Monday, 7 December 2015

Women are we Born to Run- ADHM after thoughts

Lalita Babbar broke the national record at the  Airtel Delhi Half Marathon by finishing it in  1:10:52 around 6 minutes after her Indian Male counterpart.  I wondered reading the news whether  she could beat that time. That got me thinking on woman and long distance running  , more so because of my recent read “Born to run” by Mr. Cristopher McDougall.
 I have time in hand , nursing my ankle injury ,so catching up on all the literature on running. On the point of Woman and Man and endurance running Christopher has an interesting part where he talks about the research done by Dr. Dennis Bramble on Mankind and history of running. In that context he quotes Dr. Bramble  about woman and running.
Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest rac“Women have really been underrated,” Dr. Bramble said. “They’ve been evolutionarily shortchanged. We perpetuate this notion that they were sitting around waiting for the men to come back with food, but there’s no reason why women couldn’t be part of the hunting party.” Actually, it would be weird if women weren’t hunting alongside the men, since they’re the ones who really need the meat. The human body benefits most from meat protein during infancy, pregnancy, and lactation, so why wouldn’t women get as close to the beef supply as possible? Hunter-gatherer nomads shift their camps by the movements of the herds, so instead of hauling food back to camp, it made more sense for the whole camp to go to the food”

Wow puts a whole new perspective to women and endurance running. Are we made to run equal to man; the answering staring at me is “yes”. There are examples to prove that woman can run equal and maybe even beat men, e.g  In 2002, Tuscon, Arizona's Pam Reed won the 146-mile Badwater Ultramarathon outright. She beat all the men, and repeated her win a year later The legendary Ann Trason and the Leadville 100 are just a few.  Woman are strong even if after child bearing , like Emily bear who ran 2007 Hardrock 100 breast feeding her infant at every aid station beating 90 other competitors  and finishing eighth overall,

So why do we shortchange ourselves, will there be enough examples to cover a book and more. If you were to dive deep into the reasons, you will see a lot of this is to do with some deeply embedded thinking in our head. Personally I have always thought in running, men will always be better than woman. How can you beat something if you have already in your head declared the result?

Biologically woman and man have evolved to be equal compared to a lot of our other mammals , be it weight ,height or structure . However we need to realize that endurance running is a brain activity as much as it is a physical one. Hubby dearest in my early running days (not that I am a pro now) always said running is head game.  Brains are programmed for efficiency and not endurance . So I need to get the mind game right if I ever plan to achieve some amazing PB’s. Born to run was a eye opener in a lot of ways. All I want to do is tie my laces and run but have to wait on till the ankle heals.  I may even want to test barefoot running next year. Do I see  the next year’s resolution propping up, no music, no shoes just pure running.  Well time will tell but sure sounds like a plan. What about you, could you out run the guy next to you?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dont Drive past- Just showup

I work out in  the evening, not a morning person at all.   Yesterday like all days I got my gym clothes in the car and planned to do the usual, until of course I realized I will be delayed at work.  So somewhere during the course of the last meeting I decided I will skip the gym. And then I did what I didn’t imagine I could have done. I did not drive past the gym, I actually went. I checked my watch and it was 8:20pm. I still had a voice in my head asking me to just get back in the car and drive home, because it was way too late. But I locked the car and walked inside, with some surprised looks in the gym reception. My trainer was equally surprised and commented “so late, I didn’t think you would come in” I smiled and just blamed work and Bangalore traffic.

I surprised myself by killing all the voices in my head and then I heard Jillian in my head saying “What really matters is that you showed up”. For those who read my blogs, know that I absolutely love Jillian Michael’s workout and all her talking in the video. A lot out there don’t like it, but I do. Her screaming and shouting inspires me and no matter what critics have to say she brings change. I know a lot out there who have transformed because she bought fitness to their living room.

We all face lack of motivation, wanting to turn off the TV or not go to the gym. Everyone has those days, and it’s not easy to kill the voices in our head telling us to stop or not go. It’s not easy and nobody knows that better, because of the umpteen times I have driven past the gym. But there is no easy way than to just go out there, shut the door and face it.

Friday, 13 November 2015

This years running and the injury

The year has been a roller coaster ride for my  running . I started the year planning to get on the running wagon completely with planning out my race calendar for the year. I may have gotten ambitious by deciding on the Boston qualifier as well. It doesn't cost much to dream, does it.
Well officially I still have a shot as the Spice Coast Marathon is scheduled this Sunday.  But the truth of the matter is, let alone 42 Km I cant run a mile with a ankle injury. So all my dreams of BQ are down the drain.
I hurt my ankle in my practice runs post Bangalore marathon. Lesson learnt that I need to run more often and trying to achieve too much in a short time is not possible. Also running in the dark may not be the best time to run.

