Featured

(FitBlog#87)- Getting into Marathoner’s Club- it’s finally in the bag! My Marathon Story

Running a marathon is tough but not impossible. It took me more than 5 months to train. So, why did I run a marathon? I geek out over setting goals in running and cycling and reaching them. And what’s more goal-oriented than running a marathon?

To run a marathon, you need to bring lifestyle change in you, put consistent efforts in following training plan meticulously. The journey through all this is brutal on your body. You need to sacrifice many things you love to do. But I must tell you the joy of crossing the finish line is unparalleled.

Pre- race: The final count down started 1 week before (as taper period started 3 weeks prior to run) with carb loading and building enough nutrients, salts by proper hydration. Followed a basic rule, “just stick to regular diet, no food adventures”. I did 20k run on beach on 20th and that was final long run. It is important to keep your body warm, blood circulating in legs, so did couple of short runs a strength workout but most of the focus was on Yoga and Pranayama. This has helped me to relax. We were keeping an eye of resting HR to monitor on how body is recovering and getting ready for run.

Even though I ran many half marathons or runs over 30k, I filled in with nervous energy but equally excited and eager to complete 42.195k. Since it was self supported run, the task was to carry hydration around 1.8 with 4 fast and up tabs added, nutrition (6 gels every 45 mins / dates every 4k and bananas, every bars in between) along in camel back. Just enough as I wanted to carry minimum weight on my back. I had two pairs of Asic shoes. I did few long runs in new shoes as in early days were not comfortable (I lost my both big toe nails) but later did few long runs to get accustomed. And after lot of thoughts, with heavy taping on my toes, I decided to stick to them. I also wore clothes which I have been using & comfortable with. Used yellow florescent tee as 40% of my run is going to be in dark. Offline I am using tight legins to ensure I keep my legs warm and good blood circulation.

27th Feb, weather was ok but not as good as when I did my sub 2 half marathon. That’s why I decided to start around 4:15am. I slept an extra hour every day in prior week to add hours in sleep bank as I knew I am not going to get proper sleep night before. With warm up I started my run at 4:21 am. I said “You did everything right over last 5 months. You can do it!. You are strong”. I tried to be positive. I was blatantly aware of the fact that I had to run first 24k alone. But good thing was, well aware of the route where I did many runs.

THE ROUTE

Pace strategy: Was to aim for 5:00 to 5:30 finish by completing 1st / 2nd block of 10k in 70mins each, 3rd block in 72mins (thereby 30k in 3h28mins), last block in 75 mins (thereby 40k in 4h47mins). And final 2k walk / jog and wrap it up. The route was planned and registered well in mind. Kartik and me engaged in discussions to finalize the route and endorsed by TimTim. Kartik agreed to pace me 24k onwards.

0-10K : It was quiet morning when I started my run cautiously. Rarely vehicles were plying on road. I registered well 70 mins in my mind. After 7m56s, first k and muscles warmed up, I gradually increased pace completing 5k in 36 mins. I started sweating and more so because of camel back. I need to gradually move bit faster now if I have to catch 70 mins. So decided to bring pace to around 6:45m/k and that will get me closer. I had my first gel after 7k. this has put some energy in my body. Finally with crossing Juhu, finished 10k in 70m26s. No bad, this means I was on target. 11-20K: Stretch on Linking road. Need to be steady. and I knew, once I cross Mahim- Causeway, next 6k will be my favorite and joyful stretch with runners and cyclists moving along. I decided to better my pace and hold it till 20k. Gulped 2nd Gel at 15k that has induced energy back in me. I did 1 lap around Shivaji Park to add up a k in my kitty as planned. This block went well and I finished 20k in 2h18mins. (Nice, I was 4 mins faster than target !). 21-30K: Worli sea face- Haji Ali stretch. Good thing was, running groups has set up water station at Mela Restaurant. Volunteers asked me if I needed water but I politely told them that will pick up on my return and headed towards Haji Ali. I checked my watch and with more than 24k done, I decided to turn back. I was still going strong. As soon as I had my 3rd gel, Kartik called me to tell that he was waiting at Mela. I picked up a water bottle and set into run along with him. We were running on extreme side of the road and considering narrow part, Kartik decided to run ahead. Things were still looking good. Legs moving well. Kartik asked me to do deep and relaxed breathing. I held my sub 7 pace till 25k and later dropped a bit but still well under control. Kartik was talking to me. I was watching in disbelief as the miles ticked by far quicker than I’d ever anticipated. I was holding my head high ensuring I remain positive and focus on my run. 30-40K: The challenge has begun. Good thing was the hydration and nutrition help was coming up at 32k with Kartik’s friend handing over 2 bananas and energy drink at Prabhadevi which I filled in my bottle. I ate 1 banana to get energy and moved ahead. After Sivaji Park, some where after 34k, I decided to take a stretch break and release some tightness in legs that’s when the pace dropped significantly to 9m/k. Also it was time for 4th gel. But the break was essential. I was sipping energy drink inbetween just to keep me hydrated. Soon completed 35k as we moved towards Bandra. 7k to go, I said to Kartik. My breathing was normal though pace dropped a bit. As we crossed 37k, I was happy because of 2 reasons – first I clocked my longest distance run so far and just under 5k to go. Sun was on top now. With under 4k to go, we were on Linking Road. We decided to adopt now run / walk strategy after 38k. (2 mins run/ 30 sec walk which Kartik was monitoring). He called my wife and asked her to be at Juhu Garden where we will be finishing the run. I forgot to take gel which later I realized that it would have given me energy to finish even stronger. With munching second banana, I felt better. With sun shining and with long run, body temperature expected to be up so Kartik sprinkled water on my neck. The Final Push: I was now counting miles tickled by on my Garmin. 40k has boosted my morale. With just 400 meters away, Kartik called TimTim and I was screaming “about to finish”. Kartik said you are not tired, you still have energy left in you. He jokingly said, let’s run 50k. I need to finish strong for myself and my family, my coach who stood by me in last 5 months. As we were inching towards finish line, It gave me goose bumps and memories with all training/ hard work, pitfalls, fatigue, injuries – all rolled in front of my eyes. Though legs were moving, I was bit tired now. It was time to bring “Usain Bolt” in me so increased my pace. FINALLY, I began to see the finish line. As I approached, all I could think was, “I DID IT. I ACTUALLY DID IT. THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.” And then I heard the cheers from family and crossed in 5h09min. An emotional moment for me when my wife surprized me to hand over a trophy. Though I was very prepared to be sore and immobile after my race I was not bad as I thought. Not much soreness nor cramps, all thanks to hard training which prepared my body well. But honestly I was physically drained. We did some light stretching and felt better. We had breakfast together as promised to Kartk for pacing me.

AFTER MARATHON

So, man, WELCOME to MARATHONER’S CLUB”. My first ever Marathon. And I did much better than target !!

The Reflection: So would you run another marathon? Definitely yes, eyeing Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023 for sure. Anyone who has run that first marathon knows, no matter what the result, completing it and knowing that you purposefully pushed your body to those limits is a level of intrinsic elation that is hard to find elsewhere.

In looking back to that very first marathon there are many things that I can do differently next time. I learned more about my body. About its needs over 26.2 miles and about how to match them. I learned about hydration and best practices. I learned that you’ve got to test EVERYTHING out in training before trying to execute in a race. This applies no matter how small or easy to manage you think it might be. I learnt about managing injuries and all about resilience in getting back.

The most important thing I learned though, is that when challenged you can choose to embrace the potential for more positives and success ahead. It’s always out there, the potential to come out stronger and better than before. The potential to find positives in even the most atrocious, dehydration-cramp induced negatives. The potential to learn from an experience and do things differently the next time on your quest for success.

The Gratitude: Like every effort and success can not be achieved alone. It is always team working behind having same goals. I was so lucky to have such a wonderful team. TimTim my coach, mentor. it’s important to have communication, feedbacks every day. This has helped to set up a plan, correct it towards goal. She was very supportive in my lows but pushed me whenever needed. Created hydration and nutrition plans. Such a wonderful person. Thank you TimTim for being out there and equally or rather more to get happy with achieving goals. My pacer Kartik Iyer who always there for me, to run with me, motivating me and pushing at the fag end of the run. My wife, Neelima who always stood with me, encouraged me to follow my dream even I disturbed her when I did my training runs, workouts very early mornings.

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” – George Sheehan

Featured

(FitBlog#86)- Getting into taper period- A road to Full Marathon

Full marathon training is at full peak now. I ran a distance of 37k. The body and legs are going through the brutal training. The last long distance run I did, I felt body and legs are fatigued. It’s 4 week for marathon and it’s time to go into taper period now.

You might be wondering what taper period I am talking about. A marathon taper is a gradual decline in mileage that precedes the event, giving the athlete time to rest, recover. Tapering is one of the most important parts of any marathon training plan but in many cases, it’s also one of the hardest to implement. During my sub 2 half marathon training, I always feared cutting back on training, since I believed too much rest will undo all their training right before their big race. But the truth was, I experienced that reducing mileage is important not only to allow for full recovery before your race, but also to allow you to reach peak performance. Because tapering is training too.

4 weeks before marathon: The body was depleted with last few month’s brutal training. Week 1 after I hit my longest distance of 37k. The taper starts gradually, because this training still “counts,” and a dramatic drop in workload isn’t necessary yet. This week, we stuck with the same basic running schedule we’ve been following, just decreased total mileage from last week by at least 20 percent. So weekend long distance run was 32k. The shorter weekdays runs were the same. I added recovery run after 32k instead of additional rest day.

3 weeks before marathon: Week two is a transitional period. We’re coming closer to halfway between the agony of your last 20-miler and the ecstasy of the marathon. Rest truly replaces training as the most important element of our race preparations, and race strategizing takes on increasing importance. Weekend distance dropped down to 25k now with increased pace with 34k cycling on Saturday. I am feeling fatigue on legs began to reduce and my feet started moving helping me to gain pace. I have also increased my protein intake by more frequent shakes after workouts and runs. Hopefully they will help me to repair and build muscles.

2 Weeks before marathon: This is crucial week. The week has started infusing energy back. We incorporated some intense speed work midweek with interval and tempo runs. I am able to get closer to my pace. This week is important for preparing psychologically for marathon. I am going to increase my carb loading as well through bananas, rice cakes with peanut butter. Also adding Vitamin C and multivitamins tabs for boosting immunity. This week also did speed work. I was glad I could hold pace around 5:30/k for 12k tempo run. I have also increased yoga, pranayama and stretching helping me to recover fast and meditation will help the mind prepare for the demands ahead of it. I am delaying start of my morning runs by 15-30 mins to catch up with some extra sleep.

It’s also time to do some serious planning about route, knowing the course well, how to approach, support enroute, hydration and nutrition plans during marathon. TimTim and my friend Kartik are helping me out. The good news is Kartik agreed to pace me for last 21k of marathon. He paced me successfully for my sub 2 half marathon.

I am excited yet bit nervous. Let me share my training a week before and feelings in my next blog.

Featured

(TraveLog#19)- Exploring Port Blair and cruise to Havelock Island- Day 2 (Part A)

We ended our first day with light dinner. It was a tiring day and we decided to retire bed early. The plan was to visit Cellular Jail next day morning and later proceed to Phoenix Bay Port to board cruise at 12:00pm to travel to Havelock Island. There are 2 to 3 ferries every day.

Most of things are brought into these remote Islands from outside. This means either not much variety or they are expensive. That’s why you won’t find much variety for the breakfast. We had fresh fruits, south Indian food along with egg omelet. Fruits like banana, papaya are grown organically here so are sweet in taste. We interacted with other tourists from Veena World during breakfast. There tour was almost parallel to ours and we had chance to interact few more times. Car was ready and soon we were on the way to Cellular Jail.

Cellular Jail

This three-storeyed prison, constructed by Britishers in 1906 by using deep red bricks brought from Burma, is a pilgrimage destination for freedom fighters. This colossal edifice has mutely witnessed the most treacherous of inhumane atrocities borne by the convicts, who were mostly freedom fighters. Now dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial. Also there is a Museum, an Art gallery, and a Photo gallery, which are open on all days except Monday from 9.00 AM to 12 Noon and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM. The entry ticket is INR 30/per guest. The galleries displays pictures depicting stories of freedom fighters. You can see prisoners clothes, Japanese army helmet, lock and key used for prison rooms. With its great historical value and architectural wonder, Andaman Cellular Jail remains a great attraction for the tourists. So, we got soaked in the glory of Indian freedom struggle. We ended up with a great feeling of gratitude.

Well maintained Cellular Jail

After spending an hour or so we were ready to head towards jetty. On the way we had chance to taste our first coconut water. It was just costing us INR 30 per piece but with lots of sweet water. Havelock and Neil Islands have no Covid cases and hence documentation was checked thoroughly before we finally boarded the cruise. The process was very smooth. There are two companies operating between Islands- Makruzz and Green Ocean. We opted for Makruzz. It’s is a luxury catamaran service, operating between Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Islands. Makruzz is the first and the largest privately owned fleet in the Andamans. We learnt that it is going to be around 2.5 hours journey. Ticket has costed us INR 360/- per traveler. After initial smooth sailing, the sea started becoming rough and rest of ride was a turbulent. Honestly it was not a good feeling.

Havelock Island is a part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that lied  70 km north east of capital city of Port Blair and is administratively part of South Andaman. Havelock is a picturesque natural paradise with beautiful white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs and lush green forest. It is one of the populated islands in the Andaman group with an area of 113 sq. km. This island, with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with green canopy of the rain-fed forests beckons everyone to enjoy the frolic and fun at the azure sea.

We reached Havelock Island on time and welcomed by our local tour manager and driver and explained us about our itinerary for next 2 days. It was 2:45 pm now and we headed straight to Kalapathar beach. It is a stunning long stretch of white sand enticing travelers with its unique lining of big black rocks beside the serene blue sea. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Havelock Island. Located on the tip of Havelock Island, the name of this beach, Kalapathar is derived from the adjoining street called Black Road.

Lonely Kalapathar beach

 It is a small and peaceful beach in Andaman which you can spend leisurely hours at your own pace. Witness the mesmerizing views of sunset and sunrise here at Kalapathar as the place is known for its panoramic sights. Kalapathar beach is not crowded, making it a perfect escapade for couples vacationing in Andaman. After covering a distance of 12km, we reached the beach. As we were quite hungry, we decided to make use of various food stalls at beach. Coconuts are available in plenty and we had taste of another coconut water which was really sweet. You must try out at once. We filled our stomach with momos and Maggie noodles. We learnt from woman running this stall that people of this Island are mainly refugees settled down after Bangladesh war. The sound of waves and cool breeze coming over was making us relaxed.

Here we met a sweet couple from New Delhi and we made friendship with. We clicked lots of pictures with novice ideas.

After spending over an hour, we decided to get back to our resort to check in.

We booked our stay at TSG Blue – is one of the luxury resorts just few minutes walk away distance from Radhanagar beach.

