5 Years of Running : By Thomas Bobby Philip

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | |

Running has given me a new meaning to life, which I would not dream off 5 years back, hence thought of sharing my journey. The focus here is more on my training and my improvement over years. The fun part for me is more in the training, and see the result in the events.


Here is my account for every year:



2009

Started running around Mid march 2009, to support my daughter, to train for a small sports event. I would huff and puff before the completion of 400meters, but within 15 days, could run a Km without a break. In a couple of days, my daughter lost the interest, while I continued to run. Never been a sportsman, but did play a bit of Cricket & Badminton, during my school days. On the other hand, my years of smoking and drinking had almost burned off my lungs and liver.


While purchasing a Nike shoe, I was told about the Nike Run Club, to get professionally inducted into running. Not expecting much, I went with no proper sports attire. Got introduced to Coach Beedu & Reeth Abraham. Also saw a lot of inspiring runners like Pani, Nitin, Neera and many similar runners. Started the workouts with an optimistic note that someday I would be able to run like all others. My major challenge was to run 2 easy laps of 400m without a break and repeat this the third time. Coach continued to challenge us to improve the endurance & intensity through regular workouts. My colleague Bhagya also gave me a few tips on training runs.


Every NRC workout would exhaust us to our potential limits and then go home, have a lavish breakfast and enjoy the powerful 2 hrs nap. With Sunfeast 10K (now called TCS 10K) approaching, N+RC started the Saturday & Sunday workout formats. Every workout started with easy runs for warm up, continued with Warm up exercises and Tempo or Hill runs and finish with Core and Strengthening exercises. This helped us to developed the strength and endurance to run a Km and then gradually moved up to 4 Kms, without a break. Hill workouts and Sand running were the most challenging ones. Also started with 2 or 3 additional 30 to 45 mins runs during the weekdays. My weekly mileage was around 16 to 20 Kms.


Running every morning for around 30 mins was a new experience, and there were lots of stories I could talk, about my daily runs. Each workout would leave me so tired, that the nutritious meals through the day or a good sleep or a rest would not refresh me. I was always exhausted. But the disciplined and enthusiastic workouts, helped me to progress significantly. These were among the most difficult weeks, in the past 5 years.


My first 10 Km race was scheduled on 31st May and my target was to complete the run, without a walk and no target timing. There was visible progress and with 2 months of practice, I was able to run reasonably well, and had run a max distance of 8 Kms, but not at a steady pace.


The event day, reached Kanterava stadium before 6.00 am, and was almost speechless to see the packed stadium with thousands of runners and participants. As I would normally do, I walked inside the stadium (restricted area) confidently, to have a glance at the elite runners men and women, start their run. Everything happening at the stadium would leave me flabbergasted. It was soon time to get ready for my 10K event. Got well warmed up through the N+RC organized session and rushed to the start point. Saw runners getting warmed up with dynamic exercises runners, others catching up with friends, few like me feeling lost or tensed, but there was a lot of excitement in the air. Somehow managed to get to the start point to see many of the N+RC runners and few from BHUKMP group. Event started on time with the countdown and all runners were almost pushing on each other. Somehow managed to run out of the stadium safe and was able to maintain a steady pace. Saw a lot of familiar faces through the route smiling and cheering each other. The story of reaching the finish line can go on for a couple of pages, and finally crossed the finish line with a strong run. N+RC had also organized an exclusive Lounge to pamper the regular N+RC runners. Treated myself to a wonderful leg massage and lavish breakfast. In 2 days the results were out, realized that I had completed the run in 58m 58s and was better than my target time. Among the N+RC runners, I would have been in the last 25%, but that gave me the attitude to look forward for better performances.


The next focus was to increased my intensity and also the endurance to finish a 10Km distance more comfortably. Nike Human race was scheduled around Sept and was another exciting opportunity to test my 10Km performance. For the event, I steadily increased my long runs to 16 Kms which was just unbelievable for me. I could actually run from Old Airport to MG Rd and return, to go back to Domlur and return. Wow, all of this distance by running??? Just unbelievable. This was just not me.


