday a bunch of youngsters passed me on their bike on the TTK flyover when among the usual cat calls I was asked why I don’t wear a shirt. The youngster on a fast bike did not have the time to wait to hear my answer, but, it set me thinking! Gandhi was once asked by a young boy if he would wear a top cloth if he spins a cloth for him on his spinning wheel. Gandhi is said to have told him that he would have to provide for his brothers and sisters also, and at the boy asking how many shirts would he require, he seemed to have famously said 65 Crore, the population of India then. Well, my reason for going topless is more selfish, a more efficient heat transfer while running. We are a very tolerant country in respecting the wide variety of our sartorial tastes. While one end of the spectrum is brought up by a sect of the Jain religion who never change out of their original birthday suits to the Madisaar Maami a traditional south Indian feminine wear all of nine yards. Hope our kids have the maturity to celebrate the differences for makes us such a wonderful country! I bored Milind with all this while he updated me on his continued successes in Pinkathon Hyderabad and how he is in town for the next edition at Chennai on 12th of April. I told him to read the book by Mark Rowlands and am sure he would relate to most of what is said there! Sundar Purush crossed me on the beach road and finally I got to meet him, this was our first meeting after his daughter’s birthday. My wife has been pestering me to find out if his daughter liked and plays with the dog toy which we gave her on her first birthday. It warmed my heart that they have named the toy Biscuit!
In my yesterday’s marathon run, I got to know that the person in white and white who gets greeted by all who pass him was the scion of the famous AVM family. When I got to know this from my friend Jesudas, I made bold to stop and talk to him in my next loop. He evinced interest in the distance I run and I told him that I regularly use the RO treated water spout outside AVM kalyana mantapam and that it was a unique and pleasant effort for this part of the country though not uncommon in the North of Vindhyas.
I had the company of lot of cyclists on Sunday and also met Marina runnerz who were stretching on the flag staff road. The run took me 4:30 hrs for the 42K run.
Soliloquy and Gender equality on Chennai roads
I started the Saturday run early at 3:55 AM as I had a meeting at 11 AM in office and was expecting some important guests at home. That long distance and Ultra running leads one to dialogue with one’s inner self is widely documented, but, I was rudely awakened when I passed a man sitting under the bus shelter on the other side of the divider on R K Salai loudly muttering to himself. The devil may care attitude of his and the Endorphin induced gay abandon of myself only emphasized once again for me that there is but a fine line between madness and passion!
I must have just gone a few hundred meters, that I saw an old man drawing complex Rangoli on the edge of the road which was well swept and water washed. The smiling large poster of Amma seemed to approve the breaking of the barriers.
I ran on the restricted stretch measuring 5K between Lighthouse and Labour statue. To make up for the full marathon, I had to do six loops of the shortened stretch.
On the way back just as I crossed the Saravana Bhawan coffee stall, a scooter came very close to me and as I was preparing to take evasive action, the rider said that he has seen me for last many months and wanted to talk to me. The long walk with me glued to the phone directing to resolve the botched up reception of the guest which cost me half an hour meant that it took me 4:35 hrs for the run of what could have been a super pacy marathon!
Coming back to today’s run, I got to socialize at the water break with a middle aged man with whom I regularly exchange waves in my daily run as he walks on the beach road. He collected information on the length of my runs.
The rest of the last week have been the usual 32K runs ranging from the fastest 3:08 to 3:21 of today.