Monday, 28 February 2011



8.1 km

Saturday evening. Mar 5th.

I hate running in the evening. I will do whatever else it takes. Basketball. Swim. Veg. Eat murukku. Eat Horlicks (yes, my friends, I do. I love it. But someone please stop me; my tummy is grumbling and asking for Eno).

Here is how I am training for this race:

1. Trying to remember how much I ran it in last year (Cannot..Remember..)
2. Visualising the route - because last time, it felt surprisingly long for 8.1 km (Duh!)
3. Considering some sort of intervals/tempo etc. runs (and promptly dismissing it)
4. Swimming with the child, using a board (no, seriously, it was lots of fun and make me feel very...sleepy...through the day)
5. Thinking about p90x youtube thing that this kid forwarded to me (the guy looks super weird though)

The things that are demotivating me are:

1. No Other Female person runs it. At least, there were only two of us last year.
2. The average age of the runners is..uh...20 (there were five of us that were 35+ last year, rest of the 100 runners were...uh..18-22 years of age)
3. I can never never ever win or even come in the first ten (see points 1 & 2 above)
4. Evening run! Ugh!

Why am I still going to do this?

1. I am bored of my usual routes for running - the Boat place, yes, even the campus, this one and the other one, I am bored of. Beach? I wish someone would drive me so I don't have to worry about parking.
2. I don't run to win, duh! I run because its fun! And I love white rangoli marked courses
3. Everyone else is doing it (I mean, like, three of us oldies, the young kids run it because it wins them points and medals and so on)
4. Its just here. Its just February. There is nothing going on till like August now. I mean, really, nothing but sun.
5. I am hoping it will make me stop eating Horlicks. Seriously, I have to stop. Its not even mine, its the monster's.


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Daily Grind

About a year ago I remember reading someone talk about how long they can go without running. I cannot remember who it was - probably Ultra Marathon Man Dean Karnazes - but I remember him (or her, could have well been) claiming that the maximum number of continuous days they have spent without running is something like 3. At that time my mileage was abysmal, I think, so I was amazed. I was also not in any type of routine thanks to the move from there to here and so on. But now that I am...

This number seems very very realistic. Granted, not all of my running is 'good' running. I have no specific goals in mind. Nope. No weight loss. No targeted race practice. No aim of switching to barefoot running (yes, that friend of mine, I mean you). I do try and sign up for races on a regular basis and try not to be too chill the weeks before the race. I swear about a month prior that I will kick ass on training with intervals, hills, abs, core, and what not. But it all never happens. I just sort of run (my base running component of training is always reasonable) and nothing else works. Intervals hurt my knee. Hills are not easily available here. Abs and core, are, well, just a royal pain in the gut (literally). So I plod on, goal-less for the most part.

Coming back to the number 3. I occasionally spend about 3 days without any particular exercise. Occasionally, as in, pretty rarely. For the past year, I think I have gone 3 continuous days without exercise (mostly, running), two times. Maybe three. In September, post the Chennai Marathon, I was in a bit of a funk, so I hung around and slept in the mornings. And then this past week, I have done the same. The excuses are varied, even the occasional planned run that I manage to miss, are for varied excuses. The main one in 2011 has been my shoulder. I invariably wake up with a searing pain in my shoulder, searing, not enough to worry that a bone is broken, of course, but just enough to make me want to curl up and go back to sleep - not that the sleep is restful either thanks to the shoulder.

Anyhow, this past week has gone that way. On Saturday the husb. and I went to the campus. He ran for a bit and cribbed incessantly until we reached the car and I handed him the key and said 'Fine, you go on to the gym, I will join you shortly' . I then proceeded to run around the place, telling myself to wrap up and head to the gym soon so I could get some pointers from him about which machines to try out. Then on Sat evening we played basketball, only, I had some work to do so I joined the game late and so only got a bit of sweating done. Sunday was a busy day with lots of goings on related to the monster (acted in a play! was very cute and has a great booming voice on mike!) and extended family. So nothing there. Monday is my early am class so that was a good excuse. Tuesday I woke up (the shoulder's behaviour notwithstanding) and decided to make myself useful by reading something I was sitting on for a while. Wednesday I shut the damn alarm off and slept happily. Which brings us to today, Thursday.

Thankfully I had the foresight to set up a meeting with the world famous ludwig for a run this morning. And that was sufficient motivation (aside from the past so many days of lolling, and the fact that my legs and hips are aching a lot because they dislike all the rest I have been handing to them) to get out and go. I was feeling supremely lazy though. I biked to the place, although I knew ludwig would run from home and so should I. I parked the bike and walked around looking bored. Finally I started off at an amble as everyone was giving me strange looks. It was miserable, that run. Thankfully I saw ludwig loom on the horizon shortly thereafter and I chatted and chatted and chatted and forgot that I was running and that my hips were hurting and my leg was acting funny. But when he said he would like to stop, I was all over it.