During registration for Nike Human Race, realized that the race was scheduled in the evening at Clark Exotica resort. My wife too registered for the 5 Kms event. Both of us got our first complimentary Dryfit Tshirt and this was thrilling. A professionally organized event, with live music bands through the route. I completed the run in around 51 mins, which again was an outstanding performance. Improved by 8 mins in around 4 months.


Soon I heard about Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon and thought that would be a great event to participate in. But by the time I heard about the event, the registrations were closed. Nike helped me with the Registration to the Half Marathon. Started increasing my distance progressively to around 20Kms. Once I ran from Old Airport to Marathahalli, back to MG Rd and home, an approx distance of 20 Kms. To cover this route through a run, was beyond my wildest dream. Started maintaining a log, to keep track of my daily runs my weekly mileage and the progress across weeks. Courtesy my running friend Bhafna, registered for Chennai HM as a preparation for SCMM HM run and successfully completed the distance in around 2h 4mins.


My confidence kept increasing and continued with my endurance training by running a distance of around 21 Kms and kept focusing on improving my pace. Many of my weekend long runs were in at Kanterava Stadium. I would reach the stadium at around 4.30am to complete the 20 Km distance before NRC session would start. During those initial days, my body used to feel tired through the day at office, but I could not find a solution. On enquiry with Coach Beedu, and I was told to exercise and have proper nutrition.



2010

In Jan 2010, I ran my first international SCMM HM event and considered myself blessed to participate in this prestigious event. There were thousands of runners at the start line, few were warming up, while most were just chatting, excited and few like me were tensed. News channels were taking videos of us warming up and interviewing few of the runners. Overall a great experience. As always, I squeezed myself through the crowd to reach the start line. The Worli Sealink was open to the runners for the first time. I completed the HM run in 1 hr 52 mins 13 secs.


The successful completion gave me a lot of respect at N+RC but was not sure if I could plan for a Full Marathon at SCMM 2011. I had a full year, but did not have the patience. I started increasing my weekly mileage from 55 Kms in Dec '09 to 85Kms by March '10. I gradually progressed upto 30 Km long runs during the weekends. I would run around 4 to 5 days a week. My training focus was more on, medium pace weekend long runs betw 16 to 20 Kms, and weekdays intensity runs betw 10 to 15 Kms, with a weekly mileage of upto 85 Kms. Now thinking about it, I am surprised to have achieved this weekly mileage in less than 1 year.


The next event to train was again the Sunfeast 10Km event scheduled for 23rd May. Every run was with the intention of building up the intensity. hence my coach told me to reduce the weekly mileage and focus on intensity. This put a gradual end to my endurance runs, and was now focusing on pace. Continued training at NRC, but gradually started running with Pani who was among the best runners at N+RC. Running with him, gave me knowledge on the importance of proper pacing during training runs, importance of Intervals & Tempo to build up the intensity, etc. I also learned the basics on the form of running like looking forward at a distance of 25 meters and hand moments. I would push myself the initial 80% of the distance to ensure his company, and then he would just take off, while I used to slow down. My weekly mileage gradually reduced to 45Kms as we were closer to the event. With my training, I was not sure on the target pace to maintain. I had improved from 59mins to 51 mins for a 10K run, in around 4 months. So what could be a good target to improve in 8 months? I initially targeted for 45 mins, but as I was closer to the event, I realized that I was not prepared for this. Hence kept a range of 46 to 47mins, as a target.


On the Sunfeast event day, the stadium was packed with positive energy with elites zooming off, disabled men and women in Wheel chairs pushing themselves, Senior citizens jumping and screaming to glory and my wife and daughter excited about their Majja runs. I completed the 10 Kms in 47 mins which was a super performance, and improvement by 12 mins from the previous year. But again, the inspiring personalities were all faster than me. During the next N+RC meet, I was considered among the good performers and were greeted with applause, for my significant improvement and a weight loss of 9Kgs (76Kg to 67Kg) in around a year.


