I did a half marathon (21 km of running) at Kaveri Trail Marathon again this year.

I trained with Runners High again this year, and without them, I wouldn’t even have been able to focus on the run. Work has kept me so busy that I would’ve easily dropped the ball without them.

After four months of practice, we arrived on Saturday in all the various hotels as close as possible to the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary which is where our running trail starts.

Saturday night, we had a suer-fun dinner with many Runners High folks in the same hotel. It reminded me again on how many good friends and inspiring people I have met through running.

Woke up at 4am, got my gear in place like clockwork – a cap, a fuel belt with water and badam pieces, fully charged phone with earphones, nike shoes. Ready.

We reached the trail at around 6:15am and unfortunately missed the full marathoners being flagged off.

6:45am was when the half marathoners were to start. Set.

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I started off my run at a good pace for me. I did the first 8km at a 7:30 min/km pace which I was happy with. I was having a steady stride and enjoying the beautiful trail.

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I reached the midway mark, turned around and continued. I stopped at the 17km mark water point and was doing a 8:20 min/km stride. Roughly 17 km in 2:30 hours. Not bad for me.

And then the problems began.

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The sun suddenly started blazing and the heat and the killer “last 4 km” got to me. I struggled slowly, probably covering 10+ min/km. It was those intense pains, trying to push your body beyond what is reasonable.


I finished in 3 hr 11 min. I was happy that I finished and had a mostly-good run but at the same time I was disappointed that I wasn’t close to my last year’s pace of 2 hr 49 min, but it was inevitable due to my weight gain this year.

That brings me to another aspect of my running. I am quite disappointed that I haven’t been able to improve upon my running in the past 3 years, mainly because my weight holds me back. I am tired of getting too hungry and nauseous (because of gas) by the time the race gets over and end up puking.

So I’ve decided to hang up my boots and will probably get back to running half marathons only after I gain some reasonable fitness and lose significant weight.

Losing weight is a challenge of a different kind where a brute force determination won’t work like in running. So let’s see how that goes.

I’m never going to run this again.

Grete Waitz after winning her first of nine New York City marathons

According to the Runners High program for this week, I was supposed to run 21km this Saturday. But I’m in Dharwad for various reasons, so decided to run that today.

As I like to say, “You’ve not really explored a city until you’ve run in it.” And true to that, I got to see a good part of the city including the Kelageri lake and the beautiful Karnataka University campus. And it is truly a city of educational institutions.

As usual, the first half of the run went strong and well, and I struggled a bit in the latter half of the run. Nevertheless, I made it a point to consistently refuel myself with electral water, figs and badam. And that did the trick. Despite the severe elevation, I had a good run and saw the city like never before. My only regret is that I should’ve taken some photos of the beautiful route.

The run was pleasant because of the wide roads and still-lush greenery of the city. Special thanks to my wife who was my guide and support system for today’s run.

I’m looking forward to the Kaveri Trail Marathon this year.

So what am I doing in Hubli/Dharwad? Well, that’s another story for another day.

The Goal

I ran the Kaveri Trail Marathon two Sundays ago (Sep 19, 2010). It was a marathon worth remembering – the preparation, the anticipation, the great set of friends I made, the beautiful trail that we ran in, and the D-day performance.

My personal target was to finish 21KM under 3 hours. It was looking tough because I was completely out of fitness and I hadn’t run that much distance in years.

I did end up finishing strongly in 2:49 hrs and I was very very happy, but this was just an ambitious goal four months ago and seemed unlikely that I’d achieve it!

Mock Run

The Preparation

As I mentioned, I have done this target distance and timing before, but it has been nearly 2 years since I last did this distance, so it was a big challenge for me to get back to the same level of fitness.

On top of that, I have been avoiding KTM all these years because of the horror stories I’ve heard about the heat and humidity, so I decided that KTM was the perfect next challenge for me to take up and look forward to.

Since I had not been running in the past two years, my body had completely forgotten what it is capable of. That was the motivation for me to travel all the way to Auroville to do just a 10K run. Luckily, I had met the Runners High group in that trip. I liked the group so much that I decided to join their training for the KTM. And boy, am I glad I took that decision!

