It is said that your passion will never leave your tail. Wherever you are, whatever you become you will always find time to follow your passion. Whether it is a sport or a hobby it will always occupy a part of your mind, how much ever busy you are. This is a beauty of your passion. The same passion keeps you moving ahead, keeps you on the edge of your life, gives you a hope for living and as goes the saying. Hope is a good thing and good thing never dies. It’s been two year since I have kept my passion of writing and running on the backburner. Primarily due to birth of my lovely son and change in the job. But as both the things have stabilized, the itch in me to start running and writing has got more stronger. And in the last month I have made conscious efforts to don my running shoes and go for run. The first run after a long time, took me back by almost 6 years when I had started running. I could run only 800 meters and it was not at all disappointing. What was extremely satisfying was that, I went out of the house and just ran. The distance did not matter, the time did not matter. All that mattered was that there was sweat dripping down my body and a certain indescribable feeling was taking over me. The ecstasy which you feel after finishing the distance, the unbearable sweet pain which is running through the legs is all worth it.
In the last 30 days or the maximum distance I have managed to cover is around 2 kms. But at the end of the 2 kms, it gave me tremendous satisfaction. It reminded me of the time when I used to struggle to cover even 2-3 kms. That was the time when it was extremely frustrating. That was the time when I was in awe of so many fellow runners who used to cover huge distances from 10 kms to 50 kms. But today for me even that distance of 2 kms is a glory since I know there is a restart and greater distance are in store.
One of the most intense and difficult workout was done today at the Nike Run Club. This was totally unexpected. I knew that coach focusses more on the strength build up during this period which is typically after the Mumbai marathon and the rainy season. But this was a very intense and energy sapping series of exercise. The day usually started at 630 am with stretches and running ABC’s. These are the exercises which are done for improving the Gait and the form while running.
10- In this the 10 stands for 10 pushups to start with. The pushups needs to be military push ups or baby pushups if someone is doing it for the first time. People with problems in shoulder joint can do the baby pushups or ladies who are doing the pushups for the first time.
20- Next in the sequence is mountain climber. This is an extremely important exercise for improving the core stability while running. This needs to be done under coach’s supervision in the start as there is a possibility that it will be done incorrectly. The incorrect posture while doing this could lead to issues in the back or in the groin.
30- The 30 number next in the series are the squats. Squats are one of the most simple but very effective exercises for the legs. It targets hamstring, buttocks and overall posture. Like my coach says, if you want to have buttocks like J Lo you need to do this exercise. This is a major boost for ladies to exercise.
40- The 40 in the series are for jumping jacks. Jumping jacks are the warm up exercises which also contribute a lot to the flexibility of body. It also helps develop coordination between legs and hands.
50- Next in the series of the workout is high knee. Ideally on a forward moving path, you bring your knees to your waist size and move forward. This is repeated 50 times. This is an extremely important drill. It is also part of ABC of running. This will help you in those last 7-8 kms when your body just gives away.
60- Lastly the exercise is a 60 sec plank position. By this time you are extremely exhausted after performing the exercises. Plank will help you build your core strength. It will help you give a balance to your body. The last 4-5 kms are the ones when you stoop in your position. This particular exercise will help you in avoiding that. You have to ensure that your body is in parallel to the ground. One of the very important aspect of this exercise is that after you finish this exercise, do not put your waist down. Instead bring your waist up and rest on your knees and hands. This will ensure that there is not unwanted pressure on the waist and also help minimise the injury.
This routine of exercise has to be done twice one after the other. In a week you can do this 2 times. This will definitely help in giving a better physique and overall structure to your running form.
There are times in your life when you ponder over your past and try to take a leaf out of it and based on that try to take a decision of your present circumstance. I am going through the same thing. The excitement of running a full marathon is indescribable. The moment you get to know of the time and date when the registration would start you start planning on how to register as soon as the window opens. These days the bibs finish the moment the registrations open. After registering you get serious about training. First thing is you day dream on the time you want to finish at. This year I had day dreamed of finishing the full marathon in 4:30 hrs which is a full one hour lesser than the last year. But have things ever happened the way you plan them. A job change, baby and a gastronomical issue disrupted the training in a big way. I have not been able to train the way I wanted to or the way I had planned to. Till now there has not been a single long run of more than 15 Km. This has worried me a lot. I have lately been thinking whether I should attempt such a long distance without any training. But every time I think, the runner in me wakes up and says you will be able to do it. I start re planning my training runs and hope to finish the 42.1 kms on Jan 19th 2015.
