Monday, November 29, 2010

Runner - Aham Aasmi

Can we say - I exist - Aham Aasmi - is egocentric?  Or it is a fact?

Because I exist, the world exists
If I cease to exist, the world ceases to exist.
The world is a window of consciousness in a journey called life...
All that exists within that window- material,events,relationships
Since I chose to be in a business, I need a customer
there is a road, because I chose to run...
since I chose to breathe, there is oxygen...
Before the window closes - permanently.
Everything around me has a purpose to me

I cant change my past, I cant predict my future,
So I exist, here and now ...
I can create my life, this I can surely do

that is a road called my life! and I will run!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tendai monks... ( revisited)

My brother gave a quick run down on what endurance is.   Should people really endure pain to reach the 'higher pleasures' - beyond material and carnal aspects of life!    Well, worth thinking about, if not exploring.

These monks - over a period of 10 years will have to run 50+ k's for 100 consecutive days every year, wearing sandals or mostly on bare feet, on unmarked routes, with no apparent help, in tough weather and inconsistent terrains and pray in about 250 temples.  At one point, they have to go without food for 7 days, and should not swallow their spit!  Further more during the last year, they run about 84 km everyday for 100 days!   The entire regimen is time bound.

They are trained to rest parts of their body, and a 10 min rest for the monk is more than 5 hours of rest.  This article is public.   Only 46 monks have survived the 1000 day ordeal.  Very niche species indeed...

People like me are at the other end of the spectrum.   We are consumed by the chores of daily life, and do little that shall take us to the 'next level'.  Except when we put our feet on the street, especially sneak runs.

We dont have planned regimens like the Tendai monks, which take them away from materialism.  But within the limits of this material world, we try to attain some salvation through hobbies like running.   The effort slowly becomes a reason for existence ( ref  Runaholic...).

Finding a reason to run itself shows the endurance of this passion - which also looks for like minded people.   Here too, we dont have a choice of the place, weather and time we run; we do it because we want to do.   So it is still materialistic, in a sense, is it not?

For the tendai monks and the likes, running becomes a daily chore, whereas it is a passion for the otherwise mundane like us.  

So endurance to achieve something is inevitable - be it the tendai monks or mere mortals like us!


Late August, I realized that running has become an addiction to me.  Declared state of addiction, that too.

It is in my bones...'mileage', the 'k's', 'stretches', 'LSD" have all become part of my routine vocabulary.   That is the behavioral part.

The most important thing is the core inner feeling.   Rich daddy says ' the amount of days that you spend without working, is the measure of your richness'.  The more you are away from your love, the more you want to get back at it.   It did not last 2 days for me... sleepless nights,  restless mind and could not tolerate.   I burn guilt through hot deep sighs.   Unbearable it has become.

The twins kept feet.  My eyes roll,  mind races, heart beats and lungs suck in air faster, faster, faster...I pulsate and pulpitate.

And, I do the act - feet into the shoes, laces tied.    Running dress on!  Sports band on!   Feel much better.
Then the first steps and I go!   Deep inside me,  a child screams,  tumbles, leaps in joy... now I EXIST!  I found a purpose to live for one more DAY!!!

I breathe better, think better, am happier when I run or plan to.  It is the pillar of my everyday existence now.   Else,  like a lost child, I dont know what to do... I dont know, how I became like this.   But now, I have become a RUNAHOLIC!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My first half marathon - part 4- the final 10k and the finish

( continued from part 3)

'Oh! Oh! the route was familiar, I had run this before' I thought.   The 12th km was the easiest one.   My bro held the backpack for a while.  

Suddenly, I dont know from where, a wave of exhaustion swept me.   The backpack suddenly became heavier, and heavier and heavier... my shoulder slumped, pace dropped to near-walk speed.   Everybody was overtaking me  - runners who found new energy and eager youngsters.  