I have been part of other formal running groups before but I was put off by the elitist atmosphere. Runners High was different. Due to the coaches’ personalities and their design of the schedule, they have managed to create a *community* feeling in the group. Personally, I think the “Wednesday workouts in each local area” is a simple-yet-effective psychological trick to get people to know each other and eventually imbibe a team spirit that encourages them to push each other to achieve their targets. The training schedule should not be about showing up on a weekend morning and being told “You have to run 11KM today. Go!”

At the start of the training course, the coaches conducted a 2 mile time trial and informed each of us on what is the target timing we should expect based on our level of fitness. I was told that I could finish the half-marathon (21 km) in 3:07 hrs ⇒ 8:55 min/km. The race day performance, as I mentioned, was 2:49 hrs ⇒ 8:05 min/km. 18 minutes is a really big deal for a runner – it’s the difference between a ~8 min/km run and a ~9 min/km run!. It may sound trivial but probably a non-runner can never internalize the significance of 18 minutes – just one of the life lessons that I have learned in the past few months. More on that later.

Our gruelling training schedule began around four months behind the race day. The schedule was similar to what you would expect of a marathon training chart. One of the tricks that the coaches employed is to do a long run on Saturday and an even longer run on Sunday. I didn’t think much of it at the start, but in hindsight, it’s a brilliant idea – it built up our stamina because you’re doing a run on Sunday when you’re already tired because of the previous day’s run. I could feel the impact of that on the race day because I felt I had so much more energy and stamina than I normally did on the regular weekend runs, because I had not run on the day before the race day (a Sunday). Although they’re switching back to the traditional “long run on Saturday, short run on Sunday” from now on.

The Roadblock

I was sufficiently occupied with worries about my fitness and managing the KTM heat when something new started affecting me.

After the first Agara lake run, I threw up after the run was over. I thought this was a one-off thing, but it happened again after the next Sunday long run.

I was even more worried now.

I called up Santhosh and asked for advice, he said “Eat one hour before the run.” Coach Murthy also advised the same. I had never eaten before runs before, so this was something new I had to get used to.

After that, the next 12 km run I did great because I had oats an hour before the run.

Eating is the easy part, getting used to running with a full stomach was something else! But nutrition is as important as physical fitness, so I stuck on with it.

Eventually, this was my nutrition plan for the long runs:

  • Eat oats or muesli one hour before the run. Use milk and honey liberally.
  • Carry a fuel belt and drink electral water every 20 min. “If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already late in drinking water.”
  • Eat figs and badam (kept in sachets in the fuel belt) every 40 min. They release energy slowly, just the right kind of food during a run.

Phew! Sounds like a lot of work? It was, but it helped me run strongly, and I would do anything to run strongly.

What foods to eat is specific to each person. For example, bananas have adverse effect on me because I start getting cramps, compared to bananas being the staple diet of almost every runner!

Special thanks to “Vibram” Ramkumar, a fellow runner, for all his advice to me on which foods to try, and for the words of encouragement!

The Community

I would be wrong to not make special mention of the community of Runners High. Yes, we are paying to be part of this programme, but sharing that camaraderie is a privilege.

We have discussed everything from race strategies (yes, strategies) to perspectives on life to startups. Your motivation to run increases when you can look forward to meeting new people, and more importantly, meeting new interesting and positive-minded people.

Race Day

Finally, the anticipated race day (Sep 19, 2010) came near. After a rigorous training schedule that we were enjoying, being forced to not run in that last week before the race day seemed more torturous than the runs themselves!

The most enticing part of KTM is the trail that we run. The beauty of that trail cannot be expressed enough 1. The trail starts right near the gate of the Ranganathitu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna (near Mysore, Karnataka, India).

Before the KTM 2010 started

Before the KTM 2010 started

The race started, I put on my headphones, switched on the RunKeeper app on my iPhone and my specially crafted music playlist and I got started. Everything was smooth sailing afterwards. There was intense heat, but we have had sufficient heat training and we were geared for it.

