Saturday, January 30, 2016

India Republic Day Parade 2016

Watching India's Republic Day has been my yearly ritual, whenever life has been steady. In school days Every year, it was a much needed holiday. That meant to sleep late and watch this on TV, lying under a blanket.

This year I could watch it the day before, as a late night show, being in a different timezone.
And Thanks to Youtube for their live telecast.

Hubby and me chattered and gossiped about each of the display. The first set of military parade was boring for me as a child. We would impatiently wait for the cultural ones to start. But wow, now it was so impressive to my adult eyes now. Hubby says, "Doosre country walon ki phat jati hai, yeh parade dekhke."

Karnataka set was lovely. Huge sculptures related to coffee and smaller ones about laptop. Maybe 4 people walking by in the traditional outfits. Immediately I say, "ya because rest of the folks are busy working in IT offices". Nobody takes a weekday off for anything else.

And there was the jhanki of Assam. Beautiful Assamese folks dressed in lovely Assamese silk and Mehkla-chaddor dancing Bihu.

Other set that I usually watch out for and cheer is Maharashtra. But I didn't find it this year.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Parking in Jurrasic

Piku playing on Netflix. 
A goes, " Hey Rrrrrr, look the guy from Jurrasic World!!!!" 
R comes hopping, and looks at TV,  "Yaaaaa, Mr Masrani."

They were awestruck - he's in Hindi movie ! For them, Irrfan Khan is big-shot Hollywood hero :)

And boy, they know more about Jurrasic World than I know about Jurrasic Park. Few weeks back, when I screened Jurrasic Park for them, they already knew MrHammond. I mean, what am I for !?! I thought I would be the one to lead them into Science Fiction and introduce all fundamentals to them. But with a handy iPad Mini, they are rolling right from Mars Rover chapter. I feel antiquated.

Jurrasic Park was my "time" movie. I was in 12th. Dad took me & my bro to the Arun theater, the only one playing English movies in Belgaum (atleast the respectable kind). All 3 of us were completely blown away by the movie. In 1993, the only marketing hype we could get from, was Doordarshan (DD). Cable TV was in early stages and we did not have it at home. And Internet was something I was going to learn about in textbook, as one of the top layers in ARP, in next 4-5 years. Now I really wonder, what told me that this was a must see movie ? I mean we had no known craze of Dinosaurs in India before this. Yes DD had taught me well, what a big-shot Steven Spielberg was. But seriously who hyped this movie for me ? Maybe some word of mouth publicity, slowly flowing into the small town. Movies were usually released months after the actual release in small town. So enough time to buildup. 

We saw the movie in big-screen theater; were mighty impressed. Kept trying to figure out how did they recreate the animals for the movie ? Eventually learnt about CGI. Got interested in fractals. After I started working in big city, Jurrasic Park was one of the first books I bought. Micheal Crichton became my favorite writer and I gobbled up all of his books, with strong opinions about each of them. In IISc, I even bought & read a book on Chaos TheoryHmm, mighty influential movie indeed.

When Jurrassic World hype started, I easily ignored it. I am a grown adult, who will not fall for marketing hypes (so I would like to think of myself). But Dad was in town too. I knew I had to make it a family movie night. Dad, Hubby, A, R & me went to AMC for JW. All of us impressed again. I found the Indominus a bit icky. But I loved Claire (Bryce) and Masrani (Irrfan Khan) characters and their scenes. T-rex and Velociraptors were good. What bugged me was that one of the kids was not a girl and there was no one like Jeff Goldblum and Samuel L Jackson's character in this reboot. No fascinating science theory I could research offline.

But since then, the kids did their own research on Youtube, for more videos on this movie. Most of it is junk parodies. I sometimes wonder, are they learning anything ? If anything, they do know many dinosaur names, as fluently as Ramesh-Suresh. And they have loads of inescapable merchandise. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Commitment Day 5K - Race Recap

Race in winter of Minnesota is so thrilling. Not just for the humble-brag rights later on, but winter running as such is way different from that in other seasons. The crunchy snow and extremities-freezing temps (fingertips below 30F & toes below 20F) makes everything adventurous. So I picked the auspicious New Year morning race, as a highlight of running in Minnesota winter.

Last year it was 15 miles at Polar Dash. Overall a good race but they spoiled the experience by not listing my finish time, even when it was within time limit. Later there were rumbling about financial gapla. So this year, I looked for an alternative. And found one - 5K at Lifetime Commitment Day. I took months to accept it - it's not long-distance but it's a race.

On the New Year's morning, I got up early even after sleeping late. I was proud of myself, "I will be ready just in time for once in my life". I checked the website and noted, "Ah the start time is 10 am - wow ! I just earned an extra hour of sleep". So I put up a new alarm and went for that most desirable morning nap. Again I woke up by myself, I thought, "What a day, I am getting up before alarm, again." But it was too sunny to trust myself. Turns out the new alarm was for weekend, and this was not weekend and I had only 45 minutes to start of race !!! Boom I got ready in a rush. I was so panicky I forced my sleepy hubby to drop me at the start - I couldn't waste time looking for parking.

Fortunately everything went well after that. I was wondering about the warming place. I had forgotten that it's Lifetime - they had their own facility. Everyone gathered at their Gym. There was a round of Zumba for Pre-Race stretch.

Then, all runners gathered outside Lifetime on Plymouth Blvd for the national anthem & the race start. There were about 50 or so. I was guessing they must be the Run club folks. I felt good to see kids as well, so early on New Years morning.

