Sunday, December 31, 2006

Super 32

Today I had my best 20+km practice run till date. The only thing that comes close to this is the Singapore marathon run this year. What differentiated this really long run from the others in the past was my mental toughness, after the super run in Singapore, I am now mentally lot more confident about doing similar distances, the physical toll is similar to what its been in the past (but of course the recovery is a lot quicker now). I did the 32km run, as planned, in about 3hr 17mins.

If I am able to run similarly on race day (Jan 21, 2007) then a sub 4hr 15min is a definite possibility. This is exactly the run I needed before the Bombay marathon. I hope to follow it up with a 20km run next Sunday/Monday, but that looks a little difficult as I will be traveling on work (so taking out 2hrs in the morning might be a little difficult), but will see what best I can come up with. This will be followed by a 13km run on Jan 14. The new shoes and my legs are behaving perfectly, could not ask for anything more, just need them to staty that way till race day.

Would like to wish all of you a very happy and a fun filled new year. Enjoy.....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Running is good for building your body's defense mechanism

Before I try to explain the above statement. I have had a eventful week, managed to run on Tuesday, Thursday and Today, did 7.5km on all three days. Could not run mid week as I was down with mild flu and cold, guess that was due to change in weather. I hope to do about 30plus kms this weekend, provided the cold does not come in my way.

Now coming to the positive benefits of running, I have observed that now a days when I am down with a flu, my body is a lot more reselient and the flu does not knock me down totally, I am quite comfortable going through the entire day at work inspite of the cold & bodyache that accompanies the flu. This benefit/ablity is in addition to the other unusual benefits of being able to take the afternoon sun in humid Bombay weather & ablity to alternate (multiple times) between sunny outside weather and cold air conditions inside temperatures.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tough week...

Had a tough week, was only able to run thrice (6km, 7.5km and 6km on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)during weekdays, as I was having some pain in the shins (both of them). I guess my body was asking for some well deserved rest which is long
overdue after the Singapore marathon. It was also time for me to buy a new pair of shoes, the recently purchased New Balance ones were not suiting me (guess their rubber cushioning Absorb technology was not working for me). So on Friday I decided to take some corrective action for my shins, I bought a pair of Adidas Nova cushion shoes. As soon as I tried them, I knew they were perfect for me.

I decided to wear them for my Sunday long run (which was a big risk as all my new running shoes tend to pinch, the first time I wear them for the long Sunday run, even if I have used them for 4-5 short runs before that. But I decided to still go ahead with it, as my shins were more important than having some blisters. I wore them for my Saturday run and then also wore it the whole of Saturday, just to try and get them into some shape for my long run.

I managed to complete the tough week with a good 26km run today, I did it in about 2hr 36mins.The run was quite comfortable and I started at 7.30am for the run, which is around the same time as the Mumbai marathon start time. The weather was pleasant at start but after the first 1.5hrs it was hot and sunny, luckily it was not very humid. I was able to manage the run with 500ml of Gatorade and 500ml of water. I hope to do my longest run before the Bombay Marathon next Sunday, with a 30+km run.

Today for the first time in four odd years I had company during my run. I ran with a friend of mine whom I was meeting after close to 10years (though we were in touch on the phone and email). UT and I used to run at Colaba woods (its one of the few mud tracks in Bombay, all the other are made of brick or concrete/tar), near President Hotel, Cuffe Parade. He is participating in the half marathon. We hope to repeat our run again sometime in the near future.

Monday, December 18, 2006

UTI Bank walkathon for senior citizens

UTI Bank walkathon for senior citizens took place on December 17, 2006 at Chembur, Bombay (Mumbai).

Pictures from Bangkok, Thailand

This picture was shot at the departure lounge at Swarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. It a replica of the Kings throne (atleast that was my impression).

All the picture shown below are from Siam Paragon, Bangkok. This is my favourite mall of South East Asia.

I was trying my hand at some car photography. This is a picture of a concept car/ custom built car of a local designer/company. I do not believe this is car from any of the bigger car brands.

Beautifully shot picture of the Lambo in a glass showroom.