I was surprised to find myself at the 10.5KM mark within 1:15 hours. You know you’re having a good run when you’re just “gliding” and you’re racking up kilometres without even noticing.


One of the highlights of running on the race day is that runners spur each other to keep on going and have a good run. The smiles and clapping and words of encouragement for each other, it is a great feeling.

Towards the end of the run, I saw a familiar face, Ajay Gupta, encouraging me to sprint the last few hundred metres. I would have never imagined I would have had energy for that, but his encouragement egged me on, and I actually did sprint and finished strongly.

Ajay cheering me on!

A great run, a beautiful green (paddy fields), blue (Kaveri river canal) and brown (mud) trail, a wonderful set of friends, and achieving a personal ambition to boot. I had a smile on my face for weeks, and I proudly hung the “KTM Finisher” medal on my wall.

I had tracked the entire run using RunKeeper app, which kept me regularly informed on how my pace and how much distance I had covered:

On the same note, congratulations to Gopal for doing his first full marathon!

I keep saying that “running is more mental than physical” and as a testament to that, I thought I’d share some of my “life lessons learned” during this journey:

Nervous Energy

I have a theory that people are in a default state of “nervous energy”. You are experiencing this when you are multitasking or when you’re fidgeting or you’re compulsively checking your Facebook stream.

If you shake off your “nervous energy”, that is when your “productive energy” is unleashed.
You are experiencing “productive energy” when you’re fully focused on an activity, when you’re experiencing “the flow” or you’re in a very creative frame of mind and you have output to show.

My hypothesis is that the most practical and easiest way of shaking off your “nervous energy” is by doing a physical activity like a walk or running or sports or even a simple mechanical act as cleaning your room/work environment. High productivity isn’t about doing, it’s about being.

Deep enjoyment

The first thing that running helped me internalize was “crossing the valley” or “the dip” (in Seth Godin’s words).

For example, consider one of my weekend runs: First 20 min, I start slow and enjoy my run. 20-30 min is the low phase where I want to stop and take a break but I know that the break will actually break my rhythm and I won’t continue. After 30 min, I get back into the groove where I really start to enjoy the run and I have that familiar “gliding” feeling w.r.t. my pace and my knees.

It’s amazing how much this applies to life in general as well – most of the times, we don’t cross “the dip” and don’t ever get to really enjoy something deeply.

Running helped me internalize that there exists something as deep enjoyment, and how to get to it.

Deep enjoyment includes obsessing over figuring out how something works (which I used to give up if I didn’t figure it out in 10 min) – which is important for a programmer. It even includes things like taking the time to understand a news article which is not even close to my spheres of interest. As your knowledge and understanding increases breadth-wise, your life will become interesting!


Equally important is to note that running itself has made me fitter (although, sadly, not thinner) and my energy to do things has greatly increased. This has been noted well in this Hacker News discussion.

Being fit means you have more energy in general. But to be fit, you need to follow the basic health principles religiously. For example, I had an awesome run on July 25th – I ran 10.5 km in 1 hr 19 min. Without a single break. And I ran my 6th km faster than my 2nd km, and I even sprinted the last 500m. This kind of energy hasn’t happened in years, literally. All because I ate in the morning, thanks to following the coach’s advice. I was again reminded of the value of elders’ advice, which I have often not heeded as much as I should have.

Being Driven

Being part of Runners High, I am astounded on how many fellow runners are the “driven” kind – more than half of the people are in three categories – startuppers (including incubation at IIMB), wannabe-startuppers and CEOs / MBAs-from-prestigious-school.

So does that HN comment on how having fitness gives you more energy to do things apply here? Or is it the people who are already driven, naturally, the kind of people who take up running? I don’t know the cause, but there is a big correlation there for sure.

Your Thoughts?

This was my simple journey to a simple 21KM run. This journey is the best thing about sports.

If you are into sports, especially running, I am curious to know what are the life lessons that you have learned?

Dedicated to the song “Fear is the Mind Killer” by Adam Freeland.