TSG Blue Resort at Havelock Island

These Islands being on extreme east side of India and following IST, the sun sets at around 5 pm. We did not want to miss the opportunity to witness it, hence after checked in and cup of freshening tea, we headed towards Radhanagar beach which is around 300 meters away.

Lets read about Radhanagar beach in my next blog.

Featured

(FitBlog#78)- Running 30km distance -A road to Full Marathon

The wonderful news is my run buddy: Kartik, agreed to run with me for most of the distance of my 30km+ run. So excited as I was about to scale up 30Km+ run first time.

No plan on route yet. As always, I have habit of keeping all things ready. So filled my hydra bag with 2L hydration and additionally taken 2x350ml of fast n up. I added banana, energy gel, dates soaked in rock salt. since it is going to be my first 30K+ run, I was not sure on my toes so wrapped them in tape- a night before. So, It’s Sunday again. I expect weather will be marginally better than last Sunday. Though I collected my new Asics Nimbus Gel Lite 2 shoes, I relied on my old shoes as I did not want to take any risk.

Plan was to run 4k to meet my buddy @ Azad Nagar Metro 5:45am. So began my run at 5:15am. Both of us agreed to take Juhu route and then use link road to reach Bandra. We did not want too much taxing on our bodies in expected weather so planned run @7:30 pace. Important thing was to be consistent and sustain.

I was sipping water every 3/4k and date every 5k. So far it was good. Both of us running together and talking to each other. We decided to run towards Bandra Fort which is around 17k means half the distance covered. We met couple of known runners on the way. After stretches and couple of pics, we set our journey ahead. I forgot to re-start my Garmin and lost 0.5k of run. Kartik decided to take Mt. Mary climb which is quite steep. I decided to negotiate it slow and steady. Kartik told me that he was observing me and said I was quite relaxed during climb and is good sign.

We got down the other side and moved towards Reclamation area. The clock was ticking and miles were getting behind. good thing was we were keeping pace around 7:30 as planned.

Good thing, I was not slowing down while sipping in water. And I was not feeling in weight on my back even I was storing almost 2.75L of hydration and nutrition. So it was a good decision to buy hydra bag. It’s essential for long solo runs. With 20k done, I took a quick break to eat banana, have a breather and re-start. I planned for 2 breaks and that’s it. It means I need to run remaining 10k without any.

Running at Bandra

Kartik said he will finish his run @24k, it means I need to run 3.5k alone. Legs were getting tired now, Kartik asked to lift legs rather than dragging it. I was thrilled when I surpassed my previous long distance of 28k. Now, Sun was getting hotter. I was counting distance remaining and I felt it is so long. But I kept on moving as I knew it is going to be one of the achievement. Finally I 30k done !! The moment was so much joyful as I never crossed 30k before. I did not use Energy Gel and relied on my stored Glycogen mostly.

We had coconut water to soothe ourselves from heat. I knew it is till 12.2k away from that magic figure but for the first time I had feeling that I am getting closer there!!

It was a hard week for me completing 61k run and almost 40k of ride. It’s time to recovery again and feeling of earned rest day again was immense !!

Featured

(FitBlog#77)- My longest run on Sunday- A road to Full Marathon- 21st Nov’ 21

It’s hard to think of a better feeling than completing a distance you never ran before.

Last few days, Mumbai is experience terrible weather. Day starts with humid yet a bit cooler morning with overcast skies to hot afternoon ended with rainy evening. Today is Sunday and I am going to run 28k. I wanted to start my run at around 4:45 am but I could wake up only at 4:30am and managed to step on road around 5:15am- no stress. I had plan in my mind to run to at least up to Worli and return with slight change in my regular route.

I set my Garmin and began cautiously. After running 0.5k, I was not sure if I set Garmin correctly to run mode so discarded and set afresh. I was carrying around 1.7L water and decided to refill as and when needed. First few k’s were very easy to keep HR around 135. rather than taking a turn towards Juhu beach, I headed towards SV Road. No runner or cyclist on road surprisingly. As I crossed Link road, dawn was breaking over horizon, shell pink and faintly gold over fairly overcast skies. I was munching dates over every 5k to keep going.

Greeted over 2 runners on Mahim Causeway strip and they moved ahead but I caught them up as they took walk break later. “Slow and steady wins the race” the male runner said. I smiled and wished him good run. It was getting hotter and overcast condition making it tougher.

The female runner Sujatha, finally caught me up at Worli and we once again greeted with smile. She was carrying Camelback hydra bag. Actually I was in dilemma to buy one because I was not sure if it will be cumbersome to run with it. I started by asking few questions. Slowly we started chit chatting over the run and we could complete entire Worli Sea face stretch easily. Some times it helps to run with buddy to ease out. She was doing easy 16k. We decided to run up to V P Stadium and with me completing 20K, returned back. I was going still strong. The hydration was getting depleted fast and I was looking over a stall where I can buy mineral water and found one. I added electrolyte tabs I was carrying. With a short break, we began our run.

The sun started glowing turning weather hotter. I always say keep mind cool when it is hotter and heart warm when it is colder. We changed the side of road and looking for shadows. It came as a breather. We were near the end of sea face now and she decided to move faster as she was about to finish her run. We thanked each other.

The k’s in watch kept on ticking and soon crossed 25k, this means it was my longest run so far. At Shivaji Park, another awesome runner, Amit Arvind (ex- Naval officer) I bumped into. We had a quick chat and started my last 2k. I was sipping electrolytes quite frequently now as felt thirsty. Just 1k to go now and legs were getting tired. Despite the physical agony, the final K was the most enjoyable.

Congratulations, it was my longest run so far, 28k done in 3h 57m with average HR of 154. It’s time for recovery now as I have lost almost 4 liters of sweat. So need to re-hydrate with electrolytes, fill with protein rich break fast and good relaxing sleep in the afternoon- that’s what I plan for !!

It’s rest day tomorrow and it’s well earned !!

Featured

(Fitblog#75)- Getting comfortable with uncomfortable- A road to Full Marathon

Today is 7th November, day for long distance run and today target was easy 25k with AvHR to be around 145. I decided to start a bit early so that I run at least 12-13k before Sun rises and therefore can take advantage of better weather. Warming up is essential to prepare your body and mind to perform at its very best. When started, I was filled with so much nervous energy because I was running 25k after long time- probably after an year. And more so, I had two running sessions earlier this week – an interval and tempo run and a 50k cross training bicycle ride. I decided to be easy for bicycle ride to keep my legs fresh.

I planned to take Versova – Juhu- Bandra route and return- closer to sea shore. I knew, running 25k is going to be daunting and prepared myself with hydration and nutrition earlier in the week. Nutrition can add up pretty quickly. I craved a lot of healthier food such as fruits, veggies and nuts. The grocery bills were slightly higher, but I felt much better. Energy ahoy!

A night before, I filled up my hydration belt pocket with much needed dates, energy gel and bar. The plan was to start easy, maintaining HR around 135 for at least 10-12k and assess situation and set the pace. I decided to put on my newly bought running shoes- Asics Nimbus Gel lite 2. I did not put tape which I purchased a day before on my toes which eventually turned out to be a bad decision.

With setting my Garmin and here off I went @5:15am. First few k’s I used to warm up my legs, setting rhythm. I did not bother what my pace is but following my HR strictly so as to be comfortable at the end of 25k.

When I turned towards Juhu, it was still dark. Road lights were switched off but occasional vehicle lights helping to run. The temperature must be around 26-27deg C and helping to hold my HR. I was munching date every 5k to get some energy flowing in the body. I completed 10k as I approached Juhu beach. With another 2.5k, will be getting into next half of the run. So far things were looking good. With approaching Lucky Restaurant, I decided to head towards Globus and with almost 15k done, move back towards Juhu. At this point I decided to have a shot of energy gel. I needed now energy to run remaining 10k.

I started counting remaining distance and be patient to complete my run. The heat started increasing with the Sun rising. This has started moving my HR towards 150.

I believe, 50% run is physical and 50% is mental. That is why I always register the distance in mind and that helps me to remain positive especially towards the end. With touching Juhu beach again, I left 20k behind. Now it’s just 5k’s more. At the end of 17k, I noticed that shoe bites around my both big toes giving me uncomfortable feeling. I tried to adjust my landing so that it hurt me less and less. I read many times that just ignore injury and divert your mind somewhere else. I started doing exactly same by looking at people and their activities. with 22k done, I was happy. This was my longest distance so far this season. This filled my body with energy and positive vibes.

As I reached 24K, everything was numb and in motion. I felt like I was pushing down the pedal. When your body starts giving up, I always think why am I doing this? It’s always fun to run and getting into new challenges, getting comfortable with uncomfortable !!

Soon 25k done and with sigh of relief and smile on my face, walked towards home. I could maintain my Av HR @142. It was patient run with good HR management. No tiring feelings. Probably my body is slowly getting used to hard efforts now, especially recovery from hamstring injury. I was ecstatic. 

The legs were not as bad as I thought, but shoe bite was certainly not good. Followed this run, I had stomach upset which took couple of days to recover.

Now setting up next week to run 28K !!

Featured

FitBlog#73- Managing injury – Lesson learnt- A road to full marathon

It’s almost 1.5 months now since I had hamstring injury. My heart sank and it gave a feel, I am back to square one. However, it has taught me many lessons. Injuries are inevitable but managing it and bounce back to full marathon training is key.

Find the cause of injury: A root cause analysis is important. I did long run @5:15 pace earlier this year, but that was with proper speed work training. Now, after a gap, I should have taken it easy as I was not prepared to get into same pace. This has stressed my hamstring and has given away. The body is in a constant balance of tissue breakdown and strengthening, if you run without allowing adequate rest it tips this balance towards breakdown.

Take it easy: Had to be off road for some time till symptoms disappear. It wasn’t easy time and to be patient to sit back and see others running. So train smart, rest whenever it is must.

Settle with the symptoms: The old acronym of RICE often proves useful here. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Once symptoms are settled and you’ve identified the cause of your problem then you can start rehabbing it.

Strengthen/ Stability / Stretching: I kept on working with Yoga, upper body to make sure, I am not isolated. Core crushers helped to get stability. Re-work with adding workouts for glutes, lower back, calves to strengthen hamstring.

Graded return to running: So many people expect a rapid return to where they left off as soon as symptoms have settled. Unfortunately the body needs time to adapt to running again and any long break from running requires a gradual return. And thank you to TimTim who prepared perfect plan for this. I started with easy walks to brisk walks, before I switched over to easy running increasing distance gradually from 15k / week.

Modify: In many situations you may be able to run pain free by modifying your running. This is a short term strategy but can be very effective in helping something settle. It can simply be reducing distance or speed, or avoiding hills or interval training. It might be decreasing your stride length, regularly changing your running surface or starting slower and building up.

Build the distance before pace !

Cross train: Cross training with cycling can be a great way of maintaining and improving cardiovascular fitness. I often find that better fitness helped me to maintain form longer and therefore prevents excessive stress on healing tissue. Approach cross training sensibly, especially if you’re new to it and build up gradually.

All the measures taken has helped in better rehabilitation to hit the road back. A minor setback paves way to major comeback.

Featured

(FitBlog#69)- Breaking away from monotonous Sunday ride- A road to Full Marathon- 30th Aug 21

The weekend ride is a sacred ritual, but what motivates me to haul myself out of bed on a Sunday morning? In common with party lovers or who spill out of nightclubs in the early hours or morning sleep lovers, a cyclist’s week reaches its zenith early on a Sunday morning. It’s traditionally the time for long rides.

No matter how many times I ride downtown of Mumbai, I’m constantly amazed at how a city does look on weekends. While there are several bikers riding on streets on Mumbai, a quick and easy way to enjoy a Sunday bike ride is to head straight to Nariman Point. I always like to start quite early in the morning, cycle past some of those popular iconic buildings and return before lunch.

This Sunday ride was planned with my buddy and we were supposed to meet near Mahim Darga. I have been doing my Sunday rides via Juhu beach route. Because of empty roads and its fun to ride beachside, even with those damn speed breakers and paved roads. But off-late I realized, I am actually spending more efforts to pick up speed after hitting speed breaker or uneven roads. That’s when, I started thinking about alternate route to downtown. After some thoughts, I said let’s try out Western Express Highway. The advantage was no speed breakers, smooth road.

It was overcast when I hit the road at 5:30am. I looked at sky, the dark clouds were coming towards me. I murmured, need to quickly pass by them to be dry. I was a bit slower till merged with Western Express Highway and caught up with speed. The roads are yours and yours alone. Nobody can cut you up or beep at you for no apparent reason. Alone, there’s nothing but the rubber of your tyres rolling across the road to disturb you. It was a wonderful feeling to riding on Western Express Highway even I need to climb those 8 flyovers.

I was on time to meet my cycling buddy and as we moved towards town, the sky opened up a bit. It was so nice of him to carry peanut butter sandwiches. I was sure, this will fill up the body with desired energy till I reach back home.

For last few rides, I always stop at MG Swimming Pool cafeteria for a chai break -the warming herbs and seeds, the full bodied deliciousness and the natural vitality. The joy over riding again on Western Express Highway was immense as I quickly reached Andheri.

It was a wise decision to take new route and enjoy the ride!!

Featured

(FitBlog#68)- Dealing with running injury – A road to Full Marathon – Week ended 29th Aug 21

I have being running for many years now and couple of years now after I got into my training. As we know, injuries are part and parcel of it. Whether you’ve been running for one year, three years, or your entire lifetime, dealing with an injury sucks.

While injuries quite obviously affect us physically, i.e. not being able to run or being in pain, it also affects us psychologically. This mental pain or distress is especially true for those like me who invested in running, perhaps have been running longer, or use exercise, including running as a way to release stress and improve mental health.

So, once injury hits, this can be quite worrying, frustrating, and upsetting. These are all normal emotions, but it’s how you deal with these that really matters.

Feeling sad about injury: When hamstring pull struck me, I felt very sorry about it. I was not able to do what I enjoyed the most. It’s very frustrating but needs immense patience to wait till it gets over. But honestly I made mistake of wrongly judging it. I realized later that more you pass on to this phase, sooner you will get back into your activities.

Try to keep active: Regular exercise is a healthy habit, so try your best not to fall out of this. Do something, anything… whether that be riding your bike few times a week, strength training or even going for long walks (if your injury permits).

Bring positivity: The worst thing we can do is get in a rut, telling ourselves “we’ll never get better”, or asking ourselves: “why did this happen to me ?” Instead of feeding with these negative thoughts, I spun the narrative and provided myself with positive engagement, for example: “I may be injured, but at least I can do workouts or go for a ride.” Seeing a positive in situations of darkness allow us to stay grounded, appreciative of what we have, and prevent us from going down the road of self-pity.

Setting goal for better recovery: I learnt, an excellent way to keep your head above the water is the use of realistic goal setting for recovery. If these goals are not realistic, review it periodically. Or else, this will deplete your confidence, perhaps decreasing motivation to continue performing rehab exercises or other cross-training.

Injury for most is not permanent, I will get through this. And hit road soon!!

