Intro

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.




Thursday, September 15, 2005

Running in IITM , cycling on ECR and the transportation crisis

Back from a brief hiatus...The last two weeks were a little hectic and eventful too.

For starters, I managed two pb's(personal best) or pr's(personal records)...
One was in 400 metres - 1:02(previous best - 1:09) and 800 metres - 2:26 (previous best 2:39).

These events are a part of our venerable and much fought over, inter-hostel championships, a.k.a 'schroyeter'. Here's where it's held:

The stadium





















Though I managed a good time in 400m and 800m it wasn't good enough for a position, but I will take a pr any day. The other events, 1500m and 5000m are postponed due to the stadium getting washed out last week.



















Closer view..during the 100m dash in the inter-iit championships, last year


The stadium has taught me a lot..there was a time when I would struggle to run 10 rounds(4km) in the stadium, and when I completed it, it would be an achievement for me. And the speed workouts here are always a killer(e.g. 4 x 800m, with 3 min gap in between each 800m), but are essential for the adaptation of the body to the stresses subjected to the body at that speed and hence become more efficient. Sometimes, when I get injured and am unable to run, I go to the stadium simply to take in the ambience there, cheer a few runners and do some warm-up. But at the same time, it would be too monotonous to run all your runs in the stadium. A distance of 8km for example, would be run by me partly on the road and partly in the stadium.

The road run would typically start at the stadium side of the road and proceed towards the gate and I would take a diversion at the fork, from the road on the left(delhi avenue) to the road on the right(bonn avenue) as shown in the picture .


















Delhi avenue and bonn avenue


My route back to the stadium passes through the famous 'gajendra circle', which is a big attraction during our tech-fest, 'Shaastra' and cul-fest 'Saarang', due it being studded with colourful lights.



















Gajendra circle

My experience has been that running and cycling do not complement each other. You either run 4 days a week and cycle on one of the other days or you cycle regularly and run now and then. I belong to the former category and cycling gives me a lot of pleasure when I get to do it.
Inside iit, I generally cycle between gc(gajendra circle) to gate and back. But for real excitement, I head to the scenic and picteresque place called 'muttukadu lake' situated on the ECR (east coast road), 21 kms from Thiruvanmiyur. On my recent trip here(last sunday), I saw some people fishing, recreationally.











































Muttukadu lake and Buckingham Canal(enroute to the lake)

The above pic was taken by my running friend, Jacob, who had first shown me this place, when we came running here through the buckingham canal(it stinks big time and hence I have never taken that path again) from Thiruvanmiyur. This pic shows the lake which is situated to the right of a bridge on the ECR. Equally scenic is the beach on the other side of the bridge. The beauty of this beach is that, the backwater(muttukadu lake) joins the sea here, and a thin strip of sand divides the lake from the sea providing a breath-taking view, when viewed from the bridge, especially early in the morning.

I might have gone there atleast 5 times by now, and every time, the experience has been new, refreshing, and out of the world. Many friends have accompanied me on these trips and they have always been raring to come back here. One of my friends, who now works in bangalore was inspired enough by this trip to regularly cycle to his work place from his residence, a distance of 12kms. Ofcourse, ECR has excellent roads and the damage caused to the thin tyre of the racing cycle is insignificant compared to that caused by cycling on the city roads.

I feel many people would be ready to commute by cycle if 'dedicated cycle lanes' are provided
and enforced. A classic example of this kind of initiative is the city of Toronto, where a sizeable population commute to work by cycles on these lanes. Ofcourse, the attitude of people there towards environmental-friendly transport did help towards this cause. Besides serving to reduce congestion on city roads, it would also improve the fitness and health of those take up this exciting sport.

