Sunday, November 25, 2012

Auroville Marathon Training : Week 1

November 19 - November 25

The week began with the arrival of the much anticipated weekly schedule mail from Santosh. After the exilariting experience at the intro session, I was waiting impatiently for the email which did not arrive on Sunday. I even sent a couple of sms to Rashmi asking if she had got it and I had not somehow got it for which she patiently replied (did I detect a certain amount of exasperation?) asking me to calm down and that it would arrive within no time.

True to her words it arrived my mail box early in the morning at 6:10 AM on Monday and I lapped it up greedily. By now I had begun to plan my entire week centred around the runs and now I had the added responsibility of having enrolled my daughter as well. After my first 12.5 km Ultra run I began to really appreciate how far I had come and also to believe that I could only go forward and further from here. Juggling my family, daughters and office and the running training session left me with very little time for myself. Added to that I had to take care of my nutrition, hydration and make sure that I sleep early.

The first run of the week was on Tuesday where we have to run the given short distance on our own. As per my schedule I ran two rounds around the storm water drain for 25 mins. Its a distance of 2.4 kms. I had planned to take my daughter for the Wednesday run. the run is from 6.00 am to 7.00 am. But she has to catch her college bus at 6.45. When I had posed this dilemma to Santosh the previous week he had given me the solution and asked me to come to Cubbon park at 5.30 and as coach George would be there at 5.30 itself making the markings on the running routes, he would guide me with the run and the drills. Both Rashmi and Apsara quickly jumped at the suggestion and all got into the excitement of the situation.

We arrived at Cubbon at 5.30 and were searching for George. True to Santosh's word, George was making the markings and we began our warm up with torches in our hands. Once our warm up ended he guided us through the form exercises. Doing the form exercises with the group gives us a lot of time to catch our breath. But doing the tiny group of three hardly gave us time in between. After that I had to do the time trail for which I had to run the distance of 3.2 km or 2 miles. This meant that I had to run four laps of 800 mts each. Both me and my daughter ran our distances along with Rashmi. But I could only run three as it was getting late for my daughter's bus, and I had to abandon the time trail. George advised me to do it the next Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Saturday long run was at Cubbon and we had to run 3 kms. We ran as a group around the park. I noticed that I was running better. Even though I could maintain a slow and steady pace I was not getting breathless and could run without stopping right up to 1 km. After that I was able to maintain a interval of 4 min run and 1 min walk. I was quite pleased with myself and was slowly gaining in confidence. The 'chai' or tea session after the run was full of fun and idle chatter which acts like fodder to the soul just like the run rejuvenates the body and Santosh's thought provoking articles acts as food for the mind.

The Sunday short run was at IIMB or the world renowned management institute. It was a short run of 2 km. It was also the day that we were supposed to form buddy groups. All the runners are divided into buddy groups which are formed on the basis of the distances that we are training for in our target run and the goals we have set out to achieve in that target run. The target run we are training for in the current training program is the Auroville marathon on February 10 and the distance that I am training for is 10 km.

Santosh along with Professor had organised very well. We had a brief introduction session about Runner's High and the various charities and causes it supports not only in terms of monetary support, but also the involvement of Santosh and the coaches and various runners with the various organisations in terms of training the children of those schools and organisations. Even though we had read about it all on the Runner's High website and also heard the accounts of various people, the AV session was a very big eye opener and it gave a deep insight into the kind of work that is being done by the Runner's High community. We had the buddy creation session which is always full of fun and enjoyment. I chose a finish goal with the aim to run the entire 10 km without stopping and walking and was put among beginners and second timers with similar goals. Each group was assigned a coach and we were fortunate to get our very own Runner's High's in-house photographer Raghav. Our photos on facebook are going to look awesome :) !!!

After the AV session we had a brief 'chai' and coffee session and thus ended another week of fun, frolic and running .......