All in all, I finally opened the week's account, better than nothing. I hope to eke out some inspiration for something tomorrow morning. Swim? Run? Bike? Gym? Something. I think I want to take a class. Kickboxing or Krumping maybe. Find me one, people, find me one.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Auroville 2011

I ran a half marathon at Auroville last year and really loved it. I had screwed up a fair bit with the arrangements for the day prior to the race (which is typical of me), but still, I enjoyed the experience and cherished it for a whole year. So this year, I decided to go back and try and improve my time there [2:03]. At least by a bit!

Thanks to the deshvaasi, and the happy circumstance of my husband being free to drive me over, the arrangements were better, much better, this time around. So that was fine.

But the training? Ugh. That was a bit of a problem! The tetanus shot I took about 10 days prior to the race was not as cool as I remembered from childhood. It hurt me for many days [yes, it was in the ass, the fat fleshy ass still hurt from the injection]. My long runs were a distant memory [the Mumbai half on Jan 15th was my last good long run]. I had long given up on intervals. My trippy antibiotics event at Maldives was a more close memory. My legs felt like lead, truly. They have not felt this bad in a long while. The shoulder pain was (is) still troubling me. Despite how bad it all sounds, it was not bad enough to cancel the plans, especially given the arrangements, and that mentally, I felt very enthusiastic, especially since the Auroville forest is so lovely.

My legs don't like rest, usually. They get stiff. They hurt, if I don't run often. So I don't really 'taper' - although I am beginning to also feel that such things as taper are not relevant for a mere half marathon, really. I have found good results [in terms of feeling strong, if not actually being able to meet my time goals] by being very disciplined in terms of my running the week before the race - a nice long run on the Saturday/Sunday prior; at least 2-3 days of proper running [meaning 40 mins - 1 hour] during the week; abs & core. This was difficult to do this time around as I was not feeling physically too great. But I did somewhat ok.

Atom and Guns creamed me on the Sat long run. My leaden legs were no use, at their speed. I had a work event but had to give up after a point and come home and take a nap. Monday was gone as I have an early morning lecture. Tuesday was dedicated to catching up on sleep. On Wednesday I shook off my lethargy and ran for an hour. On Thursday I also got down and did some abs. On Friday I psyched myself up for the race, got out and ran a good nice peaceful run through the area. The mind games were on but in an overall sense I was happy.

Saturday was hectic as hell. The monster had a gazillion things going on. I had enough co-ordinating everything and getting lunch down the hatch. Before I knew it, we were off. The husband driving us over, and me hoping I had taken everything, most especially, my shoes. My precious shoes. This was also the point at which my period decided to show up. Yeah, great timing, as always. 'Is that going to be your excuse' asked my one and only supporter later that night. 'Hell, no!' I said. Its nothing I have not done before.

We went and picked up the bibs, Gun, Deshvaasi, Gun's uncle, and I. Jokes all the way. I ran into my entire convoluted posse there - all the Chennai Runner people, the dolphin all the way from Mumbai, the kids from the campus, we all drank coffee. The biggest (est) surprise was that airspy was there. Airspy is my friend from so long ago. She was there for a work event. The poor dear waited patiently for me to show up and pick up my bib. And we drank coffee together amidst the entire gang there in the Auroville canteen. I remembered all those days 15 years ago when airspy and I would get up to our crazinesses. We are going to run together in Bengaluru soon and add some more crazy to our list.

Sleep was not to be had. The dinner was good but quite slow. The monster had to be fed as she was dawdling and it was late. We got back to our room (it was one of those eco-friendly - ish places with palm tree fronds and a really funny shower thing. We has to sleep inside a mosquito net). I read for a bit. At 3 am a persistent rooster started screeching. At 4 am, it was continuing to do so. I dragged my ass out and brushed and tried to hide in the bathroom when people called me to check if I was ready. I ate a coffee Gu as we could not get hold of coffee. I started on my gatorade bottle as well, what to do? No coffee!

It was super dark. Guns kindly drove us to the venue talking about hot tea. The place was abuzz with enthusiastic people milling about. Thankfully, since this is not a gigantic race like the other ones, lines for the loo etc. were not a problem. I ran into the monster's school friend, who found it hard to recognise me under my hat. Some girl started everyone on a nice round of warm-up stretches and stuff. With music. That was fun.

6 am, on the dot, we were off, but not with much fanfare, really. Not even a Start/Finish arch. It was still dark at that time so had to pick my way carefully. I was going to run alone. Atom, who is my pacer, skipped this one. Guns is, well, too fucking fast. I had my music. Roots were threatening to jump at me, I reminded myself that I am a mountain goat. The first 3 k were not great. I think it was 17 mins when I saw the marker, which was a bit off from my intended pace, but not much. Anyhow the legs felt good but not great. Weather though was just fantastic.