I took a walk break - a rather long one.   Rajesh, Akila and KK had moved about half a km ahead of me.  'Will do this slow, but sure'- I said to myself.   It become a walk and jog routine - till I reached the Adyar bridge and then it became a walk ( 16k).   My team were snapping away photographs - but too drained to catch up.   I was exhausted, but not out.  If only I could handover my backpack,  I thought.

As they say - when you are in trouble, dont give up hope.   My hope was answered. An angel appeared - we call him SLMP or Shankar.  One of the better runners in our group, Shankar was more keen to create a photo-document of this largest ever CR gathering till date.  So he was happy-snapping at everybody and hence running lot slower.  At the 16k mark, he reached me; and reached out to me and made an offer that I could not refuse.   Time: 2:17.

'Handover the backpack' and ' run this like a 5k, and finish strongly' he said.   So happy I was, I relieved the backpack off me, and then said a small thanks and ran.   I caught up with my brother and Akila.   KK had some cramps at 17k, and Rajesh was also slightly tired.  But Akila was going strong.  

Water points were depleted of water - only wasted 500 ml bottles lying around.    The stalls had wound up;  there was lot of jay walkers.  Everybody seemed to think that the race was over.   

Around the 19k mark, Rajesh did a small reverse run to trace KK, who had fallen behind; Akila was off like an arrow out of the bow - fast.  She found a faster companion who accompanied her till the finish.

Rajesh and I had given up on time, and intent to finish; did a run-walk-run , counting the number of poles as we ran along the Beach road;   the distance seemed to grow, and the last mile the longest.   Students, cops, by-standers were cheering.   The sun was behind the clouds, but humidity was not that kind enough.   Exhaustion poured in, but the finish was now in sight.

About 25m from the finish line, my calf muscles pulled, and I started limping.  Rajesh pushed me along, and there, there - I crossed the finish line along side Rajesh.  My first HALF Marathon.  In 2:54...!!!  

We all were exhausted.  The better runners had a good finish, and had a happy-snappy photograph session.   I joined them for couple of photographs.

Everybody had medals, so I pushed my way into the crowd, argued, fought with the organizers and finally got one.   The political drama was going on in the stage - everybody praising the other, how great the high and mighty are...

What the heck - I had my first half marathon under the belt, and a medal too!!!  

PS - this marathon series is dedicated to two special people - My brother Rajesh and Shankar Lal Patel , without who the finish line would have been there for sometime more to be conquered!!!

My first half marathon - part 3 ; the race - first 10k...

(continued from part 2)

The bugle blew.  The CR elites started in the front;  there were other groups including few social advocacy groups for better life, against discrimation etc.,   There were people of all types - old and young, men and women. 

We brought the rear of the pack.   Rajesh, Akila, VT, KK and myself were running together - for the first time.   The comfort for me was that I was with better runners;   The ambulance and the cop vans followed.  We felt like some royal road party being escorted;   Some students and passers-by cheered us to run faster.

Personally I had a bag with couple of bananas, gatorade sachets, and about 6 caps that were stuffed during the start by some over-eager distributors of one of the sponsors.   I was wearing goggles and cap when I started the run.

The other groups picked up speed, but as we thought - we ran at a slow pace.   Post Santhome church ( around 2.5k), the escorts decided to ahead, as we were oscillating at near-walk pace and jogging ( about 8 min/h)

All this time, there was a promise of rain as clouds covered the eastern skies.   With such positive promise, around the 4th km, we tried to accelarate a bit.   We were doing 7.2 km/h. Into the 5th km, we had reached the Adyar park;  the back-pack started weighing me down.   With no visible solution around, I took my cap and goggles off, and started running.

Once in a while, along the Adyar bridge and the service lane leading to the Besant Nagar Avenue, Akila + Rajesh would over take me, and I would play catch up in turns.   VT had dropped off, and KK had gone ahead.

Here we saw the return party - some barefooted champs, a shirtless Westerner, some people who have to win to earn the prize money for the return trip coming back.  It was then 7k for us and 14k for them... then we saw the first bunch of CR's - Anand, Senthil et al.

