Sunday, April 29, 2007

Smashing week...

Everything went as per plan, I start early, maybe not as early as I would have liked but 7.15am on a Sunday morning is not bad at all. I comfortably managed a run of little under 20km, in 1hr 54min. So that takes my weekly tally to 45km, now the only thing that needs to be done, is to maintain it.

Today's run again had something very interesting, after the first 12km on the roads and it was 7.5kms around Shivaji Park (which has a brick track and decent amount of shade, which makes things bearable, plus a 1.25km perimeter), but today I had a very entertaining time watching the practice parade (with the Police, Firemen, State reserve police, traffic cops.... all turned out in the best outfit, marching in amazing coordination) during my run, as the uniformed personnel prepared for the May 1 parade (which is Maharashtra day), sort of a mini Republic day parade at the same venue, for State Govt. forces. Hope to catch some of the actual parade on Tuesday, May 1 (its a holiday!!) during my run and will top it off with a swim later in the morning. The long awaited swim should happen on Tuesday now, hopefully no new hurdles should come up this time!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The weekday runs this week have been a lot better. Managed to run four times, after a long time, did 6k, 6k, 7.5k & 6k, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday. Which takes my total weeks tally to 25Km, so the only thing I need to wrap up a good week is a nice Sunday long run, which is closer to 20k.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A hard Sunday run...

I did manage to getup early enough to manage an early start, which was suppose to be 7am, but it did not take place and I finally got out at 7.45am. Sometimes I just feel extremely lazy to get ready and get out of the house. This made the run even more difficult (plus the fact that I was not really in great shape over the last few days) as the heat and humidity really took a toll after the first 11kms of the run. I decided to walk for about a kilometer, just to let my body rest and get back to normal temperature and then followed it up with a good 7.5km run after that. Actually the break makes it (mentally) tougher to get back to running again. But, that is the challenge, which I tend to enjoy and it will actually help me for my Leh run, as I might have to walk after every 8-10kms, just to catch my breath (with avg altitude of over 3500meters that is very likely) and then start running again. So in all I managed to do about 19.5km in about 2hours 3minutes.

The highlight of the run was a conversation I had with a milkman (who was on a bicycle delivering milk to his regular customers in traditional milk jars/cans, they actually have their own cows/bufallos & deliver fresh milk) during the last couple of kilometers, of my first 11km run. He obviously saw me quite exhausted & advised me that I needed to breathe only through my nose to avoid exhaustion (and I was trying to explain to him, that I was breathing in through my nose and breathing out through my mouth). And then he started a string of questions, why was I running in the sun, why was I running at all, was it something to do with school competition (school & me, now?), and then he went on to explain that he used to run during his younger days for a good 3-4kms at a stretch (and he was actually all of 24years). It was difficult for me to explain to him, why I was running, I tried to explain to him that running was a hobby and that I participate in different marathons, in different parts. But what really caught his attention was that today I was planning to do a 20km run today and the fact that I was a lot older than he was.

It is these conversations or incidents which makes running in the outdoors great fun. It could be anything - running with a total stranger, meeting someone at a crossing and exchanging a few words, or just some passing comments from people who see you running (and react in totally unexpected manner). But, what really gets the maximum reaction from me, is when I have some runner appearing out of nowhere and trying to overtake me during my practice runs, it happened to me again after a long time during this Thursday run, when someone came from behind and tried to overtake me and immediately the competitive spirit kicked in and I overtook him in the next few minutes. On my return from the half way mark, I found him walking after being totally exhausted trying to match my pace, the expression on his face was very satisfying for me.

Low key week...

This week was a little hectic so running was on the back burner, plus there was 'runners fatigue', its a new word that I have coined, which means - a little bit of mental exhaustion coupled with legs feeling a little heavy during runs (almost as if you were wearing weights). But, I did manage to run thrice during weekdays, as taking a break for me is worse than enduring runners fatigue (as then my leg muscles start to develop aches and pains out of nowhere). A little complex, but that is how it behaves, so rest is not really a solution.

I did the three runs of about 6kms each in a little over 33minutes for all three, which is what I try to target. During the past week I have been sleeping early which helps me get my much loved 8hours of sleep, plus makes getting up in the morning at 5am a lot easier. Need to pick up my kilometers in the coming weeks and also move to 4 runs instead of 3.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back to normal runs..

