A 200mile ride after 4 years.

A call for a long ride to Yelagiri ended up with Anup forcefully letting me know that he would come. The plan was to start around 8-9 pm. Unfortunately I did not have enough sleep the previous night, so asked to postpone it to start after midnight. I went to sleep a little after 9 pm and got up at midnight. I left home at a little after 1 am, and reached Singhasandra/hosa road junction at around 2 am.(After fixing up a time of 1:15 with Anup, it took me a bit of time to get ready)
We started at 2 am from there, and then steadily pedalled, we did not take any breaks till we took a left towards Chennai. This was around 105 km and it was about 6:45 am or so. We ended up spending 45 minutes drinking tea and having some idlis on a roadside small shop. From here we went on towards Yelagiri, taking a route that went parallel to the railway track, taking the road off the highway from a place called PuthuKovil. We missed the official Google route and ended up riding in some bad sections till we hit the Vaniyambadi highway. However we hit the road right at the entrace of Ponneri. The last 10km or so reminded us of the amazing routes set by the erstwhile IISc Randonneurs. At one point I followed a local motorcyclist’s track over a water logged road, trusting him, while Anup decided to just walk the stretch. And yes, a dog decided to chase me at one point.
The climb itself didn’t go as well as planned, I wanted to tackle it in one continuous ride but at around the 7th hairpin my back ache became too much. From this point onwards, I had to keep stopping to stretch my back. In fact for the rest of my journey my back ached quite a bit, and as I am writing this, I can see that the inflammation hasn’t yet completely dissipated. I ended up stopping multiple times beyond this point, and reached the top of the climb at 10:10 am. Anup followed a few minutes later at 10:20 am. I recorded this section on Strava, and it showed me a timing of a little more than 1 hour, 4 minutes.

My last big ride was to Anchetty on Aug 15 2018. Before that I had gone to Basavanabetta in Sep 2017. (+ a ride from Kalpetta to Mysore, which is a little more than 100km) And before that in 2016, I had gone twice up to Yelagiri, and in Dec 2016, I had gone to Basavanabetta. The last ride when I had done 200+ miles at one go was during Bliss In The Hills 2015. So a long ride was long overdue , I just to check if I could even do it. The only thing that works in my favour is that for the past two years my daily commute has been 47km, with my office 23.5 km one way, so even though I’ve been slacking on weekend rides, I’ve got some miles against my name. Last year I managed to ride 9400km with only one ride to Anchetti. So effectively it has been 14+ months since I rode a distance of 180km+ and 3 years since I rode 200+ or 300+ rides.

Once we reached the top, we needed a break, the ride up was in intense humidity and moderate+ heat , and while I was thankful I did not cramp, we needed a break, and Anup felt the same. So we went on to have a course of breakfast and some leg stretching. And as usual, we started back on the way down at around 11:20-30ish. on the way back we took a left , went past Jolarpettai and took the u turn point towards Natrampalli. We got caught in a torrential downpour, and it was amusing to see all the motorcyclists take cover while we continued pedalling. We hit the main road riding non stop, and stopped at a spot 12km before the right turn. Anup managed a short nap here + we had some tea, and we continued towards Bangalore. After we took a right turn, Anup went ahead, and I started drifting into sleep

So I had to take an impromptu stop, help myself to a Kumbakkonam degree coffee, some groundut chikkis, some stretches , and got some chewing gums to keep chewing and trying to keep awake, and of course, try and catch up with Anup. I managed to catch up with him before Shoolagiri, which is where we had decided to eat some food. I remember seeing a Kamath on the side towards Bangalore, but that was no longer there. Anup was in a hurry to reach home, and had a mild stomach issue, so wasn’t interested in eating. We managed to ride at a decent speed throughout but had to take short stretch breaks. I kept getting some back ache, he was slowing down a little. I wanted to eat something but was keen not to ride alone so kept going with him. However at Attibele, we decided to take a short food break. We had a glass of juice each and I helped myself to a plate of idlis.

