Thursday, 31 January 2013

Another life, lemons post

So it has come to pass that I am on kitchen duty for the past couple of days. My cook has reported an unidentified back issue. The rest of the household is all up in arms (except my husband & I, who believe her) about this, as she does a fair bit of the cleaning as well. And her absence means the lackadaisical approach to cleaning my maid adopts is evident to all. Among other things.

But y'all know my life gives you lemons attitude right? It helps a lot, in such times. I feel bad for her, as she has a tough life, and hope she gets better soon. It has only been a couple of days after all, so I am feeling fine about it all. I am a bit worried about next week, of course, but I can definitely postpone that worry for a little bit.

In the meanwhile, I am enjoying my kitchen time. In the mornings, I enter post-workout for school lunch dabba + breakfast activities. We recently bought new lunch boxes for the child as the old one left much to be desired (she was using my ancient three tier box for some reason I don't recall). It is all beautiful and colourful, and she loves it.

As she is not the world's best eater, and not in the least bit adventurous, her lunch is best described as unimaginative. Everyday. Seriously. It is quite boring. Not very unhealthy, thankfully. After years of haranguing by all parties involved, she generally finishes it (it is a very small amount at any rate), but it is frustrating for me to think about.

Now that it is in my hands, I strongly feel that it is much better. I do repeat a few of the popular things every day (one of them is rasam rice, I swear). But I mix it up a fair bit. Especially if everyone else in the household can be convinced to clear out of the kitchen. Today we featured brocolli & green gram sprouts in the snack boxes, for example.

Breakfast has also been very much more enjoyable (at least for me). Eggs, fruit, oats, idlis, dosas, are all rubbing shoulders with each other. If the milk management is a little off, I am not to blame, I promise.

I discovered something about myself. I love working in the kitchen. I like EVERYTHING about it. The cutting of vegetables, cooking, cleaning, clearing up, washing dishes. Seriously, everything. It has been very fun. This is very positive and nice.

And there is one thing negative that I have discovered as well. I don't like other people in my kitchen. At all. I 'allowed' the child to chop some tomatoes for me (I was grateful, really) last night. The cook - she sort of takes over my kitchen when she is around, and of course, I tolerate it.

I remember how my mum would only reluctantly allow me kitchen time (which I loved a lot even as a child). I recall several discussions with my husband about this matter. Over the years I have worked hard to overcome at least in part this control freak nature of me. I mean, circumstances prevent me from having the luxury of ruling this part of my house. So no point frustrating myself by being up in arms about it.

This morning during my very enjoyable track workout, this is what I came up with. It has been great. I love our new kitchen and it makes me feel all gooey and heart-melty that this our home now. But I have to chill out. Take what I can get. When the opportunity presents itself, or when the situation forces my hand, I will enjoy it. There, I am chilling now. Calm. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

More Marathon Mania

Short distances races can be run impatiently, like someone set fire to your ass. But for marathons - this middle aged mommy has to dig deep from her store of patience. At least that is definitely a lesson I learnt in the recent past.

I know patience hardly sounds like a virtue in a race. It is a race, for heaven's sake. Not to be confused with a 'run' - which is what you do when you train for a race. And that infamous article (or set of articles) that said that all the 'slow' runners in the marathon races were fucking it up for the others? Well, there is that.

My mental transition over my years of running has been fun to watch. I know, for you it probably is akin to watching paint dry, but I have enjoyed it. I like this sort of stuff. I like to write about it too so that ten years out I can come back and laugh at myself. Which is another quality that one should hold on dearly to, in addition to patience, if you ask me - the ability to laugh at oneself.

Yes, I started out with that typical attitude. Having tasted the 'tape' - so to say - in my youth - with the head dip at the end of the 100 or 200m distances, I started off being very enamored still with speed. My occasional-coach used to say, "Run the 100m with everything you got. If I so much as poke you at the end, you must fall down."

