Running And Me

Running in my life is constant. As in :

– Constantly telling myself to run a bit longer.

– Constantly telling myself to run faster.

– Constantly ignoring my running while drinking beer.

These weeks I am averaging 20KM a week. Way down down from around 40KM a month ago. Don’t know what happened. Just slumped.

Treats from the neighbours do not help. Look at this plate of deliciousness.

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Yes. That is a bottle of wine. One of the many consumed that night.

I think it’s a lack of discipline. And lack of will power.

Got to fix it.

These are the days to run here in Ontario before everything turns to white. Look at this picture from one of the trails I took.

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And this.

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So, I plan to record my running here. I am making a spreadsheet (why? Because i am a project manager and that’s all I know) and put it here to record it more formerly.

I am a big fan of dailymile.com but the data was very bland. I will go back there again because the social element is amazing!!

Have bought a nice new toy (Garmin 220) and plan to use it as much as possible.

Anyway, here is what I did last week.

Monday (12-October) : 6.6 km
Tuesday (13-October) : had to go to downtown
Wednesday (14-October) : 6.2 Km
Thursday (15-October) : 5.2 km
Friday (16-October) : Oktoberfest!!! Had a blast!
Saturday (17-October) : recovery day but managed 6.1 km
Sunday (18-October) : 11.59 km

Total : 35.69 km

Wait, that’s more than 20km. Woo hoo!

Let’s see what happens this week.

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Waterloo Marathon 28APRIL2013

I knew that there was going to be a substantially less number of people especially compared to Mississauga Marathon (around 11,000) and the two Toronto Marathons (around 25,000 for each), but I was not expecting 80 people in total for the full marathon!

That threw me off.

Anyway, the lead up to the race day was just gorgeous. 18 C on Saturday a day before the race and things were looking great. I was psyched and was eager. Got my race kit. The pick up should have given me a heads up on the number of participants. It was a small room with one table. However, I did not pick up on the clues.

On race day, got up early. Had some breakfast. Put on rocking music on the way to Bechtel Park. Parking was a breeze and organisers were cheering everyone. Mood was quite good. That’s when I noticed a lack of marathon runners (based on the reddish bibs the full run were wearing). And when the pipes started playing (yup, bagpipes), I went towards the starting line, that’s when it hit me. There were very few runners for the full. Why this bothered me was that I like the anonymity of a large group of runners. I knew this race would be tough because I am a back pack runner. But because I would be mortified coming in last or among last group, I knew I had to push myself.

Before the run there was a minute silence for Boston. But because they were using a bullhorn, not everyone got the message so there was a lot of chattering all about. The Ed Whitlock spoke for a minute and again no one had a clue what he said. Which was a shame cause I am a great admirer and I hope to be half the runner in the next few years that he is now.

Anyway, the run started and I threw my game book out the window cause everyone literally started to sprint away. I had to kick it up a notch too which is something I hate early in the run.

The course is a rolling course. That is, there are gentle ups and gentle downs from the start to finish. And because this was Mennonite country, there were horse drawn buggies and huge farm lands throughout the run.

The few runners means that for majority of my run, I had no one in my sights and I mean literally no one in sight. Not one person behind or in front. It was erie and quite disconcerting and caused me to question whether I was on the right course. The only action I saw were the volunteers every 3 KMs. They were the soul of the run! The volunteers were fantastic and the organisation of the run was very good. Water, gatorade, gels, fruits etc were available throughout the course.

Finally reached the point where we merged with the half marathon course. The half marathoners were all done by the time I reached that part of the course but this was through a suburb starting with the Blackberry offices. The complaint I have here is that since there were few runners and I was running at the back of the pack, I actually had to stop for red lights! Never saw that before in a marathon.

I rolled in at 4:14:07 to great cheering (since I was the only one approaching the end at that point) and the moment I stopped, my left leg cramped and I had to seek medical help. The para meds helped me through the cramp, got me some gatorade and I was walking back to the car in 20 minutes.

I really really liked the course. I just wish I could have run at my own pace. I am now better prepared, mentally, for the next time I run this race. I just hope that the participation increases.

Boston Marathon

Why did the Boston Marathon incident affect me so much?

I mean for a period of 2 days I was walking around in a haze. I was doing what was expected of me at work and home but all the time I was essentially….sad.

The only reason that comes to mind is the fact marathon is a sport that is physically taxing. A runner deliberately punishes oneself to point where the person feels an exhilarating pain. This act of running is highly individualistic and gives one a supreme sense of accomplishment. Running is simple and straightforward. No complications.  As a runner I sweat, I suffer and I look forward to that finish line. The world and it’s problems has no place in my life during my run. And in the last leg your energy is finished, your adrenaline is severely depleted, your will power is gone but the cheering of the crowd at the end adds a persistence to your legs that seem to drive through the cheers and claps, the high fives and the inevitable “you are almost there”. Most of the times it’s this factor that has forced me to finish with head held high and a smile on my face. And sometimes I have shed tears.

And then a bomb explodes next to you. An innocent moment utterly destroyed.  I know that this happens in rest of the world at an alarming regularity and they are far worse than what happened at Boston.

But this happened to a sport I love and it hit me very hard.

I am better now. I am looking forward to the Waterloo Marathon on 28 April. I will try and run my best marathon and say a silent thank you to those killed and maimed in Boston.

