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Mo farah and the art of SMOOTH acceleration

17 Aug

Having seen Mo run the 5k and 10k finals of both the worlds and the Olympics, I feel the biggest difference between Mo and the east Africans is his lucid strides even at the peak of acceleration. I have seen that kind rhythm mostly in Haile and Bekele. East Africans will need to produce a runner who can kick in better in the last 600m but most importantly, have a smoother stride.

TCS 10k 2013- Worst time but reasons to cheer

19 May

I just ran the worst 10k time in my racing life today. With a PB of 41.55 min for 10k, doing 51.20 minย  is generally a good enough reason to despair and sulk.

But i want reasons to feel good and hence looked at the positive things:

1) There would have been at least 50 people above me who were 50+ age bracket who finished before me. This hows I am still young and nothing’s lost ๐Ÿ™‚

2) This time came off a 15k cycling trip to the venue. Had I listened to my friends and taken a car ride, timings could have been different(may be). But it gave me a confidence that my stamina is intact.

3) Nothing can substitute hard work but there would always be days when things will not work out. But it is good practice to go back to the drawing board after every set back.

Last but not the least, tomorrow is another day.

Taking time back

9 Feb

“Lost” time sleeping today in the morning when i should have been pounding the road for a weekend 1/2 HM. Out of that guilt feeling, i was in a mood to “punish” the body. So hit the gym and (honestly) ran a good 12k(60min) today at the gym.

While treadmill can qualify as one of the most boring places to run on earth but i liked it today. The eye constantly switches(nothing else to do really) from kms run to time taken to calories burnt and i also feel it is a good exercise in understanding time. The first 5 kms were run at an average of 10.8kmph and hence the rest of the run was essentially to grab back “lost” time. In running it’s sometimes called -ve splitting(running 2nd half of the race faster than the 1st half). Running -ve splits is perhaps the most challenging-and to me romantic too- aspect of racing; You have “lost” time because you went slow initially but then you need to “gain” time and cover the last kms at a faster pace, despite having shed good amount of sweat and energy.

It is this concept of -ve splits that enthralls me and makes you believe that you can somehow take back (lost)time.

In Gym I (don’t) believe

27 Jan

It’s that time of the year when my annual membership for the local gym(will keep the name to myself more to not embarrass myself than them :)) is up for renewal. Gym membership(however cheap or costly it may be) invokes varied emotional responses from people. People go from incredulity to fist pumping depending from what their own experience with gymming has been. The closest you can imagine this emotion is by imagining the stationary bike/treadmill you purchased last year for home use and what state it is in today(if my memory is not failing me, i have not met a person in this world who bought a stationary bike/treadmill and NOT used it for drying clothes after the first month). But like a lot of things in life, gym becomes a must have after a point, even though the motivation to join can vary from person to person. As I consider to enroll or no this year, i felt like examining the pros and cons a bit more.

I categorize people who join gyms into broadly three categories:

1) The movers & shakers: The serious kind fall into this category. These people take the staircase to the 3rd floor gym and straight head to the treadmill after the warm up. You can make them out in the gym by the sweat they work up at the end of each workout. Generally, not more than 10% of the gym members would fall in this category.

2) The networkers: This is a very varied and broad category and encompasses the Romeos(and Juliets!!) to formal networkers (I once had an LIC agent next to my EFX who took my mobile # and hounded me for a while). They take the lift to the 1st floor gym so that they can meet another “prey”.

3) The drifters: Gyms love this category because they are the least troublesome(and the most profitable). They drift in and out of gyms once in a blue moon. Their motivation to join is all good but it fizzles out pretty much in the 1st month or so and after that its pretty much profits all the way for the gyms as the drifters are rarely seen.

I am of the 3rd kind and haven’t used my gym for more than 30 days since i enrolled last year. I have my excuses to not be regular(am an outdoor person with a running mania and hate the gym atmosphere) but still end up enrolling every second year and not putting my money where my mouth is.

So here i am signing off with a pledge not to join the Gym unless i can find at least 5 people whom i know who have indeed used the stationary bike more than 60 days at home.

Come on, bring the votes on guys ๐Ÿ™‚

Lessons from Haile/Sachin & Lance-Race against time(yourself)

25 Jan

A lot has been said about Bekele Vs Haile/Targat Vs Haile or any of the sports legends regarding how competing against each other fueled their hunger for improvement so that they could smash world records after world records. I feel among all the runners i have read and heard about, haile stands out because he has lasted the longest. One of the reasons for his longevity could be(for want of any user data) his unwillingness to let others define his running ability. He has felled every world record in long distance running worth its salt but mostly by running against time(himself). He defined a time in which he wanted to run a race and went about his preparations accordingly. Perhaps, that’s what keeps him more at peace with himself and his surroundings than many other athletes.

Sachin Tendulkar is another athlete who has never let others define his agenda for playing. He would go and do just one thing; PLAY.

This also could have been the reason for a longer than average(above average) injury free and sustained career in their respective fields. Because when you run against yourself, you know your limits and never cross them unlike another legend athlete who recently bit dust;lance. Lance’s downfall has as much to do with his obsession to overpower others(define yourself by what others do) than it has to with wrong competitive streak. He epitomizes what’s horribly wrong with competitive sports today.

In our personal and official lives, we often let others define what we want to chase. I feel we can become more sure about what we want and how we want to do it if we let ourselves be driven by only one person in the world(self). That’s not to say that competition does not matter. It does, but not at the cost being obsessed with what others are doing and what they have achieved. Set your goals to moon(or the stars but those need to be your moons/stars not others!!). Competition mostly fuels long term discontentment and jealousy.

Be your own competitor….

Mind wins…always

24 Jan

The best time to understand the tussle between mind and body is when your alarm rings in the morning. It’s 4.50 am in the morning and your mind starts playing games with you. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s raining(a lot of times imaginary), you slept late last night, you can compensate tomorrow, eat less today so that calories intake will be less. Most of the time, body creates the scenarios based on what the mind tells it to. I have had experiences when i would have heard rain drops and dropped of to sleep because the mind has actually created those, when i finally woke up 1/2 hour later it would be clear skies.

If you still get out and smash a running PB, you win. If you give in, you have given another small window for the mind to tune you tomorrow morning…. and the battle continues every day of your life..

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On leadership…

23 Jan

Leadership is like pace making in a marathon, you protect your team from the headwinds, set the pace to the common goals, let them run at that pace after a point(give them independence) and then greet them at the finishing tape.