Posts Tagged ‘running’

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So I don’t forget this feeling

October 6, 2016

Running gives me an endorphin rush.

Sketching, on the other hand calms me down like nothing else. An hour with my paints while A naps, is the best thing I could ask for.

I’m ever so grateful to have the time and ability for these two interests, so vastly different, and yet, the joy they bring me isn’t too different ❤️

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A 5k run in Hyderabad

August 27, 2016

So, I had signed up for the 5k fun run at the Hyderabad marathon, instead of the usual 10k (since S was running the half which was the same day), and given how little I had been training because S had been travelling, I wasn’t really optimistic. And I was glad it wasn’t a 10k. 

My knee issues keep coming and going. I’ve been fairly regular at strength training, except for the last month, and yet, the knee issues haven’t gone away. The one thing I have been trying to do regularly in the last month though, is the set of stretches my physio recommended.

And yet, it is never pain-free. Earlier this week I began running again, to get some training in before today’s 5k and sure enough, the knees hurt again. I struggled and finished a 5k in 41 minutes on Thursday, later in the day, my right knee began to hurt. I began to consider giving up running in events, especially 10k runs for good. Because it seemed that despite all the stretches and work I put in at the gym, the knees still hurt. 

And yesterday ended being a long day with a lot of  walking around, carrying A for quite a bit. And I was exhausted, angry and in pain (shoebites too!). And I mentioned to S the thought I had about giving up running. And he said, be kinder to yourself, it’s the night before your run. And I said, I want to be kinder, I want to be kinder on my body. 

Given how much my knee hurt last night, I put off bedtime by a good 15 minutes by doing my stretches and rolling my calf muscles and quads for a bit. 

I dunno if that helped, or it was simply a great day, I woke up and ran this morning and finished 5k in just under 35 minutes, my personal best. I had managed to keep my average speed at under 7 minutes per km for the entire 5km. I don’t quite know what it was, but there were no niggles, none of the left knee beginning to hurt when I pushed myself hard, and I felt like a well-oiled machine. 

And as soon as I met S at the finish line, the first thing I said to S was this, ‘This is what happens, I consider giving up, and then along comes a good run and I don’t wanna stop doing this.’

And I don’t want to. The gooseflesh at the start of the run, all the music, the mad sprint to the finish line and the euphoria at the end of it all. I don’t wanna stop doing this. 

PS: My knees, miraculously are still great and there’s no pain yet. Fingers crossed. 

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K: Kaveri Trail Marathon

April 13, 2016

The Kaveri Trail Marathon, or KTM, is an annual marathon that happens in September in Sriranpatna, near the Ranganthittu bird sanctuary, Karnataka. Since we moved back to Bangalore, S and I have tried to make it to the run every year. It’s the most scenic route I’ve run on (I know there are few more rural-side runs that happen now and people vouch that they’re even more beautiful).

  
It’s a trail run, winding alongside a canal on one side and lush green paddy fields on the other, for a large part of the route. The first time I ran a 10k on this trail, I fell in love. So I wanted to go back the next year. But a couple of days before the run, I fell sick and had to miss it. But S was running, so we managed to go anyway. And then came a couple of years’ break when I was pregnant, and then A was born. Last year, thanks to a bunch of colleagues I started running again. And so, with a one-year old A in tow, we decided to make the trip again. S, graciously offered to skip taking part, so that he could take care of A. My folks also joined us on this trip. I was thrilled to be back. 

This time round was extra-special, cos I had one tiny cheerleader cheering me on, and greeting me at the finish line. I was super-thrilled at finishing despite knee pain early on in the run. And when I returned home and looked up the timings and my previous 10k run timings, I realised that this was my best effort! I was faster than I had been 8 years back! So hey, maybe motherhood did bring out the best in me and mysteriously make me fitter and stronger 😉

I have my eyes on the KTM this year too, and I’ll be damned if I don’t better my last year’s timing!