Well, I don't think I figure out what THAT means till I started running long distance. But still, I ran strong, and hard, and with determination, even if my training was haphazard and looked at only indulgently by my ever-busy parents. I did passably well, and more than anything, really enjoyed running. Even the time I ran barefoot on synthetic track and it tore away my sole.

Over my years of moving up the evolution chain to a long distance runner, and who knows, an endurance athlete perhaps in the future, I have had to pretty much re-learn running. Stand it completely on its head, so to speak. Replace my long strides with shuffling ones, among other things.

In my youth, I relied on my natural speed, big calves, low body weight, and a strong mind to achieve a little success. I used the same to advantage in Basketball, surprising bigger players into committing costly mistakes within range of my ball-pilfering arms; then sprinting away on a fast break. This is not enough for long distance races. And doesn't work for my life right now.

I don't like to fall down. I like to keep on walking. I like to go to work on Monday mornings after a Sunday race. I like to feel some pain in my legs when I stand up, and perhaps a moment or two of tiredness of an afternoon, but I want to be out there, teaching, preaching, reading, meeting on Mondays, after a marathon.

So I have learnt, that one has to be patient. In the first half of the race, my entire struggle is to keep it slow, calm, easy. Nothing insane. The second half of the race is really the challenge. When hidden reserves of strength, sense of humour, discipline, mental fortitude, come into play. In fact, that is the only thing to train for.

The beauty is, three marathons in, all I want to do is run more of them. Not immediately, because I want to give my body the benefit of recovery, and more training. But once that is done, I want to be get back at the start line. In the meanwhile, I will patiently work on the kinks! Till then...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Mumbai Marathon 2013

Yes, that is me. It was that hot and dusty Azad Maidan. That green stuff was dusty too. But then I was beyond the point of caring. My third full marathon. Technically fourth time running that monster distance. The sun was blazing - the kind that can tan even a brown person... 

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is a race I don't like to miss. I signed up within the first 8 hours of the registration opening this year. Exchanging frantic emails to get beyond the problem I had with the malfunctioning timing chip last year. I jumped with joy when they accepted my entry. 

I swore I would train hard for it. That I would undo all my past mistakes, enjoy the run, be strong, and just go there and kick ass. I was going to do speed workouts! Superbly co-ordinated long runs! Core and ab workouts! I was going to do SO MUCH!

Well, I didn't. I did like 2 sessions of Yasso the entire season. I did 2 decent long runs. I ran an Ultra (50km) to Mahabalipuram - which worked more to train my mind than my legs ('cause I was slower than GMP). I picked up a whole range of random niggles that were super irritating, and my ankles complained constantly. 

After a tough Hyderabad Marathon, I had decided to only train for the SCMM starting December. And I had a simple plan in mind, because of the niggles, I wasn't going to get aggressive unless I received some cues from my body that it was ready. That cue never came. I concentrated on a fair bit of strength training - quite diligently. The rule I followed in this was that different major muscles would be worked on different days.

My upper body actually started looking very toned, though my core - despite extensive work on it - looked mushy. Legs were fine. No changes there. The Ultra was a good test of the legs. They help up beautifully, recovered superbly. Beyond that I did very sensible little runs, a lot of it on the track, to save my feet. I didn't know what to expect, going into this marathon - wasn't even sure how to chalk out a strategy. So I just went with common sense. 

The plan was simple. Hold myself back in the beginning, because I am convinced that thats a recurring mistake in my racing - though it has been giving me very good times in the Half marathon distance, the body isn't at that stage for the full. Not yet. So, start slow. I promised to hit myself if I sped up to insane paces at the start. The goal was a 2:10 first half. 

I hoped that with the experience of all the high mileage runs, I could figure out a 2:20-ish second half.  That would still give me a 4:30-ish time, a sure Personal Best (SCMM 2012 - 4:35; Hyd Marathon 2012 - 4:39). In fact, I declared that Plan A was 4:34:59 for the PB. I felt confident about it, though more than the time itself, what I wanted was that I stay strong throughout those hours on the Mumbai roads.

