Monday, January 25, 2010

Also Ran !


It all started with a move to arrest the arrival of a paunch. Seemingly seamless. But pronounced. The seams of the trousers were bursting. Obviously all the sweets and fries had to show up someplace !!

High calorie food stuck to all parts of the body. Like a Fixed Deposit that was left to grow. The paunch was packing quite a punch !
Then one day, a friend suggested that he was 'running' the marathon. Running ? There was enough to being an 'also ran' in life!

Ten minutes on the treadmill was about what the feet could ever manage. Huffing, panting and almost sure that the 11 th minute would cause instant death ! This was June '09. An internal war broke out. Resplendent slumber waging a relentless war on physical activity.

'Running ? For gods sake, get real ! And four days a week'. Was a constant conversation in the mind.
But when the favorite trouser didn't fit, the missus had her hands on the hip and gave a look. A look that was a curious mix of pity, joy and sarcasm!

The next day, I signed up for running. This was August '09. The schedule was given. 'Mondays. Wednesdays. Fridays. Sundays. Reporting time : 5.45 AM' ! The eyes popped. The ears didnt quite register. 'Reporting at 5.45 ?' That meant getting off the bed by 4.30 AM !

With a trepidation reminiscent of my maths exam, i prepared to howl in protest. The only words that escaped the lips however sounded different. 'Sundays too?'
So it all began. Running.

But the mind was clear : I wasn't going to go anywhere close to the marathon. I was just going to run. Run the paunch down. That was that. But the group i was training with had other ideas. Of course, my coaches kept it to themselves.

August '09 : A couple of kilometers that the feet covered burnt a hole in the wallet buying pain reliver sprays and left the bedroom smelling of Bengay ! Perpetually. Gasping for breath was now not restricted to seeing stupidity at work. Parts of the body loudly announced their existence with stinging pain and stagnant aches. Knees. Muscles. Joints. Bones. All.

September was better. The pain was around. Less pronounced on the body. More on the mind. I wonder if it would be any different with you..when somebody a good 20 years older zips past and completes the distance in half the time !

And we ran on the roads. We trained in Aarey. Dotted with thick greenery. Rustic smell of cow dung and grass punctuating the morning air and of course, awesome sunrises more than aptly compensated for the mosquitoes that were perhaps next only to the Scud missiles of Saddam Hussein !

We trained in Bandra on the road besides the Arabian sea (and Shah Rukh Khans home. Just in case the Arabian Sea was an unknown entity). Sundays meant driving to marine drive to run those distances. ( I promised the missus that i will not write about the lump of breakfast that followed. So)


October was even better. November fled by. Suddenly, It was early December. I was running 20 odd KMs. Slow. Steady. Huffing and puffing. But running. 'Perhaps i can run the marathon' became a refrain. As with most human minds, the monkey on the mind had moved on to the next branch. Finishing was not THE issue. 'In what time', became the big question.


Jan fled. Taking with it all doubt of 'completion' of the race. It was 17th Jan. I was after all running the marathon. The timing chip was tied to the shoe. The bib was pinned to the t-shirt. Off i ran the Mumbai half-Marathon ! 2 hours 14 minutes was on the watch display as i finished.

There were hordes of men, women and children cheering us on. Faces that i dont know. Voices that i hadn't heard before. But words and gestures that i just cant forget. 'Go Mumbai Go' they screamed !

The slum dwellers who held out oranges. The sophisticated types who had household help offer biscuits, juices, water. The men and women who stood by clapping. I wonder what gets them to do these.

Oh yes. Our blogger bunch cheered on too. With cheers, wishes, presence, prayers and offer for payasam ! The one gent who traveled from Pune to click a snap and cheer on. The others that set a mail thread that went like a river in flow ! What a swell bunch of people inherit this earth ! How blessed am i to know and connect up with them all ! So much for an 'also ran' !

Phew. I am done. With this race. But two things remain. Which must get mentioned.


a. I am looking for one man with a blue T-shirt which had 'are you tough enough' written on his back. I will never forget this man. For at the 4th Kilometer he overtook me, looked into my eys and shouted 'Dont GIVE UP' 'Dont Give up'.

