Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wanted to write about the experience today in more detail, but leaving for india in an hour... Have fun everyone... See you in Nov.


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It was a blast and it's over!

What awesome fun! The whole city of Chicago seemed to have come to the streets to cheer the 40,000 runners. I ran with Manish, Rajeev Patel, Anu, and Sankhya till mile 6, and with Manish till about mile 20.5. After that I was alone for the toughest 6 miles of my life. But I did it, and as the stats show, at not too bad a time.... Overall, I did 4:46:15 (unofficial time). Not too bad at all, and I think even though I was not happy with it immediately after the marathon ended (the second half for me was 6 minutes slower than the first), I am very satisfied with it right now. Despite the tough last few miles, I did fairly well in not slowing down too much I thought. But speed aside, a very very good run to be a part of. More later...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good luck

Hi! learning how to blog from treo.
Big day tomorrow. go asha go!!! good luck to one and all :-)


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In hotel Holiday Inn at Hillside

In hotel now. Picked up the race packet (bib# 12823) yesterday at the expo. Energy is unbelievable at the expo and the hotel (where almost all the Asha runners are staying).


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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Last track workout before the marathon!

The 4x400 seemed easy today. However, not that much either, in fact I was actually wondering at one point as to how the heck did I ever do as much as 5x1 mile at some point in the training program...

The timings of the four repeats seem to be so meaningless now. But here they are just so: 1:28, 1:35, 1:35, 2:25. Tony wanted us to do the last lap at our marathon pace, without looking at the watch so that we get idea of the pace. 2:25 means a 9 minute mile which is much faster than my target marathon pace (10:40-11min/mile). But that is what three relatively hard laps do to your body and mind. You just can't slow down :-)

And so, Tuesday track workouts, I bid goodbye to you. You have given me special memories that I will cherish for long.

The talk by Dr. Clyde Wilson from SMI on nutrition followed the workout. It was well attended and well given, I thought. Thanks to Asha operations team for arranging this talk.
Countdown: 4:7:20:26 (days:hrs:mins:secs) before the marathon!
I can feel a bit of nervous energy starting to creep up on me...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Blogging by cell phone

In preparation for blogging on the go in Chicago, I am trying Google's blog-on-the-go service. This is the first post using my Treo!

Send-off party, what a blast!

Thanks a ton to Anu, Rajeev Char, Tony and Deepak (Rajeev Patel, where are you?) for the great send-off party to all the Chicago/SF/SV marathon runners. The turnout was impressive. Too bad Grishu and I had to leave early for a lunch. But we had fun for the two hours or so we were there, and seeing some of the pictures later, it seemed like we missed a lot more afterwards. Some of the posters were simply hilarious. Don't miss the following in Hindi! [To see the script, go to View -> Character Encoding -> Unicode (UTF-8) in your browser.]
ये पैर मुझे दे दे ठाकुर !

I love this group...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Updated mileage statistics

Just realized that September is over and the marathon month is here!!

I have updated my running statistics for the month of September. Please do check out the graphs at the bottom of this page.

6 miles easy long run, Oracle Trail, Saturday

As Narendra put it, this was the first Saturday in several months that we were running fewer miles on the trail than we drove to get to the trail :-) Yes, the Chicago runners (and we are in a big majority) were all doing 6 miles today and Srini ensured that we take it easy. So, we used up the first mile as a warm up mile, stretched at leisure for 10 minutes after this mile, and then continued in a relaxed manner. We picked up the pace a bit after 3 miles and finished the last 5 miles in under 49 minutes (but the mile markers were a bit off we felt). We did walk for about 30 seconds after each mile... Even though the walk break was almost insignificant, the mind gets comforted about the upcoming "rest". Strange, but breaking up a huge task into small pieces and taking them one at a time does wonders to self-confidence...

We were already done at 8:40am. I hung around chatting with everyone after the run and finally set back home at about 9.30am. There are too many things to do this weekend for us to prepare for the upcoming India trip...

5 miles on treadmill, Thursday, Sep 29

This happened to be a crazy day at home and work, and I almost did not run. Given that Monday was an off-day from running for me and I did not want to run on Friday (rest before Saturday, the day of the long run, has worked out well for me), I had to run on Thursday. So, I ended up on the treadmill in the gym at work at 8pm (yes, later than what I would have liked, but it was a tough day). I was supposed to do 5 miles easy according to the schedule, so I started out slow and warmed up for 1 mile. Then continued after a break of about 10 minutes for a light stretch. Somehow, I was feeling good that I decided to be a bit more aggressive in the middle of the run. I ended up doing the last 4 miles in less than 40 minutes, definitely not to be categorized as an easy run, but it felt pretty good...

