Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Flu time, after a long time...

I had a good run on Tuesday morning after a great Sunday run. I rained in the morning and this made running a pleasure. These are pre-monsoon showers, so things get really muggy during the day. The weather change has already taken some toll on me, I am having throat ache (something one gets before a flu!!). But over the last year or so, with my improved fitness levels I am able to manage mild flus' without too much fuss, the only thing I need to do it stop running for a few days, try and eat more (esp. fruits) and try and manage some rest (but the daily routine stays as usual).

So I guess that means I rest for the next two to three days. Hope to have a decent run before my Sunday long run.

Sunday bounce back..

After the hot and steamy weather in Delhi, I was nice to experience the pleasant (relatively) early morning weather in Bombay. As planned I started my run at 6am (I know its a little hard to believe!!, even I had could not believe that I was able to get out of my house that early. It was special as I had slept late on Saturday night - due to traveling, tons of waiting at the airport and disturbed sleep due to excessive caffeine). And yes, I also managed to do my targeted 20km run in about 2hrs 3minutes and this was without any Gatorade to help me out, which make it truly special. Though I wish I had not forgotten to buy my supply of Gatorade, I guess that was one of the reasons for me being able to start at 6am, else it would have been impossible to do the 20km with just water.

I supplemented my hydration needs by having two pods of tender coconut after the run, it felt truly blissful.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I managed to run thrice this week, which is quite good, especially with some hectic traveling during the week. In addition to the 7.5km run on Tuesday, I did another 7.5km run on Thursday and a 6km run on Friday. I was actually planning a run on Saturday in Delhi, sanity prevailed and I did not take my running shoes along. There was no way I could have run with the day temp at 42 degrees and early mornings were in the early 30s.

I am happy to be back, though it was hectic, but I look forward to my Sunday run.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bad run continues...

Things just don't seem to be going right. I tried to do the 20+km run on Sunday, but just could not make it happen. It all started due to some hectic traveling on Friday and Saturday, which got me very tired and had a tough time getting up early in the morning on Sunday (started at 7am). And that was the beginning of the end.... With great difficulty I managed to do about 15.5kms in about 1hr 43 min, which included about walking for 1km at the halfway marked due to exhaustion. I also made the mistake of drinking water before the Gatorade, which added to my misery. With this kind of heat and humidity, water just does not work, energy drink (Gatorade) is the only thing one should consume.

The other mistake I made was to go for a long run, after taking the three day rest for the thigh strain. I needed to do a short run, before the long Sunday run. Luckily for me, the strain seems to have healed, but I did have some trouble after the run.... but today I could feel some improvement in my thigh condition.

I was hoping to run on Monday morning, but could not make it happen as I could not get sufficient rest on Sunday. So today I went for a 7.5km run to compensate for the Sunday run. Might not be able to run tomorrow morning as I need to catch up with work, but will still try and make it happen. This week is going to be crazy again, as there is more traveling coming up.

The only thing I am sure about is my Sunday run, I need to start at 6am or so, to beat the heat and have a good run.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Forced break...

I did manage to run my regular 6km runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. But after that I was forced to take rest, as the last week thigh strain was not just going off. Although it was not directly really affecting running, it was not healing thanks to the continuous running. So I had to take the tough decision of taking a break for the rest of the week, though I will continue to do some stretching. I hope to have things back to normal by Sunday for the long run.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I started at 6.45am, could have started earlier only if I was not hunting for a Video controller driver on the Net, to complete the repairs of my computer. Its still not resolved and I will need to take help from a expert at work to find the driver and install it.

I surprisingly managed to complete my 20km run in a little over 1hr 57minutes, it was lot faster than my week before run, on the same path. Which definitely tells me that I need to start earlier, so next week should see me running at 6.30am. I also checked with my coffee shop fellow to find out the exact time that he opens, to my surprise he mentioned that he is suppose to open at 9am, but he usually opens on Sundays after 8am, and definitely by 8.30am. So I am now more than ok with an early start. There are also a lot of other benefits, which I realised only today. The traffic on the roads is significantly reduced, fewer people outside (so one can comfortably run in one straight line), less sun (I can wear my sun glasses half an hour after my start) & friendlier people in better spirits. The only problem is a significantly higher people traffic around my 1.2km track, as everybody is trying to beat the heat.

I have been roughly doing 20kms each for the last three weeks, so it time to step it up, will try and do an additional 3kms on next Sunday.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tough week finally ends...

Its been one hell of an eventful (not pleasant though) week. The most important highlight being my home computer crash, it just would not start, so I had to get possible help, to get it working again. Right from reinstalling the OS, to software, to hunting for different drivers, to just get that thing started. Its been four hard days to get it working again and am hopeful that I will be able to complete geta and it back to normal by tonight. I have a strong feeling that this was due to a virus attack.

Thank god, I did not have any critical data stored there, and I have to thank Google
for it. I am just waiting for the day when I would be doing all my work, including presentations on Google presentation and storing it there as well. Would never find a safer place to store and retrieve it data/information.

I did manage to run thrice this week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,did 6km, 6km and 7.5km respectively. Should have run on Friday as well, but was working hard to get my computer working again, life just feels so incomplete without it, inspite of having a office desktop and mobile phone with mail access. Tried to do a lot many thing with my mobile phone while at home, but mobile technology still has a long way to go, to be able to replace a desktop. The most important one being easy availability of ultra portable bluetooth enabled keyboards, which can be paired with the handphone. One can get used to the small screen, but T9 or for that matter a QWERTY keyboard is just not good enough for a person like me (not really into writing one line emails!!).