1 I wish I had taken more photos, but here are some photos from previous KTM editions that will give you an idea of how serene the place is.

I’ve seen so many people in the recent months who have expressed interest in running, but never start.

Forget what shoes to buy, forget what fancy GPS devices you want to buy, forget about monitoring your heart rate, forget about tracking sites. You don’t need those to START RUNNING.

If you want to run, there are only 2 steps. First, go to HalHigdon.com and “Select your training”, select among the Novice, Intermediate, Advanced Charts. Second, religiously follow the chart you chose, don’t skip even a single run. That’s it.

Once you reach your target distance, THEN you can go for all those fancy stuff mentioned above.

There are two things that motivate me to get to regular running – first, is to have something to look forward to, so I end up doing good running only when there is a marathon to look forward to. Here are the list of marathons upcoming in the rest of 2010 that I could find online:

If I have missed any confirmed marathons, please let me know, I’ll add it to the list.

Second, make this a group activity and it’ll be more fun. I was able to sustain my interest in running purely because of great friends / training group two-in-one. Since I don’t have a group any more, I’ve joined the Runners High training, and in just a few weeks, I seem to be back already w.r.t. my running ways – 57 km in the month of June.

Run and Become!

It had been a really long time since my last run, nearly 8 months ago. I was out of shape.

So, we decided to register for the 10K at Auroville Marathon as an incentive to get back to running shape, and, boy,  did it work. In the last one month, I had become fairly regular at weekday runs, it took a long time to shake off the laziness that had set in the last 8 months. I was back doing 6km weekday runs.

Finally, it was time to do the 10K yesterday. And I did well.

The worst part of any run is the wait before it starts, it’s just so unsettling. You can look at each others’ faces and almost read “Just start the goddamn run!”

Just start the goddamn run!

There were surprisingly less number of people for the 10K, about 100 people or so. Comparatively, there were 400+ people for the half marathon (21K)!

The run started. As usual, seeing people run past you really gets to you. I had to be conscious about not burning too much fuel at the start, so I kept myself under check.

As per expectations, the trail was really beautiful, straight into the forest.

Beautiful running trail at Auroville Marathon

I started off listening to Raghu Dixit‘s  “Yello Jhinugiruva” song from “Just Math Mathalli” movie (Side note: I was kicking myself because I had to miss their MahaShivratri night performance because I had to travel to Auroville). That song set the pace for me. Soon, I was listening to “Going out of my mind” by Fatboy Slim and other awesome songs in my running playlists.

Another entertaining factor was the names of the places in/around Auroville such as “Transformation” (see below) and our favorite sign said – left goes to “Surrender”, right goes to “Vikas” :)

This way to 'Transformation'

Around the 3 km mark, I started settling down into a pace, through the patches of uphill and patches of heavy sunlight amidst the countless trees.

The one thing that kept me going steady was RunKeeper. RunKeeper’s voice would tell me, every 5 min, on how much distance and time I had covered and what was my average pace so far. This was an amazing motivator for me. Every time I started feeling slow, the every-5-min voice would kick in and tell me whether I’m doing well or not, and I would increase my pace automatically. The best advantage it gave me was that it was mentally preparing me on how much more distance I have to cover.

I also remembered some old tricks I used to use – like consciously having longer strides to cover more distance. Another trick was to alternatively run fast and slow every kilometre, this helps keep it fun as well as increases the average speed.

It was around the 8km mark, that I started experiencing fatigue. RunKeeper was telling me that I was maintaining 7 min 30 secs per km, and I made a quick calculation that I’m just 15 min away from the finish line. I said to myself “Forget the fatigue, the finish line is so close.” And I started running faster – that would’ve never happened without RunKeeper.

The finish line

Towards the finish line, a new friend I had made in this trip, Ajay, goaded me in the last 300m, and made me both happy and nervous.

Getting a medal for finishing

At the finish line, the Auroville volunteers did a nice touch – they immediately put a medal on you for finishing. That makes you feel so good!

Me, the Tortoise!