With bewilderment plastered on my face, i waved him on. 'Give up?!!?' Whoever talked about giving up ? I had just started running. So, if you know that man, or you are that man...well, i need to talk to you.

b. The paunch...you know... well...the paunch also ran ! The cause for all of this running, is by and large ( actually by and LARGE) at large ! Theres been no impact at all ! The missus thinks running 42 kilometers will perhaps wear it down.

Ofcourse, like all times, i differ.



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30 comments:

Christine Gram said...

Oh you speak to my own paunch! Love/hate to run and feel that pain/thrill in my muscles/bones/and all parts I don't often consider. Wonderfully inspirational post to keep on being a once runner.

Neha said...

I missed it this year; thanks to my exams..Marathon is a wonderful experience..I usually go with my friends who work with standard chartered..wearing that t-shirt (I learnt PR tricks from there), cheering and being cheered - great experience..

that's some determination Sir..you have been preparing for it since August..

loved the post :)

The Holy Lama said...

Some friends stay through thick and thin as do some paunches.:)

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

wow! Just love this!! You rock, Kavi!! I, who has no paunch but has no stamina either, salute you!!

bodaat said...

congratulations!! i'm getting back in to running myself. :)

Nazish Rahman said...

Congrats Kavi!!
Even now m thinking i should start running!!

Ugich Konitari said...

Just two things. One, there's that totally unnecessary word "also" in the title.

And two, This...

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Kavi,

I am running away before my wife reads this post.

Vivek

Kevin said...

Wow, what can I say... from 10 minutes in June to a little over two hours in Jan. Totally awesome stuff !!!

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

I hate running...:P

Destiny's child... said...

Totally impressive, hats off! :)

Nu said...

Your post gave me an inspiration to run ! Oh not run the marathon right now for the fixed deposits that is growing ;)

A nice account of the paunch and the run :) Me and hubby laughed throughout :)

Insignia said...

Thats some motivation...Marathon is fun isn't it....to watch people :-P

I am lazy!! :-)

Aparna said...

Congratulations to you, 2 hours and 14 minutes is a serious achievement.
I have never tried running, I am sure my lungs will give up on me, followed by my heart. I am best suited for the cheer leading. Or perhaps offering biscuits and oranges. The paunch will slowly disappear, it is not tough enough. So don't GIVE UP. ( Sorry I do not have the black T shirt but my encouragement is just as sincere!)

Sorcerer said...

running or jogging keeps humans in good condition.

I consider myself an alien.
*sigh

amreekandesi said...

Wow Kavi! I am so proud of you. And that time is fabulous.

I am so inspired now. Life has come a long way from the days when i used to run 7-8 minute miles to now when the paunch seems to be catching up.

I need to get back to running, and hopefully match your time someday!

Macha said...

Well done buddy. Inspirational stuff. Keep up the good work. Dont hang up those running shoes yet.

naperville mom said...

Congrats! Amazing job, jokes aside!

Used to do a bit of running, not anymore...and yes, will keep an eye out for that guy:)

Anamika Sureka said...

Hey !! Congrats...Was just browsing around and found your blog quite interesting...way to go:)

G said...

Yipee! Congrats once again. Way to go! :)

sujata said...

running wont help kavi!! lie on the floor and do crunches!! running is good for getting t shirts and getting lovely ladies cheer you from the side walks!!

Priya said...

Good for you and what a way to start the new year.

Balaji S Rajan said...

Kavi,

That is inpiring. I could not believe that within 6 months you can make up so much from being no where. A remarkable achievement indeed! Well done! Keep running. It is a difference experience altogether.

Lou said...

Yeah Kavi! Isn't it a wonderful sense of accomplishment (now that it is over!). I used to do marathons, now I'm happy with my 2-3 miles a day. So good for the heart AND mind.

but I'm surprised you didn't take pictures of interesting signs along the way!

Kamal Aanand (Kamz) said...

Great one, go-getter!

♥ Braja said...

Oh, well done, Kavi....well DONE!! lol....loved it!!

Kavi said...

Christine : I am glad that my paunch has company ! :) Thank you !

neha : Well, lets hope to run together next year ! With your PR tricks..well, maybe i can get some free publicity too !

the holy Lama : man ! That was well said ! I only dont agree with the 'thin' part ! They just stay thick ! ;)

roshini : thank you ! thank you ! Every bit of appreciation, my lungs will soak up !

