Sunday, 30 August 2009

Routine Post

and we are back
  • It's been over a week since I was diagnosed of jaundice and have since relocated, till I'm all better, to New Delhi. Although, I wasn't doing too good in Bangalore, I have been recuperating at a fast pace now. In fact for the past 4-5 days, I haven't been feeling weak or ill -- although my eyes are still a scary yellow. I wish to go back as soon as possible.
  • My participation in all the running/cycling events in the near future look bleak. Today, I was supposed to run a half marathon in Hyderabad, which ostensibly I didn't. The marathon at KTM is out of question. I surely can't run the 50 KM in the Bangalore Ultra. Now the Tour of Nilgiris also looks doubtful, although I hope I'm wrong.
  • In the meantime I have been doing a lot of reading (at least for my standards). I finished reading Jared Diamond's "Guns, germs, and steel" and am currently reading Ramachandra Guha's "India after Gandhi". "Guns, germs, and steel" concerns itself with the question "Why certain human socities ended up conquering or dominating others?" Whereas Guha's book is more closer to home and talks about contemporary Indian history. Both are excellent books and I would recommend it to everyone.
  • I have also been watching quite a bit of television -- which is a rarity since I don't own a TV in Bangalore. My favoured few channels are Star World, Discovery, and Travel and Living. Although I did chance upon seeing few of the Indian reality TV shows and was left quite scared.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


In my last run it seems that I overstrained myself. That night I had fever and the following night (yesterday), I got so weak that I couldn't get out of bed for most of the day. In fact I had to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, I seem to be recovering and am in much better shape today. To be realistic, I will not be able to regain my level of fitness by the time KTM arrives. Seeing how things are I won't be running the Full Marathon at KTM or the Hyderabad Half Marathon.

Disappointing, but that's life and I will live.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tough Run

I’m an endurance runner. I shit out 100 meters like a trail of bunny droppings.

Today, that was not the case.

350 m into my scheduled 8KM run and I start getting side stitches. Three Hundred and Fifty Meters! And I was jogging at a pace of 9 KM/H! Nine Kilometers an Hour! Bad bad bad. The stabbing pain got so bad that even before I hit the 1 KM mark, I walked a bit (20-30s) before I started jogging again at my slow-ass pace.

At the end of 27 minutes, I had finished 4 KM. Half way mark. The pain had subsided quite a bit and I thought I could up the ante.

Next 4 KM I ran at a pace of 6:00/KM (10KM/H). It was not easy mind you. Again, the side stitches started before the end of the first KM, but I kept on going.

At the end of the next 24 minutes, I had finished the final 4 KM.

Total time: 51 minutes.

And yes, I was drained. Rather than finishing an 8 KM it felt as if I had run 30 KM. I was tired and inactive for the next two hours, before I got some energy to walk and talk.

This is extremely disappointing and frustrating. Before I fell ill, I was in the best shape of my life. I would have even said that I was ready to run the full marathon. A week before, I ran my 20 miler and finished strongly. Now I'm struggling with an 8KM.

Will I be able to run my first full marathon as scheduled? I don't know.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Usain Bolt's 100m World Record (9.58s)

First watch the video.

I don't own a TV, so this video is courtesy a friend who shared it on Facebook. I heard that, when this was being broadcast, none of the Indian sports channels were covering it. Apparently, while the 100 m sprint in Berlin was going on, DD sports was discussing how India's minister P. Chidambaram saw the Badmninton tournament by purchasing tickets after standing in the queue. And how he was not wearing a dhoti.

Informative? Very.

The good guys at Science of Sport have run a number of articles analyzing the performance. I'm sure they will have more to say -- including their predictions on whether any foul play was involved.

Tyson Gay must be the saddest person in the world right now. He ran his personal best. In fact he ran the third fastest time in the world ever ... and still lost to Bolt.

If you really observe the video above and compare Gay and Bolt, you will find a marked difference in each of their styles. Bolt has a longer stride and lower leg turn around rate, whereas Gay's leg turn around so fast that they are a blur.

Awesome athletics! Sucks that not many people in India are interested.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Power of 2

Given my past few days of sickness and the forthcoming marathon, I need to ramp up to fitness level - 1 ( level 1 being the highest) at a very fast pace. In accordance with that, my coming week's runs are scheduled to be like so:


Distance (KM)











Table 1. 17th-23rd Aug 2009, Week's Distance Goal.

I did a measly slow ass 5 KM run yesterday at NGV. I finished the distance in 30:33. Though it was mostly a slow run -- that was the plan -- I was basically flying the last 400 m or so (see graph below).

5 KM Pace Vs Distance Graph

And that was truly exhilarating. I feel running is freedom in its purest form. Thanks for bearing with me.

Friday, 14 August 2009

How important is warming up?

Coach Joe English along with coach Dean Hebert run an excellent website called . They tackle many running related issues ranging from nutrition, to training, to injuries, to a lot more. And all of this coaching experience is coming to you ... FOR FREE! Thank you, the internet lords.

If you haven't already, shine the tractor-beam of your RSS aggregator towards the aforementioned site and grab everything. Also, while you are at it, also go and watch all of their Desert Series videos on vimeo. The videos are fun to watch and insightful.

