Thursday, 30 October 2008

Cycle scrape in the U.S

Driving in the evening,
saw a queer sight,
a cyclist touched by a car,
but he was all right;
now we hear sirens,
a fire-engine comes by,
to aid the cyclist (presumably),
but we were thinking:"Oh! Why?"

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Very poor to poor (to fair)-- Yay!

VO2 max is a fancy term to tell how efficiently your body processes oxygen. Most of it is decided genetically, but some of it can be decided by your training. I started in the very poor bracket. Recently though, I pulled of a 5k in 26 min 54 sec and a 10k today in 58 min 43 sec; and now I'm in the poor bracket -- woohooo!

Want to find your own VO2 max? Go right ahead.

Update (31st Oct 2008): Did a 5k in 25 min 23 sec. VO2 max: 37.6. I'm now in the "Fair" bracket -- Woot!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Half marathon

I ran my first half marathon last Sunday and it seems to be a bit late to be blogging about it, but I guess I can't let my laziness ruin an account of, what I consider, one of my formidable achievements.

I had decided to run a half marathon around three months back. I had just managed to get my BMI in the normal bracket and needed a new challenge or, I knew, I would go back to being a cubicle potato (Webster's, hear me). I decided to run the Mumbai half marathon. My brother had run the dream run (6 KM) last year -- with me smirking at him that 6 KM was not a "real" distance -- and my good friend Addy had run the half marathon. I being an ambitious person chose to run the half marathon. I was one of the earliest to register. Of course, most people around me thought that I was crazy. With reactions from laughter (yes Rakesh, I'm looking at you) to asking questions like "Why would someone pay to run?"

I got a training schedule from the Mumbai marathon website and followed it religiously. Each week I would do three short runs on the office gym treadmill, on weekdays, and one long run on Saturday. Given the condition of my shoes, my doctor had advised me not to run outdoors. So, I would drive all the way to office (10 KM), on a Saturday, go to the gym, get on the treadmill and do my long run. And when I say long run, think an hour or over that.

This went on for a little less than three months and few weeks back I ran 17 KM in Cubbon Park. I knew it then that I would be able to finish the half marathon.

But, being an International Businessman, I had to go to Oregon, for international business meetings. I thought why not run a half marathon there itself -- the earlier, the better, I thought. I picked the Gresham Jazz Half Marathon.

Now on to the race.

That Sunday morning, I drove 40 miles to the place. It was cold with temperatures around 8 C. Fortunately for me, it was neither windy nor were there any chances of rain. I was wearing my dri-fit shirt, underneath the race tshirt, underneath my light jacket. I had gloves and a skull cap. In retrospect, I was a bit too heavily attired. In my defense I didn't want to catch a cold.

The race started at 8:50 A.M. I had expected to run comfortably the first 10 KM or so, but all that was ruined. The first 3 KMs were steep hills. I had rarely done any training on inclines and got caught unawares. I jogged the first hill, but by the time I reached the second one, I realized that if I take these hills lightly I may not have enough energy left. So, like a lot of others around me, I started walking the inclines and jogging the plateaus. Fortunately, the rest of the race didn't have any such terrain.

I was comfortable till the 7th mile (around 12 KM). I had to push a bit after that. I would fool my mind into believing that I would take a break at the next mile, but not do it. I kept on going and my finish time was 2 hours and 14 minutes. Which was a bit of a letdown, because I wanted to finish near 2 hours and 10 minutes. Yeah, I was sufficiently arrogant to believe that I would finish my first half marathon, so I set a target time and not just "wanted to finish".

So, how did I feel at the end? I was just glad it was over. It's a gruelling experience; physically and psychologically. I gained a lot of respect for people who run the full marathon (which I plan to do in another year's time or so). I also gained a t-shirt and a shiny medal, which I have been showing off everywhere and won't hesitate to show off here as well. There you go: