Proud To Be A Marathoner

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By Gaurav Jajodia

WHO IS A MARATHONER?

The upcoming trend to become a marathoner has confused a lot of people. Different people have different views about a marathoner. Well recently I have completed my 1st full marathon on 20th August this year at Hyderabad. I think I can now throw some light on this issue which might help many people understand who a marathoner is.

42 kms is the distance to be covered to exactly be termed a marathoner who can cover this distance at a go within a stipulated time. Who are these people who run such long distances which has pain, suffering throughout the race?  Are they doctors, businessmen,  engineers, working professionals? Who are these people?

Well these people have dedication, these people want to achieve something on their own, people who have the will to show the world they can achieve the tag of a marathoner if they are determined to do something.

 

HOW MARATHONERS ARE MADE.

It is not that one fine Sunday you get up and say “Let’s run a 42 kms today because I want to become a marathoner.” I am sure the chances are that after a few kilometres, you will need help to be taken back home with a lot of regret that you couldn’t complete to become a marathoner.

Marathoners are not made dreaming that I will become a marathoner one day. It’s the other way round. If you have dreamt about it with conviction, you will have to achieve it. It won’t happen lying on your bed dreaming, but by getting on the road and going running. Getting the 5:00am runs, the dedication to go to your training sessions,  moving your legs faster although you are in pain…It is about planning your next training session before the first one gets over, focussing on your strategy at every kilometre that you move ahead and working around your training accordingly.

Not only training, your nutrition plans play and equally important role. After getting all this in the right place, you have to train your mind to believe that it is your mind over your body which can only happen if you are strong enough to take up the challenge to bear the pain in your training session and then again getting ready for it the next day and the next and the next. It is the will to complete this distance with endurance, strength and dedication.

 

ACHIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

Definitely a marathoner is just not a weekend runner nor a middle aged person in his 40s who is very much concerned as to how will he be getting to the next level as a marathoner. It is much more than that. Those who can plan, stay focused on goals and finally achieve their goals in life.

I can conclude as saying that a MARATHONER is a person who can do anything if he or she is determined to do so.
Because 42…Well! It is just a number.

 

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The Body Achieves What The Mind Believes

Sumit

By Sumit Poddar

Throwback

It was way back in Kolkata in 2014 when it was a life of ease. Life was about going to office, sitting for 8 hours or more, eating junk food and no physical activity combined with weekend parties and friends. Suddenly, I began experiencing mild back pain in the winter the same year. It turned out to be unbearable and one very fine day in Jan 2015, I collapsed and the situation was like I was unable to sit for 2 minutes due to severe pain. In fact over a period of time, walking 100 metres at a stretch became a challenging task for me.

Was It The End Of Being Fit Again?

I consulted doctors and they asked to me to take complete rest with medicines and physiotherapy for a month and also to reduce my weight. I weighed 81kgs at that time and getting back into shape was very difficult for me as I was not involved in any fitness activity since college days, that too almost 6 years. I remembered the days when I would train myself in martial arts and all fitness activities. I simply asked myself one question ‘If I could do that then, why can’t I do it now?’ I challenged my will power to break the mental barrier. I understood that the process would be physically and mentally difficult.

There were people all around me cracking jokes about my back pain but I just ignored them and stayed calm. One day I woke up in pain and promised myself to get so fit that the same people cracking jokes would appreciate my efforts one day. So rather than seeing injury as a setback, I used it as a catalyst to train differently. I started setting goals.

Goal Setting

My first goal was to reduce 6 kgs in 3 months. So I started with back extension exercises and short walks of 500 metres to 1 km and then to 4.5km a day. I changed all my junk food habits. Over time when I got the confidence. I started jogging and walking for 4.5km a day. I found that within 3 months I was able to reduce 6 kgs of weight. First goal achieved!

My next target was to do all fitness related exercises without hurting my back and started running 4.5km a day for remaining months and reduced 3 more kilos to reach 72kg. By then I was confident of being back on track and then running became my regular therapy to stay fit.

Entry Into The World of Marathons

One day I saw banners all around Kolkata for TSK Kolkata half marathon run where few of my office colleagues were participating and I wanted to participate to challenge myself. I registered for the 10km run without proper training. I planned to do a practice run of 10km the day before the race day and injured my knees badly. I knew that running 10km would be very physically challenging but I was not anticipating the way my body had reacted during and after the run. With injuries in my knees I wanted to do the run the next day as it was a challenge for me to prove my will power and so I went for the race next day.

I started running despite the pain in my knees and kept on going with volini sprayed on my knees as backup. By that time, I realised that if I stop to take rest I will collapse and will be unable to complete the race. So, I continued running and didn’t stop. I completed the 10km run in 58 mins and was very happy to complete it despite of all the pain. It was about realizing a dream and proving to myself that I could do it.

My next goal was to run another 10km in IDBI Federal 2015 March, which ended up as 17km run due to mismanagement of routes. It was the time when I realized that if I could run 17 km then I can easily train myself to reach 21km by the end of the year. After a 6 months break from running I participated in the Airtel (Run For Education Nov 2016) and completed 10 km run in 1:06. I then realised that I am not as fit as I should be.

Going Forward

After the Airtel Run, I participated in a 5km Puma Ignite Your City run and there I got introduced to Nishant Maheswari (from Kolkata Ultra running group). I told him about my interest of completing a half marathon and to train myself for that. He introduced me to their interval training coach Bablu Sir and asked me to join them for the Sunday long runs. I started training myself with the coach and I could feel the difference back then with all the endurance training. I joined the whatsapp group ‘Dose of Fitness’ and used to see all the activities of running. One day Prema and Vipul wanted to run long distance and asked if anyone wanted to join and then I showed my interest to join them.

