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.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

From Enigma variations, Rob Douglan to Free running

The evolution.

Nature came about.
Man came about.
Nature inspired man.
Man made inspirational music.
Along came Enigma variations by Edward Elgar
Which was ripped/remixed by Rob Douglan into Clubbed to Death
Which inspired Russian Free runners to set their free running video to this tune
And the American counterparts did the same
Videos that followed on had variations of the same music
While some limited that music to serve as an introductory piece, as a mark of respect.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Running is bad for your knees" - A myth busted

This post is dedicated to all you non-runners out there. Yo, you guys rock.

Any time I tell "non-runners" , that I run during my free time(that's how it comes up..What do you do man..Play football [or soccer for Americans], basket-ball, etc?), they all go: 'Oh that's nice, but uh..I think its bad for your knees'. Man, atleast have the decency to put your prejudice as a question: "Don't or do you think its bad for your knees" is much better than "Its bad for the knees. I therefore don't run nor should you."

People who run or jog regularly(with flexibility in runs), have a feel for their runs, care about their form..questions like, "How does my leg feel", constantly come up when you run. Good form is also aesthetically pleasing to look at. People who run also think of running as a sport. Why else would they be doing it? I don't need to lose weight, I need to gain weight if you ask me. But even if you take up running to lose weight( that's the best way to do it), you would soon stop obsessing about losing weight and focus more on enjoying your runs. And running is not as easy as you think. It involves completely surrendering to how your body feels on any particular day. Do you know how hard that is? You want to go out fast today, you can't. Why? Because the body isn't ready. And why is that? Because it hasn't recovered from the fast run yesterday. And how do you know if your body has recovered or not? That's what you call listening to your body.

People who start walking all of a sudden can do it daily without a problem. People who start running all of a sudden and try doing it everyday, end up with a runner's knee. Again why? Because you are not yet sensitive to your body's signs of inability. I understand its tough to know "how your body feels", I have been through it many times, when I have had a lay off. Its always tough to comeback. If you go back to some of my posts, you would understand that. But that doesn't mean you give up. Its a subtle art of deciding what pace you want to run at any given moment during the run and how far to run on each day.
Following a schedule strictly in running is a great recipe for ending up with runner's knee or shin splits

When I started running regulary 3 years back, I frequently sucummbed to shin splits. Why? I committed the classic mistakes of sticking to a schedule. Run every day at the same pace(atleast slow down on a few days). My uncle who walks for 2 hrs every day, would ask me what's the use of running if you can't do it regularly? Here's my answer: Running is a completely different ball-game altogether. I challenge you non-runners. If you think running is easy enough, go out and run. See for yourself if you can run regularly for a month or even two weeks, make progress and not get injured. Running is a sport, the rules are decided by the body. Simple.

Now, the past three months, I haven't run much..Just 2-3 runs per week. But the good thing is, I haven't had a single indication of pain in my legs during these runs so far. If during a run, my legs started feeling heavy and painful, I would just slow down or stop. But almost always slowing down helped. Its always the initial two-three weeks after a long period of non-running which is really painful, since the body is adapting itself to the rigors of running, to the constant pounding the legs has to take, there is also some losing of weight involved so as to get back in 'running shape'. After that initial phase, running becomes really enjoyable, something to look forward to, not something that needs to be done to attain any specific end per se.

1) Hal Higdon

Monday, December 25, 2006


It was 3:30 am in the morning. I was feeling really groggy, I had woken up a few hours back and now my body simply refused to listen to my comparatively alert mind. I was contemplating going back to sleep vs doing something productive. And then it hit me. Yep, this body wants some running. Let's satisfy its craving. True, it has been a week since I ran and as I stepped out, and took my first few steps into the run, the body simply took off. I was like, wow someone's really in mood today..bring it on baby. I maintain a running log and I realised that this run would definitely would come up as one of the faster runs in the log in the past few months. Though my bowels weren't empty, I was having a good time, who wouldn't when the body is ready for action. The side-stitches(rawly described as stomach cramps due to food in the stomach coupled with fast running) did crop up later into the run, but I just kept on cruising, striding my legs off. The last 1.5 kms were pretty intense and I was doing 4:12/km or 6:43/mile pace and despite the stitches, managed it well. And the time: 5kms in 23:13 a definite progress over the past three months(earlier times were around 26-27 mins for 5k), considering that I am not running more than 2-3 runs/week. This run reminds me of my days back in campus..We used to do 4kms in 15 - 16 mins flat. I am no way near that fitness now, but this run surely proves an inspiration to keep running and improve my times.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Youtube laughs

