9 May 2015

What good is a run without a visit from the paramedics? :-)

Many of you may not know this, but my running career started rather ignominiously. Almost to the day, ten years back, I went out for my maiden run at 11 am in the heat of Dallas. Let’s put it this way – I had to be helped back home by the paramedics. Ten years later, I had a sense of deja vu today.

It all started with Sharmila offering to pick up Natasha from her horse stuff which is what I usually do. I got all excited that I had some more time on hand and decided to put in a long run. I realized it was going to be hot (85 degrees) and in direct sunlight – so I chose a very flat route to try and put in a half marathon – a little over 21 km or 13 miles.

The run itself actually went pretty well. Surprised myself a bit at the pace – 2 hours and 14 minutes (at a pace of 10 min 15 sec per mile). At the end of the run, I was tired but was feeling fine. I reached for a few bottles of water from the car, the phone and plonked down in a shade. I figured I would recover for about 20 minutes and then head back home.

Sipping water, I glanced at the phone. And that is when everything went into a tailspin. I was immediately greeted by a text message from Sharmila telling me she was on her way with Niki to her dancing class and that like every week, I would need to drop Natasha at her classes. In all that excitement of putting in a half marathon, I had completely forgotten about Natasha’s classes!

I had thirty minutes of time and it would take fifteen minutes to reach home. I realized I might be in trouble. Started all sorts of mental calculations – should I keep a few minutes at hand to take a cold shower before I dropped her (I needed to quickly cool down my body temperatures after being in 85 degree direct sunlight for over two hours) or should I grab a lot of carbs for a quick lunch so that I would not faint. (I had dropped 1600 calories at that point of time).

Realizing I did not have much time in hand, I got up to go back to the car. That is when I realized I might have bigger decisions to make. I staggered to the car and started driving. In about two minutes I realized that I needed more recovery time and I was feeling doozy enough that I was going to endanger my and others’ lives. So, I just pulled over to the grass from the road and laid down in the shade of a tree. The spot happened to a minute’s walk from a firestation.

About five minutes later, a gentleman called Sam came by asking if I needed help. I was able to talk fine – I told him I need rest. He suggested we get help in case I have a sun stroke. He and his girlfriend made a call and also called Sharmila to let her know of my status. Soon, we had the cops and ambulance on the spot. By that time, I had started recovering slowly. A quick check of vitals showed there was nothing to panic about. The cops left but the lady in the ambulance hung back suggesting that I do not drive at all and she would wait till somebody showed up for me.

As you might have guessed, figuring out I was not going to go anywhere in a hurry, I just hung back and chatted her up about her life and how she grew up. We talked about the business she and her husband also ran (lawn mowing) and we compared notes of pros and cons of Fitbit, Runtastic (she had one on) and Nike Fuel. Also the challenges of iWatch technology for people with tattoos on their wrists.

Meanwhile, Sharmila had told a few of our friends – Samaresh and Amitesh in particular to see if any of them could reach me earlier than her. Samaresh was the first one on the spot. And he was totally underwhelmed. Here he was expecting to see somebody lying down on the road with all sorts of flashing lights around and people peering into me on the ground. And here I was – now pacing up and down in front of the fire station and stretching my legs πŸ™‚

We decided to go to the Starbucks nearby (I needed some sugar shots quickly). Amitesh with his family and Sharmila and Niki showed up there to meet me. As I looked around, I suddenly realized that not only was this one of my better half marathon practice runs, I do not think in any actual half marathon race, I had had as many people ever come to wish me well πŸ™‚

Posted May 9, 2015 by Rajib Roy in category "Running


  1. By Malika Ghosh Garrett on

    Goodness – glad you are well. We had our share of running craziness too this week- Russell has a foot the size of an elephants foot to prove he can’t just start running like he always did!! Be careful and as they say here CHILL a bit!!

  2. By Madhav Durbha on

    Rajib – Very interesting, but glad it all worked out well in the end! Running has become a bit of a passion and obsession for me lately and I finished my first half marathon in March. In 85 degree weather, I am making an assumption that you had a bottle of water and an energy gel shot or two with you for a 13.1 mile run…. or may be you should!

  3. By Anastassia Dees on

    Glad it turned out ok, but please be careful. Sun + running are tricky! PS, let’s run more, did you get my pm about potential races?

  4. By Madhu Kota on

    I haven’t got sun-stroke after running but hit the wall a few times. The very first time I experienced “hitting the wall”, I thought I’m going to die – didn’t know what was happening to my body.
    Luckily, we live in a well connected world – help comes quickly (and brings a bit of drama too :)! Glad your story ended with Starbucks (not Emergency Room). Happy Running!

  5. By Gaurav Deshpande on

    Reason #1,000,000 – why you should consider a move to California, where we always have pleasant running temperatures :-)! Hope you are feeling better Rajib – take care!

  6. By Sibapriya Dasgupta on

    Rajib, my sincere request(not advice) to you is that not to consider yourself as a machine.There are many individual variations which are inexplicable.In your situation release of stress inducing chemicals from your brain in response to the thought of meeting the unexpected deadline was responsible .Keep running, but run less to run more!

  7. By Rajib Roy on

    Sibapriya, which brings us to an interesting discussion. What is the definition of “less” and “more”?

  8. By Rajib Roy on

    Gaurav, thanks! I am doing great! Actually, I just needed the recovery time right after the run. In fact, I put in a 5K this morning to loosen up the muscles and it all felt perfect…

  9. By Prabir Nandi on

    Bigger decisions are taken closer to self/home. Glad that you were able to take the right decision to pull up and ask for help. Here’s to a speedy recovery !

  10. By Baishali Chakraborty on

    Rajibda, bhalo thakun sokolke niye. ar majar majar blog likhun. Kolkata ele abar amader bari astei hobe.


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