We started running from Elliot Park- Princep Ghat – Victoria Memorial and back. Then Prema and Vipul shared their experience of running and gave me many tips on running. We completed 16km run and I was very happy and felt very confident. I completed my first half marathon at Rabindra Sarovar Lakes on the 31st Dec 2016 with Vipul, Prema, Prerit, Dev of Kolkata Ultra along with Subhro and Avinash. All this boosted up my level of confidence.

My next run was 10km Trail run where I met Kaunak Biswas, a Kolkata Ultra runner. Meanwhile, I also participated in 10k TCS run, 10k Bengal Rowing Club where I secured 2nd position in the Guest category as I completed it in 47 mins. The next big run was of 21km in IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Marathon 2017 where I ran with the pacer of the 2 hour bus, Sandeep Madan Sir. He made me push my limits and I completed it in 2:00:05. After all the runs I completed, gradually I was getting more confidence and then setting targets and achieving the. It was very interesting and challenging.

The Learning Curve

I learnt something from all the last runs that ‘Once you are physically trained then you are mentally capable of completing any feats you wish to do’. Post the IDBI run I completed another 21km Trail run organised by Sportiz. I have completed 25km along with Avinash accompanied by Vipul, which was my maximum distance covered till date on the last day before I had to shift to Guwahati.

With a heavy heart and lots of emotions attached, I shifted to Guwahati with all the experiences I gathered from Kolkata Ultra and coach Bablu Sir and the tips all runners used to give me. I didn’t want to stop running and took rest for a few days after shifting and then started running with the Guwahati Runners Group. In Guwahati I completed many half marathons, Sunday long runs, hill runs and also tried to help my fellow runners with HIIT as much as I could learn from my coach. I heard about a Full marathon organised by Guwahati Runners/GNER on the 23rd April and my fellow runners asked me to participate in it and I started with training sessions.

However the weather condition was not too good and rain washed away the plans to complete a 30+km before the full marathon. Then I decided not to participate in the full marathon as I was not mentally prepared for the run and urged my interest to co-ordinate with the participants and volunteer. Even on the race day I planned to do a short run with the participants and to cheer them up.

The Twist

Once I started running, I didn’t stop and kept running till half way of 21km and then I wanted to complete the full marathon despite all the pain and difficulties. I completed my first full marathon successfully! The interesting part of the run was that I didn’t even register myself for the run and started running and ended up completing the full marathon and after that I did my spot registration. That was my motivational factor post 21km and so I completed the run. Finally I have achieved my dream of a full marathon unexpectedly!

Learning From The Run And How Running Inspired Me :

  1. When you have tough times in your life, instead of giving up, fight/struggle so that you can end up mastering your problems’
  2. ‘The body achieves what the mind believes.’
  3. Whatever image you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.

The best kind of confidence comes from knowing that you can do really hard things. That you’re doing everything you can to work towards a stronger tomorrow.

 

Nostalgia and Dreams

This marvellous journey with Kolkata Ultra gave me the golden opportunity to meet so many great runners, namely, JBro, Nishant, Prema, Vipul, Prerit, Richa , Kaunak, Howard, Gaurav, Anant and many more. I have learnt a lot from there tips and experiences they shared with me and many runners like Chao Lengdon, Diju Boro and many more also helped me. I ended up with a lot of friends from the running community. My special thanks goes to my coach Bablu Sarkar who made me believe in myself and trained me with full passion and efforts. Thanks to all my friends who supported and motivated me during my journey.

I will always remember all the tips and experiences with Vipul, Prema, Howard, Kaunak, Bablu Sir and all, such that I can do more training and reach my next target of an Ultra run and many more to go.

My dream run would be a 100km run from Guwahati to Shillong.

Special thanks to my friend Sneha Pandey who has guided me throughout the blog.

‘Once you are physically trained then you are mentally capable of completing any feats you wish to achieve’.

The Journey Of A 100 Miles Begins In The Mind

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By Jaydev Raja

Wake Up J Bro!

“Get up guys!!I think it’s about time you two hit the road.I see you both are the last ones,who might just make it within the cutoff.” It was the Tiger of India Running, Indian Naval officer ‘Breeze’. Nitin and I sprang up, both our eyes on our Tom Tom- 12.04 am.

It had been disturbing me constantly,about the unfinished Pune Ultra 100mile race, last November. I had reached 150 kms(in29.44 hrs) milestone, but way outside the cutoff time of 28 hrs.

Diju Boro, a strong Runner with the ‘Kolkata Runners’, had suggested this race to me, a run of 100 miles on the Nashik – Mumbai highway. First the race was scheduled for the 18th of March and then postponed to 1stand 2nd of my birthday month(April). Coincidently, the race came with a warning of the summer Equinox week and warning from the Maharashtra weather Authorities:

THERE IS A HEAT WAVE WARNING IN THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA,TEMPRATURES RISING UPTO 46 DEGREE CELSIUS.PLEASE STAY INDOORS FROM 11.00 AM – 4.00 PM.PLEASE DRINK ATLEAST 6 LITRES OF WATER COMPULSORY.

Should I Think Twice?

The warning was no effect on my already determined Attitude, to leave no excuses, but to finish the Sayadri 100 mile run from Viholi to Thane in style. My parents and close family were a bit concerned but I had kept no option left to ‘step back’ and I reached Nashik a day before the race. I was sharing a room with a cyclist Nitin Ghorpade from Aurangabad. We kept our air conditioner to 16degree Celsius but still it was a boiler burning outside. Finally, the evening transformed into a pleasant one and we proudly posed with our Bibs. During tea break,I met one of my idols, ‘Captain Breeze’. He talked about his experiences through the race of ‘Bad Waters’, one of the toughest races held in America and was the second Indian to finish this tough race and make India proud. Also, his breathtaking experiences from his Himalayan expeditions with the Army really set my mood for the race next day. Now I was more sure and determined to kill the run and 100 miles was a reality now.

