Sunday, July 22, 2007

Successful completion of Great Tibetan Marathon 2007

I was not able to post yesterday after the marathon, due to poor connectivity in Leh.
I am now back in Bombay after a super 10day eventful trip.

I successfully completed the Great Tibetan marathon 2007 on Saturday July 21, 2007. I did the 26mile run with a official time of 5hr 36min (it should have ideally been 5hr 20mins, if I had not done the last 2km twice, due to lack of adequate directions at one point, but am not complaining). To give some context, the best time was 3hr 24min by a danish runner & most were about 45mins off their personal bests. The run was truly out of the world, especially the last 7kms, which was a run across sand, streams, meadows, pebbles over a mud track, ..... and all through there were mountains all around you (and a amazing mix of barren landscape and the greenery along the Indus river).

This was the race where my mental toughness was at its very best and I could not have had it any better. There were so many variables which made things difficult (high altitude between 3800-3400mts), mind fever (guess it was more out of anxiety, as did not feel a thing during the run), hard desert sun (first time in my life I had to wear a sunscreen, to protect myself from getting burnt), extremely dry desert climate & my nagging inner thigh injury which flared up after the 22km mark.

The three things that make this marathon truly memorable is the amazing never ending beauty of the barren ladhakhi landscape, the super mind over body effort (the marathon felt quite easy..... and I thought it was one of the ten most difficult marathons in the world!!) and interaction with some amazing human beings (people who truly epitomize mind over matter phenomenon).

Will be writing more on the trip in the coming days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Am off for GTM, Leh

Was able to go for a 6km run on Monday but not on Tuesday, as had to catchup on a lot of things at work, before I left for my trip. But I hope to make up for it by running on Thursday in Manali.

My legs seem to be good shape and I am looking forward to my trip to Leh. After making some enquires I have found that I will be able to have mobile phone connectivity in this remote location. I hope this means I will also be able to have data connection (using gprs) and will be able to keep in touch with my emails and also to put up short posts on the blog, incase cyber cafe access is limited. I will try and post regularly on my blog, during the course of my trip.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back in Bombay and running...

This week has been as I had planned it to be. So am quite happy with what I have done in my preparation for the marathon, plus as a bonus my thigh strain seems to have recovered.

Managed to run thrice during the week. Monday, Tuesday and Friday, managed to do 7.5km, 6km and 7km respectively. Including the 7km run in a hotel gym, did not have a choice as I was staying in the central part of the city and it would not have been possible to run outside and did not really have time to find a suitable place to run. But the hotel gym had a good treadmill, more importantly it was well maintained and worked smoothly.

I recovered over Saturday, with some peaceful 12hr sleep, after some hectic back to back traveling. And was in great shape for my Sunday morning long run. I started a little late, could afford it as the conditions were overcast (though no rain and humidity at a pleasant 70-75%). I did a good 20km run in exactly 2hrs, I could not have asked for more.

I hope to follow-up it up with a run on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a run or two in Manali on July 12 (one in the morning and another in the evening). I just found out that I will not be able to take the bus from Manali - Leh on July 12, as they ply on alternate days and July 12 is the day on which the bus does not ply. What this means is that I will have to take a taxi from Manali to Leh, and it starts at 2am in the morning and drives non-stop to Leh. The Bus journey is lot more fun as you have a overnight halt at some place in the middle. But, I really don't have too much of a choice on this.

I am all set to take my bus journey from Delhi to Manali (could not book it online as the site did not work properly), so will directly go to the bus station and book my tickets. From what I hear it should not be a problem getting one. So everything seems to be in place, but have still not got any confirmation on my bookings for Leh stay (my one day at Manali was in place about 2 months back), I hope to hear from my contact on Monday. Till then I don't really have a choice and will have to be patient.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Yesterday adventure details...

I got up quite early hoping to go for my Sunday run by 7.30am, but to my surprise I just shut my eyes for a couple of minutes after my stretching exercises, and when I opened them, it was 9am. The overcast conditions saved me, as I started by run at 9.30am. I guess yesterdays adventure took its toll on me.

I had a good run of 12km in about 1hr 12mins, did not want to push myself further, as am not sure if my legs are back to normal. But the good thing is that I managed to do 36kms this week, which is not bad at all, and the thigh pain (at start of the run) has not increased. I hope to do a 20km next Sunday, if everything goes well. Have some hard traveling next week, but still hope to manage my weekday runs, as am running out of time in my preparation for the marathon.

Just read the papers today and realized that there were many people like me trapped in a airplane for between 3-5hrs, waiting for the plane to take off. Not that it makes me feel any better, but it was not so bad. The in flight crew handled the situation quite well, including the tempers of some nasty passengers. Its really strange when people protest and create a scene just for the heck of it, they can clearly peep outside their window and see that visibility is close to zero (he won't even be able to find the runway in this weather), but they still want to create a scene. What happened to being human, just because you want to blow steam/throw a fit, you just like to take off on someone??? I had to come to the rescue of one of the crew, who has being battered by a irate passenger. It was interesting watching/observing people over the three odd hours that I was there as I arrived late, got my 1am flight brought forward to the 10.15am which was scheduled for take off at 11.30am when I got in at 11am(most others were on the plane for upto 3.5 hours), getting restless, making calls, talking loudly....... nobody just sitting back and having a nap or reading. Guess uncertainty makes people restless, people just don't know how to accept reality/fate/facts and try & make the most of the situation. Why not just take it as a new experience and enjoy it??