Easy 5.5 mile run, Wednesday Sep 28, Stevens Creek Trail

Manish and I had a really easy run together starting from Dana St. on the Stevens Creek Trail and back for about 5.5 miles in about an hour. We were both pretty slow and had our share of complaints about what parts of the leg were hurting. For me, it as again the shin of the left leg...

4x800 on tracks, Tuesday, Sep 27, never had it this easy

So, it is the last two weeks and the tapering down of weekly mileage is now official. I had to skip Monday because of another whirwhind trip to the Boston area (for work).

The Tuesday tracks were only 2 miles with four repeats of 800m each. That the tracks are not favorites of too many people is obvious -- the number of runners turning up has been steadily going down from about 100 people before June to no more than 20 now... As for me, I love the track workout and I look forward to it every week.

Tony was handling everyone and instructed us to run the first and third repeats fast while the second and fourth were to be at marathon goal pace. My times for the 800m repeats turned out to be 3:15, 4:15, 3:15 and 4:15. The 3:15 is probably the fastest ever for me for a 800m repeat. The 4:15 for 800m (which corresponds to 8:30 min/mile) is actually much faster than my expected marathon pace but it is hard to run at 10:30-11min pace immediately after having run at 6:30 pace! Needless to say that these were the easiest track workout ever.

Nobody's ought to have this much fun!

Here is our evergreen man -- Manish Rajdev!

13 mile long run, Saturday, Sept 24, not too easy!

On the face of it, this was a treat to us Chicago runners from the coaches. Having run the really long one (23-miler) last weekend, it was time to start tapering down and freshen up for the actual marathon. So, the prescription was only for 13 miles. Boy, when was the last time that we had to run only 13 miles on Saturday? I think it was July 25th for me, exactly 3 months ago from this run. To give you an idea of how long it was, I had not started writing this blog at that time.

The Sawyer Camp Trail is always so beautiful that I feel charged up on just seeing it from the freeway itself. (see picture above). On this day, it was cold (my car was showing 48 degrees outside) and everyone's fingers were somewhat numb. Manish, Chakri, and I ran together for almost the first 10 miles when Manish wanted to go a bit slower. Chakri and I ran the 13 together and I pushed him a bit. He was doing 23 miles on the day and so he had another 10 miles to go when I finished. Our mile splits were: 9:59, 10:37, 10:23, 12:22 (restroom break), 9:53, 10:48 (this was the tough mile#6), 12:32 (Gu Gel break), 10:15 (about 0.25 mile uphill), 8:50 (enjoying the tremendour downhill), 9:07, 10:29, 8:42, and 8:56. Total running time came out to 2:13, or an average pace of 10:13 min/mile. As can be seen, we picked it up in the last 5 miles, taking 87 minutes for the first 8 at nearly 11min/mile and 46 minutes for the last 5 at nearly 9:12 min/mile. (Later I learnt that Chakri finished 23 miles in about 4:10 and was feeling that we should not have gone this fast initially)

It felt good but I had thought it would be easier than it actually turned out to be. I mean my SF half marathon time was 2:09 and I felt much better there. May be the crowd plays a big role in this. I certainly hope so. In any event, I did feel that I pushed it, so I do NOT want to keep this pace for the first half at Chicago. I want to keep it at 10:45-11min/mile so that I get the confidence of running with in myself for the first half, and again try to go for the negative split overall...

The other experiment I had done was to not take any coffee in the morning. It certainly did not feel any different once I had started running, and so I am going to stick to a strict no-coffee policy, both on that morning as well as for 36 hours before the marathon. Secondly, I switched back to Powerbar (from the Clif bar, even though I do not like the taste of Powerbar as much) for my breakfast.

Oh yes, I decided to go for the massage from the entrepreneurial Kathleen who always shows up with a makeshift bed, bedding and cream to sooth those tired leg muscles of willing runners. Even though this was not the day when I felt the most tired or even needed it, I just wanted to feel the feeling of massaged muscles. Verdict: highly recommended!