Bodaat : Thank you ! How wonderful that you are getting back to running ! All the best ! :)

NR : maybe you should just start ! :)

Ugich Konitari : Thanks for publishing ! Thanks for all the support ! Thanks for all the encouragement. Thanks for all the gifts. Thanks for all that you do !

Vivek Patwardhan : You are the guiding force for me sir ! And i will run with you too ! :)

kevin : yes ! But when i started, it was not what i had in mind ! It sure must be possible for anybody. would you want to try ?

Siddesh : :) I used to !

Destiny Child : Thank you !!

Nu : Run them down ! Run them down ! :)

Insignia : It sure must be fun to watch as well. For there was quite a crowd ! :)

Aparna : Thank you ! Thank you ! I hope to connect up with you after the next years marathon. If i better the timing, i am due for some buiscuits ? Deal ?

Sorcerer : Alien ! :D

Amreekandesi : Get back right on to running. Its not an 'unbeatable' time by any stretch of imagination ! maybe we'll catch up at the Delhi marathon. Whatsay ?

Macha : Thanks Macha ! No. not yet hanging up. The paunch is still very much pronounced !

Naperville Mom : Thank you ! And when you find that guy...let me know ! :)

Anamika Surka : Welcome here ! Thanks for the message !

G : Thank you !! Paayasam is due ! :)

Sujata : yes. Unfortunately i have been told that as well. But crunches are boring ! :) Besides there is no one to cheer !

Priya : Thank you ! yes, it was indeed a great way to start the year !

Balaji : thank you ! I couldnt believe it myself ! But i guess, having done it and done it ok, more is possible !

Lou : Yes. Especially now that its over ! And now that its over, i can tell you, there was no ounce of energy for anything else, including photography !
:)

Kamal : Thank you !

Braja : Thank you !!

Kavi said...

Christine : I am glad that my paunch has company ! :) Thank you !

neha : Well, lets hope to run together next year ! With your PR tricks..well, maybe i can get some free publicity too !

the holy Lama : man ! That was well said ! I only dont agree with the 'thin' part ! They just stay thick ! ;)

roshini : thank you ! thank you ! Every bit of appreciation, my lungs will soak up !

Bodaat : Thank you ! How wonderful that you are getting back to running ! All the best ! :)

NR : maybe you should just start ! :)

Ugich Konitari : Thanks for publishing ! Thanks for all the support ! Thanks for all the encouragement. Thanks for all the gifts. Thanks for all that you do !

Vivek Patwardhan : You are the guiding force for me sir ! And i will run with you too ! :)

kevin : yes ! But when i started, it was not what i had in mind ! It sure must be possible for anybody. would you want to try ?

Siddesh : :) I used to !

Destiny Child : Thank you !!

Nu : Run them down ! Run them down ! :)

Insignia : It sure must be fun to watch as well. For there was quite a crowd ! :)

Aparna : Thank you ! Thank you ! I hope to connect up with you after the next years marathon. If i better the timing, i am due for some buiscuits ? Deal ?

Sorcerer : Alien ! :D

Amreekandesi : Get back right on to running. Its not an 'unbeatable' time by any stretch of imagination ! maybe we'll catch up at the Delhi marathon. Whatsay ?

Macha : Thanks Macha ! No. not yet hanging up. The paunch is still very much pronounced !

Naperville Mom : Thank you ! And when you find that guy...let me know ! :)

Anamika Surka : Welcome here ! Thanks for the message !

G : Thank you !! Paayasam is due ! :)

Sujata : yes. Unfortunately i have been told that as well. But crunches are boring ! :) Besides there is no one to cheer !

Priya : Thank you ! yes, it was indeed a great way to start the year !

Balaji : thank you ! I couldnt believe it myself ! But i guess, having done it and done it ok, more is possible !

Lou : Yes. Especially now that its over ! And now that its over, i can tell you, there was no ounce of energy for anything else, including photography !
:)

Kamal : Thank you !

Braja : Thank you !!

nsiyer said...

Finally its all about 'training', you training chief. But let me ask you 'where is the paunch?' I don't see any. Or is it in comparison with mine?

Kevin said...

Kavi, Unfortunately I have been wanting to try for the last two years :-( .... But now its time.

and I agree with Iyer sir... I too 'object' to the mention of a paunch... (It makes me feel bad u see :-))