On being the weakest (running) link.  And not worrying about it.

On being the weakest (running) link. And not worrying about it.

This morning, despite the heat even at 5.30am, I went for a long run with some of my ASICS Running Club friends, and what a run it was.

I am under no illusions about my running ability.

I can run, but not that fast, and the brutal fact of the matter is that sometimes I get to call myself a “podium finisher” simply by virtue of my advanced age.

Make no mistake about it, I’m always super, super, super chuffed to win a medal, but honestly, it’s only because there are very few senior citizens running in India.  So I win in my age category.  In an open completion, I wouldn’t feature.

So, with a huge amount of trepidation, I set off this morning for a long run with a group of runners who I know to be fitter and faster.  Hitherto all my long runs have been solo, so this was a big step.

Then, to compound this big step, I forgot my phone at home, which meant no music, which is what I’m used to, and which is what I thought motivated me on my long runs.

So, before we even set off from Nehru Park at 5.30 on the dot, there were already 2 big unknowns for me – running with a group of way stronger runners, and being music-less.

The idea had been to run at 2 paces, 5m per km & 7m per km, so obviously the former was way too fast for me. But it was clearly my lucky day, and the pace eventually settled at a comfortable 6.5 minutes per km.

And so, for 11.6 amazing kilometres, egged on by the stamina of these guys, I ran non-stop.  Usually I am an admittedly stop-and-start runner, and on one’s own, there is obviously no-one to chivvy you along, or stop you from slowing down.  But today…oh today was different.

I wanted to keep up with the big guys and so I ran.  And only stopped when they did, which was for quick selfies at the main monuments we passed and with fellow runners we met en route.  Coach Vijay and Akash kept up a steady, relentless pace and reduced our stoppages to the bare minimum – a quick photo and we were on our way.

Here we are on the flyover at Safdarjung Airport

Vijay wanted a photo of the chopper, and here it is

On we ran, past Safdarjung’s Tomb, down Prithviraj Road, and so to India Gate:

Once again, the briefest of stops, and on we ran down a very hot and very sunny Raj Path, where we met & selfied with friends:

I was beginning to flag by then, and decided that I’d peel off and let the others continue.

So what if I was the weakest link? I was secretly proud as anything, to have run so far with no stops.

But first, another trophy photo or 2 or 3 at Rashtrapti Bhavan:

Shortly after this joyous sprint down Raisina Hill, I peeled off at Dara Shikoh Road.

Vijay told me to rendezvous with them all later at our start point, and so off I trotted at a slower pace, avoiding the large troops of rhesus macaques, and eventually arrived back at our starting point. A few minutes later, the others rocked up in great spirits, having done a cool 17km, to my 15k.

Here is the trophy photo I missed:

But you know what? It was so encouraging to get myself a PB (personal best) of my own creation – longest uninterrupted run.

We then stretched, and did some yoga, and ate bananas and biscuits that Ram got hold of, and I learned yet another valuable lesson – stretching really does work after a run.

No aches and pains for once 🙂

HUGE thanks to every one of you fab people for making me run and run today.  The group dynamics totally worked.

Balbir, thanks for choosing a route that never once had us running into the sun.  How clever are you, my friend!

Brilliant morning and you know what…as I slowly trotted alone for those 3.5 km, I did the maths in my head…suppose I run regularly in a group, like this, and the whole group pressure thing works…and if I try and add on a kilometre every week to the non-stop-running tally, then…

Yeah!  Who knows where this might all end.



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