Solo Runner…

Running is freedom… And solo running? Peace!

When you run solo, you decide the tempo, you decide the pace, you decide the route, and think whatever you like and listen to whatever on your playlist…

Nobody tells you what to do!  Freedom!

I am a solo runner… I am my own boss!


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Finally, a sub-4 Marathon

Yes, it happened… finally… finished a Marathon within 4 hours… 3:56:22 to be exact…


Sub-4 finish in Mumbai

I was back again to Mumbai for finishing what I started last Feb. Immediately after the Mumbai Marathon of 2017, I realised I need to work on lots of things before I could break into sub-4; building strength for example. I joined a gym on Feb 1, 2017, and it changed my runs altogether. I surprised myself my stamina and endurance. So, I had high hopes for TMM (Tata Mumbai Marathon).

Mumbai is the Mecca of running. Every Marathoner in India wants to come to Mumbai during the third weekend of January and be part of this running festival. It’s not like Mumbai roads are the easiest to run to. It is not easy here; heat and humidity in the second half and the notorious Peddar road (known for its elevation)… it’s not easy. It is not easy to crack one’s personal best here.


Finish line smiles!

But, I was prepared. And toughened up… running few rough Marathons last year was a confidence booster… a sub-4:35 finish in Hyderabad, 4:10 finish in Singapore… all those trained me to keep going through adversity!

For a sub-4 finish, one needs to run at sub-5:40 pace. My plan was to keep the 5:30-5:35 pace as long as possible. The Peddar road at 35th km, things are not going to be easy during the last 10k with the sun directly on your face. The plan worked out. I could maintain the 5:35 average until the 33rd km. From there the pave dropped a little, but, only slightly. At the Peddar road split, I was running at 6:09. The last 3 kilometres were the slowest; around 5:50-55. But, I had saved enough seconds for those splits… In all, the last 13 kms came at a pace of 5:48. Super satisfying.

But, that was not the highlight of the day. It was indeed the way I ran. I never stopped on the way! Usually, there will be a stop or two post-33 km for me. This time, it never happened; even @ the Peddar road or on the last kilometre when I was dead tired and a sub-4 was assured. I just wanted to do my best.



There were two medals; finisher and inspiration. You need to give the ‘inspiration’ medal to the person who has inspired you to run… I have a long list of people, starting from my parents, who have inspired me. So difficult to pick one!


I came back from Mumbai all satisfied. Something got checked from my 2018 bucket list in January itself. Great start to the year!

2018 is not going be easy. I have some tough targets in mind… well, I enjoy challenging myself. New places to travel… new peaks to conquer… more records to break! Yes, I am ready!!!!

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My 2018 reading list

Already on the first weekend of 2018, and I have a reading list for 2018.

Every year I take up a reading challenge which includes one book series and few other books. ‘Few’ maybe 8 to 10 books. This year, I thought I’d change up the challenge a bit, making it a real ‘challenge’. So, here is 2018 list:

  1. A book series (of course)
  2. A book over 500 pages (current read)
  3. A book that can be read in a day
  4. A book of translation
  5. A play or poetry (out of my comfort zone)
  6. A banned book (that would be exciting)
  7. A book from my favourite author (did I say, Tolkien, :D)
  8. A book I’ve given up reading long back
  9. A biography
  10. A book suggested by another bookworm

So, looks like lots of reading in 2018!

Few bits about ‘HEAT’

That Theoretical Physicist


As you know the Universe is made of matter and energy. The matter is made up of atoms and molecules. And it is the energy that causes (triggers) these atoms and molecules in motion. They bump into each other or vibrate back and forth and increased the atomic/molecular kinetic energy and thus creates a form of energy called ‘thermal energy’.

Any form of energy can be converted into thermal energy via various processes. Heat is the amount of thermal energy transferred during these processes. Let’s look into few examples:

  1. Mechanical energy to thermal energy: Consider bouncing of a ball. Everytime the ball bounces back from the ground, some of the energy of ball’s motion  (KE) is converted into heat (making the ball warm) and thus slowing it down.
  2. Electrical energy to thermal energy: Most electrical appliances heat up when we switch it on. We know that electrical energy is the flow of…

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Summing up 2017


Well, 2017 was a great year for running. Clocked close to 3000 km on Strava; 2973 to be exact. It was one excellent year; a number of PBs, podiums and completion of new challenges.

The year started with a bit of disappointment. Taken both Chennai Marathon and Mumbai Marathon challenge in January. Ran both back to back, ruining both runs. However, came back strong in New Delhi half marathon with a PB. Still, that was not good enough. I knew that I could do better. So, I decided to check into a gym and work more on strength training.

It was the decision of the year. Things started working better since then. A podium in Bir Billing for half marathon, few strong summer runs. And then came Hyderabad Marathon. I gotta say I was freaking out until minutes before the race. The fear of DNF and the stories of DNF were on my mind. However, I finished the run strong; not my best timings though. However, that was a confidence booster for the rest of the season.

Bengaluru came and went. Messed it up by overdosing with electrolyte; was cramped up from 28th km. But, did finish the race with a PB and a podium for age category. ADHM was a dream. 2017 I focussed more on the full marathon and ADHM was the only race I could break my HM PB. And I got my PB in style; 1:45:10. I never planned a sub-1:45 race; so, not at all disappointed over missing it.

The season ended with my first international marathon; the Singapore marathon. It was a tough one. However, I surprised myself with a PB – 4:10:10. I couldn’t be happier.

Though there were lots of ups, a number of boxes were left unchecked. For example, a sub-4 finish.

With the important lessons learned over 2017, I am sure I can check those boxes soon. 2018 looks promising. New records to break, new challenges to take up, new places to visit and run; I have already started filling my planner. Can’t wait!

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And a PB from Singapore


Who dares to grab a personal best from one of the toughest marathons in Asia?

Well, that would be me. Clocked 4:10:10 and that ended up being my PB; shaved off 7 seconds from last PB from Bangalore Marathon.


PB time!

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon was nothing I expected. I expected a crash and burn situation. The place was humid; and too sunny from 7:00 am. With flag off of my pen at 4:40 am, I expected running in the sun from probably 25th km… which is crucial in a marathon because if you start slowing down from there, you can never pick the pace… that is usually the thing for me; experiences from Bangalore!

Well, nothing of that sort stopped me. The weather was surprisingly better on race day and I had a relaxing run. I could have pushed myself a bit more… but, I didn’t… fear of injury/cramps… I guess that is something I need to work on.

A good finish doesn’t mean the event was so enjoyable and all. The organizers tried their best to keep the runners comfortable. However, there were uncomfortable situations. The runners were made to stand in queues for more an hour (the lucky ones) to drop their bags and collect their bags. The pre-run queue was annoying. I started 6 minutes after the flag-off of my pen. The post-run queue was painful… I almost fainted of dehydration… Organizers apologised of course, but, my runners were left fuming! Also, the ladies were not happy with the event, finisher tee designs… too loose and I look like a hanger with those tees on; I will never wear them for any run :(.

Summing up… my last run of 2017 ended on a happy note… A PB is a PB! Can’t wait for 2018!


Finish line smiles!

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ADHM… My YAY moment of the year!


It was that time of the year in Delhi. Post-Diwali smog and pollution debates and then came along ADHM… bearing the brunt of the ‘concerned’ health professionals… After days and weeks of uncertainty, it did happen!

2017, to me, was the year of Full Marathons. I have been training for it since February with weeks of training plans. Though I didn’t achieve my sub-4 target, I had hopes on this Delhi’s biggest running festival – a half marathon.

I knew I could break into the sub-1:50, but a 1:45:10 finish was not expected.  I even I surprised myself. I knew I had a cramp coming. I had that feeling since the Bangalore Marathon. It can come anytime and it will ruin my run! I was sure.

I planned to board the 1:45 bus thinking I can finish sometime around 1:46-1:47. I was certain, I won’t be able to race at the end. But, after all the ‘star sports drama’ (another story), I was all fired up. I was going at a pace between 4:50-5:00 min/km and when I cracked a PB for 10k, I was fired up. However, I was aware the cramp that may come at any time. I kept my pace; finished 18km under 1:30. What was left was a race until the end which I did.

In between, the shoelaces failed me. it never happened with my Nike before. There should always be a first time. I might have lost 7-8 seconds there. But, I didn’t matter to me at all. I could have slowed down anytime in between and lost those. The thing that happened after that is I raced and never slowed down during those usual slow-down splits: 18th, 19th! In fact, I raced the last 200m @4:41!

In the end, I ran 130m more; didn’t take the shortest route. Or else, it could have been an easy sub-1:45. That is good in some sense. It will keep me grounded and at the same time will give me confidence for the next 10 races.

I am excited. Excited for the coming races; excited for the Singapore Marathon, which is going to be tough and TMM, which again, is going to be tough and NDM.

Happy days ahead!


