So I ran the 10k. Well, not quite. I ran, then walked a bit, and then ran again. Please ignore the previous sentence. Let me start again. I RAN THE 10K! I really did.
I’d really been training hard for this run. I ran and ran and ran. During the race of course. Prior to it, I ran on and off. I ran about 6K in about 35 minutes a few days before the event and I wasn’t even tired! Ha! I was wondering if I made a mistake by not registering for the 21K. Now, in retrospect, as Dell Boy Trotter would’ve said, ‘what a plonker!’ (Just in case you don’t know who Dell Boy Trotter is, Google ‘Only fools and horses’)
So I went to sleep at around 10 30 the night before. So I watched the United game (thank God they scraped a win!) and switched off the light at 10 35. Arun, of course decides to call. He was travelling and didn’t catch the game. I had to, of course, describe it.
‘We played OK, da. Just about won. OK. Bye!’
‘How did the forward line do?’
‘Just about OK da. Pretty disjoint performance. OK. Bye.’
‘..and the midfield? Roo played midfield, no? How was he?’
‘He played pretty OK da. Got frustrated quite a bit but not bad. OK. Bye.’
‘…and Lindergaard? He started, no? How was he?’
‘Had nothing much to do da. OK. Bye.’
‘…and… aan! The defence? Good, eh?’
And at that point I realized that I was going to have to describe a lot more. Well, the natural United-nut in me was aroused as well and, well, when United must be discussed, United must be discussed. And so United was discussed. For about 15 minutes. And then…
‘Seri seri. Mokka podathey. I’m on the bus and am going to sleep. OK. Bye.’
And then he hung up. ‘Whatay!’ I said to myself.
So, it was 10 50 now. Light off. Sleep time.
Climb into bed. Blanket but over eyes. ‘Sleep, pliss to be coming’, I thought to myself. And then I said to myself, ‘Dai! Too much time spending on twitter! Yuvar even thinking in twitter terms.’
Meanwhile, in the background: ‘EA Sports. It’s in the game.’ FIFA! My brother. Room sharing with sibling. Bah! The perils of staying at home. So anyway, time for ‘mind over matter’, I thought and went back to blanket on head position. I went toward sleep, and as luck would have it, sleep decided to not come to the party. This sleep chap is really something else. He taunts and teases you ever so often and when you edge closer to him, he runs away. The most curious thing is that he harasses and hounds you when you want him furthest away from you – when you’re in class. So, there I was, trying to sleep. There sleep was. Well, actually, there he wasn’t. Bah!
It’s 4 30 now. The alarm has rung. I must’ve fallen asleep at some point in time. Good. Groggy-eyed and out of bed. Brush teeth. Still too God-damn sleepy. I did consider going back to sleep but I just decided to let instinct guide me. And guide me, it did. To the kitchen. Two minutes later, I was sitting at the computer with a tumbler of filter coffee (double strong, no sugar) and staring at the computer screen. The feeling when that first sip hits your mouth. Aah! As would be tagged on twitter, #smallJoys.
Cut to the chase. 6 30. Off I go. The marathon begins. And so I run. The first refreshment station. Aah! Gatorade. Immediately the mind goes, ‘machan! OC le kedaikudhu. Kudichidu.’ <Translation: brother in law, you are getting it for free. Drink off.’ But I am, if anything, made of stronger stuff. (You will soon see, however, that I am not ‘if anything’ at all. If anything, I am ‘if anything else’. I ended up drinking Gatorade thrice during the run.)>
So in between Gatorades and water, I managed to do around 6K and suddenly I was pooped! I had barely made it past the past kilometre but after I saw the sign saying ‘6K’, I just stopped. I decided to walk until the next refuelling stop where I would resume. And so I walked. And walked. And walked. All those people who I sneered at as I passed them seemed to be going past me. Rats! Lesson learnt. Don’t sneer at people running. You never know when they will sneer back.
And so I decided that enough was enough and started running and voila! Another refreshment centre. Most. Not. Stop. Ooh! Gatorade. And I stopped. And then started.
8K done now. Again, the urge to slow down. So I did. Walked for a few meters. Now, this was the curious bit. I had my iPod on and was listening to a super mix of Raaja and ARR. Suddenly, I found myself walking and right next to me was this little girl, no more than 4 foot tall. I found that she was walking along. I looked at her a couple of times. Boy! Here I was, puffing and panting my way past 8K and here she was, this little girl, nonchalantly walking along.
So, of course I had to talk to her but my legendary shyness would not let me. As a result, I did not know how to start the conversation. Steve Martin saying ‘it ees louly weather’ in Pink Panther came into mind. Tee hee hee. So I summoned up all the courage in the world and said, ‘Hello!’
One nonchalant gaze and she said, ‘Oh! Hello!’
Aah! I’m not all that bad, I thought.
‘So how old are you?’
Holy cow! The race has almost as many kilometers as old as she is!
‘…and how many years have you been running?’
‘Three. But this is my first marathon’, she said, almost shamefully.
‘My father is the owner of Hyderabad runners and I usually run with him. This is my first race though. You know how far it is?’, she asked.
She was a bit exhausted but still wanted to finish it. Now I was pumped up too! I mean, if an 11 year old girl can finish it, so can I!
So I said to her, ‘Heh! Don’t worry. I’m almost 12 years elder to you and this is my first race too.’
It was supposed to be encouraging. It really was. She looked at me almost asking, ‘So?!’ The words of course, were unspoken but I know a ‘so?!’ look when I see one. I seem to get quite a few of them.
So anyway, I said to her, ‘Right! Let’s sprint to the finish!’
She looked at me and said, ‘No.’
Thank God! In my manic moment of stupidity, I suggested a sprint. I mean! What was I thinking?!
<Note to self: Idiot!>
So then I said, ‘Let’s go then! Run run run!’
And so we ran.
‘How much further?’ she asked.
‘Just around the bend. Come on!’
‘Come on! No stopping now. Run!’
And so she did. There were people all around as we got nearer to the finish line. All of them looking at this little girl running to the finish. All of them clapping.
…and then we crossed the finish line. And took the medal.
She disappeared. Then I saw her after a few minutes.
‘Oi! Well played!’, I said and held put my hand for a high-five.
She high-fived me back, smiled and went off.
Well done Spruha. Well played indeed.
Footnote: Ofiicial finishing time: 70 minutes. Really. I have a certificate to prove it too. Ha!