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#33)- The road isn’t long when you have right company; story of my 150km bicycle ride

It all started with crazy idea When I achieved my sub 2 HM target, it was time to go a bit easy with less load on my running before I get into training for my full marathon from March. So I decided to utilize Feb for rewinding with cycling. So far I did few 100km rides, but I wanted to go beyond and with this I had idea for 150km ride. The human body is an amazing thing. More so when wheels are added. Wheels become our wings. Flightless, the bicycle gives us the ability to soar up and go long distances. Sandeep and me fixed 14th Feb – Valentine’s day for this ride. Both of us eager to achieve this number. And if you have good company, you can! With lots of deliberation, we chose NCPA route to begin with and later to Eastern part of Mumbai and Thane Belapur road before we begin our journey back home. Doing loops at Marine drive was better idea. We wanted to enjoy the ride, so plan was to complete it in less than 7 hours. 5am start would be proper so that we back home for lunch. The first 20km ride of enthusiasm It was still cool but not as in previous week when started ride @5am. I filled in my cycling jersey pockets with peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, energy bar and dates soaked in rock salt and around 1.5L hydration in bottle cage. I was suppose to meet Sandeep @5:45 at Mahim which is around 35m distance, so did a loop @Linking road to add 2.5k in kitty. I was couple of mins late and started finally. We decided to be together so that we ride while chit-chatting. When we reached Worli sea face, it was still dark. As we touched 20k, combination of excitement and nervous fear of unknown creeped in as still 130k to go! But, mind over matter, the pedals kept on turning. With negotiating Pedar road climb, we reached NCPA and it was 34km down. A hydration break was must, we decided to do at least 6 loops over Marine Drive which would give us ~42km. We took a break to munch sandwich to get energy filled in after completing 2nd loop. Watching the sun rise is always special, a rare sight for most, a communion with Earth and space all at the same time. We took another break at Chowpatty after 4 th loop to feel this beautiful sight and also click some pictures to cherish today’s memory. Tailwind, headwind, no wind. It matters not in the early miles. You float. The first few hours a gift, little sign of strain or sweat. You could ride forever. Settle down into rhythm halfway

With almost completing 70km ride, nerves finally settled. Soon enough, we were actually having fun. We moved on to Gate Way of India to have one more sight of glorious Sun over iconic monument. Now almost halfway. No longer riding away from something but back towards everything you left behind. A change in mindset as much as direction. The spell broken. Thoughts turn to how long it will take to finish. Aches and pains emerge and you keep on changing your posture to ease out. Food is the answer to the question you should have asked much earlier. With this set our journey back so as to halt at SP @92km to have our much awaited breakfast – egg burji and tea. It was awesome as we were quite hungry. We wanted to refuel ourselves to negotiate next 58k. Our water exhausted and we refilled our hydration bottles. We kept on discussing about where to ride to cover up remaining 58k and then answer was to BKC and take new flyover to Sion and head towards Mulund via Eastern express highway. Flyover was awesome with not much traffic yet but now feeling warmth of the Sun. Somewhere near Ghatkopar, we completed 100km- a landmark. It is almost 10am now. Two and half hours more to be on saddle. Time to treat yourself like a child. Soft words of encouragement. Blackmailing yourself with incentives of lassi, Amul milk or of the meal you’ll devour when you climb off the saddle at home. We were feeling thirsty so had to stop at Mulund to meet these demands. This, much awaited 5 mins break has refreshed and encouraged us. The end game or is it mental game? Still 35km to go. We were counting on. We decided to take a loop at Airoli and then cover up some distance till Garmin prompts 127km. This means we set to go for final km’s towards home. It’s around 6 hours on saddle now. Its time to give final push. It is pretty hot now. The mental games well underway. Breaking the remaining ride down into miles, into minutes, so many minutes. At Kanjurmarg, Sandeep moved back towards Thane. For me, its time to push through Powai climb. 140Km now. That means I need to cover up 1.5k and I decided to get into Hiranandani. With roller coasters of JVLR peeped into Seepz, the excitement started getting in. I was now counting final Kms and started looking at Garmin in anticipation of 150km. And, here comes the moment! Finally, finished 150Km ride in 6hours28mins!! It was an achievement to be proud of!!! It was true test of endurance and patience !!!!

