Chennai Marathon

I finished the Chennai Half Marathon amidst tough conditions of lack of water, high humidity, indifferent attitude shown towards runners apart from first 100 or so by the organisers.
I completed in 2hrs 25mins which is way below my expectation but I did not give up even though I was contemplating on giving up initially after crossing 5km mark.

Day was filled with funny announcements.
1. Neenga naria dooram odannum 21.09kms, adanaala ellarum dooram nillunga (You guys have to run long distance of 21.09kms, so stand at a distance)
2. Ellarum pinnadi ponga. Odravanga pinnadi nikaraanga, neenga en munnadi nikareenga. (Everyone go back. Runners are standing back why are you guys standing in front)
3. Ladies ellarum aambalaigaluku pinnadi odannum muppadu nimisham kayichu. (Ladies have to run behind the guys after 30mins)
4. Appa vai tholaita kozhandaigal Gandhi selai varavum. (Kids who have lost their father’s come to Gandhi statue)

1. After the 1st km mark, there was no water point for next close to 6kms. Which such high humidity, runners who did not want water initially like me, went without water for next distance.
2. There was no proper plan on requirement of water. After some time there were no water bottles. One had to carry a bottle and fill from bucket.
3. There were physio’s in many points which was good.
4. The cops were really nice and ensured that traffic remained stopped for such time.
5. After first initial set of runners, the organisers were disinterested in other runners. When I reached the 12.5km mark to turn around and return nobody noted my bib number.
6. Near the end point there was no clear indication where half marathoners had to stop. After the marking of 19kms there were no other markings.
7. I was not sure if they provided certificates to runners who finished 21.09kms. As such in Chennai no finishers medals are distributed.
8. Later when waiting for water, lot of people crowded a van which brought water. The guys distributing water started beating the guys asking for water.

Some of the photos, can be viewed here.

The most unfortunate incident was a student from Anna University died. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

This also marked my third activity for this month. First one was 5km corporate rally, second was cycle rally of 16kms which extended to 80.
This month is a month of practise & practise.

Cycle Rally

On Saturday 23rd August, I wake up in the morning with slight fever and bad cold. Day before that I had convinced my colleague to accompany me for the cycle rally. So I pop-up few tablets through the day, cancel all my other work and take complete rest. By night time am back to normal almost.
On Sunday 24th August, I meet my colleague outside Forum, Koramangala and we cycle all the way to Sunkada Katte. From here till Dodda Alada Mara (Big Banyan Tree) a cycle rally is being organised by Jagruthi. Jagruthi is a charity organisation bringing awareness of AIDS.

(My cycle and the message)

When we reached the starting point, we were the only two to be there. Now, its a shock since we expected quite a lot of cyclists. Little while later 5 more guys join us. 1hr after scheduled time we start off the first 9kms towards the destination. There we are made to wait for 1.5hrs for other cyclists, all school guys. We proceed further to complete the remaining 7kms. This is the third biggest Banyan Tree in India and Banyan Tree is India’s National Tree. There is nothing impressive about the Big Banyan Tree. There are no monkeys around. The sad part is why should someone cut off the main trunk of a tree to set-up a temple. All for money, maybe, in the name of God.
After some time, we finish our lunch which is also provided by organisers. My colleague & myself split ways with remaining group. We head towards Mysore Highway. The roads are far better in this direction. From this highway we get into NICE Highway and pedal pedal our way. Inbetween we stop for about half an hour. This was a bad day for cycling. The sun was at its peak and the heat was slightly too much. Finally we reach Kanakpura Road and from there we both head towards our homes.
The entire circuitous route was Koramangala – Adugodi – Wilson Garden – Kalasipalayam – Chamrajpet – VijayNagar – Sunkada Katte – Dodda Alada Mara – Mysore Highway – Kanakpura Main Road – Banshankari – Jayanagar – Diary Circle – Koramangala.
In all it was close to 80kms of cycling.

The best part of the day:
1. At no point of time did we push the cycle walking by its side. Except once when a lorry driver ignored our efforts of climbing up a real steep incline and came inbetween. But the distance was only about 300mts.
2. My colleague never gave up, which would made me also give up.
3. 4 of the remaining 5 were cycling on geared cycles. 2 of them were slower than us!! 🙂
4. We managed to pedal through all the up’s & down’s in the entire route including some which were very steep.
5. The feeling of happiness after completing the entire distance cycling. This after 6months of being away from any fitness program due to injuries. Last 3 weeks of cycling close to 250kms in all but never more than 36kms a day.
6. My cycle started making so much of noise and with back wheel shaking horribly when coming down slope but never gave up.

The worst part of the day:
1. The sun at its peak all through the day.
2. Poor turnout, maybe because the rally was outide city limits. This has forced the organisers to rethink and maybe never organise a cycle rally again.
3. Waiting for others to join in.
4. Disappointing banyan tree.

For photos click here.

