Friday, January 27, 2012

Republic day run : Another use of keeping your mouth shut...

Republic day.  62 years ago - this day, a new script was written.  Adopting the best out of the world's great democracies, a code of reference, the bible of democracy for the Indian republic was born.   The constitution since then has been amended more than 100 times.   Changing with times, adapting and flexible, but strong.

The run like the Indian
flag, and constitution
was flexible, but strong
Through the day, the locality was all filled with the Indian tricolor.  Kids with tri-color balloons, elders with tri-colors pinned in their dresses - loud speakers blaring patriotic songs,  the mood reflected the happiness and gaiety of Indians feeling as a nation.   Or a simplistic point of view of a mid-week holiday for a workaholic.

Either way, people were happy and loud.  Earlier in the day, we lost our respective races held at our residential society.  I lost the slow cycle race, my kid lost a spoon-marble race and my wife lost a three legged race.  But it was fun.  Then, it was a great game of cricket with my son.

It was a slightly warmer evening.   The day was hot.  The death of winter told by the searing rays of the sun. 

The evening run was to add mileage, but recover quickly.  So a mid distance - 12k was planned.  

For the first 4 km, ran the usual style.  Dead slow, with occasional bursts of speed was the usual pattern. Whenever I accelerated,  I used to breath through my mouth - until this break.  After stretching and sipping some apple juice and water, I started running.

I decided to run through Damu Nagar - a busy downscale locality.  After the bustle of this noisy neighbourhood, it was sudden darkness and quiet.   The dark shadows of the leaves danced against the sudden burst of cool air.  Few men engaged in small talk and pouted smoke out of their lips.  Some suspicious dogs were marking their territories with their urine.

Suddenly, the focus was on myself.  Suddenly, I realized, my mouth was shut.  Pursed and locked, in fact.   The exhalation was in rhythm with three steps and then silent inhalation.  Against the cool and dark visuals, this was like music.  Hssh...hssh...hsssh...tak... silence... tak... and repeat.  

The rhythm was so good.  The lungs started enjoying the chill.   Then it was a nice run downhill and then the flats.

Two kilometers later, the inside of the ear-lobes were chilled.   I swallowed my saliva and then locked my lips again.   The brain was floating - it was getting heady and my eyes blurred with the excess supply of oxygen.  But the rhythm was steady.   I increased the speed - longer strides, but the breathing was synchronized.   Hssh..hssssh...tak... silence... tak and repeat.  

All along, I was watching my cadence ( step vs inhale-exhale cycle) and my heartbeat. Both were steady. Especially, the heartbeat rate was steady.  Surprise!   Steady breathing in harmony with the steps helps to keep the heartbeat rate low.  

Around the 10th km, I increased the stride length and gained speed.   But the breathing, only through the nose, with lips locked, and steps being synchronized, the heart beat remained steady.  

When I wound up after two further km,  my heart beat was slow and steady!   Voila!!!  My recovery was less than 10 minutes.   What magic oxygen can do!  And saving on hydration!   I ran for a full 45 minutes without a drop of water.  

It was a strong and flexible run, like the Indian flag and the constitution.

Summarizing what I tried:
  1. Breath through the nose
  2. Keep the lips locked
  3. Synchronize your breath with your foot steps
  4. Start with a slow pace
  5. Feel comfortable with your heart beat
  6. The heart beat, the foot step and the breathing all should be in unison
  7. Try increasing speed but no compromise on 1-6.
It was a different and interesting experiment.   One should surely try this during a day run.   If it works, it is another solid use of keeping one's mouth shut!

- The One

(Pic courtesy the One)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jan 15 2012: Making of new heroes...

( This article is dedicated to every finisher of the Mumbai Marathon 2012.   Running and finishing is no mean feat.)

If you wake up at 8 am, switch to Star Plus HD instead of Star Cricket, does it not say many things? While Indian cricketers ran out of ideas in Perth, some Mumbaikars were running towards the finishing line in Mumbai .

Indian legends ran out of ideas
this day in Perth.  End of some heroes?
First, cricket, for many, is not an attractive sport any more - especially as a viewer.  In the 90's we used to get up early to watch the Srikanth's and Shastri's of the yore struggle against the brute and bouncing deliveries of Mc Dermott and Merv Hughes.   And some heroics of the 1984 and 2008.

Now, nobody sacrifices sleep for the fait accompli - a news which can be read a week later and would make no difference.  

First cricket has become too much and boring, and secondly, we ourselves, ordinary mortals have become 'sportsmen'.  Haven't we?  LOL.   We got ourselves on High Definition Television, for the better part of 6 hours.  That is longer than two Hindi movies.  For the first time. So remember Jan 15, 2012.

I tried to be part of this show - in some form.  I could have run as a proxy.   First,  there was lot of tentativeness.  Second, laziness and bad planning.   A dear friend who did not run the half helped me with the details.   But I plead guilty for not registering and secondly, ending up doing something else during the weekends.  

Today is also Pongal.  So, did the usual Pooja's.   Enjoyed the pot boil over.   Played with the kid.  Watched bits and pieces of Tam-English movies.

But the guilt was building up like a snowman.  Finally, it broke and let loose an Avalanche.   Ran a half today evening to fend off the snow ball in my throat.

