Run Sim Run! KTM 2013 10K check.

It has been great reading all the KTM run experiences from my running mates in Runner’s High! I have been sitting on mine from day 1 and finally decided I should send it in before my coach tells me, that all it takes is 5 mins to sit and write.

I joined RH in June this year after having seen friends join it, run and enjoy it!! Thanks KG, SSM and SM for all the motivation and inspiration (Those were the bouquets, if I end up injured you will get the brickbats too). I was very skeptical about the whole running thing initially. I could hardly run for 30 to 40 seconds without panting so I wondered if I would be able to actually run the whole distance, and any time soon??
I blogged about my journey, as regularly as I could and now when I look back it was a slow and steady improvement. The improvement was very visible, apparently, because Santhosh said, in the first few weeks, I used to ask him “I walk more than run, is that ok? I can’t talk while I am running, is that ok?” But after a month and a half I was running a lot more than walking and talking more than running!!
I trusted what the chief said on the intro day “When the alarm rings, get your feet off the bed and come for the workout/run. We will take care of the rest.” I did that, for most of the session.

Race Day
I had been running decent towards the end of the season, slow, but decent. The 10K did not seem like a mountain. And the mock run had increased my confidence levels. It couldn’t get worse than that day. Could it? Well maybe!
Race day morning was fun, loud, alive and a totally different animal. It was motivating yet a teeny weeny bit scary too. SO many people would be running.

What are my goals I asked myself? I decided I wanted to feel happy – during the run, after the run. I wanted to really enjoy the whole thing and everything else could be a side effect of that. I wanted to finish strong and feel good.
The first 2 kms, as all the 10Kers standing towards the rear end know, were crowded! Don’t nod your head the time goalers and front runners. You weren’t there, you guys were already off sprinting err running!! But I remembered all the gyaan given by the coaches about taking the 1st 2 kms easy and getting the breathing into place and another of my coaches had just reinforced the thought before we started running that morning. Thanks for that!!

I sipped water at the 2nd stop and had a banana while I walked away from the station. Met my husband at that stop who then ran off and was to be seen only after the finish line! The 4 to 8 km stretch was in a trance like state. I remember looking at the scenery and seeing people around me running, random thoughts floating across my mind and not once did I think about running. One step ahead of the other was happening automatically. I saw so many RHers on the way and it was nice to say hi and exchange smiles that said Yay-we-know-each-other!! I didn’t feel like walking or stopping. But I did drink some water and another banana and some enerzal too at some stop – vague recollections.

During the 8 to 9 km stretch I felt a little fatigued and who comes up behind me? My dad who I had left behind long back at the 3 km mark. He egged me on further. I decided to walk the 1st 500 mtrs after crossing the 9 km mark so that I could finish strong and that would serve as my walk break.
Who did I see just when I needed them? The RH cheer and support squad! Some of the 21k-ers and the marathon runners were there, shouting out loud. That was awesome and all I needed was that. I started running faster around the 500 m point and then picked up pace, saw the crowd after the little uphill and felt a surge of energy, saw another coach pacing someone and I was smiling. Saw Santhosh coming back after pacing someone and he ran along me saying “Push your legs Simran. Get them moving. Give it your all!” I was like, yeah sure! You are not running 😛 LOL No, that did help.

I ran faster, sprinted actually, while remembering what another coach had said during the 100m relay work out on the last but one Wednesday, “You will thank us for this work out during KTM” Thank you!! That did help 🙂

Sprinted across the last few meters, saw my mom and my son, who was jumping up and down, and all those cheers felt just fabulous!! It all felt great – the run, the cheers, the buzz in the atmosphere, the feeling of a wonderful run. Totally loved it!! I think I am getting addicted to running so the Ultra is next on the cards and who knows what after that 🙂

Cheers to RH and all the runners, mentors, coaches. You all rock and are inspirations in your own ways!!

P.S. – the side effect of a happy run was I did my PB (Personal Best for the uninitiated)

Child Sexual Abuse – an online questionnaire. Please fill in.

