An Oxymoron yes, but ask any runner and they will tell you how they breezed through that easy 27k on a particular day but struggled through a tough 15k on a hot day, a tough route or just-with no apparent reason.
The 4k uphill in Satara will be my toughest challenge yet. In preparation for that I need to up my training, improve my endurance and change my mindset towards hills. In principle today’s plan was a simple 21k run over a few rolling hills around my childhood neighbourhood and back to Nariman Point over Peddar Road. But it turned into a test of my resilience. An advanced lesson in Endurance.
To my good luck And Persi’s bad luck, he agreed to accompany me on my crazy adventure . I met Persi for the first time a month ago. He is a great sub-2 half marathon runner who used to train with Savio until some time ago when he moved to the suburbs. He came today all set for a simple 12-13k. Instead, he got a full half marathon with all elements, including drama and emotion. In my defense, I did tell him several times to take a cab….but he too was adamant, I think!
I had my Garmin on as I have never run this route before. As we ran up over Walkeshwar, down to Banganga- the governor’s gate and turned to go towards Nepean sea road, it had hardly been 8 km!!!! I was just not able to gauge how much I had run, as the effort I was putting in just did not seem proportional to the time and distance covered. I was plodding ahead, one foot in front of the other, watching the digital numbers on my Garmin change at a ridiculous pace! I was running but didn’t seem like I was moving ahead at all!!!
Then we went up Kemp’s corner, onto Spenta towards Hanging Gardens and then down again, towards Breach Candy. After that we turned around and then returned to NCPA over Peddar road.
I have run some parts of this circuit several times over the last few years. Along the roads I have identified some “Stopping Points”. These are landmarks where my mind gives up and my feet would slow down, and I would gradually ease into walk. On Walkeshwar it is at the Birla school, going up from the Governor’s gate is building the slightly ahead of the big bus stop, and at Peddar road it is the beautiful Jindal Mansion.
But not today. I was Slow. Steady. And Strong. I was determined not to walk.
Honestly, no one was monitoring this route. I was creating it as I went along. So I could actually pick the roads I wanted to avoid. I was making choices. Like I exhort to my kids, the easy road is a popular road. Easy to pick. Chose the hard road. Go alone. Be brave. It was easy to choose the flat road and run on familiar roads. But no…..
The Heat was crazy. Humidity was maximum. (where was the rain?) We talked about many things…2 hours is a long time….and when I begin to suffer, conversation is my only escape. The poor guy suffered all the stories of my previous runs….Vishal telling me hindi movie stories on worli sea face, Santa and me singing songs on marine drive…the works!
When I reached home, I was spent, finished. I wanted to cry. I could barely manage a bath and breakfast before I sank into the bed for a nap. I have never been so tired ever before after a 21k. This is how it feels to give everything to a run.
Sometimes taking a new route helps. It is like giving yourself a surprise test! New landscape. New boundaries. New questions. Test the mind which has become comfortable with the familiar.
We are all training for a new race. Pervin at the top of the list with her Comrades, most of us marathoners(half and full) go
ing for our PBs and some of the half marathoners aspiring to run their first full marathon. Let us all fasten our seat belts……the rollercoaster ride has begun.
I really had to dig deep today. I had to summon up all my experience of all these years. There was constant conversation on between my mind and body. Luckily this time, the mind emerged the victor and forced the body to do its bidding!Today’s run has set the tone for my training this year. It will be Tough. A challenge. Mentally and physically. I need to train my mind and my body will follow. I look forward to pushing my boundaries. Being in a new place I have never been before.
Will we be able to do it?