Warming up
1) Real funny baby laugh
2) Contagious hysterical baby laugh

Going good
3) Car without a driver
4) Babies again

Real hysteria
5) I am happy, I am relaxed!

And Finally
6) Laughter club - London
7) Laughter club - Virginia

There are a bunch of videos on the tube and I strongly recommend anyone who needs a break to browse through them. Happy laughing!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tam hip-hop - Yogi B and Natchathra

Though its a bit old, mixing ilayaraja's composition in a hip-hop framework deserves mention: Madai Thiranthu(album: vallavan)

This is the Malaysian band's website: Yogi B and Natchatra
I found the lyrics in a couple of blogs. Some of them are lyrics1 (incomplete but better wordings) and lyrics2 (accurate at many places and complete)

Now, if someone could translate the lyrics to english that would be great. My tam's decent(vernacular) but this stuff goes over my head.

For my reference, I am pasting the lyrics(appropriately combined from the above two) here. I have also pitched in my version(with errors) of the english translation of rap 3 (fast forward 4:02 - 4:46)

makkalukku ne eduthu sollu (Bring it out to the public)

Damn Its gonna blow...Thaavum nadhi alai naan...(I am like the wave of a river??)
Maybe u shud know...Koovum siru kuyil naan....(I am like the koel that sings sweet)
Isai kalaignan..yen aasaigal aayiram..ninaithadhu palithadhu...*2 (I am a wanna be music artist who has a thousand dreams and sees them being successful)

Rap 1:

En urai thuvangum mun..nalla ulangalukku nandri
Nandri thaayae..neeyo idi thaangi..thandhai neeyo sumai thangi....
Pasi Kodumai..Nadaipadhaiyil Urakkam...
Aasai kedakkudhu karanam....Iraivanin irakkam...
Ethanai Yaemaatram..Anudhinam Avamaanam...
Edhayum thaangum ullam ...thodarum isai payanam...
Tholaival gaanam paada vendum Natchathiram...
Thodarndhu poaraadum...kalaignanin manam...
Thottakal thullaikkadhu....anugundu thagarkkadhu....
Avamanam yen uyirai azhikkadhu...
Adhigaram yen kanavai thadukkadhu.....
Karuppinar sollisai maindhan kidakkatum....
Sentamizh sollisiai selvendhar pirakattum...
Viyakka vaikkum thiruppangal ini nigazhum...
Bramikka vaikkum padai...ini thodarum...
Pudhiya parimaanam...padai edukkum...
Natchathirangalin jananam adhai mudivedukkum.

[End of Rap 1]

Damn Its gonna blow...Thaavum nadhi alai naan...
Maybe u shud know...Koovum siru kuyil naan....
Isai kalaignan..yen aasaigal aayiram..ninaithadhu palithadhu...*2

Rap 2:

angara thanduvom matmajothil~adaiyum neram
aay thiru mugam sen nirumbulee kondu garbam
andha sarasaram adangee alambel vaaai thalam.
sutham nilavaadhu adiga budiga natpu nelabey kolabey sedhapey badhbey sedhabey sumandhu thenna maram aaka naanga neeka
vidabey vidabey vidabey vidabey un karunai kalaivaaney
isai thaayey kalai arul thaa nee
ullai needhi indha rap paaatathil aaga mothatthil
pasuthoppol theeya puli anaindhavanukku unna
we lie vallavn manadhil aasai kottai katti pozhuludupokku avan ivan paathu vetti peychu
peychukku ennada peychu pasangala ippo ennada aachu vandha nasaikkal kai kodi serthadhu [Sollarom Le]
varumo theriyadhu vallavanin maru pagudhi annaney pugal keetu padam vidum thodangumey idhu voru

[End of Rap 2]

Netru yen araingile...nizhalgalin naadagam....
Indru yen edhirilay...nijangalin....dharisanam...
Varum kaalam..vasantha kaalam..naalum mangalam...
Varum kaalam..vasantha kaalam..naalum mangalam... Isaikena..pirikkandra...rasigargal rajjiyam....Enakkaeee dhaan.

