Most of us know what that phrase means.
I spent the days from Nov 9-Nov 15 in Mumbai where I had to go suddenly owing to my Mom's health problem. She is fine now. I spent 5 nights and 6 days with her in hospital and did not get much running done.
My 3 runs probably totaled 10-11 miles. The first run was about 3 miles, the second between 4 and 5 while the final one was about 3 miles again. Mumbai is one of the most polluted cities I have ever visited. Breathing was troublesome at best and running extremely hard.
My title "Running On Fumes" is a tongue-in-cheek comment about the fumes, i.e. pollution, in Mumbai.
The longest run I've ever done in Mumbai is 26.2 miles when I ran the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 0n January 15, 2006. That was a hard race made easier by the fact that I ran it at an extremely slow pace - I was running with 3 beautiful women and they pretty much gave up after 20 miles and walked the rest of the way back. We finished, almost last, in 6:50! The roads had opened up 4.5 hours into the race and the organizers had run out of water and had ceased to even bother to send more out for us slow runners. The heat, in mid-January, was oppressive and the pollution and the exhaust from the cars going past us was too much for the 4 of us.
A few pictures below. The first one show the Start area. The second one was taken right alonside the Marine Drive flyover. It shows the early miles (around mile 3). The right side of the road is how we returned to the Finish. The bridge, on the way back, was at about mile 24.5.
I had nothing but admiration for some of the locals who had signed up for the Full and were trying to keep pace with the 4 of us in the waning miles sans water and gels of any kind. It was apparent that the heat and lack of food had gotten to them - they would walk/run for a few hundred yards and then sit by the roadside to recover. They followed this pattern all the way to the finish. Testament to their fighting spirit!
Owing to my deviated septum (I'm having surgery for it in a few weeks) breathing these days, while running, is more or less hit or miss. Most days it gets hard to get a full breath in everytime. There are those days, few and far between (last evening was one such run!), when everything is in sync and I'm firing on all cylinders. That's when I feel like the old days are back - when I could maintain a 6:45 min/mile pace for a 10K (42:11 in June 2004)!!
The pollution in Mumbai seems to compound my problems tenfold. Each of those 3 runs was different. The first one, right after a 30-hour plane trip, felt OK. The breathing was off and the heat was palpable. The second one, a few days later, was better - breathing OK and heat not that bad. The last one though was simply horrible - the evening smog caused a pain in my chest and I felt uncomfortable all through.
People in India are not very exercise minded though that seems to be changing gradually in urban areas. There was this one person who, when seeing me approaching me on one of my runs, pointed at me and asked "Marathon?". So cute!! A person running on a crowded mid-day road (vehicles will not make way for pedestrians; that's how it is out there!) is weird and not a sight they are accustomed to.
I'm glad to be back and to be able to run long miles in air that's clean(ish) and pure. Blessed California!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Run safe out there.