What’s on your running playlist? “MONY MONY”

It’s now officially countdown time to the Delhi half marathon on 19 November, so in order to persuade myself that I am getting ready, I’m tweaking my trusty old playlist.

Kind of running version of displacement activity 😛

I love my current playlist, but I also love adding new songs, and doing so gives me a reassuring sense of purpose.

I might not be pounding the streets, but I am adding/removing songs on iTunes.  And that’s almost the same thing, right?!

Today, one of my girlfriends, the terrifyingly fit Preeti Sethi Chima, shared a great song online, and I have NO idea why it wasn’t already on my playlist.

Thanks, Preeti, and here you go, everyone –  Billy Idol singing “Mony Mony”

Great track, nice beat – 135bpm.  Checked it for you.

I’m nice like that.

And if you, too, want to add it to your playlist, couldn’t be easier – here you go.  Link to iTunes.

Having a Chariots of Fire moment

After feeling miserable yesterday, thanks to a muscle strain, today saw me all happy and  smiley, for our Sunday LSD.  Tell ya, doesn’t take much to make me happy!  Just good running form.

We did part of the same route through the forest around Malcha Mahal as last Sunday, including a chukker of the polo ground, where Ram filmed us.

When you smile with happiness at seeing your own running video, then you know…what?  Addicted?  Guess so!

[jwplayer mediaid=”28415″]

When I saw this, I thought “Ooh, our very own Chariots of Fire” moment, but on reflection, it isn’t really Chariots-of-Fire-y at all, because they weren’t filmed in slow-mo like we were, and we weren’t on a beach like they were, just a soggy, being-watered polo field.

But since the opening of Chariots of Fire is just about THE most iconic running sequence ever, here you are.

Love this so much, and I saw the movie when it was released, which was about 30 years before I even thought about running, and yet this sequence always stuck with me.

Enjoy 🙂

Now…I know you’re going to ask the same question as I just did, namely “Where on earth is that fabulous beach?”

Here you go:

“St Andrews West Sands is located on the eastern coastline of the Kingdom of Fife. Famous for the opening scenes of the film Chariots of Fire, West Sands extends for almost 2 miles of uninterrupted sand backed with dunes and the world-renowned golf course.”

You are most welcome.

Back to our run this morning.  A good LSD (Long Slow Distance) with some of my ASICS tribe, which saw us running on the road, in a forest, on a polo field, & in a park, as we clocked a nice steady 18km, which we followed up with lots of stretching (see yesterday’s weeping and wailing about not stretching)

Here’s the total track log:

And here’s the detail of the most interesting bit – the forest and the “haunted” Malcha Mahal.  I shared the sad story about the ruined so-called haunted Mahal with you last week, and the link is above.  But here it is again 🙂

So worth getting up at 4am for…

Oh, the roller coaster that is called running

This morning, I decided that if there is a God, he must have a deep sense of irony.

There was I, happy as a sand boy after a brilliant training session on Thursday, and less than 2 days later, wham!  Back down to earth.

I was about 5 minutes late for our ASICS Running Club meet this morning, then parked badly, so re-parked, and ended up arriving as all my mates were onto their last stretch of the warm-up session.

So I skipped stretching.

Take note.

Do NOT do this.

We then went for our warm up jog, and I needed the loo, and fell behind the pack.

So I cut across the park, so as not to be late, thereby only running about 1/2 of our usual warm up distance.

Take note Mark II.

Do NOT do this.

We started our running drills and as we were doing the stride drill – ouch!

Pain in right thigh.

And that was me out of action for the rest of the session, feeling mighty cross with myself because it was All My Own Fault.

Trying not to panic about another day wasted, and so close to ADHM (the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon), I stretched and stretched and then some, while the rest of my tribe raced up and down doing an impressive series of 20 hill repeats.

You can see them all in action (below).

I’m the orange blob at the back, leaning against a tree 🙁

I managed a slow cool down jog, but this morning’s contretemps has convinced me more than ever that pre-run stretching is essential.

I’d even written a blog post a little over 2 years ago, on this very subject, so I have NO excuse for this morning, other than my own stupidity, & a foolish desire to keep up with the group, rather than taking 5 minutes to warm up.