This year was a year when there were lot of changes in the personal life. A new job and a kid in the same year took a lot of time. It takes quite a lot of stress to get into the new job especially when you report to the top guy in the company. Then there was a situation which took a lot of time, energy and money related to the medical condition. This led to 2014 being a not so exciting year for me in running. Ignoring all that there was one things which I ensured. That I would run whenever I would find time and if I don’t find, I would dig out some time. In addition to running I also ensured that I would do strength training at least twice a week. Today though I am very weak in terms of running mileage, I know I am strong physically and it would not take me much time to get back to running. Tomorrow I am going to attempt a 15 km run which would increase my confidence to attempt the full marathon which I will be running on the 19th Jan.At the time when I registered I had set a target of 4:3 Hrs to finish, but practically speaking at this time now it looks unlikely. But I am not going to compromise on the finish. I have to finish is my primary concern.
Come monsoon and the running season begins with new fervor, new excitement and new training with new targets. Everything seems new. After a slight layoff from running your first step of a new season reminds you of the first step you took as a runner years back. That’s the beauty of this sport. All your memories anxiety and excitement of past flashes before you. Soon you realize how much you need to improve it terms of distance and time and you feel yourself as a small speck in the whole wide universe.
This year I have registered for the biggest running event in India. The Mumbai Marathon. It will be held on 18th Jan 2015. In between there will be many half marathons which I will be running. Some would be purely for practice purpose and some would be for improving pace and timings. One of the best marathons to run in and around Mumbai is the Vasai Virar marathon. This is possibly the most difficult half marathon. It starts pretty late as it is on outskirts of Mumbai. So people might need some time to get there. The marathon starts at 700 am. The route is pretty simple route with not much inclinations. What makes it difficult is the extreme humid conditions one has to face. The route is close to sea which increases the humidity. Another marathon is the Goa Marathon which is held on the first Sunday of December every year. Then apart from these two there will be innumerable long runs over the weekends and many sessions at the Nike Run Club. There will also be many consultations with the coach on the running technique and what to eat and what to drink. Which foods to avoid and how much should be the level of hydrations and many things like that.
This time I am targeting finish time of under 5 hrs. For the last 2 time the full marathon I have run I was able to finish the marathon at 5:33 hrs and 5:37 hrs which I think is not a good time. Last time the good part was that I was able to run 23 kms non stop without any breaks. After 23 kms when I took my first break, that is where I lost the momentum. The breaks became very frequent and I wasnt able to sustain the speed. This time it will definitely be a different story. I plan to train hard and stick to the training plan. Need to ensure the distance is covered each day as given in the plan. The greatest struggle I am having now is the pace. The pace is always hovering between 7:00 and 7:30 mins/km. I need to bring this down to anywhere between 6:30 and 6:50. And once this is done then need to stabilize it at somewhere close to 6:30. This should give me a good comfortable finish in the 42 km full marathon of under 5 hrs. I am sure with proper discipline and approach and ofcourse hard work it can be achieved.
The temperature outside is hovering around 35 degree centigrade. Humidity is above 80%. You have completed around 15 kms and it is just the half the distance you have planned to run today. As usual you had set the alarm way early in the morning and you must have snoozed it atleast 5 times before deciding it was enough. And by the time you hit the road you have kicked yourself for starting out so late. You reach the starting point, do a quick pre run stretches and start you run slowly and steadily. The first 2-3 kms of run are quite anxious as every part of leg pains and twitches. But as you finish the first 2-3 kms, you start feeling strong. The sun is out and humidity is also rising. You curse yourself for starting out late inspite of waking up at the first alarm and play the snooze-alarm snooze-alarm game.
Isnt this a story of every runner who plans a long run every sunday? Well mine is and as soon as you hit the half way mark of your run, the energy starts draining out. The road ahead looks difficult to cross. This is where the mind and the body starts fighting with each other and your mental power comes into the picture.
There are few things which have helped me in cruising through those tough second half of the long run..
