Running into the record books

We are nearing the end of our extraordinary #100daysofrunning challenge.

Sunday is Day 100, and amongst all the thousands of runners who have forced themselves to get out there & run day after day, despite the cruel heat, the monsoon rains, and the killer humidity of our Indian summer, no-one is more deserving of recognition than Samir Singh.  aka The Faith Runner.

Here is the link to a blog post I wrote about him on Day 88 of our challenge.

This is a man who is already in the record books for having run 100km for 96 consecutive days.

When he completes his unbelievable feat of endurance in Mumbai on Sunday, he will have run 10,000km, which is 1/4 of the world’s circumference.

And yes, it is “will complete”, I’m quite sure.

We all have total faith in our Faith Runner.

 

One of my ASICS Running Club friends, Ripu Daman, is in Mumbai on business and so ran with Samir this morning.

He shared this video with us, and it’s wonderful to know that a man who has taken on such an amazing physical challenge will be also be running here with us all in Delhi in December at the Super Sikh Run.

But for the moment, just think.

There may well be “only” 4 days left for this challenge, but that still means a staggering 400km for Samir Singh.  Almost 10 full marathons…

Unbelievable.

Bhaag Samir Bhaag ! Our celebrations for Samir's BIG day have begun !!! #supersikhrun Star Ripu Daman flew to mumbai to run DAY 96 with Samir Singh this morning 😻Samir will cover 1/4th of the Earth's circumference on Sunday Samir will be the FIRST in the world to do so !Samir started serious running > 10 years agoSamir is a vegetarian, he is taking care of himself, he has always been lean, he is doing good ! Samir believes in Krishna, he trained in Vrindavan for this 10000 KMs featWe believe in Samir. We love him 😻Samir will run the SuperSikhRun on Dec 10 ! And we can't wait. Watch him running this morning and come to celebrate this World Champ-to-be at the SSR Bonta promo run on August 6th !! जय हो 🙏🏽 #faithrunnerSuri PaajiRegister for SuperSikh Run here : https://www.townscript.com/e/super-sikh-run-2017-240031

Posted by Gurpreet Wasi on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What is it like to run in 99% humidity?

I’ll let a photo from our ASICS Running Club training session this morning answer that question:

Balbir expressing what all of us felt, this humid morning.

I’m not exaggerating with the 99% claim, by the way.

Here, screen shots at 5am when I got up, clearly showing 99%…

   

 

Today was interval training, and if there was one leitmotiv running through our session it was hydration, hydration and yet more hydration…

I’m always amazed at how happy and smiley everyone looks…though actually, why on earth am I saying that?  I know how good I feel after a run, so why should I be the least bit surprised when everyone else looks all blissed-out too – humidity notwithstanding:

Despite the weather, everyone ran super strong intervals (yours truly included, if it doesn’t sound too arrogant) and we all seem to be getting increasingly more self-reliant.

Meaning that although Coach Vijay is omni-present, as a group we set off together, wait for each other, re-set off together.  We don’t necessarily need hand-holding all the time.

There’s definitely a good team spirit building up.

See what I mean about smiling, both above & below?!

We did 3 x 1 minute planks and then several sets of side planks, with Vijay working on his approach of freeing us from our reliance on watches and GPS’s by not counting down at all during one set of side planks…so we all held it, and then he suddenly said “Finished” to our surprise.

We hadn’t fretted about the time.

This was not the only time today that Coach suggested we should start learning to free ourselves from the tyranny of constantly checking our watches and GPS’s and rather listen to our body.  He quoted the great Haile Gebrselassie who apparently said that he listened to the breathing of the people around him to judge how he was doing in a race.

(Coach, have I got that right, or did I butcher your remark?)

Sort of makes sense.

I’m going to give it a try, I think.  Worry less about what my Garmin says and concentrate more on how I feel and how my body feels.

Watch this space 😛

It’s good, I think, to reflect sometimes on how one is feeling while running, rather than just relying on a gadget…

We wrapped up an amazing session with our traditional group photo:

But my photo of the day is this.  Such a cute photo of our husband & wife team of Vidya and Narain.

A great morning.

Draining, humid, but great.

What’s on your running playlist? “X-Ta Sí, X-Ta No”

I have my running mate Navi Singh to thank for this song, this singer, the whole kit & caboodle.