At The Start Line

We assembled on the parking of Nashik Decathlon and after the final proud pose at the starting line, the race began at 5.05 am. Eighteen strong runners started the race. We started running towards Nashik city for 10.5 kms and I returned back to have a nice idly and sandwich breakfast at the Decathlon parking again in 2 and a half hours(after 21K). I was among the last 5 runners but to my happiness, I met Nitin again who finally became my buddy runner for the next 120 kms till the next breakfast stop at Kalyan(Mumbai). Now it was still not quite hot and we planned to run till noon. With the help of Vivek Soni, a very helpful organizer and other extremely helpful volunteers, we managed to constantly run for the next 5 hours.

Now, the sun was at its peak and my whole body had turned red, burning from the direct sun laughing at us! Nitin was still going strong and he still kept his running gear on but I had changed my mode to walking. A young volunteer Rizwan Maraikar did try to encourage me and pace me, with a couple of pepsi bottles and sugarcane juice from the highway hotels, but I had decided to walk .At 2.50pm, I finally reached the air conditioned dining hall of the Manas Hotel, where we were to have our lunch and this was the 61k mark. My mind was happy now as only 100 kms were left to go with lots of time in hand.

Break Time Over!

Nitin had waited for me and with a fresh change, some icing for legs, stretching and foam roller. We restarted the race at 4.00pm along with the fresh 100 kms contenders and my friends Dipesh Gindra and Ronit Damania. Within no time the new runners vanished on the still scorching hot highway and now the tough patch of the race, the Ghats which were the rocky mountains had to be crossed.

Again the organizers and volunteers acted as samaritans and we briskly ran our way through the dark evening with a heavy highway traffic. A new challenge erupted now. As we were running with the traffic, even putting our reflecting waist jacket was not enough to ensure if we were visible and safe on the highway. We were not being able to judge the head lights coming from behind and I was really scared to run on the extreme left patch of the tar highway. Hence, we took to running and walking on the pebbled trial next to the road and now our pace reduced considerably.

We reached the dinner point at 10.36 pm which was about half way through our race at 86kms. The plan was already made to take a nap, so Nitin and I slept flat on our backs and I put my head on my shoes, trying to relax and sleep on the restaurant’s playground. Here, I thank Deepak Valmiki and VipinKhairalia, the two ‘joints and motion trainers’, who acted as our physio all the way through the run. A quick massage and stretches really helped us refurbish.

“Collect a bottle of coke each, as at around 3:00-4:00 am you will feel sleepy and your pace might drop to 3 km/hr. Focus now on your race, as a mammoth 76km is still left with only 18 hours to go. Again the Mumbai heat and traffic will slow you further down”. This was the advice from the Tiger himself, which finally helped us finish our race, a couple of hours before the cutoff. Thanks Breeze Sharma Sir for these valuable inputs!!

There was still more to be done

Nitin had done a lot of such long distance expeditions but they were all on his cycle. He was all set to make a concrete plan but after Breeze Sir’s warning I had just blanked out. Nitin was assigned to the driver’s seat and he chalked out a plan here. He said, “Sir! We need to finish a full marathon in the next 6 hrs. We will reach the Kalyanphatta by daybreak and then we will be in the safe zone”. My response was, “Hmmm Ok”. I was just nodding my head to his brilliant strategy, but did I understand even a bit? Naaah!! The only thing I understood now was that if I do notfocus again and start running, a repeat of Pune may happen and again lead to all dismay and unhappiness for me with the race unfinished. My inner courage swelled from within! The proud “JBro” started waking up. The months of meditation were now showing results. I was awake now and fully in the killer mood. Nothing could stop “Jbro” now and I could see the finish line….

I kept running till I could see the Kalyanphatta toll and only stopped at Vivek’s car as he offered my favourite drink, chai. Yes! We made it as planned! Only 34 kms to the finish line and more than 10 hrs in hand. Kyaa baat hai!! We didn’t mind the biscuits Vivek was offering us as we had time to celebrate. We had reached Mumbai. Yeeeeesssss!!!

Now We Just Had To Conquer The Mumbai Leg

The patch inside Mumbai city was a tough one as smog and traffic made it even hotter. With a sort of on and off running and mostly walking, I finally made it to the Thane Decathlon! Ronit Damania and Priyanka Bhatt helped me through the Mumbai stretch. I reached within 33.43 hrs, to proudly receive a finisher’s medal, certificate and t-shirt which I was eagerly waiting to wear since past four months. The wait was finally over. A big thanks to Mr. Sudarshan Singh, the race Director, the organizers, volunteers and fellow runners who all selflessly helped me through my journey of 100 miles. I am proud to be a finisher of 161 kms and surely this is just the beginning to conquer the world beyond my imagination!

I will be back! 

J Bro2Yours JBro…

The Science Of Strength Training

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By Gaurav Jajodia

Running means endurance, running means adding miles by boosting your stamina and pace. However if you have been struggling to do this, strength training is the answer.

Firstly, one should be clear as to what is the purpose of your running. Are you running to lose body fat, prepare for a marathon, do a 5k tempo run or just a fun run?

It is important to understand, as the outlook towards strength training and it’s advantages would always be different from one runner to another according to his or her priority.

 Why focus on strength training?

The advantages of strength training for runners is scientific in many ways. These are as follows :-

  1. Firstly, strength training helps to lose body fat. It has always been advantageous for a runner to be light weight for a better pace and endurance. However, one needs to understand and follow a proper program for weight training which will give a blend of endurance and muscle development.
  1. Secondly strength training would help the body for a better understanding and the ability to utilize the oxygen efficiently which would surely help for a better endurance increased pace and keep up the pace for miles together.
  1. Thirdly strength training would help to maintain the composition of the entire body. It is a well known fact that all endurance exercises result in degrading of the muscles which can be maintained by strength training. This helps the muscles to develop and at the same time makes it strong in this way muscle injury is also prevented.
  1. Fourthly strength training would help for development of core. Traditional lifts such as deadlifts, squats, chin ups has always been the backbone exercises for all athletes. Better core equals to better running. While running, one should understand it is not only the lower part of the body which is in action, but the core, the shoulders and the upper part of the body also play an important role in the overall scenario of any endurance exercise, especially running .
  1. Lastly strength training gives as overall development of the entire body- muscle mass, strength and flexibility. The strength helps in all the training programmes and the confidence to be much more strong.

 

And finally…

Strength training has always played a very important role in the overall development for any athlete, no matter what sport he or she is in.

Strength training can make you focus confidently, develop your body and mind because it gives a feeling which makes you believe, “Yes I am strong and I can do it. “

With this belief in mind, I traverse the miles…

 

MIND OVER BODY

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-By Saurav Bhartia

My First full Marathon ‘SCMM 2017‘

It all started because of my father, who at the age of 60 runs a marathon of about 10 kms and always used to push me towards a healthy life style as I am asthmatic since birth.

In the year 2016 I enrolled myself for 5 Km run in the ‘Airtel Run For Education’ marathon where my father had done 10 km. That day I realised that if he can run at this age then why can’t I !!!

Making a Start

I started running short distances with one of my friends and one day my friend told me that he wants to do a 42 Km run and I commented ‘You have gone mad.’

I never thought that one day I will complete my full marathon!!!

I started off with 5 km then 10 km, 15 km which culminated into 21 km at ‘Airtel Run For Education’ marathon and 25km at Tata Steel Kolkata marathon 2015. After completing TSK in 2015, I first thought of a full marathon and I tried to register for Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2016, only to find out that registrations were closed. I was disappointed, but by that time I was deeply involved in running and waited for SCMM 2017. I registered well in advance and started training for 4 months prior to the date. I went on a strict diet, I changed my lifestyle, stopped partying, no late nights and focussed 100 % on my goal.

Now, I wanted running buddies, with whom I could train and gather some tips as to what it takes to run 42.195 km. I came across a running group, ‘KOLKATA ULTRA’.  Sudhir Ahuja introduced me to his vibrant running group and I did my first practice run with them for 24 km and met many experienced runners like Jaydev Raja ( Jbro ), Vipul, Prema, Nishant, Howard and many others. By the time I met Jbro he had already conquered the 150 km ultra run and I realised that it’s all in the MIND.

It’s All In The Mind

I got to learn what it takes to complete the marathon:

  1. Positive Attitude
  2. Discipline
  3. Dedication
  4. Focus

Unfortunately, 15 days before the SCMM, injury struck me and the pain in my knee was disturbing me. But out of inexperience I neglected the injury and did not consult a physiotherapist or a doctor and continued with my self medication.

Finally the day came, I knew I was very well prepared and planned to finish it off within 5 hr 30 mins. I knew I am with most experienced runners and could feel the positive energy in their company. We reached the venue well in advance and did warm-ups stretching and were ready to start.

Then It All Began:

I started off and kept a pace of 6. However just after completing 4 kms my pain hit me and my IT Band gave me a shock. I fell behind and my running buddies went ahead. I dragged myself in pain till 17 kms. I was in severe pain and I could not bend my left knee. For the first time the thought of quitting came to my mind and I burst out in tears as me and my family both worked very hard for this marathon and the thought of quitting was very disappointing.

At that time Prema came as a life saviour for me. She saw me crying in pain at the aid station and was shocked to see me in such a bad shape, as she knew I had worked hard and was very focussed for this run. She motivated me, she did all that she could do, she shouted at me, she gave me ice packs, energy gels etc. One line that I will never forget of Prema was “It’s you who came to SCMM, not your knee who brought you here, so leave your knee behind and carry on. Mind is much more powerful than your body.”

I was in severe pain but the only thing I knew was, there is no option other than to complete the run. I WILL and I CAN do it.

After about 32 kms, my mind accepted I was going to move ahead and adjusted to the pain. Somehow I was not even thinking about it and now it was my turn to motivate Prema as by then she was in pain.

Finally the confidence and thought of completing the run gave us energy and eventually I completed the run in 5 hrs 52 min. Just after finishing the run I asked a fellow runner for the phone and called my wife back home in Kolkata and we both shared an emotional moment. She was proud of me.

Traversing Time

A journey started from 5 km……….Yet many more are to come.

It is rightly said by the late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

“Dream is not the thing you see in you sleep but is that thing that doesn’t let you sleep.

My dream is finally a reality!!!

When You Believe You Can, It Is Half The Battle Won!

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By Jaydev Raja

The 100 Mile run! How it all began:

I was relaxing on my old ancestral swing, when our door bell rang and the courier guy gave me a brown envelope. I tore it to find out, that I have two more court cases to deal with in my already traumatize life. I knew I needed to be calm and I should  stay focused and that things will be alright soon. I knew the next couple of hours that evening of July,2016 were crucial and needed to be spent positively. I knew any negative reaction today, would add up to more worriers for me. Just then the phone rang and it was Anant, my young friend and a Kolkata Ultran. He immediately figured out my mood and he announced his visit in a couple of hours that evening. When Anant was sitting next to me, I told him to take out his phone and log in to the Pune Ultra page. I told him, not to ask me a single question and just do what I was saying. I saw his hand pause when I told him the category. But I knew, any pause in my tongue today and there might not be a second chance. Yes, the next couple of minutes saw the registration of 160 Km take place which is the 100 mile race at the Pune Ultra on 12th November 2016. I know this now, that these kind of achievements look impossible if we try and think over them and they become possible, if we just go for it.