Monday, November 19, 2012

Auroville Marathon Training Program - Intro session

November 18

We completed the Bangalore Ultra on November 11. We provided the feedback about our training program. We also wrote some stories and read all the stories written by the running community about the training program, the Ultra run itself, what worked for them, what did not work for them, what memories will remain etched in their hearts and the inspiration.

The week was a week of relaxation and also of basking in the shining glory of having completed our task and having achieved our goals. The most significant feeling was that it is not some reflected glory but its your own achievement that has been earned through one's own sweat and blood. Ok.. ok.. I know that I am being a bit over dramatic but that was the feelign that prevailed throughout the week.

The intro session for the Auroville training program was scheduled for the coming Sunday, November 18. My neighbour and our driver who ferries us to and from each training session apart from training himself for the half marathon, had left for Japan to learn to speak more Japanese than moshi moshi and sayonara.:). Of course not, he has gone on work. But that sounds boring. Going to Japan to learn to speak Japanese sounds more interesting :)

I was the driver for the next two weeks. I packed my car with Rashmi, my friend Meena and her children adn my two daughters and we all went to Cubbon park. As we had arrived a few minutes early, there were only a few coaches and a half a dozen odd people. But as the seconds were passing by more and more people kept pouring in and phew! I will not be exaggerating if I say that there were more than two hundred people who had registered. And I will not be wrong if I say that at least half the faces were new faces.

The session was full of humour, friendly bantering and congratulating each other on the Ultra run. Subhashini was the star among the women for having come first in the 10K run in her category. Santosh then started with a brief introduction about Runner's High and a short overview of the Auroville marathon training program and how the entire program will be spread and how the sessions will be each week. Even though I had heard it before, it certainly felt new and like I was hearing it for the first time.

The highlight of the session was the novel method adopted by Santosh to introduce the coaches. He introduced the first coach and then he made each of them introduce the next coach. This added an element of freshness and also gave us an opportunity to hear all of them as we usually do not get to hear all of them speaking but only get to know the coaches whom we interact with directly.

Santosh asked the newcomers to run two rounds around the Queen's park. The pain in my left shin and left knee that I had developed during my Ultra run had reduced considerably to the extent of having disappeared. Even though I did not have to run, I ran the two rounds to check if the pain would return back. It did return back with such a short run. We have two guardian angels and miracle workers in the Runner's High community. If Santosh forms the foundation and the coaches are the pillars then these two form the roof or the protective umbrella like cover to the community. They are the physios or the physiotherapists. They patiently hear each and every runner's complaints and give a set of dos and donts and exercises. If followed carefully and diligently, the pains disappear and we emerge stronger. That is how it worked with me also and by next week I was as good as new.

Armed with new confidence and a general sense of well being I was eagerly looking forward to beginning the new training season and a new chapter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Week After the Bangalore Ultra

November 12 - November 17

During the week after the Bangalore Ultra run,  I was on an absolute high after having soaked in the feeling of having achieved something that I would not even have dreamed about seven weeks ago. If someone had come and told me on October 24th that I would be participating in a 12.5 marathon run, I would have rolled on the ground and laughed. In fact I had even made fun of Pani, Rashmi and Anupama during their preparations for the KTM.

But, here I was, having joined the same bandwagon lock stock and barrel, I had come to realise what it was that kept them going and what motivated them to wake up at unearthly hours and go to unheard of places and run crazy distances. It was the high that you experience and the sense of achievement that you feel, as though you are right on top of the world and there since you have done this, there is nothing that you cannot do if you set your heart towards it.

We received a mail from head coach Santosh asking us to share our stories about our run and the general training program. That started an avalanche of stories written by the runners each of which was a beautiful read by itself. Stories of perseverance and endurance by some and sheer grit and determination by some. Stories of sheer enjoyment by some and of lessons learnt and personal milestones achieved. Each story, written from the heart touched a chord and have all stayed with me and have become a source of inspiration. Each story was also a piece of literature in itself to be preserved and categorized among the classics. I am sure that at any point in time if I feel low, I need to just go back them and they will provide me with the impetus to move on.