There is my poor, battered old device. Held together by lots of scotch tape, and much love. I don't know why I don't replace it. Well, at least it lasted till I did. I pulled in to the finish in Personal Best time. My body co-operated very well; I didn't cramp; nothing insane like my hip (which was hurting) breaking (seriously, I get idiotic ideas like that) occurred. 

I took an extra day to recover compared to my usual. I was limping around a bit all Sunday and Monday; which is the thing I am going to try to fix next time. For now, I feel like I have finished the homework, written the exam, and passed the SCMM 2013. I enjoyed my day out in the Mumbai sun, the people were lovely, and it was a good vacation trip. I was stronger than last year, by far, see my pace graphs below for comparison!

SCMM 2012:: 

SCMM 2013::

(note that the scale of the bottom graph is much smaller!)

Why do I run? Truly and honestly because I enjoy it. "Conservative strategy" said my friend when I discussed the gory details of my race with him. Well, that was the plan, and I am grateful and feel very lucky that I could make a plan and stick to it, very well. My life didn't dramatically change on 20 Jan, after the race, but I did feel very happy and content inside me, surrounded by my friends, welcomed at the finish by my husband, euphoric from the running... 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Airport Tales

I was in the Mumbai. Yes. It was annual pilgrimage time for the marathon. But more on that later!
Usually I travel all by my own lonesome self. To and fro. I don't mind. I pick reasonable times of day to travel; these are familiar places; rusty though my hindi might be, I can get around. I carry a phone, I call friends, I keep my eyes open.

This time, on the way in, we were four of us from Chennai on the same plane. A kind friend web checked me in. I don't know how to do that, you see. We got the seats with the leg room. As the nice lady instructed me on the emergency protocol, the guys sniggered and I had to try hard not to giggle.

I memorised the instructions and repeated it back to my audience, no worries. I was whisked around royally without a worry or care from the airport to the expo, and lunch, and finally to our hotel. It was awesome not to have to do these things all by my own self. I felt quite pampered, and grateful for these nice people who are now my friends.

On the way back, as per our agreement, I met up with ludwig in the airport. He messaged me a lot of cruel things, claimed to have some communicable disease or the other, said he hated me and so forth, but I nevertheless sallied forth bravely into the tiger-cave, so to say.

As we downed a couple of beers and lamented our old age and tendency for anything we put into our mouths to turn into fat, I decided to discuss something seriously with him. You know, just like that. But it was interesting to see how scared he got when I whipped out the computer and started noting stuff down.

Ludwig & I are friends for like eons. We go back a long way. In a way things have a come a full circle - he was my 'junior' in college here; and in grad school in Amherst; and we occupied real estate in Cambridge together; and moved back to Chennai recently, within months of each other.

All my life I have acted like I am one of the guys. I think my older friends also treat me like that, you know, because I drink beer, and can swear a little bit, and don't wear nail polish or take forever during bathroom breaks. So I can get away with these questions I wanted to ask. Even if the generalisation is ridiculous, and I have taken to drinking less than before.

"Taser guns, missiles, and such armaments is what I recommend, to make this world a safer place for women," said my dear friend. I am a non-violent person, actually so is he. But things are getting desperate now, at least thats what I am inclined to believe. "Men are pigs, you say then?" I asked him. He nodded. "Turn the other cheek" - well thats old hat now.

I am a lucky girl. I have friends. I am independent. I have my invisibility cloak (ludwig has seen this - so has the deshvaasi - and it really irritates my husband because he thinks I do it on purpose) that shields me. But the world out there? Is not nice. Its not about men or women or definitions of molestation and rape and harassment. There is a reality, that we all need to accept, its not nuanced, this reality.

The world is not a safe place. Not for you, me, our children, or our parents. We need to learn, we need to speak, we need to work hard to make ourselves heard. I love to travel. My family enjoys my travels, through me. On this trip though, I was glad I wasn't alone. My idealism is taking a beating now. I was glad to hang with all of you. Real glad. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The problem with feminists...

