43km running……at BNP ( borivli national park )

3 rd august 2014  , Sunday

The background : I have already  paid for SCMM 15 and Bangalore ultra.

Already committed to maheshbhai , kaushikbhai and punitbhai that days of half marathon are over  the time has come for full marathon running


Now  I all need to do is run….run like never ran before ….run for numbers of hours….like sunilji I should also think in number of hours rather than pace…..pace is never my strength .

But  it is so easy to say something  or just  pay using credit card but long distance running needs  only one thing “ your quality  time which demands great  quantity “

2013 I had given smaller target to myself  . every month of 2013  I must do one 21 km .

i.e minimum 12 half marathons. ( official or self targets )

I could manage 11 on monthly basis. In one particular month could not devote the Sunday for the cause so in one chosen  month did two twenty ones.

Whenever possible I had not missed any group run called by kaushikbhai .

Under his guidance I had done one 32 km on gorai route , one 35 plus till babulnath and one 40 plus till NCPA and few runs which were in twenties.

Dhanraj used to tease me….”tu taiyari full ki karta hai and bhagta half hai.


Post Bangalore ultra 2013…the writing was on the wall . BNP group mein ab sab running mein double graduate  and PHD karte rehene

wale hai .! soon half marathon will be like 12 th pass.


Subtly but definitely signals were floating “ know your true potential “

“yes you can do it “

The achievements of sunilji, sangeetaji , maheshbhai , deepa , unmeshbhai  were too big to get worried ( beyond the wildest dreams ), but vast majority wanted  “the lagging behinds” to upgrade and in one of the happy mood I declared “ yes I will not only do SCMM 15 full, I will also do Bangalore ultra.


The week before :

Till Thursday I had small travel commitments, but I had decided to be in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday.

Friday hydration scheduled did not work out , nor I could sleep in time .

Ananth sir had given a beautiful and practical advice “ the night before the race day may not give you full 7 to 8 hours sleep ,the smarter way is to have sound sleep on friday ( for a  typical Sunday race )


Saturday I am able to drink 3 litres of water and 2 litres of enerzal during the day , but not able to sleep in time as my cousins had come from ahmedabad and they had Gujarat mail to catch.

Post group dinner by the time I hit the bed it is beyond 10:30 and I am bit angry with myself.

The day of run :

I am up by 3:50 am and start getting ready. It is sluggish start and by the time I am ready I do not have time to do any stretching exercises at home.

When  I am at the BNP gate I see 12 to 15 of our friends ( it is dark and only entrance side  cabin light is on ) already doing group stretching exercises.

I join them and soon we are at our start line.

I have a fleeting thought which says we have four doctors and may be equal or more engineers running together.

At 5:15 the group starts the race .


We are a mix group . only few are doing 42.2km. some are doing 21 km

And some have their own individual targets of 30 km or else.


I have told myself I have to attempt full . my worst case target to my self is also weird. I must cross my last highest which was just above 40 km in that sense I am not giving  much margin to myself .

It is like “ heads “bhi mera “ tails” bhi mera

It is quite dark. Occasionally the light of single tube light or single light source itself becomes a guiding light . None of us are carrying any torch.

The starting pace itself is faster than targeted, but strangely even though everyone periodically comments on faster pace , but as a group no one wants to slowe down the pace.

Our first turn at MSEB colony road is leads us in darkness of speedbreakers and some potholes.

As a group the collective wisdom helps every one to sail through the speed breakers and potholes.

We are not able to see much , but when I look around I feel definitely  there must be few  eyes ( of different living creatures )  watching us.

At one speed breaker kaushikbhai says “ this is the place I had fallen “ and we jokingly say “ soon there will be small  stone with engraving “ here fell our khas manus ,  the living legend…. BNP runner Mr kaushikbhai ….but it is clear that  humour in this early morning hours is not working.


We all are talking about rain , but the air is stand still . no breeze…

On borivli lake ( jalashay road ) road end I refill my small bottle.


