Sunday, January 17, 2016


A month to SCMM..I laze in Nagpur, feasting on bengali sweets for an entire week..Absolutely no running.
After getting back to Pune I did a 13 km on racecourse..No harm done..The body can still take it.

Fun starts after a week. It is Shin splints this time. Calves get stiff in a usual 9 km run at racecourse. 
A frozen shoulder that cribs now and then. Life is pain! Aging and cribbing.
Graceful aging? my foot.

A week before SCMM.. I do one round of racecourse  (of which I walk a quarter), It is just 2.2km loop. The body has rebelled, as it was not used. (Or perhaps I overused it in one stiff position  to stand and paint the large canvas). I mail my friends of a 90% dropout chance. 
I focus on another large painting and give the body absolutely no exercise (apart from standing for 6 hrs and paint.

I repair my treadmill and give it a go... no pain (for a while). “If I can take pain during the run, its OK. Perhaps I might take 6 hrs to complete.” ‘Ability to take pain ‘...Zatopek come to mind.
To play safe, I am wearing compression sleeve even at work.

Pain reduces. Friends are pressing. Sujit resends me his last years blog..his mention of how he missed Umesh and me. We have been together for so many years and absence of one  is painful. (I skipped my last SCMM due to a small accident, as my Toe twisted and got swollen.) I have decided to give it a shot, enjoy with my PTC friends.

As the pain reduces, the 5:45 mark comes back to my mind. Crazy mind disillusioned by goals. I decide to keep the goal shoved at the back of my mind..Perhaps I can still do it, but not at the cost of another injury.

Pre Marathon dinner is at Amdar Niwas. I feast on a Fish Thali. As a ritual, we take snaps of the food and message them to friends not attending the marathon. A teaser for what they miss.
Before sleep, a digene and a combiflam.

By 4 AM the body feels supple and “God” has given me a painless window to bear the arduous run.

I join the queue of runners moving to the start point. It is dark..I try saving my bare feet. I switch on music. (It is a deviation to keep the mind occupied ..if pain returns.
4:45 bus I ts something I should keep behind. Maybe, I should stay ahead of 4:30 bus. A gradual warmup has changed the “target” to what seems promising.

The Sea link..15 km+ I removed my T shirt and wrapped it like a cloak. (Who knows me in Mumbai!)

The 4:30 bus drones behind me.  I shoot ahead again. At the end of the sea link, I can’t keep up with the pace and slow down. All along, I ran alone. When I feel weak, Mangesh glides with me ..At points I remember my eyes welling up with tears, that I suppress with deep breath. We had planned to run together and we do that many a times A parallel run in different worlds.

Worli Seaface. 4:45 bus has overtaken me. A group of runners catch up. “Run with Milind”. I watch the Adonis running besides me. They overtake me. I have been consuming water, Enerzal at every booth. Yet I notice some level of crampiness in my thighs. I take a fast walk as this kind of stretching is useful. Milnd Soman is now back with me. I glance at his feet. Vibrams with a cut for Fingers.
I do not know what to talk with a celebrity. I continue with my solitude. Girls cheer at him , get water bottles which he declines. I can understand the cost of glamour. What I pick from him is the way he glides.  I reduce my stride and it improves my efficiency.

I start walk run. It prevents cramps. Ash Nath is besides me. This gentleman met me in Bangalore when I was limping with the glass in my foot. He is with me again. Gives me a tip again. ‘It’s just 9 kms. Roll it in your mind again and again. You can do this easily.’

I chant this mantra and develop a jog. I run up all the way on the dreaded flyover.
Marine drive where the sun hits , the road gets ugly for barefeet. I know why Milind wore cut vibrams. The 5 hr bus crossed me. I jog only as much as I can. 
“Pendharkar Saheb!” It’s my Free runner friend Rupesh calling me with a humorous note. “Lets run 3 poles Walk one pole”. I run 3 poles walk one. Then decide to keep running. 

Turn for Churchgate. Run with Amit Seth for sometime. A van with Movie camera is shooting the end. Cramps come back as soon as I increase pace and I run thru the finish line. Take a chair pull out the mobile. Switch on SCMM 2016 app. I timed 5:02:45

I feel Happy to have run and given it my best. I re-learn not to decide targets or plan too much in ahead.
There is always a window of chance.

The best cheering boards that I read during SCMM

"Did you hear

"Touch to recharge"

A note for running free:

I ran bare chested today. May feel awkward to some. I have just one family pack to display, so it was certainly NOT to lure attention. I find ..I am NOT a runner. I am more an artist.
I wanted to FEEL FREE and I feel this was the right expression, in the heat of the day. Yeah.. When I hit the The sea link was bit of chill.
I tried to get way ahead of the 4:30 bus But it drove me what I lack.
Statistics apart.. (I saw 3 other bare chested men) ..I should say..It was one of the happiest runs in my life. ( As an artist, I know that the Nudism day was just a day before).Free expression is more imp. Thanks for bearing with me as a blot of the scene. But I think..(and dare you).. you should try it some day..To nurture the freerunner in you.
It really feels great. (and natural).