Featured

(TraveLog#16)-Keep close to nature’s heart, wash your spirit clean- Offbeat trip to Villa

Karjat, a picturesque small town approximately a 2:30hour drive from Mumbai is a quick escape from the monotonous city life, to let calm overtake the chaos. While Lonavala and Alibaug are among the most popular destinations for quick getaways near Mumbai and Pune, Karjat is an undiscovered gem that offers a range of experiences for everyone. Be it exploring history, adventure trekking, taking a workstation to unwind in nature or celebrating at beautiful private villas in Karjat – this quaint town beckons you for a weekend getaway near Mumbai.

After a year of missed celebrations, the thought of sharing loud laughs with school friends is so comforting. If you are considering a much-awaited reunion, make it a themed-one, where nature adds to your ambience. 

Bodhi Villa

We booked just one place called “Bodhi Villa” for a week end. Bodhi Villa is equipped with 5 bed rooms, a large drawing room, kitchen and beautiful porch. We decided to drive down so began our journey at 8:15am. A distance of 94km- 2h30m drive. With a coffee break for 15m at Panvel, headed Expressway to take first exit towards Shedung. We negotiated the road well with lots of bends and gradients and finally reached destination @11:15am. The first look of villa was “wow” covered with green trees and lush lawn.

We eased out slowly into villa after we filled our stomach with local favorite “Vada Pav”, “Sweet Sheera” and tea with ginger and lemon grass. Soon settled down in one of the biggest master bed rooms for a chit chat. The highlight was open to air shower in this master bedroom. It was raining in between making weather pleasant. A view of dark rain clouds of surrounding hills layered themselves in a blanket of green shades with waterfalls designing them was mesmerizing. We did not know how time passed and soon it was time for lunch with nicely cooked Biryani (chicken cooked with rice). Onion / Potato pakoda while it was raining was like icing on cake. We ended the day with lots of chit-chat and light dinner to get to the bed.

The morning was more pleasant after rain in the night. With another shot of

Ulhas River

ginger/ lemon grass tea, we were ready to roam around and go to Ulhas river banks. Yet another experience of nature at its best. The river has two streams converting into one. The white water, villas on the bank, green mountains at the back- everything was picturesque which made us clicked many pictures. Spending lots of time with nature, we returned back to grab our local breakfast poha, upma.

Villas along the bank of river

We freshened up after another dose of chit-chat, Kadak chai, we had our lunch. We ordered typical local food- Tandalachi (made up rice) bhakri, pithale, bharale vange (stuffed brinjal) and hot and spicy thecha (Mixture of chilies, garlic and coconut) and was mouth watering.

We set up our return journey at 3:30pm.

This was a perfect destination planned with school friends. If you are looking for relaxing weekend with nature, enjoying local food, Karjat (Bodhi Villa) is ideal place. The cost of trip will be around 35k for villa (can be booked for around 15 guests), food cost around INR 1500/guest and travel cost. The hill station is connected via rail and road (and Mumbai airport as the nearest airport), and is also the gateway to Matheran—a quaint hill town in the vicinity.

Featured

(FitBlog#62)- A sweeter comeback – A road to Full Marathon 30th July 21

It’s Friday and time to write another blog. After resting for more than 1 week and couple of walks, I am ready to test a shorter 5K jog.

You know you are a runner when you get mad and that an injury keeps you from running, not that it damaged your body.🏃‍♂️

A normal start of the day and wet roads after early morning rains as usual. Feeling excited and anxious both. I decided to start with a walk followed by brisk walk before I change my gears finally to jog. Hopefully this will give time to asses my hamstring well, I thought so.

No tightness in hamstring so I decided to get into brisk walk mode for new hundreds of meters. The boost in confidence made me relaxed and got into jog. A slight discomfort to begin with, slowly stated easing out.

I did not want to take any chances so I decided to switch between brisk walk and jog. And that helped to complete 5k with a incline at the end.

I am glad to see my sweaty tee again. What I can ask more but to be happy with today’s effort as it will surely help to boost confidence and get back to action from next week.

Don’t try to rush the progress. Remember – A step forward, no matter how small, is step towards right direction.

Featured

(FitBlog#61)-Injury is not the process of recovery but discovery- A Road to Full Marathon – 28th July 21

Today is Wednesday. Exactly one week back, during accelerating for 10k run, I got my left hamstring pulled. Running is a high-impact sport. It wears and tears on our bodies, even as it makes our bones stronger and muscles more resilient. While getting injured is not inevitable, if you run for years or decades, you are statistically likely to endure a running injury that requires time off of running.

Getting injured stinks. It doesn’t matter if you’re an elite runner logging 100k per week or you are training for your first 5k; being sidelined is physically and emotionally hard to deal with.

I felt tightness in my hamstring, make me walk funny, not able to bend. I tried with a short ride thinking I won’t be using hamstring, but it was a wrong thinking. It is always better to rest completely to assist faster recovery. The duration of your time off dictates the rate at which you return to running. Essentially, you can anticipate spending an equal amount of time rebuilding your mileage as you spent off running.

As suggested by TimTim complete rest and heat pads ( As per article read: new theory suggests ice pack delays the arrival of pro-inflammatory macrophages responsible for phagocytosis or removal of damaged tissues) helped me to recover much better. I did not do any adventures.😁 The mind is ready for more mileage after injury than the body is. So patience is needed.

Rehabilitation process can be slow and will depend upon severity. But

Returning to Running after Injury: Tips and Sample Plans to Build Back Your Running Mileage Safely
The plan

important part is to start slow. That is why today it was a easy walk to test. I realized walk at home and on road are different where you need to negotiate gradients and unevenness of road. I felt a minor tightness which eventually faded away as distance increased. Evening I am working with Pranayama, lower back stretches and Shavasan.

The walk of 4k gave me a nice feeling, confidence to move on. Tomorrow as well have planned an easy walk too. I am on right path.

Featured

(TraveLog#14)- Land of Strawberries- Travel day 1

Mahabaleshwar. A beautiful place with beautiful heart. A place which makes you feel cold even in summer. A place with feeble network and lot of time for yourself.

We listed down places to visit around Mahabaleshwar and planned of our own, 3 nights/ 4 days trip to Mahabaleshwar, one of the hill station in Maharashtra. We booked MTDC resort as I heard good things about it from friends. The online reservation process for a cottage was easy. We chose month of November as weather would be perfectly pleasant. It’s not 5 star place but neat, clean and away from city if you are a nature lover.

We started at 6am from Mumbai to drive downNH4, 8 hours, a distance of 265k. in our Hyundai Verna. This journey on NH4 pass through Lonavala- Pune- Shirur – Wai – Panchgani – Mahabaleshwar. There are many signboards which guide you to Mahabaleshwar. Tourist gets attracted towards because of breathtaking valley view, nature, adventurous sports, historical monuments. This place is also known for its Strawberries production.  Another popular hill station, Panchgani, is just 20km before Mahabaleshwar.

Our first halt for breakfast came at Food Mall after Toll Plaza. It’s decent place, you should try out local breakfast served here. (better than other food joints). Or you can try out Mac D or Starbucks if you are a real lover of it. There is also ample place for parking your vehicle and you cab also refuel your vehicle. We crossed Pune as per plan. A minor accident at toll plaza after Pune made my front number plate cracked.

At MTDC resort

After we took a right turn at Shirur, we tool another small halt for refreshing and now had to drive through Wai and began our climb in Pasarni Ghat towards Mahabaleshwar. Being Saturday, it was rush of cars delaying our journey to reach MTDC at 2pm. A cottage will cost you around 5000/- per night.

This was my first visit to MTDC resort. The location of the resort is in the center of a forest just making ideal to stay. All the rooms are spread out. So

there is lot of space. The whole property is vast and maintained very well. Network coverage is very poor nor Wi-Fi available in the rooms. Breakfast is not included in tariff but premise have two restaurants. After check in we decided to have lunch @restaurant. Local food ordered bhakri (local Indian bread version)and vangyache bharit (vegetable made of brinjal) was delicious to our surprise. A good lunch will costs you around Rs.200-250/ person.

Our cottage at MTDC

We decided to hire local car leaving ours at resort to reduce driving stress and cover most of the places around. Post lunch just relaxed a bit.

We decided to walk down to sun set point which is just 2k away. Sunset Point is one of the most popular viewpoints of Mahabaleshwar. It’s an example of how nature surprises you at every step if you adore it wholeheartedly.

Breath taking view from Sunset point

This is the place from where people can view the magnificent sunset over the valleys below at Mahabaleshwar. A narrow road leads to this point. Enroute, you come across a signboard about Tiger Path Ride. We returned back after enjoying breathtaking valley view with Sun set. Sun sets are the proof no matter what happens, everyday can end beautifully.

Finally, day ended with light supper at their restaurant.

Featured

(FitBlog#60)-Showing guts against gusty winds-A Road to Full Marathon – 24th July 21

It’s Saturday today, a long run day. But feel, I am not 100% fit to take a long run, needed an extra day to recover from hamstring soreness. Hence after talking to TimTim, decided to swap Sunday ride with run knowing I won’t be using hamstring so extensively in my ride.

Plan: Though weather looks ok with no rain prediction between 5 and 8am, I thought this is perfect window for my ride. 30k, that’s distance I thought, slow start and then take a call.

I took a peep out of window at 5:15m to find no rain but roads were still wet. I set to go in the dark. First few k’s I was much slower than my usual speed, testing how my hamstring behaves. And good news is it looks ok. There were water puddles some part and potholes due to very heavy rains earlier this week and I was cautious.

As I headed towards Juhu, I felt gust of winds on me as strong getting stronger as I touched Juhu beach. (I checked later on, was 37kph). This time cross winds making difficult to hold the balance. I changed to lower gear so as to reduce the resistance and efforts. Overcoming my dilemma, I decided to head towards Worli as against initial plan of looping at Linking road. Experienced a light drizzle on Linking road. Is riding in the rain a case of mind over matter? Getting caught in the rain is never as bad as beginning a ride in the rain. Wet roads can be lethal. Traction between tyre and road is reduced and corners quickly become enemies. So too the dreaded pothole. Caliper brakes and rain are about as useful a combination as frozen hands and a puncture

Not many cyclists today, but many runners on Shivaji park stretch. As k’s were passing, I increased speed to maintain at around 25kph which was good against wind. I turned back from Worli. No relief from cross winds as yet. Finally I took a hydration break at Juhu beach and ready for the final lap. Instead of taking main road, I decided to ride to Vile Parle and enjoy. Finally ended 37.4k.

What went right:

+Got over mental block to ride after hamstring soreness, rain. How I wanted badly a good ride. +Did 37k as against 30k planned. +No issues with hamstring.

What can be improved:

-Need more rides to get back and improve the speed. This is possible as monsoon is likely to get ease out. -Want to improve endurance.

Things want to do differently

(!)Stretches for back, shoulder and quads (!)Protein shake and egg breakfast (!)Relax and light stretches in the evening

Featured

(TraveLog#12)- Some feel rain, others get wet. Rainy day thoughts

Rain is a word that is often used pejoratively. “Oh, it’s raining again,” we always mutter. Weather forecasters look sad and with an apologetic shake of their heads inform us of the bad news – more rains or thunderstorms. From washed out birthday parties to sodden days at the cricket pitch, we all seem to dislike the rain.

When laying down on my bed, thoughts roll down in my mind. Sometimes I find difficult to see the rain as anything other than a nuisance. I love sunshine. It’s easy to forget what a precious resource water really is and how lucky we are to live in a part of the world with an abundance of it. But there are instances when I love rain.

The atmosphere created by monsoon season is probably one of the most comforting and fun filled.

I have small garden around house. As we all know water is life blood for garden. My garden can happily handle a few weeks of overcast skies and drizzle, but take away the water for an extended period and small plants start to hunch and bend. But with rain, all of it become green and give a fresh feel in mind. For me, it is the color of life. Any green is a beautiful green. I always like to fill my lungs with the smell of soil emerging with first rain on it. This year I see bloom in the garden. The pretty pink roses, red lilies, colorful hibiscus, red bunch of flowers of Exora and yellow bitty over the fence, all make eyes filled with joyful colors.

One thing’s for sure, I train regularly, you won’t be lucky enough to always enjoy blue skies and sunshine. Running in the rain is actually enjoyable. You’re not going to melt into a puddle… You get wet, so what? Once your gear is wet, you might even find yourself taking pleasure in stomping through the puddles, watching the other runners or cyclists you might pass and giving them a little nod to say “well done, you’ve kept up the motivation too”. I really enjoy watching people walking in rain with their umbrellas and trying very hard not to get wet.

There are times when it rains pretty hard in Mumbai bringing the city to halt. Some of those times, I love to be in the bed, reading, writing blogs and just chill by sipping hot ginger tea and listening to my favourite music.

There are many thoughts which make me lost for a moment and I get up with fresh mind.

Featured

(FitBlog#36)- First run after lockdown – A rusty one- A road to FM

I spent entire lockdown time with focusing on strength workouts & Yoga. It’s been 1.5 months now. Clearly missing my cycling and running stints outdoor.

Today is 24th May, when I resumed my running with a short run of 5k. I wanted to avoid people on street so started early at 6:30 am and decided to take MIDC route. It has been a ritual for me to do extensive 10-12 mins warm up before I begin.

The objective of run was to hit the road and enjoy. Desire was to keep a pace between 6:30 & 7m/k hence did not set Garmin on HR. With positive mind and enthusiasm, I moved on. I felt rusty legs as if I am taking efforts to run. In the past, I ran @5:15 pace comfortably but was different today. Took of with pace of closer to 7m/k.

Harder to run. Was it a mental block or really I was struggling? Whatever it may be, I decided to push through with a hope things will improve. The situation remained for 2k’s before started to feel better with improved pace. I decided to maintain this pace.

Weather was not really conducive with sweat factor of 37degC. I could not resist temptation to go beyond and ended with 6.5k. The HR was higher than expected. It indicated that re-conditioning is required with more patient runs in aerobic zone to regain cardiovascular fitness..

The pleasure of hitting the road was immense. More than that was the feeling to get back on track. What is more important is to continue with consistent efforts, staying motivated and I am sure we will be on track again for my FM!!

Featured

(FitBlog#34)- In quest of preparing for my first full marathon

I have found that when I feel grateful that my body can support run, my lungs work to get oxygen, I have got better. I notice it feels easier. It may not actually be any easier, but my perspective of it has changed. Instead of dreading a hard workout I feel gratitude that I have the opportunity to work hard and get stronger. My next ambition is to run a full marathon and prepare for Tata Mumbai Marathon 2022. Personally I feel I should be able to run under 5 hours but let me be patient in targeting it after seeing how the training goes.

Running a marathon is one of those epic milestones. The distance is a challenge, especially that second half. What it takes goes well beyond being physically prepared.

My training started with TimTim from March’21. We started with 10k run @ 5:45 pace, 15k aerobic runs which increased to 20k by month end for slowly building miles and 2 stints of strength workouts with core building exercises and stretches. The difference than last year was now addition of Yoga. I used cycling twice a week over distance 50/75k as cross training activity. Inserted a mobility workout to help with joint mobility.