In a recent Q&A for this blog Navi said & I quote, “This song really kicks my cadence

X-tasi by Chimo Bayo.”
Anything that can kick my cadence is definitely welcome, so I checked Navi’s recco out.
One quick Google search later & I have brought myself (somewhat) up to date on a musician that I had honestly never heard of.  One of the hidden benefits of running, you see, is that you get to increase your music repertoire.
Here’s a YouTube link to this song:

I’ve already downloaded this track (& am now expecting great results in the cadence department 😛 )

If you’d like to download it, too, here you go.  An iTunes link.

Why do you run? “It’s music that got me into running”

Today we are Q&A-ing with Navi Singh, a friend from the ASICS Running Club, who memorably wrote THE most fab product review of the ASICS Nimbus which became almost a love-song to a great David Bowie track – here’s that link, too to the music that inspires Navi to run.

You are going to enjoy this Q&A with a difference, I guarantee.

Q Why do you run?

A I was never a sportsperson in school time.

Running came by default.
It’s music that got me into running.
In the good’ol 70’s, I by default used to hear LP records of Bee Gees, Cat Stevens, Bony M, ABBA.
My aunt got her green card around ’82 and every year she used to visit USA and brought FM recorded cassette Bruce, Jackson, Madonna,Turner…
By this time I was addicted to music.
I did not have a hifi system at home, and Walkman was the closest thing to it, and while listening to Walkman, then Discman, I started running in the evenings around 94-95. This was my time alone with music and running.
Q When did you start running?
A In 2011 I started running with morning run groups and training for half marathon.
Q Morning/evening runner? and 
Q With or without music?
A Since last 2 years I’m always running in the morning with company, the music runs have stopped.
Miss them though.
Q Next running goal ?
A It’s been almost 20 years + of running.
My goal would be to run for next 40 years, but happy/enjoyable running without the stress of timing (with friends or with music).
And NOW comes the icing on the cake – Navi does not choose one track.  No way!  Just look at the lovely list, which we can now start exploring, one track at a time… 🙂
Q What is your favourite running track?
A It would be difficult to pick one favourite running track, but a few on the top of list:
Sussudio – Phill Collins
Brick in the wall – Pink Floyd
Billy Jean – Jackson
Money for Nothing – Dire Strait’s
Walk this way – Run DMC + Aerosmith
Road to hell  – Chris Rea
Boom Boom pow  – Black Eyed Peas
Pour Some Sugar on me – Def Leppard
Everybody wants to rule the world – Tears for fear
Disappear – Inxs
The power  – Snap
Relax don’t do it – Franky goes to Hollywood
Subabria – Pet shop Boys
To name a few
But this song really kicks my cadence
X-tasi – Chimo Bayo.
Navi, my friend, a HUGE thank you for yet another epic blog post.
And thanks, as well, for introducing me to Chimo Bayo, who is a discovery.
#keeprunning #keepinspiring

Running in Vibrams. A runner’s feedback

One of the members of my ASICS Running Club is Ripu Daman, who has already featured in this blog, with his memorable Q&A session 🙂

Ripu sometimes runs in Vibrams at our training sessions, so I asked him to tell us about them (translate as I arm-twisted him into writing :P).

Here is his very detailed and informative feedback on Vibrams.

Over to our reviewer, Ripu Daman:

My love affair with the vibrams started 4 years ago when I first stared at these weird looking souls adorning the soles of a runner friend. We were doing the PUMA urban stampede in Bangalore, (my first one) which is a corporate relay of 5kms * 4. I was running in my Nike sneakers and although, I had seen people running barefoot and in Roman styled chappals with straps tied as high as the calves, I had never seen a more weird looking shoe.

Although they looked like some animal’s claws to begin with, they started looking more familiar as moments went by.
Finally it began to make sense as they resembled the shape of our foot with the five fingers clearly defined.
The widest part being the front of the shoe starting from the toes and it continuously narrows down being at its narrowest at the heel.
I needed to know more and I started questioning my friend. Our team’s start was still some minutes away and he happily obliged.
He got his vibrams from the US as they were not readily available in India at the time.

The sole is a thin layer with no cushioning but is as sturdy and hard as it can get. The segregated five fingers are intended to
make us run in the most natural way, a far cry from the forced compression of the feet in sneakers and other running shoes.
The sole has a special design with optimal protection on the parts of the heel which come into contact with the ground on landing and is elevated at the arch.