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I: Idiots on the road

April 11, 2016

‘Idiots on the road’ will probably remind you of this great ad if you’ve watched it before. But in this post, I want to talk about the other kind. The kinds you encounter everyday on the roads in India, the kinds you’ve had bad encounters with right from the time you were probably six. The kinds you think about when you look at the mirror before you step out. ‘Will I get stared at/cat-called/groped if I walk on the road wearing this?’ Of course, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It’s likely to happen anyway. 

Recently I came across this great article titled ‘What women don’t talk about when we talk about running.’ The author talks about being harassed on the street while she runs, and yes, this is in India. The strange thing is that, when I read the part where she talks about someone who followed her on a bike while she was running and grabbed her breasts, I wasn’t surprised that this happened. I only wondered how he managed to do this while she was running. So ingrained is the reality of sexual harassment in the streets in India. 

I began running when I was living in Singapore. I used to see students running in the campus as midnight. When I started running, I began to enjoy the sense of freedom it gave me. I got used to running on the streets of Singapore at 8pm, 10pm, even. Even secluded lanes leading up the beach. I was harassed only once. And this was by an Indian guy who wanted to become friends. I wondered if I was being stupid in running alone at night, but I decided that a one-off incident shouldn’t spoil the fun of running. So I continued running at night, running on the roads. But when I moved back to Bangalore, I bore no illusions that I would do the same. I’ve lived there long enough and faced enough shit on the roads while just walking, to know what that would be like. Also, I did not want to become roadkill for frustrated motorists. So I mostly stuck to Lalbagh and Cubbon park, or small parks closer home with colleagues. 

Once we moved to Hyderabad, I was delighted to find that the apartment complex had a beautiful jogging track. Bamboo-tree lined, mud track. I could go running at night again, if I wanted to. But the idiots, the men who believe they own the road they walk on and the world they live in, they are everywhere. So last Sunday morning, while I was out running, I found myself getting frustrated when five men were walking shoulder to shoulder, blocking the entire width of the track. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? On my first round, I just shrugged my shoulders, tried to make myself smaller and nudged past them. The second round, there was no space. So I muttered ‘Excuse me’ a couple of times. The group was too busy bantering to hear me. And then I lost it. 

The guys seemed to think it was no big deal – they didn’t hear me the first time. Isn’t it common courtesy to make some space for others on a common track? Isn’t it common sense to not take up the entire path? For people who might be walking or running a little faster than you? The rest of the run was awkward and I was mad. So many thoughts in my head. I was sure to see them a few more times before I finished the run. Should I look them in the eye and say no hard feeling? But why? Should I stop running and go home? Should I have kept quiet? What if I see them at the gym? And I decided to stop caring so much – they were at fault, and I finished my run. 

In the article she talks about so many questions we face while we want to go for a run. I feel like there’s already a bunch of obstacles to get over before we get out there and run. And once we’re actually there, the idiots on the road seem to think, ‘Hey look you’ve made it this far. Here, can you handle one more obstacle, me acting like a moron?”

Running gives you a high, it makes you feel invincible. Until you encounter these idiots creep on the road. I dream of a day, maybe by the time A grows up, when women reclaim the roads, running in short shorts, track pants and whatever the hell we want to, without anyone staring at them with anything but admiration.

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Injury Prevention for Runners

November 21, 2015

A couple of weeks back, a colleague messaged on the office runners’ Whatsapp group (yes, there is a Whatsapp group for everything) about this injury prevention workshop for runners, conducted by a fairly popular physiotherapist and marathon-runner. I was eager to check it out. It looked interesting. Dr. Gladson Johnson, is a barefoot runner, and as S told me, also happened to be in a kickboxing class that he used to attend. I saw the price for a 6-hour workshop was Rs 2100 and balked, at first. And then figured, it might just be worth it. And what an eye-opener it was! I’d highly recommend his workshop in a heartbeat. Here are my primary takeaways – 

