Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Crazy Idea

I sent out a request for donations that would put me past $1000 in my fundraising and within minutes two sets of wonderful friends stepped up to help out. Thanks for your gifts, Matt & Skye and The Gregors. It really puts me in awe that so many friends are willing to help out with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The organization was so helpful to our family, and the ability to repay some of that kindness means a lot to us. Thank you.

In order to live up to the challenge of passing 1K, I conspired to offer up another of my crazy ideas for a run. Over the past two years, I've grown a reputation for dreaming up crazy runs and somehow convincing people to join me on them! Some of them have been themed (The Railroad Run, The Embassies of the Countries I've Visited Run), some have been pictographic (The Star Run) and others have revolved around my desire to explore (How about a run to see the Hanuman Temple that's made of an 80 foot cement monkey? A 1/2 marathon to Old Delhi and Back? Okay? Let's go!). It was in this vein that I convinced Liz to join me on an exploratory run to Haus Khaz Village and back.

These are some of my most favorite runs in Delhi, or really anywhere. I sit down on MapMyRun, look around for cool stuff and plan routes that:

A: are actually on roads that are "supposed" to be there.
B: are not "dangerous" due to lack of aforementioned roads.
C: not too twisty turny so I can remember the route as we run.

Amazingly (and out of character for most of my crazy ideas for runs), Sunday's was a smashing success. The route to Haus Khaz was easy and except for one small missed entrance to Deer Park, the route went as planned.

Haus Khaz has enjoyed the ups and downs of gentrification. Although it is almost 800 years old, the modern history of the village is what draws most of its visitors. The ruins of the mosque, the reservoir and the madrasa are wonderful archeological sites, but the hip cafes, restaurants and art galleries are what the Delhi elite and expats are coming for. The ruins almost seem like a quaint afterthought. Like any good neighborhood, Haus Khaz became too cool for the cool kids and other, trendier neighborhoods are taking its place. But it wasn't the cafes and galleries I was looking for on Sunday, it was Deer Park. This expansive park would lend itself well to adding miles to a run that is no further than Lodi Garden. The thing about this run, though is the fact that it goes the other way! Most of our runs head east and north, but this one bears almost straight south. There's plenty to see on the way to Deer Park, including a run through the sleepy Netaji Nagar neighborhood, a dodgy Ring Road crossing and a bad stretch on Africa Avenue (crazy ideas, right?).

The arrival to Deer Park, though had me thinking other thoughts. We entered through the Commonwealth Games tennis complex and I was instantly amazed by how nice Deer Park was! There were large lawns, manicured trails and a nice path around the reservoir. If you squinted just right, it was reminiscent of a nice city park in Orlando or another urban area. It was still Delhi, though. The pack of street dogs that chased away an interloper into their territory, the creepers and the unnatural green color of the water told us that. But for here, nice. And for a new route that creates possibilities for more diversity in runs, really nice!

We tried to get from the reservoir up to the madrasa and the ruins, but all of the gates are barred and locked, so we explored a bit for a path out and into Haus Khaz. Eventually we found it, found the next segment and ran along the deer enclosure. Plenty of people were feeding the animals and we cruised past and came out of the park right where I thought we were going to. Success! The crazy route planning worked. I love it when that happens.

The rest of the run was along a busy road and back across the Ring Road and into Sarojini Nagar. We took a pit stop to replace some sweat with Lime Soda, which was much needed after a late night on Saturday. From there it was a few miles left to get home. After a bit more running, we decided that we had had enough adventures for the day and we hopped into an autorickshaw for a quick ride home.

Thanks for joining me Liz and supporting my crazy ideas!

If you want to support more crazy ideas, please donate to keep me running!

Distance - 7.57 miles
Time - 1:18:11
Temp at 6am - Hot. Damn hot.
Soundtrack - De la Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising.

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