The first day of running arrived. It was Sunday, Sept 23, 2012 and before the crack of dawn, before the birds woke up and started chirping in the trees,before the milk man came, before even the news paper boys started sorting the news papers, we were on our way to Cubbon Park. Armed with a bottle of water and wearing my age old shoes, I was all set to begin my journey into the world of fitness and into the realms of healthy living.
Chief instructor Santosh introduced us to the Runner's high community and coaches. There was a very boisterous and highly enthusiastic crowd of about hundred and fifty members who had returned back triumphantly from a good run at the Kaveri trail marathon that was held on Sept 15 and 16. Consequently the mood was very upbeat. But later I realised that this is the general state of the entire group and they are simply one noisy lot!
After the formalities and the intro talk we had to run two rounds around the Cubbon Park jogger's track and I struggled a bit to run continuously. The day was just an introductory day and we proceeded towards Kamat Hotel for a tasty and sumptuous breakfast of Vada sambar and Masala Dosa.
In the afternoon we received the first of the weekly mail from Santosh with the weekly schedule. The title of the mail was 'Runner's High Bangalore Ultra 2012 - Week 1'. I was amused and reminded of the movie 'Kal Ho Na Ho' in which SRK helps SAK to ignite PZ's romantic feelings towards him in a week. So the things SAK does each day is shown with someone holding a placard week 1, or someone saying week 2 into the camera etc. In short Santosh's program is something structured and very similar wherein we progress each day as per schedule with a clear program that he has scientifically designed to develop us non-runners into seasoned runners.
On Tuesdays, we are supposed to run on our own and I ran in the evening for fifteen minutes. There is a storm water drain near my place that is a very calm and serene place. There is a canopy of trees through the entire stretch which gives the feeling of running through a green tunnel and the added advantage is that there is very minimum traffic. One loop around the drain is 1.2 kms and I ran two loops around it. As it was the first time that I was running in my area, I was a bit apprehensive. I did not want anyone who knew me to see me running and such thoughts kept running through my mind. Thankfully my prayers were answered on that day and I did not bump into anyone.
The next session was on Saturday at Decathlon, Sarjapur road. We had to run and walk at an easy pace and at the speed that was comfortable to us and the distance given to us was 3 kms. It was for the first time that I was running on a trail out in the open and it was a very unique experience. By now I had a running buddy in Seema who gave me company during the run. Even though she was fitter and could run faster, she stuck with me till the last 1 km which she wanted to complete at a fast pace. We had to return back at the 1.5 km mark. But due to our over enthusiasm and as it was our first time, we continued up to the 2.5 km mark. There we were caught red handed by coach Kanishka who asked us to return back. We sheepishly retraced our steps and were given a talk on sticking to the schedule given. over training and injury prevention.
After the run we were advised on what kind of shoe to buy for the run by Santosh. He did a simple test to find out if our foot was the pronation kind and suggested the kind of shoe to buy. Later I had a chat with the physio Shobha and complained about the pain in my knee for which she showed me some exercises. She also gave me tips and exercises for the pain in my shoulders and neck.
During the run I overheard conversations on the latest Vikram movie, the possible destinations for breakfast etc and was quite enthralled by the camaraderie of the entire running community. Many misconceptions that I had about runners and running were busted that week. I had always believed that runners are some form of super humans and it wasn't for me. I realised that they were also regular guys and gals just like you and me out there to have a blast and have fun and running is more about the passion rather than physical abilities or pre-conceived dis-abilities.
The recovery run on Sunday was at Cubbon park. After 2 laps of warm up we had the form exercises. We had to run for 15 minutes followed by the stretches and foot drills. We then assembled near the rock to be divided into buddy groups based on our goals and running levels. Since my goal was a finish goal at easy pace, there weren't many runners with that goal from Cubbon. We were clubbed with the Jaynagar group by Santosh.
But the funniest part was that it started raining as the sorting was under process and despite the drizzle everyone spread their exercise mats over their heads and stood and completed the process. That was when I realised that running has made us all transcend over the physical discomforts like getting wet in the rain. We weren't getting wet, we were standing in the rain. Physical strength is measured by what we can lift, Spiritual strength is measured by what we can bear and endure, and that too with a smile :) !!!!
Ashok had come cycling all the way from home and our group of Pani, Rashmi, me and Ashok went for our Sunday after run breakfast at Kamat Hotel. We were joined by rashmi's brother Raghu also. All in all it was a very exhilarating beginning to my journey as a runner.
Week 2 : To be continued in the next post.....