Within a couple of weeks, my colleagues at Nokia Solutions and Networks agreed to form teams and participate in the Urban Stampede 4 * 5Km Corporate Relay. I trained with a couple of high intensity Tempo runs. We formed 4 teams and had reasonably good runners. I completed my first 5 Kms run in 21mins10secs which was better than my target of around 22mins30sec.


The next target was to train for my first SCMM '11 Full Marathon. Slowly increased the weekly mileage from 45 Kms to 75+ Kms. Registered for 37.5Kms Bangalore Ultra, which would be a good test before SCMM. Did 40Km training run thrice and a couple of 30Km runs as a preparation for Bangalore Ultra. Couple of these were Weekend runs with Pani. Overall, I was well trained, but since this was my first long run event, I was a bit tensed. The running route was pretty challenging, with the narrow running lanes. At the event, I completed my first lap of 12.5 Kms @ 5 mins pace. I was running just behind Pani for almost half the distance and then he took off. By the time I completed 25Kms, my avg pace had reduced to 5m08s/Km. Took water break at most of the Aid stations but soon the route was cramped with the 25K and 12.5K runners. I continued pushing myself to the best possible pace, but around 5 Kms before the finish, I could feel my body getting tired. The final few Kms was a tough battle between the body compelling to walk and mind wanting to reach the finish line faster. I always had a feeling that I could get a podium finish in my age category and did not want to miss this opportunity. I would have walked for around 2 mins and continued with my run. Body was feeling burned out and around 10 meters before the finish line I had a black out. Regained conscious after 30 mins, to see myself in the medical camp administered with Glucose IV drips. After a couple of mins, realize my situation and saw a few familiar faces around, including Coach Pani. Doctors had informed my wife about my loss of consciousness and hence was also told to talk to my wife to inform her that I had gained consciousness and was feeling better. The next 30 mins were quite challenging, with leg cramps and complete body fatigue. According to the Doctors, body was dehydrated and BP dropped, hence the blackout. I was also disappointed that I lost the possibility of the Podium with just 10 meters to spare and no one would have realized this. During the Podium announcements, I heard my name been called out and I just screamed with joy & excitement. I was falling short of words to thank RFL team for the consideration and for recognizing my first ever Podium finish. I completed the 37.5 Kms in 3 hrs 21 mins 35secs.


For the next full week, I could feel every small muscle from neck to toe. Full body was complaining that something went seriously wrong. My family warned me to not attempt running again. Could not rest much, as the pressure of my first SCMM FM was on. Slowly got back to the running tracks after a week recovery. Within a week of running, I was back to the 60 to 70 Kms weekly mileage. Also did a couple of 40 Km runs. Body was not responding as well as the previous months, I could feel myself getting tired during the runs. Overall not the best status to be in, but had no choice. Year 2010 went by very well and had run a total mileage of 3,217 Kms. This has been my highest mileage across all the years.



2011

With guidance from Pani, the next 2 weeks in Jan was focused on tapering. My confidence was at the lowest levels, but kept myself positive. Since most of my weekend long runs were with Pani, the mutual agreement was that we would try to pace each other to the reasonable distance. On 16th Jan morning, we were together at the start line. After the start signal, we pushed ourself to be ahead of the initial group of runners. Soon we found ourself to be running at 4m30s pace and were very comfortable at that pace. But Pani was clear that this was fast and we slowed down to 5 mins/Km pace. We were focusing on the shortest distance route, and were reasonably comfortable with the pace, cheering fellow runners and volunteers. We continued with the 5 mins/Km pace till 20 Kms, and then I had to slow down. Pani moved ahead maintaining the same pace while I reduced my pace to 5m15s/Km. I could continue myself at this pace for another 10 Kms and then slowed down further to 5m30s/Km pace. On reaching the Peddar Road incline, my pace further reduced. There was also a fear that the repeat of previous blackout, hence did not want to put in the 100% effort. Resisted all temptations to walk around Marine Lines, and continued my run to reach the finish line in 3hrs48m32s. Was excited with my first Full Marathon and also completed in Sub 4 hrs. Immediately called up my wife to convey the great news of reaching the Finish line without any problem and also my Sub 4 hrs success.


