Go Genzebe Dibaba !

And we have a new world record, as of yesterday.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba set a new world record of 3:50.08 for 1500m.

Which means (I think) that she ran a kilometre in 2 minutes and 40 seconds –  I am rounding up and down very loosely here.  And, being particularly inept at maths, if I’ve made a complete pig’s ear of this calculation, please feel free to correct me.

So where was I?

Yes, 2:40 minutes per km.

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Fast.  Very fast.

Makes my split timing of 5:54 for my best kilometre this morning seem oh-so-slow.

And yes, I know I know, you shouldn’t comment on people’s physical appearance, but concentrate only on their skills yadda yadda yadda, but what the heck  – I think this girl is absolutely gorgeous to boot.

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Just look at that smile:

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Just one look at that smile, and you love this girl.

And, by the way, another advantage of now being a runner is that stats and world records like this now actually/physically mean something.  Which is pretty cool.

What did YOU see on your run today? #7 (& a recipe) comes from Delhi

As well as a zillion peacocks dancing, and a pair of jackal, and a couple of kingfishers, and stray dogs galore, and the usual earlybird walkers and runners in the Aravali Biodiversity Park, this morning I saw a gentleman collecting berries from a bush.

He does this most mornings.

He’d already told me a few days ago that the berries are called “teet” in Hindi and that you make an “achar” or pickle from it (friends, won’t you PLEASE give me the Hindi spelling and should you know it, the English name?  Or even the botanical name? Thanks).

So this morning I asked him how to make the achar and, for good measure, whether you can eat the berries raw from the bush.

They have to be red and ripe to eat them raw, he said, reaching up and plucking one for me.

“Kha lo” he told me, so I did, I kha-ed it on the spot.  Great for my digestion he assured me.


Now, back to the achar recipe.

And I am open to correction if I have made any mistakes:


• Soak green berries in salted water for a week until they turn yellow.

• Drain and dry in the sun.

• Then cook them with chilli, haldi (turmeric), salt, pepper, ginger, garlic.

Voila –  teet achar.

And here is my cooking friend, who, when I asked him whether he ate the berries raw or only achar-ified, replied “8 or 10 every day,” opening his mouth and showing me a mush of half-masticated stuff on his tongue.

I decided not to take a photo.


Said it before, saying it again.

There is NO such thing as a dull run in India.



Running in humidity

This morning was humid.

Why am I saying ‘was”?

Still is.

Big difference is that now I am inside my study, with the A/C on.  This morning I was out running in what my phone app assured me was 89% humidity but felt more like 300%.


Actually, from the screen shot of how Delhi was at 6am this morning, looks like today isn’t great for anything .

My favourite statistic, by the way, is the hair frizz risk.  Check it every day.  I kid you not.

Those of you who know me will understand why, since I have the messiest hair on the planet.  And curly hair + humidity = even messier than usual.  Trust me.

Yes, yes, as you say –  let’s get back to the humidity, shall we?

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You all know the science behind humidity and how our bodies react to it, so I won’t repeat it here, but if you do want a good informative analysis of how our bodies behave in humidity, then do read this article from runnersworld.com.  Very well explained.

All the websites I checked for advice re running in humid conditions are –  as I have remarked before here – phoren, and so obviously do not address our deshi problems.

Stands to reason.

But there’s not much point showing me photos of men running T-shirt-less (though that does happen here) and of women running in skimpy crop tops and teensy shorts, to beat the heat.  It’s bad enough going out in Delhi wearing normal running capri-style trousers, but the idea of going our wearing even less clothing just doesn’t work here.

A propos – I was behind a young Indian girl who was running in the street yesterday morning.  About 7.30 am.  She was young – probably in her early 20s – lean and fit, and was wearing running shorts (modest, not at all skimpy, but shorts) and a baggy T shirt, and as she overtook a gaggle of boys heading to school, they all started sniggering and giggling, until I galumphed past them.

Perhaps they were innocently giggling and sniggering about their maths homework but I very much doubt it, so I asked them what was so funny, and that shut them up pretty pronto.

Anyway, yes – long aside over –  the solution to this hot and humid weather does not lie in wearing less clothing.  Not here in Delhi, it doesn’t.

Nor does advice about going out earlier to beat the heat really work here.  We are all out running very early as it is, given our climate, so unless we start getting up at 3am, there’s not much one can do, is there?

So, what to do?

• I take my runs w-a-y slower in this weather, and drink a lot of water (a future post about loos, methinks…)

• After my poor show at my last HM, I take along some fruit gums to chew on, to give me some energy.  They are usually sticky as hell by the time I remember to eat them, but I guess a bit of sugar gets into the system.  It’s an odd diet for so early in the morning – sticky fruit gums and raisins which have become sticky by association.

Ah well, needs must.

And yes, I know, I know, really need to add salt to this odd diet.

• I carry my camelback with at least 1 litre of water, and since it has been in the fridge overnight, that initial coldness on my back seems to help.

• I wear a hat against the sun and I somehow feel it soaks up some of the sweat that otherwise trickles down into my eyes.