Since he was in a hurry, and I needed some stretching to restart , I asked Anup to continue from here. I started after about 10 minutes, and could not catch up with Anup after this. I had also got pollution masks and was dressing myself up to deal with the air. His home probably was about 15km from here. The traffic was fairly heavy hereon , and the atmosphere somewhat polluted with all the crackers. Just 4km from my home I suffered a pinch flat and had to find a place next to an apartment to change my tyres. Some lady put some firecrackers not far from me and a stray cracker hit me  — but no harm done. I reached home a litte before 9.

 

 

Ride Statistics :

  • Total Distance : 321.6 km (201 miles)
  • Time on Road : 19 hr, 50 min
  • Time on Saddle : 14 hr : 55 min

 

Post script :  I posted this ride blog after a long time , for the following reasons

  1.  My own satisfaction, I’m riding 300km after 2016, and 200 miles (320km+) after 4 years.
  2. Demonstrate that you can enjoy a ride even if it does not get a recognition from some body that recognizes long rides.

Reba’s thoughts on our immunity

This has been on my mind for a couple of days, that in this day and age where there is so much confusion about vaccines, and so many labels for people who make their own choices – we seem to be missing a few key points. Just want to take a moment to realign focus to spaces that we should bear in mind so that everyone – regardless of what their stand is on vaccines – can stay aligned to good health and wellbeing.

1. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS NATURAL IMMUNITY – beginning from the womb, when the mother’s antibodies begin to imprint immunity data on the baby, continued and solidified through the breastfeeding process, then nurtured through the good bacteria supportive foods that native communities had as a staple. A human being’s immune system is actively formulated in the first 2 years – data regarding infections, immune responses, exposure to new viruses and bacteria – happens very robustly and efficiently in these two years.

2. As with all things considered from Nature (immune system included), the first and foremost Ally in this process (of establishing good immunity, and also helping us to recover from an illness) are other cells from Nature. Plants, herbs, spices, Nature in the form of the mud and dirt itself – all play their own part in formulating, establishing and enhancing the functionality of the immune system. Here is where a group like this is relevant – sharing ways and means from Nature based recovery and healing protocols and elements. So whether you are vaccinating or not, the most reliable elements of recovery from ANY illness will be from Nature – since biologically they are components that are easy understood by our own cells.

3. Our understanding of our body itself is extremely limited. This is because we are trained by thought processes, textbooks, and teachers who are perceiving things of the body only through one perspective – that is the Western perspective. I love the Western perspective and tools, because it has provided me much detailed understanding of many many things. But at the root of iit – it is still learning to understand the multi layered, and multifaceted quality of the human mind-body-spirit connection. I love their pursuit for understanding the Truth about how things work in this reality and the body that we live in. But the fact is, they are still searching and understanding. EG: new organ discovered last year – the Interstitium – changes how many, many body processes have been understood by modern medicine so far. It was only 2 years ago that modern medicine actually accepted that the Circadian rhythm has an impact on the human body! It is important that people who are seeking a ‘no side effects’ approach to their health understand that modern medicine is slowly making its way from 2nd grade to the 3rd….Understandably so, because it is a very, very young participant in the process! I have great hopes for this stream of medicine in the coming 100 years and more, when it integrates many of the fragmented streams of data that it is currently looking at – and starts to piece together the puzzle of what, how, when, where, why things make us tick! This will be fabulous simply because it would probably be the first time in the history of humanity that the general pubic will have access to perceiving, understanding and integrating all of this knowledge in their daily lives! But until then, I choose to go with the traditional methodologies that have already proved that they work.

4. As we ponder over and consider the above points, what do we do with the information that is being given to us? How can I know which to believe? How do I know who to trust? Examine where is it coming from? Examine what is the opponent to that thought saying about it. We need to be aware – is the information that I believe in coming from corporate vested interest, or is it coming from scientists who are independently doing the research, have focused on this for few years so that they get the bigger picture about that particular subject. Is it coming from a careprovider who has learnt it from school and has it ingrained in his/her head because the education system rewarded them for learning it as well as possible? Examine who is gaining from the process. Take time to understand ‘what is this same scenario inn the Nature designed way’ – and then MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND!!