The route was left from Lifetime on Plymouth Blvd, then a stretch on Fernbrook Lane along the Ice Rink and then via Rockford and back to Plymouth Blvd. Most of the sidewalks were cleared. And other parts of the run were on closed roads. Perfectly safe conditions.
Clock showed my finish time as 40:17 minutes. With a discipline-less training past few months, I will take this. This is my usual winter time. My outfit was perfect for this 20F temp. I skipped the neck-gaiter, which was an excess last Jan.

And the race swags was good too - T-shirt, bag, protein bars and a breakfast. I had expected a small, thread-bare event, but this exceeded my expectations. Overall a great start for the new year.

Wish you and your family a Happy & Prosperous New Year !

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Running Report for 2015

This year (2015), I ran 363 miles and finished in 6 races. It's lot less than those in 2014.  And yet this is the year I finished my first Marathon ! Yeaaaah ! So I blame my lesser mileage to this Marathon, ha. First half year because I was nervous about the upcoming and next half year as a recovery from the Marathon. Talk about excuses. The fact is that, if I had more mileage before Marathon, my performance would have been better. And if I ran after the Marathon (atleast after a few weeks), then my recovery would have been better. Coz mileage is tied to training and workout. Nothing is better than training well and working out.

What I did try this year were strength workouts. I did sessions of Extreme TRX, Kickboxing and bench-press in gym. I loved my sore muscles. It is wonderful while it lasts. As usual, the challenge is to continue it. Everything gets in the way, especially your hardwired brain, which does not pickup a workout clothes as easily as a chakali packet.

My arm & leg muscles felt wonderful after each workout session and for many days after. Running however, totally brightens the mood. Makes me feel I accomplished something. Any health benefits to the muscles were just a side-effect, I did not pay attention to, because they were invisible to the eye.

Races are something which bring the thrill factor to running. Before my first race all I cared about was medals. This year, I don't know where to store those heavy metals ! Now I am happy with the other useful stuff they give out like shirt, bars & good arrangements.

I completed these races in 2015. They are fewer but with rich experiences each. I blogged about them for my own reference. I had signed up for the Women Run The Cities 10 Miler too, as a followup for last year. I was all set for it, but I completely forgot about a wedding that same day in a different city. So I had to dropout.

Weather Name Date Distance 2015 Time
19F Polar Dash 1-Jan-15 15 mile 3:07:21
30F - Hot Securian Winter Run  24-Jan-15 Half Marathon 2:55:57
62F Get in Gear  25-Apr-15 Half Marathon 3:02:14
75F Lake Minnetonka  3-May-15 Half Marathon 2:55:37
45F to 60F Minneapolis Marathon 31-May-15 Marathon (26.2 miles) 6:09:59
57-87F City of Lakes Half  13-Sep-15 Half Marathon 2:53:03

Like last year, I went to watch the 2015 TCM Marathon runners in action. This is the race which started my interest and am always curious about it. I don't signup for it though, as my Summer training and stamina levels are not good enough for a Fall Marathon.

I managed to plot my training runs by month. I look at the graph and try to find a pattern and learn something.

My mileage spiked in Oct because I quit being a snob and blindly went to the gym. There is a usual debate about treadmill vs outside running. Yes the benefits of running outside are tangible. It is also a noticeably different experience. In Jan, when I ran Securian Winter Run 2015 - Half, after solely running on treadmill, wow it blew the wind out of my sail. It was tough to switch. Yet running on treadmill is way better than not running at all. Those gaps in the graph, those are because I was running outside, but the change of seasons or the weather that day itself, scared me to get out. Its struggle to just step out the door in the evenings. We are tired from the rigors of all day and chores of the remaining part of the day are beckoning us. We don't need extra challenge of any unpredictable weather to be added. That is why it helps to keep the gear ready - clothes, shoes, bottles, watch, etc. So we can slip out before any imaginary constraint stops us. Just get it done - is the mantra.

My miles from Jan to May were very very low, which goes against me since I had signed up for a Full Marathon in the end of May. What was I thinking ? My only explanation was that I was nervous. I was sure I would drop off & not show up at the Marathon. Or if I did show up, I would just do a long-run of 20 mile maybe and get out. Gosh what was I thinking ? This is the pure example of not-believing in yourself - but for 5 months !?! Never again please.

No, I won't blame the freezing icy February and rainy wet April for my low mileage. Oh wait, but I did get 48 miles in March ? That was thanks to 3 long runs of 13 mile, 13 mile and 16 miles. Wow, that's extreme. That shows my strengthen. Remind me again, that I don't need such desperate measure. I should stick to a training plan and if there's a gap in my execution, then not be hard on myself.

After feeling low in August, and still not gaining any solid ground in Sep, there was a surge in October. That's because I cleared my mind and stopped being afraid or demotivated by the crispy fall weather, and boldly walked to the apartment Gym :) And I could do it many times to achieve my year record of 53 miles in 14 days. That was was followed by a slump of no run in 30 days in Nov. I was miserable throughout. It was a moving month, so I couldn't do much.

Dark evenings are another detriment. Right from the Sunday when Daylight Saving kicks in, evenings are pitch dark as early as 4pm. And it is so till Winter Solstice around 22-Dec. It makes a big difference, if you are not used to getting out in these cold dark evenings. The first week goes in simply catching up with the sleep. Next few weeks, working up courage all day to really dress up and step out in the evening.

In December, I had moved to a new place. Along with unpacking and settling to a new commute and routine, I was chalking and charting plans for my outside runs - Sidewalks I could use, their distances, looking for winter domes, gathering my winter run clothes and race planning for 2016. All that means very few actual runs.

Anyway something is better than nothing. I promise to stop overthinking, and just dress up and step out of the house. Not overwhelm myself by thinking about what I will do outside. Getting to this auto-mode is the goal. Here's wishing myself All the Best for the New Year of Running.

Its pretty exhausting to read these reflections. But I know, they will come handy when memory fails me and I need guidance.