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, September 29, 2006

Tread mill running

Today I went to check out the IMA(Intra mural association) on the UW campus and since I had registered for classes, I was allowed access to the place unlike the last time. What put me off, when I got in there was to see the number of people on the treadmill. Its like packing a herd of sheep into an enclosure and asking them to go around. They had all be trying to get around but would be in the same place all the while. Ofcourse, that's not an exact analogy and I am not trying to be offensive on the treadmill runners, but my point is running is better done outdoors with all the sights and sounds, unless ofcourse it rains heavily. I might switch to tread mills, given an option, in the dead of winter when the only way you can run is covering up your whole body from head to toe with some sort of clothing or other.
Allright, so I heard that there's an indoor track in the IMA. I went to check that out and well it is a little better off to run on than treadmills, but nevertheless is a bad way to do your run.
And where do serious track runners train on? The husky stadium..bad. Whenever you have the rugby( I prefer to call "soccer" as football as is known in the rest of the world) games coming up on saturday afternoons, you have these people doing band practices and stuff and occupying a good part of track turf all around. I say, I am no elite athlete, but if I want to do interval running on track, am I able to do that. No. Man, back in IIT it was so much better. I would run on roads, and finish off my run with a nice sprint or two on the track. You just need the track to do speed workouts, no where else is a good place for that.
Anyway, I would end this post with a heads up to this video on tread mill dancing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


<Slisha feeling nostalgic and hence this post>

One of the memories I cherish of my stay in IITM is the nature abound. I mean I was staying in the smallest national park in India, so it ought to be beautiful. Those deers, the general greenery around and the banyans.

Banyans, especially the indian ones are one of the largest trees in the world. I marvel their thinking, I mean their growth strategy through networking. What's the foundation for a tree..a root right, so they have optimised their growth by producing roots that dangle down and grow towards the ground to get rooted. I wonder, why other trees haven't taken the cue from this tree and evolved in a similar fashion. Intelligent tree I say.

So it might be slisha ob that I am enamoured by banyans and a lot of pics of banyans captured at different places in the campus would follow.
I meant to post this post on the day I took the pics, but the next day was my mtech project evaluation, so I postponed it..till now.

Gen nostalgic pic - The road from ganga to gurunath

Monday, September 25, 2006

365 marathons in 365 days

This is the best so far.

I wouldn't be surprised if we soon have some one doing the decadamarathon: marathon a day for 10 years. What would then happen is, this guy would attain zen. Why? Well, 36, 500 marathons is equivalent to ~ 36,500*42 = 1,530,000 kms of running. Running so much, he would have transcended levels of body-mind connect and would have stared at reality enough number of times to have become a real wise man.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I don't believe they exist, but how about a monstrous hill.....ask any runner in seattle and he inevitably would have run on one...Well, I have done only three runs so far in seattle and each time I think, "hmm, looks good, today's going to be a flat, fast one..", I turn around the corner and there it is...the hill, the up-slope, the steep grade..whatever you wish to call it.
I noticed on today's run that it's much easier to run up a long hill than bike it up. I have gone on bicycle rides on some of the most treacherous hills out here in the past two weeks and yeah, its terrible. But whenever I ride up a hill, I think to's another hill training session.."The taming of the monster"...But next time I go around the same place, it doesn't get any better, despite the gears and experience.
Another good thing about today's run was that it involved 12 minutes of climbing and 7 minutes of down-hill running. Yep, I have never done that successfully before. Downhill running can be bad for your knees they say. Some also say that you should run a down-hill in an unrestrained manner...I had some success in that aspect today..Its hard to maintain your balance, avoid slippages and yet go "un-restrained" down the hill..Plus if its raining or the ground is wet , its gonna be a pretty risky thing to do.
The hill was a real long one, so by the time I had hit the flat portion on the boyer ave, the momentum from the down-hill running, saw me run abnormally fast speeds(for my current level of fitness) during the rest of the run..Anyway a great run today, hills are unavoidable and they are good for my calves and I am going for it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Burke-Gilman Trail

Its been a week since I got the Schwinn fastback sport 24 road bike, but I haven't used it much except to commute to and from university and home. Today I went to the IMA to check out the indoor running track. I wanted to do some intervals or speed running on the track, but since I hadn't registered for courses yet and officially wasn't a student, I was denied entry inside...So I decided to check out the Burke-Gilman trail instead.