We are all learning on this journey called Life. There are informed choices and there are blind choices, and there are coerced choices and there are also instances of us making a choice that we do not want to – it all depends on our life circumstances, our personality, etc. Look into what you feel strongly about, keep reading, researching, and be a genuine participant in your own life journey. Ultimately THAT is what matters.

Bliss In The Hills 2019

Bliss In The Hills is one of the oldest 1200 km rides in India, and has been an annual feature since 2014. The idea was conceived post discussions on Bangalore Bicycling Clubs google group/mailing list. It took 2-3 seasons to search and finalise a route. It took multiple recces to get a satisfactory route. The rough outline of the route has been unchanged. Belur , Virajpet, Mananthavadi , Kalpetta, Meppadi, Gudalur, Kotagiri, Yercaud, Yelagiri have been featured in the ride every year. The original idea, to nurture and sustain an Indian 1200 km that challenges riders yet is a world class riding experience still stands. we have had independent feedback that the ride would be attractive to European riders, we intend to focus on making this a bigger event in the coming years.

Bangalore Brevets is an independent body and is not affiliated to any other organization. We started off as an ACP recognized ride in 2014, and have modelled our timings and speed requirements from there, but every subsequent year , we have conducted it independently. All successfully registered riders get a permanent Bangalore Brevets rider number. We use the club name/numbers for reference, but for now, the ride is open to everyone. There are no qualifications needed for the ride, but the ride will be challenging , but fun at the same time

The finish ratio for the ride has varied year on year

2014 — 40 started, 4 finished
2015 — 20 started, 8 finished
2016 — 16 started, 4 finished
2017 — 17 started, 2 finished
2018 — 3 started, 2 finished

In addition to the above numbers, 3 additional riders finished in 2014 but didn’t make it to intermediate controls in time. In 2015 , two riders who had finished PBP that year rode the circuit in 109 hours (against a cut off of 90 hours)

The overall route has undergone tweaks over the years, some sections that have got crowded have been changed for more scenic and quiet options. But the ride has been , and will be challenging. And the finish will be immensely satisfying.

A very open item has been the design of medals and certificates. That is being looked into and we will get it done later this year. The primary drive has been to make it unique , since finishing Bliss is seen as, and widely accepted as a non trivial ask, even for a seasoned rider.

We look forward to your participation this year and in future years, and thank everybody for their continued support.

Registrations are open and will be kept open for 2017. We will be doing a route recce this weekend and update everyone

Please register at
Register for Bliss In The Hills

Healing the Thyroid

This has been listed based on the experiences of Ranika Kararia

 

List of things I followed to heal my thyroid and related symptoms.

Lifestyle changes for healing your Thyroid

Step 1 : Identify your root cause.

The following variables need to be in mint condition to begin healing-
1. Sleep.
2. Diet.
3. Bowel movement
4. Liver health
5. Emotional health.
6. Electrolytes.
7. Rest.

There is no one underlying cause of thyroidism. Most of the time thyroidism is a result of irregularities in any one of the above rather than a faulty gland itself. Identify which one of the above may be affecting you adversely.

1.Bad sleep habits will always disrupt your thyroid. Make sure you sleep well and on time. The circadian rhythm regulates hormones. One of the reasons why you must never get your thyroid levels after a night of bad sleep is that it can notch up your tsh levels.
2. It is essential to stick to home cooked food only. Quit processed and packaged foods. Follow an elimination diet to kick out your inflammatory foods. Common ones are- dairy, soya, corn, eggs, white sugar, cauliflower, broccoli, some fruits , alcohol, seeds and nuts. 6 weeks per food is a good way to be sure of your triggers. This is one of the easiest variables to control, so pay much attention to it.
3. A clogged bowel will cause thyroid problems too. Anything less than once a day is not normal. In alternative medicine, the seat of thyroid is the intestine. One of the reasons why a good Vaidya will always give bowel cleansing preparations to treat your thyroid.
4. The liver helps in conversion of t4 to t3. Keep it optimum. Sugar is as bad a culprit as alcohol for the liver…Stay away from it. Take liver supporting herbal supplements if you need to. (Avoid liv52 by brand Himalaya as it has propylene glycol) I recommend bhumi amlaki(fresh leaves or dried), LKC capsules by Organic India or milk thistle and dandelion supplements or teas.
5. Stress: do not underestimate the ‘power’ of stress. Meditate, pray, paint, walk…whatever you can do to GENTLY relax yourself.
6. In a lot of cases, a severe and prolonged electrolyte imbalance will aggravate symptoms. Water retention will worsen. Switch to natural salt. Stop sodium chloride aka table salt. Do the kidney cleanse often. Have fresh coconut water.
7. Fatigue: Too much exercise or exertion can put your body into fight mode producing too much cortisol…It WILL disrupt sleep, cause panic attacks, anxiety or palpitations. At its worst, it will cause adrenal fatigue, which is NOT easy to heal and shockingly not recognised by doctors.

Step 2: Eliminate toxicity.

Irrespective of your health status, it is better to stay away from anything toxic . As with all ailments, one needs to detoxify even more. Remove toxic foods and products. :
1. Packaged food.
2. Processed meat
3. Carton/bottled juices
4. Carbonated drinks
5. Table salt
6. Refined sugar
7. Refined oils
8. Store bought breads
9. Commercial biscuits
10. Stale refrigerated food.
11. Dairy products (except ghee)
12. Soya in any form.
13. Artificial sweeteners.
14. Corn.

1.Deodorants
2. Lotions
3. Non-stick ware
4. Aluminum utensils
5. Microwave oven

Step 3 : Gentle exercise.

Choose a form of exercise.
Your exercise should be slow to medium paced that helps maintain slow and deep breathing. Do not exert. High intensity workouts may fatigue you more and aggravate inflammation and vata . Change the duration and effort as per your prevailing symptoms.

1. Walking
2. Yogasanas*:
Ushtrasana
Setubandhasana
Halasana
Sarvangasana
Matsyasana
3. Pranayam
Kapal bhati
Anulom vilom
Ujjayi
Brahmri
Udgeeth
4. Surya namaskar: slow paced.

*For yogasanas mentioned, a variation of each of them depending on your flexibility and mobility is possible. Ask your instructor to customise with props. Search online. You may want to look at the Iyengar style improvisations.

Step 4 : Extra efforts.

Take in as much sun as possible to maintain good vitamin D levels.
Apply sesame/coconut oil to skin and sit in the sun for 15 to 30 mins, daily if possible. Try to expose as much skin as possible. Avoid wearing sun glasses. Please do not try to de-tan. Tanning will protect your skin from burning/rashes if you are prone to it.

Make sure to avoid snacking throughout the day. Have three meals a day. If you usually feel hungry in the evening, keeping a small portion of breakfast or lunch will keep you off tea-time biscuits and nibbles.

If you prefer an LCHF diet, kindly take in fats other than dairy. Ghee is an exception. Do not starve yourself or go on salad diets, they will not help in reducing weight! If digestion is sluggish, please stick to mainly cooked foods. Use the spice brew to improve digestion.

Step 5 : Supportive remedies.

These remedies may help in bringing relief to symptoms. These can only act as boosters to speed up healing naturally and are not a substitute to any medication you may be taking. Neither are these a substitute for the lifestyle changes mentioned in the previous steps. You may try them one at a time to see what benefits you.
Please do list any that you have tried and had good experience with.
* Starred remedies are feedbacks from other patients.

1. Coriander seed water:
Soak a tablespoon of coriander seeds overnight. Boil the next morning in glass of water. Drink on an empty stomach. Helps with brain fog and lethargy.
2. Coconut water 2 to 3 times a day. Helps with fatigue and reducing excess water retention.
3. Turmeric- spice brew:
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
Jaggery to taste.
Cinnamon.
Fennel.
Tulsi.
Boil for 5 mins and drink. May steep tea leaves in the end .
Helps in digestion, bloating, inflammation.
4. *Horse gram boiled – only water to be drunk with lemon drops in it.
5. *Seetaphal leaves- Around 5 leaves boiled in 250ml water for 5 minutes. Filter and drink first thing in the morning, on empty stomach.
6. Turmeric almond/nut milk-
To be taken at bedtime to aid sleep. Temper 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 1 crushed pepper corn, 1 cardamom in half a teaspoon of ghee. Add the milk of your choice, few strands of saffron and boil.
7. Kidney Cleanse – works well to balance electrolytes and reduce retention. Its a very easy and short protocol. Benefits range from draining excess water retention, more energy, feeling alert. You might want to do it once a week for the first month.
8. Liver cleanse- Extremely beneficial in the long run. Some people have been able to heal themselves after a series of cleanses. Good way to detoxify. A lot of t4 to t3 conversion depends on liver functioning. Contraindications include constipation so you may want to address that before trying liver cleansing.

