Thursday, 28 February 2013

A stitch in time...

I loved to think about all these idioms and sayings in my now long forgotten youth. I distinctly recall thinking 'A stitch in time saves nine...' and prrrrr.. tearing the hem off a skirt of mine. Of course my skirts were all hemmed up with giant bits of cloth in the bottom, so they could be lengthened if I grew (which I never did, so, such a waste).

I ran that slightly hard race in Auroville. It wasn't hard per se, I will say. I mean, I felt better on the trail than I did in previous occasions. But there is always a combination of factors, no? I felt a tightness in my calf. I was hobbling around a bit for a few days after that, with that tightness.

When I feel niggles, I force myself to back the hell off. I hate to not exercise, I don't sleep peacefully when I get those extra hours in the morning on days I choose to not work out, but I do it. Because I have to be kind to my body. Or something.

So I was all cool and smug about my calf once it felt better. I was telling myself it was good that I rested it and rolled it and then ran slow to give it a chance to loosen up and recover. And was trying to advertise a product, a panacea, a cure-all, called the 'Gentle Run' ; just can that stuff, someone.

On Saturday I had decided on a rest day anyhow. I woke up early to drop the child off at swimming, came back home and slept again. Dragged myself up at some stage and we went back to pick her up. They were chilling and playing dodgeball at the pool. I sat down to read or play with my phone.

But she insisted I join the dodgeball game. It was all hodgepodge. I was in hawai chappals, wearing my loose sunglasses and my hair all over my face in a loose clip in the back. No sports bra. No warm up. It was that nasty hard tar road with pits. I should have just refused, but didn't want to be a spoil sport.

Long story short, I jumped up, avoided the ball nicely, remembered my years of dodgeball (was pretty good at it, even if I say so myself and there is no way of verifying), and somehow managed to run the time out for the game without getting out. And then hobbled back home and prescribed myself bed rest for the rest of the weekend..

Because I couldn't put my leg down on the ground at all without searing pain through my calves. I was pretty sure something was broken because it was a lot of pain. Or maybe I am a wuss. I was miserable through the weekend and in a grumpy mood all the way up to yesterday. It still hurts but I seem to have gotten back most of the range of motion I need.

If I run this weekend without incident I will be happy. No, I did not meet the doctor though I came close to making an appointment with him several times over the past few days. No, I don't know if this is smart or just plain stupid of me. I just don't feel like popping pills or taking MRIs right now. And my gut tells me that this is something I can cure with some rest and good attitude.

So off I go, to work on that damned attitude of mine. Meanwhile, let it be noted that I sincerely hope that I am never foolish enough to participate in half-assed games and things when I am not feeling in great shape and am in the middle of a 'rest day'. I am not 25 anymore, you know... 

Monday, 18 February 2013

The party at Auroville 2013

Around here people run marathons as often as...they occur. Who knows? I might do this next year. But this year, I ran the Mumbai Marathon in January, and intended to run only the Auroville Half Marathon in February. This was a smart choice as I took a (forced) week of rest after SCMM 2013; and felt in no shape for a full on Feb 10th.

My husband was also running his first Auroville half. We had run the 10km together (well, we start together but don't really run together) last year, and sort of hated it. Its hard to run a fast 10k on the trail, especially in vibrams, so I was a bit blah about it. He didn't like it either, for some reason. So I signed us both up for the half this year.

We reached there on Saturday, child in tow. We had lunch (which sucked), and headed to Auro. We picked up our bibs (no frills, a bib, 4 pins), and went to visit an aunt. Played with the kids, and dogs, and returned fairly early to the hotel room for some room service dinner. I flipped through the Murakami, as usual.

The race was really awesome. We reached the start point late (which was bad, but, whatever). I bobbed and weaved to get to my comfortable pace group, and then stuck like a leech to my pace. The goal was to run strong and at even pace. I was armed with my phone, and a gu. No music even.