I was smiling at the end of the run, because I had maintained an average pace of 7 min 24 sec per km – I had run 10 km in 1 hr 14 min. This timing is nowhere close to the other runners, but I had improved my timing from an average pace of 7 min 45 sec in the past few weeks (that too over a longer distance, remember that the difference in average pace adds up for every kilometre), so I was happy. More importantly, I had a strong run and did only 1-2 stops or walking. That was critically important to me, so I was most happy about that.

After a full marathon, 3 half marathons, a 10K and a duathlon, I’m back struggling to do a 10K. I guess that’s what “muscle memory” is all about – if you’re not regular, your muscles forget what they’re capable of. It always reminds me of a quote:

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life.” — Oprah Winfrey

The secret to a good run is:

I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart. — Mike Fanelli

I had a wonderful trip and a good run, all thanks to my running partner and my new friends at the Runners High club.

Side note: I’ve heard that the latest mass trend in Bangalore is cycling, but I think I’ll stick to running[1] because:

“I always loved running – it was something you could do by yourself and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” — Jesse Owens

If you really want to exercise, please don’t wait to buy a 25,000 rupees cycle (I have seen so many people in this thought process). All you need for running is just yourself and a pair of good shoes. And then off you go!

[1] Although I have cycled to work, for > 3 years (since 2006), and no longer cycle because my current workplace is too far. So does that make me ahead of the trend? ;-)

Last weekend, I participated in the BSA Hercules Duathlon organized by RFL.

Bangalore Duathlon 2009

I did the 10 km running + 20 km cycling thing.

I was the last-but-one guy to finish and I did take twice the amount of time as the first guy to finish.

But I didn’t care about that. I expected to finish in 3 hours and I completed before that. And I finished strongly, not crawling to the end as I used to. I enjoyed the run, I enjoyed the cycling and I was satisfied.

Photos by Vikram:

It reminded me of the book “What I talk about when I talk about running” by Haruki Murakami that I read recently (borrowed from Varun).

I really liked the book, because Murakami puts into words the things I have felt as a runner but is almost impossible to truly explain it to somebody else.

Just to put things into perspective – Murakami started running in 1982 at the age of 30, running everyday since then for nearly 23 years. He has run at least one marathon every year, i.e., 23 marathons till date [when the book was published], and many more long-distance runs.

Some of my favorite passages from the book are below.

About the rhythm:

As long as I can run a certain distance, that’s all I care about. Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day. This is the same sort of tack I find necessary when writing a novel. I stop every day right at the ponit where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day’s work goes surprisingly smoothly. I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed – and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

About why we run:

Most ordinary runners are motivated by an individual goal, more than anything: namely, a time they want to beat. As long as he can beat that time, a runner will feel he’s accomplished what he set out to do, and if he can’t, then he’ll feel he hasn’t. Even if he doesn’t break the time he’d hoped for, as long as he has the sense of satisfaction at having done his very best – and, possibly, having made some significant discovery about himself in the process – then that in itself is an accomplishment, a positive feeling he can carry over to the next race.

… Marathon runners will understand what I mean. We don’t really care whether we beat any other particular runner. World-class runners, of course, want to outdo their closest rivals, but for your average, everyday runner, individual rivalry isn’t a major issue. I’m sure there are garden-variety runners whose desire to beat a particular rival spurs them on to train harder. But what happens if their rival, for whatever reason, drops out of the competition? Their motivation for running would disappear or at least diminish, and it’d be hard for them to remain runners for long.

For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.


Sunday was the day of the second Bangalore Ultra Marathon.

Had to get up at 3AM in order to reach Cubbon Park at 4:30AM for the buses to take us to ‘Our Native Village’ resort in Hesaraghatta. We reached early at 6AM and were waiting for the day to begin.


The 37.5, 50, 75, 100KM runners started off at 6:30AM, and everyone were cheering them on. There was one person Santhosh who was running from 6PM on the previous day doing a target of 24 hours or 200KM. Phew.


On a random whim, I decided to tweet during the marathon.

6:59 AM: Waiting for the 25K run to start at 730, it sucks to wait for an hour after the 50+ K #ultra runners

7:30 AM: Start!