A home remedy for sinusitis and ENT infections

Ingredients :  

Leaves of Indian Bael (Aegle marmelos)
Coconut oil
A small teaspoon of pepper (optional) 

IMG_20171210_182804.jpg

Two bunches of leaves purchased from a nearby flower vendor

I used to struggle with sinusitis and rather recurrent headaches, tonsils inflammation , a running nose and chest congestion frequently while growing up. I managed to use this remedy to arrest this problem and recover. Today I am sharing this amazing remedy for you as well to benefit. Nasal congestion , ear infections and sinus headaches will no longer trouble you.

Take out all the leaves from the stalks . Grind them into pulp with a little bit of water. Extract the juice out  completely.  Add a little bit of water and strain out the remaining again. Now you have a bit of brownish leaf extract + water.  Add an equal amount of coconut oil by volume.

 

Slowly simmer the mixture on a gas stove and let the water evaporate slowly

simmering.jpg

Once all the water has evaporated, the coconut oil would have absorbed the vilva leaf extracts and turned into a dark brownish-black colour.  There will be some bit of hard solids that gets formed during this process. Strain the oil to take this out.

 

 

Store this oil for a few months easily. Once a week take a tablespoon of this and apply on to the top of your head. This remedy has worked on quite a few of  my friends over the years. Try it and let me know how it worked.

Bliss In The Hills : Story of my bearings

Ever since I had to abandon my maiden 1200 ride in 2014, the urge to go back and finish it was always there. I knew that I had to finish it, at least to demonstrate that ordinary cyclists like me had a chance to complete it, given enough discipline in the ride. But given the lazy cyclist that I am , that is easier said than done. I decided to draw inspiration from my 2012 Belgaum Brevet finish — I decided to ride alone if need be to the halfway point and then try and get company. From experience, I know that some people invariably will abandon the ride for various reasons. Each minute in an endurance event of this sort is precious, and during crunchtimes it becomes impossible to cover up for lost time (with a weary body and mind, many a times its a mental game — if you feel you can make it you end up pushing yourself, if not you give it up )