2 days back I received an email from Shruti who is a student of design at Srishti School Of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore. She is currently busy with her diploma (final dissertation) project. The project is aimed at “protection of children from child sexual abuse”.

She says “After preliminary research I have found that not all Indian parents are aware of how to empower and safeguard their children. As part of my research, I have constructed a questionnaire I would like for you to fill out. 

Your responses will help me validate my enquiry. And I could end up designing any of the following:

A manual for parents who want to talk to their child about body safety rules.
A storybook that a parent reads to their child.
It could even be material that talks to parents on why it is important to talk about this issue. (as there is such a strong social stigma attached to this topic) 

(this questionnaire is anonymous, and you do not have to fill your name).”

Child Sexual Abuse is something people normally tend to brush under the carpet or not think about. BUT it DOES happen and could happen anywhere, to any child.

I filled the questionnaire. It takes 5 minutes. Please fill the survey in and as Shruti says “let’s work together in safeguarding and empowering our children to become stronger individuals.”
Thanks!!

I ran 10 kms for the first time ever!!!

Recorded my stats (to track future performances), learnt a life lesson, broke a mental barrier and made a new goal.

Yay!! I did it. This past Saturday was my first ever 10K run. At the beginning of my training program with Runner’s High (RH) if someone had asked me if I thought I could do a 10K run, I would have probably said a very emphatic NO! If you have read my previous posts on running and my progress, you would know I was skeptical about it.

I had this mental barrier which stopped me from believing that I could run 10 kms non stop, except the food, water pit stop breaks and a few walking intervals as needed. But now I am a believer, both in the process, training and methodology followed by RH and in the fact that anybody can do it. All you have to do is follow the schedule, give your 100%, have a commitment and some passion. It works!!

Note: This doesn’t mean that one can’t do it on their own. I know of SO many people who train on their own and are awesome runners. I personally feel more motivated in a group with guidelines, schedules etc.

The run itself went by great. I was mentally and physically prepared. Had a good dinner the night before – carbs, protein and fat. The morning of the run had 2 small bananas and a peanut butter and jam sandwich 30 to 45 mins before the run. Started off with some music and turned my Sportstracker on. Ran non stop for the 1st 2 kms. Then walked for 2 mins. Ran non stop for the next 2 kms. Reached the pit stop. Had a banana. Walked for 2 mins. Ran for 2 more kms. Walked for 3 mins. Ran the next 2 kms. So the first 8 k  was easy and went by without much fuss. No aches, pains or fatigue. After the 8th km, I decided to amp up my pace to a higher pace than what I normally run at. I wanted to finish strong and fast. That’s where I went wrong. I could not sustain the fast pace for too long and felt out of breath in the 9th km. slowed down, walked a bit, caught my breath back. Ran again and finished the 10K. Not exactly the way I would have liked to but nonetheless it felt good!

Looking back in hindsight I would have never imagined myself running a 10K. Have always been at an average fitness level.  So doing this was a milestone for me. A personal achievement and will be a happy memory 🙂

I follow a runner via her FB page Life in the day of a runner and she says

I know there’s this idea that the “faster we are, the better we are.” Is speed really what defines you as a “good runner?” If you’re FAST, why then you are a great runner. And well, if you’re SLOW….. uh… not so much.

Well, what is FAST? For that matter, what is SLOW? Who defines what is slow and what is fast? I’ll tell you who defines it: YOU. ONLY YOU. There will ALWAYS be someone who is faster than you and someone who is slower than you. If you are giving 100% EVERY time you get out there on a training run or in a race, then you are going at just the right speed.

Read this after my run and it was so apt. Made me smile 🙂

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Image courtesy – Running on the fly

The run also reinforced the life lesson that whatever you do in life do it for yourself or because of your likes and beliefs. Don’t do it because you think someone else will like it, appreciate it, admire you for it and similar sentiments. If people do that, it’s great. But if they don’t and you had pinned your hopes and happiness on it then you are in for a disappointment. I am not being cynical, just practical.

Run, walk, paint, sing, dance, work, not work, eat less, eat more, cook, play – do whatever – IF you want to and IF you like it!