This is the closest I was able to get to a Ferrari. I reached at 8pm and by this time most of the stores at Siam Paragon were shut.

Christmas tree at the main foyar of Siam Paragon.

Some more Singapore pictures

Pictures at Suntec mall fountain. Here they use the fountain water as a screen to project still and animation/motion pictures, acompanied by sound. A very popular tourist spot.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Standard Chartered Singapore marathon inspiring statements.....


1km Just by running, you've beaten 99.9% of the population!

3km Life is not a rehearsal. Give it your all.

5km Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.

7km A champion is someone who pushes even when no one is watching.

9km Only if you risk going too far, will you know how far you can go

11km Aim for the next lamp post. It's just up ahead.

13km Run hard when it's hard to run.

15km Fear is courage holding a minute longer.

17km Run with your mind!

19km Mind over matter!

21km You've come this far, why turn back now?

23km This wall has a window! Find it!

25km The Pain is temporary. Your sense of achievement is forever.

27km Water is just round the bend. keep moving!"

29km Don't let running the 90% of the race go to waste!

31km To fail is to stop moving! Walk if you have to!

33km Many who fail didn't know how close they were to succeeding. You're almost there.

35km Ability is what you can do.
Motivation makes you do it.
Attitude means how well you do it.

37km Keep Going! It can't be worse than this!

39km Earn Your Finisher Tee!

41km It's the last stretch! You can do it!

These were the messages that we encountered during the Standard Chartered Singapore marathon 2006 run. They were very useful and inspiring. Hope the Mumbai marathon organisers will have the same or similar stuff on January 21, 2007

Another good Sunday run.

As planned was able to do a half marathon today, decided to up the pace today and was able to do it in about 2hours.I also started late today (at 8.10am) instead of the regular time of around 7am, to check how the heat would affect me. Early mornings are very comfortable for running, but today it was hard (sunny but not humid).

The silly Mumbai Marathon organisers have decided to give the half marathon more importance by having it start at 6.40 and the full marathon at 7.40am, guess this is the only marathon in the world that give preference to half over full, by making it start one hour before the other (they did the same thing last year as well), maybe logic and common sense is something that is alien to them. I would like one of the organisers to run the full marathon!! (what is the heavily paid and experienced race director Hugh Jones doing (hope I got his name right)

I happened to see participants of the UTI Bank senior citizens walkathon today, managed to click some picture and plan to upload them tomorrow. It was very nice to see so many senior citizens wear UTI bank T-shirt, with catchy slogans written on them, one of them being - If you can read this then I am a step ahead, walking for better health and fitness.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bombay cabbies are the best...

The highlight of the week - I forgot my wallet in a taxi after work.
This happened on Tuesday evening while I was going to a mall with a
friend of mine. I realised that I had lost my wallet half an hour after
I had left the cab. Though I was not sure if I had lost it in the cab
or if it had been picked while I was in the mall.

Luckily for me, I had a photo copy of all the cards (Debit and credit) in my
knapsack, so canceling all of them was a breeze. All the card companies
(HDFC, ICICI and HSBC blocked the card immediately). Though HSBC wanted
me to register a FIR with the cops, to protect myself from a manual
card swipe transaction.(Which I believe is not too fair). Also,HDFC
debit card required me to visit a bank branch and make a fresh
application for a new debit card, and refused to accept by request over
phone or through net banking. Again very inconvenient and absolutely unnecessary.

In addition to the cards, I had lost my drivers license, some other
loyalty and membership cards, cash and food coupons. But my biggest
worry was potential misuse of credit cards (I was sure that the debit
cards were safe as it can be used only with a online machine) and the
trouble I would face fighting with the card company. And this would
have been a reality had my wallet been picked.

Luckily I had taken the cab from a taxi stand close to my office, so the driver who
had driven me would have been a part of the click that usually hangs
out at the taxi stand. So on Wednesday evening I went at the same time
as Tuesday to enquire if any driver had found a wallet and also to
spread the word around. I got a call at my office (I had my visiting
card and office photo Id card in the wallet as well) asking me to
collect the wallet, so by Thursday evening the wallet was returned to
me. I was delighted to get my wallet in exactly the same condition as I
had lost it, but the true delight was the honesty of the cab driver. I
decided to reward him with all the cash that i had in my wallet on that

First week of training after Singapore marathon...