We also received a feedback form asking us to give our feedback. I felt that this was a really not needed because, hey! come on! after the adrenaline in the blood stream due to the 12.5 run and the rush in the head, what feedback can we give? Of course it was all good. But these folks are really serious about receiving their feedbacks and the form has also been designed very meticulously with each and every aspect of the training sessions covered with specific queries which we had to answer and rate. I filled it immediately and sent it even though there was a reminder after a couple of days to the entire group asking for those who did not send it to send it immediately. I told you, its not taken lightly ... these guys are serious about it :)

It was a no-brainer really whether I would register for the next season of training. I was just waiting for the mail from Santosh inviting us to the next training session for the Auroville marathon, I registered immediately. My daughter had got inspired by my run at the Bangalore Ultra and she also wanted to register. Because of her college there were some schedule issues and logistics issues. Once I chatted about it with Santosh, he was quite supportive and welcomed her into the program and also gave very simple solutions on how to go about overcoming the challenges. I also invited my friend to register and she not only registered herself, but her children also joined along.

So here I am.... on my way to another season of glorious running, Yes, finally I feel that I am runner !!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Process Runner : Week 7 : Bangalore Ultra Finished

Nov 5 to Nov 11

This was the week that I had been training for. The Bangalore Ultra marathon was scheduled for Sunday, November 11. The Sunday afternoon mail of Santosh contained the weekly schedule and many inspirational videos. He wrote many useful tips about how our preparation should be, nutrition, hydration and rest. The best piece he wrote was that we were our own heroes as we had all trained against al odds, persevered with determination and said that we must go ahead and proudly call ourselves athletes. I found that to be the most motivating as I had never seen myself as an athlete up to this point in time.

The Wednesday workout was at cubbon park and consisted of the short train workout.  I was encouraged by Santosh and Chandra to run faster and I had to really push myself to sprint the fastest I could. Each sprint is very touch and the time I need to recover and for my heart and lungs to come back to normal is longer. As a result of which I am unable to continue with the rest of the group and have to take longer periods of walk to recover as compared to the rest of the group.

The rest of the days of the week was for rest so that we are fresh and raring to go on Sunday. Santosh warned us that this is not like the exam we give in college and school where we resort last minute cramming, memorising and preparation. Here, the preparation has happened in the last six weeks, and this week is to go and give our best shot.

The usual last minute advices, collecting of the bib took place. The d-day arrived on Sunday, November 11. We all assembled at the Hennur cross and went to the race location in the Ananya bus and the Shrishti bus. The 100 km runners and the 24 hr runners had completed their runs at 5 am to great success. The 25 km runners had already begun their run at 6 am. As, we, the 12.5 km runners collected at the starting line to last minute announcements, the enthusiasm and the excitement was palatable. There were last minute high fives and best of lucks going around  It was very exciting to see many of the 25 km runners come to the 12.5 point and turn back for their second lap. we cheered them all loudly. The race started as the clock struck 7 and all the eager fast runners rushed to the front and we all started at a very steady pace. We saw many more 25 km runners along the way who cheered us along. 
It was beautiful Bangalore weather and perfect for running. The trail has many open stretches and a bamboo forest on either side. The soil is soft and perfect for runnig even though there are a few rocky stretches and a few puddles that we had to watch out for. 

I found it very tough right from the beginning itself. There was an ominous feeling that today might not be my day. The slight gradient in the first 1 km itself did it to me. My lungs threatened to burst. I was already panting at the first aid station. I developed a slight ache in the lower abdomen and then my left leg started to stiffen and ache from the 4.5 to 5 km mark onwards. But seeing so many fellow RH runners on the opposite side egging me on and hearing 'come on Asha, you can do it!' kept me going.

