Running in these Covid-19 times. #2. Mihika Wahi Gupta

My God, but the world of Indoor Running During A Global Pandemic is a highly competitive, unforgiving place.

No sooner have I shared the amazing story of one of my friends who ran a full marathon indoors, than his record is shattered! ๐Ÿ˜›

Toppled! ๐Ÿ˜›

Trampled upon! ๐Ÿ˜›

Pause for drumroll.

Because yet another of my crazy running friends ran an ultra last night, inside her home.

Yup.

50km.

Indoors.

This is, by the way, after she’d already ran a half marathon indoors 2 days earlier.

Here’s the story, in her own words:

“This is the time when all of us are on self quarantine and all outdoor activities have been stopped. I was thinking of various options to keep working out.

So I started to run inside my house. Two days back.

I had thought that I will run only five kilometres but, I graduated to doing ten kilometres. When this was done and dusted, I kept at it and now the thought of doing a half marathon crossed my mind. I was able to do that and it was a challenge of a different kind.

(Note from the Editor: so you’ve got that, right? 2 days ago, Mihika runs a zippy indoor half marathon…read on…)

I was able to do that and it was a challenge of a different kind. As a runner, we are used to seeing runners and that gives a feeling of being there with others. Also, running is an outdoor activity.

Both these factors were missing while running inside and it took a different kind of a mental strength to keep at it.

One can always create self goals and can test one’s strength and ability.

Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it.

All the excuses are there within and we have to overcome them on our own.

The icing on the cake was the beautiful medal which my son presented to me when I finished.

(Note from the Editor: fast forward 2 days…)

And today when I had enough confidence I again started to run and did an Ultra.

Another thing which I got over mentally was running in the evening.

I had never run in the evening and I could never relate with people who would do there regular running in the evening hours. But I think this was the need of the hour because most of the morning time these days would go in doing the household chores of laundry, dusting, mopping and cooking meals.

So I thought that evening time would be best suited.

So I started at 4:30 p.m. and was done by about 10:30 p.m.

The best part was that I was supported by my family.

My husband took over the charge of the evening meals and doing the dishes etc which is much appreciated because without their support ,with no other help around in the house, I could have either taken more time to finish or might have given up in between.

And yes while I was running I simultaneously cooked some awesome kheer for everyone, which I used to stir occasionally while I ran all through the house 😄. (strict instructions by kids not to add any form of garnishing like dryfruits or saffron etc)

In addition to various learnings and lessons learnt during these days this taught me that we are the ones creating our blocks and we are the ones who can dissolve them.

So go for it.

Another Finishers medal for my INDOOR ULTRA presented by my son.

I’ll cherish these medals for times to come.”

I give up!!

Running a half marathon, then an ultra AND cooking pudding – Mihika, you are too much ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here a photo of the kheer she cooked, just to prove it !

Fab stuff, my girl.

Now put your feet up for a couple of days – if that’s possible – and enjoy those medals. You’ve certainly earned them.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring and most importantly #stayhome

Running in these Covid-19 times. #1. Gaurav Pant

Here in India, we are all under lockdown.

And suddenly, the ability to lace up and head out to run has become very precious.

On Instagram, for example, I am avidly & enviously watching the daily posts from a British runner who can still take to the woods and river banks and run outdoors.

But here in India, a joy that we all took for granted is gone.

For now, at least.

We are currently on Day 5 of a 21 day countrywide lockdown.

(AND, BY THE WAY – HOW IS IT POSSIBLE IT IS ONLY DAY 5?!!!)

But let’s face it, runners gonna run.

My social media timeline is flooded with my Indian friends running around their homes, on their balconies, on treadmills.

Lats Sunday, when it was “just” a voluntary 16 hour People’s Curfew here, I shared the story of one of my running mates, Gaurav Pant, who ran a half marathon inside his flat.

Move over record-breaking Gaurav Pant, and welcome record-breaking Gaurav Pant ๐Ÿ˜›

Yup.

Because, can you believe it, this crazy guy has just RUN A FULL MARATHON INSIDE HIS FLAT??

LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER HIS INDOOR HALF??

And now let’s hear from the man of the hour ๐Ÿ™‚

I give you Indoor Marathoner Gaurav, in his own words:

“After my half marathon last week, I had planned to do a Full Marathon soon under home quarantine, but was not aware that it would happen next week itself.

Woke up at 5am, & was ready for a run by 5:40am.

Contemplated doing a FM or 10k with some strength session online. Started running at a decent pace compared to in-home running. My morning partner my mother woke up & asked me how many km I’d done, I had just started my run lets see how many Kms i do.

The weather was cooler but in 40mins the sun was out full of energy and I could feel myself getting warmer.

I had completed 9kms by then, and since the plan was not sure, I continued running slow and easy, since everyone was sleeping and my mother was busy doing her Yoga.

Slowly and steadily another hour passed and the watch showed 19kms.

I thought of giving up after 21.097km, but after completing the HM, everyone at home was still asleep being a weekend.

Decided to continue and see how the run progress, and decided I will assess after every 5km.

Another hour passes i had completed almost 30km when my wife and my daughter woke up.

Both of them asked why running so late are you MAD!! P

I said yes just tolerate for 90 mins and then I will be at your service. The weather was warm, so made sure I had mid-run food and kept myself hydrated.

As a ritual my daughter joined me for the last 2kms, making it a super strong finish and another great memory.

LOVE her giggles

Today the music was more from Bhaag Milkha Bhag and Sultan.”

Gaurav, my friend, I’m with your wife & daughter on this one – mad, mad, mad.

But WHAT a feat!

To run a marathon in your flat, in a good time (well, by my standards ๐Ÿ˜› :P), to eat, drink, and have time to change your T shirt (ah ha!! How observant am I ?!!) – you leave me speechless!

Shabash!

And, obviously, I am intrigued as to how far you’ll go, since I have a sneaking feeling that you somehow won’t stop…

#หšwe-running #keepinspiring and, most importantly, #staysafe

Lockdown running

Let me confess.

In these very strange, very worrying Coronavirus times I am

a) blown away by all these people on social media who are running half marathons inside their homes

and

b) am enjoying getting to know my running mates “differently”, if that makes sense.

Yeah, you’re right – I’m just nosey about their homes, as they share their home workouts!! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

My friend Navi Singh is the latest to run an impressive distance from home.

In his case, it was 10km on his terrace.

In the dark.

And with great music.

Like so:

Navi being Navi – an all-round great guy & a music buff of note – he kindly shared his playlist ๐Ÿ™‚

Now here’s the thing:

As you can see, this playlist is clearly in alphabetic order.

And Navi only just started the Cs.

So, yes, I have high hopes that there will be more many music reccos to come, as this intrepid guy runs around his terrace and works his way through the alphabet, sharing his miles and his music with us all ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks, as ever, my friend & #keeprunning #keepinspiring.

And, more than anything else #staysafe

Running FOMO in these Coronavirus times

Anyone else got running FOMO?

Here I am, sitting on my Delhi balcony, in pin drop silence – other than for the birds, who are delightfully noisy ๐Ÿ˜›

It is raining.

It is cool.

It is quiet.

It is fabulous and I keep thinking โ€œIt will be perfect to go run in the Biodiversity Park, once the rain stopsโ€œ…and then I remember…nope…can’t.

Locked down.

And, like many of you, Iโ€™m having serious running FOMO.

For the physical running, obviously, but even more so for the outdoors, for the gorgeous feeling of heading out to run amongst trees, on a dirt track that’s a little slippery and muddy after the rain.

Living in such a polluted, noisy city like Delhi, my local park is an oasis.

Trees, wild flowers, peacocks, jackals, nilgai…those of you who follow me on Instagram will be familiar with my daily runs there.

Sometimes I run there twice a day.

It is my most favourite place in Delhi.

I’m managing to โ€œrunโ€ during lockdown – on my treadmill, on my roof terrace, up and down the stairs – but the great outdoors it ainโ€™t.