The Planning:

The next month and a half went by with just few unorganized practice runs and I was unable to concentrate well due to my other personal obligations. I lost more ground when from the Hydrabad full Marathon, with no training attempted the Leh Ladakh, Kardugla pass challenge. This is a 72 Km race at 18000 feet on the highest motorable road of the world. I abandoned the race at 19 km and I came back home after promising the Himalayas to come back again and finish the race in style next year. I reinvested in myself again, collected a renewed courage and made sure that the failure at Leh will not effect my 100 miles run. Again, the Kolkata Ultra team which is my running group and my new family came forward for help. Only a month and a half was left and I was showing no proper training. The team members kept on calling now on, to find out my plan. I was forced to plan out a half marathon, every single day and I did an average of 22Km for the next 23 days in October. I was fully supported during my practice runs by the team. I also put in long runs of 12 hrs and 14 hrs here and after the 23rd day, I was quiet confident of my sure finish. I had worked hard and nothing could have tainted my confidence. Especially the tough times which were pulling me back.

The Execution-D Day:

After finishing court rituals, I gathered myself to be strong and reached the race venue a day before. the race. Finally, there  I was, amidst the beautiful forest area, near Pune city, which will be my running track for 161Kms and that weekend. We were put up in a small school and I went off to sleep early after a good meal. The alarm forced my eyes open at 4 am to see most of the runners  awake and I quickly got ready. After taking my kit, I reached the holding area by 5am. It was cold and I was told a Simla wave had passed  by, reducing the temperature to nearly 6 degrees. But carrying extra clothes during the run was not practical, as the loop was of 25k each. A head gear covering the ears though was a must. The race was flagged off at dot 6.00 am.

I started the race with an easy pace and we crossed a village with a lot of dogs barking. I am not very comfortable with these creatures following me, as I have been bitten twice last year, so I just stayed with the pack of runners. We reached a trail now at about 3kand suddenly I lost my rhythm and fell flat in front, on the rocky road that leads to the forest. It was still a little dark, so the other runners didn’t notice and I was left there alone bleeding from my right knee and both fore arms.

Damage Control-The Show Must Go On:

I understood that the fall was a big one and the bleeding needed to be stopped. I started walking in pain and was limping to reach the first aid station at 5km. The aid station team, quickly made me sit and they did a marvellous job to put me back on track. With an encouraging push by the helpful team and pulling up my socks again, I knew the only option for me was to start my race again and finish it well. I knew the first choice of quitting will have to be deleted and the show should go on. I picked up my wits and pace and finished the first 25k loop in less than 3 hrs, with the rubber on my shoe sole giving way. Now, I had to take a break and give some time to my paining bruises, which had to be properly washed and dressed.

After having a nice hot breakfast, my salt capsule, a shoes change and lots of water and carrying a tetra pack of enerzal, I started my second loop. The route was a mix of trails and very little of tarred road which was very uneven. There were a couple of bridges to be crossed and we went through a scenic  forest at the base of a rocky hill and returned.The sun was out now and it started getting really  hot. I took 4 hrs to complete this loop and was now all sweaty and dehydrated. Just when I got myself completely checked and came near the aid station table, a lady organizer quickly asked me to sit. She had seen it right. I was getting a cramp on my right calf. Ice cold water using a sponge was pored all over my legs and thanks to the Samaritans, the cramp disappeared. But as it was scorching mid day heat now, my head had started spinning and I was showing signs of tiredness and dehydration. I was handed some salt and a lemon and was helped to be taken to the resting hall area, designed for us to rest. This was the second time the thought of quitting crossed my mind. I closed my eyes and lay straight on the mattress. I had to regain my focus and calm myself down. The next ten minutes had to be patiently passed and yes all was well in the next fifteen. Next,I put my legs up ninty degrees for a while, stretched and did some foam roller exercises, as my back was paining at times, throughout the run. I quickly had my salt capsule to control cramps and dehydration and grabbed a tetra pack of enerzal before I started my third loop.

 A Surge Of Emotions:

As it was getting warmer  now, close to 35- 36’c, this was the toughest loop of the whole race. Here some strategy was to be put into practice. This was the time to pull out tricks from the experience gathered from the last ultra run in Bangalore in 2015. I thought it would be a good decision to take  it easy and walk in this hot sun. I knew if I crossed this loop comfortably, then I could  gain the lost time in the next few loops. I did exactly that. Had lots of water and enerzal at every aid stations and took big steps and kept walking. This loop took the longest time which was close to six hours. I returned back to  the school compound where I was approaching the 75k mark and here I was in for a big surprise. My sister and cousins had come to cheer me up and I was really unaware that they would  visit me at the race. I had my bib scanned and as I really tired  now, grabbed a chair. As I hugged my sister and thanked her for her visit, a rush of tears overflowed. I started crying like a big baby, complaining to her about why on the earth would I want to do all these  tough races and for whom. Why  on the earth would I want to  torture myself, when I had already  lost my family and children. Why the hell all this? My sister held me tight and asked me to calm down, keep shut, stop thinking and close my eyes. I finally came back to my old self with a lot of courage and strength and now I knew why I was here and for whom. I had started running for my sons, my babies Digant and Vivan. I know a day will come when they both will be proud of their father’s achievements. I love you tigers…Yours, Daddy.

Picture Abhi Baaki Hai Mere Dost:

I started the fourth loop, at 7pm and the chief organizer Mr Naveen came to me and said, ”Jaydev, you need to complete this loop by 11pm  or we need to take a call.” I saw I was the last one to start the fourth loop and I was tensed. I told him that it won’t come to that and I paced out of the school gate, towards the forest. I knew I needed to focus, in this loop and I have 4 hrs to return. I was already a little tired and now stretching my legs for speed was getting difficult. I was running now and I must have reached 4km, when I could see a runner walking in the dark ahead of me. Now even my head lamp wasen’t working. When the silhouette came closer, I was more than happy to see my running buddy from Kolkata, Milan Burman. This was the first time we met in the whole race and he was always ahead of me. I explained to him about the need to finish the loop with by 11 pm or we won’t be allowed to run further. We superbly finished this loop, running continuously  and by 11.10 pm, we registered our return at the century mark. This was the last loop for the 100k runners, where 17 had registered amongst them two tough contenders, a young friend Shruthi and a 22 yr old lad from Mumbai. Both at 87km, were worrying about their pace, to finish by the 17hr cut off. They had exactly 2 hrs to finish the last 12.5km return.