Slowly, around the 8k mark, we found ourselves sticking at 7 min/h speed; then a clutch of Chennai runner elites and other runners waved us on our way back.  By this time, the backpack was becoming heavier and heavier and I slowed down to 7.5 min/h mark.

The water points were excellently operated; too sad to see that runners, including me, could only could take few sips out of the 500 ml bottle and throw it off - lest it should become a baggage. 

We could see some early morning walkers and sleepy-eyed bystanders looking like ' what the hell is going on'.    The roads were free, and the overzealous cops kept the jaywalkers off with exhortations and stick-waving.   The sky had opened up, and humidity was increasing.

Rajesh and Akila started moving ahead; I ran at a slower pace.   Few people had started walking, and I was passing them.   That was a good motivation.

Around the 11k mark (along the Elliott's beach), I saw another clutch of chennai runners - lot of cheering from them at the round about point;  I could also catch up with Rajesh and Akila.   There was a 200 m walk break.   Till this point, things had gone well.   The weather, the organization, running conditions, and my internal self were going fine. 

10 k - 1.12 min at 7.2 min/h;  Was feeling slightly exhausted, but Ok; Half of half done, half to go...should be easy, or so I thought.  As they say, surprises are always round the corner...

( to be continued)

Monday, August 30, 2010

My First HM- part 2, the road to the race...

Day before: August 28th, 2010 

That Saturday, had to mentally be prepared after the shuttle-travels of the week.   Also had errands to run.   Little sleep, as reached only late Friday night.

Already, the chatter on the 'google groups' channel was going on.  Logistics, car pooling, assembly points, bib numbers, decisions to run et al.. flooded the channel.  And more...

Also during the first half, was debating whether to run or not - as we had our Mom's cataract operation scheduled at 10:30 am on race day.

Errands were run in the first half and post lunch - THE ACTUAL DECISION TO RUN WAS MADE.  I took my registration form  printed out in a Internet Cafe.

On the way, called and pushed my half-hearted brother to run for company.   He is my initiator into running ( Ref - Baptised in Bangalore !!! my first 10k ...).   So together we went to pick up the bib.

It was Presidency college ( or not sure). The crowd was less, but chaotic.  At the entrance, T-shirts were on sale.  Little further, a set of girls and boys were standing and looked busy.  My brother got his registration done- Rs 100.

For me, on inquiry, we were sent to another set of girls, one of who took a glance at the form, and then gave another to full - it was self declaration of  my medical history.

Met Anand ( who would turn out to be the fastest Chennai runner in this marathon), Senthil, KP Suresh and friends and Vilva at various stages.

Step 1: Height and Weight - my height was higher, and weight was same.   The doc made a wrong entry( he added 10kg by mistake) and with a laughter, corrected it when I pointed out.   Looked like the doc- testers were from some med college, wet behind the ears.

Step 2:  Another group with Steth's asked questions about my experience about running - like ' how long have you been running?'.  Next second, a stamp saying FIT was put on the med-sheet.  I understood that was a ECG/ Cardio test!!!

Once outside, bought a Marg T-shirt for 100 bucks.  The blokes did not have the desired color for my size. Anyways, the cotton outfit would be reduced to my kid's size after a wash.  So we moved on.

That night, got a facebook entry from Sudha with the laundry list of gadgets for prep. Chennai runners T-shirt, a matching blue shorts, and my newer of the two pairs of my running shoes- Red !! Went by my wife's suggestion, as it would look good and bright !!! So, I went by that list -except for the headband, but added vaseline and gatorade, into my backpack.

And logistically, I was to pickup Sudha at 430, Akila and VT at 5:00, and bro at 5:05 on the race day morning. Wondered if I should put a ' TRANSPORTER' sticker to my car - waggy would have liked it.

That night, I dreamed of finishing-the tape at the finishing point, with lot of people cheering and the waves from the east, agreeing to the people's wish.   This dream came at least 4 times, if I can recall.   And so I went to sleep.    

Raceday awaited on the other side.