So.

To answer all those memes and questions that are already circulating on social media, about the first thing you’ll do when lockdown is lifted.

Iโ€™m 100% clear.

Iโ€™ll head straight to โ€myโ€ park and revel in the outdoors ๐Ÿ™‚

In the meantime, the treadmill it is ๐Ÿ™

Stay safe everyone,

And stay home!!!

And remember – those parks and trails will still be there when we all emerge from lockdown.

What did you see on your run today? #397 stars…er…another living room!

Yesterday, as most of us here in India were indoors, following “People’s Curfew”, I shared the half marathon run by one of my running mates – inside his flat.

Gaurav was not the only one running round and round and round his home – meet my friend Mahendra Bisht, who ran for an hour inside his house.

But…his GPS didn’t work indoors, so we don’t know what distance he covered, but it certainly looks like a fun run.

I love his little son colliding with him & giggling away, and then how the rest of the family is watching the telly, totally unconcerned by this madman running past them ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

Well done, my friend, and #keeprunning #keepinspiring and, in your case, #keepsmiling ๐Ÿ™‚

Above all, stay safe!

What did you see on your run today? #396 stars…er…a living room!

For those of you who don’t know, India is on a day long “People’s Curfew” – a sort of voluntary lockdown, in the face of the Coronavirus.

I’ve blogged about the unbelievable silence here in Delhi in my other (non-running) blog “Delhi Diary.” Do please check it out!

Amongst my running friends and acquaintances here in the Delhi NCR region, I don’t know of a single person who has gone outside to run today – and on such a gorgeous Sunday, too!!! Everyone seems to have followed the request to stay indoors.

But that doesn’t mean my friends have been slobbing around.

No Sirree!

People have been exercising at home, running up and down the stairs (take a bow, Christine ๐Ÿ˜› ) and then you have rockstars like Gaurav Pant, who coolly ran a zippy half marathon this morning.

Inside his flat!!

He tells us here about his half marathon:

I woke up at 4:45 am. the plan was to run a HM for sure. Got ready in my running gear, & since it was indoors I decided to run barefoot. Parents, wife and kids were asleep so kept the lights low in the house and locked their rooms. Started running from my Pooja Room towards the guest room crossing the living area and it was 5mts realised its too short so decided to take a loop of the living room and every time i crossed by. Plan was to run fast when i am in the living room and slow as i twisted and turned.

Ran 5km just thinking what am I doing, as the sun came out along with it chirping of birds – it was a lovely feeling. I opened my balcony doors allowing some fresh cold air to make it nice and breezy.

By then had completed 12kms.

What to do what not to do? It was getting boring and my mother was also sleeping (generally she is up early) so decided to take help of Alexa and enjoy some Bhajans (Gayatri mantra/Hanuman Chalisa etc…) it was a lovely feeling running with bhajans in the background. At 18th Km mark my mother was up. She was aware of my plan so asked how many Kms left

To my surprise after another 1km my daughter was also awake, and as she saw me running she was there to run with me for my last 2km.

Those kms were the best as she made me run fast with lot of enthusiasm and the target was achieved. Post run some stretching helped relax the homegrown muscles.”

How fabulous is this, people?!

I love the idea of Gaurav’s daughter joining him for a fast 2km round the house.

Here they are ๐Ÿ™‚

Such fun!

Well done, Gaurav.

#keeprunning #keepinspring

What did you see on your run today? #395 comes from London & stars a king

My London-based mate Romit Basu ran a half marathon on Sunday. He reckons, with all the race cancellations because of the Coronavirus, that it’ll be his last race for quite a while.

The Hampton Court HM is traditionally one of the races runners use to ‘warm up”, as it were, for the London marathon – which has obviously been cancelled.

Along with 2700 other people, Romit took to the streets on a cold morning, for what he described as a well organised and fun run. What I’ve always loved about this race is that it starts and finishes at Hampton Court, which is pretty darn special.

They also have blingtastic medals, but you can’t really see them in this photo – why are they both wearing them the wrong way round?!!