The “real problem” in those years, he says, “was Rosy. The thought could not be avoided that the best place for a feminist is in another’s lab.”
He being James Watson. Yes. The same one. Precocious American with the messy hair who built the double helix model of DNA. The model that rocked our world - the one he says looked "So pretty it had to be correct"

Rosalind Franklin was the feminist he was dismissing. I don't know. Does the fact that you are an intelligent woman with opinions of your own, and the tendency to disagree with men's opinions on the basis of facts, make you a feminist? If so, yes, she was.

I read this book (so late!), and I swear it was like reading a racy thriller of a novel. Although, yesterday in the morning, my husband said that he indulged in a marathon viewing of some show on his ipad, and slept late. I said "be like me, so disciplined, they were so close to discovering the double helix structure, the metal plates to make the adenine, thymine etc. models were in the shop, but I still closed the book and fell asleep..."

It was just as well. I get emotional about this stuff. So Watson & Crick built the model and everyone was happy with it, and per Watson, everyone was surprisingly encouraging, even all the folks they were 'competing' with - Linus Pauling for one; and I cried. 

Watson says this of an organist chemist in this lab - Jerry - that he wasn't one to shoot his mouth off unless he knew for certain that he was right. Jerry pointed out some stuff in textbooks that were wrong. And this helped Watson slide in one more piece of the puzzle correctly.

What I feel is a lack of tightness in the writing is more than made up by the passion (for life first!) and youth that is evident in it. Of course they did win the nobel prize and that unavoidably biases me, but seriously, it was the best read in recent times. 

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this book - for a plethora of reasons. The most glaring one seems to be the dismissive references to Franklin - her appearance, dressing sense, attitude towards colleagues, among other things. Yes, thats annoying, but truthfully how they all felt about women scientists! 

The number of women on my own campus has been steadily increasing over the years. We are running out of space. I am in meetings where we sit around and discuss what to do about this. I get unreasonably upset if I sense that there is a tinge of regret in peoples voices. Some day we may reach equality; and I don't mean just in terms of numbers... I will dance on the streets then. 

So Watson's feelings are not entirely in our past, so it was good to see it there, in black and white. Directed towards no less a person than the one that took the very famous X-ray crystallographic image of the DNA. To his credit, Watson comes across as being in awe of her abilities with the images and their interpretation... 

So many people pass through the pages of this personal account. Franklin, who clearly missed the prize, and all the credit for the structure of the DNA, by a whisker. Pauling. Bragg. Wilkins. Crick & Watson themselves. 

Any time I read accounts of lives of scientists, I think 'I want to be that guy (or girl)'. The guy I want to be is Jerry. The organic chemist. Work hard, keep my mouth shut unless required (Fat chance!). And incidentally, by certain definitions, I am a feminist, and here in my lab, Dr. Franklin would be very welcome, any day....  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Yearly Updates

I know the time for this has probably passed, but I consider strongly making a small summary of the past year's activities - of our family - 'the year that went by'. There is surely much to be thankful for, proud of, and as always, plenty of mistakes to learn from (and hopefully, not repeat in 2013).

Some mixture of inertia, shyness, laziness and lack of time ensure that I don't indulge this. Year after year, I plan it out, write a few sentences in my head, and then.. just..drop it. As the new year brings with it new challenges and pulls me in different directions, I just forget about the past one, fairly quickly.

My postdoc advisor from more than a decade ago, has a tradition of putting together a family newsletter and sending it to tons of people on his list. In the initial years I used to receive a hard copy in the mail, though recently, they just email the pdf.

Its wonderfully put together and talks about the highs and lows, and focusses attention on the achievements of the various members of his family. As the years pass, I notice that much more space is dedicated to the kids than the older members, and it is all quite amazing.

