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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Astronomy.....a star............................

Everyone, I am sure have one or two favourite songs that you could listen any number of times, at any given time. I heard this song 'Astronomy', by 'Blue oyster Cult' , for the first time when I was in my friend's room. I asked him to play the song again, and this time I liked it even better. That was 1 year back - September 2004...and I still listen to this song and it's modified version by 'Metallica' daily - a countless number of times..Never get tired of it.
What intrigues me about the song is the lyrics, try as hard as I can I couldn't decipher the meaning out of it and the overall effect is that the song lends itself a mysterious and awe inspiring tone.

Here are the lyrics of the song:

Clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Like acid and oil on a madman's face
Reason tends to fly away
Like lesser birds on the four winds
Like silver scraps in May
Now the sands become a crust
And most of you have gone away
Gone Away

Come Susie dear, let's take a walk
Just out there upon the beach
I know you'll soon be married
And you'll want to know where wind comes from
Well it's never said at all
On the map that Carrie reads
Behind the clock back there you know
At the Four Winds Bar


Four doors at the Four Winds Bar
Two doors locked and windows barred
One door's let to take you in
The other one just mirrors it


In hellish glare and inference
The other one's a duplicate
The Queenly flux, eternal light
Or the light that never warms
Yes a light that never, never warms
Yes a light that never, never warms
Never warms, never warms

The clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Miss Carrie Nurse and Susie dear
Find themselves at Four Winds Bar

It's the nexus of the crisis
And the origin of storms
Just the place to hopelessly
Encounter time and then came me


Call me Desdinova
Eternal light
These gravely digs of mine
Will surely prove a sight
And don't forget my dog
Fixed and consequent

Astronomy - a star
Astronomy - a star
Astronomy - a star

If you ever get a chance to listen to this beautiful song, don't forego it.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Scaling the Mount

My cousin, who works at b'lore had come to my uncle's place. He runs often, getting in 3 runs/week including a longrun during the weekend. When I met him yesterday night, he was pretty excited about running to the St. Thomas mount and back, stating that it would be a great "hill" workout. The distance as measured by him, from Adayar to Mount and back was around 17kms. I wasn't as much worried about the distance as those 'killer' hills at the mount. My left knee was not in a good condition and I didn't want to risk a long-term injury by doing that workout. So I suggested that we do a flat course..We finally decided that depending on how I felt in the morning we would decide the route.

I had put a night-out the previous night and had trouble falling asleep yesterday night...I kept looking at the clock and the last time I saw it, it was around 1:30 am. I fell asleep but had nightmares about the run....I got up at 4:15 am, we did some warmup and we decided to go ahead with the original plan.

We walked around half kilometre, till we hit the main road. I set my stopwatch and off we went.
I had two small 200 ml bottles, one in each pocket, while my cousin had gotten a fuel belt which had 5 small bottles placed evenly around the belt so that when you wear the belt, it fit you snuggly and you wouldn't even notice it being there. I kept sipping water every 10 minutes.We were going at a moderately slow pace of 9 min/mile...My knees didn't give me much trouble at this pace.We were really surprised at the amount of traffic on the roads at this hour... We hit Kathipara Junction in 30 minutes..We had little trouble crossing over to the other side as the vehicles were moving at a pretty good pace.
We had to run single file from here on as there was no foot-path or side-walk to run on!!..Some corners were really dangerous and we had to be really cautious watching out for vehicles...
We soon reached the turning that lead to the Mount. Man, what a change in ambience...lots of greenery and birds chirping around and what a pleasant time of a day it was to be running in the military quarters.
My cousin warned me as we approached the start of the steep climb to the top. We just slowed down to a 12 min/mile pace and just slugged it out. The last 50 - 100 metres is pretty hard. I walked this stretch...We were finally at the summit. The view from here was simply fantastic. Only the Pallavaram hills stood taller than we were. We decided to do that hill when he returned to Madras again.
After a brief stop, we headed down the hill and believe me downhill is a lot tougher on the knees and I thought I would have to stop after a few minutes...But luckily I felt better once we got down the hill...It was 1 hr since we had started and I felt like I had just warmed up, but I am not sure my cousin felt the same.. The return was more or less eventful, I picked up speed as I approached the Anna University but my friend was wobbling a bit. He asked me to go ahead, so I kept increasing the pace till I reached my uncle's place..It had taken me a total of 1hr 45mins...
We had a post run discussion and reached a consensus that the run was simply great and out of the world and that we shall try out some of those hills in Pallavaram next time or run a flat stretch of 20 kms....

Friday, July 15, 2005

My lovely companion

The sleek and Beautiful BSA Mach.

There you go, that's the one on which I have gotten to see some real beautiful places in and around Chennai. Though it doesn't have gears (for easy pedalling on grades), it can zip through the East Coast Road at 40 Kmph....I got it last October, and I have never regretted that decision.Oh yeah..there's my shoes(dirty as a runner's shoes should be) in the background.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Badwater Ultra Marathon

Imagine running two of the hardest 100 miles races in the world (non stop ofcourse) in a span of two weeks.......That's what Scott Jurek(pronounced yurek) has managed to do....simply amazing.
Having won the Western states( ultra Marathon for the seventh consecutive time and having rolled seven times at the finish line as a gesture of that feat, the champion wanted more fun...So he decides to do what is considered the toughest foot race on earth - Badwater Ultra marathon (..., and top it all, he won it by setting a course record of 24:36:08...Hats off to you man!!!!.