Race day: August 29, 2010 - Morning : 

Was up by 345.   The alarm was tuned to 400, but somehow was widely awake earlier.  Butterflies in the dawn:  Location- my stomach.  After the ablutions, was preparing the backpack when all of my passengers called / texted me.  I was out by 420 - outside the sky was dark, no moon and the air was filled with humidity.

Sudha was geared up, and seemed fresh and fit.   Akila and VT, her husband walked right out of the bed, and after 10 minutes of wait, we proceeded to pick up Rajesh- my bro.   Rajesh was sitting in front of his portigo, and dressed to run.  I know his mental makeup- and I could tell he was going to finish easy.

About couple of us wanted coffee, and we discussed about some restaurants.   We went across the war memorial, the last year's starting point, and finally parked our car in Island Grounds.   Once out of the car, we checked the eastern sky. A couple of drops fell, confirming that the sky would have some cloud cover at least till the start.

Sudha complained of a minor niggle in her leg.   I said ' pain is mental' and she challenged me. 

Met with some official friends, and Chennai runners - who were all pepped up and prepared.   We missed out on the parking lot group photos.  On the way to the start point,  we found about 100 soldiers, with their rifles across their shoulders running for practice.   We waved at them. The coffee was quickly forgotten.

Once the starting point was visible, we were asked to show our bibs by over-eager cops, and asked if we were running 7k or 21k. Anyways, the checks were only superficial, as VT and Akila, without bibs passed at least 3 of the check points.

We could hear the loud speaker blaring in Tamil - exhorting the runners to give up (!!!) if it is not possible to finish;  then came a barrage of drum-beats from our own and famous 'Chennai Sivamani'.

Meanwhile the Chennai runners did their three cheers - such a enthusiastic bunch are we, that we were a small blue sea in the midst of myriads colors.  Could see some Caucasians and Far-Easterners;   Akila, VT, Rajesh, KK and I planned to run together.  Sudha decided to run with Soundarya and her husband.

Suddenly, as if somebody remembered, a 10 minute filler of effusive praises on the organisers and the sponsors happened;

Post this, a weird oath, which talked about the spirit of marathon and abiding of rules and regulations followed.  That was a verbal signature of a declaration form.

The usual Chennai Marathon beginning - same delays!  But the difference - I was behind the start line... I could not believe that this was real and happening... and was waiting for the starting whistle...

And the moment did come !!!

( To be continued)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My first HM - part 1: The preparations...

I am going back to the day I declared that I will run a half. Around May 19th of this year. That was hot summer. I had targetted to finish around 3 hours 30 minutes.

I was told that running 16-18k would take me to the finish line. But I tend to disagree, as you would recognize from my version atleast.

Incidently, May 2010 also brought in a changed role, a national role, where I had to manage about couple of clients across South India. It meant more time at railway stations, bus depots and airports.

We were going strong with our Velachery chapter, and we had done our first 10k. May 23rd, I ran my first prepared 10k race ( even though I have run about 3x5k races, and one 10k before) in Sunfeast 10k Bangalore.

With confidence which came due to the strong finish in the Sunfeast, my training began.

In May and June, we had a simple routine. Monday - rest day; Tuesday - hills ( flyovers), Wednesday - easy runs, Thursday - Intervals and Sunday Long runs.

Week day trainings did become erratic in July and August, However, the focus on long runs was intense in  July. From 10K, did a 13k couple of times.   Then did couple of 16k's and a near-2-hour-18k in July.  That told me that I should run the 21.1k in 2.30. 

Then work stepped up pressure and travel time . During August,  have travelled 9 times - including morning-evening shuttle flights.   Love for running meant that I carried my running kit all over.

Early August, thanks to a push from our Chennai Runner elites, ran a checkered 10x10 challenge ( 10 km for 10 days).   Also registered for Chennai  Half Marathon and ECR Half Marathon during this period.

And the two weeks leading to Marathon - ZERO week day runs.    That set the stage for the Chennai Marathon.  

All the training, motivation and focus would be challenged on race day.  Surprise was at store.

( To be continued)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Too good - but can we make it last?

The weather is awesome these days.   Too good to miss - especially for running. 

