Once I started running at more and more events from 2015 the idea of Runcation came to mind. After all what could be better than enjoying a holiday with Family and Friends with a Run thrown in to boot 😃. Somehow due to all our busy schedules this was not possible though we did manage to club our Family vacation up in the North East with the Kalimpong Run in May 2016.
This year Salaj and I signed up for the Runbuddies Monsoon Marathon Package with something similar in mind. We decided to have fun along with our families at Matheran. We were especially all gung-ho after our wonderful experience at Prabalgad in June.
Unfortunately, I was down with slight fever and severe chest congestion just a couple of days prior to the event. Immediately started on all possible remedies and rested as much as possible deciding to take a call regarding going to Matheran closer to the weekend. I was particularly feeling the pressure since Hubby and Kiddo had also registered for the 5k 😯. Luckily though still feeling weak, I was in Recovery Mode from Thursday.
The weekend arrived and post lunch we took off for Matheran by Cab. Getting off at Dasturi Car Parking we ventured inside heading towards Ashok Hotel for Bib Collection. By now, I was wondering what had prompted me to sign up for this 😑. It was tough enough walking leave alone running the next day. Based on the training involved and our respective Family Vacation plans we had registered for 25k instead of the 50k that we had been contemplating earlier. Thank God, better sense prevailed 😌. In fact, I would have happily switched to the 10k.
Finally we reached Ashok Hotel. Somehow it seemed like we had been walking pretty much forever. It was good to see so many familiar faces and meet Runner Friends chattering away to glory. Spirits revived after collecting our Bibs and some much needed hot tea, we trudged off to Hotel WestEnd to meet Pradeep, Salaj and family. Settling in we friends hung out and relaxed together watching the kids play together. After a quick dinner we turned in for the night deciding to leave for the Venue at 6am.
Sunday morning we all gathered at the Venue. We had fun meeting and greeting everyone followed by some quick photographs after all who knew how the After pictures were gonna be 😂. After the announcements particularly warning us about the overzealous Monkeys that were prone to snatching stuff from our hands and Zumba session, we moved towards the starting line-up. Precisely at 7 we were off down the steep decline, making our way over the jagged slippery stones. Salaj and I ran together with the only goal of returning back in one piece 😀. Running and walking we moved together on the trail joking that we better be extra careful as no one would be coming to pick us up.
Soon enough, we reached the clearing at Sunset Point. After a quick hydration break we ran onwards looking down at the cloud filled valley even spotting a waterfall or two. We ran along comfortably making our way carefully through the slushy mud, jumping over jagged stones and broken branches as we went. Walking wherever required we maneuvered our way forward crossing Echo point and finally reaching the serene Charlotte Lake 🤗.
Shouting and waving to Nikhil Shah we ran across the bridge crossing the 10k U-turn wishing we had opted for it. Admiring the Beautiful Sorroundings we ran forward reaching a huge puddle around the 6-7k mark. Gingerly walking by the side we proceeded ahead waving to Arvind Bijwe as we went along. It was good to see the 50k Runners making their way back on the opposite side. Spirits boosted we ran Cheering, Hi-fiving and Shouting out to each other. Further ahead at the 10k mark we were greeted by loud cheering and clapping by the volunteers 😃.
Proceeding to the Turn Around at Paymaster Park via Adamo Resort we joked about simply taking off to our Hotel round the Corner 😉. Cheering the speedy Runners on the opposite side we reached the U-turn and gained momentum as we ran down the slopes. Now it was just matter of putting one foot after another and tracing our steps back to the Finish. We kept moving from one water station to the next drinking and pouring water on our heads. Conserving our energy by walking on the uphill slopes had helped in a big way and we ran back comfortably. Salaj kept complaining about the jagged stones on the downhill sections which restrained our momentum though. Poor fellow had already stumbled a couple of times in his Sandals.
Cruising by the Charlotte Lake after crossing the earlier humongous puddle and we were almost home free. Overhearing some shopkeeper shouting about Fresh Bhajiya jokingly I asked Salaj if he wanted to stop and have some with Chai 😉. Just then while having Lime juice, glucose biscuits and peanuts at a Water Station, we caught sight of Sanjay and Abhijit inside a shop ahead 😁. Running ahead passing by a few runners and we made our way through the walking tourists. Taking a last glimpse at the breath-taking scenery and bidding adieu to the verdant valley below, we reached the final Sunset Point.
Refreshed after another quick water break we ran-walked the last vicious patch through the forest. Sipping some Kokam at the last Water Station I ran ahead to catch up with Salaj as we proceeded towards the Finish Line. Someone cheered “Just another 50m to go” but what a 50m it was 🙄. Striding ahead quickly I reached the clearing and dashed across in a final speedy burst to finish strong amidst loud cheers and claps by Family and Friends 😊.
Boy, was I happy to see their glowing cheerful faces. They had a brilliant time at the 5k. Thankfully it hadn’t rained at all throughout saving us from an even more slippery challenging terrain. Turns out Kiddo had run throughout finishing first 😎. As for me, I managed to finish in an unexpected 2:54:11 getting First Rank in Girls Open Category. Guess, all the Consistent Training paid off 😊. Best part though was when the next morning my sleepy-eyed Kiddo asks me when she could do her First timed 10k.