I quenched my thirst with coconut water and eased out by stretches and taking warm water bath. It was long overdue, but finally happened today. We felt cool breeze coming over Arabian sea to warm winds over creek. We rode many flyovers, maneuvered through traffic, felt bumps through shoulders. But at the end, it was no pain, just the feeling of achievement. Am I now ready for 200km ride? May be….

(FitBlog#25) – Adjusting perfect saddle position for comfortable long bicycle ride

Off late post Covid19 has seen rise of many newbies bicycle enthusiasts. As I observe, some of them do not have saddle adjusted to proper height, which is very very crucial. (after you get right frame size). Setting your bicycle saddle at the wrong height can have catastrophic consequences. While the immediate effect is the negative impact on pedaling efficiency, riding with the wrong saddle height over a prolonged period can lead to injuries. The saddle height controls the leverage for your pedaling. Too low and it puts stress on your knees, too high and you may rub the saddle excessively. 

Honestly it was easy for me to adjust saddle height on the go. But adjusting precisely- what I call it as sweet spot took a bit longer and after few rides on feel factor.

Locating the optimum saddle height is pretty much the foundation of what I call as bike fit. It is the distance between the bottom bracket and top of your seat and plays a role in comfort as well as power output and overall performance.

It’s not uncommon to see riders getting this adjustment wrong, but with the right guidance it’s fairly easy to get it sorted at home. Really, cycling shouldn’t result in any injuries, unless you fall off the bicycle.”

Find a base height

There are many methods, formulas and magical calculations. But I give some simple recommended steps

Step 1: Find a base height –  Start at the height of your hip bone. Loosen the seat clamp with an Allen key and adjust your saddle to the height of your hip bone. Make sure the saddle is straight and tighten the seat clamp.

Step 2: Sit on your bicycle – Find a comfortable way to sit. Make sure the bicycle can stand on its own with you on it and your feet on the pedals. Either have a friend hold the bicycle, place the bike in a trainer, hold onto a table, or just leaning against a wall. 

Step 3: Identify position – While sitting on the bicycle, pedal backwards to reach the 6 o’clock position with the chain set. Now, place your heel on the pedal. Your one leg should be straight and your knee should be fully locked.

Remove Excess

If it isn’t then get off the bike and slowly increase the height of the saddle, repeating this exercise until this is reached. 

Step 4: Adjust height – If it is too high and your heel doesn’t have contact with the pedal, then get off the bicycle and slowly decrease the height, repeating the exercise until you get full contact on the pedal. Make sure your knee is locked like in Step 3.

Remove Excess Lube

Step 5: Finding the right height – Once you reach the point that your knees are fully locked with your heels on the pedal, go back to your normal riding position. Your leg should be about 30° as shown in the image. It might take some trial and error, but getting comfortable on the bike in an important step to being confident and happy on your bike.

Remember that the little things can have a big impact. Your shoes and cleats may affect the height as well as your clothing, so it’s good to take these into account.

One of the most common indications of an incorrect saddle height is knee pain. A rider whose saddle is too high usually rocks as they pedal,

If you prefer mathematics and formulas, there is Lemond method that is based on inseam measurement. To find the initial number, stand with your feet hip width apart (shoes off), place a spirit level between your legs, and mark a point on the wall where the top of the spirit level sits. Note down the distance from floor to the dot. Then multiply this by 0.9 to give you 90 per cent. This gives you saddle height.

Saddle fore/aft (where your saddle sits on the rails) is another important consideration when adjusting your saddle, and should be considered once you’ve established your saddle height. It will determine how your body is balanced which will also dictate how comfortable and effective you are on the bike. If you look at a normal bike the saddle is placed behind the bottom bracket. Place the saddle too far forward and you will not get maximum leverage and if it’s too far back it will hurt your back and produce muscular strain. The ideal position is to have your knee directly above the pedal spindle (known as the Knee Over Pedal Spindle, or KOPS, rule) when the crank arm is in the three o’clock position.

The saddle tilt is also important. The general rule is to set the saddle parallel to the ground

Another factor to consider when setting saddle height is crank length. I had to readjust (increase saddle height due to shorter crank length) my saddle height when I changed over to clipless pedals.

