Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The South Beach Run.

Map view of run from Mobor Beach to Benaulim Bach.

It seems ironic that my first blog post in Goa is on my fitness blog instead of my photography blog. I had promised myself that I would focus mostly on photography during my vacation and give my running legs a rest but I guess even if you take the running legs away from the treadmill, you cannot take the running from the legs of a dedicated runner.

My plan was basically run on the beach as far as I could and then figure out how to return back home. I was hoping that I could run as far as the Colva beach (I estimated this to be about 12 kilometers from where I live, which is the Mobor beach). The last time I tried running here was back in May, when I has come down for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. At that time, I could do only about 8 km. But since my running has improved a lot since then, I thought 12 km should be achievable.

I started at 7:30 am. The weather was crisp and beautiful. And even though the sun had come up, it was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds. Ideal combination for a long run.

The beautiful Mobor Beach.
I started off at a fairly strong pace and maintained my pace. The tide was low so the beach was nice and hard. The only dark spot was the Nike+ GPS app - which was crashing every time I tried to select music. Finally, I decided to run without music which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I could focus on the beautiful surroundings.

I wish I could have taken more pictures of the passing scenery. The beach is dotted with beach shacks and people strolling around for an early morning walk. There was even a Rampon (a method of fishing by casting a big net on the beach and pulling it from the 2 sides) in progress, which is always an excellent photo-op but I decided to focus on my running and continued on. At one point, I suddenly encountered a small river flowing into the sea and blocking my progress. I decided that water was not going to stop my run so I just waded through the knee deep water. The shoes were soaked and I have a feeling that I may have damaged my Nike+ sensor.

The water-soaked shoes slowed down my running and it was getting uncomfortable. I finally reached what seemed like Colva beach, so I ended my run and was feeling rather pleased with myself for completing the distance in 1 hour.

Ramponkars contemplating putting their net.
I stopped and chatted with some Ramponkars, who seemed very perplexed as to why a Goan would want to run on the beach. They were very helpful and suggested that I walk up to the bus station and catch a bus back home.

It is only after I went up on the beach that I realized that this was not Colva beach. I had actually stopped at Benaulim beach, which is about 3 kilometers before Colva. I was too tired to restart the running so I decided to return home by bus.

A fruit stand near Benaulim beach.
I stopped by a fruit stall and gobbled down 3 bananas to help recover from the run. The fruit owner (ever the salesman) wanted me to eat more. "Body acha hai - Aur theen kao" which means "You have a great body - Eat 3 more". While I was flattered with the compliment, sane judgement prevailed and I decided to move on.
I caught a local bus to return home.

The bus was packed so I had to squeeze myself next to an elderly lady who kept looking at me in a very displeasing manner as if to question my judgement of coming in a bus with shorts. But I was already feeling elated with the fruit sellers compliment so I decided to ignore the stinky eyes from the lady. I finally reached home from one of the most interesting runs.

UPDATE: that was 2 days back. Since I do not like incomplete challenges, I strapped on my shoes this morning and went all the way to Colva beach.

Map view of run from Mobor to Colva.
Now I can sit back and enjoy the rest of my vacation.


  1. Keep it up,
    long runs builds a personality.

  2. Thank you Yousef. Your running is an inspiration to me - and I am sure to all the long distance runners who have read your story and the journey.

  3. Hey, just wondering if you hit purple level on your Nike+.

  4. Hi @Anonymous..I am currently at 2247 Kms, so I need another 252 kilometers more to reach purple level.
    As I had initially predicted in June, I should hit Purple somewhere by the end of February or it may be the 1st week of March.