Trawling through all the various foriegn running sites for advice, I did come across a great idea:

“Wet and freeze your hat or a bandana the night before longer runs.”

Trying that tomorrow, for sure.

So, other than running slower and listening to our bodies, and hydrating properly –  what else should we be doing?  If you have advice and tips, do please share with us all.


And I shall end with the real reason I run so slowly in this humidity – I have a perfect excuse.  I’m old!

“Age is another variable—over time, your body becomes less adaptable to heat; age-related changes to sweat glands can decrease sweat production and reduce the body’s ability to cool itself effectively.”

Thank you runnersworld.com 🙂

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What did you see on your run? #6 Delhi by night

Today’s atmospheric running image actually comes from last night, if you see what I mean.

This photo was taken by my cyber friend Harminder Singh (we Instagram, we are taking part in the same #100days challenge) –  so, yes, Harminder has been running at night a lot lately.  I’m not a huge fan of running at night, but I have to say that this street looks quiet and well-lit.

Thanks Harminder –  and please keep the photos coming.

So what, exactly, makes someone a runner?


Sonam, one of the young ladies in my running group, posted something to our Whatsapp group yesterday.  It was this quotation – above – from John Bingham, and it certainly resonated with our group.

We all started as total novices in September 2013, a group of women who had never run before, ages ranging from 13 to…well, to me, the old age pensioner in the group.  That year, after 10 weeks, we all ran the 6km Great Delhi Run as part of ADHM (Airtel Delhi Half Marathon). Most of us are still running, still meeting, and we are all still friends.  Some of us have graduated to half marathons, there are plans afoot to go for a full marathon in Mumbai in January 2016, so yes, I guess you could describe our sMiling Girls group as a group of runners.

Sonam’s post made me think about what, exactly, is a runner, and at what stage can one legitimately call oneself a runner?

I certainly didn’t describe myself thus for ages, imagining hoots of derision if I said “Oh, yes, actually, I’m a runner.  I just ran a 6km race” and so for the longest time there was an awful lot of “Oh, I’m not really a runner, I’m just a beginner…very slow…just starting…still learning…” until one day, someone told me to stop parrying every question about running with a derogatory “Oh, I’m not really a runner” kind of comment.

So I stopped.

And, mentally, I became a runner.

A v-e-r-y slow one.

A very h-u-f-f-y and p-u-f-f-y runner.

But a runner nonetheless.

And that is because I run.  No more no less.

It’s not really rocket science, is it?  You run = you are a runner.

Does it matter how fast you run?

No, I don’t think so.

Does it matter whether you look like a runner?

(Yes, you’re right, I just included that question to make you angry and reply !!)

Does it matter how long it takes you to complete that 5km, 10km, HM…?

No, I don’t think so.  Isn’t the whole point to compete, to enjoy, to test oneself?

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So, please, won’t you share with us the moment that YOU became a runner?

What did YOU see on your run today? #5 comes from Ahmedabad

Remember our very own marathon man, Piyush Shah, who I told you about a couple of weeks ago?  The laconic, low-key gentleman from Ahmedabad who is attempting to run 100 marathons in 100 days.
As one does.

He’s just completed his 64th marathon this morning, by the way.

As one does.

Anyway, Piyush-ji sent me this photo of himself doing a headstand while #outforarun.

As one does.


So on this particular morning run, Piyush saw (upside down) lots of little boys looking at him in some astonishment, and they saw our marathon man showcasing his yoga skills.

And what did YOU see on your run today? # 4 comes from Paris

Today it’s Bastille Day, le quatorze juillet, and so it is entirely appropriate that your running photo of the day comes to you from France.

And what a photo.

C’est vraiment magnifique.

This fab photo was taken by my friend Chantal Wanten, a Belgian friend via Johannesburg.  We hiked together back in our South African days, but we never ran together –  since we both started running only recently, Chantal in Paris and yours truly here in Delhi.


This gorgeous panorama of the Paris skyline was taken from the Parc de St. Cloud, which is now very firmly on my running To Do list, on a future visit to Paris.

#stoppedforaphoto  #outforarun

Merci beaucoup Chantal.

Who let THAT **** dog out?

A few days ago, a lovely lady who runs and blogs, Anupriya Kapur, shared a blog post about avoiding stray dogs when you are out running.  I read the post, noted the many helpful comments and tips, and stored all the advice away for future reference –  hoping, of course, that I would never need to use them.

Fast forward to last night, when I set out for an evening run in my neighbourhood.  The same route I take every single day.

Not even 250 metres from my house a dog, on leash, held by its teenage owner who was busy chatting on her mobile, jumped up and bit me on the hip, while the owner finished her conversation, in a flurry of “Oh God…sorry…chalo bye…talk later…sorry.”

Now, and here’s the thing…unfortunately, all the good advice people had offered about stray dogs hardly applies when the dog is on a leash, and with the owner supposedly in control.  With the owner standing right there, trying to pull it off you.

Can hardly pepper spray or hit the dog, can you?

Let me tell you what I did not do. As in the things that might have provoked a dog to attack…

• I was not running –  as I said, wasn’t even 250 metres from my house, so was still warm up walking.