I did focus on cycling to improve speed and endurance. I spent time in learning technique of activating core to improve speed. First thing I could see as an improvement in cycling was a increased speed over 10% for 75K ride. For many segments now I was able to now ride over 30kmph speed.

Unfortunately like last year, lockdown hit Mumbai. Hence I was confined to indoor training activities from April 15th. This gave me once again excellent opportunity to use this period to build strength. This year in the lockdown, I increased yoga sessions with Pranayama helping me to improve flexibility, relax making hit lower Av.HR during workout.

I guess this workout routine will remain till lockdown gets over and I hit road back. And I am quite eager to do that.

Featured

(FitBlog#32) – I love chilly winds hitting my face when I ride

I love cycling, no doubt about it. But there are some days I hate getting out of bed. Today was that chilly morning, blanket accepting me as one the layer. But the feeling to be on saddle overtaken than to remain in bed. And I woke up at 5am. I am habitual to keep everything handy so that I can get quickly on saddle.

Not only it was chilly but bit windy as I set my ride. In winter I use face mask to cover my nose and ears as I am sensitive to pollution early morning. I planned ride to NCPA. As I start peddling, cold breeze hit my face. Quickly, I negotiated the first bumpy part and I took off. The breeze started becoming a bit stronger as I started approaching Juhu beach. When you start outdoor activity, your body produces heat and make you feel better. Juhu is place also you start seeing few cyclists. And today certainly number was less.

At Bandra turner road, I saw a group of cyclist waiting. I always like pro cyclists, they help you to get your adrenaline flowing to push your self. Its fun. I met couple of them at Shivaji Park and enjoyed ride with them.

Some part of NCPA route always excites me. Worli Sea Face promenade- stretch of around 3.5k is one of them as roads are empty and you can push to the limit. But today I needed to push a bit through head winds dropping my speed a bit. And further slowing me down with dumper traffic at Haji Ali. This made me irritated as those thick skinned drivers moving slow and not giving space to move ahead. With other riders finally managed and headed towards Pedar road. That’s another part of route quite challenging due to its climb of Cumballa Hills. This is not only challenging for cyclists but runners as well. There are few iconic and historical monuments enroute fascinates you. I slowly climbed up and turned right towards Marine Drive. This stretch is too like Worli sea face. Dream route fascinates cyclists full of newbies to pro in all age groups. Even kids learn riding here. It was cool breeze again coming over Arabian Sea. Still was dark out there. Actually Marine drive is C shaped boulevard. This 4.5 km long road flaunts the Art Deco architectural style through its buildings and edifices. It’s almost 6:50am now. But Marine drive is awake and alive with many morning walkers, runners and cyclists. Beautifully rounded, accompanied by the waves that steadily hit the rocks. It is about to rise and break through the morning mist. I turned back from NCPA and and my gaze falls on the Air India building, which is one of the landmark.

It was awesome view to see lights glowing still over the entire length of Marine drive. Munched couple of dates to get energy, I started my journey back. On return I decided to climb Walkeshwar. Its steady climb for almost 2k long and you need to push to reach up to Rajbhavan.

Finally I started my journey back home @7:15am. Need to climb Kemps Corner flyover and then Pedar road. But finally descends bringing me back to Haji Ali, no dumpers and I sneaked to Worli Sea face.

It was steady ride for rest of route and finally reached home @8:30am. Finally completing 63k in 2hours30mins @25k/hr.

Featured

(FitBlog#31)-Smashing sub 2 HM target convincingly!!!

Celebrations

Hard work puts you where the good luck can find you Weather started to improve and becoming better with cooler mornings and less humid. Today is 30th Jan’20, “Time Trial Day” for half marathon. All good things happening for the purpose. Kartik agreed to pace me yet again. Is this positive indication? I murmured, this is the time I need to beat my sub 2 target.

Strategy is what not to do As preparation, I increased hydration with additional 1 liter of electrolytes a day before. Carb loadings throughout the week by means of potatoes, sweet potatoes, aloo paratha, raagi sattu. These small things always prove critical on your run day. After a bit discussions, we decided to pursue same route to as last time as we mastered road in terms of elevations, turns. We delayed our start by 10 mins. It was decided that I take the lead, pace the run with Kartik as back up. Kartik is seasoned runner and perfect to fall back to push me in case need arises. The run is required @ pace 5:43m/k for sub 2. So we set up a plan to run @5:35-5:40m/k pace. This will give a cushion at the fag end of run knowing pace drops a bit for me. You need energy to run, so carried dates soaked in rock salts, energy gels to refuel mid run with electrolyte.

You don’t have to be great to start but start to be great With carb b/f, warm up, walk, jog for around 0.5k, we began our run. First 2k were decline and as always helped us to set up pace slowly. Kartik did not get much chance to warm up extensively but thank god got into rhythm quickly. We gradually picked up pace from 5:40m/k to 5:23m/k @5k to complete first 5k in 26m54s. This means we were cruising @average pace of 5:31m/k, faster than required. We decided to stick to this pace as we found it comfortable. I had my first date at this point. Kartik’s friend also joined us @4k but left @8k.

I was keeping eye on pace, while Kartik on distance. We were chatting to ease out while on run. I remember Kartik’s asking me “How am I feeling?” “Just good. My feelings will burst exponentially when we do sub 2”. I replied. Kartik wanted me to run entire 21.1k distance without walk breaks.

Distance covered was slowly and steadily increasing, we crossed half mark moving over from Juhu to Linking road. We decided to head towards Bandra joggers park and then to Carter road with looping Khardanda and back on Linking road. Kartik helped me by holding my water bottle (as he says dumbell) till I had shot of energy gel @11k. The next 5 (11-15k) was done in 27m54s. This means we were holding to our pace well.

Link road was quiet without much traffic as usual. My Garmin girl was re-affirming the pace we were into. As the end of link road I had another date with 13k down. The run on Carter road reminded our MRR runs on first Sunday of the month. Kartik asked if we should try incline but honestly I did not want to experiment today. We passed through Khardanda with dried fish smell filled in lungs. This part was tricky. Murphy’s law, narrower the road, heavier the traffic. I followed Kartik here and negotiated this part. I felt a bit drop in pace but was sure to pick up again.

15k down and back on link road. Good thing average pace up from 5.32m/k to 5.31m/k again. At 17k, I had another date to give me some energy for last part which is always tricky for me. With 10 miles in 88m13s, Kartik said we are surely going for sub 2 even if we run just under 6m/k. When you see your target in sight, you feel good but still task not done. We just kept on maintaining pace and may be we target 1h56m.

Incline with right turn to Juhu, I said I am going to be slow over incline, on which Kartik said ” You are doing good, simply maintain pace”. Breathing was little heavier and started taking deep and relaxed breaths. Soon incline over and this proved a good point to maintain my pace because the moment you slow down, you lose your momentum.

Glory awaits you at the Finish Line We were now 2k away from finish line. Kartik increased his pace. It was difficult for me to match him but tried my best to fight the last battle. I always read run the last part of race with heart, and today I was feeling it. Running reminds you that how strong you can be in your weakest moments. With last splits done in 5m18s and 5m13s we crossed line in 1h55m with pride, smashing sub 2 target by over 4m. What an achievement!! With hi-fi, Kartik congratulated on this feat.

We celebrated with coconut water @Juhu beach and done stretches.

Some unique feats today, we ran entire 21.1k without a single walk break maintaining pace well and that too with negative splits.

The message, “Dear TimTim, you pushed me out of my comfort zone, you train me till I moan (core crushers), but at the end everything falls together. After my sub 2, I feel stronger and better. Thank you for pushing me beyond my limits to make sure I live my dream.” And thank you Kartik, who un-conditionally agreed to pace me (just coconut water after run…hahaha), pushed me so that I complete my sub 2. As I always say “We are incredible team”!!!!

To hear nothing but breath, to feel nothing but heart beats, to feel so much like hell, running is close to heaven. This is Runner’s High!

Featured

(FitBlog#30)-What a surprise run today!!

It’s not about being the best. It is about being better than you were yesterday.”

Another time trial is on cards for 30th Jan, so already into a taper. Workouts intensity already reduced. Today is 21st Jan and I am suppose to have my tempo run workout – 1K warm up run, 8k tempo run @5:30-5:40 pace and finally 1k cool down. The set pace was exactly the pace I need to run for my upcoming time trial if I need to get my objective of sub 2 half marathon.

With warm up, brief walk, I began a jog before I set my Garmin with an idea to get into rhythm with warming enough for smooth transition into desired pace.

I planned to be around pace of 5:50-6m/k for my first 1K, so that I can change gears smoothly. The initial decline helped me with that. My idea was to keep pace around 5:30m/k so with inclines I can keep average below 5:40m/k.

Often weather plays a vital role. Surely pleasant today with comparatively lower humidity. Clearly benefitting to get into pace better than expected; this pace not making feel tired nor was slow. I stopped looking at Garmin frequently and started running as per body feel.

With Garmin beep, so happy to see 6k down in 32m35s. Till this point I never thought of bettering my previous best which was 56m20s. But the situation now made me think to give a push for a PB. This means 23m45s to get 4k which was surely a possibility. I was still feeling good.

Slowly I up my pace a bit, with still no traffic on road, helping to move swiftly. Next 2k done in 10m49s. Finally negotiated incline associated with last k. With 10k beep, Garmin display mentioning –PB for 10k….. 53m56s. Yes, very right, in persuasion of sub 2 HM, I smashed my previous best by over 2m.

Extreme delight, I dedicate this PB to my mentor and coach TimTim who made it possible.

Some takeaways: Don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes. This will help you to understand your body more. Let me tell you my best runs have come when I ran alone. No pressure to finish helps you to enjoy run. Train hard, be consistent, results will follow. Start slow and increase pace steadily with negative splits. Knowing your route well help you to plan well. Celebrate finish. Analyze your run. Recover well.

Featured

(FitBlog#29)- Planning for the ride- story of my 100km solo ride – Part 1

It was a while ago, I did my 100k (century) ride. More over I never did it alone. So always it was back of mind. Before I have my next time trial, after discussing with TimTim, I planned it for 31st Dec. We wanted year to end with a bang!!

So, what is so special about a riding 100k? It’s just a number, isn’t it? But when you can say, “I just rode 100k!” you can take pride and stand up straight. Pedaling 100k is a “milestone,” no matter if it’s your first century ever or not. 100K ride needs a plan just like any other long distance running activity. So what are steps ?

Set up a goal: Set a goal of something that is actually achievable. Make sure you complete it within the desired timeframe. You have to be ready to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to achieve something great. Learning from previous rides, I set a target of completing 100k in 4h15m. This means almost 15% being faster than my previous 100k. Know your route: Chalk out a route in advance so you know what kind of terrain to anticipate and what gradients the route has to offer. Remember you can’t avoid up hills. Knowing landmarks on the way to stay on track is also essential. It’s worth knowing how much traffic to expect on the way in and on the return journey. Doing this is basically going to keep you mentally prepared so when you’re actually on the ride you know where to ride more, or less aggressively. I planned to start latest by 5am so that I can be back by 9:30am. This was to make sure I don’t bump into heavy traffic while returning back. The route chose was up to NCPA which is 31k and thereafter making 5 loops of Marine Drive totaling to 40k before I start my journey back for another 31k. Most of the route was with mild inclines except Pedar road where I had to negotiate uphill. Also I was aware of the fact that I was going to hit the traffic for last 10-15k which will slow me down. Hence I planned to compensate at Marine Drive. Nutrition: It cannot be stressed enough as to how important hydration is, always carry sufficient water with you, in the case of a 100k carry two bottles and mix in some electrolytes or hydration solution. A failure in doing so can lead to extreme fatigue, exhaustion or may be cramps. Sip small quantities of water every 30 minutes or so during a 100k ride especially. Pack well: Your meals before your ride are again very important as it is essential to fuel for the upcoming hours of riding. Make sure you ingest healthy amounts of protein and carbs the night before the ride. Carry sources of good carbs to fuel you and eat after every 25k. I always rely upon bowl of muesli and either sweet potato or banana. TimTim suggested to carry two sandwiches- one with peanut butter and other with cheese and energy bars to consume a portion after every 25k. Dressing up right: Cycling is a relatively low-impact sport on your legs. But over the course of 100k, you’re going to feel every bump on that road through your hands, shoulders, neck and butt. Wear a good pair of padded shorts, and change your position and posture as needed to relieve pressure on certain areas of your body. It’s more mental than physical: It’s easy to feel frustrated or defeated when you’ve been biking for 25k and are only 1/4 of the way done. Push negative thoughts out of your head by focusing on the rider in front of you, enjoying the scenery or singing to yourself — anything that’ll keep you going. I was lucky to have met with few pro cyclists at Marine drive. I put my attention to compete them so that I keep on going. Be confident and have fun: You’ve prepared to go big, so get out there and prove you can. Having self-confidence, trust in yourself and knowing your limits is key when facing a new challenge. Ride safe, smart, and in tune with your body. If you’re riding comfortably and feeling good, you’ll have a great time out there – Enjoy it!

So did I successfully completed my ride ? What time I took? For the answers.

Watch out for my next blog “fun on the wheels”…. till then happy times on saddle

Featured

(FitBlob#28)- Disappointing ride on 6th Dec, No matter how bad your day is, your bicycle ride will make you feel better!

This blog is going to be shorter. The word disappointing ride sound uncomfortable. Honestly I always like smooth, clean rides. I like being able to corner at speed. 

I just completed easy run of 12k a day before on 5th Dec. Planned a 50k quick ride next day. This wasn’t a long ride. Just enough to be in taper for my upcoming half marathon time trial. My legs were fairly fresh. My expectations were quite high from this ride. I started early morning at 5:30am. Plan was to go up to Worli and make couple of loops to make 50k tally. I was comfortable in riding over speed of 26kph to complete in less than 2 hours.

Everything was happening as per plan. Sailed smoothly over first 13k. The first disappointment came when I reached Mahim Causeway. The road was closed due to digging work. I just got off my bike to walk for couple of minutes on foot path just as other cyclists did and back on saddle.

As I peddled for couple of more k’s. The next hurdle came with another road closure to which I tried to take a diversion but landed into another one just like a trap. This has left me very frustrated and I decided to turn back.

In spite of this, it was always back of my mind to complete my half century ride. I knew completing my ride as planned will make me feel good at the end. So turned towards Carter road and headed towards Bandra fort ( a bit bumpy road) and then couple of loops between Bandra and Santacruz on Linking road.

Somehow managed to complete 50k (54k in fact) ride with a speed of 24.6kph.

No two rides are same. You will only learn to enjoy good rides when you sometimes have disappointing ones. What was more important is to keep going and enjoy yet another ride…..

Featured

(FitBlog#27)- In quest of my sub 2 half marathon – Never forget about what it means to keep chasing your dreams

I am writing this blog to not only share my experience of time trial with you but also to myself. With all the hard work behind me, still I was feeling a bit nervous and excited even though I must have run many half marathons. Honestly it gave me a feeling like a student just before exam.