All our fellow runners had raced ahead and Seema, Geethanjali and I formed a group and kept each other going. Seema wasn't feeling well and the heat was getting to Geethanjali. But each time one of us feel back the other would call out a word of encouragement. 
The cheering squad on the way with their whistles were great boosters and gave a rush to us both the times we passed them. The spoon and tumbler ringing was a great touch! and these guys rock!!!! and are better than the IPL cheering leading squad. Seeing so many volunteers hooting and whistling and many who had come on a beautiful Sunday just to cheer us kept me going. Each time I hear some one say Go Go, I increased my pace for the next 3 or 4 steps. We saw many of our elite long distance runners many of our coaches running.

Seeging Raghu sprawled on the floor with his camera trying to capture each one of us was another great sight which helped me to gain some more strength. Both the times we passed him we made sure that we gave a nice smile and a great pose.

Throughout the pain in my leg kept increasing, but Geethanjali saying each time, 'we are at the last 4 km', 'this is the home stretch' etc. kept me going and took my mind away from the pain. 

The scenery was beautiful and the bamboo groves and the many tunnels of greenery that we ran through were a sight to behold!
I experienced many emotional moments where the pain increased and the though that I might not be able to finish seemed to overwhelm me. I thought that I might burst into tears for no rhyme or reason. I kept thinking that I might just have to give up in the last 2.5 to 3 km stretch. But I continued on with the single thought that no matter what happens I have to cross the finish line even if I have to crawl. I was reminded of the motivational video Santosh had sent and also my sisters words, 'please finish the race, even if you have to crawl'. 

I saw many people walking the last 3 to 2 km stretch.  25 manykm runners had started walking. As I approached the last aid station I realised that I was only 1 km away from finishing. I decided to run as much as possible but could run only a few paces and had to walk again. Just when I was experiencing another emotional moment, I saw my daughter and niece shouting out my name. Seeing my family cheering me helped me to control and compose myself. They both ran a few paces with me as my husband took my video and my older daughter, mother in law and neighbour aunty cheered me on.

Ajay joined to pace me the last 300 mts. Sharath kept saying 'come on, just 200 mts more' Sheetal ran with me up to the finishing point. All of them and many others helped me to cover the last 1oo mts. 

Crossing the finishing line to great cheering and finally getting the medal was the high point of the day and soon all the pain and emotions of the last 2 hrs seemed all worth it. This run had made an indelible impression on my heart and not on my mind. With this experience, I feel it is now possible for me to do anything. I can now call myself a finisher !!!!!!

Starting from zero and a no-exercise background, I never ever imagined that I would be able to run/walk a 12.5 marathon in a short duration training program of 7 weeks. From October 25 to November 11, I have come a long way thanks to the those who inspired me to join, my family for being supportive, the coaches and the entire running community. The memory of today will be etched in my heart forever. 

Thanks a ton once again everyone for making this possible for me.!!!!!!

Next Sunday .... we start training for Auroville 10K on February 10, 2013

Friday, November 2, 2012

Process Runner : Week 6

Oct 29 - Nov 5, 2012

After the mock run on Sunday, I was completely exhausted and it took me a whole day of just lying on the bed to recover and to be able to go to the office the next Monday. Santosh's mail arrived in the afternoon listing out the program for the week and contained some interesting articles and trivia.

I did my Tuesday tempo run alone in the morning. I had to run for 25 minutes and I did three lops around the storm water drain. I had to do 4 strides of 100m each. Just as I completed two, I bumped into a friend and had to rush back home as it was getting late to go to the office.

Our Wednesday run was at Cubbon Park and we had the delayed relays scheduled for us. Santosh and Chandra were the coaches for the day. The runners of RH attend the Wednesday training sessions at any one of the three venues Cubbon park, Agara and Jaynagar to reduce the distance they need to travel as it is a working day. Santosh divides his times between  the three venues. All the coaches put in a lot of effort to not only train the new comers like me but they also keep track of the progress of the different levels that each runner is in however accomplished or seasoned they are. They keep changing the patterns to suit the needs and requirements of each one of us depending on our levels of fitness.

