Sunday, August 24, 2008

59km week, the best so far for the season

I managed to do the planned 20km run today and achieved the weeks target of 60k.

The natural variables were all in place (exactly how I had hoped for it to be) and the weather could not have been better, but I did my best to make it as extremely challenging for myself! I was out the whole of Saturday mall hopping and the day ended well past mid-night. This meant I barely managed 5hours of sleep and started with some really tired legs. Thankfully after the first 14kms, I settled into a great rhythm and could have gone on for another 10km.

I hope to do another 60km distance next week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Alarming polution levels in Bombay

Like they say pictures speak a thousand words. I shot these pictures at Haji Ali, while doing the freedom run on August 15.

How to get out of bed for a early morning run?

I have been trying to figure this out for the last five years. Its always been an effort for me to get out of bed early, esp. on a holiday, for my run. Yes, there are some days when I am highly motivated & I can manage it, but on most other days its a very big effort. Everything else has becomes a habit/routine, but not this thing. I am a early morning person and am at my productive best in the mornings, but I still have not been able to figure of why its so difficult, other than the two core facts that I love my sleep (I can sleep anywhere and at any time, especially in a moving vehicle or while waiting for something/someone. This is a big plus under normal conditions, as I can easily nap any time and be really fresh for something important, plus I don't waste time doing nothing!!) and the second is that fact that I am extremely lazy (so doing something that I don't enjoy is a big effort). Another special trait - if I have had a hard week with limited sleep and I want to make up for it on a Sunday, I can easily get up in the morning, have my breakfast and go back to sleep (can't sleep long hours on a empty stomach).

Now the solution, this has been arrived at after years of research. I have tried everything from changing into my running gear as soon as I get up, to immediately brushing my teeth on waking up, to doing stretches after getting up, to switching on the TV or loud music,...... the list goes on, but I always manage to laze around for a long while or actually get knocked off to sleep even in a sitting position. Today I got up and immediately went for a shower, this made all the usual issues/problems just disappear (the reason I have never tried having a shower in the morning before a run, is the fact that I need to have one after the run and it did not make sense to have two showers in quick succession). So, from now on I plan to have a shower before my run on all holidays, so that I can have a early start and beat the sun (the rains are almost over and sunny days are back!)

Week so far..

I have managed three runs so far in the week, did a 10.5k, 13k and 15.5k, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Had to shuffle my days as had a tight schedule this week and the best way to find time was to run on two of my holidays (Tuesday and Saturday), the only regret being the late start on Tuesday which did not give me enough time for clocking more miles. So its been a 39km week so far and it seems highly unlikely that I will be able to do my targeted 60km for the week.

But, I will have to wait till tomorrow to find out as I still have sometime to catch up, with a bit of luck I might just be able to make it happen. Things I need to make that happen, early start - 7am (today for the first time after many months I managed a 7.20am start on a holiday!!), cloud cover, lot of continuous rain esp. in the second half of the run, 8 hours of sleep and need some really fresh legs when I start my run to last the half marathon distance (esp. after today's 15k)!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Its been a good week, completed another 11km run today after the 21.5km on Friday. Taking my weeks tally to 43km with 3 runs. Next week should be a lot bigger, as I have two holidays to work with, on Tuesday and Saturday. So if all goes well I might have a 60km week. I hope to do 4 runs, Tues, Wed, Friday and Sunday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bangalore Ultra marathon 2008 registration

Bangalore ultra takes place on November 16, 2008, at Heseagatta (40km off Bangalore city). Its a 13km loop in the area around what was Lake Heseragatta. View directions to the venue from Bangalore on Google Earth http://blorerun.googlegroups.com/web/OurNativeVillage_TI.kml?gda=oElxnEoAAABbbrl3Xt4S_I8Q-4Pqr_ueG9mg4RdVZC1Bune7jF4P3aEfD8gizBqda3A8nb_OSkeB5hZJE018p2t5eJYDY_GanIi1syVLgFXllRLk-d1u5Q
Stay is being arranged at a resort which also happens to be the start and end point for the http://www.ournativevillage.com/

Registration process starts from August 25, 2008. Visit http://www.thefullerlife.com/index.php?id=178 for more details on the registration process or mail bangaloreultra@thefullerlife.com or on +91 -80- 4112 3851. Fees for registration are yet to be finalised.

The Bangalore Ultra Marathon is an initiative of Runners for Life, a running community, based in Bangalore.

Running all year round...

I have always been asked this question, how do I am manage to run all year round and still not get bored of it (at any point in-between). The answer is quite simple, first things first I enjoy running (without it, its impossible). But, to make is a self sustaining activity, you need a lot many more things.

Even after about 6 years of regular running, getting out of bed early in the morning is a very big effort, it is not easy. (which is evident from my Freedom run starting at 9am instead of the planned 7am). Plus on a holiday its even more difficult, as I don't really have a deadline which I have to beat (which is very much there on a working day). But, once I hit the road it is a lot of fun, relaxing and nothing like what it was to get me out of bed. I have to run in the mornings, don't really have much of a choice, the stray dogs and traffic make running in the evenings impossible (as I run on the highway). So running very early in the morning or very late in the night, I can beat the traffic but the stray dogs are at their very best and I have to be extremely alert, to avoid being chased by them.