  1. Running is not exercise. I’ve always treated it that way. As long as you’re doing some sort of sport or keep moving, that is exercise, right? Wrong. Apparently, exercise helps your build strength, endurance and flexibility. On the other hand, sports like running, swimming and cycling draw from your flexibility, strength and endurance, and to a very minor extent, help you improve the latter. So to be able to run well, you gotta exercise. 
  2. Your shoelaces ain’t tight enough. Unless you loosen your lace all the way to the top and then tighten each portion to the end and then lace it up. He said you’ve to do it this way every single time, so that you can secure your feet and reduce the movement of your foot inside the shoe. And your feet do swell up in the course of a run – so at some point in the run, you might need to take them off and re-do the laces again. 
  3. Arm Swing! He said one of the two basic techniques to follow while running is to ensure you swing your arms. If you see how children run, and if you think back to the times you’ve sprinted, the arms start swinging naturally. The swinging arms help your upper body to pull your lower body off the ground,  he said. 
  4. Breathing. The other technique to keep in mind – never breathe through your mouth. This leads to a parched throat, and your brain is tricked into thinking the body is dehydrated. Besides, nasal breathing helps you take slower, longer breaths, which is always better, he said.

The workshop was fantastic, with him walking us through some conditioning exercises as well. Truly felt enlightened at the end of it.

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Born to run

November 15, 2015

 

 This book by Christopher McDougall traces the story of Mexico’s ‘running people’ – the Tarahumara tribe and is an incredibly interesting read. The first time I read, I breezed through it. The second time around, I’m taking it slower, trying savour it. I never usually stop to take notes while reading a book, but this seems like as good a time as any to start. Perhaps I’ll keep updating this post with my favourite parts from the book. 

Caballo Blanco – “Don’t fight the trail. Take what it gives you. “

“Lesson two. Think Easy, light, smoothe and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, work on making it smoooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast. “

A Tarahumara saying – When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.’

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The voices in my head: my worst enemy

September 5, 2015

And also my best friend. 

(The setting: I plan to run 7km as part of training for an upcoming 10k run. I’m resuming running after a couple of years. It’s a hot Sunday morning, about 8.45 when I start, and the venue is a lake close to my house.)

Here’s what the voices say:

Whoa. Looks super hot. Let’s ditch the 7km idea. 

Yup, maybe 5. 

Or wind up after 2km if it’s too difficult. Run 7 another day. 

This place looks so deserted. What if I get accosted. Maybe I should head home. 

Plodding, plodding, I finish nearly 2km. And then 2.5. 

I only need to do this again to finish 5km. 

I’ll stop and drink water after 3km. And then try and do another 3. I think the 7 is doable. 

OMG my pace is so slow! So much for trying to aim for under 7 min/km. 

Yeah, ditch the timing. Focus on finishing 7. 

OMG I tripped and nearly fell hard, maybe I should stop. 

This is SO hard. Maybe I’ll just walk the rest of the distance. 

Yay. 5km. In nearly 38 min. Oh dear. 

Just 2 km to go. 

Ugh, tripped again. Should probably stop and head back before I fall and injure my head or something. 

Just keep running slowly till 6 and then you can walk the last km. 

I’m blogging about this!

Yay 6km! Maybe I can just keep jogging slowly till 6.5km. This way I can try and finish under 55 min. 

6.5, PHEW. 

That girl over there is running at a decent pace. Let me keep running till that fork in the path. 

Let’s not exceed 56 min, or a plus 8 min/km will look terrible. Let’s run the last few hundred metres as fast as we can. C’MON!

Yay, finally 7km. Yes, you did it, Shub. And avg pace 7:59/km

*pat pat*

That fork is still a little distance away, let me keep running to try and bring my pace down by a couple of seconds. 

Fork. Stop. You’re done. Free!

7.23km. 57:36, 7:58/km 

Man I feel like crap. I struggled so much. I should’ve run at least 5 minutes faster. 

But I managed 7 in this weather. Phew. 

Q.E.D