This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The need to be on the run, literally!

Well, the other day I was wondering why I liked running so much. I came up with the following:
1) There is always something to look forward to any day of the week.
2) Running is a great stress buster especially when the afternoons have been tough(presentations, labs,etc.).
3) I don't have to look for adventure, running gives me enough of it.
4) I feel itchy and irritable if I don't get my usual run!
5) I don't have to worry about the food, I can have any amount any time without even giving it a thought.
6) My abs have started shaping out well(I don't go to gym) and I love it.
7) I have recently started running competetively and hence my basic speed has been gradually increasing. To run at a faster speed every day is always enticing.
8) I have a few goals that I like to accomplish, a few of them being to run a marathon, to run it faster the next time and faster the next time ad infinitum.........., to run a 100Km race within the next 5 years(I dream big!).

I would have looked at someone wierdly if they had given me the same reasons as above 1 year ago. Becoming regular needed some motivation then, which came in the form of being a part of Inter-IIT team, athletics. Though I didn't get any medals, it was a thoroughly positive and enjoyable experience which I shall take forward to the next year's meet(at roorkee).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A nightout to remember

I had no intention of putting a night out. I was mugging the whole of afternoon and evening yesterday(actually copying notes to be mugged next week). I came back to my room from the lib. at around 11:30 pm. Then I did some browsing on the net(usual running sites and ofcourse some blog reading), before I knew it it was 1 am.
Now, a wild idea occured to me, what if I go cycling out say in another 3 hrs???
Well this idea was not entirely random as I had planned to do it the day before, but couldn't get up at 5am. So I thought, what if I can't get up at that time, I will stay awake and do it anyway...and that's what I did..
Come 4'o clock and I thought, maybe I should catch some sleep...I got an endsem exam tomorrow!! But then I could hear the birds starting to chirp outside and I decided to start now, thinking of how good it would be once I got onto the ecr road.
So there I was on the road at 4:30 am, pitch dark slipping out silently out of iit....My destination???????? - Muttukadu Lake , a beautiful place 21 kms from tiruvanmiyur. I started my stopwatch around 5 minutes after passing tiruvanmiyur and I mentally noted the times at the following landmarks..You see it is for the sheer thrill of cruising on my racing cycle BSA Mach, that I am here.
- I hit Prarthana drive-in at 11 minutes..I am cycling at a steady 30kmph
- Next up, is VGP golden baeach at around 13 minutes.
- Now, my thighs have started aching but that's normal! I reach a point which says:
Mahabalipuram - 32 kms, Pondicherry - 129 ms. Hmm...20 minutes past.
- Next I see two places named punayur and uthandi. Somewhere here a highway patrol passes me and one of the guys gives me a stare..I smile back.
- Now comes the toll road...and ofcourse cyclists are let free...It's 28 mins on my watch.
- I am still going at a steady pace of 30, how do I know? well, I saw the time between to milestones..28 km and 27 km to mahabs...2 mins right on dot
- Next comes MGM Dizee world..I have covered 19 kms so farand have taken 40 minutes..not bad!
- Now here, I notice that a tvs has just overtaken me and that it is just a little bit faster, so I decide to overtake took me 1 minute to catch up, but the guy had slowed down by then...I wanted to know my speed then..could have been 38/40..
- Atlast Muttukadu lake in sight..
What's so unique about this place you ask. Well, there is a bridge here and to the left of it, you can see the backwaters meeting the sea and a small stretch of land separating them... That's what struck me as really scenic when I first saw it( this is my third trip here). To the right of the bridge is the boating club with a few boats docked around the pier.'s 5:30 now and the sky is getting lit up by the twilight...I see two fishermen down...I take in the moment. It's amazing how when a bus or a lorry passes whizzes by you, when you are sitting on the guard rail of the bridge, the road seems to shake as in an earthquake!
I see that I have already spent 1o minutes here.. I am having a slight headache not having slept so far. After giving a last long glance, I depart back to my room..another 21kms..but this time it takes me only 45 minutes. I am damn hungry as I reach the taramani gate.It's 6:15 am..I see a few students cramming there over tea and smokes .. They give me a strange look. One of them asks me if I am coming from the beach...I give him a grin..That's true ain't it!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Cripple and me

That's right...I was talking to a good friend, deepak and I wondered aloud what the difference was between a cripple(crutched guy) and me was (I have noticed that this sem particularly when I made an attempt at being a regular distance runner, half of the time I am limping around the hostel and even to classes..pathetic!)...The immediate reply given was "You are crazy".
Well, people in my wing think I have gone obssessed with running and (I partially agree to that, as there are more crazier people than me).
I don't run much..4 days of 8 -1 0 km and a long run(16km ususally) on saturday would be a good week for me. Right now, I feel as if my calf muscles have become heavier by 5 times.
Other times when I limp are after the long run and ofcourse after a race.
It is the norm to taper before any race(usually 2 weeks for a marathon and 1 week for a 5k), whether it be 5k or a marathon (ofcourse you should have trained well before that). Recently in the college 5k prep, I started speed training three days before( supposed to be taking rest or run light), the repurcussions of the act followed after the race( which went well).
I had shinsplits, a pain felt on or near the bone running down from the knee to the ankle, making it difficult for me to walk (leave alone run) for around two weeks. Shin splits is a peculiar runner's injury which won't go away by any amount of massaging/ice application/hot water baths, etc...
The physical interpretation of it could be a) You have been running on and off and suddenly decided to run regularly for the same distance as previously.E.g.: You run 5kms 2 or 3 days a week and now you are bent upon doing it daily at the same pace The body simply cannot take the load (unless of course you are a seasoned runner).
b) You have suddenly jumped the gun and are trying to increase the speed all the while maintaining the same distance. E.g. you run 4 days a week 5km each, and decide that I need some speed training..But then you got to cut on the daily runs, as the body takes time to adapt (that's how it improves!) to the stresses caused due to the anaerobic training.

