Aarey run 29 th june 2014….
It is beyond 5 pm on Saturday evening and I am still at my vapi factory…..half day quick visit became full visit as some old clients called me at daman….all the electoral powder+water filled bottles+ lunch remained on the office table and all pre run discipline schedule went for a toss.
Need to reach home and if possible collect the race kit from punitbhai
9:30 pm : outside suswagat hotel
Punitbhai has simplified running fundas….he tells me his race strategy
Take it easy…enjoy and his target is 2:45 for half.
I ride back on activa and smile….i know punitbhai works with clockwork precision and he will do something around 2:45
It also gives me comfort….if he targerts 2:45 ….than I should be any where between 2:50 to 2:59 ( but please god not 3:00….kitna bhi socho aaram se karenge some target pops up )
I am already at kulraj broadway theatre and waiting for nileshbhai, punibhai and PP.
As I am early at 4:30 am , time needs to be utilized…so I go towards the theatre main entrance and hand over my water bottle+phone etc to two watchmen who are sitting on plastic chair and trying to struggle with sleep and mosquitoes.
We start talking about jaunpur ( as usual like most of UP walas in Mumbai they are form jaunpur ) so they talk about jaunpur + night life+sleep+mosquitoes+salary and even narendra modi.
During all our this quick conversations I am doing all stretching exercises and also little lead the conversation kind of talking.
Soon the car pool – eco friendly initiative by nileshbhai comes and we are on our way.
We literally discover a unique place for parking ( after getting rejected from two over occupied parking lots and funny fact is it damn opposite to the hold up area and very few people know about it.
It is almost 5:30 am and at the entry of start area there is “ all at ease kind of atmosphere “. Me and sandy keep walking towards start line. Punitbhai and nileshbhai follow. Before me or sandy realize we are already on timing mat and are told that race is already started.
Oh we are so used to all the tamasha and razzmatataz at start line.
I recall politically heavy ( local ones ) start line up at virar vasai or celebrity drive SCMM
You know what is coming ….yahan to start bhi ho gaya aur patabhi na chala….
So while I am running slow I now prepare my gadgets….digital watch for basic timing watch, Smartphone for its runkeeper programme and digital walkman for music….( oh where is all the simple fun of running evaporated?? )
On my right it is all green grass….beyond green grass I see westin hotel majorly lit with yellow lights ….outside god has given different hues to the sky …..there are other towers of oberoi…the whole thing looks beautiful and juxtapositoning of concrete towers with green foreground and liberal use of colours in sky.
We are running pass by similar buildings . our first darshan of buffaloes happen after some run.
The road ( if one wants to call it road ) is all bad. Looking at maintenance you feel why put asphalt? Why not leave the road as a non asphalt one?
Now we can see back side of shagun shopping centre…..throughout the run we see green patch and than huge buildings.
Oberoi buildings have special connections with aarey as they are covering them from western express highway as well as JVLR
The side roads ( where there is less human or traffic movements ) are covered with red and orange carpet of gulmohar flowers
In this early morning time all these looks mesmerizing.
This also reminds me of yellow flower covering of our own BNP.
We are blesses ones !
Beyond three KM I see runners coming back .for a second I am confused…are they Kenyans ( an expression often used by our dear coach Dan ) have they come back from half way mark ( 11.5 k ) but I soon recall reading each loop of 5.5 km ( and around ) . I question my easy approach towards the race. Just follow the arrows and markings …why pre-prepare …study the route in advance. ….but in era of visualization technique and scientifically decoding the race before my kind of approach is naïve stupidity.
We are running pass the famous landmark “ The Newziland hostel “
The building reminds me of my government engineering college of pune or even the earlier jr college fergusson college.
Is tarah ki buiding ka production hona aaj ke zamane mein me band ho gaya hai.
There are regular morning walkers. One unique and more common feature with these regular walkers is they all carry a nice danda ( wooden stick )
Just before newzeland hostel is a big ground and very few ckicket enthusiast have come but it is obvious as the day will progress mumbai’s favourite sports will blossom in full colour on this ground.
The route is killer one. There are inclines which just go on and on .
Most of the runners either slow down or start walking ( not in the first loop ) when they see the incline which just goes up and turns blind.
It is like accepting the raw truth . there are four loops ….the down route ones are deadly and up ones are manageable.
Three golden words of maheshbhai are my guiding stars ….during lonavala hill runs he had taught me to “Take baby steps “ on incline but keep running. I use same strategy. In first 10 Km I had three walk breaks but later part I decide to avoid any walkbreaks rather slow down the pace.
The support is not very encouraging one. Water arrangement reminds me of days to come across india (as monsoon is getting delayed ) there is either rush or water is over or there is mismatch of demand and supply . the food is of the form of potatoes or eggs .
When one visualizes these water stations with the actual government water stations ….(the open taps at couple of places where residents come with their pots and buckets to fill the daily water ) it seems that the government water stations are better managed.
At one point I got tempted to refill my bottle with the help of a local who was filling many containers with pipe, but the thought of quality of water discouraged me .
By the third loop when I pass by newzeland hotel (once again ) the cricket matches are in full swing.
At every loop when I cross punitbhai and nileshbhai …I see them running effortlessly and always there to cheer you and encourage you. Once when I cross Pramod bhai , his good mood is obvious as he cheers and gives his encouragement in full vocal .it momentarily adds some pace to my running.
Today morning I had a little talk with myself ….if I feel ok after doing around 15 K …I will continue my run till my home after the race is over.
My inner voice reminds me the same when I am returning from the last return mat for my last loop towards finishing line….
Last 2 km I try to increase my pace and towards last 500 metres it is mini sprint but being a narrow road I have to be careful to the runners who are ahead of me and many of them are walking oblivious to the back runners.
By the time I cross my finish point my digital clock shows 2.51 hours
It may be few seconds less than that….a typical thought comes to my mind …I smile and move ahead as I have to run further.
I am running against the traffic in aarey and I take one break at the main aarey gate near w.e.highway
I drink down two bottles energy-flavoured milk but a chilled water bottle and again start running against the traffic .
It is chaos. W.E highway is a cruel raod. It does not respect pedestrians ….so what do you expect for treatment to runners.
I have to be alert especially when cross all the bus stations.
At every bus stop if your timing matches to incoming buses (which will try to stop at any distance from the actual bus stop) than you have to constantly do the judgment game .
Also the small tempos which are on hire and Sunday being a good day for them are also to watch for . they may start suddenly , may take inwards turn without any advance notice.
Heat, dust and fumes of traffic is slowly making my resolve week.
By the time I cross times of india signal and cross the side I am in the last phase of loosing battle . at 26 km runkeeper announcement I just give up. Take and auto and head home.
I do my post run exercises in our own vasant marvel complex garden .
Sheila sees from balcony and waves and I remember my next task. I have to get ready and go to SAI sports complex to pick up my daughters from gymnastic classes.
The life beyond running waits for me when riva reminds me at SAI sports complex of today( Sunday) evening ghost story session by every kid . she adds “ we will switch off all the lights of library and every story teller will tell the ghost story holding a candle in the hand ….oh we are so excited”
I give a small hug to her and smile.
The end !