We don't talk about global warming here -we know that it is time to do something about it.   But for Chennai, atleast in the short term, the weather looks positive.

I realized this when I was running amongst the green-woods of Indian Institute of Technology Campus, Chennai - which is one of the last green groves standing amidst the city.   This is a national park and a declared eco-sphere.

It has rained since mid-June atleast, once a week in Chennai.  This is the first time, in 10 years it has happened.  Consistently above-average rainfall in the last 3 months.   Is it too good to last?

The humidity is still here, but the sun is behind the clouds - the clouds have become more or less permanent curtains of the sky that way.

Rains bring freshness, joy and hope. Plants grow in whichever place they can; so the city and surroundings look greener.  

We can enjoy the rains if the roads could wash away the puddles; if there were no potholes;   if the sanitary system was good enough to take the floods to the sea;  if the rain water was collected properly.  

I believe the people has realized the importance of all these - nice infra, nicer eco-system.  We should realize that without proper planning,  the city will creak under its reams - the gifts of nature like the recent rains will be of no effect- a good opportunity lost. 

What we create, our gen-X will inherit.   I have already seen 4 kids, less than 10 years old, in my family - they are keen, impatient, mature and know what games adults play.   They do everything better, faster and smarter.   So let them get what they deserve - BETTER!

Otherwise, like the recent rains in Chennai, it would be good - but only for a moment.  It is upon us, to make it last...shall we?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What my Mom taught...

Just a small note before I go to sleep:   There are so many things that you learn from your Mom.   This one is the best - she taught me to:

Hope gives positiveness, and positiveness creates possibilities, and possibilities become opportunities. Opportunities become solutions.   How true!

I realize that now - after the 15 months of my mid-life birth!  

This is the most amazing thing - You may learn something now, but realize the value of that learning much later.

She always told that Hope is within me - whatever situation it is, the only thing that should be always with us. You may lose your health and wealth, near and dear,  but never lose hope.  

May be all Mom's teach their sons, and so many things at that too. 

But this is a small speck of a message - but I carry this in my valet.

Turning point - 2009...The 3 F's

Last year May, I changed.   My life till then seemed out of control - everyday, was monotonous.   Run to manage a business, and run for numbers.

I only took the ' run' part into the new life. I opted out of the rat race.  So I picked a role that helps me focus on lesser people, and build relationships.   My terms.

More family. More fitness. More finance. The 3F's are slowly becoming my priorities and my planning is around these. My life is lot slower, but I am content.

I have planned my retirement ( I call it a day when I dont have to work for others), and my son's education - grad/ post grad, if he wishes to pursue. Life is not yet systematic - anyways, I dont want it to be.

My fitness has become my passion - and running too.

Family - time - time with parents, wife, kids needs to improve.  But I am working on it.

Well, I would say, considering this is now 15 months, I like this life.  I know more people than before; I know more things than before.   

I have learnt it the hard way. 

If you are reading this... I'd say, you start earlier.   Spend time with family and friends.

Work is only part of life.  Work alone is not life.    Plan better, and expect lesser.   You will be lot more happier and peaceful.

Happy weekend folks...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Run and freedom

I saw some posts today - runners tied themselves to the theme of 'freedom'.   I believe that you ask the 1.2 billion Indians and the 7 billion earthlings called humans, they will define freedom as they want - again as many definitions as there are heads.  

Well,  freedom is an individual feeling.   Nothing is free- even freedom.   You pay for freedom.   And freedom is an inner feeling.   This is a kind of elation, high,  unsatiated feeling of unshackling of what has tied -what you yearn for and earn!

It is like that that thirst for a chilled bottle of water, or hunger for that sumptuous feel or feeling of that drop-dead sleep...