The bad water ultra marathon is a 135 mile race which starts in the death valley (85.5 m below sea level) and ends in the great peak of Mt. Whitney. What makes it the toughest race is that the marathoners have to endure peak temperatures of 55 degrees celsius during the day, not to mention the elevation changes as they proceed towards the peak. As a result, all the runners have their own separate crew(ususally 4 people) who assist the runner throughout the run by driving beside him in a car. Typical stuff inside the car include, tons of food, water and tubs of ice(if the runner felt a need to cool off!). Not more than 100 people participate in this race( July 11th - 13th) and rightly so! The average age of the runners is around 45 and most of them have several ultras in their kitty.
Most of them aim only to finish the race(which by itself is a great achievement) and the average time of finish is around 45 hrs!!!!.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

My first Half Marathon Experience - Thane Varsha

The marathon is considered to be a very 'tough', distance and that too only in the last 6miles of the 26.2 miles, when all the body's stored fat reserves get depleted and the body looks up at you and asks, "Are you insane, why do you subject me to such intense suffering?".

But for me, the half marathon was equivalent to running a marathon as shall be described below........

I was staying at Mumbai with my mom during the summer 'o3 and I heard 11 days before the actual date(14th July) that there would be a marathon in Mumbai.
I quickly found the registration procedures, which involved getting a medical certificate and proof of age (the half was only for men below age of 21 and ofcourse for women). I went to the registration site, Maharana prathap Chowk, two days before the half marathon and got myself registered.

On the same evening I went along with a few others for a tour of the route in a bus provided by the race organisers. I even mapped the route in my book, but when I think back, it didn't matter as the route was well marked and there was a negligible possibility of getting of course.
Now, my training for the half mary wasn't much as I had just 11 days of notice. So, I decided to run regularly for 11 days in IIT powai, where I was staying. I ran 5kms daily the first week and the next week I did one 12km, which was very tough since that was the maximum I had ever run at a stretch. I felt really dehydrated after the run, but I also felt a sense of achievement and the confidence that I could atleast do half the race distance.
I took a day's break and was ready the next day for the race. I had my lunch at around 10 am and went to Teen hath naka,Mahranaprathap chowk, the start of the event, near Thane. The race was at 1pm, but it didn't start till 3:30 pm. We were made to sit below a flyover there till the race started. But it was great fun,
as I made new friends and we were all hollering around and the atmosphere around had a festive look.

The race began, and it started raining. But I thought what the heck,it would be fun. Many of the runners started sprinting from the start line. I was really cautious to run slow and steady, lest I give up later. A few other races like boys 5k and 10k were also being parallelly held.
I took water at the water-stops meant for the 5k runners.....At around this time I caught up with one of the friends I had made..I asked him to run steadily with he looked tired. We must have run like this for around 5 km when he suggested that we stop as he was unable to breathe! I told him not to give up, and I was feeling allright, what the heck, we hadn't even covered 1/4th of the race...But he gave up and I was left to run on my own....The initial 10 kms is a loop which brings you back to the starting point and then takes a long route to finish.
It took me around 1 hr to cover the first 10kms (behind schedule) and I was feeling really tired just when the sun had started to show up from under the cloud cover..

People were egging me on as I passed through the slums and rural pockets..Some were outright rude to throw water on me and make comments like sathraa ho bathraa (my chest no. was 17) while others were lifted my spirits as I ran past them. The problem I faced at the 11km mark was that, there were some steep climbs and my legs were hurting so real bad that I had to slow down my pace to a walk and finally I stopped as I could proceed no more, despite wet sponges for the head and glasses of water. From here on it was a struggle unto finish. I walked/jogged and did the same over and over main aim was to finish the race no matter how long it took.
The funny thing was that I was struck up with a set of runners who were struggling like I was...I would keep looking back and front to see if the gap had narrowed down or widened...A couple of runners really annoyed me...Just as I passed them, trying my best to keep jogging, they would start spriniting all of a sudden and gain a good distance on me. I would again pass them and they would do the same thing again.I also adopted a few strategies like:
Walking a few steps and then running half that no. of steps, etc...
An auto guy, seeing my condition offered me a lift...I asked him to get lost, I knew that I had only 5 more kms to go....The last 1 km, I sprinted along to finish.

We were supposed to get some refreshments at the finish, but since it was already 2.5 hrs since the start, the organisers had long since packed and left, there were also no buses to take us back to the start. There were around 5 runners sitting on the floor when I finished and we all requested the security guy there to help us out. He lead us to a company canteen nearby and we were served some refreshments there.
We then reached the starting point, thanks to a traffic police guy who was kind enough to hire us an auto and pay for it .
I got my finisher's certificate which was ridiculously unfilled and having cursed the organisers, I left for my home.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Running Barefoot

Why use a spoon if you can have your food with 'god given' hands...
Why use toilet paper.................................................................................
Why run with shoes if you can do the same with your own feet.

Well, that's what I did today at the stadium here (3rd time though)....The grass on the edge of the ground did help a lot in cushioning the feet. When you run with shoes your feet do not feel the real impact due to the cushion provided in them..Hence when you transition to barefoot running, the first run would hit your calves hard as it happened to me 4 months back, and I had to take 2 weeks off from running.
But the real benefits of barefoot running are improved form or style of running...I notice that I naturally land more on my toes and midfoot as against landing on heels in the case of shoes.
Initially the stones and other sharp objects ( luckily I am running in a stadium) could cause a lot of trouble, but soon the feet would get adjusted to it and become more rougher and tougher...

There are people who run on the roads and that too in a
Hmm..It will take some time before I attempt running barefoot on the road.

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

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