Today's run began on quite a nice note. The day hadn't broken when we started. There was a nice cloud cover. It seemed to be cool. The slight breeze that was there was at our backs, pushing us forward. We knew this was going to be a good day and a nice run.
Yet, the heat and humidity of the past couple of weeks has unknowingly begun to take a toll on the body. Running from Mansi to APMC Vasna had us sweating streams. Rehydration was necessary which we did at Shyamal 4 Rasta. Fortunately, one gets water in pouches in Ahmedabad which is a big relief as we do not need to carry our own water. Thereafter, we compulsorily rehydrated ourselves every about 1.5 kms. At the Solar Road flyover, Lihas was not feeling too well and he decided to take an auto upto the Akhbaarnagar Underpass. I continued to run and Lihas rejoined me just after the Pragatinagar BRTS stop. We ran down the underpass and on the way up, overtook a couple of cyclists. It's a favorite with Lihas and I; overtake cyclists on the ascent and see their egos bruised as they unsuccessfully struggle to reclaim their position as the faster ones. Continuing to run, we went up to Bhavsar Hostel where we turned back. Since we had started the run by going up to APMC, we did not want to extend the run up to RTO Circle. Additionally, the humidity was sapping energy out of us by the minute.
On the way back, we continued running at our own leisurely pace. As we went down Akhbarnagar Underpass, a cyclist overtook us. About 30 feet ahead of us, he gave us a huge Thumbs Up sign. These are our unsung heroes - those who encourage us and raise our flagging spirits without a word, without doing anything overwhelming and without expecting anything in return.
Lihas and I smiled at each other - a nod and both of us picked up pace, running till the crossroads just after the Pragatinagar BRTS stop. There a kid on a bicycle, who must have been about 5-6 years of age, challenged Lihas to a race. The race lasted all of 2oo meters, the kid won and to drive home the point, cycled away at the same speed till we could not see him.
Our pace continued till we reached our next (regular) rehydration point opposite the Valinath Chowk BRTS stop. We then went back to our own leisurely pace again till we turned right between the University and Andhjan Mandal BRTS stops to go to Vastrapur Lake. From the turn to Vastrapur Lake, we decided to sprint. Lihas is the one usually dragging me as we start, goading me to pick up pace. Towards the end of the run, I have more energy reserves left and I am the one pushing Lihas to go faster. We finished the run at Vastrapur Lake and the timing read 1:59:43. Quite some pace for roughly a 23 km run!
But in terms of achievements, I think we achieved a lot in this run. As we chatted while we ran, we were able to discuss threadbare, each of the training modules we had developed for ourselves, and which one was the most apt to be adopted by both of us. Both of us feel the need to include cross-training in our regimen, something difficult for me because I have not done anything else besides running. Yet, since I agree with Lihas that in order to achieve the timings we plan and hope to achieve at Athens, a bit of cross-training will go a long way, that is something we have decided to take up sooner rather than later.
As we cooled down with a walk around Vastrapur Lake, we both have been concentrating on tomorrow's big run. We plan to do about 35 kms tomorrow and it is a 'where your feet take you' run. So not route decided in advance. What we know is that we will start at Mansi 4 Rasta. What we know is we will not stop till have felt 35 kms of road under our feet. What we know is it is going to be hot, humid, tiring and thoroughly enjoyable.
So here's to tomorrow, to a long run and to enjoying ourselves.