The next event to train for was the TCS 10Km event. Now with the experience of the Full Marathon, decided to focus primarily on the 10K event and also a bit on endurance. Maintained a weekly mileage of around 50 Kms, and continued my training with NRC and the long runs with Pani. We also trained together, for the fortnightly hill runs at the Domlur flyover. Wanted to target a 3 to 4 mins improvement over the previous year, but that seemed challenging. My tempo runs were slower than the target pace I would have loved to achieve. As suggested by experts, focused more on Interval runs, but that too did not help much. A fear was setup that I should not anticipate significant improvements in my future runs. Based on my practice runs, I setup a target of a Sub 45 mins for the 10 Kms run.


On 5th June, the energy levels in the stadium was at the peak. As always, I and many of the known runners were at the start line with the enthusiasm to put in the best effort. My expectations were high, but was not physically capable to achieve it. Started the run with the pace as planned. We had also not heard much about negative splits, hence there was always a stronger effort for the initial 6 to 7 Kms and would then struggle a bit. The objective was to achieve the target of sub 45mins, hence did not take a water break through the route. There was a consistent push through the route and continued till the end, with a very strong finish. After crossing the finish line, I knew that I was somewhere around the target with a range of + or - 5 secs. I knew I had put in the best effort and could not have been faster by a sec. Quads had burned out and walking was also a challenge. The next day when the results were visible I saw my timing as 45m01s. This was 2 secs away from my target and was a bit disappointing, but the compliments I received compensated for it. But at this moment, I knew that my further improvements would be only in secs and that would also be challenging.


The next event to plan was Urban Stampede. Mayank and Brojen took a lead and formed 7 teams from our NSN office. Team were formed based on possibilities of better rankings among the corporate teams. Our team had the fastest runners. As an organization, we decided to train few of our runners, hence would meet on Sundays at Kanterava for the practice runs. We also invited Pani to train us with few of the Strengthening and Core exercises. I also wanted him to get a visibility as a Coach and look at opportunities for him to actively support the running community. As a team we successfully participated in Urban Stampede event. I completed my 5 Kms in 21m15s. This was 5 secs slower than the last year, inspite of 1 year of practice.


As in the previous year, Bangalore Ultra was the next event to test my improvement. Again trained myself reasonably well with Pani. We included few Hill workouts in our training. Both of us trained at the Domlur bridge, and practice fast drills at the inclines and recovery slow runs while running down. For shorter training durations, the intensity was higher. Running with Pani was always a learning experience and I was among the lucky ones to benefit extensively from him. I would always feel that there were many from our running community who could similarly benefit. Being humble natured, he would always be happy to support everyone. Initially it was pretty challenging for me to convince him to start the coaching venture.


My target for Bangalore Ultra 37.5 Kms run, was to improve on my last year performance. This event venue was different and seemed more challenging due to the inclines. I completed the 37.5 Kms in 3h25m46s and was again awarded the 1st runner-up position in my age category. But my pace was 4 mins slower than the last year, but could attribute that to the tougher route.


The training for SCMM continued with even greater enthusiasm and good long distance runs, upto 35 Kms. My weekly mileage was around 65 kms, which was lower than the last year, but we increased our intensity. This reduction in weekly mileage lowered my confidence, but Pani always had strong reasons to believe that we were improving.


Overall Year 2011 had its challenges, as there was not a significant improvement, and lacked confidence to improve significantly. My yearly mileage was 2450 Kms which was 750 Kms lesser than Y2010.



