My pacing debut

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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2016: My crazy year of running…

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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…

Open Letter from Hyderabad University Alumni against Repression on HCU Campus and the Return of Appa Rao as VC

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Guest Post by UoH/HCU Alumni

UoH Alumni Open Letter against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the return of Dr. Appa Rao as UoH’s VC, and the brutal display of state violence in campus.
As alumni of the University of Hyderabad, we observed with dismay the return of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on March 22. We strongly condemn this provocation that led to the police brutality on campus. The shutdown of the university which has followed is unacceptable and unlawful.

A couple of days ago, a report ranked three departments of the University of Hyderabad among the top 500 university facilities in the world. The education we received at UoH helped us to not only shape our careers, but also to question, critique and analyse concepts such as equality, fraternity and social justice.  Upon entering a central university of this size, we…

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Vaporization vs Evaporation vs Boiling

That Theoretical Physicist

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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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Carrot cake to perfection

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Got it to perfection for christmas

After few successful b’day and Christmas cakes, I have somehow perfected my recipe of the fruit and nut cake.  So, this Christmas, I had decided on baking a carrot cake, which I had fallen in love with ever since we started ordering evening cakes from Chaayos, a tea and cake vendor in Delhi.

I searched for a proper recipe online. Finally I found one someone shared in facebook. I modified the recipe as per the availability of the ingredients here in Delhi and came out well. In fact, I had a bunch of testers in my house that day to review and approve. So, here is the recipe for that.

Ingredients:
2 cup plain flour
1.5 cup caster sugar (can be less as per your taste)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cup grated carrots (3-4 carrots)
3 eggs
Powdered spices – 1 clove + 1 cardamom pod + small piece of cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Few drops of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180ºC.
  2. Combine the flour and baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Next, add vegetable oil and beat.
  4. Add the grated carrots to the mixture and mix well.
  5. Add vanilla extract to the above mixture.
  6. Now, add a spoon of flour mixture and fold. Once it is used up, add the remaining flour mixture spoon by spoon so that no lumps are formed.
  7. To a tray greased with butter and flour sprinkled over, pour the batter and bake for 45-50 minutes until the top turns brownish. Insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean, your cake is done.

Another year, Another ADHM done…

eade5c4d352e06352c168bb0af3e30d886dddcb8f5dab5eaf760b17c9e7ddb0dEver since I started taking long distance running seriously and ever since I started getting to know the running groups in Delhi, the one thing i noticed was that everyone seemed looking forward to, at any time of the year, yes, the tAirtel Delhi Half Marathon or ADHM… and the count down to the event… starting even before August when the registrations usually opens (i had a count down even for the registration opening day)…

ADHM, for most Delhi runners, is the end-of-the-year point… you plan an year’s run as ‘pre ADHM/preparation to ADHM’ or post ADHM….

Well, after numerous runs around Delhi and strategizing and planning… there was ADHM, last weekend… Last year I ran without much expectations and clocked 2:17:16 (as I type that certificate is in front of me, pasted on my board)… So, they promoted me from line-up F to line-up C.

With a PB (1:54) clocked weeks before the race and I was hoping I could break that…. But winter, and sprains and Delhi weather… and topping all the huge crowd, I couldn’t get my plan right… But still managed to finish within 2 hrs (1:58:27)… People say that is decent enough… They say finishing the race in 2 hrs is a big thing…

On the big crowd… I could barely find space at the start to move forward… There were dangerous runners around, with no curtsey, pushing others….no space for free running… The number will keep on going up year by year, for sure…

Delhi weather… The pollution situation in Delhi after Diwali is just alarming… whenever I got out for a run, I could feel the kind of air I was breathing in… With the situation will definitely go from bad to worse in the coming years unless the Govt. steps in with actions…

What bothers me most is the injury scares…. These days its frequent… may be I push myself a lot… I set a pace and I get upset and I come down that point… I get so competitive with my yesterday’s records… May be it’s the old short distance runner in me… so eager to break records everyday…. So, eager to better the pace…. I ran a recovery run at 5:16 min/km and ppl send me alarming messages… to slow down!!! I know I need to slow down a bit… be less competitive… lots of work for disciplining myself for next year… well, next ADHM 🙂