It’s 12th December today, though no rain, humidity expected to be in 80’s with pleasant morning. I woke up at 5am to begin around 5:45am. As planned had bowl of muesli with milk and pieces of boiled sweet potatoes as usual. Putting on my favourite Nike shorts, tee and Asics Gel Nimbus, did 15 minutes of extensive full body static and dynamic warm up. Carried 6 dates ( I removed seeds for ease this time ) soaked in rock salt over night, energy gel and hydration bottle with 2 fast n up tabs. I was ready to go.

I set Garmin on run mode. With brisk walk and jog for 200m I started my run in dark, the breeze hit my ears. I re-affirmed my first target of 5k in 28m. First couple of k’s were slight decline and I decided to take an advantage. with 1k down, I got into rhythm and its a good sign. After 2k, I started my run now on good road. I looked at Garmin, it was 11m04s past and on target. Time to munch my first date and a sip of hydration at dot 4k. No traffic yet. Soon, 5k over in 28m9s. I was happy so far.

Soon I was about to approach Juhu stretch of 5k as always I find it as breather. You always find lots of runners and cyclists on this stretch. I had a surprise. I met my cycling buddy, Sandeep. Nice of him to give me call out. Thanks Sandeep for pushing or pacing (haha) me for some distance. Made my emotions high, with lots of energy flowing.

Its time to have my second date at 8k, done in 46m55s. Good thing I was holding desired pace nicely. With Garmin prompting 10k down in 58m19s, I knew now the real battle is going to begin. I kept my head and shoulders high with positive vibes. My pace dropped a bit but still under 6, I said to myself keep going. Sometimes self talk motivates and help bring back focus. Another date @12k and gulped energy gel @13k bringing me back on track. I was pleased with 15k in 1h27m24s. This means still on track for 2h05m.

In the past my pace dropped in last 6k affecting my overall pace. But today I wanted to change that. I murmured to be strong mentally and keep pushing. I now decided to count what k’s are remaining rather what I have completed.

I decided to take my first walk break @17k for 10s so that I can have a go for final 4k. This proved to be a good decision. It took 17m45s for next 3k. Dates and energy gels ensured that I did not have a bonk. No feeling of tiredness and legs were moving still nicely.

1h45m9s, that was my time for 18k. I was doing better than target. This means 20m for 3.1k which was easily achievable. I had to take decision if I should still target 2h05m or push myself to better it, This was an excellent opportunity to come closer to 2h target. I decided to push for 2h02m target.

I ramped up my pace a bit to hit 20k mark @1h56m39s. Some strange electric current started flowing through my body giving me goose bumps as I pushed for last k. I kept a close watch on distance and finished 21.1 in 2h01m09s. This means I smashed my target by 4m and previous best over 7m. I was not able to believe. Second thought came in that if I would have pushed a bit more, I would have completed my sub2. But that is fine, there is always next time. Back home, full body stretches and focused on recovery.

I was happy about today’s run. Thank you TimTim. Your systematic approach, training and hard work made it possible. We are the Perfect Team!!

Some positive learnings: Know your objectives and build plan accordingly. Be honest, consistent, systematic and keep belief in your planned workouts. Be mentally tough to execute it. Nutrition, hydration plays vital role. Follow judiciously. You may get feelings of hollowness on rest days. But, recovery is very crucial and respect rest days. Add variety in workouts to build strength, stamina, mobility and its gradual process. Taper period is critical before race day. This could be a topic of debate. Sometimes, running alone can be better as you know your body best, so you can adjust pace as per plan. I even could focus on my run better. It is always important to take a stock of your feelings. There is no harm in revising your target up or down.

Areas of improvement for me. Even today my pace dropped a bit after 10k even though I could maintain sub 6. I need to work out to be more consistent in splits. This will help to focus on 1h59m. Next time trial I should carry 2 energy gels, this will improve timings for sure.

When I started, running sub 2 HM seems impossible, then improbable. But soon inevitable.

I quote – “Wake up with determination and sleep with satisfaction”.

Featured

(FitBlog#26) – In quest my sub 2 half marathon – A runner must run with dreams in his heart (Emil Zatopek)

Sometimes looking through a new lens is all you need to have a breakthrough in running.

It is so much to share about my time trial experience, hence I am going to write in 2 parts. How did we approach the time trial and what did happen on time trial day.

It has been almost 10 months now I was training for sub 2 half marathon with TimTim. So far I was successful in improving my time by almost 4 minutes over TMM. Though the last time trial I have taken, I clocked 2h08mins against target of 2h05m. I was a bit disappointed but honestly weather was ugly hot and humid. But PB is always PB irrespective of conditions.

Defining the purpose: We (TimTim and me as a team) decided to have our time trial on 12th Dec. It was important to approach with concrete plan and execute to perfection and then leave the best to happen. I want to again attempt 2h05m. What was different this time was, I had a bit of more experience of long distance aerobic / interval / tempo runs behind me. Also we incorporated strength workouts with complex movements, more core crushers. Cross training (cycling) also helped me to be stronger.

Taper: It is important to prepare yourself for your time trial with 3 weeks of taper. So we gradually started reducing intensity of workouts in first 2 weeks. A significant period of tapering is essential for optimal performance. This means gradually reducing the exercise over a short period of time and then stopping completely when leading up to competitions. This allows glycogen levels return to peak. Metabolic enzymes, antioxidants, and various hormones, depleted during training, return to their optimal ranges. Muscle and connective tissues repair and strengthen.

Last week before time trial was crucial and we made lot of changes. Workout intensity: The workout intensity was lowest ever. Did 10k and 7k easy runs aiming HR less than 145. No strength workouts but couple of restorative Yoga sessions for relaxing and stretching muscles. Also I learnt to respect rest days. Fuel it right Nutritional Changes: Important to know what you eat and when you eat. With increased carb loadings on daily basis 1 week prior to race, you can completely stock your muscles and liver with glycogen. I used a bit more rice intake, added boiled potato / sweet potato chats in snacks. 2 bananas per day works well for me. A simple dinner like aloo parathas / pasta can make huge difference. Hydration: Consumed regular quota of around 3 to 3.5l of water during day with fast n up Mg/Zn tab before sleep to relax muscles, improved immunity. I was expecting around 2l of sweat loss on run day so sipped 1l of electrolytes throughout the day 1 day prior to run. Sleep and more sleep: Runners get excitement, night before D day. So sleep is likely to get disturbed. Hence, important to catch a bit extra throughout the week to build sleep bank. Weather: Though week began with pleasant weather, but started raining couple of days before. Was it going to be a spoil sport again? Plan: Since I wanted to have a feel, I decided to run alone instead of with pacer as last time. I was confident to pace myself as per situation and need. I need to run throughout sub 6 pace if I have to complete in 2h05m. This has never happened to me. I always drain and pace drops a bit after 15k. But this time I was more prepared and trained. After lots of thoughts, selected Juhu- Bandra route. It is important to visualize route in terms inclines / declines, turns so that you are better prepared to pace. Equal splits, was it going to be a reality this time? Pace it right: It was important to keep sub 6 pace throughout 21.1K to achieve target. So I decided a plan to complete 5k in 28m, 10k in 58m, 15k in 1h28m, 20k in 1h57m and 21.1k in 2h05m. I never did this before and hence immense focus, mental toughness is required to achieve this. But I was determined to achieve this. Nutrition pre and during run: If I have to achieve constant sub 6 pace, means I need constant source of energy. With bowl of muesli with milk, pieces of sweet potato prior to run, a date soaked in rock salt every 4k and gel mid run, planned to replenish it. This was very crucial to avoid bonk after 15k which I experienced in my last time trial which slowed me down. Right mindset -Train for the mental toughness: You need a lot more than strong abs and legs. What I am talking about here is mental toughness. I was prepared for all the emotions I might experience during the race. Eliminate the variables: I decided to start just early enough so that I get enough sleep and also avoid traffic.

And finally, I learnt from my previous effort, when you do a time trial, keep in mind that it might be slower than your actual real potential, and that’s okay, I think it always will help you in your training, So try to keep an open mind and enjoy it for what it is.

I was so excited and hoping for the best on time trial day. Read out what happened on race day in my next blog.

“Running long distance is 90% mental and 10% physical” – Rich Davis

Featured

(FiTBlog#11) “Running the triumph of desire over reason.”

“I Believe Friends are Quiet Angels who lift us to our Feet when our Wings have Trouble Remembering how to Fly.” ~ Lorraine K. Mitchell

Well, as promised, I am bringing second part of Maharashtra Police International Marathon 2020 blog. In previous blog I did write about century ride with Maharashtra Police. After this curtain raiser event took place a running event on 9th Feb. Almost 15000+ runners participated in this inaugural event.

Our hard fought medals: with Shubhangi

Timtim and Shubhangi decided to participate in 21 K and me in 10 miler since I already did 100+ K bicycle ride just a week before and TMM 3 weeks back.

Thanks to TimTim who collected our kits and handed over on Saturday morning during our stretching session followed by soothing walk in cool water of Juhu beach. The kit was a nice back pack very useful for bicycle rides. I was just recovering from Diarrhea and was not sure if I should still run or not. Immense loss of water and electrolytes from body was the biggest concern for me. Finally, my heart said yes and I decided to give it out my 100% !

After I began mentoring from TimTim, this was my second race after PJHM and I was excited run!

The race start was 5.20 am from Bandra side of Sea link. I woke up at 2:45 am and with routine preparations and I took a ride to Bandra Station. The organizers arranged free bus services from Bandra station 3:30 am onward which dropped us 1 km away from start point. It was amazing atmosphere with road flocked with thousands of runners walking charged up. But sadly, the rest room facilities were not enough with long queues as many outside participants from Maharashtra Police lined up to use. At start line, I met many colleagues from Siemens runners group. We did our warm up together and we were excited to cross the start line.

The race route was super. And the run on the Sea Link was fun as always with darkness, breeze, sound of waves and illuminating ropes and then passing through Worli sea face, Haji Ali, famous (or infamous Pedar road ?) and taking turn towards Marine drive via Babulnath and finishing at Gate way of India. The 10 miles distance (approx. 16.1 km) was not so difficult for me but Diarrhea took a toll on me. I tried to re-hydrate over the week. Just kept my fingers crossed ! With wishing Siemens colleagues the luck, we were ready to go. Standing at start line, I was ready to attack this challenge with 100%. I frequently kept on murmuring to myself to focus and enjoy. My game plan was to keep a consistent pace throughout race -just below 6 m/K. I decided to follow 1hr30m bus and I started well with him till 5 K. Humidity and post diarrhea has soon started showing effects on my body and soon I have to give up following 1 Hr 30 min bus. I reduced my pace and got hold of Enerzal and bananas to re-energize myself but I kept on struggling to get 5:30 to 5:40 m/K pace and in process sadly lost my rhythm.

And when I was about to complete 5 K, I was lucky to meet Shubhangi. She started encouraging me. Many times someone helping you, motivating you, helps to keep your spirits high. Though I struggled to get back to my pace but it gained my rhythm. We started encouraging each other. Soon we crossed Haji Ali ready to climb Pedar road. Pedar road climb looks difficult to many runners but this makes a one of the wonderful stretch for me due to many volunteers standing and clapping for you. You can be slow and steady here with covering up lost time during declines. Soon we completed the climb and started our descend towards Kemp’s corner. I kept on sipping water / electrolytes and munched couple of Glucose biscuits in struggle with hydrating myself.

Thankfully, there were good numbers of water / electrolyte stations along the way and the support was excellent, especially from Mumbai Police themselves– cheering and clapping for us, this was also one of the reason why I was holding with positive sentiments.

We reached Marine drive and completed around 10 K. Now, I was tired, cramps in legs and struggling to run. I had to resort to walking breaks after every 1/1.5 K. I asked Shubhangi to move on as I did not want to spoil her timings. But she decided to run with me, pushing me. That has helped me to fill with positivism by processing out negative emotions. I felt that time, probably gels would have helped me a bit.

“Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder.” -William Sigei.

Soon Air India building was in sight and we were charged up to run our final 2 K. I always desire a strong finish and today was not exception too. With bringing all left over energy, we both pushed ourselves and crossed finish line with pride. It was truly amazing feeling to take well deserving finisher’s medal from Mumbai Police.

Pain is temporary, pride is forever

When I watched my Strava, it was not so bad timing. 16.1 K in 1hr36m. We clicked pictures and moved to take our goodies bag with breakfast, a hand towel. The entire event was managed so well except the breakfast counter. However there was another counter near exit gate which was then closed by now for starting of 5 K. Honestly, I filled my heart with great pride to pull through, thanks to Shubhangi. she was like an angel. Such experiences gives you more satisfaction.

“You don’t have to be so tough that it doesn’t hurt, you just have to be tough enough not to quit.”

The overall experience was good and hope improvements/ iterations will make event much better next year.

On the way back we met TimTim. It was amazing to learn that she completed her half marathon in 1hr38m. Truly she is a champion !! We shared our experiences while returning back from Churchgate station. I was feeling so hungry that Shubhangi and me had our breakfast in restaurant @ Andheri before proceeding to our homes.

So many people crossing the finish line of a marathon look as happy as winners. They have tears in their eyes. The sport is full of winners.

Conclusion:

The positivism, strong determination, self belief and passion can pull you through from difficult situations. There are many examples in running community of helping each other and today I witnessed it. Truly my angels helped me to make my run memorable. Thanks TimTim for showing the way……

“The marathon is not really about the marathon, it’s about the shared struggle. And it’s not only the marathon but the training.”
-Bill Buffum

Featured

(ƬraveLog#2 ExploreIndia) Malvan-The hidden gem of Konkan coast

Day 3 | Tarkarli beach & Malvan beach - YouTube

We (my wife and me) had been to Kudal (Dist. Sindhudurg) few occasions. But Malvan always eluded us. Finally, firmed up plan to visit Malvan. Just to mention Malvan is a town / taluka in Southernmost Sindhudurg District of Maharashtra State, India. It is right place if you love fish, adventure, leisure and history. It’s popular gateway for beach lovers with its lonely shores, clear water and silky white sands. Carry couple of swimming costumes if you are keen in sea adventures. It is quite offbeat place that not many know of.

Being coastal town, Malvan experiences a warm and humid weather with refreshing monsoon. The best time to visit from October till February.

Day 1: Explore Kudal

You can travel either by car/ train (Kudal) or by air (Goa). Easiest way is travelling by train-Tejas Express to reach Kudal around mid-day (around 8 hours journey from Mumbai and 2.5 hours from Goa) while enjoying Konkan scenic view. Breakfast is available on train or you have option to pack your own food. We planned to spend one night in Kudal, visit my native place and temple and then head towards Malvan.

Checked in Hotel Lemon Grass is a better option that we booked online @ Rs.2500 (Executive room). Clean, cozy rooms, polite hotel staff, delicious local food they serve and complimentary Wi-Fi make it my deal. In the evening we took a casual walk in Kudal market which is just a whisker away and is good place to find local stuff for foodies. We ordered typical local flavored prawns curry and rice in Hotel Lemon Grass.

Date 2: Relaxing at Malvan begins

Kande pohe, sheera, upma for breakfast that’s what we like. Post breakfast we checked out and hired an auto for full day till drop at Malvan @ Rs.1200.