Lesson well and truly learned.

Pre & post run stretching is not to be skipped.

I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but just to show how seriously I’m taking this, here’s a link to a good article, which demonstrates some of the important stretches.  There are helpful demos of how to do the stretches.

What’s on your running playlist? “GIRL ON FIRE”

One of the stalwarts of my ASICS running group is Navi Singh, the kind of renaissance runner who manages to combine running and music, product reviews and music, Facebook comments and music… 🙂

Yesterday, a group of us did a tempo workout together and Navi commented on our splits on Facebook with a kind “this girl is on fire” comment (here’s hoping the fire lasts till our half marathon!) and then promptly added a link to the Alicia Keys song.

Hearing it in the context of a good run made me smile out loud – hey!! you know exactly what I mean by that – sitting at my computer with a happy grin on my face, that’s what…anyway, a great song was promptly added to my running playlist.

With uplifting lyrics like these, which you feel you can apply to running a race, you really can’t go wrong:

And, now you really want that track on your playlist, too, dontcha?

Here you go!

Running luxury is running with a pacer

Of all the various running disciplines I’ve learned about this past almost-year with ASICS, tempo runs are the ones I am least familiar with.

When I mentioned to the charming and super-knowledgable Navi Singh this morning, that I haven’t done that many tempo runs, he calmly replied:

“That’s because you never come to our Thursday sessions.”

He’s right, and I’m not quite sure why I haven’t been going and tackling this discipline…quietly calculates how many Thursdays remain between now & November 19th, the day of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon… 😛

First, though, what IS a tempo run ?

Don’t worry, I Googled it for you:

“A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness.”

Now, on reading this, my first question was “but how do I know my tempo pace?” and, yet again, Mr. Google has the answer:

“For those running longer distance races such as a half marathon or marathon you can calculate it yourself by subtracting 30 to 45 seconds from your expected race pace. For example, if your goal is to run a half-marathon at a 9:15 minute per mile pace, run your tempo run around a 8:40 pace.”

Now that’s all fine & dandy, but if you’re a completely pace-ignorant runner comme moi, there is no way of calculating said pace.

Ideally, of course, I should already have a game plan and a race plan in place for November 19th, but of course I don’t, so how could I possibly calculate?

Leave it to Navi, is what I did 🙂

Navi promptly announced a pace that scared the bejeebers out of me, but then relented and said that the lovely Satbir Singh Chadha would pace me.

And just like that, I ran with a pacer, for the first time in a training session, and it was amazing, and a game-changer and I now want a pacer for every single run I do 😛

I have tried to run with a pacer just twice before – at last year’s ADHM, but I fell behind because of exhaustion.  Then I tried again with the wonderful Coach Ravinder at this year’s Mumbai full marathon, but was hit by such mega-awful-horrid-ghastly-miserable stomach problems that I had to drop behind.

There’s actually nothing more demoralising than seeing a group you’d thought you could match, gradually pulling away from you.  It’s a serious bummer…but, thank the good Lord above, there was none of that this morning.

I stopped a couple of times – pee, water, water – but always ran counter-clockwise to join up with Satbir’s group, rather than waiting for them, so was probably out of action for less than a minute, all told.

So, for a wonderful, 8 steady kilometres, I let myself be guided by Satbir.  I checked my Garmin occasionally, but not obsessively, and when I was told to alter my pace, I did what I was told.

It was actually relaxing, if the truth be told.  I mean, obviously I was pretty knackered after the tempo run, but the fact that I was relying on someone else definitely made things easier.  I tried to match Satbir’s pace and just go with the flow.

It also made it harder to give up.

#lazyrunner c’est moi!

Here are our splits – well, Satbir’s actually – mine would be w-a-y less impressive:

And here we are, all smiles after it was all over:

This is a link to an excellent article which explains the theory of tempo running.

Great morning, and I came home feeling (yes, tired obviously) but also less hysterical and nervous than the last time we ran together.  That would be Tuesday, when I had a bit of a meltdown.