I remember back in college when we were (briefly) the editors of the campus magazine Campastimes, how hard it was to cull the material into two pages, and no more. We followed the three column format, much like this one. And boy, it was a HUGE PAIN.

This was back in the day when computers were hard to come by. Back in the day when editing software left much to be desired. Back in the day when our proficiency with anything other than the actual writing of the articles was very rudimentary, at best.

My main interest was in the writing itself, though I admit that I got enthusiastic about the formatting and the other appearance related aspects of the magazine by the end. I have always dreamed of putting something like that together again, especially now in these 'modern' times when it ought to be much easier to do.

But when I contemplate something like this, there is a back of mind voice that discourages me. Clean up your email folder missy it seems to say. Organise your office madam, it admonishes. Read more articles, girl, it says. Oh well. We'll see.  

Friday, 4 January 2013

Terrace Tales

We moved into our new place many months ago now. I used to do some type of Shaun T or Tony Horton workout in the space just outside our bedroom in the old place. We had a TV and appleTV set up there and it was convenient. In the new place, everything was super messy till recently, and I lost this space.

The child & I used to 'celebrate terrace time' in the initial days of moving here. We used to climb up to the highest point and hang out, watching parrots and gently swaying tree branches. It was a very painful time for us all with all the activity in the house, and the carpenters and so forth. But we enjoyed some peace up on the roof, though mosquitoes mauled us.

Over the past several months, lots of things have fallen in place in the house. We have almost completed our task of identifying locations for all our stuff. Almost. Our bookshelves are groaning. We have our plants now. And yes, we have pests already attacking said plants, but thats par for the course. Our furniture is all tucked away and arranged; our bathrooms are operational.

I have been doing a fair bit of exercising up on the terrace recently. I have done my concocted 'Boot Camp' workout during the initial days after recovering from my foot injury. I have done a p90x legs and back routine many times. I have done Core Workouts there. We have spread out our dumbbells, bands, skipping rope, and my special stinky vibrams (oldest pair) up there with the tomato, brinjal and chilli plants.

I really love the place. Going up there at 6 am, especially in this slightly mild version of Chennai weather, is great. I have watched the sun rise over some trees in the distance a few times; tried valiantly to click a photo on my phone; pondered on what to do about the overflowing tank next door; and spied an old lady walking determinedly a few roofs away; variously.

This morning was the time for a shoulders and arms workout. I was mildly surprised to see my husband up and ready by the time I walked up from the kitchen with our coffee. We went up and cranked out a tough and tiring set; I brought my reference book but he pooh-poohed it saying he knows the sequence by heart...

Sis-in-law joined us in a bit and her eyebrows shot up in surprise at all the frenetic activity up on the terrace, early in the morning. We kept up our chatter even as we wound up with some extra sets of our favourite exercise. I stuck pretty much to the 5kg weights though I ventured into the 7.5kg territory for a few - like bicep curls.

We argued all the way down about everything including whether my muscles had become more defined in the near past. The child woke up and we rushed around getting ready. Its been six months now, and I think we finally feel like this is home. The name board is up in the front, and our sweat has mingled with the red tiles on the terrace floor now. Yes, its home....

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Minimalism; Hypocrisy

I own up to my hypocrisy - most times. I do a bunch of things that I don't believe in. I don't practice all that I preach - and preach I do constantly. Count the number of 'I's in that sentence alone and you get the idea; I am a selfish bum who does stuff for herself and her own pleasure and whatever is convenient for her and rest of the world be damned.

There is a larger life philosophy type thing here that I could be talking about, but let me not. Let me instead talk about... shoes.... Many months ago I spoke lovingly about a new acquisition of mine. Yes, the vibrams. As recommended in all the fora, I took my time transitioning to them. If you clicked the link, you will see I ran my first few miles in them in Jul 2011...

Now these shoes (if you can call them that), are part of what are being categorised as 'minimalist' footwear. There is lot of good and bad press about the vibrams in particular, and the whole minimalist running footwear deal in general. I have read most of it, I promise. There is a charge sheet of reasons for people choose them.