Kaleshwar Temple

First, we visited temple devoted to God Kaleshwar, considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. This temple is extremely famous for its grand Maha Shivaratri celebrations. The Kaleshwar shrine is no modern discovery. Its foundation origin dates to a period 700 – 800 years old. Simple yet very attractive interiors and surroundings makes you cheerful. It’s must visit place.

Dhamapur Lake

We planned our lunch at another authentic place, Hotel Pankaj @Nabar Wadi, Kudal which is popularly known as Kamat Bhaujinchi Khanaval. Simple place for homely food. Surmai (King Fish) thali, Khekda (Crab) Thali, Mori (shark) Mutton, Prawns fry, Khekda(crab) Masala, Tisrya (Clams) Masala, Solkadhi (spiced coconut juice) are highly recommended. After lunch we headed towards Malvan.

Kudal Malvan road, Karli River

Kudal to Malvan 28 km scenic drive. With rice fields, greens and coconut trees both sides, you cross Karli river. You tempt to get down for a click. On you way we recommend to visit serene Dhamapur lake. It is one of the biggest lake of Sindhudurg and actually a earth filled dam. With around 90 minutes ride, we reached Malvan. Most of the tourists stay at Tarkarli

Mayekar’s Holiday Home

which is commercialized place and a bit crowded. However we preferred to stay away from crowd at lesser known Chivla beach. There are couple of good resorts and I booked Mayekar’s Holiday Home costed me Rs.2500/ night. It was a typical village house located right on Chivla beach with all amenities in the room.

We recommend spending at least 3 days in Malvan. We took a short relaxing walk on the lonely beach. Chivla Beach is a divine site that offers

@ Chivla beach

much more than the beautiful views as it is clean, pristine and peaceful and is an offbeat attraction in Malvan region.

Sun set @ Rock Garden

Evening we decided to spend at Rock Garden. Adjoining the Chivla beach, it offers tourists a fairy tale view of the sun coming out of the sea. Best time to visit either during the dawn or the dusk as this is when one can relax in the tranquilizing aura of the place. Unlike other gardens this garden is unique in its nature since there is no sand but a carpet of huge rocks and green lawns.

Typical Malvani Thali

Jai Ganesh mandir built beautifully by Jayant Salgaonkar 2.5 km away from Rock garden you can certainly add into your itinerary. Malvan is well known for sea food prepared in Malvani spices. Hotel Chaitanya owned by Walke is one such place situated in main market. Not only fish preparation, Kombdi (chicken) Vade, Malvani fish curry, Mori (shark) Masala, Malvani Mutton Curry it serves also veg preparation like kelphulachi, nir fanasachi and shepuchi bhaji which you won’t find in other hotels.

We also discovered another peaceful and simple Ganesh temple near to Chivla beach. We liked so much that every evening we made point to visit.

Day 3: Relive history at Sindhudurg Fort

It was so relaxing to take a morning walk on beach. You can see picturesque view of fishermen going into see for a fresh catch. Morning breakfast, we ordered local food Ghavne which is prepared from rice flour.

Sindhudurg Fort

Today we planned to take a tour to historical Sindhudurg Fort that occupies an islet in the Arabian sea. It’s beautifully built by Great Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj that can be seen from the  Malvan beach. There are ferries that carries tourists from Malvan beach to fort and return. It’s a strong fort with a great design. It is saddening to see fort is destroyed in the war with Britishers. Many sweet water tanks and other structures are still intact and well maintained. One can spend around an hour inside the fort roaming and enjoying the beautiful sea around the fort. There are many stalls inside the fort for refreshment and temples inside fort. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside shows great thinking and the revolutionary mindset of its engineer. It was said that when the fort was built, Shivaji Maharaj asked his killedar about prize. But killedar insisted that Shivaji Maharaj should leave his foot and hand impressions. You can see those impressions. My take is use services of guides to relive history other wise these become only stone structures to see. Hotel Bamboo is restaurant just few minutes away from Chivla beach is good for typical Malvani food. Crab thali cost you Rs. 250 and served with 4 crabs.

After meal, we returned and relaxed on rooms. It’s just worthwhile to roam around market. This town is also popular for the wide variety of mangoes, popularly known as Malvani Hapoos or Alphonso. Malvani khaje is also popular sweets in the town. You can buy local spices as well.

Date 4: Travel does not become adventure until you leave yourself behind

We reserved this day for water adventure sports activities at Tsunami Island, Devbag. As the name suggests, island appeared in the year 2004 when tsunami waves hit the Indian ocean and is a small stretch of sand that is visible only during low tides. It is located on the delta of Karli river. To add some flavor, we hired a Kinetic 2-wheeler and rode up to Devbag beach.

View of meeting point of Karli river with Indian ocean is mesmerizing. You can

opt for variety of sport like Parasailing, motor rides, banana rides, etc. Also, under-water sports like scuba diving are available where visitors can experience actual fishes touch. Visiting Beaches without trying out the breath-taking water sports is not a fair deal; hence, it is highly recommended for you to tryout. It was fun doing Dolphin point is very close to Tsunami island and visitors are taken by boats to the point. Near to delta point, you can also see a hill shaped as crocodile. If you are hungry then you can buy ukadiche modak (sweet), vada pav, panhe (appetizer juice made from raw mango) at Tsunami island.

At Devbag Beach

While returning, we detoured to visit Devbag. It is a piece of land that just out from the mainland of Malvan into the sea. As you drive right to the tip of Devbag, you can see the Karli river flowing on one side to meet the sea and the vast Arabian sea on the other side.  One of the must-do’s is taking a boat ride that starts from the Karli river leading up to the point where it meets the sea, known as the ‘Sangam’ and then into the open sea to spot dolphins. It is encouraging that new generation of Konkani prople is preferring to settle down in Konkan and helping tourism to grow.

We returned after lots of fun. Meantime we could found out one place in Malvan where you can get good home-made ukadiche modak near Jai Ganesh Mandir. We packed some to take back home.

Evening we once again decided to visit Chaitanya and once again we enjoyed food.

Day 5 Exploring Konkan

Sagareshwar Beach

We wound up our stay at Malvan. While returning via Goa airport, we stopped at some quiet, untouched beaches like Vengurla, Sagareshwar, Shiroda, Redi, Mochemad. 

The Sagareshwar beach is home to the quaint and ancient Sagareshwar temple of Lord Shiva.

Conclusion:

You can plan a perfect Malvan trip for 2 @ Rs.22000-25000.

Malvan is a perfect destination to unwind after a strenuous year at work, with its clean and calm beaches and unadulterated coastline. The waters in the beach reflect the sky, and the sight can send your heart skipping. Be it a relaxed vacation or an action packed thrilling holiday or a vacation for you to walk down the alleys of history. Malvan has something of everything to keep you excited during your holidays.

Featured

Covid 19 lockdown – Silver lining of Positivity

“Being hopeful and optimistic for the future has been associated with better mental health and wellbeing.”

The infectious disease originated from China soon reached India too. We were hearing stories about what was happening in China. We never imagined the situation we will be in. Soon lockdown was imposed here too. So far, many citizens had never experienced such kind of situation except the older generation when they went through experience of black outs during Indo-Pak war in 1971. And, so, many reactions, emotions started emerging out.

Humanity is going through unprecedented times. For many of us, initial period of lockdown came as a shock. Slowly people started beginning to adapt to the situation. In terms of adapting, one thing I am aware of is how much negative news connected to Covid-19 is out there. And how much we are increasingly trying to avoid it. The Corona virus lockdown and news, along with the uncertainty and the ambiguity, can have negative impact on our mental state. Yet staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis.

Ok, so we’re not in control of what’s happening. We might be stuck indoors for some time, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Our lives have changed radically, but what we can control is ourselves and how we adapt. Are there positive things and stories in this crisis that we can relate to? I think and hope there are.

I always believe that you’re stronger than you know. It is easy to be engulfed in the hopelessness that the pandemic brings with it, but hope goes a long way. Hope is what keeps us going. Get hope from your past resilience. You have got through so many things in the past because of your strength, and you will conquer this as well.

While some people have been safe in the relative comfort of their own home, others have faced difficult and upsetting situations.

During this period, people had to set and adapt to non-standard working hours or work from home culture to accommodate family and other personal commitments. By doing so, people have demonstrated that there is a work/life balance to be had that can suit personal circumstances, whilst also ensuring productivity and delivery for the business and our clients. With attitudes already starting to change in the last few years, will Covid-19 become a catalyst for further progressive change?

Your usual routines probably went out of the window a few weeks ago, right? But there are some activities you are still doing that can give structure to your day like taking daily exercise, sticking to your regular mealtimes and sleeping patterns. You might find it helpful to create a weekly picture calendar and put it up somewhere everyone can see it.

As a result of less travel, there is less stress. Enjoy ‘me’ time and getting to do things you never normally have the time to do. Develop hobbies, skills which also improves mental health & wellbeing. If you have been thinking of getting fitter, take up yoga or Pilates, or join a functional workout class from home. Many yoga and fitness trainers are offering classes online currently, follow them on their social media pages to find the best option. What’s more, the fitness and aerobics videos on YouTube can be real fun! At the time of anxiety, practice breathing slowly and deep. You need to do an activity for 3 weeks for it to become a habit, they earlier said. Even though that has been disproved, fitness experts will vouch for the fact that you can see the effects of in this time. I say, “build a new body”.

With factories closed, comes less CO2, NO2 and PM2.5 emissions. This has a wider impact towards climate change and zero carbon policies, which most organizations are now targeting. I read a news few days back that due to cleaner air, people from Jalandhar could see peaks of Himalayan ranges from 140 kms. Also, pre-mature mortality rate due to PM2.5 has come down drastically. The air also feels cleaner and brighter and healthier. The positive impact on the environment unquestionable (just lean out the window and hear how the traffic noise is reduced) and has the potential to reduce journeys and demand peaks on public transport networks. Which bring more sustainability.

On the line…. Online!! There is change in the way we use technology. We are realizing that not all meetings require to be held face to face and we are now starting to use technology to its full potential. Basically, we are working smarter to achieve the same results. Whilst face to face will likely always be a requirement for several key meetings, there is an opportunity to consider if this is always necessary. In the post-Covid-19 world, “no contact” might become the standard. Sanitary- and gadget-makers are working hard to bring out products that work on sensors, and tech companies like Apple and Samsung are trying to bring out phones that could work as virtual debit cards. Organizations may no longer need as much office space. Perhaps we will see the traditional desk space drop away and replaced with touch-down spaces and agile zones where we can collaborate with colleagues.

It’s time to avoid junk food, impulse snack purchase and focusing on healthy food. That is required to build immunity. Warm water with turmeric, black pepper and honey is simple way to build immunity, While, turmeric having antiseptic property, black pepper helps to digest turmeric. Develop passion to cook healthy food like greens and salad dressed up with toppings. It’s easy to make and tasty too. My salads, and my wife’s cooking, have benefited greatly from the opportunity to make more from less, and with the luxury of putting time into our culinary pursuits.

In this crisis, many people are re-learning how to slow down. This gives us more time to notice what is around us, especially walking around our local community. For example, birds, trees, other people, quieter roads, or interesting buildings. There are also far fewer cars on the roads. When we step outside, we now hear a mixture of silence alongside birdsong and people talking. Cherish it! Unless you signed up for a Vipashyana course, it is unlikely that you have experienced true quietude!

With the supply of commodities shrinking up, this is a good time to re-evaluate what you should consider essentials. Most of us have acquired too many belongings that complicate our life. Try and figure out what you really need and what you don’t. This is a good time to do some trimming. Rest assured, the experience will help you gain a completely different perspective on your life.

Savour the small moments even during lockdown. The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather than let them rush by on auto pilot, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood and make you feel calm.

All these past days, many of us were too busy with work. Many of us are finding staying at home an opportunity to strengthen family relationships through cooperative activities and shared entertainment. And just see how much you will cherish these moments later. Take the time to hug your kids or partner, look them in the eyes, have long conversations with them – all of these gestures promote closeness and also boost your oxytocin, which is a hormone that bonds people and also has a calming effect on your body. “The family that reads/streams together, stays together.” Yes, we miss going to the movies, concerts, and theatres, but there’s lots of good books, movies, and shows available in the home.

By tuning into these silver linings, you can potentially change your brain chemistry and build up your energy stores to help you cope with the other aspects of your day that have been made more difficult.

With the increasing COVID-19 scare, people have started maintaining personal hygiene. Habits like these not only prevent us from catching any disease but also keep our surroundings clean. Many are encouraging online transactions now.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and this is your chance to thicken that lining and take charge of your mental health so that you come out of this experience stronger. I feel many of us will never forget the positive things those are emerged affecting our health, lives.

Ultimately, the meaning of work has changed for many people. We are remembering that we do not just work for money. Some of us will have realized that our career is part of our identity, a purpose or a symbol of independence that may not have always been appreciated. Life after lockdown will never be the same, but do we really want it to be the same?

If you do not come out of this lockdown with either a new skill, developed hobby, more knowledge or with better fitness, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline. It does not matter your passion, hobbies change. Whatever you pursue, put everything in it.

Finally, I would like to end with quote:

“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.”

—Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

(FitBlog#90)- RUNNING A MARATHON Taught Me Biggest Lessons In Life


“Finishing a marathon is not an athletic achievement. It’s state of mind which says anything is possible.”

When I completed sub 2 half marathon in style, I decided to commit to hardest physical challenge of my life- RUNNING A MARATHON. Let me give some context here- Until couple of years back I was not a serious runner though I did complete many half marathons. In course had many running injuries and was not able to improve pace much. But after meeting TimTim, the whole game changed. I was trained to run my fastest half marathon in 1 hour 56 mins. I felt in love with physical and mental challenges coming with it.

After Completing Marathon

We went easy on training for 3 months post sub 2 half marathon before we started training for marathon. Plan was to run Marathon on 3rd Sunday of Jan 22 which is same day TMM takes place. We decided that it would be self supported time trial in case event do not happen due to Covid restrictions.

As training began, I found out that I had massively under- estimated how much more challenging it is to run 42.195km instead of 21.1 km. What you need is a good coach, perfect training plan and need to stick to it meticulously. I call it as simply change in lifestyle. It is important that you have at least 4-5 months in hand to train. When we started our training in August, we had sufficient time.

The plan: We began with – easy long aerobic ones for weekly mileage, tempo runs for endurance and interval runs for speedwork. In between, strength workouts starting with easy to compound to build stronger muscles. We even added mobility workouts, yoga and pranayama session to improve flexibility and cardio fitness. In between these busy sessions, a day to rest my body and recharge for next run. Plan is to gradually increase the mileage from 5km to 19km for tempo runs. Every week end, ( we shifted long run to Sunday to get feel of marathon run on Sunday) I have my long runs which step up to 37km. 3 weeks before we planned tapering by lowering the mileage and finally rest a week before in order to fully recharge for my marathon. I changed my hydration and nutrition habits to ensure I have enough carb loading before run and fast recovery after run.