I started off from the husky stadium and when I hit the trail, I was pretty impressed by its functionality - a path exclusively for hikers/joggers/runnners/bikers.

As I progressed along the trail and increased my pedalling rate or cadence, I realised that a mere t-shirt and shorts wasn't going to serve me good in the chilly environs. But since I had come this far, I decided to continue further. I also noticed that the trail wasn't smooth in that there were a lot of cracks and small bumps on the road which were affecting my riding experience. I am used to cycling on really smooth stretches as in highways like the east coast road in Chennai, so this trail didn't live upto my expectations. The trail didn't get any better as I went further on and stayed the same through my 30 minute ride upto NE 125th street(12kms). Ofcourse, there were some smooth stretches, but the overall experience wasn't one that I really revelled in. Its like you pump in effort and increase your speed, only to slow down when you come at a crossing or a really cracked stretch of road.

But I had some fun riding in tandem with another biker, who I presume was commuting back from work. I would accelerate and go ahead of him only to have him catch me at the next crossing. Also 8 kms into the trail, the view of the washington river and the cascade ranges in the background was really breath-taking. So yeah, as my landlord, John says, the trails may not offer a great ride to a road biker, but its a lot safer than highways and affords some scenic views.
Still, I would like to do some real quick biking on the roads of seattle!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The rock

Let's observe a rock, a rock perched neatly and snuggly in an otherwise flat desert.

Now when I say observe, the obvious question is from which frame of reference.
Let us say I am stationary in all the observation points with respect to the desert floor.
Now from all possible observation points, I pick two: within and without.

Within is the frame of reference when I peep into the fundamental constituents of the rock.
Without is an observation point outside the rock as seen by a normal human eye.

The without observation is a simple see a small rock 10 metres away from it stationary with respect to you?
You are not sure, maybe the desert wind lifting up the sand is blurring your vision. For all you know, it could be the head of a rattle snake! So you move closer, now 5 metres away, you can clearly look at the contours of the rock, the different hues of black and green mingling to give the rock a sublime look. You don't care, all you need to know is whether the object you have designated as 'rock' is as it seems to be: ever at rest. You aren't convinced, you want to have an even closer look..At 25cms from your eye and with the rock in your hand you are convinced that the rock isn't jumping around. Still to be sure, you hold the rock in your hand till you get tired of this exercise; the rock is a dense object after all. You put the rock in the place you originally found it and sit beside the rock, looking ahead into the seemingly endlesss desert.

The cool breeze gently caressing your face as the sun sets beyond the horizon makes you want to lie down for a while. You do the same observing the stars slowly emerging into the night sky.
Looking to your left, you can't see the rock, so groping the hand around you find the rock..the same one you observed a while ago. It's still there.
The stars and the whole cosmos that is visible to you seems to start blurring wonder if the rock is still there, but you can't lift your hand as it feels as heavy as the rock. Now you are asleep, but ofcourse you don't know that unless you were lucid dreaming ......


I see something huge in the distance. I can't make out what it is. The swirling dust in front of me doesn't seem to affect me in the least. I try to stop, but I can't. I seem to be moving at a steady pace and effortlessly at that as if propelled by some external force. I can't make out the speed for there is nothing else to compare to save the floor..wait a minute..I can't see the floor either. Where ever I look there is this brownish dust that clouds my vision. Taking stock of the situation, I decide to see where it is that I am proceeding. The word 'I' seems meaningless, since I don't see any body around 'me'..just the swirling brownish-grey dust.But ofcourse I can look around, only to see an endless desert except in the direction I am proceeding....
I estimate that I am no farther than about a furlong away from this massive wall in front of me, which must be atleast about a 100 metres high and about 5 metres wide...and its oval shape is a queer one..somehow supported at the base..