I am running with different friends as every ones ‘ pace and position keeps changing . when I am with dr sunil rai we talk about his august  leh( ladakh ) run and full monty tour ( manali to leh to Srinagar )

Sanjay bhai ( sanjay R ) is suddenly given the difficult task. Two of the garmins have decided not to perform the pre decided walk and run schedule. So sanjaybhai is now performing the task of declaring the walk breaks and start the run announcements ( and periodically he throws open math’s summation questions to every one …38 + 13 kitna huva )

I also run with ankur and bhupen  for quite few kms . kaushikbhai calls them changu and mangu.  Ankur is doing  his trademark to and fro runs  where in he runs at his fast pace and goes ahead and than he will come back . He really puts GPS and garmin on the task of interesting  calculation . Bhupen is running an easy run, so we run together.

We have regular “ hari oms “ on the way with regular walkers.

At 5.5 km mark we take the U turn to come back.

Slowly but definitely the distance between fast runners and slow runners is increasing. I am now running with dhanraj and sidhi ( who is keeping shravan of talking ..i.e she does not talk at all ). They intend to do 30 km.

By the time I am coming back from MSEB colony and  I am behind the fast runners.

I have first  full darshan of deers crossing the path. If nature is kind ,one does have excellent viewing of deers in morning hours.

We are running on the road and they are running across the road.

They jump from bushes on left side of road and gracefully run to the right side. One deer at a time . the deer who has just crossed will go in the bushes but will wait for the next one to arrive.

By the time I complete 18 km at start point , I am told that my wife Sheila has already left . it is her first day at 0 to 5 km : 2nd batch of BNP green runners club .

Maheshbhai tells with his trademark smile “ hey do not worry , she did not miss you “….but at the same time tells me to keep running and not to cool down so I keep running… meet and cross alpesh bhai and varun

We get good rejuvenating rains when we are on  the inner loop roads of MSEB and talashay .Oh it is so soothing.

It is almost on call that once you complete 21 plus km of run and rain gods will be pleased.

The run towards kaneheri is now in rain and with beyond 7:30 am traffic.


This is holiday mood… killer traffic.

I had always known that running in BNP jungle is challenging .

(It was more from route topography and humidity point of view but the Sunday crazy traffic was never highlighted.)

Today is friendship day so we have groups and groups of youngsters  descending on BNP roads.

I am comparing my run with equivalent S.V road run .

When you run on straight road with friends you are not aware of distance travelled. I find  myself debating with  who else…but myself “ Is it easier to do 21 km on S.V road run as compared to BNP?? “

After “18 km of( almost) common group run” now majority are on their own.

21 km and 30 km have decided not to take inner loops .

On the main BNP road a lot of friends pass by. Nitin is doing fast running pace of 4 to max 5 .

Shanky, arjun,sanjay .P, shashiji, supriya, shreyas and many more pass by.

At 5 km point  there is great chaos. There is a mad rush to park the vehicles on one side of road.

So 5 t0 5.5 km is a kind of battle zone .all I wish is to cross the 5.5 km mark , touch the kanheri slop and take the required U turn and leave the mad rush.for some time I take support of music .

On my way back I start recalling my long runs

25 km first long with maheshbhai at lonavala followed by many runs called by kaushikbhai and even punitbhai.

Lonavala and gorai was fun, but gorai was equally tough  after 25 km .

On NCPA run  I was the last one to complete…”.bhai jab timing mats uth jaati hai tab hum jaise pahonchte hai “( we reach when mats are removed )

Babulnath was tough when I was crossing hajiali curve.

In long runs I also try to listen to my body’s pain language.

Typical story is….suddenly while running you feel one part of body has rebelled. It may be lower abdomen ,  some part of legs ….the pain builds up as you are getting more and more  aware  . it grows and grows and suddenly it is gone . it is almost like vipasana meditation during the position of  “ adhisthan”

Pain comes, Builds up, becomes unbearable  and goes.


At 2.5 km mark varun is the support . he is offering bananas and enerzal .he is too sincere in whatever he does. i take banana from him and move on .


Once I am on my way back beyond 4 km mark towards main gate, I start facing problems of walking visitors and visitors’ vehicles.

If this was not enough the  maruti VANS of BNP are master of their own world . they zoom pass you with minimum margins.

One particular van has “Suzuki” return on its back. it  reminds me of some B grade Hollywood thriller/horror movie where in the Van is the killer machine/vehicle which comes with high speed

the driver of this van is in hurry as it seems he wants to do more trip per day. he reminds me of dumpers on virar highway trying to do maximum trips in a day .