After a eventful and refreshing innovation, it was back to a nice easy run (what am I saying, i did the 11km run in about 59minutes, which is about 3 minutes faster than what I normally do) on Sunday. I decided against doing more as I did not want to push my body too much after yesterdays run, plus was planing to go for a swim late afternoon (sadly that did not happen as my pool is undergoing major renovation).

Have taken a few more steps towards Great Tibetan Marathon (GTM), have booked my tickets to Delhi and am working on the onward journey plans & return from Leh to Delhi, both of which are appearing very difficult... more in the next few days.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

4am half marathon…

It could not have been better. Everything went as per the precision planning done the previous night. I got up at a little past 3am and was able to get out of my house by 4am and start the run at 4.15am.

As I had anticipated the first 3kms where the most difficult, not because of anything to do with running, but fear, fear of stray dogs chasing me. And they did not disappoint, I encountered four set of stray dogs during the first 15 odd minutes (they are usually packs of 3 dogs). But, by now I sort of know how to handle them and am able to get rid of them in no time (as they say, dogs smell fear and one needs to be firm to be able to put them in their place, without any aggressive actions. All that sounds complex, but when you got to save yourself, you automatically learn all these things). After the first 15minutes, things started to settle down and I was able to run with some sort of rhythm. To my surprise the traffic was quite heavy (I run on the shoulder of a 8 lane (4+4) highway), mainly due to commercial vehicles (as they are not allowed to get into the city after 8am), but the speeds they can achieve on a Bombay highway are not too high, so its not really intimidating at all.

I was also pleasantly surprised to have bunch of young boys cheer for me, with words like come on run and run India run (thanks to the successful Mumbai & Delhi marathon campaigns with similar themes) and no nasty comments, thankfully.

I reached the halfway mark, which was more like 11km in 1hr 1min and 15seconds. And when I look back at the graph captured on my phone, the pace was not very even, especially the first half hour. On my return after the first 15minutes, I settled into perfect rhythm and it became completely effortless (this was again confirmed by the pedometer & distance calculator on my hand phone). I finished the second 11kms in 1hr 1min and 40seconds; overall I was able to run at a reasonably uniform pace.

I finished the run just as the sun was about to rise. The weather was quite humid and for the first 45mins, I lost lot of fluid but after that my body got used to the temperature and the perspiration cooled the body. I managed quite comfortably with 500ml of Gatorade. I did not need the carbohydrate bar which I was carrying.

After the run I was feeling good and was in good enough shape to carry on for another 5-10kms. It was one of those days when one is able to run almost effortlessly.

I got home and replenished my fluid and carbohydrates requirements, cooled down my muscles and then straightway hit the bed for some really peaceful and enjoyable sleep. I am usually not able to run after I have done a 20km+ run, as the body feels very tired and exhausted, which makes sleeping impossible. But, today was very different.

The variation seems to have worked for me. Need to come up with more interesting stuff in future, so that I am able to push myself further. Am already looking forward to the next one….

Friday, April 13, 2007

Saturday night run...

I managed to run thrice during the week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and did 6km, 7.5km and 6km respectively in good time. Have been doing quite well this week, but plan to do a lot more over the weekend this time.

Have finally decided to do the long overdue night (actually a very early morning) run. Hope to start at around 4.00-4.30am for a half marathon, which would finish just before Sunrise at round 6.30am or earlier. I hope the past two days of continious runs does not impact the Saturday long run.

This run is not only a interesting variation, but will actually give me a good idea/experience of running in pleasant weather (that is the time the temperature is at its lowest) and the positive impact on my run (hopefully it should result in a lot less effort). Plus gives be a real opportunity to wear & test my special reflective vest (which has been with me for over six months!!). The only fear are stray dogs, they tend to be at their worst when its dark, am keeping my fingers crossed.

I have had a good high carb meal tonight, to keep me fit for the run. Plan to take a bottle of Gatorade and a energy bar for the 2hr odd run.

Need to get up very early in the morning, so its time to rest, hope to catch up on my sleep after the run (hope it will not be too hard to go back to sleep). Looking forward to make the most of my Saturday holiday.

I plan to follow it up with a light 10km run on Sunday, hope there are no nasty surprises during the half marathon tomm. morning.....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Back to my regular best...