1) Tables: Once the going gets tough, I start reciting tables in my mind. I start with simple ones like the tables of 2, 3, 5 and then slowly go on to the tough ones above 10. The best ones are the one belonging to prime numbers like 13, 17, 19. I dont stop till the multiples of 10, but go on till 20 or even above that. The tougher the tables are, better it helps me in diverting my mind from the pain in the legs or the body.
2) Another method is to plan your work for the next week. As this long run happens on Sunday, you have a whole week, when you can plan your work and tasks for the week. It helps a lot as when you run, you feel you are meditating and there are lot of things you remember which you wouldnt have. I think running releases some hormones in your body which really helps you in clear your thoughts.
3) One more method which is really effective is to count the number of cars of a particular brand. This keeps your mind off on the run and within no time you finish your next run target. This could be slightly tricky. If you are running on the a service road and the road is slightly away from your running route, you could strain your neck muscles. But if you are running on the same road then it shouldnt be a problem. Try this out. This could be real fun.
4) This is my favorite. When it really gets tough and you need every ounce of energy from your body and muscles, just start singing. Sing in a loud volume and sing your favorite song. Don’t worry about the tone. Dont strain your self too much in doing this or else you will lose your breath. Make sure this is done with proper inhale and exhale of air and the oxygen required by the muscles.
The excitement to participate and run in my second full marathon started almost two months back, when I realized I was not upto my training. The excitement soon turned to anxiety and with one month remaining for the marathon turned into a scary situation. The training runs were not completed on Sundays. Every Saturday at Nike Run Club, the speed workouts and the core strength workouts were not very fruitful. With just a month away from the big day, I decided to pull up the socks and ensure the runs were completed to the brink. The last long run was supposed to happen just 3 weeks prior to the big day. A week before the 32 km run it was a 28 km run. Everything went well till 22 km in that run, but then I hit the wall and dragged myself till around 24.5 km and then I just had to quit. I spoke about this to my Coach and he said not to worry and go ahead with the 32 km run the next week. I told him I just screwed up my 28 km run and he said not to worry and go ahead with the run. Not to worry about the timing and concentrate on finishing the run. As per his advice I was able to finish the run. The timing was very poor bi then that was the last thing on my mind.
The rest of the runs every Sunday went fine. I had purposely skipped the Run Powai run race as it was only a 10 k race and on that day I was scheduled to run 15 kms. which was part of my tapering plan for the big day. Slowly the race day came nearer and nearer and with that my anxiety and excitement for the big day increased too. I went to the exp a week prior to the race and collected my bib and the goodie bag for the marathon.
There I met and saw Milind Soman, India’s top shot Model and a runner himself. He would be running the full marathon completely barefoot a week later. He was at the expo to launch FlyKnit shoes from the Nike Stable. As the big day neared my eating habits and the sleep pattern changed too. I was sleeping a lot, eating more than I usually eat and running far less than I had run in the past few weeks. The night before the marathon was clouded in the usual excitement. i went to the temple as per my routine on Saturday evening. Ate pasta and had dinner at around 930 pm. Somehow my timex ironman GPS watch was not coordinating with me. I had to transfer all my previous runs on to the system and free up all the memory it had taken. Somehow it was not getting detected. Fortunately it worked fine and was able to transfer the runs. I tried to sleep but there was a song stuck in my mind. I had set the alarm for 3:30 AM the next day and wanted to sleep early so that I get good rest. But as expected I finally went to sleep only at 12:00 AM.