Rap 3 [4:02 - 4:46]:

Yevanukkumay theriyadhu...(No one really knows)
Unakku sonnal puriyaadhu....(Even if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand)
Now take you back...flashback...when I was just little...
My circle to the colony temple....
Hey Gundu Payya...unga amma appa chellam...(Hey fat guy, you were your mom and dad's pet)
pattanam maari poanoam...yen'na mazhai vandha vellam..(We changed cities since if it rained it was sweet??)
Pudhiya... pazhaya... ulagugal maara.... Aangilamum ..thamizhum...kalaachaarangal modha...(New and old..A change in worlds..And a clash between the English and Tamil cultures)
Kadupuchinaen'ada indha Hip Hop... (I discovered this Hip Hop)
Andru mudhal indru dont dont quit...(Since then it has dont dont quit...)
Sodhanai Vedhanai..yen kannil thulaiika..Appo thumbikkai yen nambikkai...(Pain, Anxiety, reflected in my eyes..Then did my belief become firm)
Rap Music kalai vidhiyin sambrudhaayam...Madai thirandhu..nadhi alai pol yen (Resulting in the tradition of the rap music art combined with my poetic interludes like the waves of a river)kavidhaigal thaavum....

[End of rap 3]

Damn Its gonna blow...Thaavum nadhi alai naan...Maybe u shud know...Koovum siru kuyil naan....Isai kalaignan..yen aasaigal aayiram..ninaithadhu palithadhu...*2

Adhikkarathuva orunginaippu...Isai kalaignargalin anivaguppu...
Idharkku kadavul Kaarana kartha...Idhuvae ezhudhapadum..idai vidaadhu thodarum...Indri amaiyaadha...Isai Thenamudhaagum.

Kavidhaiku enna kattupaadu....Madai Thirandhu alai paayum yen soll isai mettu...Iraivan mattum arivaan...naan sindhiya veyarvai..ratham ..thyagam...

The funny original of the rap remix can be found here: Madai Thiranthu

Monday, December 18, 2006

What's your speed?

According to the special theory of relativity that's no question. Its a fact. Every single object in the universe we know of, you and me included, is always in motion at the speed of light.
What if I were at rest(relative), say I am sitting in front of the computer reading this blog? Then you are not moving through space, but through time at the speed of light(c). Since space-time is considered as one medium in relativity, at any given point in time your combined motion in space and time would be at the speed of light.
And what if you were to be travelling at the speed of light, i.e. to say your speed through space is 1 billion kmph. Then you wouldn't be a time traveller(you wouldn't age at all). This gives a new perspective to time. Its not that time is passing by, it's that we are passing through time(time travellers) and we can control the rate of passing or speed through time, by controlling the speed through space. The sad part is, no one's come up with a way to go back in time. Ok, enough said.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hail the king - Haile Gebreselassie(Geb)

The Ethiopian who shook up the middle distance racing scene in the nineties creating many world records to his name is now all set to take up the challenge of breaking the Marathon world record time of 2:04:55 set by Paul Tergat a few years back(2003). His recent performances in Berlin Marathon (2:05:56) and in Fukowaka, Japan (2:06:52 on 3rd Decemeber 2006) go to prove that his current level of fitness will ensure that the marathon world record doesn't stay for too long(months??). The performance in a half-marathon is a great indicator of the expected performance in a marathon and Haile has the half-marathon record of 58:55 (see bottom pic). Now, all I can say is, Go go Haile, you are the King.

