Over the last 3 years of running, I've forgotten to carry my kids' diapers and tooth brushes while on travels, but my running shoes - never. :)The witness is in that epic 'You are incorrigible' look on my husband's face!
I cannot separate my love for travelling from running. The vacation is incomplete if I haven't managed to put one foot after another on a new road!
I disconnect from everything I know/ come from.
I connect with myself in a new place. strange place?
I like to take risks and in a new place it is easier to take some.
I espcially like the long slow run in a new place. An invigorating little adventure by itself!
But I think, it's mostly a heady happy mixture of being able to take my unparalled joy of running just about everywhere...
2017 showed me some new places. Took me back to some old! My runs in these places gave me new realizations, new roads and well - new memories.
I started the year at a National Park! My love for national parks has everything to do with being a mother. To a runner, national parks offer the unique gift of isolation. For once - I wasn't making the effort to disconnect with anything. The Tigergarh part of Bandhavgarh is a very quiet zone, tucked about 2kms inside of the main road - that was all I needed. A single road. Was asked to stay away from the road from darkness till daylight. Simple! A winding road going from the middle of a village, with jungle on one side and high barbed wire fencing! Of the 5 days there - I ran almost everyday! 5-7km, no music, clear in the head leading to clarity in the mind. Does that make for an year of endless possibilities? It was January 1st, 2017 - after all.
If you haven't seen my photologue on my runs in Moscow - here's the link! But what you need to do is - Close your eyes, imagine sub zero temperatures at noon time, a wind to match that temperature, a beautiful river, a long running track along that river, and then see yourself running through all of this! A deep down realization in Moscow - Running makes me embrace situations- the will to feel the tingling in my feet be it any weather and to disconnect from everything I know - is overpowering.
My daughter and I took this little trip together to this city where I studied and started my career in management. I wanted to show my daughter that Bombay is a world by itself - a world where I came in as a post graduate student and left it as a happy independent working woman! Bombay stays special. Ashita, my host - my school friend, is a runner and she took me to run with the popular South Bombay running group - Savios Stars. I did a 8 km from NCPA to Chowpatty and back. Running through that patch of south Bombay, buzzing past - Jazz by the Bay, the midnight Buffets of Marine Plaza, the performances at NCPA, the walks on Marine Drive - a very motivated strong independent 24 year old woman kept strumming my mind.
The Rainy Road. If you love rains, then you are aware of the paradise our western ghats turns into during monsoons. Chasing rains has everything about being a die hard romantic or a child at heart! It was end of June. North was burning. My husband had some work in Pune and I said - Why not! Why not pile on and run in the gorgeous green of Sahaydris!!!! Even before we left -I was dreaming of the vast wet green and long roads of Lonavala! But it rained every minute of our trip there. Then one morning I decided to just drive up the hill, wait for the rain to stop! I wore my running shoes - knowing well that they would be soaking wet given the rains! But crazy is another name of every runner :).
This was a girls trip. Two moms and two daughters! What the mountains do to me, the beaches can't. But there is still nothing to beat the calm of running alongside the unending...! Was very lucky to have Dinesh Heda (ultrarunner) - willing to show me the best of early morning Goa on feet! We decided to run from Calangute beach to Fort and back. Dinesh, of course, an incredible runner - running up the fort road like it's nothing! Going beyond the sea- Fort is lush, serene, quiet, lonely and has an amazing road for runners! As a kid, to a college girl, to a working woman, a mother and runner - no matter how many times I've gone back - It has something for every stage of life.
The city of lakes. A city I had never been to. I did a long slow distance of 15km from the hotel to Fateh Sagar Lake. At 6.15 am, the city's roads looked wide. Everytime I lost my way, I asked a random walker or the street sweepers and they happily helped a running girl. It was great to not to be stared at. Fateh Sagar had a 1.5 km road good for running. I ended my run at the historic Saheliyon ki Baudi - where my family was waiting for me. My hotel too had a small hill - where I did my hill repeats. The city has so much royal grace to it - I would love to be a part of an organised run here - and run through the ups and downs of the old palace markets!
Chandigarh is home, my home town, my querencia! Even though I went to Chandigarh in May, am putting it at the end of my blog. Because Nothing beats running alongside Sukhna Lake, or going on the trails behind the lake, the roads from the Secretariat....beautiful wide clean roads with Amaltas on both sides, and trees that were planted back when Chandigarh came into existence! It's been my home for the last 21 years...there is nostalgia waiting to strike me every 30 meters of that city.
This year, I ran in extreme cold, the lazy winter sun, a hot golden summer, green wetlands and now back to the blue of the season! It's been a year full of stories. Taking a deep breath and ready to dive into a new year...have no clue what it would be like....a clean slate...a new chapter...a state of endless possibilities?
Happy Running, wherever you are.