Had a good week, did 7.5km each on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and will do it on Saturday as well. Will try and follow it up with a 20km run on Sunday. This would take my weekly total to about 50km. I hope to maintain my weekly mileage in the 50-60km range. That should give me a good launch pad for the Mumbai marathon target of a sub 4.15hr time.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back in Bombay city

It feels great to be back in Bombay. It was just a week, but I was already missing it big time. I decided to take the week off (only from running), though I had to get back to work on Friday. And today completed the week with a good run of about 16kms (which was quite effortless). I did it in about 1hr 34minutes.

I look forward to a heavy training schedule in the coming weeks. I need to prepare hard to be able to do the sub 4.15hr time. I am quite confident of doing it, if I have no injury during the run that day, as now I believe I have got the mental toughness to do it. I now need to focus on improving my breathing and my conditioning, for the Mumbai marathon.

Visit to Bangkok, Thailand

On my way from Singapore I decided to take a day's halt at Bangkok, so that I could catch up on some shopping. Bangkok is one of the best better for shopping. Plus it has one of the best malls in South East Asia and this means that some of them are better than the ones in Singapore. The most upmarket mall in South East Asia is Siam Paragon, it has a huge collection of ultra luxury stores (incl. Ferrari, Lamborghini.......). It also has another upcoming luxury mall called Centerworld, slated to be the largest mall in South East Asia. I just loved both of them, much more than the Singapore malls, both of them are a must see for visitors to Bangkok, Thailand. The public transport system and infrastructure of the city is lot better than what you would expect it to be. The Sky train and MRT system is very good and efficient, though a little steep for the local Thai national.

Bangkok is not as cheap as one would like to believe, and this is especially true for the locals. Guess that is the fate of any tourism dependent city. The final conclusion I have come to with regards to shopping is that there is nothing to beat India, especially Bombay. And soon one would be able to enjoy the same shopping experience and atmosphere, in addition to the exhaustive choice and great value right here in Bombay.

Pictures from Singapore

Some pictures which try to capture the Christmas spirit in Singapore. Most of the pictures are from Orchard Street, the place that really brings of the true spirit of Singapore.

This picture captures the Christmas spirit on Orchard street perfectly.

The most beautiful Christmas tree on Orchards at the Paragon shopping center (an upmarket shopping center)

One of the numerous show pieces outside the shopping malls on Orchard street

Banner of the weekly flea marketing which takes place in Singapore

One of the numerous life performances which take place on Orchard street, targeted at the tourists.

They were playing some wonderful music (including Cranberries!)

A crowded evening at Orchard street, which was fully decorated and lit

Starbucks at Speciality mall on Orchard street

This is clicked from Boat Quay (pronounced as Ki) along the Singapore river. Other side of the river is a place called Clark Quay. Clark Quay was previously used as godown and warehouse, but recently the Singapore government converted it into a place that hosted cafes and hangout places for tourists (in colonial style), instead of breaking it down and building skyscrapers there. This truely represents the spirit of Singapore, preserving the old while building the new and having lot of breathing space all over Singapore.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My official Singapore marathon time....4h:28m:42s

The organisers have finally posted the time on the website, so my final revised chip time is 4h:28m:42s.
To read complete details of my performance click the link below -

My race time splits are as follows -
Finsher number (Rank) 986, Registration details 01276-IND-FMM-OLC, Bib Number 1376 GIRISH MALLYA Male IND Guntime 05:59:55, My actual start time 06:01:30 7.6km mark 00:45:32 (10.4km per hour) 21km mark 02:03:57 (10.3km per hour) 27.38km mark 02:46:00 (9.1km per hour), Guntime finish 04:30:17, My finish time04:28:42 (8.5km per hour)

Total qualified finishers 6315 for the Men's open category full marathon.

The half marathon time I did at the Singapore full marathon was the same as the one I did for the Delhi Half marathon and this was the main reason for me doing a sub 4.30time. And this also means that a sub 4.15 time is very achievable for me if I get the first half of my race correct.