Some of his personal bests:

1,500 m 3:33.73 1999-06-06 Stuttgart
Mile 3:52.39 1999-06-27 Gateshead
3,000 m 7:25.09 1998-08-28 Bruxelles
Two miles 8:01.08 1997-05-31 Hengelo
5,000 m 12:39.36 1998-06-13 Helsinki
10,000 m 26:22.75 1998-06-01 Hengelo
10 km (road) 27:02 2002-12-11 Ad-Dawhah
15 km (road) 41:38 2001-11-11 Nijmegen
Ten miles (road) 44:24 2005-09-04 Tilburg
20 km (road)* 55:48 2006-01-15 Phoenix
Half marathon 58:55 2006-01-15 Phoenix
25 km (road) 1:11:37 2006-03-12 Alphen aan den Rijn (not recognised by IAAF)
Marathon 2:05:56 2006-09-24 Berlin

Another point to note is that Haile is the only athlete after Kenyan Felix Limo to finish 4 marathon races in less than 2:07:00.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Marathon - A misnomer

A: "I ran the marathon yesterday"
Me: Oh really? ( I wonder when this guy started running, leave alone running marathons)
A: Yeah
Me: How much time did you take?
A: Oh, around 30 minutes
Me: Huh? (A new world record) Oh, you mean you ran a 5km race
A: Yeah, they called the race a marathon

Ofcourse, they would call it a marathon if you ran the full distance of 42kms 195 metres. Anything less than that is called a fraction of the marathon or not-a-marathon. For example, a seattle marathon event will hold a marathon(42kms), a half marathon (21kms) and probably a "corporate" run of 5kms or 10kms. Many people run the 5km or 10km event and get an artificial sense of accomplishment. Do you know that training for a marathon can take as much as 4 months if you start from scratch? And how much time did you train for the 5km run? 3 days? Cut out that marathon crap. You either ran a full marathon or you didn't. Simple. Got to respect the distance man.

PS: This is not to say I disrespect a 5km run. I infact think 5kms is one of the toughest middle distance runs to compete in, but then I would call it a 5km race and not a marathon plus I would train for it, not just land up on the race day and run 5kms for the first time in my life and say "Oh I somehow managed to finish it". Yep, that's a wonder indeed, given you didn't train for it.
Some of my best moments in my running career have been running a 5km in 20 minutes. I have run a half-marathon, but finishing the half-marathon didn't give me even a fraction of the euphoria which running that 5km in 20 minutes gave me. Why? Because I ran the half marathon on a half-baked training of 11 days and well, for the 5km, I had been training for quite sometime.


Alu-gobi-mutter (potato-cauliflower(broccoli) and peas) is one of my favourite curries. I haven't really had it in a long time...probably years. I am right now transitioning from eating crappy food to 'decent' food. A week back my stomach took a lot of beating with all the noodles I was having for my main course and it refused to accept it any further. So I was forced to start cooking rice, curry, etc..something I have feared since I landed here. I mean I haven't tried cooking food ever before, all I had was my mom's recipies for it. But wonders of wonders, alu curry (dry) turned out just ok on the first day of cooking and alu-gobi (dry), yesterday, along with curd rice was just short of being lip-smacking. Now, all I need to complete the circle is either of rasam or sambar. The past 5 years, I have hardly hard any proper south indian meal, relying heavily on chappatis and dal. Why? Because the mess food sucked big time. And even the restaurants outside the campus, only a few of them knew how to make good sambar or rasam or a good meal for that matter.