The glory and Pain: The first runs were pretty easy. Lesser distances / week and some tempo, interval runs. Some of the first runs in monsoon. No excuses, I did run in heavy rains, jumping into water puddles but I was super motivated to get this whole thing started. My usual procedure was to warm up for 15 mins- do run- cool down for 15 mins. Most of runs were towards Juhu – The perfect environment to go for a run. Things were looking good until one day during tempo run, my hamstring gave up. The first set back. I did feel the sharp pain as if hamstring is frozen and someone using knife to cut it but I ignored it and completed my run. It became worst after run was over. I was not able to walk properly. I had to step away not only from runs but even walk for couple of weeks. It was very hard feeling. Lessons learnt – first not to up the pace if you are not trained for it, second Injury management and psychology of it- is very important and helps to come out of it and last showing resilience to bounce back and re-start training. It took me almost 4 weeks to get back to regular routine. I knew now how weak are my hamstrings and we decided to work upon it. Touchwood, it helped me with stronger hamstrings and luckily no injury thereafter.

Super excited with new gear: By now I have done away with almost 2 months of training. I used Asics Nimbus Gel for my sub 2 half marathon which I extended also for early part of my marathon training. But as the shoes already used for more than 800km run, decided to present myself with a pair of new shoes in November so that I can practice in them for over next 2.5 months and get used to it. The shoes are only thing that separates runner from ground and it is super important to find perfect pair for your needs. The crazy thing is that all these shoes actually feel completely different like one is softer, the other if fits better. Finally, I chose Asics Nimbus Gel 2. I already had Garmin Forerunner, a tracking smart watch. With the addition of hydra pack, my accessories were complete.

Yet another disaster: The time has come to increase the mileage and week end runs now beyond 21km. Weekly mileage is close to 50km. Now really I started feeling soreness in muscles. The recovery day helped to get back to my next run. The first run of 25km in my new shoes. It was a disaster. The both big toes hitting against toe guard of shoes and hurt my nails to such a extent that toes turned black. I had to stop running again for a week. Finally both nails fell off. It was a tricky situation. I decided heavy taping on my toes to avoid friction while running and hurting it. This 25km run showed me how freaking a long marathon is. I have to run almost double the distance and my toes already given up and legs are like jello. I was not sure whether I will be able to hold on till marathon distance, but hoped I would be fine.

One of the long distance run training

Soon I clocked my longest run of 27km. My friend Kartik decided to help me out when I had to run 30km. I never ran that distance before. Since all my long distance runs were self supported, had to carry all hydration and nutrition that lasts long for target distance and my hydra bag was a savior. With 30km completed, my confidence slowly went up. I was glad that made a steady progress now. Side by side my interval runs distances were also slowly increasing. I was just praying no more injuries.

Meantime two events came up and I registered for Delhi Marathon for Marathon and Bengaluru for half marathon. We chose Delhi for marathon as route is flatter and expected better weather. But unfortunately neither TMM nor Delhi marathon happened. Finally we decided to reschedule our date to 27th Feb and run self supported marathon. It was the day when Delhi Marathon was planned. Due to expensive air tickets, I dropped idea to travel to Delhi.

It’s getting better and better: As the long run distance kept on increasing, my body started getting adapted too. I approached distances where I need Energy Gels. But, we restricted use to make sure body is used to run with less number of gels. Started running towards south Mumbai and kept on meeting wonderful runners and they kept me motivated. Then came my longest run 35km and had to do all by myself. Running alone for more than 4 hours is not easy. You have to be mentally tough to push through and keep going. All these long runs surely taught me to introspect about how my body behaves throughout the long distances and what hydration and nutrition support I need to sustain. With long runs of 30km+ done every weekend for over 6 weeks, body started showing signs of fatigue, muscles sore. We decided to add up one more day of recovery and get back to routine. I also needed more sleep. It was tough, not feeling mentally fine, little bit tired and exhausted but I gotta do it. Every week I was clocking my longest distance run and this week was no different- 37km. This week I am running my longest weekly distance 60+km. My energy started draining gradually, legs not moving faster for interval runs.

The High: With dedication, ensured i stuck to my plans. TimTim and me having conversation every day. A key to marathon success! Now, with recovery, sleep and proper nutrition, hydration, it was amazing to see how my muscle strength and endurance was improving with every run and those distances felt like short jogs for me. Interval – high speed runs helped me to strengthen my muscles and increase my pace. My muscles are getting more and more stable. I really feel like my body is evolving. It gave me confidence – yes I can !

The Low: With 4 weeks to go. We decided to do final long run of 42km before taper. I started run enthusiastically but after 22km, I started feeling immensely fatigued. I could barely complete 27km. Even gulping gels made no difference. I decided to call off my run. It was a wise decision. This was due to dust storm effect. How much weather can affect your run. It was a set back again. Today’s run showed me mirror. I was upset. But since I knew reason, I kept my head high to come out of it.

Marathon Route

A few years ago, simply I couldn’t understand why anybody would voluntarily run for such a long distance. It’s exhausting, time consuming and monotonous. Why anybody would find a pleasure in that? In the world of running, it is called “runner’s high” which is described as deeply relaxing state of euphoria. When running for long distances, it often happens that you get lost in that monotonous motion, foot after foot, breath after breath, your mind is so busy focusing on that repetitive motion of the body, everything around you starts slowing down and you enter into meditative state, your legs go on autopilot. No stress, no distractions. Your mind can run free. During long runs, I experienced these moments quite often. This had an effect on my mental health. This “runner’s high” pushed through each long runs. I started enjoying my runs more and more and quickly became the favorite part of my day. Seeing marathon date coming closer, I started getting motivated more and more. I pushed my body to perform at its peak. All these runs actually started building confidence that I can pull through marathon.

TimTim, Kartik and me made a plan for marathon about distance, route, pace, hydration, nutrition, about support enroute and motivational support at finish line. Everything went well and plan was executed perfectly. There it was, I dedicated my life for the last few months. I am just so happy that I finished a marathon. Though, it is runner who crosses the finish line but it’s team working behind it. TimTim my mentor, coach, Kartik- who paced me for last 24km and my wife for being beside me that gave me immense strength.

Tough runs don’t last – tough runners do: I made the decision to run a marathon and bought all necessary equipment to get started. I headed out early mornings to run and improve my physical strength, worked on my weaknesses and did anything to keep my muscles strong. No matter mood I was in, I stuck to the training plans. Sore muscles, pitfalls, injuries, weather, painful stretches- none of these counted as an excuse. You may ask why run? Why this do to yourself? Why to push your self until muscles give up and you can’t breath? I used to ask these questions back then but during marathon I realized what this whole journey about. When you are running, it’s you against you, no player, no competition, no enemies. It’s you against your own body and mind. Foot after foot, breath after breath. You push yourself to go faster, further. You can feel your body sweating and heart pumping. Mile after mile you push yourself not to give up. Your muscles get weaker and feel start hurting and your body is telling you to stop. But you still keep going ! Running is essence of ambition, always fighting, pushing and improving. It’s about embracing discomfort and breaking your mental barriers. You realize with dedication and hard work, your body can do anything, and so can your mind. Would I believed that I could run a marathon 3 years ago? No, I wouldn’t. Running taught me important lessons in life. It taught me we are aware of only fraction of things we are capable of and our limitation exists in our minds.

Learnings and tips:

  1. Start training as early as you can. As stated early I gave 5 months.
  2. Discipline. Train consistently no matter where you are. I made sure I go for my regular runs even when I am on vacation.No excuse counts.
  3. Stay committed to your running goals but be flexible in your training.
  4. Know your body and its need about hydration and nutrition. Every runner’s needs are different. Evaluate and change your diet.
  5. Invest in proper running shoes and change them every 600-800kms.
  6. Prepare your self to be uncomfortable because it will push you to mental and physical limits.
  7. Do spend time on strength, mobility workouts, yoga and cross- training. Everything counts.
  8. Injury management is important.
  9. Train hard – Rest Hard. Sleep is important. Go with active recovery.
  10. If you have a dream, then you can realize it. You can do it even if people doubt it, you need to just dedicate time to do it. It challenges your perception. You learn that you are much stronger than you think.

(FitBlog#89)- A trail ride- feeling like an artist with bicycle as my brush

After finishing Bengaluru Marathon, TimTim’s family picked me up from Ibis. Plan was to spend day with them before I move out to Ankush’s apartment so that we start our trail ride early morning.

Lake near Yelahanka air force station

TimTim’s apartment was in a quiet place surrounded by green. We both settled down for a recovery. It was an early lunch- simple yet delicious chicken biryani and salad. The first dose of proteins inside me ! It was a time for nap since I woke up at 3:45am. Taking a nap without setting an alarm, you don’t know when you will get up. But it was worth taking a risk as I have no agenda in the evening. But whatever, it was quite refreshing. We all set on coffee table to sip tea and toast with butter sprinkled with black pepper. Munching it with chit chat, we did not know how time passed. It was nice of TimTim – she prepared Blueberry protein shake. So yummiest. We just took an easy stroll in the colony. All the stuff helped me with nice recovery. I spent awesome time. TimTim’s family made me feel so comfortable.

It was now time to say goodbye. On the way, we decided to pick up bicycle from Ankush’s friend, have dinner and get back to

Kizhi Kizhi Parotta

apartment. Ankush’ friend (Arun) was so nice to lend a bicycle. Thank you ! It was hybrid Merida with 2×9 drive train. Good for tomorrow’s ride.

It was time for dinner now. We chose to go for a Keralite cuisine called – Kizhi Kizhi Parotta. I never tried it before. Kizhi literally translates to tear in Tamil and Malayalam. In Malayalam kizhi also means a herbal bundle used in body massages which is warm and soothing when applied on the body. Potalam means parcel in Tamil and Malayalam. Kizhi Parotta is a special dish of South India. Here, the parottas are soaked in a semi thick chicken or meat gravy and wrapped in a banana leaf. It is then slow cooked for 2 to 3 minutes in coconut oil. It was sufficient and made our tummy quite full.

Trees providing shadow

It was nice, cozy apartment. It has a amazing room for storing many bicycles and accessories and also a gym room. I bought a personalized mug for TimTim. I was glad that she liked it very much. Ankush gave me a nice cycling jersey and it was perfect to my size. We decided to start our ride early morning at 6:30am. With a busy day, finally we retired to bed.

I had no idea where the ride will be but since we ran Bengaluru marathon a day before, it would be a recovery ride. With stretches done, we set to start our ride. I learnt that we are riding off main roads with busy traffic to near Hesaraghatta Lake. Enroute we will have typical south Indian breakfast at a small joint.

One of the most beautiful Banyan tree in Bengaluru

This track is situated to the north of Bangalore from MS Palya near Yelahanka to Hesaraghatta Lake. The track is divided between air force station and many farms on both the sides of road. The road is also well made and has number of refreshments like bakeries and hotels.

We left main road. Soon the tar road vanished. The rough uneven road was testing skills of riding. After couple of k’s, we stopped near a small lake near Yelahanka air force station to click pictures.

It was awesome scenery. We started our onwards journey. At the end of approximately 14k, we stopped for breakfast. It was a small road side joint. We ordered Upma and filtered coffee. It was the best upma I ever tasted in Bengaluru. It was soft with ghee. The filter coffee was obviously best and my favorite. We moved towards direction of Hesaraghatta lake. Ankush was giving me valuable tips about riding. About posture, efficient pedaling, shifting right gear, how to turn and so on.

With Hesaraghatta farm, we did Avalahalli (passed by Avalahalli Peacock reserve) and IVRI climbs and set our journey back.

It was around 2h30mins ride completing 45km stretch. Hesaraghatta is a fascinating place replete with flora & fauna famous for its lake, multitude of birds, dance village and dairy & poultry farm. Chasing the shadows of numerous trees dotting the road towards With very little traffic to hold you up, this ride is perfectly suited if you prefer a leisure stroll without breaking too much sweat.

It was a wonderful ride with Ankush. Refreshing and I would have never had this experience in Mumbai city.

The route map of ride done

(FitBlog#88)- Expecting the unexpected- Bengaluru Half Marathon

Post Covid, slowly running events are opening up. I did register for Delhi for FM which I then changed to HM as I already run my self supported FM due to postponement of Delhi Marathon a month back and Bengaluru HM. Now since both events are on almost same time, had to choose one of them. Delhi has flat route but air tickets were too expensive. Hence decided to go ahead with Bengaluru even with roller coaster route.

We did few HM time trials. The last one was with 1hr 56mins. So, there was no reason why but this being a race, pressure started mounting. After landing in Bengaluru on Saturday, went straight to pick up my BiB and had first feel of unusual Bengaluru hot weather. Excitement ! As I called up TimTim enroute. Afterall, I was to meet her after almost 2 years. I picked up mine and I saw her entering the arena. We hugged each other. The center was quite a busy place and she introduced me to many elite runners.

After spending some time, I checked in Ibis, city center. It was a relaxed afternoon trying to catch up with some sleep. I knew I am not going to get a good sleep later tonight. In the evening, I decided to have a casual stroll at Kanteerava Stadium which was close to my hotel which was a start point of the race. While returning I picked up my favorite filter coffee. I carried Fast and Up hydration tabs with me. So I kept myself hydrated well during day.

I had early dinner and retired to bed by 9:30 pm. As expected, I did not get sound sleep. 5:30am, time to flag off HM, so woke up early morning at 3:45am. Had muesli and couple of bananas (thanks to runner friends I met) as my breakfast. By the time I reached Kanteerava, FM was already flagged off. With my stretches and couple of easy runs on track to warm up, I was ready. I was carrying 4 gels, one to be taken 15 mins before and 3 @ 30 mins intervals. I was hoping for yet another sub 2 strong finish. Keeping myself mentally strong for it.

1-5Km: HM was flagged off on dot and runners set for run. With around 200 meters in stadium, we moved out. It was dark, the first few of hundred meters were cautious. I need to keep a pace of 5:40 m/k. with 1k done at 5:58m/k, I began to catch up. the first 3k was climb. In spite, I could maintain my pace and did well to complete 5k in 28mins. I sipped water at 4k water station. Things were looking good and as per plan and I was moving along with 2hour bus. 6-10km: We entered into Cubbon park. 7k was again a climb and pace dropped a bit but covered up in 8k. Sadly, my pace started dropping a bit and I started moving away from the bus. Not a good feeling. Still distance was not much between. However, I was totally drenched with sweat. With my first gel and dose of electrolyte at hydration station, I tried to inject energy. I said let me keep on moving ahead. With 10k done in 57mins, I had still chance of sub 2. While running at around 6k, I heard TimTim’ s mom calling out my name and cheering up for me. I know the place where she is standing so on return, I will meet her again, I murmured. 11-15km: I need to somehow complete 16k less than 90 mins for sure if I have to remain in the contest. It was getting hotter and humid and was showing effects on body. I was not expecting such a weather. I gulped my second gel to push through. I decided to maintain my pace around 6 and see how it goes. Everutime I was getting into rhythm, there was turn breaking it. Sometimes it’s annoying. 1km after U turn, I saw TimTim running strong into her 2nd loop. 16-20km: Pace started to drop. At 16km, once again I met TimTim’s mom and she offered me coke. She patted my shoulder and said ” you are doing good”. Gratitude, people like them make us stronger. 17 and 18k it dropped of 6:13 and 6.28 – elevation. With last gel and electrolytes, I took a small walk break with few deep breaths. This has helped to get pace back to around 6. But body was tiring up, tried to push but was not able to up the pace. The last km: I kept on running with easy pace of around 6:25. Just before re-entering the stadium, Ankush gave me a shout out. With 200 meters to go now, I up my pace for final push and crossed the line.