Coming back to running, could not help but venting my frustration on the blog (I truly believe in a always on world). Except for the Tuesday run, the other two were quite good and my legs seem to be in good shape. But, in my enthusiasm to compensate for the Friday miss, I ended up doing a full bodystretch and strained my thigh muscle trying to do a split, its just something that bothers me a little at the start of my runs. I guess I have been lazy and selective with my stretching, only focusing only on the muscles that aid me while running, I need to remember that there are many more muscles which need to be given equal attention.

Hope to wrap the week with a good run, early run on Sunday. Aiming to start around
6.30am or so, so that I can beat the heat. Actually even that is a little too early as my coffee shop opens only at 8.45am or so, so what am I supposed to do after my 2hour run!!?? Any suggestions.... till the shop opens

Monday, May 07, 2007

I had a close to perfect run on Sunday (especially given the heat,could not have done any better). Did the planned 20km run in little over 2hrs, luckily I started a little after 7am, which made things bearable. I think I should start around 6.30am next Sunday to make things even better, only if I can get out of bed in time.

I ran from home, which is in Central Bombay to Pedder Road (which is South Bombay) and it felt good doing the distance, the sense of achievement is a lot higher doing one continuous stretch, instead of running around a 1.2km track (which can get monotonous at times). But, in this weather I would be willing to do anything to keep me away from the sun, I hope to restart my long road runs after the rains and till that time I would need to be satisfied with my runs around the track after my initial 12km road run.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Another week down. Managed a 10.5km run on Tuesday, followed by two 6km runs on Friday and Saturday. Did not have a choice but to take a break on Wednesday and Thursday as my left calf was sore. I need to get back to doing some leg strengthening exercises, so that they recover quicker, after longer runs.

Hope my legs are in good shape tomorrow morning for a 20km run, if I can just start early, by 7am. Am planning to change my routine Sunday long run, by running on the road all the way, for the entire 20km run.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Managing the heat...

I followed my 20km run on Sunday with a good 10.5k run today. Since it was a holiday, I decided to take it easy (which means more sleep!) and started at 8.30am. As expected it was going to be quite sunny and hot, but I wanted to see if my ability to bear the heat had improved and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did quite well.

I did the run in a little over an hour. I managed the heat quite well, thanks primarily to the regular runs and the energy drink. My legs were not at their best but still managed a good time, though my left calf is a little strained after the run.

The biggest benefit of running in the sun, is the improved endurance (and maybe even immunity) to take on the sun & heat, whenever I go out the artificial comfort of indoors. Plus it also helps manage change in weather better, be it shuffling from air conditioned climate to extreme heat and humidity outdoors, or natural change in weather (esp. sudden drop in temperature). So, if I keep myself well hydrated and have my sun shades, there is absolutely no chance of a heat stroke.

Leh marathon itinerary taking shape...

My itinerary for the Great Tibetan Marathon, at Leh on July 21, 2007, is finally starting to take shape.

I hope to leave Bombay on July 11 by train, reaching Delhi on July 12 morning. After which I hope to take a inter-city bus which would take me to Manali, can't book this in advance as these are very basic state transport buses. But this is my only option, to take me to Manali by July 12 evening, as the more comfortable buses only take off in the evenings (there was no way I could waste a full day in Delhi!!).

I decided to stay over at a HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation) hotel. I tried using travel portals to book my stay in Manali and Leh, as I did not really have any better option, but to my surprise the experience was quite disappointing (in spite of presence of a huge number of travel portals in India, who have received tons of VC money, I believe they are good mainly for traditional destinations and are not good for advance booking beyond a couple of months). And then I hit upton the HPTDC website with online hotel booking, since it was a government organisation providing great value for money accommodation (which means great cleanliness standards), unlike a travel site giving me uncertified accommodation options. But, the site did not allow me to book for just one night, I had to book for a minimum of two days (and a max of 7 days), their conditions just do not seem to make sense. So finally decided to write to them and mailed a cheque to their local Bombay office & the thing was wrapped up in under a week.

The overnight stay not only gives me some rest, but also gives me enough time to have a hard run on July 13 morning (as Manali is at a reasonable 2000 meters, v/s Leh at 3500 meters). After that I hope to take the HPTDC bus to Leh, its a good 36 odd hour bus journey with some overnight camping on July 13 night. This would ensure that I am comfortably placed in Leh on 14th night, well before the deadline set by the organisers of July 16, 2007. Here again I can't book the bus tickets in advance, the earliest I can do it is in May and would need to courier a cheque or demand draft to make the same, online booking is currently not a option.

The road journey from Manali would also ensure that I have decent amount of time to (gradually) acclimatise for the high altitude. And I could then start with some light exercises as soon as I get to Leh and follow it with some short practice runs in a couple of days after my first day in Leh. And then I just need to gradually get ready for the D day on July 21.

If all goes well I hope to fly from Leh to Delhi on Sunday, July 22, 2007 in the morning (after the marathon and assuming I am in good shape, need to have a backup plan here, but not sure how) and follow it up with a train trip on July 22, getting me back to Bombay, safe and sound on July 23 morning. Now is that a well planned, tight schedule or what.

But the big hurdle in front of me right now is to find some decent, good value accommodation at Leh. It is going to be peak season at that time, as Leh will be hosting a very popular festival from July 14 to July 19. Which is not only going to make accommodation difficult but also expensive, so I need to close that end of my trip at the earliest. No travel site is allowing me to find any accommodation options online, so disappointing, am starting to lose faith in online travel and stay option already. So will try and use some reliable travel agents from the brick and mortar world and use email ids to contact hotels in Leh (using the good old Lonely planet) and source their best offers.