Here’s my lovely tempo gang from this morning:

(And one day, I’ll be supple enough to sit and stretch like the boys are doing…)

“You have to be realistic…”

Sobering words from Coach Vijay this morning after our interval training.

On a day when my confidence was already having a major wobble, the words “You have to be realistic” definitely made me stop & think.

Coach had told me at the start of the session that I had to stick to a pace of 6km tops, if I have any hope of a sub 2 in the upcoming half marathon.  Which is in exactly 27 days.

When I saw that I couldn’t even maintain this pace for 4 lousy kilometres, well, I guess his words of caution were fully deserved.

And so, with the clock ticking down remorselessly to 19 November and ADHM – the big flagship half marathon here in Delhi – I had to face facts this morning, namely that I almost certainly won’t be breaking any barriers this time round.

Meltdown aside, it was a good session, as ever.

Warm up, drills, then (for my group) 4 x 1km intervals on the “hills” of Nehru Park, followed by a cool down jog and some rather desultory stretching.

BUT – quick drumroll – I did actually do a couple of short planks, all by myself.

Slowly slowly getting there 😛

If I did a tag cloud of words nervously overheard during this morning’s total meltdown whoops, I mean running club meet, my tag cloud would look something like this…

27 days   ADHM   pace   sub 2   full marathon in January   PB   pace   Airbnb   planks  stretch   faster   6 rounds   fast   race pace   next week   LSD   flat out   race pace   flights   Mumbai   hey! congrats   flight   10k   calculate   pace   pace


Today it was all about pace pace pace.

That was the mantra today & it is my weakest area.  Cannot judge pace.  Cannot maintain a pace.

So, what’s the answer?

Well, there are still 27 days to go.

And according to Mr. Google, there are a zillion things you can achieve in 27 days, some of them quite inspiring.

Like so:

I’m not fussed about the 1691 Reddit visits.

Wouldn’t mind launching a million dollar business, though.

But my fave thing that I can potentially achieve in 27 days is this!!!

That HAS to be a sign, right?  For a plank-hater like me, this HAS to be a sign 😛

And here’s my tribe, bless ’em.

Running through a haunted forest

Yeah, you’re right.

Talk about a sensational headline.

In the interests of transparency, I suppose the word haunted should technically read “haunted”.

You see, today we ran in the forest around Malcha Mahal, an old property which does, indeed, have a pukka haunted reputation.

Today, being Sunday, is designated LSD day.

No, not that LSD, silly, but running LSD.

Honestly, what kind of blog do you think this is? 😛

LSD = Long Slow Distance.

In all humility, I can report that I fulfilled all the criteria today.

I ran 19.67km, and was super slow.  As in s–l–o–w 😛

We were a group of about 20 or so to meet up in the dark at 5.45 for a run through the forest, past the polo ground (yup, a polo ground in the middle of a forest) in a series of loops of +/- 4km.

I did 4 loops, so roughly 16km, then did 3 rounds of the polo ground, so think the maths are correct, since a chukker around the polo field is about a km.

This was a trail run, with quite a bit of up & down, and uneven track, but what a joy to run for hours in the forest.

No noise.

Hardly any litter.

And no ghosts from the “haunted” Malcha Mahal I am happy to report.

Also, despite the grim air quality when I got up at 4.45,  running in such a dense forest, you could not feel the poor air at all – so that was a huge relief.

I tell you, the joy of such thick tree cover.

The track was interesting, to put it mildly, with several long stretches covered in thick hay, which I suspect comes from the stables, after they’ve been mucked out.  There was a definite whiff to the hay.

It was nice and bouncy, but not always that easy to run on, which helped justify the occasional walk break.

What was funny was that after walking/running on the hay, getting back onto the dirt track felt hard.

The first chukker around the polo field was nice and cool:

The second two rounds were a little sunnier, but still a lovely way to cool down.

I chatted briefly to one of the jawans, who asked me not at all what I expected.

I was expecting the inevitable “Which country you are from?” or even “This is army property, and you cannot run here.”

Instead he smiled and asked me in Hindi, “How much have you run?”

“18km” I replied.

“Good, you can do 20, then.”