"But, hold the phone", you say, "I thought you were going to be talking about warming up and its importance, not about some website." Yes, yes, smart one ... we are. See as it turns out, I asked a question about the same on running-advice and it was featured in one of their posts. So there you go, here's what Coach Joe writes:
A reader named Rohit writes in with an super-duper excellent question that I am so glad was asked. Here’s the question:

“During a lot of my long runs, my fellow runners rarely warm up. Most of the time the attitude is, we will get warmed up while running and that warm up is only required on race day. I understand that warming up is important while doing intense training runs, like intervals or hills. But if I’m doing a long run, or an easy run, how important is warming up?”

First, let’s just get this out there. Warming up is absolutely essential and should be a part of every workout.

Read the rest at

I feel all important right now. Let me bask in this glory for a while.

A month to go and I fall sick

There is a month left to go before my planned first full marathon, and guess what ... I fall sick. For the past two days I have been running a temperature -- nothing too much; all around 100 F; no flu symptoms. Learning from my past mistakes, I saw the doctor right away and got medicines. I have been careful; on medication; and as of right now, the fever is not there.

Now, this has come at a very crucial stage. I could only do 1 training run out of the 4 in the week. There is a scheduled 14 mile long run on the weekend, but I'm not sure if my legs will have it to carry me through that distance. Also, do I really want to exert myself and do the 14 miler right away? I don't know.

But more importantly, I'm concerned as to how seriously this will have an affect on my performance in the Kaveri Trail Marathon.

I think it's fine that I didn't hit all my training goals this week. But the coming week's long run -- a 20+ miler -- is going to tell me a lot. The problem is, if I fail in that run, I will lack credible confidence going into the marathon -- not knowing whether I'm fit enough to finish the race.

Why? Because after the coming week is over we go into taper mode -- wherein the weekly running mileage falls and runners train less so that their legs are well rested for the marathon distance. The question really then will come down to, do I sacrifice on taper and lose out on physical strength but gain mentally? Or do I train hard in the taper weeks, and gain mentally (confidence), but lose out physically?

Trade-offs trade-offs, how I hate them.

All is not lost and as one great Bollywood hero once said, "Haar ke jeetne waale ko hi Baazigar kehte hain*" (screw you, if you don't understand Hindi).

To new challenges ... we march ... ONWARD!

*Of course, in the end our Baazigar friend has a very sorry demise, but let us not focus our attention on minor details.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Treadmill 20 Miler

Once upon a time, I didn't wake up on time and did a half marathon on the treadmill. Similar story today.

As soon as I woke up today morning, I knew something was wrong. I wasn't feeling sleepy -- which usually is not the case when you wake up really early. When I checked my phone, to look at the time, I saw it was dead. That moment, I also realized that the alarm hadn't rung. When I parted the curtains, I could see some ambient sunlight. Surely it wasn't 4:45 AM (my scheduled wake up time). Of course, it was in fact 6:00 AM.

When I put my phone on charge, I started getting messages and missed call alerts from my running companions querying my whereabouts. I responded telling them about my phone alarm fiasco -- sad but true.

But then, I wasn't going to just give in to circumstances. I wasn't going to say that the universe doesn't want me to run, so I will not run. Screw my phone! Screw the universe! For today's run, I ATE PASTA YESTERDAY NIGHT! And run I shall!

The idea of running it on the treadmill just came and I never questioned it. I guess having done the half-marathon on it instilled some confidence.

The bad part about running on the treadmill for so long is that it's excruciatingly boring. The good part though is that you don't really need to worry about water, food, electrolytes -- they are all right there, because ... well ... you aren't going anywhere, are you?

Long story short, I did the 20 miler (32KM) in 3:27:01 (inclusive of water, food, electrolyte breaks). I split the distance in 5KM intervals, wherein I would take water breaks. At each 10KM interval, I would munch on something as well. At the end I finished strong.

Oh and by the way, the real pain starts when you stop. If someone drew a line from my heel all the way to my neck, every muscle on that line was paining (the good pain though).

A good run. Onward!

P.S: I pay my humble respect to Pasta. Without your contributions, my today's run wouldn't have been possible.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

One year of running

Yesterday saw me celebrate one year of running. That day last year, I ran my first 5 KM as part of the training plan for my first half-marathon.
  • Total Mileage -- 1809 KM
  • Three Half Marathons, One 10K.
  • 3 Shoes
So much sweat and pain.

But that aside, I enjoy the sport for its sheer simplicity. The fact that you can take it anywhere you want with minimum hassles.

I enjoy the feeling which you get when you are on the final stretch, your shirt drenched, you can hear yourself heave; heart thumping, and then you decide to push a little bit more -- teeth clenched.

This year also introduced me to the excellent community of runners here in Bangalore. Believe me, Bangalore is the place to be running. Be it weather wise, the places to run, the people, and the beer.

Going forward, I'm looking to successfully complete my first full marathon at KTM (training is going good, thanks for asking). Following which I'm going to focus on developing speed.

Let's see how that goes. ONWARD!