At Bandra worli sea link
I woke up at the buzz of the alarm and did my morning things and was ready to leave the house at 4:15 am. I went to the station and reached the marathon start line well just before the start of the marathon. There were almost 3000 men and women running the full marathon and it took me about 5 minutes to reach the start line. When I crossed the start line, a huge wave of excitement went through my soul. I was very happy to start my second full marathon and was hoping for a good finish. The start was good. I made sure I picked up the water at every water station. The first couple of kms went by pretty quickly and i was going smoothly keeping a pace of 7 mins/km. At around 7 kms I met two runners who were from my locality and we started speaking with each other. We have always seen each other running during the practice runs, but never cared to speak. I guess it was out of laziness or just plain ignorance. After chatting for a while I asked them to move ahead as I was running a lesser pace than theirs. Soon after that I saw the half marathon coming from the opposite direction. The pace at which the first person was running was just stupendous. He was literally flying. This gave another wave of excitement. At this point I was going smoothly at a predefined pace of 7 mins/km. Soon the sun rose and and the skyline changed. Now all the full marathoners were facing the racers who were doing half marathons. I saw quite a few similar faces in the crowed. Waved to them, gave them good luck. By now I had completed 15 kms and as per the plan I had to take my first break. But I was feeling good and there was not much tiredness. I thought I would continue and see how far I can go without stopping. Earlier during many races I had stopped before I actually got tired which actually went against me later. So I pushed myself. Met few friends on the way. I had asked my wife to station herself at around 23 kms. I took my first stop when I saw her waiting for me with Gatorade and dates. That was the time when the elite runners went past me. The way they run is the most beautiful site a runner can experience. It is full of great pace, smooth strides, perfect stride length. Just watching them gives you a great shot of excitement. After taking the gatorade and the dates, i started my onwards journey to the finish line. Some how after that my pace broke and I was finding it difficult to continue at the same pace. Till my first break I was thinking of finishing the marathon in around 5 hrs, but then I started taking more walk breaks. Soon I got taken over by 5:00 hr bus at around 30th km. I tried to keep to their pace, bu they soon went ahead. I was unhappy that I wont be able to finish the marathon in 5 hrs. I was regularly drinking water and gatorade and also eating dates and whatever were offered by the bystanders. Soon the psychological mark of 32 km went. I was feeling slightly dehydrated and trying to push a little, when I felt a sudden small cramp in my calves. That’s a time I got scared and decided to hold back and recover from the cramp. I was taking more walk breaks and taking it slightly slow. Soon 35 kms went by and we came to the party. The party was of 6 kms dream runners who were having a good time with various display of the organisation they were representing. I saw a lot of people cheering up for the full marathoners and admiring them for attempting to finish the distance. This bought joy and pride to my heart. Soon saw the 40 km mark and felt very nice. At around 41 km mark came the two runners whom I had met at 7 km mark and really cheered for me to finish strong. I did manage to run with them for few hundred meters but then asked them to move ahead and finish strong. I finally finished the marathon in 5:27 hrs. My wife and friends were waiting at the finish line to welcome me and it was great moment of joy to see her. After the mandatory high fives and few pics of finish, I went and did some stretches. Also went to the medical room to use the ice pack on my calves and thighs. Went to collect the medal. It was a great moment for me. I had been practising for the marathon for almost 4 months. On the whole it felt very nice to wear the medal though I was disappointed with the timing which was much more than what I had expected.
Its been a good 2-3 months since I have been using the Nike Pegasus 30 as my primary running shoes. I have run around 250 kms in these running shoes and I am very pleased to say that three has been no issues with the shoes. The size of my feet are different for both the foot. My right foot is US 8 size and my left foot is US 8.5 size. I always have this confusion when I buy any shoe whether it is formal shoe, chappals, sports shoe or even slippers as every brand has a slight different way of fixing size for the shoe. I always have to read review, ask people try them out before deciding which ones to buy. I wasn’t sure which ones to get as my previous shoe were Asics. Should i go for size 9 or size 8. I finally decided to go for size 8. The shoe fits perfectly on my feet. Infact at the first look it may seem to be too tight with not much space at the front. But it turns out it is not really a problem. I have had 2-3 long runs of more than 20 KM and my worry was that I will get black toe nails. But till now there has been no problem. Aesthetically this shoe is a nice looking shoe, grey in colour with a white Nike Swoosh. It looks good on feet with any shorts and T shirt color. The Nike pegasus 30 has got a mesh at both the sides of the shoe which gives good breath-ability to the feet. The lace of the shoe is well designed and has the round form. I haven’t had a problem with laces coming off during any of my runs. I will have to see how it reacts during my runs during the rains. The Asics which I had before had this very irritating problem where the lace was coming off frequently during one of the marathon where it rained. This shoe is a toe strike shoe. So if you are traditionally a heel striker like I was you may initially find some trouble adjusting to it. For me it was a matter of 30-40 kms before the shoe became my friend. The Cushlon technology which this shoe endorses is really effective. I have had no issue with my Gait. The earlier shoe gave me ITBS. I was very sceptical to use this shoe for my regular runs. But after running in them till now I have had no trouble with it. The real test of the shoe will be when I will be running the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on 19th Jan 2014. It would be interesting to see how this shoe will react to the distance of 42.2 Kms. This review is a personal review and should not be taken as generic review for Nike Pegasus 30. Every person has different set of feet, so one should buy the shoes which will “feet” them perfectly. Just a disclaimer.