Running gives you that feeling everytime.   Of course, it depends.  I have felt it everytime I have run.  It has helped me to
  • gather my thoughts
  • de-stress
  • plan my day
  • grab time for myself in a day when the entire time is hijacked
  • gives me control over my destiny
  • helps me achieve a goal
  • meditate and clear the cobwebs of my mind
  • make my body go with me
  • make my mind go with me ( this is different)
  • savor the little things in life - a bird flying, a kid playing with abundant joy
  • enjoy things afterwards - the sweetness of water, the hot and sweet chocolate, the arousing smell and flavor of a coffee
This list can go on.   Freedom is to choose any of these and RUN.   So running defines my freedom now -a-days.

You can run for a cause, run for an occasion, protest run ( march), run for fun, run for competition, run for fitness.   So the menu is endless, is it not?  So freedom to run or not to run, freedom to run for whatever you want, wherever, with whoever,  how much distance, however fast...

So running is FREEDOM!!!

Happy independence day!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Ode to Fitness Enterpreneurship

With less than half knowledge, this becomes a knee-jerk blog.

I know this gentleman from my neighbourhood, who is a good runner, but is more a fitness Guru.   He has this entrepreneurial streak in him.   He was an ex-director of a fitness chain. Even before that he was in IT;   From IT to F'IT' was not only a spelling change, but a change in his way of life.  

After every long run, our group of Chennai Runners,  silently watch him stretch and relax every sinew, muscle and tendon and with little reluctance, and then with greater enthusiasm follow him.  Now this has become a routine.

This gentleman has been working on funding on his new venture for quick sometime I learn.    Then he takes time for his family and skip a run whenever his son is 'under the weather'.   Another dimension - he quizzes and loves those coming a lot, and has a network that involve the high and mighty.  

And this lady - we started off as running partners in our neighbourhood, and is the fitness freak in her family.  Now I hear that the son and the daughter follow, and the hubby also hits the road once in a while.   She has been insisting on cross training ever since. 

When I first met her, she had been working on an company that promotes IT based distance education (did I get it right?), and had sold it to a larger company; then she was scouting for new business ideas.  Before the education foray, she was in a senior position with one of the top IT firms.

She also is a great family person - loves to get back to breakfast with family on Sundays, serves piping coffee to her hubby and is always concerned about her children.

The gentleman and the lady, have some half marathons under their belt, and love running - this is where I connect with them!  

Just realized that both had lots of similarities.   And somewhere, I thought, may be these two will work together- (I really, really had this hunch).   Now, silently, two facebook posts later, albeit separately, this seems to have come true.  

They have started to work on a Yoga Studio chain and looking for a place where the high and mighty of Chennai reside.

How they progress from here, only time will tell.  But with her experience and exhuberance, and with his calm and deep thinking, they should do well together, is what I feel.  

All the best and my wishes to them!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Breaks from running and running-breaks

I realized that breaks from running are as important as running - which becomes breaks.  

During post run breaks( especially a day or two- required after long runs) the body recovers slowly, especially the paining parts. The pains are actually pleasure, consider they came from running, a passion.

Alternately, consider a stressful day, when it goes to extent of skipping a meal, and a day when the schedule goes awry, a half an hour run stuffed in actually helps us break from the routine, and achieve something we want - both from a task-success perspective, and also a forced break from the humdrums of the stress that we have gone through that day.

 Hence running is a tool that becomes effectively used, when we take both the breaks at the right time, and on the right occasion.

Suggestion -
1. Always carry your running kit around,   this is the best medicine from stress.  Also, keeping the kit is an assurance that you can break away from stress any time.
2. Secondly,  on the day of breaks from running ( non-running days), do less stressful jobs.   That is a choice we have. If we can't, then go back to point 1.

Enjoy the day!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another day...

Most of our days are forgotten... unless special or different things happen to us or do we a difference to others...About 99.9% of human life is made of forgettable incidents, actions, reactions, transactions and accidents.

But each day is different, and so many things change.   Change little, but once and for all. Unnoticeable - hence they dont seem different.   Before somebody realizes the change is permanent - actually, gradual, unnoticeable change leads to fuller acceptance.

Then there are disruptive changes... a big bang change is actually difficult to accept; but the effect is more surgical, and the pain / shock may not last.   The days when these happen will live longer in one's memory.

