Feb 24, 2010

Don't Quit Poem

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author Unknown

Feb 21, 2010

Run like a Husky!

From an old but interesting Cornell press release:

  • The average Alaskan husky running in the Iditarod burns about 11,000 calories a day. To put that in perspective, compare a 44-pound dog with a 175- to 180-pound human in an endurance event like the (Tour de France) bicycle race. On a body-weight basis, an Iditarod racer eats and burns about eight times as much as a Tour de France cyclist.

  • In another physiological parameter, the maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2 max, the huskies also are champs. The human who won the 1996 Olympic marathon in Atlanta had VO2 max of about 75 mils of oxygen per kilogram of body weight. Dogs running in the Cornell sled dog team have VO2 maxes as high as 240 -- three times as high as the very best human athletes in the world.

  • The average human recreational runner in an endurance event such as a marathon usually clocks 9-minute miles. Alaskan huskies in the 1,000-mile Iditarod, running in a variety of harrowing conditions that would turn a human marathoner blue, average 9 or 10 mph -- the equivalent of a 6-minute mile. And the dog teams are pulling sleds that weigh, at the beginning of the race, between 300 and 400 pounds.

Sunday: Running to the fort

What is considered a long run? 10 miles? 15? a marathon? Of course, it depends on the individual. I know friends who can eat a marathon for breakfast. As I keep growing as a runner, my own definition of a long run has changed. My current classification of a long run is anything more than 15 miles.

Jay joined me today on my last longish run before NOLA. The anticipation is building and I can barely wait for next Sunday. Today's run to the fort was very pleasant with a weather to live for.

Distance: 12.04 miles     Time: 01:32:50

Feb 18, 2010

Thursday: Harbor run

It is 10 days to NOLA! I've been mired in deadlines all this week and somewhat feel thankful about the taper mode that I'm in. Today's run was 8 miles in slightly above an hour. I was feeling so strong that I could've run a marathon today but patience prevailed and I grudgingly turned back at the Rusty Scupper.

Distance: 8mi        Time: 01:00:58

Feb 16, 2010

How much farther will you go?

A quote from from Nike:

You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while other slept. While other ate their pancakes, you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you. You ran. 5ks, 10ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior. You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan. You hit the wall. You went throught it. You decided to be a man about it. You decided to be a woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your internal odometer. How much farther will you go? As far as you can.

Feb 15, 2010

Bekele Song

Good music is mostly serendipitous, like the song in this video. It's popularly known as the "Bekele Song" and sounds marvelous. The actual song title is called "Tarik Tesera" which is Amharic for "history was made", and was written to commemorate Bekele winning the 2004 Olympic 10K. This will definitely go on my running playlist. Also, watch the slow motion part showing the fluid gait of these runners.

Obligatory Running Note: Just a 2 mile before cross-training.

Feb 14, 2010

Sunday: Tale of two runs

Today's running was somewhat crazy. This was supposed to be my last long run before NOLA and I was planning to knock it off in the morning with Jay. But Jay called in sick just before I started so I ran alone in the morning. It was an almost perfect run with minimal traffic even though I was running through Harford Rd., one of the busiest streets in Baltimore. I met a long time Unitarian Universalist friend somewhere half way during my run and decided to join the Sunday congregation today after a long time. So, I ended up running only around 10 miles in the morning. However, I was very satisfied with how the run had progressed.

The evening run was a different story altogether. There was a sickly sweet smell of love in the air and an incessant stream of cars on the road plying the Valentines to their dinner destinations. Of all places, I had to pick the Inner Harbor for my evening run. What was I thinking? Inner Harbor in Baltimore is well known for its places to eat. So there I was, running in midst of couples holding hands, lovestruck, in love, or at least appearing to be in love. All that heavy traffic on the roads added with lack of pavements to run made my evening run staggeringly slow. After a point, I stopped enjoying the run with having to slow down every few yards. That's when I called it a day for running making total distance run today to 16.7 miles.

Distance: 10.22mi     Time: 01:20:41

Distance: 6.51mi    Time: 57:25

Happy Valentine's day!

Feb 12, 2010

Friday: Discovering Mika

Baltimore is slowly getting back to normalcy. The snow on the roads is now replaced by a comfortable mixture of slush and salt and pavements still need serious digging. For today's run, I picked the sparsely trafficked Barclay St. and ran up & down the stretch near home.

When it comes to new music, I seem to be living under a rock. Today's run was accompanied by Mika and here's Rain for your listening pleasure!

Distance: 3.18mi      Time: 23:48

Feb 11, 2010

Thursday: Canton Run

Today's run to Fort McHenry was harder than yesterday's blizzard run because there was traffic and almost everywhere the pavements were piled with banks of snow. The only option was to time-share the roads with cars. But I'm happy to get a decent run in the last couple days.

Distance: 13.20mi   Time: 01:49:11

In the news!

Liz Kay from the Baltimore Sun reported on my run yesterday!

Feb 10, 2010

Tuesday/Wednesday: Running in the blizzard

There is Siberia outside my window but when your feet become restless, there's only one thing to do. Lace up & run. In today's case, add a few layers.

Like yesterday, I did a small 3 mile run in the blizzard today. This was a completely different experience. Running against the heavy gusts of wind is probably most harder than any hill workout I've done.

Distance: 3.07 miles  Time: 26:01

Feb 9, 2010

Monday: Running on snow

Have you ever felt the desire to drop everything you're doing and going for a run? That's how I felt Monday night. I had run a measly mile in the morning, did some arm work and decided to cool it for the day. I guess it was monotony of work or just plain desire to run more miles, around 10:30 in night, I turned off my computer screen, put my running clothes and head out for a nice run. Just like that. No thoughts, no musings.

Distance: 10.51mi      Time: 01:25:27

The roads were better plowed now, at least enough to be able to run. Something funny happened. Someone I know spotted me on my run and later wrote a I-saw-you-running-around-midnight email. Today it's snowing again. Oh well!

Feb 7, 2010

Week summary: Taper, Snow and Fun!

Feb 28th is the NOLA Mardi Gras marathon and I've begun my taper for it since last week. It's been a while since I posted here. Spring term is keeping me very busy and I've been working on a conference deadline and a fellowship deadline (both on Feb 15th!). To summarize the week that was, here's a mileage chart (right).

I've been doing more tempo runs and recovery runs for this week, and my average pace has come down from 8:15 min/mile to 8:00 min/mile. My weekly mileage has come down to 40 miles from 65 miles a week. I plan to keep this mileage until race week. Overall, I feel strong and well prepared and really look forward to the marathon day.

Baltimore, like most of north-east, has undergone a drastic weather change over the past week culminating in a two-day snowstorm on Friday and Saturday. I did minimal running during that time but it fit perfectly in my taper schedule. Since the snow storm was anticipated, I did my long run on Thursday (2/4) instead. Yesterday was very bad and the two miles seemed almost impossible. Since I wasn't happy with it, I went back to my apartment and did hill-repeats by running up and down the stairs ten times. That turned out to be a great workout!

Today's run was simple. Finish 10 miles at an easy pace. I ran through somewhat plowed N. Charles St and continued towards Under Armor factory near Fort McHenry. Although this was an easy run, running on snow is more exerting but I felt great at the end of my 10 miles. I capped today's run with a double shot of espresso at Starbucks.