So on the day of the ride, I got delayed for some reason , got all the brevet papers and cards and headed to the starting point. As I climbed the Jayadeva flyover my rear wheel started making a lot of noises. I knew that something was wrong at that point of time. At the start point handed over the papers to Parag to take over the race ownership. Srini told me to put coconut oil into the rear hub and continue riding, but Parag was sure of a cracked ball bearing. And I suspected something cracked too. I definitely wasn’t feeling too confident about the sound to ride 1200km. The ride started about 20m late and I zoomed off pronto. RR Cycles was 1km on the race route from the start, so I decided to barge in and requested them to fix my cycle. As luck would have it , the mechanics had just gone off for a late lunch. So I stood there fidgeting till they came back. Babu opened up the rear hub and showed me multiple cracked ball bearings. Meanwhile it started raining outside and as he was fixing it, I went out and pumped in 1/2 a litre of juice from a nearby juice shop. At about 4:45 or so the bike was ready.I also bought a couple of spare brake pads and went my way. I didn’t want to delve too much into the time delay. I knew I had a handicap of a hour and a half and the evening traffic to deal with.
I had promised myself that I would not worry about rain, and decided not to carry any raincoat or poncho. The best way of dealing with rain , at least in the Indian monsoon is to just brave it out and rely on your body heat to keep you warm. Riding wet is better than riding with a raincoat once the rain dries out. (At least for me, that is what I’ve come to believe in) Of course , another learning from my aborted trip in 2014 was to ensure that I had adequate protection for my palms and fingers in the elevated climes of Ooty. I remember my fingers had become coompletely numb , rendering it extremely difficult to handle the breaks. So that meant that I needed some protection for my palm in the cold. I bought leather gloves a few days before the trip. Carried with me with the intent to use it for the Ooty leg.
Thankfully the traffic was not too bad till I reached near Yeshwantpur and I managed to take the elevated flyway. The rain had also eased out by this time. I remember reaching Hassan Road in double quick time. However, my anxiety levels were still high, and would remain so till I caught up with at least a couple of folks. So I take the rather empty Mangalore highway and keep pedalling steady. The idea was to not get off the bike unless necessary. I had protein bars which I munched occasionally and a camelbak hydration pack (with a capacity of 2.1 litres) that I had filled with Kokum juice at the start of the journey. In addition to this a bottle of plain water in my bottle holder. I wanted to try and ride as much as possible as long as possible without breaking. My goal was to reach the 1st control , Belur , a distance of about 235km by about 2am (11 hours running time) Overall goal was to have at least a 3-4 hour buffer time at Madikeri, knowing that there was one big climb before Madikeri. As I continued my solo adventure it started raining a little heavily , and as I eased into the rain, I noticed what looked to me a pair of cyclists at a distance. The legs in motion definitely looked to be that of Anil Kadsur , to me. Anil was accompanying Archana , the sole female rider for safety reasons. He was hooded up to protect from the rain. As I passed him and Archana, I waved my hands, passed them and said Hi, but did not stop. I was in serious concentration mode, not wanting to waste any time. For the 1st time in the ride, I started feeling a little positive that I was at least ahead of someone else. The time was just after sunset , and the ethereal light of sunset was still holding nightfall at bay. Over some time I remember seeing a couple of guys taking breaks, and with every rider I passed, I grew in confidence of making the controls in time. I was not afraid of the Belur control, but I knew I needed a good buffer to make the Kalpetta control in time.
At around the 100km mark there is an Adiga’s on this road. And as I neared the Adiga’s I heard my name being called out loud. Recognition of the owner of that voice was what gave me some serious confidence. The voice was that of Putta Narasimhaiah, my Cleated Warrior team-mate. The moment I heard his voice, a voice inside me told me ‘You have caught up with Opendro’. I stopped, talked to Putta, who told me that he had just had his dinner but Opendro was actually behind us, and was helping Kiran and Gana push through. Since I knew that I had caught up with a few people, it looked a good time for me to have dinner. I waved Putta ahead and went to Adiga’s to have dinner. For the 1st time in the ride, I felt somewhat confident. And that had everything to do with the fact that I had caught up with Opendro

The satisfaction of completion

I am yet to blog about my ride on Bliss In The Hills. But figured I need to write up on my 1st FM(Full Marathon) run on 18th Oct 2015. These days marathons are considered no big deal, with people doing Ironman distance triathlons, and ultra runs featuring 50, 100kms and even 24 hour challenges. I had got back to running earlier this year by running the TCS 10K in 50:48 and the Bangalore 10k (from the Bangalore Marathon organizers) in 49:07 seconds. The latter was on 12th July. I registered for the marathon around that time.