On Wednesday as I got up at 4 am to got ready, it was raining heavily. Anu called me asking if I was coming and then Rashmi messaged me saying that we will go for the run even though it is raining.

The delayed run is another killer Wedneday work out that not only takes us directly to hell, but also deep fries us and throws us into boiling water :) !. It was drizzling, but, that does not stop this group from running. On the contrary, they all love running in the rain.

Again we are divided into groups according to our paces and the first runner of each group sets out. The second runner starts after 10 seconds and tries to catch up with the first runner. The third runner next and so on and so forth. I started well as I was the first runner. We had to do eight loops of 200 mts each. We stop at the first 100 mt point and wait for al the runners to join us which gives us about 15 seconds of rest and then we start again. After about 2 rounds I started panting and needed more time to recover. Finally Santosh asked our group to stop after 7 rounds and I was actually disappointed that he did not allow us to do the last. I felt like a school girl whom the teacher had scolded and  given the tougher job to the other student. :)

The Saturday run was again at Cubbon park. We had to run 8 kms and do two loops of 4 km each around the park. Cubbon park is the most beautiful location for a run. We Bangaloreans are blessed with beautiful weather throughout the year that is most conducive for running. Many runners often share their experiences of running in hotter cities like Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

The sun rays streaming through the trees was a sight to behold as we were running. The dogs in the park are used to the runners and more importantly, the runners are used to the dogs. We get to see parrots, mynahs, pigeons and other birds through the running course. I was happy that I ran without stopping for a long distance before starting to walk. I maintained a steady pace and kept up a good time. I must run longer distances before starting to walk because the first course is always the easiest. Once you stop and start walking, then it becomes more and more difficult to run even 100 mts  or even more than 10 paces.

Te, Sunday run at IIMB was very beautiful. We had to run a  distance of 4 km and then we had the core training session. We started with a quick warm up of 1.2 km and then we did the form exercises. After that was the 4 km run. I started with Seema and Shuba. But Seema raced ahead and me and Shuba continued at a steady pace with a few paces of walk thrown in between to catch our breaths. Shuba is on a come back from an injury and she suffers from knee pain. When we were at the 3 km mark, we saw a crowd around fellow runner Padma who had felt giddy due to sudden low sugar and thank fully has sat down by the road side. Rashmi and others ran to the aid station to get her water and coach Santosh came running with chikkis (very tasty and crispy Indian sweet made out of peanuts and jaggery (tradiitonal unrefined whole cane sugar)). He advised us to continue running as he realised that we had all crowded which was not very helpful. So we all continued our last 1 km and completed our run on high spirits.

We then had a session of core strengthening exercises with Chandra. They help us to improve the strength of our core muscles, prevent injury and improve our running stability and efficiency. So strengthnin our core is the sure way to become fitter and faster.

As it was the last Sunday of training before the Bangalore Ultra Marathon, Santosh had planned a small award giving ceremony. It was a moment to recognise all the newcomers who had put in a lot of effort, shown great commitment and  improved significantly during the six weeks of training. I was pleasantly surprised and very happy to get recognised for my regularity in using the runner's log and through this I hope all runner's will realise the benefit of the runner's log created by Vinay and Santosh.  

Rashmi had got coffee for everyone and I had prepared Tea. Santosh and coach Sourav (who is also a professor at IIMB) had also organised tea and coffee for everyone. So we ended the days with a hot cup of coffee and a steaming hot cup of tea. I could see a lot of energy and enthusiasm around and felt that happiness is the greatest form of gratitude and I also knew that I would store the memory of this day not in my mind or head but deep down in my heart.

Next Sunday .... November 11, the D-day, the day that I have been training for the last 7 weeks, the Bangalore Ultra Run - 12.5K

Process Runner : Week 5

Oct 22 - Oct 28:

A lot of people ask me why I joined this running program. My only reason for joining is to be able to inspire my daughters to take up the healthy way of living. I wanted to motivate them by doing it and showing it and practising what I preach.

