heels on fire: 03/27/06

Monday, March 27, 2006

Route Map and Running Risks

When I left South Africa I carried a letter from my old housemate and good friend Tim. In it he wrote that ‘life is never stagnant…that we are all firmly trapped in a roller coaster cart taking us through twists, turns and loops beyond comprehension….its more hectic than you want, but rewarding and enriching beyond your wildest dreams!’. Those words held true for me this past weekend.

It started with a sunny early morning Covent Garden breakfast and coffee chat. It was the first time Rahul met Robin, Kruti and Tulika. The coffee went cold as the conversation flowed freely. Lots of brain storming lead by Tuls on the website and blog. Robin espoused places of interest in Kerala intertwined with anecdotes and stories. Did you know that in this highly literate state where political discussion is encouraged and debate expected, people get paid to read newspapers. That’s right, in many factories in Kerala, it is the sole job of dedicated employees to read the daily newspaper across speaker systems to the workers. Debate takes place across the work floor. Impressive to say the least!

With a list of ideas Rahul and I went off to Stanfords Map and travel shop where we spent the next few hours ploughing through maps and guides discussing and planning a route. A route, which takes in different extremes of mountains, backwaters, open plains and the luscious coastline. It will take us through rubber and cashew plantations. Through hideaway towns in the hills of the interior, and fishing villages by the Arabian and Indian Oceans.

Using a cunningly devised distance guage down the side of a bookmark, we worked out the ‘as the crow flies’ kilometres between each daily destination. It struck me later in the evening; the disdain with which I differentiated so readily between what may be a 25km and a 35km day. It was unspoken between us, but I knew we could see how easily we under-estimated so many of the daily runs!

There is a growing sense of the risks we are running towards with such enthusiasm. Dave, Lynne, Diane, Todd and many others have all taken me aside for a ‘quiet chat’ about the run. There are very real risks. The heat, traffic, illness and dogs stand amid a sea of concerns to confront and manage. The runners amongst you will appreciate the small cuts and sores that develop over the monotony of a long run. The cuts will be intensified and cultivated in the tropics where 40-degree heat and 80% humidity can be expected. Folks, we know this and please rest assured that whatever can be done to protect myself, will be done with diligence.

So there we have it. A roller coaster ride which is at times beyond comprehension, which I truly believe will reward and enrich our lives. There is no question in my mind that this is worth aiming for.

Good to have you folks at my side.


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