2012

Before the SCMM event, I also got the opportunity to participate in the Karnataka State Masters event. We have the State level athletes working in Services organization (Banks, Railways, etc) participating in the event as part of their work responsibilities and to ensure they get their pay hikes or promotions. Few of them also come from farming background, with the passion of running. Its a great experience to watch few of the good runners comfortably pace ahead of their competition. The event was pretty competitive and I ran pretty hard to earn Silver medal in the 5 Kms and 10 Kms events. These events forces you to run at crazy timings (10.30 or 11.00 am) which we have not trained ourself. The podium finish qualified me for Nationals and also boosted my confidence of being a State level winner.


For SCMM '12, I and Pani again decided to follow the same strategy as the last year to run together at the 5 mins/Km pace as far as possible. I was around him till around 25 Kms at the 5 mins/Kms pace and then he took off. The additional distance helped me to improve my performance to complete in 3h42m20s. This was a 6 mins improvement over SCMM '11, which I was very happy with.


Post a 1 week Passive rest, started my runs again with high enthusiasm for the TCS 10K event. By now there was a request by Anoop from 12M12M group for a professional Guidance by Coach Pani, for a small group of runners and this perfectly matched and timed to begin a training program. The coaching started for a group size of 7 runners and has grown by over 10 times now. So now the benefit was that there was a more professional training program developed and shared on a weekly frequency. For the initial couple of months, it was difficult for me to group up with all runners at Kanterava Stadium or GKVK, but would train by myself at around my place. But solo runs would mean that I would miss the lengthy Warm-up and Cool down sessions, and this would be a bit risky in terms of injuries.


Meanwhile inspired by another running colleague of mine in Colombia who runs the Full Marathon in around 3hrs, I attempted to train twice a day once. This was a great experience, but when I continued my training the next day morning, I started experiencing the Achilles Tendinitis pain on my right foot. This could most probably be due to my almost worn out shoes. I was now forced me to reduce my training duration, to ensure a proper recovery.


During mid Feb, I participated in the National Masters event. This was an eye opener to see the best athletes (age 35 to 80 years) of the country group up together. As a first time experience I was privileged to represent Karnataka State in the Nationals and participate in the event. We saw a 60+ category runner complete the 10 Kms in around 41 mins, and was over 2 laps ahead of his nearest competitor. His comfortable form of running would give us a feel that he would complete 10Kms in around 45 mins. There was a 60+ age category long jumper who was literally flying in the air. Literally gives a feel that age is only a number, to restrict the human capabilities.


Around early April, took a decision to attempt Fund raising for an NGO (Nanhi Kali supporting education of Girl children), which gave me the opportunity to contact my network. A wonderful experience to see how most of my friends, colleagues, runners supported the initiative. This also made me more responsible to build up my network.


The Achilles Tendinitis pain continued, but that did not restrict my trainings. The pain gradually increased and during the last week of March took 10 days rest. Gave the RICE treatment with the Cold and Warm water and the recovery did happen, but not complete. With the guilt of not running much, I attempted a 2 Km barefoot walk / run on 8th April, and loved it. It also gave me the urge to attempt a longer distance barefoot run. Thus began my journey to Barefoot running. This also developed a fear that I was not enjoying my shod runs and felt insecure on how to manage my long distance runs. The Barefoot runs were hurting my calfs and also resulted in Top of the foot pain(TOFP). Since this was an unexplored area for me and limited expertise available e.g. Vishy Jayaraman, Benny Peter & Priya Vaidyanathan, I had to rely on the internet. Read lots, made few international calls with experts and everyone's message was to transition gradually. Running with shoes at TCS would have not improved my pace, but Barefoot was even more risky. Pani had a neutral view on my Barefoot runs, and I had to take my decisions. Luckily the transition continued gradually and I kept getting comfortable with BF runs. But the TOFP pain and calf pain continued, which restricted my mileage to ensure that I would recover before my next run. Finally the week before the event, we did a trial run in the same TCS route and this gave me the opportunity to experience the roads with Barefoot run (covered my feet fingers and forefoot with Crepe Bandaid) . Overall gave me the confidence that it would be doable.