Singapore marathon 2006 pictures

My picture after finishing the race.

My picture after the race in the resting Pen.

Participants resting in the pen after a grueling marathon.

A local bus having the Incredible India promotion campaign on our race route.

Cheer leaders in the commercial district, towards the start of the race.

This has to be the best picture clicked by me while running. Picture of the commercial district of Singapore.

Separate pen for the Under 5hr participants.

Innumerable restrooms close to the starting point.

The Women's and Men's full marathon winners captured before the start of race. Amos Tirop Matui and Alina Kosgei successfully defend their titles in the Men's and Women's Category and also smash their previous bests at Singapore Marathon and create course records.

The Preparation area between the starting point and the Finishing point sections.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Comparision of Singapore Marathon v/s Mumbai marathon...

Mumbai Marathon which will be in its fourth year has lots to learn from
the Singapore Marathon organisers. Both have the same sponsor (Standard
Chartered Bank) and its high time that the sponsor decided to assert
themselves and ensure that the organisers ofMumbai Marathon (Procam) did a much better job.

Right from frequency with which the organisers used to send newsletters to
people who had registered on the site (well before the marathon
participation registrations were opened), to their response time for
any email or telephone enquiry, to the promptness with with they
confirmed the registration and provided all the related details, to the
efficiency at the race bib collection center, to the gift pack arranged
by them (including a very usefulAdidas singlet with Standard chartered colours and of course the finishers T-shirt), to providing high carb energy gel packets around the 30km mark & tie-up with a sponsor (100plus) to provide energy drink (Mumbai marathon organisers provide Electoral which is not good enough), nice smooth roads and lotsa greenery (shade) and the list goes on.

Procam, organisers of Mumbai marathon are giving the Half marathon more importance than the full marathon, they are starting the half marathon at 6.40am and the full
one at 7.40am, which does not really make sense which ever way you look
at it. Each marathon in the world try to improve the number of
participants and finishers for the full marathon, as the number of
participants for the full marathon is the true indicator of the success
of the marathon. But if the Mumbai marathon continues to be managed by people who do not even understand this basic simple fact, all the sponsorship money (Asia's
biggest marathon or richest marathon in the world) will have no
meaning. Not sure if its actually the sponsors who are forcing them to
take this step, if they are then we need better sponsors! Hugh Jones who was the race director for the first three marathons (not sure if he still is working with Procam), should definitely have know this, but am not sure why he is not doing anything about it.

the one thing that the Singapore Marathon organisers disappointed was
on their inability to give the race completion cum timing certificate
after the race (both theMumbai and Delhi marathon organiser do this
every efficiently from their inception). The organisers told
participants that they would get their certificates by post, by end of
Jan 2007(this is not really on). In addition the organisers here were
unable to post the race timings till Tuesday evening on their website
(so till that time I actually did not really know how I had done, nor
did I have my official time), which again was very inefficient. The
chip used here and in the Bombay marathon is identical and the data for
the same is available instantly, so I fail to understand what took them
so long!

I am looking forward to a pleasant surprise from the Mumbai
marathon organisers in January 2007, I understand that the money they
can raise from the participants is limited, They charge about Rs.150
per registration, whereas the Singapore marathon guys collect anything
from Rs.1300-Rs.2500 equivalent in local currency. But I am sureMumbai can more than make up for it with sponsorship money.

My singapore marathon run....

Before I describe by Singapore marathon race in detail, I should share my experience with the much hyped sports function of my Nokia 5500, this was its ultimate test. All the functions performed well except for the distance calculator. The distance it timed was 45km during the race, but the steps calculator was quite accurate and was close to the 42km 195meters mark (actually its been accurate all through, though the distance calculator has been erratic with its readings). The calorie counter showed 2900 where as in reality it should have been closer to the 2400 mark. So now I have been able to interpret the readings, I just have to convert the steps to give me a accurate reading on the distance.