Recommended to make any adjustments to your position gradually, rather than bringing wholesale changes. This will enable you to fine-tune your position and isolate what impact any change has on your comfort and efficiency. (My experience speed can be enhanced to the tune of 5-10% with same efforts when saddle is fixed correctly).

And at the end of the day, it’s about being comfortable on your bike, so go and ride to get a feel for the final height of your saddle and make little adjustments accordingly. 

(FitBlog#24)- In quest of my sub 2 half marathon- going through emotions of hitting the wall

10th October, was plan for time trial. A time trial run is simply a chance for you to measure your current level of fitness. You run a set distance and it’s you running against the clock. You run at a set targeted pace to complete the distance in set time.

You need preparation!

Getting into Taper period

For few weeks now, we had hard training sessions. It is important to get into taper period as you prepare for race or time trial. First two weeks, gradually decreased strength workouts intensity and running distances except some easy running efforts in last week. Tapering is one of the most important aspects of the running training cycle and yet, it is also one of the most difficult to implement because runners fear cutting back on training. In theory, tapering sounds great- cut back on mileage, sleep in, and eat.

Planning is important

Planned to run on the known route “Andheri- Bandra Joggers park and back”. The week before, focused on hydration and increasing carb loadings. I rely on natural nutrients like chickpeas, Ragi sattu, eggs, pulses for proteins. Boiled sweet potato is best option for carb. And I was so much thrilled to receive my Garmin FR245 sports watch to assist me in tracking. But most importantly I always wanted a pacer who can help to get my target. Kartik, who paced me in Juhu happily agreed to do the job. So nice of him…. big thank you!!

Strategizing is key

We decided to run with equal splits with 5.55m/k pace throughout and sprint in final 100m. Equal splits are difficult as you need to control your pace when you are fresh and push when legs are tired. Weather expected to be not nice with extreme humid with high sweat factor. It does matter a bit, but I will not give it as excuse as I was always having my training runs in humid weather. However the disadvantage of such time trial is there is no hydration or nutrition support enroute, means you need to plan and carry everything with you.

And finally getting into the run

After warm up session / warm up jog, we set our Garmin watches and started from Andheri West on dot @ 5:30am. Things looked great with 5k done as planned in 28m55s. Now we headed towards Juhu beach. Light breeze coming over Arabian sea proved to be a soother making us feel better. We were running very swiftly and in perfect co-ordination with each other. Soon we saw 10k down with net timing of 59m11s. At times I was a bit faster and Kartik was pulling me back to run at set pace. This is one of biggest advantage of pacer.

After 12k done, we decided to reduce our pace for nutrition break and munched few dates marinated in rock salt and began our return journey.

Hitting the wall!

In endurance sports such as cycling and running,  hitting the wall or the bonk is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in body.

In the past, I was running a bit conservatively. So never had experienced emotions of it. It is very normal to feel bonk after 15K in half marathon. Hence it is important to consume calories during run to move at desired pace. I heard people talk about it but today actually I felt it when we crossed 15k. It was like, I am lacking energy and fatigued. Resulting drop in my pace. Kartik kept on pushing me. It is important not to lose focus, keep positivity to get through it. I took few deep breaths to make me feel relaxed. Quickly got hold of dates again and hydrated well with fast & Up. Luckily after a struggle over next 2k, I could regain my pace back. It was a great relief. I feel it is important to have someone to run with you and push you in your hard times, encourage to fight back and luckily I had one today.

After 18K done, we took our first walk break and couple of more walk breaks and after 19K was done, we increased our pace gradually as planned and final last 200m, we did sprint.

Final word

It was a bit disheartening to miss the set target of by 3minutes. But finally manage to achieve PB and complete 21.1k in 2h08m. As Timtim says Targets come and go, what remains is your learning and your improvement for next run. Every day of training is awesome day with new lessons. Today was no different too.

Today I challenged myself by running at my threshold. My heart responded well without peak. My cadence improved too.

One more time lesson of how not to over pace, importance of having nutrition and at right time during long run (which has resulted in bonk), how to be calm in bonk and get into second wind. Even if you have a pacing strategy in mind, on the day of run, you need to keep on improvising as how your body feels.

This time trial has posed a question in my mind. Though pacers are of utmost importance, is running with pacer is better or alone? May be I will try one and probably I will have an answer soon.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started