At the end of the session, we were just 4 left.  Like so:

Coach showed me the “haunted” Mahal, and we walked a short distance to it, but he had such hair-raising stories about an earlier encounter with the Prince who lives there, who had ferocious dogs and pointed a gun at him, that we were very circumspect, and just had a quick peek from a distance:

Doesn’t it look like something out of a fairy story?  Sort of Sleeping Beauty-esque?

I plan on doing a follow up blog post about the property and the history behind it, and will share the link once it’s written.

An absolutely brilliant morning, not only tackling an almost-half-marathon distance, but also discovering a new part of Delhi.  I’d always wanted to run here, having just done a much briefer solo foray last year, but this is definitely not an area for solo runners.  Safety in numbers, most definitely.

Also, driving out of the forest, there was a huge troop of rhesus macaques, which I would definitely not wish to encounter while running.

Here’s my track log, including the little foray I did on my own opposite the polo field.

It’s called getting lost 🙁

And here’s team haunted forest this morning:

A fab run with great people, AND a haunted palace.

What more can you ask?

“There are no flyovers in Nehru Park”

Ouch, Coach 😛

Coach was jovially correcting one of my gang’s plank position, Nehru Park being our venue this morning.

For once, that wasn’t addressed to me during our plank challenge, but it could so easily have been.

We ended a fab hill repeat training session with a plank challenge.

Hey!  Did you all take note?  Did you read that?

“We” and “plank” in the same sentence 🙂  From having LOATHED planks, absolutely LOATHED them, I can now do ’em.  Badly, but I do ’em.

Moral of the day:


Sometimes, it’s important to remember that progress has indeed been made.  Not that much, but progress all the same.

We were a reasonable-sized group this post-Diwali morning, everyone fretting about the air quality, but what choice do we have, when there are only 29 days till the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon?

We did a nice warm-up lap, drilled, and then – the main event.

20 x hill repeats.

The hill reps were tiring – obviously – but felt good.  Whenever I do hill reps, there’s a mantra that I repeat on each rep: “Pedder Road, Pedder Road, Pedder Road” – this being THE absolute worst moment of the marathon in Mumbai, tackling that humunguous-seeming slope when you are so knackered.

I found an excellent article online about hill reps, and given that we live in a flat city, today we did well.

Great work all round.

Here’s the tracklog from my Garmin:

Cool down, stretching, daft photo, group photo – another great session with my ASICS Running Club tribe.

Here’s the daft photo:

And here we all are:

Oh, yes.

About those 29 days to go till the Delhi half marathon.

While Googling 29 days to find an image for the blog, I found this one 🙂

If a Marathi-speaker can learn English in 29 days – hey!  Surely I can manage to run a little faster in the same amount of time, nah?!

Day T-30 wasted

It was the Hindu festival of Diwali last night, and the good citizenry of Delhi (where I live) decided to ignore all the health warnings and advisories, and light crackers and fireworks, & the consequences be damned.

I wrote a blog post about the situation on the ground, post Diwali, in my other blog, christinepemberton.me and several hours later, the situation is still pretty dire.

I have an app that monitors pollution levels, and this has been the situation today, largely thanks to the senseless lighting of firecrackers last night:


Hazardous.  Great.


No change.  Still hazardous:


Yaay!  We’re only unhealthy now, not hazardous.  Yaay!  Go us!

Seriously, folks, such wanton stupidity.

Everyone in the city is affected by the horrific pollution levels, and I fail to see how anyone in their right mind would do this to themselves and their loved ones.

Delhi isn’t a city known for its civic-mindedness, to put it mildly, so that no-one gives a toss about the rest of the population at large is, sadly, par for the course- but to burn crackers, knowing it will affect your family…I just don’t understand such a stupid, short-sighted mindset.

All of which is to say that Day T-30 of the countdown to my next half-marathon has been completely wasted.

Have hardly been out of the house, and running, or even walking, in this toxic muck is out of the question.

My eyes have been stinging all day.

My breathing has been a bit laboured, and I just hope and pray things will have improved tomorrow, when I have my regular running club meet.

Not a good day.

Not a good day at all.


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