And just look who Romit met, after his run!!

Not every day you get photographed with Henry VIII ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜›

Romit, my friend #staysafe during these troubled times, and, as ever, #keeprunning #keepinspriring

What did I see on my run today? #394 stars a rain-washed Delhi

Yeah, OK, OK, what did I see on my walk/run/walk/walk today?

Better?!

But, hey! I did manage a little slow jogging, so am feeling happy.

So, yes, what did I see this beautiful Sunday morning?

The answer – Delhi looking so lovely and clean and green after the crazy rain yesterday.

Here are a few moments from a run that reminded me of just how stunning this city can be, when she so chooses ๐Ÿ™‚

Safdarjung’s Tomb, looking fabulous
The Lodhi Gardens are always a good idea
Such -well – such extravagant pinkness

Lovely, lovely reconnect with the historic centre of this city.

Running in the time of Coronavirus

Actually, that title is a bit of a misnomer.

Because Iโ€™m still walking.

Not running.

My wretched torn meniscus is s-l-0-w-l-y healing, but it is definitely taking its own sweet time.

So to claim Iโ€™m running is a step too far.

Be that as it may, in these strange troubling times, I head out every day to walk at least 10k in my local park.

And every day, as I walk, I listen to the BBC news podcast.

And every day, itโ€™s (almost) the same news.

Usually, in normal times, the news cycle rapidly moves on, but ever since this awful virus took hold, every day the news starts the same way & is dominated by the same topic – the virus.

But every day, itโ€™s all a little grimmer and ever more frightening.

Since the Delhi government closed schools because of the virus, the streets are weirdly empty and quieter than usual. Traffic is less. (Hurrah!!)

So the feeling of going out to exercise in these weird times is, well, weird.

While I am slowly getting stronger (Hurrah Mark II), the world about me is closing in, as borders are shut, and people canโ€™t travel, and who knows where this dreadful virus will strike next.

As things currently stand, I can’t leave India for a month, nor my children return, because our visas are no longer valid.

Itโ€™s like Iโ€™m getting stronger, but in a vacuum.

A vacuum of quieter, emptier streets.

Of the racing calendar emptying before our eyes.

Of life as we know it spinning out of control.

I know that I am more than lucky that I can still walk, and – inshallah – soon run.

I am more than lucky that Delhi is not in a lockdown situation, meaning that I can actually head out and exercise.

These 10kms a day walking in my local park are important way beyond fitness.

It is much needed calming down time.

Taking stock time.

Giving thanks time.

And hoping that, God forbid, things get worse here, I’ll be strong enough to cope…

What did you see on your run today? #393 comes from the deserted streets of Shanghai

There is absolutely nothing that is good about this awful virus sweeping the world.

Nothing at all.

But if we are looking for any possible glimmer of positivity, it might just be the empty streets around the world.

As most people stay home and avoid public places, streets in many cities across the globe are deserted, allowing those people who do venture out a rare sense of freedom, permitting them to see their city without the usual, inevitable scrum of people.

We havenโ€™t got to that stage here in India (though a friend did visit the Red Fort on Sunday and said it was absolutely empty) but in China, where controls are enforced and obeyed (unlike India…) it is a different story.

My friend Melissa headed out to run in Shanghai, where she lives, and shared some photos of quiet streets.

Absolutely zero traffic.

Zero crowds.

We were in Shanghai this time last year, and so can testify to the fact that usually these streets are teeming with people.

Last year, we went (along with half the city, it seems!) went to see the gorgeous cherry blossoms in bloom in a central Shanghai park.

The park was packed.

Now it is empty. Totally empty. Like so:

No one is allowed to go into the park these days, so the few people who are out and about and running and exercising, can only admire the blossoms from the street.

So, to answer my own question โ€œWhat did you see on your run today?โ€, the answer from Shanghai would seem to be…emptiness.

Quiet streets.

No people.

The reality of running in these virus-ed times…

Thanks Melissa for sharing these almost eerily quiet streets.

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