Despite my reprimands to the effect, I do snooze, a little bit, usually. I was not planning on sticking too closely to a time this morning anyhow, as I was going to be alone, running. But its always helpful to start early - as a visitor from Bangalore recently said - in Chennai. Because of the weather, the cars, and generally, because its more bad-ass to start at 5 am when its still dark, than at 6 am when the rest of the walkers/runners are up and at it.
Nevertheless, it was 6 am. I saw a message from MSB saying he is heading for his run as well. Which was pretty cool, considering the number of miles and time-zones that separate us. Ipod, special blue tshirt from RGI (Runner Girls India), basketball shorts that I was wearing since last night, trusted timex, amphipod with a Gu and Rs. 60 (never seem to use either), towel, socks, and the old pair of asics that I bought a few years ago in a cute store in NYC...
I first turned left, for my daily dose of the Adyar river. My legs, they have suffered this week. They have borne the brunt of my increased mileage, not to mention that crazy fucking plyometrics workout with husband. 40 mins later I was back at the home-base. Except that I went on ahead to the university campus. As I was running towards it, dogs barked at me from the police station. So I crossed the road and was running on the median. Two cars filled with men passed by, chose to roll down their windows, and shout "HEYYYY" in my ear. Fucking assholes, scared the crap outta me. Gave them the finger salute. 45 mins.
I entered the campus, as usual there was a political rally or something going on, right bang in my running route. Damn. Turned right and meandered through for a bit, counting off the minutes, and hoping to see the birds (a bright blue kingfisher two days ago) that I often see. Nothing today. Oh well. I got out of the campus and on the road again towards my own campus. 58 mins.
Great. I am close to an hour now. And maybe the homies are awake and driving to the pool. Would be cool to say hi. Take a break. Drink some cold water if they have it. The sun is not bright, but its humid as hell. No luck. No sight of them. I gave myself a walk break, stepping gingerly as I crossed the main intersection at the end of the road. A quick right, and I am inside my verdant campus. 1:13. Legs feel like lead. My pace seems to be completely off, but I am hanging on, not letting go.
I ran the length of the main road, and into the stadium. There were gazillion kids in there of all ages. Some tournament. I ran three loops, ran into the customary student while at it (Please, can you go ahead, I cannot keep up with you today, I am 1:27 into my run for the day). Gave up the idea of stadium loops and went off to the back to the roads. Nothing fancy, just one foot in front of the other. The shirt holding up pretty good, lack of sleeves a goddamn blessing, thank you Sudha Mani. But I am soaking wet. Just soaking.
Have I miscalculated? Why am I hitting close to 2 hours and still so far from the gate? Oh well. Now there is no choice. Left foot, right foot, left foot. Walk break, please, Kenny, pretty please. Okay, at the gym, not now. Here we are, at the gym. Just a bit more, at the circle. The few sips of gatorade (very very dilute) are nevertheless sloshing. I am beyond tired. The Gu does NOT sound attractive. I have forgotten to eat this morning. My stomach has been cramping since.. oh.. since I woke up (that time of month). Hell. Soldier on, Kenny, soldier on.
I run into a friend, flash him a smile. 2:02. 'Dude, are you crazy?' 'Nah, just training. If its any consolation, I am DYING right now' I tell him. 'You don't look like you are dying, you are looking robust' he tells me. Gives me josh. In basketball, we often say, the important thing is body language. You know, shoulders straight. Eyes hungry for the win. That sort of thing. So Hells Yeah Baby. I got this. I have lost track of time now.
Important points of pain, I count. Arches of my feet/ankles (that went away though, in a couple of minutes). Knees feeling a bit delicate ('Champagne Flutes' I was reminded of Kathrine Switzer on her training run in the woods... Just before she fucked up the knee... Nah, not today, Kenny). The bloody sloshing is driving me a bit crazy, especially since I can hear it in addition to feeling it (since the ipod has died an ignominious death, again!). The stomach cramps are there. I am reminded of a game that Steffi Graf, apparently was suffering from them, in. Gosh, a memory from so long ago (clearly, I need no pen-sieve or vials). I used to love her, and hate her. She had breast reduction surgery, I remember reading, and laugh to myself.
2:20. I give myself a walk break and look around for a 'well deserved tender coconut' as I have been calling it since few weeks ago. Nope. No luck. I start running again at the signal. I am very close to home now, and I think of KP. Should I incorporate a bit of KP and do a Run:Walk Galloway? Nope. Too late for that. Just run straight home. The road to our new place... the bank... the clinic... my friend's store... the baby-products store... the tree... oh yes, baby, thats my left turn. And before I know it, I am home and its 2:30.
Sure, I took walk breaks, for the sake of dogs, to cross the road, and a couple of times for my own sake. I have no idea how much I have run. I figure its more than a half marathon, for sure, based on how the body felt. And since that was the aim, I don't worry any more about it... This week, my legs (and the rest of the body, and mind), have managed the increased mileage well. The hour long nap in the afternoon has me pretty much re-charged, and ready to take on the world. Tomorrow? I let my legs rest, in fact, I might even wash my shoes - all of them...