America is now in a crisis as far as transportation is concerned with the number of autos(cars) simply too high. The vehicle occupancy of a car in america is 1.08. What does that mean? It means that if I were to substitute every 4 seater car with a 4 seater share-auto or an equivalent bus or train, for example, the number of vehicles on the road would just drop down by 4 times or even more orders of magnitude. If that isn't a way of reducing congestion, what is? These are known as demand side measures, as against supply-side measures like building more roads, widening them, flyovers, etc..which is what is being advocated even in India.Though the percentage of people using public transit(buses,etc) in India is higher(around 30%) than in America, the number is steadily declining, and heavy duty advertising by two-wheeler companies and cars is only compounding the problem. Unless the decision makers are well informed about this problem, congestion on roads is only bound to zoom up.ven the now underway, IT corridor, between Madhya Kailash and Kelambakkam in Chennai, could have a viable alternative in the form of a rapid bus or train transit. Delhi, which was hugely plagued by too many vehicles , has recovered a little due to the development of DMRC (delhi metro).

But the freed space on roads would soon be filled up with the ever growing vehicular traffic and hence the only reasonable solution is to go to the core of the problem and curtail the use of private vehicles by measures like congestion pricing(toll charged on vehicles during peak hours of travel in and around the city centre), high parking fees, etc and promote public transit in a big way.

9 comments:

Cecilia said...

Dear Karthik: I totally agree, I love cycling but with the traffic, I am so scared to try. But this December, I am going to get myself a bike carry it to the cycling ring at RRC grounds in Secunderabad and cycle atleast once a week. You must be knowing RRC grounds in Secunderabad? Anyhow yes the half marathon is in November. Can you email me where I can fine marathon details in India?
Will be grateful for any info.

The Constant Variable said...

Hey karthik...

whats with karthik and athletics..one of my friends, my batch..name's also karthik..was the insti athletics captain...he is also into long distance running now...

man..ur post has brought back old memories..GC..stadium..i never ran the 10k runs when i was at iit..but now im feeling real bad.that i did not..

what u say abt congestion is true...but to cycle along with menacing lorries and buses..who dont even heed to small cars..is really dangerous, atleast in bangalore...but, it will definitely be neat to cycle to work...

NaiKutti said...

@karthik, its nice to see a blog on running :-)... It has been my passion for a while though didn't get a chance to explore it...

and u remind me of my college days... schroeter, inter-iit, stadium, sangam etc., can never be erased from my memories...no prizes for guessing where i did my undergrad... :-)

as for PB, I am a short-dstance runner turned to long-distance running... during "those" days, 100m was 11.6s, 400 was 53.8s.. and I am sure i can't get anywhere close to those timings now...

will keep visiting ur blog often...

arbit said...

Hi madurai,I think you were refering to the karthik who posted after you..with a time of 53secs for 400m, I don't see why
he wouldn't have been the insti athletics captain.
Yeah, there has to be an awareness among
people with regards junta who actually cycle to work...

arbit said...

Hi cecila, I guess, the organisers would update the details of the registration, etc, soon. Are you asking about other marathons in India? I guess, the only notable ones are delhi....oct mid,mumbai - jan mid and pune - dec mid.

NaiKutti said...

your cycling reminds me of our "cycling experience in the lasy year"... fighting for gold in cycling schroeter... and evetually we won it ;-) though we were not even expected to give the any hostel a fight...

sometimes i have thought abt. cycling to work... but the traffic will be a big bottleneck... where-ever there is a small space somebody or the other gets in ;-)...separate cycling tracks as in Eurpoe or US would be good but i don't think thats gonna happen :-(.

with petrol/diesel prices hiked, and limited sources of energy in the world and considering environment, cycling is the best option and next comes public transportation...

Suguna Purushothaman said...

i like to be fit. i am on a plump side now. i used to go to the gym and take some time off for myself when i was in chennai. ater coming here to bangalore, i am not able to do it. i think i should start again. i am really geting motivated to do it. u remind me of someone. u r so similar man!!!!!

Suguna Purushothaman said...

i like to be fit. i am on a plump side now. i used to go to the gym and take some time off for myself when i was in chennai. ater coming here to bangalore, i am not able to do it. i think i should start again. i am really geting motivated to do it. u remind me of someone. u r so similar man!!!!!

arbit said...

DO i remind you of someone? Well you do too..my mom's got ur first name.

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

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