What I am arriving at here is, the north indian food that's served at the restaurants in india are state-of-the-art in terms of making the dishes(naan, rumali roti, paneer makhani, etc) as they should be, but the same is not the case with the south indian meal. To make a good south indian meal, every single disaggregate component of the meal (rasam, curry(dry), rice, koot,koyambu, etc) should be up to the mark. Even if one of them is done badly(its easy to mess them up), the overall taste goes for a toss. If you want to have a good south indian meal, it invariably has to be a home made one. And if restaurants do prepare them well, there are very few of them(saravana bhavan, etc) and pretty costly(2-2.5 times) relative to most south indian restaurants. This only means that the south indian restaurants have pandered to attract more customers by underpricing the meals and consequently 'averaging out' the quality of the meals or maybe that just is the attitude adopted by these restaurants and no one's looked to change the same. Well, this is ofcourse just my opinion based on my experiences and should be taken in with a pinch of salt and pepper ;)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

End of quarter

Yep. Good times.
Came here, got thulped first few weeks with all the things going on in life - searching for apartment, searching for roomate, searching for a bike, searching for buildings and get the picture.
And then when all seemed well, came the onslaught of assignments. One of the courses I took had 7 assignments, 4 labs, two quizzes, one end term and one term report - Can you beat that? The other two courses weren't that bad.
Adjustment and adaptation to the system took me one month. I learnt that the best thing to do with courses bombarding you with assignments is to just print on a piece of paper the due dates for the assignments from all the courses and atleast know when what is
Once, I did that, things were back where they should have been, the familiar nightout/intense workout before due date fundaes..And now the quarter has come to an end. Got to plan some biking trips to exotic locales around here and if possible get some mountaineering in, though it might be dangerous with possible landslides. But I will definitely accept some variations like rock climbing and bouldering though buildering might be a long shot here (I have climbed my house bottom up back in hyd).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On flat screens and plain water

Take a piece of white cotton cloth, dip in water, wring it till no water drips off..i.e. it is just about moist. Switch off your laptop or LCD monitor. Start at the top left corner or any convenient point and in a slow circular motion very very very gently caress the screen. Repeat till you have whole of the screen covered. Now we have all the smudges and marks off the screen. Run time for the whole process - (15 - 45) mins.
Pros - Can save you the frustration caused when you log onto your computer and look at the modern art for a brief while, while the computer loads.
Cons - Time consuming and doesn't work for oily smudges.
Conclusion - To be attempted when frustration reaches its peak and/or when there r lots of free time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Of snow, slippery roads and the cliched runs

Two weeks back was the first time I saw snow in my reality. I was sleeping longer than usual and as I pulled the blanket closer and looked out the window, I wondered why the rain out the window was so thick and precipitating at a slow rate.
3 hrs later, wide awake, I couldn't stop looking out the window.

Black smoke
In the background
all around
And pure white snow
gathering on the ground

My mounting fear abound
Could I run on the slushy ground
When the time came near
Could I withstand the cold weather

For I have missed runs in the past
With disastrous impacts
Not that I wished that happen again
I went out onto the terrain
Painful at first it was
Mangaeable when I avoided the white extras
And fun
When I realised I was indeed doing my regular run

Cliched ending:(Calling some thing cliched and mentioning it anyway, sounds cliched to me now[add loop for the cliched calling the cliched][infinite])

Before I knew
I had a bad flu
I summoned up my might
And took the last right
For the end was near
I had no reason to fear
A run of a kind
To be stowed away
In my mind
To be remembered
When I unwind
From a race of a stressful kind

Abstract/philosophical or 'plain shady' ending:
Consistency they say
Paves the way
For that sought after progressive state
Follow the path
Before its too late

Ah, but its never too late
The choice you make
Only delays the date
For as long as there is intent
Its manifestation is imminent
A time machine would make it easier I know
For I could look into the so called future you know
All said and done
A routine can sometimes be fun
As long as you can maintain one
In the markovian process called 'the run'

I dabble in poetry. That's about it.
Now to mention something about real running eh..

Briefly, I have managed 10 runs in the past 25 days..Not bad I say, but again I can invoke the last but one para of the shady ending to the above poem and say consistency.............

Basically been running 4-5 kms @ 8 min/mile (I must say I am adjusting well to living in america, for I can use kms and miles in the same breath). But as Henry Rono, who's competing in the masters segment, would say in the lets run forums....I am starting to feel less fires in my legs and more lightness...Meaning, my runs are getting better.
But the roads are not good. I repeat, they are not good at all. The gilman trail has some muddy paths, but that's beyond what I run. So I got to long, so that I run comfortable. So long.

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

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