I ran on, doing reasonably well. I knew I was slowing down when two or three people passed me. I knew I was doing okay when I managed to pass them back. I had in my sights another girl - she looked short, was wearing a maroon cotton tshirt and dark pants. Her running motion looked conservative and strong. I decided to just keep her in sight. The first 10-11 km went that way. I pretty much missed all the kilometer markers but knew I was doing a decent pace. And I was fairly okay, breath-wise. The calves felt a bit iffy, but in a nice way, like they were working and not chilling out. Since I could not see the distance markers, I moved away also from the timer mode of my watch to real time.

'The monster should be up by now' (7 am)
'They should have left the hotel now' (7:15 am)
'Guns has probably finished by now' (7:20 am)
'Wonder if I can catch up with the red tshirt' (7:21 am)

I hooked myself up with some Gu at some stage. I believed in its powers. I overtook red tshirt. But as I did, some other girls overtook me. I wondered what the real runners do when someone overtakes. I just feel sort of loser-ish and let a deterioration of a couple of seconds off my pace. Then I tell myself that thats absurd. I should determine to keep them in sight and take them over later. Then I just sort of forget about them and focus on other stuff. Hmm. Whatever, doesn't matter so much, does it?

I hit 15 km in 1:24 (ish). See, this is usually a turning point in a race for me. In recent times, at Delhi, I found myself feeling STRONG at 15 km. Atom was giving up at that point (a little bit), but I was feeling STRONG. At Mumbai, I found myself DYING at this stage. Srgntpepper was feeling strong, but I was DYING. At Auroville? Well, I was not dying for sure. I was not feeling supremely strong or anything either. What hurt the most? My ass. Seriously, my ass hurt. My hips hurt a bit because of the bed at the hotel being a bit funny and the monster kicking me through the night. Legs felt fine. Breath was good. But my ass hurt, or maybe I imagined it did.

'This is where the real race starts for you, Kenny'
'Think that the starting gun just went off, and you are in a 6 km race'
'6 km and change'
'Yeah, that change is important now, is it?'
'Just fucking show me what you got, for 6 km, Ms. Smartypants'
'I know I just lie down and EXPIRE at 18 km, I can show you that'
'No you won't. Think of it this way. Move on from km 17 to km 19'

That somehow worked. Maybe 'cause I was missing all the km markers, pretty much, before I knew it I was at km 19. Which was marked and which I saw. I had pretty much hydrated and fed myself throughout the race, although the arrangements were really good. My gatorade bottle was consumed. My Gu, likewise. I snagged a piece of orange sometime [rather clumsily, sorry, volunteers!]. I took a couple of sips of water once [reasonably nicely this time]. But all that was done and gone by this time. I was resisting the temptation to look at my watch. I did so not want it to say 2+! But I was so very sure that it did.

Anyway I managed to convince myself to up the pace from then on. I might have actually done so, not very sure [since I dont use a proper timing device]. Of course I was supremely tired. I was done with appreciating the course [its a damn fine course, in case you want to ask, really spectacular]. I wanted to see the husband. I wanted to hug the monster. Thats all. I wanted them at the finish, as they had promised.

I think I was at the 21 km mark when I HAD to glance down and saw it - the dreaded 2:00.
'Oh hell. Where is the finish?'
'Why isn't there an arch?'
'Do I even care anymore?'
'Like hell I do!'

ZOOOOM. I found myself sprinting all out at this stage. Take that, tetanus shot. Take that, rope burn. Take that, antibiotics course. Take that, you dead leaden right leg, seriously, are you warmed up now? Take that, husband mine, watch me SMOKE. Monster, you too. SMOKE. Its a bit silly to do this in this race because everyone is all cool and suave and not here for the glory but to enjoy nature and so on [and so forth]. But what the hell, I saw the dreaded 2:00 on my Timex, I had to do something in reciprocation....

Then I forgot to press the button down on the watch when I finished [so I don't know my time, exactly - its 2:01-2:02, I guess]. I couldn't find ANYONE. Normally, I don't care. I run alone most of the time. I think I have run with someone, the entire distance, just once, that was Chennai in Aug last year. I have a couple of people I know in a race, some ahead and some behind. We find each other eventually. But first I go get myself a drink. No, not a beer. Just some electral or similar. But this time? They were SUPPOSED to be there, these guys.

No matter, I found Guns a few minutes later. He had done 1:38, which is a PR for him [uff, what a time, thats SMOKING, yo!]. He was also wondering where these guys were [his spouse and child were to show up too, along with my posse]. We caught up with them finally, found that as rightly predicted, they were running late, and had missed our finish, and, feeling a bit deflated overall, hung around for the others in the gang....