I train on my own and along with 2 groups of runners within my APT complex. Its during one of my solo interal training runs that it happened. Our apartment block has a walking pathway that measures 910m. I was doing 250m and 150m interval training intersperced by approx 250m relaxed running. During my final run, I overdid a sprint. I felt a jolt of pain at the base of my bum, where the hamstring begins. This pain did not go away easily.
I stopped running for a few days to see if the pain would ease, but it did not. My original goal was to run my first FM at a decent pace and run the HM in Mumbai in Jan pushing for speed. But thanks to my greed, I had the nagging feeling that I had injured myself.
Of course finishing Bliss In The Hills was a priority for me , so i decided not to risk further injury( I was able to pedal without much issues), and was able to cycle at decent pace (I did Bangalore – Tirupattur – Bangalore , about 270 km in 10:30 including breaks), so decided not to push my luck. My goal was to wait till Oct 4th and then use the 14 days to train for the event.
When the injury happened, I could barely walk, and going up and down stairs was painful. Eventually I could walk but my right leg was still strained.
It was late September when I decided to take professional help. I went to Sparrc, Indiranagar (This is the place where I had gone last year to deal with another injury – Morton’s neuroma, which kept me off running fo 2 years). I completed 3-4 days of physio therapy (reflex -point therapy is what they call it) and I was in okay condition to ride Bliss In The Hills. Thankfully I managed to complete Bliss In The Hills. After completing BITH on Oct 4th (it took me a couple of days to start running , i was exhausted from BITH). The physio, Ganesh from sparrc advised me to run, but take it easy . “Sir you can run but don’t push for speed. Also if you feel any discomfort, please stop”. On 15th (Thu) I decided to try and run a little and gauge myself. I ran 3.7km in 21 minutes and felt i could go longer at that speed. However later in the day, my hamstring hurt and I was mildly rebuked by the physio for pushing myself. So nothing left to do but relax and run. I had not run more than a few km for more than 2 months. The longest I had run was the 12th July 10km run for a while. I decided to postpone the decision of running to as late as possible. I went and collected my bib, etc on Fri evening and then decided to just go to the start point.
The start time itself was at 4:45 and the reporting time 04:00. So i had to sacrifice my sleep for the night. Slept 3 hours or so (but had compensated previous night by having an extended sleep and had taken a cat nap in the afternoon). Along with two other marathoners , Praveen and Shirisha from my apartment I went to the stadium. Praveen’s driver dropped us at the stadium. From the start time, I ran at a steady pace but well within myself ( or so I thought). At the 3km mark I checked it was 20 minutes, I decided to continue going at this pace, quickly calculating that it would be about 2:20 or so when i reached the half way mark. I decided not to fall in the trap of running faster when I spotted people whom I perceived as slower than me. Today was a test of my discipline on not running too fast, and I decided to stick to my relaxed pace. I remember the 4:00 and the 4:30 bus going ahead of me in Cubbon park. As I went past Cubbon road , the 04:45 bus went past me. I shouted out ‘Which bus is this?’ The bus driver shouted back ’04:45′ .
Me : Does this bus have bus stops?
He(taken aback) : Smiling , ha ha, good one.
The armymen from Madras Sappers cheering us on the ring road around Ulsoor Lake. We took a right turn on to the Indira nagar 100ft road. After crossing CMH Road, I spotted the lead car and the time on it was 1:40 approximately. The lead runners were running behind. As I entered the inner ring road, I spotted Opendro running in the opposite direction – figured he was going to complete in less than 3:30. As I ran midway I mentally posted a goal of trying and completing the hm distance by 2:30 and then push the return to 2:15 or even 2:00 ( I had run a half marathon in 1:57:23 in Jan 2013 ) . I continued running at this pace and reached the 20km mark in around 02:10.
As I approached the U turn point I spotted Kiran Kumar of Fitness through travels stretching on the other side. I remember thinking ‘I didn’t know he is fast’. Once I took the U turn , things started getting a little difficult for me. Things started going downhill from here. the U turn point was at Forum mall and at that point I felt a strain on my legs. After turning around, maybe a few hundred meters later I stopped running and decided to walk. After this I tried running but my legs refused to obey. From this point onwards I remeber really struggling. As I reached Koramangala police station, I needed to push harder. Once I took a left turn at Sony World, I must have had a clearly visible limp, because at almost every stall or aid station, people were approaching me and asking me ‘Are you okay, Sir?’ only for me to respond “Yes I am fine”. But I obviously wasn’t. In the inner ring road, the road is a little imperfect and the soles of my feet were beginning to hurt. I mean ‘Beginning to hurt’ , because it would get a little worse later on. One guy who overtook me told me to stretch. It was hurting to stretch my hamstring, I told him.
He : “Trust me, it might hurt stretching, but please do”
I decided to try it. My hamstring was too tight, so I stretched my calf muscles for some time and then my hamstring, I could do a little stretching, and after stretching for 5 minutes I could move a little better. The hobble, walk, stretch technique of painful locomotion continued till I reached Old Madras Road. Now it was a little late and both sides had been opened to traffic. By this time a group of struggling runners had bunched together, in a rather unstructured way. Very different from the focused superpack that was visible at the start of the race.