I have often wondered many a times which and when is the most sound sleep I have experienced. This thought specially comes when I don’t get a sleep in some nights. When you have so many thoughts, that you dont know which one to really follow. When all you do is stare at the revolving fan on the ceiling, stare into the dark nights. You curse yourself for not working hard enough in the day to get quick sleep. You try to concentrate on one thing or thought and pray to the god that you get sleep as quickly as possible. And in spite of all these, you fail to get sleep.
I remember the most sound sleep I have ever got was after my first half marathon in 2011. I had completed the half marathon in 2:38 hrs and both my legs were aching. My groin was slightly injured and I had difficulty walking. The moment I reached home I put both my legs in hot water and let it cool down.After keeping my legs in the hot water for 30 minutes, I had a good meal and straightaway went to the bedroom. I made sure all the curtains were on and it was as dark as possible in the room. The time was around 1 pm. The moment I hit the bed I dozed off. After a sound sleep of around 4-5 hrs I woke up in the evening. For a moment after I opened my eyes I couldn’t remember where I was or whether it was sunrise or sunset. The sleep I got was an amazing one and it is something which I will not be able to forget for a life time. I woke up with all my muscles sore. The pain was really sweet. It was beautiful. It was as if my muscle were alive and kicking. I went to the front room, had a good cup of tea and decided to go down the building for a walk. It was one of the most beautiful evening. I came back had my dinner and again went back to sleep. This time around too the sleep i got was very sound and peaceful. It was something which I will remember for a long time.
Running has given me such and lot of new experience which I never imagined I would come across. It has helped me in discovering about myself which I thought never existed. It has helped me in making me mentally and physically strong. It has helped me in finding solution to problems which I thought would be very difficult to solve. It has helped me in realizing what my body is capable of. It is indeed a blessing in disguise. I am realising it all the more today because I quit smoking this day 4 years back and have never looked back. To dissipate my unused energy and time after I quit smoking helped me to discover the joy of running and in turn helped me in finishing my first full marathon of 42 kms which is magical in its own way.
For a long time man’s quest is to find solution to the numerous problems he has faced. He always wanted a quick fire solution to the problems he had. To begin with he had a tough time realizing that there is a problem, let alone find solution to it. He had been thinking it is not his problem and something like that can never happen to him. In the same way, I as an individual do face problem in day to day life. Sometimes silence is the solution to the problem and sometimes speaking is the solution to the problem. Over the last couple of years, I have found out a method through which not necessarily you will get a solution, but you will definitely make a headway towards the solution. And that my friends is “Going for a Run”.
It has been documented and also been spoken about that one of the best ways to come out of your problems, sorrows is running. I have a friend who started running after she broke up with her boyfriend. She was dull and was always sulked, when one day she just decided to go out of house and run. That day she came back as a different woman. Every meter she ran she left a memory of her past and did not pick it up. Today she has run many many marathons and also successfully completed South Africa’s famed Comrades Ultra Marathon.
Then there is a story of a woman who was a chain smoker until few years ago. She had tried to quit many times but in vain. Every fifth day she gave up and hit the butt. Then one fine day after quitting she went for a run and never had a reason to hold the cigarette butt again. Today she promotes smoke free life in the many marathon she runs. She also has a annual event of duathalon where she rides a bike and runs a half marathon and promotes non smoking life.
For me, I have found solace in running. Whenever I face a problem at work or at home, I make sure I go for a run. The run clears the clog of thoughts in my mind and from nowhere it gives me a thought or an idea how to get the bottom of the problem. I get a headway in getting the solution to the problem. It has happened many a times that there is a challenging work in the office and I am stuck somewhere. At this point I just think about the problem and somehow I get to a point where I start solving the problem. Also running helps you dissipate the negative energy in you. There are times when you are frustrated with things which are beyond your control. You feel like taking it on someone who’s close to you and are comfortable with. Like your friend, or your wife, or your children. But you don’t realise how much it would hurt them. Though you clear your mind and frustration. In this situation running is what comes to you help. You just go for a short 30 mins run and it would clear your clogged mind.