The night before the race I slept close to 11pm, even though I was trying to sleep from 9.30pm, not sure about the reason, but I must have been a little excited and nervous about my race the next day. I got up around 2.45am as planned so that I have enough time to digest a good amount of food which i planned to eat in the morning. During the previous day I had managed to pile on a lot of easily digestible carbs, including rice, pasta and energy bars. I started the morning with a lot of fluids and a huge energy bar and then followed it up with some toast and jam. I used the time to meticulously take everything that I needed for the race. I left for the race with my cousin (who was also doing the full marathon and this was his first) and reached the venue a little before 5am. Since we had surveyed the venue a day before it was quite easy to navigate through it.

The organizers had done a good job of marking different sections at the venue, including a suitably placed baggage counter and tagging arrangement. They had every thing in place especially an Unending line portable toilets for the participants at the start and everything else to make the runners comfortable. The directions to the start were clear and the volunteers had been briefed well and were giving correct directions. I reached the starting point at around 5.30am and the race started at 6am. They had clearly marked sections, for various set of runners, sub 3hrs, sub 4hrs, sub 5hrs, sub 6hrs and the rest. This ensured two things, one that staggered start would help the faster runners and the second was you would be able to pace yourself with runners with similar ability/goal. The second one is a big plus which I have never experienced in any of my previous runs, it helps you run with the same pack of runners and ensures that you maintain your speed and motivation.

The race went through all the major parts of the city, but the best stretch and also the toughest one was 12km stretch around East park (on the sea shore). The race took you to the all types of places, the commercial district, parks, beaches, bridges and underpasses. To view a virtual tour of the route click on the link given below

The crowd support was good all through the race especially the East park region, which had lot of tourist and locals sitting in their tents (with lots of food and drink) and cheering us. This also happened to be the toughest section of the race from 22km to 34km mark, plus this was on concrete instead of tar (rest of the track was mainly tar, as Singapore prefers tar roads over concrete (Bombay marathon is mainly run on concrete roads, which makes it a lot harder on the knees).

I ran the last 6kms well as I had to ensure that I did a sub 4.30time, and by the time I reached the finish the time on the clock was 4hrs 30mins and 8 seconds, but since I had started later due to the staggered start, I was able to complete it under 4hr 29mins.

I will be posting some interesting pictures of the marathon before the end of this week to bring out the spirit of the race.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rocking time of 4hr 28min 51sec

I was finally able to achieve my dream time of doing under 4hr 30min and I owe this to a friend of mine whom I had promised a sub 4.30 time. And it was just mental strength (and I did not hit the wall this time) which kept me going and after the 30km mark I was confident of doing the time, the launch pad was just perfect.. It was a almost perfect run, everything went as planned. I did the first 10k in 1 hr, next 10k in about 57mins, third one in 1hr 8mins and the last 12 in about 1hr 24min. Only if I had done better with during the 28-33km stretch, 4hr 15mins was very achievable. And this time is well within my reach, I just need to train harder and this will be my target for the Mumbai Marathon.

Everything was perfect, there was no sun throughout the run. It was cloudy all through (which meant 95% humidity all through and I was perspiring even before the race started), which meant higher humidity but was very bearable compared to something like Bombay, where the heat and sun just kills you. The race started at 6am in the morning (which actually is more like 5am, as Singapore has intentionally chosen to be one hour ahead of what it logically should have been. They have done it for commercial reasons as they wanted to Hong kong time, as they did not want to give them an unfair advantage (they wanted both the stock exchanges to start at the same time).

Will write more about my state of mind yesterday and other details of my preparation and the actual run. And also a detailed comment on the organizers of Singapore marathon.

What this time means is that I was able to shave off about 53mins from my previous best. 5hr 21mins was a very embarrassing personal best time of mine and it feels wonderful to now have a respectable sub 4.30 time.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I slept quite late yesterday after the trip to Orchards, so decided to get up late in the morning. And then followed it with a trip to the Starting point of the marathon, which was about 45minutes walk from where I am staying.

The final arrangements were in full force and the organisers were setting tents and arranging the holding area for the participants. On my return I visited Funan computer lifestyle mall (a complete IT mall), one of the must see places for travelers.

I have decided to stay put at home after the morning trip, to ensure that I conserve energy and also to have more time to pile up the carbs and water.