And then Auroville is calling.  The memory of the course remains fresh.   I did a great half marathon ( 2:19) last year.

Only that another Mumbai namesake visited during 2011 year-end, causing havoc to the beautiful landscape of Auroville.   The Mumbai Marathon contingent would be strong, this year, I believe.   In some sense, it is destiny that I end my racing sabbatical here. 
Ram Singh Yadav (m)
qualified for the London Olympics
and was this year's Indian winner
Meanwhile, in SCMM12, new heroes have born.  Like Ram Singh Yadav who has qualified for the London Olympics, and Preethi Babbar - a first time FM-er, but a worthy winner.  

And first time marathon finishes and personal bests for many of my friends.  Am feeling so happy for them.   Atleast they have achieved what they trained so hard for.

And ironically, some heroes became legends.  This day, an era is mostly over.  The stalwarts of the Indian cricket test team ran out of ideas, in Perth. Some of them will ride into the twilight.  

But as always, new heroes will be born.  Like our finishers of the Mumbai Marathon.  My salute to the new heroes of Jan 15, 2012.

-The One

( Pic courtesy the One)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Strawberry run!

I missed the Powai Lake run this weekend!  Would have been my first competing run in Mumbai.   Sleepy eyes.  Sleepy eyes.

The weekend diary looks somewhat like this:

    Happy HE! 
  • Took HIM and HER to a colleague's birthday party in a large mall.
  • HE got to make paint and custom-draft a cricket bat, all for HIMself.
  • Some window shopping after that- SHE is happy 
  • Visit to the games parlour.   An hour of play, HE is happy
  • Hindi movie with Pop-corn and Coke - SHE is happy and HE is excited
    The artful cricket bat!
  • Some shopping to make HER happy
Sunday -
  • Chores, chores, is SHE happy?
  • Some cricket with HIM
  • Watched Aladdin - the movie with HIM and HER
  • Nice lunch and a cat nap - THE FAMILY purrs its happiness
  • SHE goes to a spiritual discourse
  • Cricket with HIM
  • BLOG !
So what is so different?  Nothing, really.  But what a weekend! 

Missed the SCMM expo and the Powai run.   But finally in the evening, ran in the nice cool Mumbai weather.  

The run was like a strawberry
topping on a vanilla ice-cream
Such a complementing element that running can be!   It adds to the personal fulfillment so easily!  When one seeks to extend his happiness from other sources - born away from the pressures and pleasures of the material life.

As I run, I close my eyes.  The cool air enters my nostrils and fills the lungs.  The sweat makes the body chill and pleasant.   The feel of the coolness inside and out.  The mind is light and feeling ethereal.  It feels like chomping at the strawberry topping on a delightful yummy vanilla ice-cream!   Such a bliss, was this strawberry run!

- The One

Pics Courtesy Internet and The One

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - Running with Apocalypse...

It was a funny thought, initially.   My friend Gaurav Madhaan then put it on facebook 'Put in as many miles as you can to celebrate the so called last year of Era "2012" Only fit will get the license to "2013" lol :P'.  The funny thought blossomed into an interesting one. 

I was always a Nike fan.  I had a bone contusion around May 2009 and it took two months for me to recover.   Then I embraced Nike Air.  After that, no DNF's, no injuries.  The limitation was always me.  Not my shoes.

Mayan Calendar -
Is Apocalyse on the way?
Then this year,  I lost my Lady Red and my Old-Man-Blue had his bottom (!) stitched back.  A new kid, I call it the Kid, appeared on the block.  Asics ( sounds like at-six, nah?) he was one size short.  So my next buy was always going to be a Nike.   Fans of other brands forgive.  It is my experience, and I am not marketing any brand here.  

I have been resisting this temptation of buying a simple shoe and see if I still do pronate.   I got one yesterday, during the new year.   I took it out for a run, and it impressed.   Impressive enough to start with a sub-5 miler.

Nikes named Apocalypse!
So baptism by speed.  What would you call these new Nikes?   This is the year of the Apocalypse.  If you watch any movie around Apocalypse, the hero and heroine run, jump and dodge flying shrapnels of glass, bricks and what not.   The lesser mortals are consumed.  

In real life, though, the future is a mystery.  We are talking 21-12-2012. The era called Baktun, ends on this date. Some people say that Mayan calendar is misunderstood.    Actually it might be just like your yearly running miles getting reset in dailymile.

What the hell?   If we were to take each day as if there is no tomorrow, the concept of Apocalypse can be looked at positively.  If we give our best, run and live each day to its fullest- then we would not mind about tomorrow, right?  So if you want to run, run today.   If you want to live, live today.   There is no tomorrow.  So the Apocalypse is forever.

The Hero had to run to save himself in the movie '2012'
apart from other faster means of transport!
 Another perspective.   Let us just go back to those who run and dodge the shrapnels, spliting terra-firma, raising waves, lightning laden skies and falling buildings.   You have to RUN!   Anybody who stays back, will be consumed by the Apocalypse.   The hero and the heroine survive, because they run

You have to run and run long and strong.   To survive.  Survive from all ailments.   Painful death by disease is Apocalypse.  

So, when I went for this short, but strong run in the new Nikes on 2-1-2012, the name was obvious.  APOCALYPSE.  This year will be running with APOCALYPSE.    Happy new year!

- The One

( Pic courtesy The One, Internet)