A request to all drivers & riders

Riding the cycle, the most toughest part is not roads with its ups & downs. Its the drivers in cars & bikes & public transport buses.
I did not face such a situation 2yrs back when riding my cycle. Now I find that traffic conditions are making it completely uncomfortable to cyclists.
Situation 1:
You are almost on the extreme left side of the road and only space you can go further is into the drain. Behind you, cab drivers & BMTC bus drivers honk. They honk in such a way that one gets jittery. Theres no further space to move out and give way to bigger vehicles. Even private car drivers have same problem. Utter disrespect to cyclists. Size does matter I understand.

Situation 2:
You are pumping your way up the slope, suddenly from an intersection, cab guy wants to turn and ensures that you hit the brake & stop. How difficult it is to ride up a slope. Hope they understand difference between manual power & motor generated power.

Situation 3:
Motorbike riders, they overtake you and suddenly apply the brakes forcing you to do the same. What fun.

There are some who acknowledge you and give you space. They are very few in number.

Bangalore & Traffic problems

Yesterday and today has been real worse in terms of traffic problems in Bangalore. Travelling from Whitefield to Koramangala in the evening is worse than one can imagine. Without rains yesterday the distance of 17kms took painful 2hrs. Today with rains 2.5hrs. To cross Marthahallli bridge from Whitefield a distance of about 5kms took 1hr. The bridge was expanded to ease the traffic problem and it does not seem to have solved the problem.
Whereas the entire distance by cycling takes only 1hr.
Its really time Goverment brought in some tough actions. Just like trucks are not allowed to go beyond Silk Board junction, there should also be a law preventing all cars with just single person inside. Either they should be taxed more for road usage or stopped from using the road completely especially during peak hour traffic. Every office goer complains of traffic problem but never thinks for a second that his/her car is also adding to the problem.

Probable solutions:
1. Force employees to use company shuttle
2. Increase the public transport and encourage its usage by every office goer
3. Brin in share auto concept
4. Enforce strict lane discipline. Two-wheelers and auto’s should use only one lane. They should not be allowed to change lanes unless they are taking turn.
5. Bus stops which are immediately after turning, coming down the bridge, after signal should be moved out.
6. No vehicles should be parked in the main roads. This includes stopping the trucks at Sarjapur junction by police. The trucks should be asked to park in the service lane. Similarly, there are lot of vehicles parked outside Reliance Fresh, FoodWorld, Wipro office, NDS office in Koramangala. These vehicles should not be allowed to be parked during peak hours.

MFormation Urban stampede

Today morning, I ran in the Mformation Urban Stampede Corporate Relay Run conducted by Runners For Life here in Bangalore. Team of 4, each runner had to run 5kms. I ran 5kms in 26-27mins. Our mixed team finished in 2hrs 4mins.
Personally, this was my first run after Mumbai Marathon 2008 in January. Last week was the only week I had practised coupled with cycling to office and it did help to an extent. Otherwise I might have never finished 5kms I think.
Thanks to Dr.Rajat Chauhan and his team. They helped me to recover from my knee pain. Doc is setting up his own clinic.
This has given me confidence and with sufficient practise in next 2months I hope to run the marathon at Kavery Trail in October to be conducted by RFL in decent timing. And also believe this time I can go for the 78kms in Ultra marathon to be conducted in November by RFL.

Cycling to office

After more than two years due to varied reasons I cycled today morning to office. It took me close to an hour to cover a distance of 18kms. I took almost the same time bus takes to cover the distance with all the traffic around.
It was not tiring, maybe I need to increase my speed. It was cycling at leisure pace.
I have been planning for this for quite few weeks without implementing it. Thanks to my friend because of whom I cycled since I had to join him in the journey to office.

Maybe now I would do this more regularly and its a easy way to keep fit.

Today (5th August 2008) morning I ran 7kms in 35mins and cycled 18kms in 52mins. Hopefully can continue the same form. This would also be a setter for Ultra Marathon to happen in November this year.
In the evening there was big traffic jam around Marthahalli due to a container which had overturned. What amazes was the slow pace in which the work was going on to remove it. I missed my camera a lot.

Today (6th August 2008), cycling of 18kms took 49mins. Thanks to a nice guy on another cycle who gave a competition on outer ring road which made me cycle little faster. of course I won the battle against him!! Not sure if I would be reduce the time any below than this.

Busy weekend

Another busy weekend. While last weekend was trip to Pondicherry, this weekend is time for household work.
Yesterday, saturday was little relaxed after watching Kuselan on Friday night. Saturday was time to play few games of squash at Karnataka Badminton Association. Later after lunch settled down to watch the movies 50 First Dates and From here to Eternity.
Today has been real busy. Early rise to a nice day. Ran 5kms in 28mins and hopefully can reduce few more mins to compete in the Urban Stampede next weekend.
Then finished cleaning house, which includes the usual sweeping & mopping. Luckily Radio One 94.3fm is playing good old hindi songs which is keeping my mood alive.

Still to do:
1. Wash clothes
2. Clean my motorbike
3. Service my bicycle
4. Cook brunch
5. Do some shopping
6. Watch movie Frankie & Johnny.
7. Read the book “New Age of Innovation“.

All plans went for a toss after my friend twisted his ankle when playing tennis.