Everything went as per plan today, managed to start early, which meant 7am, ran my 15kms in a little under 1hr 30mins and this was without much exhaustion (I was actually good for another 5kms). So should be able to do my half marathon next week. As I said earlier, it was just about getting used to the heat & humidity.

This week i did a 6km run on Wednesday and a 11km run on Friday. I need to step it up to 40km + every week, with at least 4 runs (including Sundays).

And yes I have almost completed my registration for the Great Tibetan marathon - July 21, 2007, including fees. Am trying to organise my travel tickets now, followed by some stay options (Lonely Planet should come handy for that, I can almost swear by it). I hope to go by train and road from Bombay to Leh (the Manali - Leh road trip is very important to get used to the altitude). On my return I hope to fly Leh to Delhi using Miles to save two days, only if the organisers decide to let go of some seats, they seem to have blocked full planeloads for now. Am sure that will happen as the dates get closer, just need to be patient.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Getting used to the heat

I know running in 40+ temperature sounds like a super endurance effort (thought the temperature usually is in late 30's these days, during the day). Its not really so difficult. Its just a question of getting used to it (human body can get used to almost anything!!), getting mentally tougher & some extra hydration. In this sort of heat, with 60+% humidity, I would recommend about 500ml of Gatorade or similar drink for every 1hr 15mins, and if you are doing something more than that, then some high carb bar would be required in addition to the hydration. In this weather, water is not just good enough for any distance beyond 40mins and if you do try to attempt it, ensure that there is someone to take care of you, should you suffer a heat/sun stroke (yes that sounds quite alarming, but what I am trying to say highlight is the fact that at the first signs of exhaustion appearing, without any legs muscles getting strained, is a sure sign of exhaustion). And yes, another must is a good pair of sun glasses in this sort of heat, as a sun stroke is very possible without it (esp. with improper hydration).

I did a good 6km run in 33minutes on Wednesday and then took the rest of the week off, as I had a holiday on Friday (surprisingly good Friday seems to be big these days in Bombay). I managed my 11km run today in a little over 1hour, quite well, given the conditions (heat, heat and more heat), plus the late start - 8.30 in the morning (wanted to catchup on sleep after a late night out with friends). I am now quite confident that I will be able to do lot better on the Sunday long run, hope to do atleast 15km with an early morning start.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Piping hot mumbai

I don't think it gets this hot even during the summers. While I was away at a hill station, facing temperatures (max) of 35-38 degree Celsius, Bombay was burning at 43 degrees, that it the hottest in recent times. I dread to think about the proposed load shedding in Bombay, should the shortfall in power not being met by

Today was not extremely hot as I started early in the morning around 7.15am (as I knew it was going to get hot). But it was extremely humid and I was completely drenched in sweat within the first 30minutes and regular water was just not good enough. By the time I finished 11km I was almost completely exhausted, so I decided to walk for the next one kilometer and then followed it up with a 5.5km run, which was the maximum I could push myself.

I badly needed a energy drink today and I need to ensure that I have my gatorade from next Sunday. I was in great shape today after my runs during the week and still found it difficult to do the planned 20km run, which I was doing very comfortably till three weeks back with just a 500ml bottle of water. So now I have good reason to believe that my last Sunday run was not good due to the extremely humid climate (makes me feel a little better!!).

Hope to replenish my energy drink supply at the earliest, can't afford to repeat today's performance again, especially due to the fact that I have no control over weather (both heat and humidity!!).

Three day workout...

I could not have asked for anything better. A hill station (though the weather was anything but pleasent during the day, but it was amazing in the mornings (incl. mist on the last day), mud track (actually roads), zero vehicles, tons of greenary, place where one could actually hear churping birds, helpful locals......

I ran on all three days and did about 6kms on each of the three days in a little over 30minutes each. The terrain had lotsa climbs, which was strenous and fun at the same time. I was able to couple it with a 15-20minute swim twice a day, which was refreshing after the run and also helped beat the afternoon heat with a swim in the evening. Perfect cross training. Plus swiming seems the best to train for high altitude running, though I have no scientific reason to believe it. I only wish I had a pool close to my house, but after this experience I am seriously considering a visit to the pool after my run on Sundays, as that is the only day I can manage to travel the distance, though it will be difficult to sustain it.