Last Saturday I embarked on a trip to Srisailam with a group of friends and covered 475 kms. within 36 hrs. Three cars started from different parts of the city and met in Mehdipatnam at 7 AM where we rearranged ourselves into preferred groups within cars and started off. It was my first long drive and I was quite looking forward to it for quite sometime. Though the Santro is not really an ideal highway vehicle, Jenny still managed to hit 120 km/hr for decent stretches of the way.
I am planning to run the Hyderabad half marathon on the 26th of this month. My registration’s done and the acknowledgement is safely in my wallet. Yesterday was my last long run as preparation for the half marathon. Ran 16 kms from my home all the way to my office in Gachibowli. It gave me enough confidence to think that I will be able to complete the run with the extra five kms. as well. I was slower in my run than I thought I would be, though in my defence, I must say that a lot of the course was uphill. Anyway, I am mentally prepared to run for three hours if needed. I will run 10 kms. next weekend and I should be all set for the D day.
Our first stop was at a petrol bunk outside the city, as one of the ladies wanted to use the washroom. The rest of us fooled around with our cameras taking pictures of groggy companions who were complaining about their lost sleep on a Saturday morning. At around 8.30 AM we made our next stop near a dhaba. Tea was ordered and sandwiches- vegetable, cheese, and potato- were unfurled and hungrily eaten. Another half-hours till our next stop at an embankment and we were definitely in the country now.
I had only five hours of sleep the previous night, not the best preparation. And on top of that, forgot to fill my pockets with dry fruit, which I had planned to eat while running. Left home at 6.50 AM and trotted out. It was two weeks since I had a good run. I had planned to run while in Srisailam but that hadn’t materialized. Without a significant warm up, the first few kms. were not comfortable but I expected the run to ease out which it did. Running on city roads is not the most pleasant experience. In the morning, you cannot avoid the view of people relieving themselves on the roadsides. I could have run in the park like I usually do but wanted to run on unfamiliar terrain to prepare myself. Found myself in traffic in Krishna Nagar with trucks parked all over but hit Jubilee Hills soon and it was better.
Once we took a left to hit the road leading towards Srisailam, roads became better and driving, a pleasure. It’s a hilly area around Hyderabad and there were quite a few hillocks with huge weather-beaten rocks making for a good view. Onwards, we hit fields on either side, the sun came up and smiled on us quite benevolently. I noticed a lot of beautiful yellow flowers along the way on either side. My window was down just enough to allow the pleasant cool breeze to whisper its way around my ears while sister changed the CDs as they ran out of songs to play. I have a good collection, in my opinion, mostly English though.
Jubilee Hills is a good place to run if you don’t mind the uphill terrain which slows you down. Roads are cleaner befitting a posh neighborhood. I wasn’t worried about my speed yesterday, just wanted to run all the way without having to stop or walk or break down. There was a chill in the air, just how it should be in November. Turned into the main road leading to Madhapur and it was downhill for sometime and I was really enjoying the run now. I was breathing well and there was good rhythm halfway into the run. Then suddenly I had to stop to hold a trolley of rusks and biscuits which was coming down the slope towards me while its owner was relieving himself on the side of the road.
Srisailam is at an altitude and pretty soon we were climbing winding roads up hills. Srisailam also boasts of a very well managed Tiger reserve, which is not open to wildlife tourism but you do drive through the dense forests on either side with adventurous monkeys frequenting the roads being spoilt by the nuts thrown for them by passers by. Pretty soon we were making frequent stops to gather the beautiful view of tree lined hills below us into our respective cameras. Soon we were going downhill heading towards the dam built on the Krishna. The Srisailam dam is an impressive sight, an oasis of man’s significant effort though dwarfed by nature’s own astounding architecture all around it.
Madhapur is Hyderabad’s IT destination. The sun was up now but thankfully behind me. It started getting tougher around the 11-km mark when I hit Kothaguda junction as the calf muscles started complaining about the uphill route which continued all the way till the company gate. The last 500m was quite tough as the eyes had started watering, it being two hrs. and some more of running without any liquid replenishment. But I was happy that I made it.
From the dam it’s again uphill all the way till you reach Srisailam town, which is a quaint little place. We had rooms booked in advance. There’s a ropeway, and some boating. I had taken my guitar along and there was drinking that night as well. The drive back was faster with fewer stops.
I paid 130 bucks for the auto ride back.