The young champ of Mumbai,told me, ”Bhai, I have to get this medal and you will make sure I reach by the cut off time.”Millan and me both knew even we have no choice, so now we three of us joined hands and started the mission of “Medal 100k.” We now reached the last patch at the 5km booth and 2km trail plus 3km of the village road was to be covered. We  had 35 minutes and the young friend of ours had already given up. Now Milan took charge and he literally pulled him by holding his hand through the trail road. We were home. Mission accomplished!

What next?

We started the fifth loop at around 11.30 pm and by now we were informed  that 10 contenders of 100km out of 17, had not reached by the cutoff time. In our 161km category, five good runners had left the race, in ten entries for 161km. This kind of news, pushes a runner back and I just shut my ears to it. Milan and I left the holding area with a smile. Now, there was a new mission for us at bay. The local villagers had shut themselves in their cosy dens and left their security guards outside for us…yes the dogs! Each house had one guard posted and now carrying a long stick through the village was a must and running here would mean danger. We found courage and crossed the 3km village path with lots of giving stern looks to these barking creatures and trying to scare the monsters, when in reality, we were the ones actually scared. Now, serious running was needed and that is what we both did. We returned back 125km by 4.30am or so and we were frozen to death. It was cold, very cold.

We sipped some hot coffee and after finishing the refurbishing chores, started our last big loop. I knew we were running against time and only 5 hours were in hand for the next 36km. Yes, I knew now, that completing the race within the cut off time was not a reality. We were already tired and even running at a slower pace was difficult now. But giving up was again not an option so we kept walking fast.

Reaching the 150km mark:

By the time we reached half way and reached the U-turn aid station, Milan had given up and his right foot had become red and swollen. He took off his right shoe and he needed time to be helped now. I saw the time 8.30am and now 1.30 hrs were left with a mammoth 23.5km still left to be covered. I told Milan to come soon and I left him to start running my loop.

By this time, the 50km contenders were also on the route and there was company for us. I reached near the first aid booth at 142km, to hear heavy breathing from behind. Yes, Milan had caught up with me. What a fighter. I now felt bad, for leaving him behind and selfishly trying to finish. I was also happy that my friend could  still run, as that could get us much closer to the cutoff. But to my dismay, he announced he was in severe pain and which was impossible to bear and he won’t be able to run further. He was also feeling sleepy. Again, being selfish was not me now and I held Millan‘s hand  and we reached  the 150k mark with lots of encouraging shouts and clapping by the organizing team. Thanks to the Pune Ultra team for helping us reach the 150km milestone. Without them it was impossible. I left the Innovera school ground with happiness and a big smile on my face, promising my return next year, to finish the race in style. For now, bye bye Pune.

 

Everytime I failed, people had me out for the count, but I always came back”-Slyvester Stallone

 

 

 

Run For A Purpose And Run With Passion…Inspire While You Run!

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-By Rachael Thompson

“My religion is very simple, my religion is kindness” – Words spoken by the Dalai Lama and these are words I have started to live by through my running…

What has religion got to do with running?

It was after my 5th marathon in Dorset, UK that I started to really become more conscious of the question, “why am I running?”. This race was a 50km trail run and was 5hrs in the most gruelling conditions of running I had ever experienced. Winds were 60 miles per hour and many climbs where everyone was forced to crawl rather than attempt running. I came third and cried at the end with the female in second place because of the relief the pain was over!

Yes I run to travel and experience new cultures and push my limits, but it is here I decided that I no longer wanted to run marathons just for myself. If I am going to put my body through this anyway I can also devote the run to a purpose greater than myself and inspire some more passion in my run!

This is not to say that the marathons before this were valued any less. I believe all runs are a journey, special to that individual. But I came to a realisation I am craving more than just the individual achievement of that journey and want it to be shared with a greater purpose in mind.

Beginning a new journey!

In April 2016 I ran the London Marathon. I was inspired because this event is the largest marathon fundraiser in the world. I decided to fundraise for a charity called Whizz Kidz, a grassroots charity who supports children requiring wheel chairs. I committed to raising 2000 pounds (about 170,000 rupees).  It was such a challenging yet life changing experience. All of a sudden I wasn’t running individually, I was running for everyone who was part of the charity, the children supported by the charity and everyone who sponsored me! This added so much to my experience and contributed to my best time 3 hrs 10 minutes. But it was never about the time, I just wanted to do my best for a greater purpose and was what I needed to do my best. Everyone is a winner here!

Here I am, in India now and I chose to run the Spice Coast Marathon in Kochi to commit my greater purpose a little differently.  I decided to combine the marathon with the voluntary work I am doing in Kolkata with the NGO, ‘New Light’ which works for the welfare of children of sex workers.  I would not have been able to finish this marathon in the time I did and in the heat and humidity if my greater purpose was not in my heart. When I was fatiguing mentally and physically I would reflect on my journey towards this marathon, take some deep breaths and a surge of tingling positive energy would engulf me and surpass any fatigue so I was able to push harder than I thought possible! I placed first in the female category J

Run for a cause and change the way you look at a race…

If you are looking to make your race experience more than an individual achievement, use this same inspiration and motivation to ask yourself what is a selfless act of kindness I have been wanting to do and TAKE ACTION!