My pacing debut


It’s almost 2.5 years of running for me. So far, it has been fantastic – finishing, getting PBs, going places and running. Running in delhi and elsewhere means making fiends with many awesome runners whom we meet during races and sunday runs. I am fortunate enough to be friends with some superstar athletes in the country. They have always inspired me and motivated me to do better the next time.

There are many kind of runners during a race; the fast ones, the champions, the regulars running to cross that finish line, the ones running for fun, the newbies, and so on. I have to mention one special kind of runners – called ‘pacers’ who run along with runners during a race and help them finish a run within a specific target. To me, they are like the superstars of running – the accomplished runners who can run at any pace; slow or fast.

I am not a ‘run with a pacer’ kind of runner. But, i have always known pacers have helped many achieve milestones and PBs. Over the last 12 months or so, i believe i have worked on my endurance and when i was comfortable with my full marathon, i know i can change up my pace whenever i want. That was then i knew i am ready for pacing. I longed for an opportunity to pace in some race and then came the Women 10k 2017.

So, i had my pacing debut on March 5, 2017. Though pacing is cool, it is not an easy job. i was assigned the 70 min bus. it means i have to run with a pace of 6:55 min/km to 7 min/km, which is always difficult for me.

Usually, my slow recovery runs are under a pace 6:30 and long Sunday runs are under the pave 6:00. So, it was indeed challenging for me to run at a pace of 7:00 or anything close to 7:00 which i tried during a pilot run 5 days before the race day. I had my doubts if i would be too fast during the race day and fail in my pacing debut.


My flag and the pacer tee…

Came race day… Seeing my 70 min flag, so many runners came to me and told me they are going to board my bus for a PB – gave me an added pressure.

So, the run starts. I started running with the people around me, almost at a pace 7:00 mostly because it was too crowded and there was not much space to run faster. When the crowd cleared up and i had a temptation to go fast, i started a conversation with the runners. It helped me have the rhythm and run slower consistently. I even managed to push some people up to the faster bus. Couple of times during the run, i went back and picked up few passengers.

Most people running at the pace of 7 are slow runners or new runners. They tend to stop and walk during the race (i used to do that at the beginning). I really enjoyed the part where i motivated some of the ‘walkers’ to run… at least a slow run.

During the last km, i made few people sprint to the finish line, myself finished @ 69:35 min and then went back and dragged few people to the finish line. It was a good feeling – completing my first pacing duty.


Completing my pacer duty.

Many runners who finished within 70 min came after the run to click selfies with me and to thank me. Few had their personal bests that day. What more can i ask for!!!

So, bring on more pacing challenges… HM or an FM… i am ready to take on any!!!

2016: My crazy year of running…


Sums up my last running season…

Years from now, when i look back down the road, i might find 2016 as the year i went crazy… crazy about running…

My 2016 new year resolution was ‘make a difference, do something crazy’… i did lot of crazy stuff… The craziest was deciding to run HM/FM in 6 different cities…

Starting with Hyderabad in August, then off to Bangalore in October, Cochin and Delhi in November, and finally then two full marathons in Jan ’17 in Chennai and Mumbai (back-to-back)… The last bit was the real crazy – back to back FMs… in a way, i screwed up the Mumbai by draining all energy in Chennai even though i bettered by timing…

Well, i don’t care any of that now… I have completed all my goals of 2016 running season… And rewarded well too… Won bronze in age category in Bangalore, won the whole HM run in Chennai, PB in Delhi (HM), 4th in FM in Chennai (there was a prize for 4th position too :)) and ended with a PB in Mumbai… so, the money spent on registration, travel, gear, and accessories… all forgotten…

More than the material and monetary rewards, it is that feeling… that feeling of accomplishment you get when you cross the finish line – i had many of that last year… and i am happy…

As i type this, i am drawing up my plan for next year… yes, more cities to conquer… more roads to explore… season 2017, i am coming… stronger and more determined…

Vaporization vs Evaporation vs Boiling

That Theoretical Physicist


While working at my previous organization where I was a development editor for school books, I had quite a lot of interaction with school teachers. The topics of these interactions vary from new teaching methods to the content which goes into the text books to various other subject related matter. Mostly, the discussions were on their views regarding the explanations of certain “confusing” topics.

Teachers can be intransigent sometimes. Teachers, especially the experienced ones, usually follow only those books they have started their teaching career with. So, they get upset if the new content in our books deviate slightly from the wordings they are familiar with, or the artwork or diagrams they are used to. There were certain topics where the rewording confused the teachers and they ended up confusing us with their corrections. A set of topic I came across while working on the Physics books was vaporization/evaporation/boiling. These terms…

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