The fund raising initiative gave me a priority lineup at the Start line and along with me was Anil Ambani and Rahul Bose. Shook hands with them and we wished each other for a successful run. At the start line, all of us were the same with anxiety of achiving the target pace. Both of them gave me a bizarre look for my Barefoot attempt, probably they had not heard much about it those days. The start was at my target pace and did continue as planned till the finish. I completed the run in 43m15sec, which was 15 secs faster than my target. Excitement of my first Barefoot race, along with successful Fund raising kept me on top of the World. This also gave me the confidence that I could look forward for further improvements. The TOFP and calf pain continued, but that did not restrict my training runs. More details about my transition to bare foot here.


The next event was Urban Stampede and I completed my Barefoot 5Km run in 20m10s. This was again an improvement of over 1 min from my the previous year.


We gradually increased our endurance to started training for Half Marathon events and the first one being the Hyderabad Marathon. Also increased the number of Barefoot runs for my feet to get stronger for longer distance runs. Ensured that all my Long distance runs were barefoot. We also included two Nandi Hill runs, to train for the Hyderabad Half Marathon.


The Hyderabad run was PaceMakers first outstation event, and the group was at its best in terms of enthusiasm and energy levels. Hyd is known for the dreaded flyovers and hilly terrain. I completed my first Barefoot (with Crepe Bandaid) and also first and only bare top Hyd Half Marathon in 1h39m44s and was also awarded the 3rd position in the Podium.


Few showed interest to participate in KTM, and this would be my first KTM event. This was 3 weeks after the Hyd event, and had not recovered well. There was no motivation to race in KTM and at the start point, I was not sure if I should event attempt to run. As the race began, I started at my comfortable pace and steadily got to my race pace. Pradeep, an experienced runner was ahead of me, and gave me a good reference pace. After around 17Kms, he slowed down a bit while I tried to step up my pace by a couple of seconds. On reaching the finish line, I realized that I was 3 secs faster than Hyd and had finished in 1h39m41s. My Barefoot runs were helping me run at ease and comfort.


The next event to look forward was the Bangalore Ultra, but this year they did not have the 37.5 Kms event. I was not keen to participate for 25Kms run and 50 Kms was just impossible, so had ruled out my participation. Meanwhile Madhusmita Jena from Egypt was planning a trip to India and had registered for the Bangalore Ultra 50 Kms run. She enquired if I could pace her for the initial 25 Kms. Gave a serious thought and did not want to disappoint her, so registered for the 50Kms event with no intention to run over 25 Kms. A couple of days before the event, thought of attempting upto 37.5 Kms run. Also a Barefoot run on the trails was an unexplored terrain, and was a very risky proposition. When I started my run with the intention to Pace Madhusmita, I found her to be very fast, and could not cope up with her pace / enthusiasm. After around 4 to 5 Kms, she continued with the fast pace, and I was finding it difficult to pace her. Since she found another running buddy who was very comfortable with the pace and give her the company, I slowed down and continued at my steady pace, with the objective to run around 35 to 40 Kms. But the adrenaline helped me to complete the 50 Kms in 4h 52m 47s and won the 2nd position in the Podium. The sole of my feet were burning and Quads were very heavy, but I recovered within a day, and had no new injury. With 2 days recovery, I started my training as normal, with a proud feeling of me successfully achieving a new feat, which was not even planned. Details about the 50K run can be accessed at the link here.


The total mileage for the year was 2200Kms and had further reduced yearly mileage by around 250 Kms.



2013

The State Masters meet was scheduled for 5th & 6th Jan in Kolar. I completed the 10Km event scheduled on 5th Jan in 40m20s, but the distance was 9.3 Kms. By afternoon, when I was in the stadium cheering the other participants, a severe Achilles Tendonitis pain cropped up one of my foot (dont remember which one). The pain was increase, as soon as I rest the foot on the ground. So the remaining part of the day, I was hopping on a single leg. The 5 Km event was scheduled on 6th Jan, but I was in no position to even attemp running the distance. Took couple of days rest, but did not recover well. I continued my training for SCMM, with the injury and gradually my heels to started to pain.