To be honest, even if the injury wasn't there , I had no chances of getting to my target time, cause I haven't been practicing. why I haven't, well I don't want to spend the whole blog whining so may be another time.
This is what the plan looked like

Puma urban Stampede 2-Aug-15
Bull Run 23-Aug-15
Bengaluru Marathon 18-Oct-15
Pune International Marathon 6-Dec-15
SpiceCoast Marathon 15-Nov-15
Sky Scraper dash 9-Aug-15

 The ones marked in blue is what I ended up running, the red I didn't and the yellow I cant, cause the injury.

The good part of this has been that I managed to polish off an hour from my personal best in the half marathon.  This is was the highest point so far in my journey as a runner.

One of the runs that wasn't part of the plan but I did was the Pinkathon. You can read my experience more about it here
  Something that I realized this year it makes sense to be part of a group or club. The realization struck when I see similar faces during the run and how you have people to cheer along run along when you are down and out. The process of finding  a club  and joining is on.  Hopefully if they let me be part of one. Runners can be an extremely closed community and they make you feel like pariah when one is a lone runner.

So that's my running journey for this year in short. While I rest my leg I am spending time reading books on running.
More on the books maybe in another post.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Boston marathon and my falters

Today I started working out after the new gym after a huge gap of 4 months. There were the in between runs and marathons but nothing consistent. To add to it all the vacation time I binged.  I thought I would do Ok and 4 months wouldn’t have made a difference but boy was I in for a surprise. I felt dizzy and weak after 20 minutes of the circuit, serious enough for the disappointed trainer asking me to finish the workout with a couple of crunches. Don’t know what it was, the no pre workout snack (just a small banana) or the exertion, I felt like sh*@.
The disappointment was worse when it hit me, wondering and self doubting my conviction of whether I would ever be healthy. I cursed myself for all the inertia of the past four months .How could I do this , and while I gobbled the breakfast sandwich I told myself , I should say goodbye to running the Boston marathon. Until this video hit me like a bullet train.
Maickel Melamed the 25 year old from Venezuela suffers from Muscular dystrophy endured 20 hours of rain, cold to complete the Boston Marathon. That boy’s conviction and strength is amazing and here I was berating myself by one small falter. "The message here is that love is so much stronger than death," he said. "It was an honor to the run the streets of this city." If he with all the challenges can do this then I have no right to complain.  This and many other stories is the sole reason that millions want to run the Boston.  The Boston Marathon is a Mecca for all runners, not because of the terrain; it’s solely these heroes that make it special.  When I watched the video there were tears, I don’t know this boy but his win made me happy, bought back my joy and conviction back. Terrorist attacks, storm, rains, bad weather, physical disabilities nothing can keep runners away from Boston. This is the run for strength  , and Boston is strong. 
The next year I will make it to the run while there is long way to go considering that the winner this year 25-year-old Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, completed the race in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 17 seconds. My prime goal is to qualify and that I will. Today’s weakness is just a pebble on the road and I plan to move a mountain.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Musings of an empty mind

This is not a fitness post just my empty mind playing games
I always wondered what it would be like to not be a corporate horse. When the kids are away at school ,and I have the whole house to myself; how would I feel having time on my hands. I got a taste of it now. I am taking a break before joining a new firm. Princess is away on vacation with her grandparents and hubby dearest is at work as usual. I finished all the household chores, watched television ,nothing to watch really, and was wondering how do I keep myself busy. Quite frankly I don’t know what to do.
I tried working out but I feel lazy. At the start of the vacation I had so many plans of going on runs and exercising and getting into the habit of waking up at 5am. All of those convictions just flew out of the window, partly the weather(it is so hot) and partly my procrastination. I even got my sketch books out but  the weather is wanting me to just doze off. The only saving grace is that I have finished most of my pending chores including princess admission to school (I know so soon right) . The other good thing is that I am trying to clean my diet.  My biggest problem in my weight loss journey.

17 years of corporate life has made me addicted to being busy. I enjoy leisure time during vacation but an excess of it is just not Ok. I am amazed at how ,so many woman decide to quit work and be at home and hats of to them. This time off has made me realize that I am not made for it. I am going to savour this time that I have however do I want this lifestyle to be permanent most definitely No.
How about you guys , how is summer treating you?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bangalore Pinkathon 2015 - memory to cherish

My first marathon for the year was the Pinkathon Bangalore 2015 on the 22nd of Feb. I had almost decided not to run it, but thank god I did. It was the most liberating experience to run  with 11,000 women from different age groups and strata.

