February 16, 2011

Auroville Marathon 2011: You'll never run hungry again!

Or rather: if all you do is run the auroville half marathon, you'll never go hungry again. I'm back from a blogging breag and happy to report that Auroville is the best half marathon I've ever run. Why?

1. The company- first official half-marathon for N. The obligatory fun and games associated with training together, almost not getting to the venue on time, celebrating the end of the run, limping up and down the hotel stairs together.. Also had fun training through the year with my Mumbai running buddy and meeting runners from Bangalore and Chennai. I liked the whooshing sound they made as they flew by.

2. The course: Green and windy as it cuts through the spiralled canopy of trees, beautiful houses, pony paddock, schools and gigantic golden orb that is auroville. It's a trail, so was probably kinder on the knees than concrete, though the uneveness may have caused a lil damage of its own. Tough spots: an uphill sandy patch. and the last 2km without shade.

(Great pic, no? Not mine. Not this year either. From here)

3.The weather: perfect. The morning was cold, specially for those who had ridden in on rented Honda Activas.

4. The organisation: flawless. Water stops regularly, friendly volunteers, cyclist and drumming encouragers, course well-marked, tshirts at the end, and apparently some massages at the finish that I didn't bother with because of..

5. The food: Each aid stop (every 3km they said, but seemed more frequent) had the obligatory water, electral (which N said tasted like vodka, in a bad way. Electral complex?),sliced bananas, oranges, glucose biscuits, sliced five-stars, peanut chikki. and some pain management stuff. Did I mention that bananas, oranges, bikkies, chocolate and chikki are all major weaknesses? throw in some chips and you're looking at my birthday party!

Guess who ate too much en route and probably slowed down at the end because she felt a tad bloaty?

Post-run, they had laid out a breakfast of tea, unpolished rice cooked with whole peppercons, sambhar and vadai. There was a humongous line for the food, but by dint of hanging around in a totally different part of the field and looking pathetic, a new food table conjured itself in front of us and food was dispensed with very quickly.

6. Post- post-run- we returned to our hotel in Pondicherry with a large number of stairs (ow ow ow ow ow) and a restaurant under a mango tree. a nap and then a supposedly french, but actually italian brunch was consumed very slowly over 3 hours.

Dinner was tiffin- dosai with three types of chutney and sambar the likes of which those pune udipi joints with their watery red liquid can only dream of..

Oh and the run wasn't bad either.