I am running out of excuses for postponing my tapering for the 24 hour run. I guess one more day would not harm, in any case the issue in the 24 hour run is stamina and not speed. The weather being sunny during day promised that the gear would dry by the time I leave tomorrow for the event. I needed the run to enjoy the freer roads I anticipated during the run.
The State government has declared a holiday today for Dr. Kalam’s funeral. He must be turning in his grave, he wanted us to work extra and here we are mourning him. Even the commercial establishments have voluntarily come forward to shut shop for half a day. The outpouring of grief could be gauged from the innumerable posters and impromptu mourning mandals set up all over the city.
I started my run at 4:28 AM, I crossed at least two locations where the framed photograph of the departed leader was kept with flowers for paying respect. I passed by with a silent prayer for the departed soul. It seems as if Dr. Kalam having asked us to work instead of holiday on his death has relented and spontaneously decided to come to take leave from his fellow countrymen. I stopped near the slum across river Couum almost near Marina and paid respects with flowers kept under the photograph.
The sanitary workers, walkers and the beggars were in full attendance following the departed leader’s advice in letter and spirit. Cyclists and runners in large number were out in large numbers. I see from facebook posts that the various chapters of Chennai runners have organized special run/walks in memory of the departed leader. Beach wore a festive look with Dr. Kalam smiling from various places.
Today Dr. Ram was back in action and he gave me good wishes for the 24 hour run. I was ahead of the army runners platoon and I promised myself not to accelerate unless they made the first move to overtake. I was running on the other side of the divider on the Mount Road. I had to go by the foot tappings and labored breathing to anticipate the push. I kept the pedal on the gas just enough to stay ahead of them till the point where I turn back and they turn into SIvananda salai.
I again met the jawan who keeps telling me to take a break, today, I pre-empted him saying that I would not be coming over the next three days (this is a partial truth, as I would be running in Bangalore). This seemed to satisfy him.
A traffic policeman stopped me on Rajaji salai before Fort St. George, I thought another advice to not run on the road! He told me I look very happy while running and asked me what I get out of it. I said it cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. I don’t know if he thought me snobbish, but, my coming back for more of the same everyday surely cannot be a case of faking it.
The bus shelter next to Fort St. George entrance (the seat of power) usually has a lady sitting with her son in school uniform. She comes to drop him for the bus and I invariably find her helping him with homework. Today I thought of Kalam who laid great emphasis on primacy of mother’s role inculcating values in children. Today the duo was not there with schools having declared holiday.
While on the subject of kids, there is this young girl who usually is returning with her father near the war memorial when I am returning after the second loop. The father usually prompts her to wish me and she does shyly. Today she gave me a big wave and a wide smile without his prompting. I stopped and patted her head and got her name, Bhavashree studying in LKG. I have decided to nurture Dr. Kalam’s constituency for friends and get energy for my runs from their smiles.
The return journey was mainly leave taking as I would not be running at least for next three days. Finished my run at 7:46 AM. Now for the 24 hour run which I expect to be like a festival. Will tell you all after I get back, wish me joy in the run!