Why did I say yes for
During one of the Sunday long runs, I had managed to do the 16 km stretch to RTO and back. It was in reality, a combination of run, walk and crawl. J
I thought that for
But I was really anxious, especially on Saturday evening. I felt as if I was to appear for a final examination in school. You would all remember that feeling. J
Dinner was like….. Should I have this or that? Would another Roti help or I should leave it. I hardly slept.
My only strategy for the day was to stay with Hiren. I like running with him. He keeps on motivating you and shares some brilliant insights.
Within the first two km, the running groups had evolved. Lihas, Vishwas, Jagat and Amber were together. Followed by Amit and Sushila, Satish and Pankaj, Hiren and I, Kuldeep, Girish and Uma Mam. As soon as the climb started, I realized that this was different from the usual Sunday long run. The road kept on climbing up and at every curve, I would pray for the next stretch to be a flat one. But no, as soon as you took the turn, another climb waited for you. By the way, Hiren had told me that at least 5 out of the 21 km will be flat. That was a lie.
I would run a bit and then start walking. It was difficult to keep up with Hiren, and I felt guilty about holding him back. He kept on saying “Abhilash I see you finishing today” and I would utter a meek yes. He would shout “Come on Abhilash”. I would say yes but my legs wouldn’t move. It would take ages from one milestone to the next. I think that the distance between two milestones increases during an uphill.
The 1st time, we saw Pankaj and Satish was when the milestone said Mt. Abu 12 km. And to me that was the 1st time, when I actually thought I could finish it. Because 12 km is Akbar Nagar and back and we do it regularly. From then on, all distance were like 10 km is Shastri Nagar and back, 8 km is Jai Mangal and back. Guess the practice sessions helped.
Satish and Hiren moved ahead and I didn’t see them again till they were coming down. I played catch up with Pankaj for the rest of it. Somewhere along the way, Girish stopped to give us some water. His knees were bothering him and he had decided to take the car. But Pankaj convinced him to start again. The 3 of us did some distance together and it was fun.
While we were running up, we thought that it will be difficult for Lihas and Vishwas to do the return trip. Imagine what we felt when we saw them coming down the slopes. A little ahead we saw Hiren and Satish coming down. We asked them “how much left”. Satish said 50 meters and Hiren said 300 meters. We wanted to finish in style, so Pankaj and I hit the stride. We kept looking for a green board on our left, which never came. I cursed Hiren and Satish. The 300 meter was in reality at least 2.5 km. J
Pankaj continued running and I went back to walking. He would have finished earlier but he waited for me at 500 meter mark and we finished together.
The last 500 were a blur; you see a group of people at the end point who vaguely resemble those who were with you at the start. With only 100 meters left, the shouts get louder and you can hear the clapping too. The photographer wants you to raise your hand when you are finishing. You try but your hands refuse to come up.
The images become clearer. You recognize the faces. Hand Shakes, hugs and smiles follow. You realize that you have done it. Someone hands you a drink and Parle G. They taste like heaven. You sit down some where…..you are stoned. You come to life later when you see Girish and later Kuldeep finishing. You cheer for them with your life. You hug them.
While we were coming up, Pankaj said that on a run like this all your masks come off. You become what you are. I think he is right. I made friends during this trip and the bond got strengthened when we celebrated each others success.
Thanks to Hiren for seeing what I couldn’t see, motivating me and helping me to finish the 1st half. Girish and Pankaj, the 2nd half was only because of you.
Lihas and Vishwas, you guys are crazy and are hell bent on increasing the number of crazies.
The biggest thanks go to the kids, Shruti and Akshat. They were the ones who kept coming back for you. Even when you didn’t take water, you wanted to finish and make it worthwhile for them too.
NA GUDGUDA, ANNA GUDGUDA, DHICHKYAUN!!! DHICHKYAUN!!! DHICHKYAUN!!!