Monday, December 3, 2012

Auroville Marathon Training Program : Week 2

November 26 to December 2

This was the most fulfilling week and a week of great learning for me. The week began with the arrival of Santosh's mail on Monday morning. As soon as I got the mail, I read through it and saw that the run for Sunday was scheduled to be a charity run which we will be running in aid of the children who are affected by HIV aids, of the Sneha Care Home. The run was a training cum fund raising event for these children. Earlier the previous Sunday, Santosh had asked me if I can get the children of JGRV school ( to run in this event and I had told him yes, as I am a 'yes person' and say yes without thinking about the why, how, where, when etc.

 I spoke to our P E master and he asked the children of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Std if they wanted to run. I had 25 children in mind and we got an overwhelming 44 children who gave their names. I sent the list to Santosh and appealed to my friends in the Runner's High community if they would support the children's registrations. Within hours of my mail, all the 44 children got sponsorships and Santosh magnanimously offered to pay for the transportation. We even got a runner who offered to buy the children breakfast. 

All this was too good to be true and I realised Paulo Coelho's famous quote that if you really desire something,  the whole world conspires to help you. In this case I had just wished that the JGRV school children get an opportunity to run along with the Runner's High community and the Ananya children and the entire Runner's High community joined hands and made it happen!

The first day of the week, Monday is a rest day and the next day, Tuesday is the short run of 25 minutes on our own. I usually drop my younger daughter at her bus stop and run around the storm water drain. After my second loop, I meet Rashmi and her cute daughter Ruthu and we spend time chatting as I do my stretches. 

I had planned the Wednesday session with Santosh such that me and my elder daughter go to Cubbon early and we start our warm up at 5.30 am itself. Coach George was there as ever marking the routes for the runners. We started our warm up and he guided us through the drills. After the drills, I was able to do my Time Trial that I had missed the previous Wednesday and I did the 3.2 km in 30min19sec. I dropped my daughter to the Shivajinagar bus stand from where she catches the bus to her college and came home. 

The Saturday run was at Cubbon Park and we had to run a distance of 7.5 km. I was quite satisfied with the way I ran and I was slowly able to run longer and longer distances without having to stop and walk. Even though my pace is still slow and I am usually the last person running once the whole pack runs ahead, personally I was getting better. My strides were longer, my lungs were supporting me more and not threatening to burst and I was running at a steady pace for longer distances and the walk breaks that i require are also shorter and I am able to catch my breath and recover faster than earlier. These are all personal mile stones that I crossed which gave me confidence. All the fellow runners from the Runner's High community who had committed themselves to supporting the JGRV school children's participation in the next day's run, true to their word, handed over the amounts that they had committed themselves to. 

The Sunday was the most memorable day. Anupama and Subhashini joined the JGRV bus along with Anupama's daughter and my daughters. We drove to Decathlon, Sarjapur, with a bus load of highly energetic children who were very excited by this outing, amidst loud singing and chattering. Just before we reached Decathlon, we instructed the children to stick together and run together and not leave the pack. That advice turned out to be the wrong advice as there were prizes to be won at the end of the 5 km run which I did not know about. If we had allowed our JGRV children to run to their potential, who knows, they might have run a few trophies. Lesson learnt. 

Once we arriver at Decathlon, the place was buzzing with activity and energy. The registrations were completed with quick efficiency as the organisers had organised several counters and we were all given our bibs. The race set off after a short oath taking ceremony by all the participants in support of HIV affected children. 

The runners set off nice and strong. Santosh had asked the Ananya kids to guide our JGRV kids. I though that it was a very nice gesture on the part of the Ananya kids. If they had decided to run at their pace, they would have all won the trophies, but instead they decided to support the JGRV kids which was a highly commendable gesture. We were guided through the traffic by traffic wardens and pretty soon we had passed the main roads and were running through village lanes. We passed by many small and quaint temples through the route and arrived at the first aid station that was manned by the Sneha Care Home kids with great efficiency looking bright in their green uniforms. They greeted us in a very friendly way and were smart in distributing the water glasses. Santosh came riding on his cycle to check on the progress.

We later ran through the Shining Star School to loud cheering by the children who had lined up on either sides of the road and were cheering all the runners. We then ran through Sneha Care Home and even here there were children lined up on both sides of the route with glasses of water in their hands. Their continuous cheering infused fresh energy into my legs.

We had to run the last part with some amount of heat and sun and the route had a slight gradient. After the previous day's 7 km run I had developed a slight pain in my left knee and the heat was making each and every step difficult. As we reached the main road, we were again greeted by volunteers and traffic wardens who cheered us along and helped us to finish with flourish.

Our JGRV kids had run very fast and had reached the destination quite a while ago and even they cheered me as I entered Decathlon. They were all thrilled to receive certificates from the organisers. As we started our way back to Kalyan Nagar in the bus, they all expressed their desire to run again and they wanted to know if they will have more opportunities like this in the future. Finally, they were treated to a sumptuous and yummylicious breakfast of hot hot Poori Saagu and searing Masala Dosa (thanks to the donor who does not want to be named) at Srinidhi Upachaar and they ate like little princes and princesses which they deserved and had earned it as a right as they had all run in aid of other children.

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