The run (no, not "the runs")...

Trip Start Nov 23, 2007
Trip End Jan 23, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, December 17, 2007

so, i'm sitting here reading the morning paper on Friday, enjoying the freedom that a holiday break brings (the yoga shala is now closed for 3 weeks). i get through the "foreign" section catching up on the latest george bush and jennifer anniston gossip. the press seems equally interested in both topics (but, who isn't?). i scan the sports quickly, because until i get a real foot hold on how Cricket is actually played, the section isn't a huge pull, but!...on this day there is an article in the bottom right hand corner about the Bangalore International Marathon the coming Sunday. i thought to myself, people are going to be so impressed that i had the restraint to say, "no, Ted, i'm not going to do it, those running shoes have been hibernating on that bottom shelf over there for over 3 weeks!... i'm sorry if you were one of those people.

saturday morning i jumped on a local bus for the 3 hour trip to Bangalore, with my running shoes on and running shorts, taking the place of my flash, stuffed into my camera bag. i had no expectations. i had been meaning to explore Bangalore anyway, and if i get to explore it in the more laid back environment of a half-marathon (ya, i wasn't stupid enough to attempt the FULL marathon), then all the better. when i stumbled out of the India Accountants Convention, realizing that these weren't runners, i finally did find the Race Registration. i was slightly nervous that there was a case of mistaken identity, because as i approached the table they called some people out and escorted me into the back room, sat me down, helped me fill out the registration (which was in English, but i'm not one to shun good help), gave me a t-shirt, a cap, and my race number (screen printed on cloth), and wouldn't let me pay the registration fee (which is good, because these race fees are getting out of hand; this race would have cost me 100 rupees!--wait, that's only $2.50.)

the next morning was beautifully chilly, as i stood there on the race track, in the olympic-sized Sree Kanteerava Stadium. as the sun started to come up you could see the graceful buzzards circling (hopefully eyeing some clandestine garbage pile outside the stadium, and not me). and when that sun comes up, let me tell you, it's at least a little easier to blend in when on is wearing long pants and normal clothes, not so much when you're wearing short shorts and a Hanes underwear tank top. the game of "who's the white guy?" is won by many, rather quickly. but, after awhile, i realized that they were pretty excited about the crazy foreigner. at 615, the eighty marathoners were off, led by a contigency of 10 Kenyans and Ethiopians (all with an eye on the prize money of 10,000 rupees). at 630, the rest of us (around 800), lined up and took our lap around the track and headed out into the city. i was a little nervous, not about the running as much as about the busy streets, but it was all for naught, there were plenty of officials, police, and barricades on a very well-marked course. i want all the races i do to be marked in kilometers vs. miles, it makes you feel like you're flying, another kilometer marker around every corner. i locked into a nice easy pace and just enjoyed the sights. the runners themselves were fun enough to look at. i saw some with cell phones, one in jeans, one of the runners had pulled up and offered me a smoke about halfway through. Much footwear that i saw out there that i wouldn't have trusted comforting my feet while i was sitting. but, people were having fun, runners and crowd alike (the traffic, not having fun quite as much), like any other race i've run. it was an out and back course, and when i began to see some of the people who were ahead of me and who were already headed back, i stopped laughing at the footwear, because a good quarter of the Indians who were ahead of me weren't wearing ANY shoes! now i ask you, how is Nike supposed to sponsor that?! i entered the stadium once again to make a final lap of the track to the finish line, in just under 2 hours. i made it. though i do have to say that i gave a wink to a statue of Ganesh, the god of overcoming obstacles, at about 17km, to help me overcome the last 5km. at the end there were hi-5's all around, some water, an interview with a journalist of The Times of India, and of course what race would be complete without a post-race spicy Indian samosa. but, i couldn't dilly-dally too much, i had a free continental breakfast at my hotel that ended at 10am! i thanked the race coordinator again, gave a few more hi-5's, and was gone, basking in the knowledge that today for this race, i was the top American finisher (please don't bring up that i was also the last American finisher).

well, that's my 20 rupees worth.

Schools out and i'm now on the move, watch for that little red dot on the map to actually begin to move (very indiana jones like).

this week's yoga pose of discontent: Supta Kurmasana.

i love and miss you all and i'll see you soon.
ps. for those of you in Bangalore this coming weekend, the Scorpions are on tour, and playing a few gigs.
pps.don't tell Saraswati that i ran, and probably ended up backsliding on a good 2 weeks of my yoga flexibility with this race.
pps. mike, don't worry, i still took my splits. we can analyze them later.
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