As I approach this wall closer, I see that the wall isn't stationary...It seems to be made of some dense viscous material..a maroonish-black colour and the wall seems to be in a state of vibration...No I can't call it a wall now..Its a live monster that seems to be dancing to a particular tune..Each part of the monster, part here would mean the dense material, seems to be in tune with a particular rhythm..going back and forth..The sight amazes me as much as it frightens me...I have never seen such a gigantic mosntrous vibrating thing before...

Holy cow! The material that makes up this monster as I see it now, just a few metres away from this monster is the same brownish dust that I can see around me..only more dense..
I move closer to the base of this monster, the vibration effecting my motion..Now I seem to be dancing the same tune as the monster..I am now in tune with the monster..It feels good..I am now within a hand's reach of the monster. I will myself to stop and amazingly I slow down to a crawl. I will myself even strongly and come to a complete halt.

Woah! I can't seem to resist the pull of the monster. It seems to be drawing me in as a magnet might to a metallic piece. I hold on to my will, for lack of a body and the consequent muscles to resist the pull of the monster. I look down and now look around and then look at the monster. What do I see?
I see the same brownish dust everywhere..It is now that I notice very clearly that what I thought to be a wall at first and turned out to be a vibrating monster is nothing but a very dense column of dust..........
All this makes my head spin..The world I now see is filled with the same dust, more dense at some places, taking shapes at other places like the rock and thinning out into the distant desert horizon.
I now see the dust-devil in front of me to be just an apparition..its just the same material somehow packed in a precise manner to resemble an oval shaped wall from the distance.
I am lost now..I have had enough of this sameness..I can't seem to do much in this 'alternate reality' except move around in dust..for life..not at all an interesting prospect..I sense a growing heat around me..I feel thirsty...

The blazing sun overhead must surely have made my face sun-burnt. I turn my head with a deep groan and feel my left hand around and sure enough the rock's maintained its position..though its dug deeper into the sandy dust so that I can only see the upper half of its oval body.
Picking up the rock, I heave a deep sigh as I place the rock into my rucksack, addding to the existing collection of 43 rocks. I head over to a probable oasis in the distance masked by a few date palms to refresh myself and continue my journey to find the next stationary rock.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A few things.....

Actually a lot of things have happened since monday, i.e. about 5 days back. I would report briefly on those 'things' below...

Silent Movies: I had my first experience of watching silent movies at 30,000 ft asl. I mean, I never realised how predictable a storyline could be until Lufthansa dished out them movies 'muted'.

Erratic sleeping: I have slept at real vague know night outs or all nighters..6 am, 10 am and maybe even 9 pm the next day..But how about 5 pm or 7 pm...I don't remember doing that in the past decade..And getting up at 1 am..What do you do when you fall into such situation..Like if it were 4:30 am , I might have thought about umm..uh..umm..the american slang or know..umm the way I need to speak out here to be heard..But yeah, so, ok what does one do when one gets up at 1 am and try as hard you can't sleep 'cause you have slept already for 8 hrs?
Well, Seattle isn't an easy place to get around atleast for an incoming grad like me, so what you do is look at the maps..yeah have the university map, you have the north seattle, east, west..and you have the metro bus map..So yeah that took up some of my time..But then I kept looking at my watch and finally I couldn't take it any more..So at 3 am I took off for a jaunt out..walking..without much winter wear..must have been 5-8 degrees or 45 F...But I guess it was worth the view of the union lake and the boats in glistening night lights right beside the place I am put up right now.

So after that sleeping thing and the walking thing on wednesday morning, I went out for the running the rain...but it was fun and I got to know the neighbourhood a little better... and yeah I had my first experience of a frost bite..unmistakable..despite the winter gear I had..A good 25 minutes..must say seattle has quite a few hills and big ones at that...
I ran today morning too, but it wasn't good probably because I slept through my dinner yesterday night..

Culture shock:
You come out of the Sea-Tac airport and what do you see? .............................................................Yeah open space. I mean the population of Seattle is 500,000 and washington state 5.85 million and how do you compare that with back in India..Well, Chennai is 6.5 million there you go..a mere 20 square mile city having a population equivalent to a 300 square mile state...But I am beginning to take in the beauty of the emerald city.