I decide to run without music for the first 20 min.

After a while, I started listening to a talk by David Heinemeier Hansson on ‘The Great Surplus’ which is a really good talk that I recommend any dev should listen to. After that was over, I didn’t have the mental processing energy to listen to more podcasts, so I switched to listening to music.

I think the majority of runners here were either listening to music or running in groups.

Life Lesson learned: Do whatever it takes to keep your motivation high.

9:00 AM: Finished first loop of 12.5 km in exactly 1.5 hours. Not sure if I can complete within my target time of 3 hours.

9:25 AM: Body begs to stop. Mind says hell no.

Life Lesson learned: It’s all in the mind.

9:37 AM: Starting to feel that good pain in the knees.

Life Lesson learned: You need to cross a certain threshold of activity before you start feeling positive and energized. Activity precedes motivation.

9:52 AM: Reached 3/4th mark. 2 hours 23 minutes. There are a few people retired hurt on the mats and doctor is treating them… Getting some electral.

Life Lesson learned: I strangely found tweeting through the marathon actually helped me being more positive. It had the same effect as journaling. In this case, I got to vent my pain and frustration. After that, I felt lighter, felt like I had a fresh start and felt the need to do something more/better that is worth tweeting about.

9:55 AM: This is one beautiful location. Green everywhere.

Life Lesson learned: The right environment matters.


10:04 AM: 50+km runners whizzing by. How do they do that.

Life Lesson learned: There will always be people better than you but you shouldn’t get bogged down. As Bob Parsons says “Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.”

10:40 AM: 2km to go. Signs of cramps.

Life Lesson learned: As Bob Parsons says “When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: ‘The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.'”

10:55 AM: Finished. 25 km in 3 hours 24 minutes. More than I wished. But ran better than expected. So happy.

11:04 AM: Nothing like pushing yourself beyond what you think you can. Amazing what the human mind and body can do.

Life Lesson learned: Life is more meaningful and fun when you have big hairy audacious goals.

The best part was that my timing had improved significantly from last time where I finished in 3 hr 52 minan improvement of nearly half an hour! I usually berate myself on not performing well, but this was something even I was happy about especially because I finished strongly and not limping to the finish line as I had experienced in previous marathons.

Life Lesson learned: (Again) As Bob Parsons says: “Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”

It's tough. Are you?

Life Lesson learned: It’s tough. Are you?

You’re running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You’re delirious. But you keep running because there’s no way out of this hell you’re in, because there’s no way you’re not crossing the finish line. It’s a misery that non-runners don’t understand.

Martine Costello

Update: Santhosh finally completed 156KM! Also, Tanvir has compiled a list of blog posts by various Ultra runners.

I did the Sunfeast 10K Open
today. I finished in 1 hr
10 min 26 sec. Finally, a timing I am happy about.

Run Maadi Run

Best of all, it was a good run. I didn’t have any of my usual
performance anxiety symptoms, mostly because I made sure that I didn’t
plan or think about the run. I’d just get up late, hurry and reach the
place, just wait to run and hope everything goes well.

I’m thankful that it worked out exactly to a T and it was a good run.
A really feel-good steady-pace run.

I needed an extra boost in the end to bear the searing sun and that
was provided by “Get Up! Go
. Thanks Fatboy Slim!

There were people running for their charities, people running for fun,
people running in costumes, and even people running out of curiosity.
I was running to fight against my off-late tendency to give up easily.

On a different note, I must appreciate how well-organized the entire
event was. After the run, they gave everyone bun and biscuits. It may
not mean much in a normal situation, but after a run, it’s really
important and I was thankful they had thought to this level of detail.

After I came out of the Kanteerava stadium (the start and end point of
the run), I bumped into an old school mate after a really long time.
He looked at me and asked:

Him: Oh so you came for the run?
Me: Yeah
Him: So you completed?
Me: Yeah…
Him: (has the ‘not bad’ look) So how long did you take?
Me: 70 min.
Him: Oh. (face expression changes) I took 90 min. Okay. cya later.