I hope to have a quick dinner and crash out early as I have to get up around 3am tomorrow, so that I can reach the holding area around 5am.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Singapore experience continues..

Today was a little slow, as I was trying to catch up on sleep as I had hardly slept for a few hours yesterday and that was in bits and pieces. Wanted to take it easy today. But I did manage catchup on some malls on Orchard street in the evening (and the Christmas spirit was very much there). It was an amazing experience, with Lot's of beautiful street stalls, street performers, live music and the place was buzzing with tourists and locals. And for a change the city felt as crowded as Bombay! I felt soo much at home. Hope to go again as I have a couple of days after the marathon. I can't really capture the experience in words but it was infectious and something that you would want to catch again and again. Most stores had special offers to attract tourists, especially those who had come for the Singapore marathon (and yes there are 7500 of them!!) and this was the added attraction. The good thing about Orchard street is that its the most upmarket part of Singapore, and this ensures a better shopping experience unlike something like Mustafa in Little India which provides a forgettable shopping experience but some good deals.

During the day I managed to visited one of the other malls close to where I was staying and also managed a nice 3km run in the evening. And yes as expected it was extremely humid, much more than Bombay, the average humidity here is usually above 90% and it tends to rain (more a drizzle)at the drop of a hat.

Life in Singapore...

The first day was quite eventful, I used almost every available mode of transport - Sky bus, MRT, walking, cab and bus, in that order. I also managed to collect my race bib from the organisers who were stationed at Marina Hotel on my way from the Airport. As expected of Singapore, it was very well organised and the whole process was completed in a couple of minutes. I really liked the gift pack they had organised along with the race bib, this included a very smart Adidas singlet using the Standard chartered bank colours, a smart bag and a few other things from the sponsors. Procam, organisers of the Mumbai Standard Chartered marathon, need to come here for a crash course, they would take at least 15 minutes for the entire process, if you come during the non peak hours, you collect race bib from one counter, champion chip from another and the gift pack from the third one.

The efficiency of the public transport system is similar to that of Bombay, though for obvious reasons its less crowded. The number of cars in Singapore have gone up considerably in spite of the harsh taxation on owning them. Maybe its time for the government to hike it further. Also the much hyped cleanliness of the city, has gone down in recent years. You will manage to find a stray can, some plastic scrap & cigarette butts.

In my hunt for the Marina hotel and my cousins house, I had managed to walk a good 4-5kms. Since I was travelling extremely light that was not really a problem. I ended the day by having some adventurous Indian food by the Singapore lake (its like a huge food court having different restaurants). The food was not really similar to Indian food in India, the veg food did a very good job but the mugali food - Kababs, butter chicken (which tasted more like chicken tikka masala) was a little disappointing.

My trip, Bombay - Singapore....

I had a very early morning on Nov 30. Did not sleep the whole night, as I watched India lose badly (again) and got to the airport at 2am and as expected the flight took off at 6.45am instead of 5am. The Bombay-Bangkok leg of Cathy was smooth, thought the flight attendants were not so pleasant and I could see them discriminate between Indian and non Indians. Can't blame them completely for it, as 80% of the flight had Indians and some of them were travelling for the very first time (the people on a domestic Indian flight are very normal and well behaved), but some of the people who were on this flight reminded me of a local intercity bus, badly behaved, with absolutely no manners (not sure what they were going to Bangkok for), and this came across as a big shock. The food was horrible (and that is an understatement), thanks to the travel agent, who had marked me for Hindu non veg food (not sure what that means, but I guess that excludes Pork and beef, which I enjoy). The food was very dry and unpalatable, but I needed the calories, so had to just stuff it down my throat.

I just about reached in time for my connecting flight from Bangkok - Singapore, which was great good, as I did not have to spend any time waiting at that Airport (so the delay was a huge blessing in disguise). But here the experience was very different, the crew was very nice and courteous and the food was amazing (I was wiser this time and asked for a change from the scheduled Hindu non veg to regular non veg food). Over all the experience on this Cathy flight was very pleasant and the flight reached Singapore on time.