Let me disclaim. I am not into them for the 'minimalism' part of it - not in the sense of the opposite of 'consumerism'. Honestly, these guys cost something like $100 (right, MSB??), and are not available in India. The fit is tricky and they do not last very long - not even the traditional 500km of an asics. Really not saving money, mother earth, or stuff like that with this shoe.

I am not into them particularly for injury related reasons. At the time that I got convinced to try them on, I was not suffering any injury. I was OK. It was in the reasonably active part of my running agenda for the year. My ankles, knees, and shins felt reasonable if not spectacular. I was not looking at them as some kind of magic salvo...

I am not into them for speed. I admit that 2012 has been a good year. I have done at least three half marathons that I am very happy with - hitting personal bests by far, and reaching long standing (albeit arbitrary) milestones. But I owe that to a mixture of sensible training, good luck, and flat courses. I don't chase speed when I run races, in deference to my age.

My feet are sensitive - I hate the word delicate - so I will say sensitive. I hate pretty much anything I wear on my feet, but I feel happy when I wear my vibrams. I think this is the only reason I am into them. On the argument regarding cushioning shoes vs. non-cushioning ones, I am currently inclined to believe the latter- based on my analysis of my own running form.

Long story short. I ran a full marathon (Hyderabad; Aug 26th) in my vibrams. I ran the Ultra (Chennai; 50km; Dec 30th) in vibrams. It rained on both days. It was sunny after. I enjoyed the feel of the vibrams. I am training 100% of the time in them now. There are a few things I have learnt not to do in my training. Other than that, I am a convert.

Do I have pain, am I getting 'more' injured, have I gotten faster? Well, yes, no, no to those questions. I think I have some serious ground to break in terms of addressing my ankle stability, unrelated to running/shoes. I had what the doc said was 'metatarsalitis' - whatever - I backed the hell off, reduced mileage, slowed down, was sensible about it.

I just don't know if I am getting faster - I don't want to, particularly, at any rate. I am turning 39 this year. This is not a small number. I want to be able to run for years and years more. I have dreams of doing a lot of awesome sounding, super difficult races in my lifetime. I want to be sensible. I want running to be a very important part of my fitness routine. I want to continue to love it. I don't think speeding up is an agenda here....

I have a new pair of vibrams now - my third one - I am immensely grateful and thankful and really looking forward to miles on them in 2013. Yes, I hope to chip seconds here and there off my PB; and I often joke about the veteran's medal. And I am not in competition with any of you - I make my own rules; I run my own race....

On New Year's Day my cook was asking me about visiting the temple. She had just come back from there and was very happy and peaceful as a result. I changed into my running gear, strapped on my new vibrams, and went out running. Yes, it gives me peace, and more than that I don't ask for...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Ultra Experience

I didn't even describe in gory detail my Hyderabad Full Marathon experience this year..oops..last year. So I guess I am allowed to go on a bit about the latest thing I ran. Just in time to welcome the new year & bid goodbye to the old one, on 30th December, 2012.

Try not to tell my mum about this. I ran a 50km Ultra from Alwarpet to Mahabalipuram. Yes. Thats 8km more than a full marathon. 8km more than I have ever run in my life. I ran for six hours. Thats almost an hour and a half more than I have ever run in my life...

The Shahid Ultra is a regular Chennai Runners feature in December. The date is usually earlier in the month, but was postponed to 30th this year in honour of the now world famous Wipro Chennai Marathon extravaganza 2012. It involves running from the usual CR gym at Alwarpet, past Kotturpuram, on to OMR and then to ECR.

On ECR you go on and on till you reach Radisson Blu in Mahabs. The Radisson Blu guys love us and provide us ice, towels, iced tea, shower stalls and a sumptuous breakfast. The ever enthu CR folks - a handful who don't run - volunteer and drive around on ECR serving as mobile hydration & fuel spots.

