(This is Sunday's blog, written on Sunday but it gets posted on Mondays - so today as refereed to here means Sunday)
Lihas took a time-out today. He had gone out and was going to be staying the night, so he let me know that he would not join for the long run today.
I would have to handle all the runners that came today. I shouldn't have worried, though. We still need to break the mindset of 'Sunday Holiday, therefore, nothing to be done on a Sunday' and replace it with 'Sunday Holiday, therefore a long run can be undertaken on a Sunday'.
Sundays, or the day of the regular weekly offs are great for long runs. One can run long distances without worrying about the time it will take. There is no pressure to reach the office. There is no 'strenuous' work that needs to be done. Once the mind is made, one can do long runs on Sundays, have a heavy breakfast, a heavy lunch and sleep through the afternoon. The evening is fresh and free. No running the next day gives enough time for the muscles to recuperate.
Coming back to the Sunday run, as I approached Keshavbaug at about 5:40am, I saw Hiren's car turn in, park and Hiren get out of it. I had company. On reaching Keshavbaug, only Hiren was there. Hardik came immediately after. By 5:46am, there were still just three of us. We decided to proceed.
It was Sunday, the day of the long run. Hardik decided to do 12kms - run upto the Akhbaarnagar Circle and return. I asked Hiren to accompany me to the Motera Stadium turn and return up to RTO on the way back. From there he could take the BRTS back to Keshavbaug. Hiren agreed on the condition that I run at his pace.
We set off. All three of us chatting away, doing a pace of about 00:06:15/km. The feeling was that energy needed to be conserved for later. Energy efficiency, conservation and optimum utilization is a topic best left for later in the training. I thus went along with the 00:06:15/km pace. at Akhbaarnagar Circle, Hardik turned to head back to Keshavbaug. Hiren and I continued ahead. Shortly after, we stopped for a water break. We had already done 6kms and the weather was quite hot, so the risk of dehydration quite existent and real.
Hydrated, we continued running up to RTO Circle. There, Hiren asked for a two minute breather. The Chimanbhai Patel Overbridge does look daunting. Before those two minutes were up, we were ascending the overbridge. Halfway through the ascent, Hiren commented on how it seemed unending. Fortunately he did not stop, nor did his pace go down. We descended and continued past the Sabarmati Power Station. A little later, we stopped for water when Hiren decided that this was enough and that he wanted to turn back. We must have been about 700-800mts from the target. Coaxing Hiren to just walk a little before turning back, we went up to about 250mts away from our scheduled turn and began our return journey. A few steps and we were running again. This time, the stop was RTO Circle from where Hiren took the BRTS Service back to Keshavbaug.
I continued running. One pan shop at Nava Vadaj served really chilled water. Having had that, I was all rejuvenated and ran right till Valinath Chowk doing a pace of about 00:05:15/km. This usually happens. Being within kissing distance of your target when you don't touch it and turn back is hugely disappointing. The disappointment must have translated into me running fast to kind of make up.
A water stop at Valinath Chowk BRTS Bus Stop and I knew my legs were screaming to me that they were about to die. The had been subjected to abuse in the latter part of the run.
I took it slow from there onwards to Keshavbaug. Something in me snapped there. Instead of finishing the run, I continued towards Mansi, then took a right to RJ Tibrewal College, got out on the main road, took a right again, went up to Andhjan mandal 4 Rasta, right to Keshavbaug, right towards Mansi. I continued running till Nalanda and ended my run there. Exhausted but very, very happy.