Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6, 2013

Today's run was a new route, complete with exploration and challenges! Running in the Diplomatic Area of Delhi is nice. The streets are wide, lined with trees and the buildings are beautiful. I pass embassies, colonial-era bungalows and monuments to the greatness of the Indian subcontinent. This route, the Moti Bagh 5 Miler, leaves the Diplomatic Area. Could things be that different?

If you look at the map below, you'll see the Ring Road about half way between Mile One and Mile Two. The Ring Road aptly circumnavigates what most people consider to be New Delhi or more appropriately, Delhi as it contains Old Delhi as well. But today's run had me thinking about the Ring Road as a border. Without creating too many generalizations about what's inside and what's outside of the "Ring," I'll talk specifically about what happened when I crossed this particular portion of the border.

The first mile of this run is on one of those wide, tree-lined streets that I talked about earlier. It takes a fun detour over a railway track, passes a huge private park for railway employees (but probably not for the ones that serve tea) and an army something or other. It's nice. Then it crosses the Ring Road, up and over six lanes of dirty traffic on a pedestrian overpass. The minute we entered the neighborhood on the other side, it was like entering a completely different place. The streets were narrow, hot, and choked with flies. All available space was taken up by buildings. While the people on the other side of the Ring Road were walking, jogging (ahem), and otherwise slowly waking up to their days, this side was packed with people working. They were loading and unloading, washing cars, carrying goods to/from market. The contrast was stark. Google Maps had me thinking we were cruising around a park, but it sure wasn't the Railroad Employees private park from our side of the Ring. We ran past a busy market where at least four or five dogs wanted to give us some attention and then made our way back to the Ring Road. This area is currently ripped up for Delhi Metro construction. Up and over another overpass and the run took us back into the (relatively) quiet and clean Moti Bagh North.

Of the multitudinous things that I love about India is the fact that within a mile (1 MILE!) of where we live, we can see and do so many different things. The contrasts are incredible. The first time I came to India and described to people back home I said, "The colors are brighter, the sounds are louder, the smells are more intense." It's a crazy place, and I'm humbled to have the luxury to explore it on my morning runs. 

Thanks to Keir for joining me on the exploration and for pushing crazy splits! Our first three miles were 8:21, 9:19, 9:14. The last two were 7:38 and 6:42. Granted, his gps said we didn't do a full five, so maybe that last one is off a bit, but still. Too fast.

Distance - 5 miles
Time - 40:29
Soundtrack - Summer Guide 13, a playlist from an old friend with an obession. Check his blog to get great playlists. Thanks Regan!

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