By now, after four weeks of being a part of Runner;s High, I had also become used to planning my life around the runs. I didnt want to miss a single run. The week was the week of the Navrathri festival and I had to go to Mysore to visit my father and grand mother at Mysore as both were not well. I set out to Mysore after the Sunday run at  Cubbon park. I drove down with my daughters.

 The weekly mail of Santosh arrived on Sunday afternoon detailing the weekly program. That Tuesday, as I was in Mysore I did not run in the morning as I had to drive back in the afternoon so that I do not miss the Wednesday run. The Wednesday run was at Cubbon park and it was the group fartlek. In this  runners who are of similar paces form groups and do fast sprints for a distance of 4 km . The group does a fast stretch  for 2 minutes and then stop till the last runner joins. The last runner is given just 30 seconds of rest and then the group starts again. If I though the last weeks Train workout was a killer then this was a killer that takes you directly to hell. I struggled to keep up with my group and the runners kept encouraging me all the time and kept egging me on to not give up.

We are supposed to do a short 25 minute cycling or yoga every Friday. But the past four weeks, I have not been doing the Friday workout. I hope that when the next training program starts I'll be able to be regulat with the Friday workout also tha way I have been regular with the Tuesday workout.

That Saturday was a rest day as we had a mock run on Sunday at Kingston County Annexe which is the venue for the Bangalore Ultra Marathon for which we have all been training since the past four weeks. The mock run was organised by the Runner's for Life group who are also the organisers of the Bangalore Ultra Marathon and the Kaveri Trail marathon every year. This year they had organised the Mysore marathon on the very same day as our mock run. Because of this the only runners who turned up for the mock run were from the Runner's High group and we were a good hundred strong team. As the organisers had forgotten to get the marking powder, we had about a 45 minute period when the organisers themselves were doubtful whether the run will actually take place or not as they did not want to risk runner's getting lost as the trails were not marked. But they managed to place volunteers at important points and the run commenced at 7 am.

It was a beautiful trail with a few puddles that we had to avoid and a few stretches with rocks. But all in all it was beautiful as we were running through a forest. To find this place with dense trees just about 12 kms from our house was really a surprise. It would make a very good cycling route also as the approach roads are in excellent condition.

The run itself was very good. I ran a good distance before beginning to walk. As the trail was full of rocks, I struggled a bit. The body refused to cooperate and the muscles began to scream asking me to stop. That's when I faced the inevitable question that every runner comes across at least once during their runs. Why am I doing this? And its also very amusing to see the kind of answers that the mind comes up with. I finished the run in 1 hr 45 mins to loud cheering and clappign by fellow runners.

Here is a link to the trailer released by RFL (Runner's for life) of the Bangalore Ultra Mock Run

After the run we shared tea and had a good chat during the stretches. Rashmi's tasty sandwiches and Anu's tasty akki rotti (rice flour roti) made the day even more memorable. With the mind empty, spirit full and the stomach even fuller up to the brim, there is nothing else that one needs .......

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Process Runner : Week 4

Oct 15 - Oct 21:

The fourth week again began with the arrival of the much awaited and anticipated mail on Sunday afternoon from Santosh with the details of the week's running schedule and program. It is always exiting to know the venue of the Saturday and Sunday runs because he keeps changing the venues to keep it interesting and challenging for us and to avoid making the running experience monotonous. Also, it gives us the experience of running on different trails.
Santosh's  mails also contain a lot of information on breathing, recovery, nutrition and hydration and various other tips that are helpful to us in our running. He also sends some inspirational articles and videos and some articles either written by him or from any other source that are relevant to that week's running.

Monday was the day of rest and on Tuesday I had to run 25 minutes and then two 100 mts strides (sprint) with 1 minute walk in between. I could not keep the 3 minutes run and the 1 minute walk intervals. Even though I started with the 3 minute run, after the first loop around the storm water drain, the running started decreasing to 2.5 min, 2 min, 1.5 and then 1 min. The walks started becoming slower and increasing in duration. I ran with Rashmi and quite late at around 6.30 PM.