At the start line of SCMM, I was with the Heel & Achilles Tendon injury and was not sure on how I would reach the finish line. I had a target of sub 3h30m and was lucky to complete in 3h 29m 38s. The timing was possible only due to the energy I received from Brijesh, my running buddy. Both of us had a super strong finish. I was again on top of the world to achieve the target pace, inspite of the pain I was going through. A sub 3.30 was unimaginable for me.


After 2 weeks of active rest, the training for TCS 10K started. We continued with the weekly mileage of less than 40 Kms. We also participated in the Contours Womens day run and completed 10Kms in sub 44mins to get a 2nd position in the podium. Training for TCS progressed pretty well, with the challenging Interval, Tempo, Fartlek & Hill runs. We could see and feel the improvement over months and years. But my Achilles Tendinitis and heel pain continued but at a lower scale and would not let me train with confidence. I ran TCS 10K Barefoot and completed in 41m 6secs.


My podium in the Karnataka State Masters meet, gave me the entry into National Masters meet, which luckily was again held in Bangalore starting from 27th June. My work pressure, did not let me enjoy the event, but did participate in my 10Kms event. The run started at 11.30am and I completed the run in 43m20s. By the time I finished my Barefoot run in the hot sun, I realized the heat on the tracks and the sole of my feet was almost getting burned. The heat was such that I could not rest both my legs on the ground. Had to run around to find a spot that had a shade where the floor was cooler. This would have generated the blisters, but was lucky that the next day there were no new injuries. A couple of weeks later, a corn formation on one of my feet made it impossible for me to run and was forced to take 8 days passive rest with no runs at all. I visited a couple of doctors, but gave varying opinions. Few said that this was due to my Barefoot runs, which was generating dead cells and it was not advisable to remove it surgically. I had a fear that this would be the beginning of negative impacts of Barefoot running.


Dream runners Half Marathon was scheduled for 7th July and since I was not well trained, thought of doing a fun run. Travelled with my wife Susan, and loved her company. With her commitment at office and home, it’s not very often that she gets the time to travel with me. Did the fun run, and was surprised that I completed the run with a Personal best timing of 1h 38m 11s. Also realized that the 8 days passive rest recovered me from the corn pain and Achilles Tendon injury. This was almost a miracle for me.


Training for HM continued, with Airtel Hyderabad Marathon being the next event. We did 2 more Nandi Hill runs and a couple of long runs to get stronger for the dreaded uphills. The target assigned by Coach Pani was challenging as always, and somehow managed to complete the HM in 1h34m59s and also won the 1st runner-up position in the Veteran category. Gave me the confidence that I was getting stronger across months.


The next event to train for was Celebration Mysore HM run. This was Within 5 week of Hyd, but the flat terrain route was considered to give a personal best performance. We continued our training with few more 26 to 30 Km runs and longer interval mileage. Pani was the Brand Ambassador and we from PaceMakers ensured that the event was well promoted. Since this was around the Dussehra festival, the Mysore palace was fully lit and was a marvel to the eyes. The event morning started with the regular warmup session, to get geared up for the run. We started at a good pace, and with the eye on the nearest competition, I was continuously focused and completed the run in 1h28m37s, but the distance was around 500meters shorter. Hence I consider my timing for the event as 1h30mins and again won the 2nd position in the podium.


Due to an official travel requirement, I had to miss the Bangalore Ultra event, and also missed a week of training. During my first run after the travel, a very small particle entered the heel area of my left feet, by the next morning, I could feel the pain and was again impacting my training. The pain increased significantly after a week and had to consult a doctor. This overall had an impact on around 3 weeks of training. Getting back to the grueling training program, after a gap is a major challenge. The last event for the year was the Ajmera Thump Life is Calling HM event in Bangalore. This was considered as a 21.1 Km Time trial for SCMM and we were expected to do a Personal best performance. But the unexpected hilly terrain, made the run pretty challenging, and somehow managed to complete in 1h29m54s with a winning position in the Podium. This was the first event, where I also won a Prize money.