The biggest thing which works for me is that I try to bring variety, add some fun elements, throw in some adventure and also reward myself. I plan and do a midnight run or a 4am half marathon or do a freedom run or run on a route I have never run before and yes run on totally unknown routes in other cities when I am travelling (Hotel Gyms just do not make any sense), all of these things at regular intervals and in small dozes make running more fun.

I love coffee and am also aware that too much of it is not good for me, so I try not consume any coffee during the week except on the days that I run, when I unwind with some strong coffee at my favourite coffee shop (and this does not necessarily need to be immediately after the run, I can also store these rewards and use it the next day).

Shopping for gear (shoes, singlets, energy drink, shorts, socks, energy bars........), at regular intervals I go out to shop for new things which would aid or make my runs more fun. There is no high like shopping for sports gear, it lasts a lot longer than shopping for regular clothes.

You need to have races to run and participate at different times of the year, running regularly becomes a lot easier. So you train for them, once you have zeroed in on a race. Its a lot easier to break it up week by week and to continue running.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Freedom Half marathon

Its been a good week, I managed to run on Tuesday and did a comfortable 11km run. But the highlight of the week was the half marathon which I had planned some weeks back, to celebrate Independence day. I started at 9.00am in the morning instead of the planned time of 7.00am, as I was not able to sleep early the previous night. This also meant that I had to abandon my swim plans, as I would not be able to reach the pool in time (as the morning session closes around 11am or so)

Once I started my run, things started to fall in place and I completed about 21.5km in 2hr 20mins (its about 10mins off my personal best during training and about 8mins of that took place in the first 11km but after that I got into a good rhythm and things were smoother.)

Thanks to the middle drizzle which kept me company during the second half of the run, I did not need much water and managed with about 1liter of water. It was a wonderful watching people dressed in colours of the Indian tricolour (flag). I also stopped midway during my run when a flag hoisting ceremony was talking place at one of the buildings on the way (and the national anthem was playing). I would usually have not stopped if it was a training run (and that would not have been disrespectful), but since this was a run to celebrate the independence day, it seemed the best thing to do.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Good week so far

Its been a good week so far. Managed all my planned runs, plus something extra. I did 11km runs on Tuesday and Thursday, followed by 10.5km run on Saturday (plus a 0.5km swim after the run).
Its been raining all week, so the weather has been quite good. Hope it continues like this for a few more days. I hope to have another good run tomorrow, and try and do about 15km or so, using it like a practice run for my half marathon on next Friday.

I am planing to do a half marathon on August 15 (am calling if Freedom Run!!) and if I am still feeling good after that I might also go for a swim. I think it will be one of the few August 15 (India's independence day) when it might actually rain, keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Painkillers and magic sprays/gels

I developed a backache yesterday afternoon (thankfully it had nothing to do with running), while doing some cleaning and rearrangement at home. This is the second time I have had this backache, the first was when I was trying to lift a box which was about 20kgs plus. On both occasions it was the technique which was faulty and not the work or weight. Yesterday, I kept my legs straight and bent from my waist while doing work and rearranging things, instead of bending my knees and doing it.

I usually try to avoid using painkillers and magic spray as they don't really cure much and give one false sense of relief. Its especially dangerous to use these when one is training, as they tend to hide pain/injury and one tends to push the body, when it actually needs rest. So I rested the whole of Saturday, with little bit of stretching and then waited till Sunday morning to decide on my ability to undertake the run (had it been a running related injury, I would have taken an additional day of rest). I also believe that one should not take any painkillers/sprays during a race or before a race as a precautionary measure (it somehow feels like cheating). The only time I have ever used sprays was during my first Ultra, not sure if they were very useful as they provide only temporary relief & when it wears off, the pain/cramp/injury becomes unmanageable.

Three consecutive runs...

Its been three consecutive runs this week (wanted to use back to back, but I guess its not applicable with 3 in a row). Managed to run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After the two 11km runs, I topped off the week with a 12km run today. Did not want to push myself too much, thought it was a little tempting. I did the 12km run in about 1hr 17mins.

It was a hard, bright day. It had drizzled in the morning, but when I started my run at 9am it was sunny, with no cloud in sight and 90% humidity. Thankfully I was feeling good and things went off well.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Eventful week..

Its been a week with a lot of ups and downs and so I am not sure what is in store for me tomorrow.

I had a dreadful run on Tuesday, I managed only 5km. I had a delayed start (I need to get to work in time to complete my shower, etc well before 9am), then had to come back home after the first 100meters as I forgot to take my handphone and then after the first kilometer of my run, things were just not feeling right, calves and outer part of the shins were feeling stiff and it started to get worse as I continued to run. Then I realised that the problem occurred because the previous day I decided to sprint in the evening for some 100 meters with my work shoes, as I was getting late to get somewhere. Moral of the story, an endurance runner can neither sprint nor walk, he can only run!

So I decided to rest my legs for a couple of days and skipped the planned run on Thursday. I decided to make up for by running on Friday and Saturday. Both these runs went off quite smoothly and the Tuesday nightmare was over. I am managed a comfortable 11km on both the days.

I only wish things ended there. I was in for some more surprises. I decided to do some good deads for the day on Saturday, which included cleaning and remodeling of my living space. So I ended up abusing my back, by putting it through some intense activity, without any warm up or without taking proper care. So I am now down with a sore back. The only thing felt for me to do is to take as much care as possible and hope that things get back to normal by tomorrow morning.