Friday, 21 August 2015

Down but not out

After a forced break of four days, the juicy reason for the break to follow later, Biscuit and I walked out to a slight drizzle. The weather gods had clearly spent themselves out and the scene was like a bedroom after a teenager’s loud party. We were clearly hell bent to recommence play and the stray dogs peeped out anxiously from the security of under the parked Government cars like the padded up batsmen to go in after a rain interrupted play. Colony roads after rain were clearly no match to the Hubli Golf course after rains and Biscuit headed me back in quick time after his hurried ablutions!
After missing the run on the Independence day due to mobile malfunction (must confess it was actually because my wife switched off the alarm before I could wake up to it!), Biscuit has to take the blame for my oversleeping as he forced me to walk at midnight (His tryst with destiny at the midnight of Independence Day!). When I was walking Biscuit at 6 AM next, a gentleman entering the Railway Club (whom I do not recognize) rubbed it in when he asked ‘why I did not go for a run today’, thankfully Modiji had enough on his I-day address otherwise the Hubli Passenger’s failure to run on I-day could have made it to his ‘Mann Ki Baat’! That I had to fast from my running when my friends were running for 12 hours at Mumbai Ultra was adding insult to injury!
Given the disappointment surrounding the Saturday miss, that I would run on Sunday was as much a given as a India comeback in the Colombo test, and, I did not disappoint! It was a hot and humid day which welcomed me at the start. It was an early start as I had some personal work requiring me to be back by 7:30 AM.
In my first loop of the Island ground, I stopped to talk to three men who were talking among themselves about my regularity as I crossed them. They turned out to be the residents of the slum on the bank of Cooum at the start of Mount Road and they said that they were working on the stage set up for the I-Day event opposite the Fort St. George. They settled the issue of the number of loops I run opposite their place of work. The quietest of them wanted to know if I do not get out of breath, to which his colleague itself answered that I am in full control of my breath as I run slow. He advised me to carry a water sachet. The respect and affection of the common people is really flattering. I later crossed them in my second loop outside Fort St. George.
Just when I was all puffed up with all the adulation, I did a Shibani​ when I was turning back after reaching KM 20, the intersection of Mount Road and Sivananda Salai. I refer to the incident of my fall as that not because I had scratches on my knees, hands and shoulder, but, because I could get up and complete my run like she did at Bangalore stadium run! I seemed to have proved the adage ‘Pride goeth before a fall’.
Since the injuries did not seem as serious as my previous fall on the Marina which required stitches on my sole, I was able to observe myself a bit detatchedly this time. The first reaction after a fall is to see if anybody has observed me fall (this I call the check for hurt Ego!), luckily not many on the road at that time and a few there were had more on their mind than laughing at my fall! I had tripped on the reflectors which protrude out in the middle and edge of the road. My left toe had indulged in a Mukka-Laat with a reflector. I checked for damages, there was blood welling up on both the knees and the shoulder had an angry bruise. The sole of left foot had been stunned by the impact. There was no break in the skin, but, it was the most painful.
I tried to run slowly, after a few steps, I was able to manage a steady run. I decided that I would complete the regular route and If I could keep running without a stop, I would reach home the fastest to lick my wounds at leisure. The bleeding points screamed when sweat started to course through them. I was conscious of every person crossing me on the return trip. Nobody seemed to have seen my bleeding knees. I got a wash at my watering point. Luckily my friend, the guard at Saravana Bhawan was not on duty as I would have had to make a lot of explanations. I reached home and the walk from Gate to the house made all the aches and pains grow multifold. My wife and Daughter must have been pre-occupied or I was brave, I could hide the injuries till evening when I made a voluntary confession before she found out and imposed a longer curfew/grounding This injury also gave me an opportunity to test my healing speed after going Vegan. The legendary stories of Scott Jurek taking much more serious injuries gave me the courage to stay away from reporting to a Doctor. It took me four days to heal enough to be able to go for a run again today!
I used this break to catch up on my spinning (longer sessions) and reading. I have nearly completed P Sainath’s book ‘Everybody loves a good drought’. I was telling my daughter that had I been a twenty years younger when I read this book, I would have become a naxalite instead of a Gandhian. The sensitivity and empathy with which the author has dealt the cruelty the conventional ‘Development’ is wreaking on the bottom of the pyramid is heart wrenching. I can never look at my runs with any pride knowing underfed people do much more routinely for eke out their daily needs. All the talk of Carbo-loading before a half marathon followed by a Beer thereafter  looks childish when I read about a girl weighing less than 40Kg lugs 40kgs of firewood for 30 kms twice a week on treacherous trails for keeping her body and soul together. The best thing about the book was the humour and heartwarming stories of courage and resilience of the common people in the face of natural and manmade extreme adversities! I really agree with the author, if only our people get their basic requirements the sky would be the limit of their achievements!
Today’s run was done at an easy pace in a pleasant shower. Even though I had to carry wet clothes on myself, the run was very enjoyable. I was missed by Ram Rajagopalan​ in his morning spins and today we exchanged notes about our injuries. I got a good pedicure for my feet and the soles were washed clean by the wet roads. I avoided the slippery sidewalk on the Marina and ran on the Beach road. The attendance among the runners and cyclists was really thin. When I finished the run in 3:26 it was the satisfaction of starting after a break and promise of more over the weekend!

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