This marathon run is for them.

My Running Has Taken A Severe Beating

This has been my running in the 6 months….a downward slope.

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Am trying to be more focussed and pay more attention to my running but these are the hinderances that I face :

> My wife. She hates my running. Does not get it at all. Especially if I have to do a long run. Anyway, the situation has been improving. She is on a drive to reduce weight so we do not argue that much before my runs.

> Work. Seriously. Don’t know what changed in the last 6 months or so. Workload has increased like crazy! Sometimes am spending nights working.

> Cold weather. I don’t mind running in the cold but when I want to got for an hour I just tell myself…awww shucks, who is going to get dressed and then warm up and then run in the cold. Might as well spend time on the treadmill. And then I see some thing that I need to do around the house and before you know it…..it’s too late to run.

My new year resolution? Nothing stands in my way of running. Nothing.

Let’s see how long that resolution lasts :)

Holy Batman, What Busy Week!!

Last week has been a whirlwind of wok at “WORK” and on the home front.

The business I work for is changing my role from developer (which I love) to deployer. Which I love but not as much as the former. It means that there will be a lot more work on the weekends (something I am not looking forward to as this would have an impact on my daughter’s extracurricular activities) and late nights as my reporting boss is in China. Not looking forward to the new set up at all!!

As to the home front, we are moving to Kitchener Ontario! Wifey bought a clinic in that city so we are moving closer to the investment.

We went house hunting last Sunday. The first thing I notices is that Kitchener is quite a hilly area! Perfect for hill repeats! The second thing I noticed was the conspicuous lack of non-white folks. Maybe I was in the wrong part of the town.

So, the entire Sunday was spent looking at houses ranging from the fabulous to beautiful. Seriously! We did not come to a single “ugly” house. Which just makes the decision harder. So far we scouted Waterloo (a very close neighbour of Kitchener) and some parts of Kitchener. I think we will be deciding by end of March on which houses to put an offer on.

Since we had these plans, I decided to do my long run on early Saturday morning.

The first thing I did when I stepped outside was to run back in and change from my shorts to slacks. My god was it cold!! The weather has been playing mind games with us poor Ontarians. So, I started with the intention of finishing 20K. My dreams of running a 50 K live on but I know I am not there yet. I am still in the process of building my long runs which have not topped 25K so far. Never mind. I have time. I think!

So I ran a random 20K.  It was surprisingly tougher than I thought it would be. My legs were really aching by the time I finished. The only reason that comes to mind is because we slept really really late on Friday and we were all coughing or sneezing the whole time. I still have not fully recovered. I am hoping I do so cause I will run no matter how much snot I spew!

The week on the whole was tough. Probably the cold I was battling. The best run was on Friday. Sunshine + Friday + Downtown Lakeshore = Happiness all around. Except for the surly runners. Not a single one, barring a young lady (who received my best winning smile) returned my hellos. WTF! And Toronto is supposed to be a friendly city. Bah!

Hope to get in a solid week of running! Happy running everyone!

Why Cheat In A Marathon?

Here are 11 runners who cheated during a marathon. A typical case would be :

4. Skip Miles 13-23: Anthony Gaskell (London, 2010)

At the 2010 London Marathon, 69-year-old Anthony Gaskell smashed records when he crossed the finish line at 3:05:00. It was the fastest time on record for his 65+ age group. But upon closer analysis of his recorded statistics, it was discovered that Gaskell supposedly ran the second half of the race (13.1 miles) in less than an hour – an impossible feat for even a world champion. It turned out he forewent running the there-and-back portion of the course entirely, skipping miles 13 – 23. Gaskell would later claim he hurt himself and was simply trying to get to the finish to receive medical attention. Nonetheless, his honorary plaque and title were revoked.

Each of the 11 cases presented above, the cheat was caught with consummate easy.  So why bother to cheat?

I know it’s easy to ask that question but I think the answers are always fairly complicated.I mean, running a marathon is a very big deal. Of those 11 cases, how many had run a marathon before and just wanted to finish and miscalculated and finished with fantastic times? I am not talking about the ones who either gave their chip away to another runner or just did not run at all. I am talking about the ones who were dedicated enough to make an attempt.

I have to confess that one I had a strong urge to cheat during my running as well. I did not do it, but almost did.

The run was the 30K Midsummer Night’s Run. The run was fairly grueling because the humidity was at around 85%. I was woefully unprepared for the run and went just because I had signed up for it. A crucial mistake I made was to switch from water to Gatorade  for my run. I never have Gatorade. Ever. And my stomach rebelled. At the 26K mark, I had to go to the bathroom and I was in for almost 10 minutes. When I came out, I realised that the bathroom was at a juncture of a loop. I could have easily walked into the bathroom at the 26K mark and come out of the bathroom at the 28K mark. And that’s what I started to do and then the little voice in my head said”what the fuck are you doing?”. I did not bother trying to answer and I turned around to complete the loop from the 26K back to the 28K mark. And then at the end of the run, I puked my guts out!

Looking back my reasoning was not to aim for the best time in the run. I was already doing awful. My reasons to cheat was to finish the run as soon as possible. But thankfully the Jiminy Cricket inside me was able to convince me that it was moronic to try and cheat. I mean, what for! So that I can tell the world I finished the run 10 minutes earlier than I actually did?