My takeaway goal from this 10K, is to do a time goal 10K in the next season when I join RH. I am inspired and hooked to running now and want to work on improving my pace. But one step at a time. I love journeys, destinations will happen on their own 🙂

Enough gyaan baantna (knowledge sharing)! Here are my stats from my 1st 10K. Capturing them here for my personal record keeping.

10k run

Have a great week and stay fit and fabulous!!

Nuggets from N!

N woke up this morning and took one look at me and said :”Are you back from running?”

Me: “No, today is rest day”

N: “No, no, can’t rest mamma. We have to do 5 laps every day. I never give up, how will I defeat you like that boy on TV?”

The “boy” in question being the boy in the Bournvita ad, where the boy and his mother run and train.

N and I after a weekend run

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N came with me for my Sunday run this past weekend. I had to run a 4K. He ran along for about 3 and then declared he was tired!

Once back at home, my sister asked him: How much did you run N?

N: 3K

Sis: Wow! 3 km, that is great.

N: 3K not 3 km!!

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N to S (my husband): I think I should sleep with mommy tonight.

S: Why?

N: That ways when she gets up to run, when it is really dark outside, I can also get up and go with her.

🙂

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On the Sunday run N saw a friend of mine wearing the arm band to carry a phone.

N to friend: What is that on your arm?

Friend: This is to keep my phone.

N to me: Mamma you should have one of those. Then you can listen to music or listen to me when I call and you are running.

Me: Lets tell daddy about this when we get home. Maybe he can gift this and a few other things to mommy 😉 🙂

Fast. Free. Fly. Run.

I had a long run this past weekend. Saturday was 6K. I did a run/walk combination of 2 min run/3 min walk. The initial 2 rounds of running were at easy pace, slow jog types. That hill I always have to cross, once I do this initial phase slow and steady then I feel more power in the remainder of the run.

For the first time I felt that I could run at a faster pace than my normal “easy run/jog”. Even though I couldn’t continue the pace for the full 2 min stretch but it felt great. That is how I want to run eventually. Free, fast, flying-like!

I envy people with long strides, fast pace, long legs, and strong lungs! I see them running past me during the training sessions. I hope to run like them some day.

Sunday was a 3K in a lovely place – lots of greenery, wild greens growing all over. I could hear birds chirping and the wind blowing through trees. I did the 1K warm up run non stop and then the foot drills were smoother too. Less gasping for breath especially after the high knees 🙂 The post run stretches and strengthening were great. I do the strengthening on Tuesdays and Thursdays too. And am totally liking what it is doing to my abs. Fit into one lower dress size after a long long time 🙂

I still have this nag in my head of not being able to run all the distance. Our coaches say walking is important. It helps you run faster in fact.

I say, why would you call it running then? Would be walk and run, isn’t it? I understand breaks like a water stop or snack break but not the stage I am in right now. I feel my stamina is very less compared to a lot of others in my running group. Again, no comparison needed. But the thought sometimes just pops up!

I am doing what it takes, following the schedule to a T, showing up for all sessions, doing the self runs and cross training. And I assume that all this will help me improve as a runner. I am enjoying what I am doing and that’s what matters in the end 🙂

Happy Tuesday people. Have a good rest of the week. And stay fab and stay fit!!

 

 

So 3.5 weeks into training, where am I?

This is week 4 of my training with Runner’s High for running 10 kms in the Kaveri Trail Marathon.

The changes compared to Week 0 –

1. I feel less tired after the High Intensity Training days. Initially I used to come back and sleep after the long runs and Wednesday work outs. It was a natural body reaction. Wasn’t used to all that exercise, waking up early, really early and the post workout intake of food  would make me yearn for a bed and a blanket. After 3 weeks the need for sleep post exercise has reduced. I survived not sleeping for the whole day, both days over the past weekend. Yay! That is good because that means the body is getting used to and accepting higher levels of working out.