The month of February has been the toughest for me. First it was my mother who had the flu then my hubby dearest, followed by my princess and last me. A month of tending to the sick and then having the viral flu taking away all the reserved store of energy from my body, left me with zero exercise or workout.  I looked like a train wreck and work took away what little was left of me. So on the morning of the run while I looked at my sleep deprived self in the mirror I wondered whether I should just go back to bed.  The clocking reminding me that it was 4 am wasn’t helping, and then somewhere I mustered the strength in the deepest corner and got dressed. Tied my shoe laces and drove off to the venue. All the way I promised myself that it was that I had to walk the 10km I would do so.

I don’t know what it was, was it fate or just pure bad luck while I walked from the parking lot to the venue I swung my arm and off flew my wedding band. I was like damn this. I searched and couldn’t find it, but a fellow runner who saw me search for it in the dark helped me find. God bless her.  After that eventful beginning I managed to reach the venue and join a crowd of 11000women runners.

The icing on the cake was to meet the ever so handsome Milind Suman and hear him talk about the Pinkathon and how he conceptualized the idea to help build breast cancer awareness. Once all the sponsor speeches were done we had an amazing warm session of Zumba.  Woman of all ages danced to some of the most amazing Latino music.

The run itself was a lot better than I thought it would and I managed to finish it in and 1 hour and 24 minutes. Not the best timing but better than my expectation. The best part of the run was when I saw women who had their husbands/ partners or just male friends running with them to motivate them and acted as their pacers. They weren’t embarrassed about the fact that they were running amongst so many women and were not part of the event.

This marathon made me realize how much more one can achieve if you have a partner who believes in you wants motivate you. While I would have loved to have hubby dearest as my pacer, he does his bit by believing in me and the fact that I should run more marathons.

 That’s all that I had to let you’ll know about the Pinkathon and my experience. If you want to be part of the marathon you could do that here.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Not Drinking Enough Water - Are you Stupid?

How Much Water Do I Actually Need to Drink Every Day?

The title of the blog is no pun intended. A study revealed that even a little dehydration can decrease your mental acuity by as much as 30%.
That explains a lot of the stupid decisions that I have been making. Seriously,I am not joking. I have been told a zillion  times by health practioners, trainers, parents friends and tons of people to drink water and keep mysel hydrated. all to deaf ears, that also can be blamed to dehydration cause I have to be stupid not to take up such a simple advice.
Back to the research I came up on it by chance while reading a book where the author decided to develop the habit of drinking water when he read about this. So I had to do some research of my own....the google god of course comes to rescue as usual.
Here is what I found from the tons of results
"The Brain is 85% water. Optimal brain function depends on water and lots of it. Water is what keeps the brain signals going. When the quality of water is compromised the signals are short circuited. Even if a person is 1% dehydrated, there is a 5% decrease in cognitive function. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy, short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing. Studies show that prolonged dehydration of the brain causes cells to begin to shrink." Water &brain  by Dr. Corinne Allen
 Also all this while I wondered if coffee , tea milk , juices made up for the water need and keeps the body hydrated. To my alarm they dont hydrate the brain because to send signal out the brain needs water and not anything else. To top it according to Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 80 ounces of water every day through sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes.
 These readings made me wonder if my brain cells have already started to shrink, because quite frankly I dont drink enough water. There are days that I only drink one glass, which is scary considering what I just read. I dont like the taste of water but to hell with taste before I'd rather drink water than endup being brain dead.

While there are tons of reseach on how much water a body needs, it certainly depends on your size weight , where you live and your activity level. A quick way to check is the color of your urine, if its clear then you are hydrated on the other hand if its darker and more aromatic your urine, the more dehydrated you are. If you want a more exact amount of water intake then there is a hydration calculator that I found on the net , use that

Can one have too much water, well its quite possible and it is unhealthy and can cause Hyponatremia. But Hyponatremia means "insufficient salt in the blood."  and is usualy caused when  a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough and the blood becomes waterlogged. Which in my case is impossible cause I dont drink at all.  So the moral of the story never chug water all at once, sip it through the day  not all at once.

The only silver lining in the cloud with all this research is that I am never dying of hyponatremia cause I dont drink water at all forget excessive. All this reading has made me super scared about my mental state. I am taking control of it from now. As a first step I have put up signs to drink water wherever I can put them, including my phone.

 If this will not help I have asked collegues at work and friends to remind me to drink. I have also set reminders on my phone every two hours to sip water.
All these meausres hopefully will help me get into the habit of drinking water and definately making smarter decisions (not sure about this one ) :D 

Do you have some ideas on deleoving the habit of drinking water? let me know

PS: Wishing you all  a Happy New Year  my you all have a splendid year ahead