Not that you need music in Auroville. Such a beautiful place. This is my fourth outing here, and I think it looks somewhat familiar now. I felt peaceful, every step was giving me more joy. I felt a little fatigued around the 12km mark, probably thanks to the rushing at the start line. I told myself 'only 9km more in this serene are going to miss it till next year, enjoy it Aghalayam.'

I had only one slightly difficult interaction where a guy was bearing down on me and a slow, slightly large person was directly in front of me in a single-file-only type part of the trail. I was like 'Oh Shit' and tried to tell the person in front that I had to pass on her right ('cause we were all too close and I couldn't stop my feet).

Well she turned right at exactly the time I was passing her and bam, my shoulder connected with her arm and I had to mutter 'Sorry' a lot. The guy meanwhile was pissed off at both of us and took off ahead. Oh well. It was deep into the race and I never have full control of my legs in such situations. But I guess I should, henceforth.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed the run. I took a couple of water breaks though I didn't really need them. I pulled in comfortably to the finish in what was 1:58 on my watch and 1:59 on the race clock (Officially 2:00). My left calf was tight for a few days, I think because my even-pace goal meant I pushed a bit after 15kms or so.

Thats my speed graph (vs. time), and considering that its a winding trail, I am pretty happy with it. I have a twinge of regret about that first kilometer - which I would have run better if I wasn't stressed out about the clock going off as I was walking from the loo. But, that gives me unfinished business to deal with next year, so its not so bad!

We ate at a roadside dhaba on our return journey. Some simple sambar saadam and poriyal and kootu. It was funny to watch the child try to eat buttermilk-rice with her hands on a banana leaf!! We stopped by Point Return, to meet up with the farmers. It was super to breathe in the fresh air, chat, and walk around their vegetable patches.

I zoned out in the kitchen with the farm fresh veggies and cooked up a storm of a dinner which was polished off in no time and then Monday was another day and it was all back to usual work. I had an interesting week for sure with a Delhi trip, and workouts, and hanging out and should have technically almost forgotten about Auroville by now, but I haven't. It was very fun! 

Friday, 8 February 2013

No one buys me omelets anymore

I make friends easily. I like talking. I can talk to walls. And trees. And stones. I can talk to people of all ages. I am full of small conversation. It does tire me sometimes when I talk for hours with people I don’t know very well so I have to use my head to think up topics. But I do it. And then the next few times it is not as difficult.

But I don’t have someone I talk to every day. I mean, aside from my husband of course. And that too nowadays  - I talk to him a little bit as he has the free time. Else with all the running around, we stuck to minimal conversations, dealing with the key things and leaving philosophical musings aside. For years.

I think that’s what sucks about modern relationships. I mean, if it doesn’t suck as much for you, that is wonderful. But the long distance thing is just terrible as far as I am concerned. I should know, as we were ‘real’ long distance for five years, living in different states.

Even when we solved that problem though, it was not like we had oodles of time to shoot the breeze, so to say. Life has always been busy. Consultants travel , they work long hours, academics have the flexibility but also lot of disparate things to do through the day. Plus the child, and the home to run. You know.

I find that I sort of drift towards long distance friendships as well. I don’t dismiss the chance of striking up a friendship just because the person is certain to leave. So I have a number of friends spread all across the globe, and while we have shared some awesome months together, we are a long distance apart now.

And even the friends I have in the city, well, I don’t really meet them so very regularly. We have parties and social occasions together. But there are a large number of us and I hardly manage to talk to each of them for a few minutes at a time. And I fade fast and am usually dog tired and partly asleep by 10pm.

I should use the telephone more, I know. But I hate it. There are all the new cool things with video chats and so forth, I like those, but they are a bit of pain as well. I love text conversations and I think that’s the way I stay in touch with most of my friends. That’s my thing. I would find life hard without it.

I miss my long distance friends a lot. Sometimes I think about them  - some memory trigger – and feel super sad. For example, I remember how a friend of mine - now far away - surprised me once with a still-warm cheese omelet. I was starving and I think I haven’t eaten anything tastier than that in living memory…