2. There are stretches where I can run without any effort. Yes! So I did a 5K this past weekend and in between there was a phase, almost midway, where I felt this surge of energy and my feet felt weightless and my breathing was rhythmic, effortless and my running easy! Maybe that is what runners feel like. I hope such surges and stretches increase 🙂

3. I have begun liking Wednesday workouts instead of fearing them. One reason being they are different and new every time. Novelty is important to me in all areas of my life 🙂 They still leave me tired, gasping for breath and feeling like David from David and Goliath but I have learnt to enjoy them in a way.

4. Waking up in the mornings – Hmm, well this is sort of tricky. I could get up early without problems since Day 1 but DO I want to? If given a choice, maybe not. I struggle more with it now as compared to week 1. Don’t know if it is because of the initial/beginner’s enthusiasm wearing off. I am still following instructions given at the introduction session.

For me running (as of now) is about breaking barriers and limitations I thought I had, about incorporating fitness into my lifestyle, about meeting people, observing people and doing something new! Running like any other life skill, is teaching me that it is important to FOCUS, to not compare yourself against others BUT yourself, to zone out everything and be in the moment, to enjoy what I am doing.

Looking forward to the next run day! Till the next time, Adios amigos!

Thanks for stopping by and being a part of my journey virtually 🙂

 

 

A myth shattered

I had been dreading today’s workout. I woke at 4:45 am. I have got my get-ready-in-the-morning routine down to a T now so I was down in the basement in 20 mins. A little earlier than needed. Drove with my car pool buddy to the workout venue. Did I tell you Runner’s High encourages car pooling?

The first activity was warm up – which meant 3 rounds or 1.2 kms on an easy jog or run. I walked a bit of that in the 1st round. Then ran non stop for the next 2 laps. Did the foot drills after that. They are fun, I like them.

This was followed by another activity – 8 laps of straights and curves. Had to run fast, about 75% of my sprint speed in the straight stretches – about 100 m. Then do a slow jog or walk on the curves another 100 m. Had to do 16 repeats of this. This is the part I feared before today. What I did the last time ,when it was 6 laps, I ran as fast as I could and then jogged/slow ran on the curves. What happened was that I wasn’t able to recover my breath just enough till the beginning of the fast straights and ended up running them also slow. After about 2 laps like this I was ready to give up, all breathless and tired. It was almost like running at an easy pace for 6 laps. I wasn’t getting what I should have out of the workout.

Today, I had decided to ask the coaches if there was a better way to do it. There had to be!

Like a fellow newbie runner said something like, It shouldn’t be a punishment. It should be something to look forward to and fun. If it is not fun then we won’t feel like doing it again.

Santhosh, the guy who started Runner’s High, was at our workout location today. He moves across the different work out locations every Wednesday. When I asked him how I could do this better without giving up mentally, he said, Do the fasts as fast as you can, while not sprinting full speed. On the slow stretches, WALK, do not run. Catch up your breath and get your heart to normal level before the next fast stretch. It is important to get your heart and lungs to expand more and work harder than they are used to then slow them down. This will help improve your stamina and run ability.

So I followed this to a T and that helped! I was able to do all 8 laps very easily. Ran the fast stretches, became almost breathless at the ends of those, which is what should happen. Then walked around to catch breath over the curves.

So the myth that workouts have to be painful to gain from them was shattered today. Yes they are not easy, BUT they don’t have to be a torture and something that scares you. If you are not comfortable, ask the experts and figure out the right way to do it.

Over a period of time I should be able to run/jog those curves also. But that will and should happen slowly not from day 1. Yet again, for some people with a decent fitness level it could be the state on Day 1. Just listen to your body and focus on the task, don’t do what everyone around seems to be doing.

Cheers!

Dreading Wednesday!

The last week was my first with the Runner’s High group. And so it was my first weekend with them too. Saturdays are for long runs and Sundays for a run + strengthening exercises.

On Saturday my group was supposed to do a 3K easy run. Now when they say “easy” they do mean it and want you to run at a pace where you can breathe in a rhythm and talk easily. If you are panting, struggling to breathe or in pain then you are doing something wrong. I did that the initial few days when I started running on my own. I felt breathless after about 30 seconds of running. Eventually I did get to a pace where I could breathe in a rhythm and talk a bit while running. At this point of time I am not looking at pace, form, speed or time. All I am doing is trying to stick to the routine and breathe easy while running even if my pace is slow-er than anyone else around me. Slow and steady is the name of the game.