The year had a yearly mileage of 2170 Kms and was again a decline from the previous years.



2014

The training for SCMM Full Marathon continued with the 30 to 32Km long runs and finally the 2 week tapering. Overall was very excited, and was also injury free. But 5 days before the event, caught a Cold and slight fever, which put me on medication and also weakened my body physically and mentally. I did not recover from the Cold, till the event morning and knew that this would impact my performance. Overall had a wonderful run with Brijesh, Brojen & Shuveshek and completed the distance in 3h19m48s, but had to be rushed to the Medical Camp. But this timing got me Boston Qualified, earned 3rd position in the Podium and also a prize money. Even better was that I managed to be injury free. This was a perfect finish to my 5 years of running and also gave me the confidence that I have possibilities of further improvement under the Coaching of Pani.
The last event for the write-up, is the Contours Womens Day 10Km run, which I completed in sub 42 mins. The run has given me the confidence to target a sub 40mins TCS World 10K.


Factors that worked for me:


Initial training from Nike Run Club and Ongoing Guidance by Coach Pani
Running in groups, with PaceMakers team
Inspiring runners across various age groups at Nike Run Club and Runners for Life
Started Focused & Disciplined Running since the start i.e. for 5 years
Usually not over-trained. Run only 1 Marathon a year gives me the time to focus on Intensity trainings. Begin the year with intensity 10Km training, gradually move to Half Marathon and finally to SCMM Full Marathon
Transition to Barefoot running made my runs far more comfortable
Focus is more on intensity than endurance. So find myself comfortable over shorter distances
Reading and learning a lot over the net.
Proper Nutrition to ensure that I get good proportion of Carbs, Proteins & Fats, along with other minerals.
As shared by Hari Menon in an article some time back, I might have the ability to run better


What could have been better


Cross training – No time / motivation for Core & strengthening workouts in the gym
Swimming – Have not put in an effort to improve my swimming drills
Inflexible body – My back is very rigid, and hence fail terribly in most of the stretches


Running Highlights:



10Kms

Sunfeast World 10K 2009 – 58m58s
Sunfeast World 10K 2010 – 47m
TCS World 10K 2011 – 45m01s
TCS World 10K 2012 – 43m15s (Barefoot)
TCS World 10K 2013 – 41m06s (Barefoot)



Half Marathons

Standard Charted Mumbai Half Marathon 2010 – 1h52m12s
Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon 2012 – 1h39m44s (Barefoot)
Kaveri Trail Marathon 2012 – 1h39m41s (Barefoot)
Dream Runners Half Marathon 2013 – 1h38m11s (Barefoot)
Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon 2013 – 1h34m59s (Barefoot)
Celebration Mysore HM 2013 – 1h30m (Barefoot)
Ajmera Thump Life is Calling Bangalore HM – 1h29m54s (Barefoot)



Full Marathons

Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2011 – 3h48m32s
Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2012 – 3h42m20s
Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2013 – 3h29m38s (Barefoot)
Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2014 – 3h19m48s (Barefoot)



5Kms

Urban Stampede 2010 5 – 21m10s
Urban Stampede 2011 – 21m15s
Urban Stampede 2012 – 20m10s (Barefoot)



Ultra events

Bangalore Ultra 2010 37.5 Kms – 3h21m35s
Bangalore Ultra 2011 37.5 Kms – 3h25m46s
Bangalore Ultra 2012 50 Kms – 4h52m47s (Barefoot)


Yearly Mileage 2010 – 3200 Kms
Yearly Mileage 2011 – 2450 Kms
Yearly Mileage 2012 – 2200 Kms
Yearly Mileage 2013 – 2170 Kms

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