This brings us to conclude that the term "listening to your body" is very relevant to runners, who got to be aware of the warning signals being issued by the body asking you to take some rest. These things start becoming important as you keep increasing your frequency and length of the runs, but by then you would most probably have also gained sufficient experience(see title), to be extremely cautious and not "push the limits".

Heavy legs

I wondre if that is the best term to describe my condition....yeah, my barefooot experience I had yesterday has had late after effects.
My friend, room neighbour and room mate in the first year seemed excited today, he wanted to run...! I said I was not in a good condition because of yesterday's experiment. He said I was not consistent and walked away to the stadium, leaving me to wonder the truth in his words. Vivek, a simple bihari, is a man full of contradictions. It was I who had motivated him yesterday to go for a run, he told me running doesn't interest him much, that he would come with me(yesterday) only because I wished to run. Some background on Vivek: He tried very hard to get into the hostel hockey team last year, but failed...poor vivek, anyway he told me that it was the last straw and that he would never take up any sport.
Arrive this sem, jan - may 2005 and I have some additional enthu for getting in the daily runs..Vivek says "Arre yaar tum bahut achcha daud raha hai, kal se mai be chalunga".
Well that commitment lasted till the quizes(exams) came, after which he didn't run till yesterday!

Talking about exams, I have them coming up this friday on...endsemesters. I have enjoyed blogging here the theses two days. Lets see if I continue later on.
P.S: My legs are still feel heavy but I plan to do nothing about it.

The allure of the train.

Well, it dates back to the time when my parents and me would board the charminar express to chennai during the smmer holidays. It was a real excitement for me...I would be jumping around the house, counting the days to board the train, yes train journey always fascinated me as long I got the window seat which I ususally did. My father would take me to the front of the train and show me the engine. Seeing the big, monstrous beauty was a real experience.
I remember one of the days when we visited the public gardens(hyderabad) and I could see some unused coaches lying around. I went around the coach and tried climbing it successfully(I was very small then.) and it felt great to look down on my father standing on the ground. The southern railway timetable is another thing that kept me hooked in my preteen years. Any train journey, I had to have that book, checking if the train is on time, comparing the average speeds of different trains on that route. reading and rereading the general information provided behind the timetable.
And now as a 21 year old, the passion still remains, but the experience is much more subtle...getting up at 3 am in the train and standing at the door and just admiring the rustic scenery that passes along, contemplating on a wide variety of topics and feeling the wind blow on my face..ah..I would get that experience nowherelse, except maybe while coasting along the ECR on my racing cycle...but that's another story altogether

Sunday, April 24, 2005

One leg in front of the other

Isn't that what running is? Well these days I am not sure...I sometimes hop around..basically down with injuries.
I got so bugged by not able to hold form while running that I decided that barefoot running shall be attempted, and attempt I did. Felt great, 17 laps(400m) of bliss.
Hope to continue running NANGA PAIR.....

Running history

I have never been a serious runner until recently. Yeah, I did some jogging when I was a little 8 year old kid, inspired by the morning shows on our good old doordarshan, but nothing much really. I would participate in the 100m, 200m races in school...nothing more. But after coming to IIT, running has become a real passion. I tried my hand at footer but failed miserably..decided in the 3rd year that I had to be a something in sports..there started my fight for INTERIIT. The training was really good, but I didn't make any mark. I have got one more year to show my mettle and I shall hopefully do it.Living in a hostel, which was never good at athletics, it was tough to be motivated, but all the same I did some homework and was placed third at the roadrace held this march 26th(8k in 34:45, an above average decent time). My goals/plans for the future are to do as many marathons as possible and keep improving my times in the middle distance events (5k, 10k).
My idol is Yiannis kouros, the ultramarathon machine(but he doesn't see himself as a machine) who has run 305 kms in 24hrs and has claimed that the above record shall not be broken for centuries to come!

Indian marathoners

Why can't we have indians running 2:15 time..why??? I have thought a lot on this and have come to a conclusion that there are many reasons for this..:
1) People are not aware of the distance..the usual questions asked are..what is the distance?
Can people run so long????..crazy really..given the proper training yes...
2)Speaking about training..if we have good coaches, and I mean internationally renowned ones, we could have some talented pool representing india on the international scene..
3) We hardly have any races being held in India....only recently with the bombay international marathon begun last year, IAAF halfmarathon held in newdelhi last year, bangalore international
marathon going to be held on may15th, that India is finally beginning to discover a new sport...the money in these races are huge...around 20,000 us$ or more and we get to see some kenyan runners blazing the roads.
there are other local races being held, like the chennai marathon..around feb., thane varsha marathon on 15th june, thiruvananthapuram marathon, etc..but the competition here is visibly poor..rather nonexistent.
4) Another point to be noted is that the people winning these marathons are mostly jawans from the armed forces who are able to pull off the times they run on the training they get there..but
apparantly this is not enough...

Some suggestions: We should have very well organised state level races to bring out talent..the competition in these races should be of a very high level...It is easy to see why USA is the top destination for the marathoners..a)the sheer volume of races held b) the money.
To conclude, there is no dearth of talent here in india, being the second most populated country in the world.
Even casual joggers can become subelite/elite class if only they had the motivation and the trianing required for raising to such levels...There are many examples to prove the above point...Sandy Jacobson of canada,Emily Levan, etc

Running is such a simple sport(yes there is no doubt about that), all it requires you to improve is...RUN

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'