• I was not talking on my phone, nor listening to music, nor did I touch the dog, nor did I touch the owner, nor did I make any gesture as I passed it.  I was just walking.  And there was ample space, so didn’t squeeze past.

• I was wearing a light T shirt.  Someone commented about Anupriya’s post that dark clothes may spook dogs.

• It was still light.

So, sadly, I must conclude that the dog was just downright ill-tempered and out of control. As a dog lover (and an owner of a street dog myself) I really didn’t see an attack coming.  It jumped up, sunk its teeth into me and held on for a few seconds, until the girl pulled him off –  and yes, it hurt like hell.

I’ll spare you the chowkidars all watching and doing diddly squat to help.

I’ll spare you the to-ings and fro-ings with the girl, her brother, their mother – “Kya hua?” in a sceptical tone of voice until I yanked up my bloody T shirt and said “Yeh hua.”


As it was an “owner” dog and not a stray, I asked if the dog was inoculated against rabies, and they showed me its injection book, which was up to date, thank God.

Feeling slightly nauseous by this stage, I hobbled home and went to my nice local GP.

And so, folks, this is what happens if you get bitten by a dog –  and I wouldn’t wish it on any of you.

I had a tetanus shot + a rabies shot.

My GP said that even though the dog seems healthy and is inoculated against rabies, had the dog been bitten by a rabid dog, then it could nevertheless be infected.  So he gave me one injection and says I must do a visual check on the dog every day for a week, and if there are no changes in its appearance, then I should be OK.  Otherwise, it’s the full course of rabies shots for me.

Meds for 3 days = antibiotics and painkiller.

Instructions to wash the wound thoroughly, since the skin had been broken, to wash off whatever was in its saliva and could infect me.  Doc cheerfully informed me that since it was a surface wound, it would hurt even more than a deep one, because many more nerve ends are affected.  Great.  Just great.

This morning, I went out for my usual run, taking the same route and the wretched dog was lying inside the compound gate (where he usually is most days, lying down next to the guard) so I didn’t get a proper look at him –  could just see his legs and his red harness.

What I did note this morning, however, was just how many people carry sticks on their morning walks.

But these are all for the strays, right?

Not for a dog on a leash, with the owner standing right there.

So, folks, as you did for the blog post about stray dog attacks, I would welcome advice on what to do in such circumstances, and whether you feel I handled/mishandled the situation.


I’ll spare you any more gory injury photos, but FYI here is the prescription, which you might find helpful –  though, as I said earlier, I wouldn’t wish a dog bite on any of you.


But, should it happen :

a) check that the dog is vaccinated against rabies.  If it’s a stray, then you know your answer straight away.

b) get your shots immediately.


Oh, and by the way, to all friends who are part of our #100days challenge…late at night, back home from the doctor’s, I ran 2km (v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and oh-so-boringly) round and round and round and round my roof terrace, all injected up and medicated.

But I ran.

Your daily running inspiration starts right here…

If any of you have ever watched in awe as the elite runners zip past you at the speed of light, then this article from Britain’s Financial Times is the perfect read for you, this wet and windy Sunday.

Well, it’s wet and windy and overcast and very humid here in Delhi.  (And yes, indeed, perfect weather for a run!  Just heading out in a mo.)

In the very little “serious” racing I have done, ie 2 x ADHM and 1 x SCMM, the elite runners were African to a woman/man.  And mainly east Africans at that.

To read the story of Geoffrey Mutai is little short of inspiring.  Born into poverty, as a youngster he had to work at back-breaking jobs to help feed his family, who are all dead against his desire to run.

Thank goodness for us all, Mr. Mutai and his determination win the day.

I love this quote, below, which sort of puts the whole marathon running obsession into perspective :

“For most people in the western world, running a marathon is the ultimate challenge – it’s the product of months of aches, blisters, fund-raising and the obsessive Instagramming of muddy trainers. Chris Brasher, one of the co-founders of the London Marathon, often called the race “the great suburban Everest”. But for Mutai, and for many like him, the tough part was arriving at the start line.”

And as I head out to run in the rain, I leave you with a wobbly-filmed moment from ADHM 2014, as the elite women swept past us.

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Slowing down to film this may well have cost me 3rd place in my age category.  Can you credit it?  I came in 4th – boo, hiss.  Lesson learned.

What did YOU see on your run today? #3 is from South Africa

I have a lovely, terrifyingly accomplished friend who lives on a farm in South Africa’s Western Cape. A championship rider who also runs and writes a blog and is writing a book. And of course she loves dogs.

Yes, quite.

What’s not to like about Sarah Arnot?

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On her morning runs with the adorable Seamus, Sarah documents the amazing floral life of this gorgeous part of a gorgeous country.  She is especially fond of fynbos –  a unique heathland vegetation that really only occurs in the western Cape.

Hence the name of her blog.

This is what Sarah saw on her latest run.  An endangered flower no less.


“The first Leucospermum lineare of the year.

This lovely pincushion, known as “The Vulnerable” and a member of the protea family, is endangered.”

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your running photo of the day.

And please keep sharing with us.

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