I usually run on the side which is against the incoming traffic.

Today it is a tough day. the groups of walking tourists are in no mood to move an inch to give a reasonable space of  few inches to runner like me to pass through…. I keep periodically scream “ side… side please,” but it is not effective. Most of the time I end up getting off the road on side trails.

I meet sanjaybhai and varun at 2.5 km mark . sanjaybhai has completed his 21 km and he is very fresh and in great mood. He has  added open car music as an additional service to runners and whoever is interested I am invited to show my dance talent which I politely decline and go for  my water replenishment . i am in  no position to eat more banana , but still keep one in my hand.

Now one part of me knows that I have to go back to start line from this 2.5 km mark and turn back to complete 6.2 km more .

to turn back from the starting point is a game of  will power. The mind will rebel.

I try to understand what is going on between mind and body. I am looking at blank but an irritated mind. The body is running. I try to locate any major pain trouble spots. There are none. Body is just moving. I try to think…..no much help. I try to get more ideas for skits which we are writing for ganpati festive. Mind does not give any . I try to recall past memory. Nothing comes into mind. I try to day dream …..no thoughts …rather I get some irritating signals….” Aata mazi satkali “ which are unhappy with traffic, second stint of continuous rain, honking of car and 2 wheeler horns.

Mind is not ready to think …it is too tired….but still it’s survival mode is on.

I do not fight more with my own mind ( but hey who am I ? whose mind and who is actually  talking to whom?? ) as fighting with your own mind and body is by itself very tiring at this point.

I plan my walk break in such a way that I do not have to stop at the starting point on completion of 36 km .

So I touch the base….. meet some friends and take a quick U turn.

Yes will do 42.2  I hear myself  telling this to bhupen and ankur.

I am on my way to 3 km mark. It is raining . now I have stopped enjoying the rain. I am running and having small walk breaks at all the little upward inclines.

At 3 km mark I decide to go to 3.5 km mark and come back .

The run from 3 to 3.5 km takes infinite time. It looks like some body has pushed this 0.5 km mark far beyond . finally I see 3.5 km , cross it and take U turn.

I am on my final run. During this 7 km run twice sanjabhai’s car comes to see my condition. Bhupen genuinely asks “ you want to run or ???”

“ I will run “ is what I convey ….but I want to tell them it is way beyond 6 hours …they all should go home …do not wait for me.

Last 50 meters I want to increase my pace , but unlike at the end of 21 km runs I just can not move my legs fast….so I surrender to the reality and keep running at the same and slowed down pace.


At end I see smiling and encouraging faces of all the friends waiting to do the hasala afzai

Punitbhai with umbrella , kaushikbhai , ankur , bhupen and some more friends are still there.

Oh this is so assuring ….apna pan isse naheen to kise keheten hai… I must have taken beyond 6 :30 hours to complete my 43 km and was sure all must have gone …..

They are genuinely happy with my attempt .

I also feel relived as I have some how sailed through and my commitment for running a full was to them only.


I am not able to do any major stretching exercises …I am advised not to do the same immediately.

Punitbhai says take rest for couple of days and by thrusday attempt a small recovery run.


We all move out. Ankur wants to stick to schedule of carbo loading…but it is  getting late…almost 12 now.

On his fourth sweet reminder we  all give in and four of us ( kaushikbhai, ankur, bhupen and myself ) go to “ the tambes at shantivan “

We have thalipit, kothimbirwadi, kharvas, missal and badata wada along with piyush

It is wholesome Marathi nashta.


We  also meet shanky  as he is there with his family.

Post Marathi nashta , which turns out to be ankur’s treat to every one ….i drop kaushikbhai and reach home.

By the time I take my elaborate bath along with stretching exercises I realize my post run position so call up my friends  (who have planned for kishor kumar programme: amitkumar+sumeet kumar) to drop me from the programme as I want to sleep and will not get up by 5:00 pm


I hit the bed by 3:00 pm , but I have to struggle for much required  sleep….

I only get up after 4 hours !


Recovery : it takes two days ( Sunday and Monday ) to fully recover. The core muscles are the ones which take time to come to non agitated happy  position.















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