The Wednesday Cubbon park run was a slightly more difficult run, We had to run 4 km around the park and I struggled to keep up with my fellow runners. I tried walking faster and tried to keep the last of the runners in sight. After one loop around the park we had to run up a small rock right in the middle of the park to gain some experience of hill running. Coach Kanishka was near the rock giving encouragement to all the runners. I ran up the hill with fellow runner Raji who kept encouraging me to run faster. I had to do 2 runs up the rock but unknowing I did 4 runs. After that we had to run three more loops around the jogger's trail. I was exhausted and I was walking more and running less. I kept taking a very long time for each lop and after my second loop which I walked most of the distance, coach Srini coud not see my plight any more and asked me to stop and do the stretches.

The Saturday run was scheduled to take place at the Kanakpura trail. Through the week Pani kept saying that he might not be able to make it to the run as he was working very late everyday. But finally he could not our enthusiasm and excitement and finally made it to the run. Pani, Rashmi, Aseem and I set out early at 5.30 so that we could reach the destination well within time. Again, Kanakpura trail is a long way from our area and it was a good 1 hour drive.

The run commenced at sharp 5.30 am and the long drive was all worth it as the trail is beautiful. We had
 run up to the 3.5 km point and turn back. I started very well and ran a good distance before slowing down and begginning to walk. At the end of the 2 km mark there is a beautiful lake and the entire trail is lined on both the sides with beautiful trees. The villagers have got used to the runners by now. I lost my fellow runners right after the 2 km mark when I started slowing down. Then I met Shubha who is coach George;s wife. We decided to run together. We had a good conversation and discussedabout a lot of things. As we neared the 3.5 mark, we saw a lot of villegers standing near the turning. We decided to avoid them as we didnt know what they were there for. We turned around a few paces ahead. imediately the villagers started cheering us and calling out 'mosa' 'mosa' 'illi tirug bekittu' which means 'cheating, cheating, you were supposed to turn around here' in Kannada. had a good laugh and were laughing about it for quite a long time.

As we were approaching the 5 km water stop, Shubha developed pain in her calf muscles. We met Kaiwan who was manning the aid station and he congratulated us on our pace and said that we were doing very well. Shubha told me that she would walk the rest of the distance. I came back to the beautiful lake and spent a few moments admiring the beauty and the serenity of the place. Even though the trail had a lot of killer ups and downs I was able to run up a few. But the rest, I had to walk them up. But still I tried to maintain a fast pace even during the walk. Al in all, the beauty of the place kept me going and I was able to complete the run in 1 hr and 40 minutes and arrived at the starting to a lot of loud cheering by the fellow runners.

That day, the elite senior runners of the group along with Santosh were doing the 50 km run and it was really very inspiring to see them run.They had started their run at 5.30 itself and finished their run at 10.30. The sheer beauty of seeing a person run those distances and the passion with which they do it is something very commendable. The run ended with very tasty sandwiches that Rashmi had got for all of us and hot steaming coffee and tea from my thermos flask that I had started taking along with me for each run.

The Sunday run was again at Cubbon Park and we had to run 5 km. One round around the park which is 4 kms and 3 rounds around the jogging track. After the Kanakpura run I was totally exhausted and could not run very well. Karthik who is the 8 yr old son of fellow runner Manjunath Rao kept me company throughout the run.His constant chatter and his description of his exploits on the cricket field was very delightful to hear and we both ran together. He kept chasing the pigeons every time we passed them and their flight together made a wondrous sight to behold. Coach Srini joined me during the last 1.5 km of the run and encouraged me to run by timing myself and strictly adhering to the intervals. He told me about maintaining a rhythm, breathing in rhythm, keeping to the timing of 3 minutes run and 1 minute walk and to gradually reduce the length of walks and increase the length of runs.

All in all a very beautiful week of running and discovering ....