I declared after the SCMM in Jan that I would run the Ultra fully this year (last year I ran 28kms, starting from the Uthandi Toll Booth and ending up in time for hot breakfast at the hotel). I felt good enough in the first part of the year to not regret that statement. The second part of the year was terrible and I couldn't seem to catch a break.

They call me Drama Queen, and I guess I am that person who is never satisfied with her preparation or performance, but this time I was genuinely worried. I had that foot pain (no, not Plantar), I am definitely 1 kg heavier, my core seems to have disappeared somewhere, I fell sick several times with colds, coughs, stomach cramps, and so on.

I don't even dare look at my workout notebook too closely  - yes, I have moved to writing this stuff down in a diary. Ever since I started strength training somewhat seriously and feel the need to write down names of the exercises and reps & weights. The notebook makes me feel worried, and fat.

But I had promised KP that we would run. Rocket was going to run with us. Krishna had promised to support us by driving around and giving us whatever things and encouragements we needed. I had decided to use the Run Walk method, in a bid to ensure that my legs stay safe for SCMM - I have loved the Run Walk whenever I have done long runs that way.

I did a strong 28km last week. Then went off to Bangalore and ate a lot and felt cold and anemic and sick. My mum started yelling at me and asking me if I am eating Calcium supplements (I am not). I promised her that I would eat multivitamins (I didn't buy them yet). We had a house party, I slogged for it.

I drank a little (not much thankfully) on Friday; and slept at 3 am. On Saturday I woke up late and cleaned up and stuff and took the child to Landmark. I sat in uncomfortable chairs feeling tired but proud of my little one spelling 'Quatrain' and 'Clairvoyant' & so on with consummate ease. She came in fourth (missing by a whisker, and spelling 'Nauseous' perfectly). I drove back home.

We had family visiting. Power was cut all over the area. I returned to a fully dark home. I was calculating furiously when I had to sleep to get enough rest. Food in the fridge had gone bad. The kids were getting antsy. It was raining. Mosquitoes were feasting royally in the absence of GoodKnight power....

I didn't think about much. We dropped everyone off at my in-laws place, and the two of us decided to eat out so we could charge our mobiles (which were dead). We argued loudly about our respective parenting styles and I tried hard to eat extra but couldn't. Slept at 10 pm (power had returned by then) only to wake up at 11 pm amidst very loud banging of some sort.

Counted sheep to fall asleep again till the alarm went off at 2:45. Got ready, felt fine, hitched a ride with Rocket's kind husband, and then that was that. The enthu of the CR carried me through after that. We started running at 3:30am. The pace groups split almost immediately. We silently passed through the dark city, chatting only desultorily.

Soon we hit ECR and plodded on determinedly towards the goal. We used a 5:1 run walk during the first hour, a 4:1 run walk during the second one, 3:1 during hour three, and 2:1 after that till the bitter end. I expected cramps and pain and much suffering. But I was just fine. I look at my garmin data and feel super happy - consistent throughout.

We started off as a group of 6. Two pulled back at the Uthandi toll booth. The four of us stuck together very well till almost the very end. After the toll booth, it became my task to call out the run and walk breaks. I used my voice till I could, and then just recoursed to raising my hand to indicate to the others. Finally I just stopped when the 2 min period finished and hoped the others noticed...

I check on myself periodically during long runs. Mental faculty - was great throughout. I could count, and was counting steps like crazy. Feet felt fine, despite the rain (thanks to vibrams!!). I wore a cap and sunglasses when the sun came out so my eyes and head were happy. Thanks to my friends driving around, I consumed orange slices, banana pieces, gatorade and water in sufficient amounts so stomach felt perfect.

I have never done anything so crazy in my life I don't think. I don't usually give myself the option of not finishing something I start, but you never know, right? Weather is a big unknown, and even after all these years, I still don't know enough about my body. Whatever it is, I am very glad and grateful and happy to finish off 2012 on a strong note...