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Good morning sunshine

I read a book. I know, big surprise right there. Thank you. Anyway, its a running book, and as always (or most times) with books of that genre, it was a trifle too long, and I might actually prefer to watch the movie. But thats okay with me, I give them a lot of rope, the athletes.

The guy finally runs the mile in 3:56:34 and that is sort of the highlight/climax of the book. Other than a lot of stuff about growing facial hair and crazy white people trying to be too orthodox, and a certain point where I think the author was saying:
"Hey look! Even in the United States of AMerica we struggle to make olympic champions. Despite having invented breakfasts and so on"
which was a bit OTT for me, you know that Kenny is from a country whose sole olympic individual medal has been in a sport that no one ever heard of (and even I cannot recall, except for the fact that it seems to require laser based eye surgery; and not anabolic steroids).

So I finished the last bit of the book last night before sleeping. This morning I woke up and the first thought was 'Where am I? Who is this?' after having convinced myself that I was, per usual, hanging by a thread at the edge of our bed, and that, was in fact the looming figure of husband in his formal clothes heading out for his flight in the wee hours, I went back to sleep for a bit. About 15 mins.

At 5:45, I woke up with a start. I had, in the meantime, managed to switch off the alarm - don't know how. So I just woke up. And sat up. 'What is this pain?' I asked myself as my shoulders did what they have been doing this past month and sent searing messages of pain to my brain. 'I will show you guys' I told the blasted things and got up and got ready (somehow, all getting ready for running events in my life involve laundry. Dirty smelly clothes from before).

I ran around the neighborhood, not really with a plan. Except that I had about an hour to spend on exercise before other duties would beckon. I ran into the university campus next door (because I had been to the uppity Boat Club place yesterday anyhow). I saw the track and decided to jump in there, instead of the roads, since I did not have a plan in the head.

Again with not much thought to it, I found myself running 800m and then running up and down the steps. The direction of climb was not correct - I have to lead with whichever foot is feeling stronger, and, if I had to climb within the 800m thing, it felt weird. So the next 800m went by and I found myself down the ground doing push ups. Suddenly, I recalled the book and that wonderful mile the guy runs. Of course he is an olympian and all. And they are all just numbers. But..

I discovered that I was taking MORE TIME to run 800m than the guy took to run THAT MILE (which, in case you don't know, is 1600m).

Oh well! That is not very inspiring. But I made myself the following excuses-
I am 37/I am a frail woman/I am brown/I just plain suck, yo!/Yeah but Roger Bannister?/And even those boys over yonder/Damn I just feel plain fat/

And at the end of it all, I returned home jogging back painfully slowly (really, what does it matter any more?) and switched on youtube on my TV, and instead of choosing the one in which there are actual human beings, I found the ab routine where its some android type thing with a clever cut-away demonstrating the actual movement of the muscles. And even with the android type thing? I couldn't keep up in the last 30 seconds.

Oh well!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Summary Dismissal

Posts may come and posts may go. They go more often than they come, these days. Some net issues so I keep losing (Digression on this coming up, later) these long drawn out posts I have been writing for you, loyal reader...

Several occurrences have occurred at the Kenny household. In bullet points (Rohini-style):
  • The monster has a brand new passport. She looks more than ever like the husband in the foto therein. Hmph.
  • I have a new passport as well. Between the three of us, we now have 8 blue booklets. I might have to buy a new travel bag, or begin to travel separately from the look-alikes.
  • I *might* be overworked. And under-appreciated. And overall genuinely pissed off today because my wonderful 11km run was spoilt.
  • I have two spectacular wounds on my two legs due to monkey crawl on a rope 10 days ago. They ooze. They bleed. They crust over with gooey stuff. They blacken. They blue-en (and why not?). I am very proud of them. But they fucking hurt and burn many times. But, really, in looks, spectacular. I should post you all a foto.
  • We went to the Maldives. My wounds came along and hung out demurely, ocean-side. I love islands. I love the idea of running round and round islands in the sand and sitting in the ocean water. Well, I had to run in the gym. And let the ocean water sit itself. So ha.
  • I did play volleyball, which was fun. I hid the wounds behind giant bandaids, but still got sand in them and had to suffer for it. But the volleyball itself? Fun.
  • I finished my 30 day challenge anyhow. I did 30 continuous push-ups on 29 Jan, with the blue blue ocean behind me and the monsters counting at me and telling me I am crazy.
  • I plan to do Suryanamaskars this month. Plus 20 push-ups everyday. Today has been missed, so have to make up tomorrow or later in the day, time permitting.
  • Oh yes, the LOOSE digression. I found myself in Crossword recently, the new one near Lifestyle Home. I decided to flip through the new Rujuta book. It has a foreword by none other than Kareena K. In which she says something about loosing weight. I am heartened to note that the publishing industry in India is on such an upswing. First of all, a book like that. And second of all, such an obvious mistake. And third of all, Kareena K.
Over and out.