With the CHAMP!

Honestly, it was not a good a good effort I would have liked but nevertheless it was my official personal best. I will take it in pride.

TimTim did well and finished strong with 3h34m FM securing 3rd place in women category. What a super woman she is !

After spending some time in stadium and munching breakfast, I returned back to hotel for quick shower and wait for TimTim’s family to pick me up.

What is the take out of this? Did I run first half too fast? No, I was trained to run even faster than this. Was it fast for prevailing conditions? May be I did not expect such conditions. It would have better to run with negative splits. Was time between my FM and this race was too short? May be yes or may be no. But not many interval training sessions I could do. I did my time trials on flatter route and in fair weather . Today it was a different story. Killer route – with long slopes, countless turns and unexpected weather- It’s not an excuse but all have contributed. It’s simple- I was not prepared for it. So solution is simple, I need to train further and harder to make my body adapt to these conditions. Improve my endurance further on gradients.

Sometimes it is important to have lows to retrospect and improve. I should say this run was one of them taught me many lessons. What is important for me is plan races for rest of the year properly in next few weeks.

(FitBlog#85)- Learn to be flexible, to make sensible, rational decisions about your training – road to Full Marathon

There’s no doubt about it; runners love to run. Sometimes though we love to run a little too much and run when we probably shouldn’t. Learning how to listen to your body is an incredibly important skill, yet it is one of the hardest to master and often takes years of practice and experience.

Bandra Band Stand

37k run last Sunday helped to boost confidence. I am supposed to run 40k today. After less colder past few days, temperature again dropped after unseasonal rains yet again.

It was cooler Sunday morning with temperature of 13 deg C. I said it’s 40k but may be I will try a bit harder – may be to complete 42.2K- first Full Marathon. With this thought, I started well. As a precaution I decided to carry 3 gels apart from other nutrition and hydration, in case I attempt 42.2k.

I was thinking to run up to Worli Sea Face means to complete around 22-23k one way and return back. The run started well picking up pace as usual. A drizzle at Juhu and Santacruz, made weather colder. After completing 12k, I had feeling of a bit tiredness which was unusual. I kept on running and reached Bandra. At this moment, I don’t know why (may be psychological), but I changed my plan to run towards Bandra Fort and do loops. Even after 14k, the feeling continued, so had my first gel. This helped to get energy flowing back which resulted improvement in pace for next 6k. Things were under control as I did 3 loops in Bandra bandstand. the atmosphere was lively with many morning walkers, runners and visitors were enjoying weather.

At 21k, I decided to return back so that 40k can be done. But slowly things again started getting bad. I felt as if I was getting drained out. Though I was planning to have my second gel at 25k, I gulped it much before at 21k. That brought me some energy back for next 2k.

I was clueless why I was getting tired. May be dehydration but no, I had enough electrolytes which I was consuming regularly as this was a lesson from previous runs. So what could it be? I concluded may be fatigue has creeped in as I was running 30k+ every week end for last almost 6 weeks now.

Hazy Sea Line

I gulped all the water from small hydration flask and started running back. 1k down, I stopped at Lucky restaurant to get a water bottle. Let me hydrate more. But all in vain. Finally I decided to complete at least 30k. Even running 30k at that point was a mental battle.

I was so much tired at that point, I took a decision to stop at 27k. Sometimes it is always good to listen to your body and go by it. Some lessons have had to be learned over and over again. Backing off when your body tells you to doesn’t imply a lack of toughness. It tells you that you are smart enough to realize the limits of your physical capacity. The mistakes have been plentiful, and the greatest ones have occurred when I’ve forced my body to do more than it could handle. My hamstring injury was one example.

Learn to be flexible and to make sensible, rational decisions about your training. You need to bury that desire to plough on regardless when you’re feeling under the weather or carrying a small niggle. Remember a good training schedule is one that is constantly evolving.

PS: What I read in the news that Mumbai had sand storm effect from Pakistan which deteriorated the air quality. As per Pollution Control Board, it was in dangerous zone. Probably this was the reason of tiredness.

(FitBlog#84)-Everything you wanted to know about you, can learn in long distance runs – A road to Full Marathon

I have learnt a lesson that if you want to succeed in long distance running, you need to plan well, mentally prepare and execute it to the perfection. Today is 16th, 3rd Sunday of January. The day Mumbai celebrates Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM). And today I am running 37k, my longest run so far. My body recovered well after my last Sunday’s 35k run. So mentally and physically I was ready for another stint. I did not go for Saturday morning ride as to give adequate rest, instead I use yoga and pranayama session to relax. During all my training for last 6 months, I had lean body maintaining with 6kgs down.

The plan: As I always do, increased my carb loading throughout the week. Saturday I ensured more and hydrated well with fast n Up tabs to make sure body retains enough salts. I register 37k distance in my mind and planned my route.

My experience is TMM day weather is not always the best. But today was different. I wore same attire as my last long run. May be is lucky. I added two more fast n tabs in my kitty along with 9 rock salt soaked dates, energy bar, banana and 2 gels.

What was my Running strategy: With cool weather, I began my run at 5am. It was absolutely calm and light breeze around. The first set back when I realized one of two small hydration flasks containing electrolyte is leaking making my tee wet. I quickly made decision to sip a bit and throw rest. I have tabs so I can refill other flask when empty. With warm up km’s done, I began to accelerate slowly targeting my average pace in mind around 7:30m/k. Honestly my pace was better than last week. Holding it around 7:20m/k. My last 35k has taught me what pace I can sustain for 37k run. As I reached Shivaji Park, I decided to up my pace a bit and held successfully around 7m/k for next few km’s. My idea was to cross Prabhadevi and return. But I decided to move on till I cross 20kms. Last run my pace started dropping after 25k. Today I changed by holding it around 7:15 till 31km and later around 7:35m/k. Body could sustain, I was glad. Finally I did complete 37kms in 4h37mins. Every long run gives me immense joy of achievement something new.

My hydration and nutrition strategy: I kept on sipping water from my hydra pack after 8km and then afterwards every 3-4km. Since I had 350ml of electrolytes, I ensured it lasted till I reach Shivaji Park so that I can buy a water bottle and make new electrolyte drink. I bought another cool water bottle at Juhu. Rock salt soaked date- a small packet of energy kept on munching every 4-5km.making sure legs keep moving. I decided to have my first gel at 15 and other at 25km. Banana at 19 and 31 km distributing to ensure body gets enough energy to keep going. My Learnings: Hydration was perfect but I wished to have more electrolytes with me. I also realized I was a bit tired after 34km and hence additional gel would have helped. Probably I will need 3 gels for Full Marathon run. It is difficult to carry everything as it is self supported run. I feel I should improve to target pace around 7m/k to ensure sub 5 marathon and need to work towards that.

(FitBlog#83)- Recovery- Another little evil word from runner’s world- A road to Full Marathon

It’s essential that you give yourself and your body adequate time to recover after a gruesome long distance run I did on Sunday. so that I am ready to execute my training in the upcoming week. And so more important as I was just emerging from hamstring stiffness.

Post Run Recovery - Tyler Pake Running

First thing I ensured to hydrate well throughout the day. As soon as I am back home, had Enerzal, just to ensure depleted salts are replenished. It is important to do light stretches esp. for hamstring, quads, calves, chest, shoulders and hip flexors. I always use yoga stretches, they are wonderful. Nakpro – coffee flavor Protein shake with carb rich breakfast to make sure adequate shot is given to rebuild the muscles.

Take time to rebuild and relax, let your mind and body recover, adapt and get stronger so that you can face another race with even more strength and resilience.

I had an option either to take another recovery day just similar to last week or continue with training plan. It is important to take rest, it does not mean you become a couch potato but keep active with reduced intensity so recovery can be faster. That’s why I opted for recovery run of 10k. Recovery runs can be very strategic if done right – they can help you recover from hard workouts, while contributing to your overall training mileage and generally upping your running game. It went as per the plan to do a slow run or rather jog by controlling HR less than 142. We also reduced intensity of our strength workout.

By the time now, I recovered well and ready to execute my speed play workouts on Thursday. It went well too, where I could maintain pace of 5:30m/k.

I am looking at the weekend now with another long distance run of 37km along with a cross training cycling of 30k on Saturday!

(FitBlog#82)- Once you make decision you will not fall, your heart and body will follow – A Road to full Marathon

It’s all in head: This Sunday, I am suppose to run my longest distance- 35k. The previous best run was 32k done on last Sunday. The beginning of the week was not so ideal- Even after Monday rest day, I felt fatigued. So, I decided to add one more recovery day. With tempo run on Thursday and short ride of 34k on Saturday, I decided to do my longest run. I have learnt, if you fix the goal in your mind, you begin battle with a good note.

7 best running books for a marathon or half marathon | London Evening  Standard | Evening Standard

The plan and preparation: Running 35k, is not easy at all. You need to stand out against losing salts and glucose in body. TimTim advised me to have 4 of Fast n Up tabs in 1 liter of water throughout the previous day. Also I ate extra 1/2 Jowar bhakri and rice for lunch+ dinner, raagi sattu to make sure body is refueled enough before run. The bigger concern I had was, pacing. I had no experience or reference for how to pace myself. Nor could I predict how my body would respond. So I planned for 7:30m/k pace. I said 4h30min, that’s the time I should get. I kept my hydra pack ready with enough hydration/ nutrition, I felt which help me sail through. So, back to that cold Sunday morning, when I got up at 4:15am. I planned to run up to Prabhadevi which will be around 18k and then return back taking same route.

The run day: There were many emotions in my mind. Excited & anxious about how it will go, I wasn’t sure how my body will hold for what I expected to be 4:30+ hours run. Could not figure out what to wear but I decided to wear leg tights just to make sure legs are kept warm.

The first 2k: They were easy, warming up the body. Kept on registering 35k distance in my mind. These 2k set up to start well. 10k: Body is warmed up now. Legs moving swiftly. Focused on improving pace around 7:30m/k. Still dark, pace seems right, runners passing by around me are nice, the weather is nice, heart rate under control – all is right in the world. Had 2 of my dates soaked in rock salt at 4 & 8k. Alles ist gut. Life is beautiful !! 15k: It’s time to have first shot of Energy Gel kept in front pocket while on run. Legs moving nicely, pace improved to around 7:25m/k. I am at Bandra now and it’s beautiful morning with dawn. 18K: Changed the side of road as crossed Shivaji Park. More runners on road. These runners always motivates me to keep going. Siddhivinayak temple in sight, reached Prabhadevi. Nice feeling ! Half the distance 18k done. Still need to battle out the other half. Decided to have a quad, calves and hamstring stretch at this point. This will help to reduce stiffness if any. Had a banana just before I turned back. It will give me energy till 25k at least, I murmured. 21K: Wow! Half marathon done in 2h17m ! I was 21mins slower than my HM PB. But doesn’t matter. Need to go strong. My breathing is still normal, muscles seems to function well. I met two of my known runners Sujatha and Amit Arvind and with greetings and positive vibes I moved ahead. 25k: Back on Linking road. Since I started running longer distances, 25k has become normal. I was happy as I am still holding the pace nicely. Gulped my second Gel, Oh God, give me energy for last 10k. Yes, I will do it. Trying to keep me positive. The Sunshine was making body further warmer. 30k: Back on SV road. My legs are getting a bit stiff now. My pace dropped a bit from 7:30 to 7:40m/k. I remembered thinking before “hey, 5k is nothing, I can run that in any condition”. Theory of relativity comes in, 5k seems as end of the world. So long! I decided to take another stretch break and second banana. At this point, banana looks great source of energy to me. Stretch break helped to ease out. 35k: Legs more stiffer ! I was imagining how am I going to hold for last 5k. The outlook was getting bad as I had to negotiate last 2k to climb steep hill. It’s all in head now, I said. As the climb started, I reduced my pace, just to keep going. The remaining distance kept on reducing and as I reached my home gate, it was still 100meters to go. I just went ahead to finally accomplished 35k!!

Some thoughts: I completed 35k in exactly 4h30mins. Honestly, today gave me hang of long distance run. 7:30 pace was right one for my first 35k run. With couple of runs, I should be able to improve it for sure. I did not know in the beginning what could be my full marathon time. But after this run, I have hope to target sub 5 hours. Nutrition and hydration suggested by TimTim was right as I could stand without cramps or feeling tired. My HR management was good as I ran in Zone 3/4. Sweat loss was 3.2liters and I consumed almost 2liters. I need to reduce deficit and also need to add more electrolytes during next run.

Post run: The first thing I did was covered my hydration deficit by Enerzal. The walk was a bit funny but did some stretching. I realized to keep on moving to recover fast. I had good breakfast and protein shot. Things were better with good afternoon sleep. Overall happy weekend !!

(FitBlog#81)- Fatigue started creeping in- A Road to Full Marathon

Running is an amazing way to keep active. Whether you’re going for a light jog in the park or setting off on longer endurance runs.

As I mentioned, the marathon training was getting harder and brutal with mileage increasing. With Fartlek, Tempo runs and weekend long distance runs coupled with strength workouts, body was getting tired.

It is important to balance putting in grueling workouts and mileage with the ability to let your body recover. Favor one aspect too heavily and you’ll either have a poor performance from lack of training or get injured and over-trained from doing too much.

Last Sunday with reduced load, I was to complete 20k run. Actually it should have been fairly easy distance as I was doing more than 30K every Sunday. Though I completed 20k but I was not really happy. Body was tired, legs getting lazy. The fatigue was creeping in. I always have rest planned in advance but I guess with intensity I was in, the recovery was not enough.

I felt exhausted for 20k run even I was comfortable running 30k. The muscles soreness was creeping in – especially hamstring was getting tighter. I needed more sleep to catch up which was deprived of for few weeks. This was resulting in decline in performance plateau. A major indication was reduction in pace. All these giving indication to go slow.

It is important to understand this. I have added one more recovery day as I felt recovery was not complete. When developing your training plan, it’s vital that you consistently make time for rest and recovery. If you plan to have a particularly challenging run on one day in the week, ensure the day or two afterwards is a day off, or at the very least, a relatively light challenge. This allows your muscles to heal, in turn building more strength and stamina.

Another way to recover quickly; is to increase hydration which I did along with Fast n Up reload tab. With 2 recovery days, I planned to do 14k, tempo run with holding pace around 6mins/k, which I did fairly well. I was happy with recovery. It was a wise decision. Understand your body and plan.

This week end I am suppose to run 35k and making myself ready with hydration and nutrition plan throughout the week.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started