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, April 26, 2008

Different modes, different experiences

What modes of transport do we have for travel ? - Trains, buses, cars, bicycles, motorbikes, ships,
aeroplanes, roller blades, and last but not the least 'human power - a.k.a walking or running'.

Travel has different purposes, but I am restricting this post to short distance travel (within 50 miles) for leisure or for sight seeing.

Let's consider two modes: cars vs walking. Let's say the destination is 10 miles away and you just want to travel to that point and come back. On a car, that would seem a trivial distance. No matter how beautiful the surrounding scenery is, you would be back in no time and it wouldn't seem like you spent a lot of time - unless you stop at some point in between.

Let's consider the same distance covered by walk: That's what I did today. I went to a Place called Ernie's grove by walking to that point from North Bend, WA - a round trip of 10 miles. It took me 3 hrs. And the experience was totally unlike what you would have if you were "shut-inside" a car. Here are some experiences on the walk:

- North Bend, located around 30 miles from Seattle is home to many cascade mountains - Mount Si, Little Si, RattleSnake ridge, Mailbox Peak, Mclellan Butte, Cedar's Butte, Round table mountain, etc. So when I alighted form MT 209, I could identify from that point 5 mountains in the vicinity, towering tall and presenting a majestic sight all around. Hence, you can imagine what a wonderful walk I had going to Ernie's grove 5 miles away:

- Ever seen never ending green fields full of golden yellow flowers gently caressing the foot hills of mountains?
Now Mount Si, which formed the backdrop for most of my walk is a massive mountain with an incredible slope. It's 4000 ft tall and it seems like a huge piece of rock rather than a mountain that starts somewhere and peaks elsewhere. I was essentially going around Mount Si, by walking on that road.

- Add to that rivulets which present themselves when I cross a bridge or two.

- Add to that "Llamas", animals with elongated necks:

- Add to that a glorious sunny day (kind of rare in Seattle)

- And also dogs that attempt to chase you while being within the fence.

- And the fact that it was a 3 hr long walk - I have never walked 3 hrs on a flat road before. Agreed, I have hiked for that much time or even more, but just walking and for 3 hrs? This is amazing. I mean, I can right now run for not more than 20 minutes. But walking for 3hrs? Seriously says about the yawning gap between running and walking fitness.

- Add to that the different heat and wind conditions during the walk, the tiredness towards the end, the cows staring at you all the way until you are out of sight, and the exhilration at reaching the bus stop just on time.

I am sure you wouldn't get the above experiences by taking your car out and going on a 2o minute drive from North Bend to Ernie's grove and back. Similarly, other modes yield different experiences:

Bicycling: Bicycling on a road bike on a flat stretch of road is awesome, more so when the surrounding scenery is breathtaking. Biking is also another way to combine activities and be efficient: For instance if I had my bike today, I could have biked to the end of the road and hiked a mountain nearby. But then, I wouldn't have noticed the details that I noticed during my walk. Nevertheless, biking is a more richer experience than driving a car on the same stretch of road.

Trains: Trains are again amazing. They present a different travel experience. You don't have to worry about the road, about cramped legs or fuel. You just get in, take a nap or watch the passing scenery as the train whizzes by.

Personally, I prefer a combination of biking and walking for travel to nearby places (within 50 miles). Beyond that, ofcourse I would need to use a car or I could use a train if available. Cars are also useful, when you want to conserve time because you would want to hike at the destination.
But if you have the time and want to have a wholesome experience, do a bus + bike + walk multimodal trip.
My point here is that, biking and walking provide a much richer and enjoyable travel experience than just going the same distance by car. Ofcourse, you need to put in a lot more effort physically, but the experience is worth the effort, right?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where are you going sir?

A few possible answers:
"I am going places".
"I am going to hell".
"I am going to heaven (because my punya (good deeds) is greater than my paapa (sins))".
"I am going for a run (that's me)".
"I am headed nowhere in life(grad student)"
"I am going to buy groceries (dutiful husband)"
"Going going gone".
"I am going to downtown and to the back of the bus (Multitasking)".

Now the last answer is not typical, is it? Here's the story behind it:
I was comfotably seated in MT 73 that goes to downtown Seattle one (of the many) cloudy afternoon last week. The bus has just stopped at a bus stop in the university district and the door opens.
One long-haired guy with baggage gets in and announces proudly to the driver in a sing song manner(read: Nana naNa Nana): "I am going to downtown". The driver asks him for his pass and he moves into the bus, close to where I am seated. He puts the bag onto the seat next to me, gets his dollar and 25 cents out, looks at me and says, "I am going to downtown". I am like, yes sir, you are, have a good journey - I don't say that ob, I acknowledge. He goes to the driver,
pays the fare, gets his ticket, comes back to me and says, "I am going to the back of the bus" - again in a "Nana Nana" tune. Longhaired guy looks to be in good spirits. I acknowledge again and he is gone.
I was pretty amused by this, I mean you don't get live entertainment everyday. As I reach my destination and was about to alight, I let the driver know - longhaired guy Nana Nana style: "I am getting off here". As I get off and look back, I see the driver is highly amused.

So when someone asks you where you are going, reply in a "Nana Nana style" and pass it on :)

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

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