There are so many benefits if you commit to running for a greater purpose, it may focus your training, increase motivation, open new learning experiences from other people. You also discover more about yourself and may grow in ways you didn’t think were possible.  I also encourage you to share your purpose and success, not to get a pat on the back but to inspire something in others and awaken the powerful kindness and compassion in people that is often under-utilised or forgotten!

It can be any cause for any distance. Just doing a selfless act of kindness with no expectation of return is the criteria. Your reward is positive energy manifested in the way you shape it! I do encourage sharing your purpose because it does well to inspire others and can keep you on track to push yourself harder!

Let’s give back more to those who are less abled who may never get the chance to experience the pleasure of running like we do. I personally want helping others to be a big part of my life and if running inspires me to do that then I am going to use that as fuel to continue.

Food For Thought!

As some food for thought I will share my next purpose for the 21 km running event on the 27th November in Kolkata, the Airtel Run For Education – I have used this as motivation to get registered as a volunteer at the Mother Teresa House in Kolkata and spend a day as a volunteer. They are always accepting help and running has motivated me to do this. Share yours if you like.

“It is unrealistic to think that the future of humanity can be achieved only on the basis of prayer: what we need is to take action” – Dalai Lama

So run and associate it with an act of kindness and see how it works to inspire you further!

Peace and Love – Rach

Do What Sets Your Soul On Fire!

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By Anjali Saraogi

 

“The miles that were a daunting challenge became but, a warm up”

I was determined to run a full marathon, but not very confident about it, since I had only run half marathons.I had heard that going from half marathons to full marathons was a big and difficult jump.But during my three months of training, I realized that it was only mind over matter that was important .

 

My first full marathon, the Bank of America -Chicago Marathon, will perhaps be one of the most memorable and magical experiences of my life.
There were over 50,000 participants. It was a perfect day for running, temperature being 12 degrees, not very windy and roads were smooth and broad. The crowd support was magnificent and energy, infectious and intoxicating.
This was also my first international marathon.
I started off, stuck to the 3.45 pacer, since i was aiming for a Boston Marathon Qualifier(BQ), hence, running at a safe and controlled speed. After 5 km, the vibrant crowds pulled me along and the miles just flew by. I was enjoying and living each moment of my run. A part of me wanted the run to go on and on , but of course, my body wanted it to stop.
Before I knew it, I was at the 35 km mark, fatigued and maybe hitting the dreaded ‘Wall.
That is when the power of mind came upfront and it struck me that  I had encountered the same sinking feeling in my practice run. It was merely my mind that was tired, not my body. All I needed was to motivate myself and think positive.
Before I knew it, I had crossed the finish line. All the aches and pains had suddenly disappeared and I had tears in my eyes. It was over.
What had seemed as an insurmountable feat to me, I had conquered so easily.
Ofcourse, it was easy only in hindsight. But what I realized is:
– I had never thought I could run a full marathon.
– I had never thought I could do a negative split.
– I had never thought that I would enjoy each kilometre of my race so much.
– I had never thought that it would be so easy.
I had underestimated the Power of the Mind and Positive Affirmations.
Never limit yourself.

Just train your best and then, ENJOY THE RUN!!!

When You Are Scared…That’s When You Got To Be Brave!

By Vipul Majeji

The devil in us is often fear…So how about going for the kill and conquering the devil? Just a few months back I was sitting in front of my laptop contemplating whether I should register for the ‘Devils Circuit‘ race in Bangalore or not. Now Devil’s Circuit is not an ordinary race but is an obstacle course spread out over 5kms and more like American Ninja. The training it requires is drastically different from what we do for marathon running. I was wondering whether I was brave enough to attempt this challenge or not? Do I have the courage to complete the event or I’ll end up giving up?

As I was contemplating what to do, I suddenly got a call from my good friend and ultra marathoner Jaydev Raja or J Bro as we call him. He called to inform me that he has registered for a 100mile run at Pune in November. As I heard about his plans it blew my mind, here I was wondering whether I am brave enough to register for an obstacle run and this guy aged about 46 years casually went ahead and registered himself for a 100 mile run. What amazed me was his clarity of thought and confidence, he spoke about a fixed training plan and a proper method to approach the run.

J bro asked me for some suggestions and I just told him to attempt the run only after preparing well and not just prematurely. He said he has given himself time to think and has mustered up the courage to be brave enough to register for the run. I just wished him luck and promised him help in anyway I was capable enough of extending.

The conversation got me thinking, is being brave or courageous just a one off act or is it about the way we lead our lives?

Now J bro had just attempted the ‘Ladakh Ultra’ this year and he went there confident but under prepared. The training required for Ladakh Ultra is very different and he registered too late to do any training and proper acclimatising, so he did make a brave attempt to finish the run but failed to finish as his body gave up in the high altitude and he had to quit mid way. Now what amazes me and attracts me to sports is the attitude every sportsman has…. They don’t see failure as a problem and go on circling around the same subject like a tongue on a rough tooth, instead they see failure as an inspiration. This  man had the courage to get up and motivate himself to register for something even more tough and was experienced enough from his previous failure to not attempt the race without putting in the hard work needed to achieve it.

Bravery in running for me is not the just about the performance on the race day…It’s not just about the pain and fatigue one faces to complete the last leg of the marathon running in the heat, rain or cold. In a small measure it is but not in it’s entirety.

What we do on race day is only the result of the ‘never give up‘ attitude we have developed during the training in the months prior to the race day. To be brave is about waking up at unearthly hours 5-6 days a week and running in the heat, cold or rain. It is about all the strength training, interval training, hill repeats and more that one puts in to achieve their targets on the race day. It is here one develops the mental strength to achieve the unthinkable on the race day.

The attitude of not giving up is only develops by having the confidence of training hard and knowing that you have worked and trained hard enough during the long march towards the race day.

I knew that I was afraid of the Devils circuit but wondered, “Can I still be brave ?”