Every one's got a car..I knew that before I came here, ofcourse, but it didn't hit me till I saw them here..And the car-pool lane is empty!! I mean you would think, with the heavy traffic during peak hours, people would switch to car-pool big time..Well that's not the case..So yeah people here are pretty individualistic..I am not saying that's bad..but I am not saying that's good either..

Standard..Things are pretty much chaos..that's good, well planned cities..great!!! But the same deodorant odour from pretty much every one you pass by..? and the same smell from any restaurant round the corner..?
But there is diversity in the uwash district with lots of people in from different countries like china, vietnam, etc and yeah the multitude of restaurants representing different countries on the university ave..

Food: It wasn't a struggle from day one, thanks to my good-natured host, who did a good job keeping me well fed. But I brought out my latent cooking skills to the fore by preparing a mixed vegetable noodles for breakfast today..And that was pretty much the same thing I had at Mangolia for lunch..pretty cheap and you can take home what you didn't eat..which was about 75% of what I had filled up my bowl with..So tomorrow's lunch is well taken care off..

I realised after two days of walking to and fro from the house to the university, that transportation of some form is indispensible with. And since Seattle is biker and walker friendly( the other day I was standing at an intersection without a signal..and I was about to cross the road but I cross checked the map to see if I was headed in the right direction and this car a few feet away starts honking..I don't understand what's going on..I was not blocking the way..the woman in the car frantically signalled me to get across..back in India that's unheard yeah pretty walker friendly), I thought it better to get the bike..since I am psychologically not ok with walking long distance, though ironically, that's not the case with running. The search for a good and cheap road bike wasn't easy..I checked out 'recyled cycles' a couple of times, but they said that the second hand bikes come in and are bought out pretty soon..Since I didn't have the time to wait there all day, I checked out 'Performance bikes', a neat store and they were having 'sales' so I opted for the 'Schwinn Fast-Back Sport 2006', a sleek, sexy red and black bike for about 450 $, a savings of 150$. Pretty costly, but a pretty good bike too. I had problems with the gear shifts initially, but then a couple of test rides and I was doing fine.

The Indian community: Probably not that big in the university here, there's not a single prof or student in my department here! But I met up with a few people here and that's enough for me..I would definitely look at getting some friends who come from across the globe including america though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Notes on running

Running at Tirumala: Since I was to visit this holy place along with my family, I wondered how it would be to do some running out there, taking in the fresh air of the hills plus the scenery. Well that's not the whole story; I started running with focus a week back (a half mary 12 weeks down the lane) and pumped in effort into 5 consecutive days last week. Taking a break on sunday, it was but natural to run on monday, wherever I was, the place happening to be tirumala.
Though my run was of a mere 15 minute duration, I encountered two steep and short hills and could very well feel the decreased levels of oxygen at this place - talk of an intro to altitude training!

416 miles non-stop:
Dean Karnazes ran 350 miles 'non-stop?', wrote a book and got great publicity. Pam Reed ran 300 miles and rivalled our ultramarathon man's feat.

Next in line is Christopher Calfee, a chesterfield county teacher who would attempt to run 416 miles 'non-stop' by running twice the distance(208 miles) of the blue-ridge relay race held in Virginia on september 8th and 9th!!
The relay which is run by a team consisting of a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 people is set on a tough course with lots of elevation changes..There are a lot of down hills on the course, hence the last 208 miles would be a really trying phase for calfee. Hence if Calfee manages to complete the 416 mile run, he would have pulled off a really wonderful and mean endurance stunt.

A point to note here is that what 'non-stop' really means is not clear..Does it mean the runner can't stop to pee or take food? Dean karnazes did stop to have food. Can you stop to stretch..again not clear..But the general idea is running steadily with minimal breaks.

My fitness level has improved at a decent pace since I started running again two weeks back. Though it would take atleast a month for me to get comfortable with running 45 - 60 minutes regularly as I used to previously(6 months back), the good news is my comfort level has increased from 12 minutes(2.5kms) of running to 20 minutes(4 kms) over the past 2 weeks.
Its amazing how your fitness can drop down drastically when you don't run for a long period of time. The come-back road is painful, especially if you can't hold form for even half of the distance you were previously comfortable with. However, the body isn't entirely alien to adaptations required for distance running and will learn quickly or so I hope.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

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