Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 4, 2013

A Popular Spot on Our Runs!
Last year when I trained for my first half marathon, I fell in love with Google Maps and I was organizing routes for the first time in my life based on distance, so I wanted to make sure I was actually going 2 miles, 3 miles, etc. One of my first routes was a 3 miler that ran past the Salt March statue of Gandhi leading India to the sea to stand up to the British tax on salt.

When it came time to plan longer routes, I immediately took a look to see how far the Gandhi Smriti was from school. I was thinking of making a Gandhi-themed run. Smriti is a word that is usually used in the sense of remembrance, and the Gandhi Smriti is now a museum. The 5.25 mile route that eventually grew out of this search has served as the foundation of all of my themed runs. It changed from a Gandhi run to a route that went past the final resting places of three of India's most well-known leaders. Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru all passed away in my neighborhood. Of course, these runs often lead to google sessions at home to learn more about each of these folks and what happened to them. The Mahatma was assassinated at Birla House, Indira Gandhi was killed by her bodyguards and Nehru died of natural causes.

Fast-foward to a few weeks ago. I was running with friends Scott and Melissa on a new road for me when we ran past the Lal Bahadur Shastri Smriti. How could it be that there was a Smriti that wasn't a part of my run? I made a mental note to go home, find it on the map and Google it for more information. What I found was very interesting. Nehru was India's first Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was the third and Lal Bahadur Shastri was its second. He seems to have been widely liked and humble. He died poor, under mysterious circumstances in Tashkent. He had gone to negotiate a cease-fire with Pakistan and after successfully doing that, he died of a heart attack. Some Indians allege foul play, and in accordance there are several conspiracy theory supporting details. No post-mortem was conducted, the government has no official death records, etc. I knew that this had to become a feature of my all-new Smriti run! I added it to the old route, extending it by a mile and the Smriti 6.25 Miler was born.

On May 4, greeted by Scott and Melissa once again, I offered the new route for our Saturday run. Six and change was agreeable to all and we set off. Adding to the challenge of remembering a new route, we had decided to run it backwards! By the way, this is a great way to avoid route fatigue. The run was progressing very well. There were peacocks all along the route. They were on walls, on the British era bungalow roofs, along the road, everywhere. Things in my  peacock call-induced zone out were beautiful until I was shocked back into reality when I almost touched a macaque. I was running along the sidewalk, minding my own business when I glanced to my right and a two foot tall macaque was approximately six inches away. Knowing that these aren't cute, fun monkeys like the ones in the movies, I give it a calm-assertive, Cesar Milan "tsh-tsh" to let it know that I wasn't afraid (I was) and to let it know that it should move out of my way (it didn't). Instead, it bared fangs, hissed and maybe swung at me. The split-second that this whole process had been slowly taking was interrupted by a scream from behind me, two hands on my shoulders and a jump over the bushes into the street. Scott evidently didn't trust my "tsh tsh." We were both scared crazy and the adrenaline had us running the next half mile a bit quicker.

When we got home, we had a story. I marched up to the apartment to tell it and log then run. That's when I noticed that I had cut out the Gandhi Smriti when I had extended the original 5.25 to 6.25 miles. Now it's time to figure out how to double back to Gandhi while still visiting Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Nehru. The Smriti 7 miler? 7.5 Miler? ...and come to think of it, I know where the grave of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the fifth president of India is.  This route seems to be getting pretty long. Smriti 10 Miler anyone?

Distance - 6.25 miles
Time - 1:07:27
Soundtrack - More Beastie Boys (time to switch up the Shuffle)

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