How much did we notice that Fridges, blogs, social networking, mobiles, cable television have entered our lifes - first we talk about these in third person, then it comes nearer and finally hits us as a person.  Then some people remember the first days of these, but the acceptance itself is slow, and hence not many of us have felt the change.   

Also this is what politicians  or change agents do - leverage the gradual acceptance of a practice, norm and slowly seep it in, and before we realize, we are part of it.  

Hence, no day is yet another day... but we play our part in a larger acceptance of these seeping, gradual changes.    Disruptive changes, we will remember. But gradual changes, we wont, but these will have a greater effect.

No day, is yet another day.

What is the base distance for a runner?

I feel that there is a base distance for a runner is a function of capability and attitude.  I always that I would run a 10k in my life time, but now aiming for half marathon.   This is because, I psychologically crossed a 11k mark one day - which was treated as 10 + bonus... so it has extended to 18 k.

So easily, my base distance is 10 miles ~16k, and  on race day, 21 should not be a problem.  Some may argue that you should train the full distance, but most people have advice me, it is not required.

Well, these are two schools of thought.  I am going to try a full - half marathon ie 21.1k in the next 10 days, so that i know what it takes to finish. Race day is about 19 days away!!!

Baptised in Bangalore !!! my first 10k ...

It is actually a funny story...
I was driving my brother for the Sunfeast 10k, 2008 edition in Bangalore.  I had my casual shoes - reeboks, which were about 5 year old then... ( when you dont wear them, they tend to stay new, right?). 

So I did a casual entry and was probably the greatest skeptic that morning - race day!   Told my bro - how do we drive back 350km the same day... will we be dead after the run?

My bro was actually planning to get a personal best then...hence the idea of me being his backup driver...but he took the first brave step to make me run - my first run!   He said he will run till finish with me...

Well, the run started... it was multitudes of hands and feet... never seen so many sports shoes, caps before...lovely women and chirpy girls and boys, oldies and goldies, waded their way to the starting point, and then somehow, I try to was a gun shot that started the stampede... people tried to get ahead, and some started chat-walking.

Somehow, I pushed myself beyond the starting line, and then lost my bro atleast 3 times before the first km.
Lot of blended aroma of ladies / gents deo with sweat filled the air, and the heat was telling.

Lot of people were cheering and waving, and we went on till the 5k.. I took my first break.  The break was heavenly... drank about 100 ml of water, and was told by Bro to walk a bit, and then run slowly, at a pace I thought was comfortable. Now I feel that I was actually walking, and pretending to run... Bro would run ahead for some distance and run went on from 6th to the 7th. 

I said I could not take it any more...Bro said 'could you see the 8th'... I said - yes.. then let us move forward till that point... with lot of difficulty, I did.   We took a 5 min break, and then we decided to run-walk counting the posts.   We went for past the 9k mark.  

That was the spark that was needed!   Bro and I pushed for the final km, and he said the finish should be great. We did finish in style.  We got our refreshments - a banana, a dry bun, some drink and water.   We returned to our rooms for more banana's and water.  

I have never felt so elated in my life, this was an accomplishment - now looking back - that started it all!   So I run!  

( I have not touched upon the route, as I dont remember the route clearly)

Running is like drinking...

Running is like alcohol.  The first gulp is always exciting, fearful, and sometimes obnoxious.   One tends to have hang overs, especially if it is hard... both running and liquor... especially not knowing how much to take...
Then there is a phase, you start liking and then fall into a rhythm...and enter a new buddy community...
Typically the next phase is a hate- phase, tend to face a burn- out situation...
it is after this burn out situation, we have become a chronic runohalic or alcoholic..
Injuries / hang overs are due to improper usage of the habit...
So, simply... an addiction is an addiction... now I am a RUNAHOLIC...
I talk to my shoes... talk about running in office... trying to perk up people to run... 'why?'they ask, 'why not? 'I retort...' I believe I would convert few people around to run... in a sense feeling like a religious missionary... and spread the addiction....

The run is on...