On Sunday I was supposed to do an easy 2K followed by stretches and strengthening exercises. We also did a gait analysis to determine what kind of shoes would I need. Turns out I do need to change my shoes (it’s been more than a year using my existing ones) and I need control shoes since I tend to overpronate. Too many terms you don’t understand? It’s okay. In simple terms my feet don’t fall straight on the ground with all parts touching the ground at the same time so I need to buy a shoe with arch support which will help prevent my foot from rolling in.

Off to shoe shopping soon 🙂 *The shop-a-holic in me is overjoyed!!

The post run strengthening was great. Discovered some more muscles that I did not know existed. But working on them is supposed to help in the long run to improve running form so do it religiously we shall.

Now to the title of this post. Wednesday is the day when we do quality work-outs. And it is supposed to expand your lung capacity to more than what it is now. That will help you breathe better, train your heart to work better and improve your running capacity.

But how they train you for it is what is tiring and scary. Scary because I dread feeling breathless and tired. It is also a lesson in humility when you realize your actual capabilities. I thought I could do this, no problem. But turns out I can’t. It made me realize that nothing in life comes easy, you need to work hard, push yourself and struggle before you can feel the high of success. That is, if you want to be really good at something, achieve perfection and master a new skill. Skimming through the surface  and taking it easy is what we all do most of the time or at least majority of the time. And no harm in doing that, it is perfectly fine to do what we like. I am a total believer in “Live Life your way, you get to do that only once and no rewinds possible!” But if you want to be good, you gotta work hard!

This post is not meant to scare you if you are planning to run soon. Just an eye opener that there is fun and easy moments, as well as tough ones. I don’t know for how long I will dread Wednesdays, but I will go to them all and work them out in the hope that I will be able to run better because of them.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week ahead!!

 

 

 

Why am I doing this?

The alarm rang. I searched for the phone under my pillow to switch it off. Fumbled for a few seconds then got the OK button. Looked at the time. It said 5:00 AM. For a few milliseconds I wondered why did I set it up for 5 am? Then it struck me today was Wednesday, I was supposed to go for the mid-week run practice. The only weekday on which the Runner’s High group meets at 4 pre-decided locations in the city. We do a quality work out to improve our gait, strength and running form.

I got off the bed, picked up the clothes I had laid out the night before. Because I knew I would be too dazed in the morning to go looking around for stuff.  It was silent in the house, almost dark and a bit eery out there. As I was tying my shoe laces, I thought “Why am I doing this? Why?” No answer came. I paused then decided to just go ahead with the flow and do it. I am not going to ask why coz I already did that exercise earlier. Something good will come out of it – a learning, the joy of a new experience, a healthy body. Whatever.

I picked up my jacket and left. Came back 2 hours later and was feeling great! 🙂

The drills, the run, the stretches, the people, the coaches, the early morning weather, the feeling of getting out there and doing something, the way the body felt after all that exercise, the pain, it was all good. I thrive off meeting people, doing something new and exploring the world and people one bit at a time. This experience was giving me all that and more.

Run!

Run! (Photo credit: steve.garner32)

So far so good. I will capture my thoughts and feelings as I go along. The real thing, not just the end result.

Have an awesome day!!

Get set, go!

Started a new thing today. New milestone. New goal. New activity. New challenge. New faces.

All of these and hopefully more. A lifestyle change? A new habit? A new circle?

At the age of 33 I have decided to participate in my first professional running event. A 10K at that.

At this point I have my doubts about the how, what and when. But I was told this morning, at the introduction meeting of the training session, held by Runner’s High, that “When the alarm rings, put your feet down on the floor and stand up. Show up for the training and we will take care of the rest. The running will happen on its own.”

I shall have faith and get my feet off the bed!

#Excited #Anxious #Hopeful

P.S. – I still wish there was a 5K category in this event 😉