Sunday, May 8, 2011

Running Updates

I just realized that for the last 6 months or so, all of my travel has centered around running. All the trips - whether to attend a friend's wedding or to meet the prospective life partners - were planned around some run.
After 6 months break due to a back injury in Feb'2010, I re-started running in September. Since then, I have been running almost continuously with the only breaks being those that were imposed by the body.  I have run four half-marathons since then. And except for a 1 month period where I had a shin-splint scare, I have been relatively injury free. ( It later turned out that the shin pain was due to worn out shoes putting extra pressure on my shin muscle. The pain went away to a great degree after I started running in new shoes - Asics 2150.)

The four runs/trips since November'10 have been -

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, 21 Nov, 2010
Since I started from scratch in September and struggled with my increased weight, I wasn't in best of shape and it reflected in the finish time of 2:07. It was my slowest half-marathon ever. But good thing was that I was back on the track.

SC Mumbai Half Marathon, 16th Jan, 2011
This was my first run in Mumbai. The weather on the day was far better than what I had expected after hearing experiences of runners who ran there the previous year. The best part of this run was the local cheering and support for the runners along the route. Many families had come out on to the roadside and were providing water and eatable to the runners and were cheering them. All this and a small matter of losing 3 Kgs since Delhi helped me get a sub 2 hrs timing of 1:57 mins.

Auroville  13th Feb, 2011
I had registered for a full marathon at Auroville but could not train well for a full due to concerns of injury to my shin. However, I decided to run a half marathon there. I started the run early in the morning with full marathon guys. It was still dark when the full marathon starts and one has to run for about an hour in the pitch dark jungle with a handheld torch before the day starts to break. For me, one of the most attractive aspects of the Auriville marathon is to run during those early morning hours on a thick jungle trail and witness sunrise along with all the accompanying sounds and smells of the jungle.
For full, one has to cover the same route twice, so I decided to stop after first round. However, I missed the starting point and realized 10 mins later that I was well into the 23rd Km. I turned back from there and thus finished about 25 Kms. While going back to the starting area I removed my bib so that people don't mistake my shortened run for a world record.

Running and Living Half Marathon, Corbett National Park, 23rd April, 2011
This is the latest run that I did. The good part of it was that my two brothers and some relatives and friends also accompanied me from Delhi for this trip. We were a gang of 8 and usual fun was had during the 3 day trip. We could have saved ourselves some headache had we given a little thought in planning the whole trip but as it turned out it was fun nonetheless.
The run itself was pretty decent. I was targeting somewhere around 1:50 and was in pretty good position at around 18 Km mark at 1:33. But during the last 3 km the sun came out with full force, the roadside tree cover grew sparse and the route that seemed completely flat in the morning inexplicably turned inclined. The result was that I lost some 3 mins while walking some part of the last km and finished in 1:51.
Latter that day we roamed around Corbett and the highlight was bathing in a water fall after a hot day. The next day we went on the jungle Safari and though we didn't sight a tiger in the wild, it was pretty good fun. One of the things that struck me about the jungle - when we once suspected a tiger and turned the engines off - was how quiet it was.

I next plan to do a full marathon at Leh in August. This should be a very challenging run, not the least because of the very high altitude of the location. The organizers have made it mandatory that the runners report at least a week in advance in Leh so that they get enough time to acclimatize else it can be too risky to run long distances at such an altitude. So, I can use that 7 days period for sightseeing and general vacationing in the Himalayas.
However, given that it's summer and just to get a 5K run in the park one has to wake up at 5:30 in the morning or else it becomes too hot to run, it will take all the dedication and discipline to train for this run. 
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