Whatever the reason I pulled out for not improving my PB, I am signing off the running calendar with lots of satisfaction…. The kilometres ran this year, the hours I trained… the hours I spent on planning… the unhealthy habits I gave up (though there were many temptations)… I am proud!!! Though there needs lots of improvements, I am happy the way I have disciplined myself…

The thing with runners like me is ‘As long as there are roads, we are ready to run…’

Can’t wait for the next half marathon!!! Well, I have promised myself a winter break… let’s see how that will go… 😉

 

 

 

The levers in our body

That Theoretical Physicist

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Archimedes once said, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth.” It was Archimedes who came up with the idea of levers which will reduce our effort in moving heavy load. Levers are simple machines which makes our lifting and moving of things easier. We use a variety of levers in our daily life to make many tasks done with less effort.

A lever works around a fixed point called pivot or fulcrum (F). It is a point about which the lever moves. Load is the weight to be lifted or moved using the lever and is represented by L.Effort is the input force applied by us and is represented by E. Levers are classified into three based on the positions of the Fulcrum, Load and Effort.

Class 1: Fulcrum between Load and Effort. Examples include scissors and wire cutters.

Class 1 lever Class 1…

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Tomorrow….

Everybody has a reason to look forward to tomorrow… a person or persons or things waiting may be…

Everybody has a reason to believe today will be outlived tomorrow… a plan may be…

Everybody has hope…. people have hope…. their lives are built on hope that tomorrow comes with a new life… a better life…. yeah, everything will be better tomorrow…. that is hope…. ‘everything will be OK tomorrow’…

I hope tomorrow is better for me…. i was sitting here with dizzy head until a few moments back…. wondering if today was a just bad dream i will forget when i get up tomorrow… wish it was a bad dream…. but it was not……..

But then…. tomorrow…. i have a reason to believe it will be better… hope, it will be better….

As long as there are games, it is not over!

After a heart break from the football world cup last year, i had decided not to invest so much emotions in any sporting event…. the ones i myself is not involved with…

Tries to keep calm during ManU’s failures early in the season… Indian cricket team’s pathetic performances during the test series and all….

But being a sports person myself, i found i cant stay not to be angry and emotional anymore… I had stopped watching games thinking i might jinx the team… Recently i have started watching all the games again…. But when the team loses…. It might be just a game on just any day… for a person who loves sports, a failure is failure… it affects…

So, when my cricket team was playing in the CWC…. i never missed a single game… couple of matches in week-days in office, managed to watch in my phone app…. yes, i was passionate…

So, it was hard when the team got knocked out…. knocked out in semies, nothing to be ashamed of, but we are no longer in the tournament… somebody else is playing in the finals…. that is heart breaking….

But, well…. its not the end of the road…. sun will rise again and again everyday…. tournaments will come… we can win more….

As Sir Alex Ferguson said:

As long as there are games, it is not over!

Cold, freezing and lost in Fog!!!

I always thought i am a winter person than a summer one.
Have been waiting for the winter once the Delhi temperature started rising in May… Delhi summer is long and tiring and depressing…. anyone will long for Winter to stay longer here…
But, this  year the winter has been so erratic it is now annoying me…. Cold mornings, warm afternoons some day… and foggy and freezing some other day…. things have become so unpredictable here…
I, sometimes, wait for the weather updates from my colleagues in the mornings who start from homes before me…
Winter has made me quite lazy…. Being an active person, it is making me so uncomfortable… No blogs, no jogging…. even the indoor work-outs and warm ups are cut short!!!
There were mornings with zero visibility…. It was no fun walking to the metro station in fog, considering how reckless are the drivers in Delhi!!!
Now, I can’t wait for bit of sunshine… can’t to get up early for my morning run!!! Can’t wait to sit outside and read a book and write notes for the next Physics blog (writing this blog sitting on my bed, covered in blankets)…

Well, winter…. go away…. sunshine, come back please….