Once we came back to Cubbon road, it was easier. The road was not cordoned off and there was traffic but it was minimal and they were not getting in our way. We came across the red light at the Brigade Road (rather Kamraj road at this junction) intersection and ran through the red signal stopping traffic. The Fortis aid station at the fag end of the road had a volunteer rushing out with ice. I told her to give me the ice cubes, she wanted to ice me herself. Not wanting to waste time in conversation and still being in a hurry to finish the race( despite my snail’s pace now), I took the ice from her, firmly pressed it against the base of my hamstring and hobbled till the intersection fo Kasturba Road (JDP junction). At this point we had to cross over to the other side, which we did by running (!) across the road. About 100m before Mallya Road the 37km board lay down on the footpath, and I jumped over it. Now running on the road was very difficult as the pockmarked tar road was really searing my soles. For the first time in my life, I found barefoot running painful.

Kiran, who was running barefoot himself joined me at the start of Cubbon road (or rather, I caught up with him).From this point on, we would be running together (He would sprint a little and stretch a lot, while I would continuously limp at a very constant pace of about 5.5 kmph and catch up with him). We approached and entered Cubbon Park around the same time. 5 km felt like a loooong distance.  There was a huge loop inside cubbon park, we had to go all the way to the back of the library and go through a roundabout route via the road parallel to Queen’s road. All the while I was inside Cubbon Park, I kept hopping on the footpath where the stones were much more comfortable than the pockmarked tar roads. Honestly I kept looking around for somebody to borrow any sort of footwear from. My soles were burning with every step on tar, and was somewhat comfortable on the footpath. As far as running ‘form’ or ‘pose’ was concerned, duh, forget it. I was happy to just go ahead , one step at a time. As we ran on the road behind the library, we saw all the runners coming from KR Circle (We had to go another 3 km to reach a point where I could just jump across — I was tempted to call off the run and go to the stadium and just eat the breakfast 🙂 ) .  As I was thinking these thoughts, I was woken up from my reverie by Kiran. Now me, Kiran,Praveen , and a bunch of strugglers were all motivating each other and making painful progress

On the road parallel to Queens Road, The drummers had got exhausted by now and were sitting on the footpath. We painfully trudged our way inside

 

“Chiddu, try using the footpath, it is much easier there.” Words, measured words from a friend who has cycled with me on multiple trips. Kiran was also running barefeet, and obviously was struggling as much as I was, to come to grips with the abrasion the soles were taking. So I continued , tiptoeing towards and continuing on the sidewalk. It was much more pleasant there, smooth stones as opposed to the dimpled surface that characterized the tar road.
At one point near the Sheshadri memorial library, we had to cross the road. The route here was such that we had to complete a 3.5 km loop and come back , and there was a barricade separating us from the riders who had added 3.5 km to their kitty.

By the time we reached the stretch parallel to Queen’s road , the drummers there were relaxing , exhausted!. Push , limp, motivate each other, look for the next pole as the target! We kept going ahead , feet by feet. Got on to the road next to Vidhan Soudha and finally back on to Cubbon Park. As we passed the library again, a coach (or motivator) was urging all the walkers to run. So I gave in and decided to limp harder (could not find a better expression to describe it). I limped, lunged , ran sideways and pushed the last 800 meters to conjure up a seemingly sprintish run . Once  I crossed the line, the only emotion that I could detect was one of relief. I headed into the rehab tent, and had the pleasure of meeting Anil Kumar, another barefoot runner. He handed over his ice pack for me to put my foot on.

My result link

http://www.timingindia.com/beta/my-result-details/MTM4Mzp0aW1pbmdfcjE1MTBfYm1fbQ==#head

 

PS : Had typed this long ago. Quickly completed a narrative and posted it now.