I guessed that the only time to be brave is when we are afraid of something. 

That gave me the strength to go on and register for the event and train for it. I just had to remind myself that “IT IS TIME TO BE BRAVE AGAIN !!”

 

PS – I did go on to slay the devil at the Devils Circuit  and I’m sure that J bro will also conquer the 100 miles at the Pune Ultra and I wish him all the best for the race.

Preparing For Race Day-The Basics

j-bro

-By Jaydev Raja

From my experience as a runner, I have put together the basics of what a runner has to take care of while running a marathon. Having completed 1 ultra marathon(100km), 10 full marathons(42.2km), 4 half marathons(21.1 and 25km) and 5 mini marathons(10km), I thought I would share some information that could be useful. I am currently preparing for the 160km run in October in Maharashtra and I am super excited.

BEFORE THE RUN

RELAXING MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY:

  1. Avoid running atleast 3-4 days prior to race day. Rest is a great remedy to perform well on the final day.
  2. Do not do any lower limb strength training or running the day prior to the marathon. Just light stretches and a gentle massage will do wonders. We don’t need to be tired already before the run.
  3. Rest and sleep early as you will need to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. A total of eight hours of sleep is required before a marathon. Some relaxing rituals like a warm shower, followed by some gentle stretches or some deep breathing exercises are wonderful before retiring early to bed. This will give you a sound undisturbed sleep.
  4. Waking up early will give you the time to recheck if your running gear is ready and take care of last minute issues.

 

CLOTHING:

  1. We should always wear gear and clothing, throughout the run, which are pre tried and tested. Clothes should always be previously worn. Never wear new clothes to a race.
  2. We must get our clothes and gear all ready before we retire to bed. Fix the Bib(Which has a number and timing chip) to your shirt the previous night .That’s the one thing you need at the starting line. Please don’t show up without it.
  3. Don’t use cotton innerwear or outer wear.
  4. It is very important to apply vaseline(or wear a band)to chaf prone areas. Chafing is a common problem for runners.
  5. Female runners who are menstruating during the run, tampons are a better option. Cotton underwear and a sanitary pad could bruise you and cause blisters.
  6. Male runners should apply Vaseline on their nipples, under arms and inner thighs. This is the place where skin and clothing has the most friction and can cause chaffing and bleeding due to sweating.

 

FOOD AND DRINK:

  1. Avoid drinking alcohol the night before the run. Surely we can do without a hangover while running. Alcohol is a major reason for dehydration and cramps.
  2. An early dinner is a must and your food should be rich in carbs, low in fat and easily digestable. Also don’t try new kind of food especially if you are going for an outstation marathon and eating outside food. The food should be something that you usually eat during a practice run. Please don’t experiment.
  3. Wake up early, religiously three hours prior to the marathon. Having a lot of water, about 2-3 litres at these early hours will ensure a clear and empty stomach and use of toilet before the race. A full clean lower abdomen, ensures a lighter and comfortable run. Have a small breakfast. The breakfast should be carb rich, but a gut-soothing one, like bananas or a smoothie. You can have some pawwa or porridge. Avoid fibre rich food. Do not overeat or drink. Have coffee or tea, if you are used to it. Eat food which you usually have and which is easily digestible.
  4. Last drink of water should be 45 minutes before the event and do not drink too much of it before you start(Plenty of water will be available at the aid stations).
  5. Never run a marathon on an empty stomach.

 

AT THE START LINE:

  1. Reach the venue in time.
  2. Get on track atleast one hour before the start, so that you will have enough time to comfortably reach close to the starting line, use the portable toilets and warm up sufficiently before the run.
  3. If you are habituated to use salt tablets and carbo gels, this is the time to ensure, that you have the supplies ready.
  4. Run light without a camel pack/back pack, etc, as it will slow you down.
  5. A slow jog or a walk followed by gentle stretching is mandatory.
  6. Pre decide your pacers and the time of finish and stick next to your pacer at the start. If possible, chat and get to know your friendly pacer and announce your intentions of your finish with them. It is always wiser to select some strong runners as your buddies for the race. They will guide you throughout the race and ease your finish.

 

DURING THE RUN

  1. During the race do not speed up early in miles and stick to your race strategy.
  2. Drink reasonable water and ORS(Energy Drinks) throughout the run, with what you have trained and are used to consuming. Have a piece of banana or watermelon, glucose biscuit, egg,if provided at the Aid stations.
  3. If you are using salt tablets or carbo gels, use them as you have pre thought, at the miles in which you plan to use. If you are not equipped with these, don’t panic. Well organized races have the white powdery substance that we call good old salt that your body needs during the long run.
  4. Besides using the toilets before your run, there are usually toilets, every 4-5 kms, or so on. Stop and use them if you need to, because trying to control your bladder will only play on your mind and stop you from enjoying your run. Using toilets when you come across one, is wise for a female runner, than taking chances to look for one.

 

MAKE SURE TO HAVE A GREAT AND ENJOYABLE RUN. DON’T MISS THE FUN. 

 

POST- RUN

COOL DOWN:

  1. After Finishing, smartly walk a little more beyond the end point. Do your gentle stretching routine which is a must after a race to cool down. Of course collect your finisher’s medal and enjoy the feeling.
  2. Lying down with your feet up at 90 degrees against a wall or icing your feet and sore muscles (using ice after the run)will help you recover faster. There is a recovery station at the finish line incase you need assistance.
  3. A gentle massage also helps in fast recovery. Just like you warm up, before the run, it is important to help your muscles recover from the stress.

 

FOOD AND DRINK:

1.Eat food rich in proteins which will help in muscles recovering faster.

2.Avoid beer as it may not help in hydrating well.

 

HAVE A GREAT AND HEALTHY LIFE,CHAMPIONS .ALL THE BEST FROM YOUR WELLWISHER ,JBRO.