So next time, don’t underestimate that fat people can’t run.

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it
what you put into it.

— Oprah Winfrey

One fine day, I was running by myself. It was a few weeks before
Barcamp Bangalore 5. I got an idea that I should talk about
a non-techie topic at Barcamp since I’ve been giving tech talks for
the past few years and I wanted a change of pace. I brainstormed many
ideas on the reason for the talk, what to say and how to explain, etc.
all during that one run.

Unfortunately I couldn’t attend BCB5. But I stored the notes in a safe
place. And when BCB6 was announced, I wanted to be sure to talk this
time around.

A few weeks back, Ramjee called me and
asked whether we can talk about running. I smiled and thought to
myself “Great minds think alike”. Or at least “Runners think alike”.

So I made a ppt and we landed at
Barcamp on Saturday morning. We had
never discussed the presentation. And we were going to give a session
on it. Truly unconference style.

Note: The slides below have been modified to make it useful for a web
audience. It has a lot more text now.

Barcamp crowds are very inquisitive and so we didn’t actually go past
half the slides, which is actually a good thing. Instead, we discussed
a wide range of things about running right from finding good places to
run to trouble with dogs.

In spite of the delays causing us to start at 12:45 (which means
almost lunch time) the discussion went on till 1:45 and 90% of the
30-40 odd crowd were present till the end. When we went to grab what
was left of lunch, lot of people asked us questions including how to
avoid knee pain (tip: it’s the shoes). Since questions are always
a good sign, I think it was a successful discussion.

We both still consider ourselves amateurs at running but at the end of
the day its an activity we like and Barcamp is a perfect platform to
talk about our passions.

Oh, and if you’re still not a believer, I’ll end with a quote:

Games require skill. Running requires endurance, character, pride,
physical strength, and mental toughness. Running is a test, not
a game. A test of faith, belief, will, and trust in ones self. So
hardcore that it needs a category all to itself to define the pain.
When game players criticize, it’s because they aren’t willing to
understand, not because they’re stronger. Running is more than
a sport; it’s a lifestyle. If you have to ask us why we run, you’ll
never understand, so just accept.

— Jessica Propst

Update: SlideShare decided to make it a Barcamp spotlight


The online slides has had 1274 views and 116 downloads as of this
writing (2008-05-04 Sun 10:04 PM).

I have this notion that you don’t get to really know a city until
you’ve run in it.

So, I ran a couple of times in my Singapore trip, and I liked the
route so much that on Day 13 (Thu, Jan 03, 2008), I started taking

I start right from getting out of Abishek and Ashish’s apartment and
getting down the stairs.

Singapore Day 13 001 Singapore Day 13 003
Singapore Day 13 005
Singapore Day 13 008

This is a proper urban area, not outside the city. Don’t be fooled by
the greenery.

Was listening to “Heartbeat – Instrumental” from ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’.

Singapore Day 13 009 Singapore Day 13 011 Singapore Day 13 012 Singapore Day 13 015

Was listening to “Far Away” by Nickelback.

I love the wide open spaces they have kept for public usage right in
the middle of a square area with huge apartments on all sides.

Singapore Day 13 017 Singapore Day 13 018
Singapore Day 13 023

Was listening to “Ninnindale” from Milana (Kannada movie).

Singapore Day 13 025
Singapore Day 13 030 Singapore Day 13 036 Singapore Day 13 038

It was good to see so many runners around. The best part is that
people accept it as normal behavior. And cyclists are given their due

The most startling thing was when I was waiting to cross the road, the
vehicles will stop (irrespective of traffic) and ask you to go ahead
first. It was actually irritating at first to experience this, but
soon got used to it.

Was listening to “Endings” by Dusty Hughes.

Singapore Day 13 062
Singapore Day 13 070 Singapore Day 13 107

Was listening to “One Thing” by Finger Eleven.

Singapore Day 13 086 Singapore Day 13 113

What more can a running enthusiast like me ask for?

P.S. If you’re curious on why people run, watch the trailer of the Marathon Movie.