Finally, I got my first pair of vibrams in 2016. And although I wasn’t running at the time, it motivated me to get back to running.
And when I did, I loved the feel of it.

Although it does take some getting used to as even walking, let alone running, is so synonymous to well cushioned shoes and we’re just not used to walking barefoot outdoors.
My first few runs were in vibrams and I felt completely in control exactly like I do when I walk barefoot. Whether I am running on the tarmac or soft grounds with sand and stones, these shoes are able to manage both with equal aplomb. The sole is as robust
as it can get and with some practice on soft landing, you can minimize the impact. While I have to constantly focus on maintaining a mid-foot landing in other running shoes, I feel it comes naturally to me in these.

As for pace, I have noticed that faster splits are achieved with lesser effort every time I have worn these than my other running shoes.

And to my surprise, I recently saw these creatures adorning the feet of #TheFaithRunner Samir Singh. Here’s a picture of it.

The wear and tear is a testimony to the amazing feat this man has achieved.

(Editor’s note: read more about #TheFaithRunner here)

Disclaimer: As they say, there’s never a ‘one size fits all’. Although, the vibrams could be considered a winner all the way and every runner’s dream, it’s not meant for everyone. Figure out what works for your running form, gait and seek expert advice before choosing ‘your’ pair. See you on the running track.

 

Ripu, thanks so much for sharing your feedback.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

A welcome return to running basics

This past weekend, Delhi was host to the iRun Fest, the first ever, first of its kind running festival in India.

Runners of all levels and disciplines came together to chat, to meet, to discuss, to watch inspirational running films – oh my word, the things we can achieve when we set out minds to it…

This super exciting initiative was the brainchild of Dr. Rajat Chauhan, a man who seems to have one new innovative idea fizzing in his head every day.

Doc, as he is known to almost everyone in the running and sports world in India, is a runner, a marathoner, an ultra marathoner, a writer, a sports physio and – oh yes, the list goes on – the man behind a high altitude ultra marathon called La Ultra.  I’ve blogged about this extraordinary race before, and for those of you who don’t know about this insanely challenging run, take a few minutes and read these stories…

Presenting La Ultra The High, India’s very own ultra marathon (& then some)

Countdown to one of the world’s toughtest ultramarathons

Meet some crazy wonderful, crazy adventurous, crazy strong runners

Anyway, back to yesterday morning.

Amidst all his zillion other commitments, Doc announced he was hosting a free running basics workshop before the day’s seminars.

So I went.

It will soon be 4 years since I first laced up my running shoes to join a group of other non-running women, to be coached by Doc.

I know I’ve made progress – it would be disingenuous if I said otherwise – but I still have so much to learn, that a little bit of back-to-basics couldn’t hurt.

We were a small group in the lobby of the venue, and we slipped off our shoes and started doing a few basic exercises.  As more people arrived for the day’s proceedings, our group swelled a little, we had a few folk watching us, and it was all very reassuring.

Doc is a great de-bunker of jargon, always preferring to tell it as it is.  So with just a few simple, uncomplicated exercises, he reminded me that I need to get back on track and not get too caught up in over-thinking and over-complicating my late-bloooming love for running.

So, a little moment of squaring the circle, almost.

From fretting about the fact I seem to have plateau-ed, and already worrying about not having trained enough this summer, it was reassuring to be back where it all started, with my running guru.

Reviewing the Newton Kismet II

One of my young running friends, Deeksha Gahlaut, has just written a product review for us.

Like me, Deeksha was one of the winners of a pair of Newton running shoes in a lucky draw held here in Delhi in March.

You all remember Deeksha, right?

She just ran 30km, all on her own, in Gujarat, and shared her experience & feelings at covering her longest distance to date, in a recent guest post.

This time round, she has her reviewer’s hat on, as she appraises the Newton Kismet II she won (& which I see she wore for her 30km 🙂 )

 

RUN FAR, RUN STRONG

REVIEW: 0 to 200 kms courtesy NEWTON

Back in March this year, I won a pair of NEWTON KISMET II (by the Super Sikh group)

Now, I had never heard of the company before the contest and later after spending ample amount of time on the internet, I was enlightened about this awesome shoe (and the company). Newton is huge on the international arena, especially the track teams of various organisation and countries. The shoe is unique with its Action/Reaction Technology.

Here is the link for all the technical aspects of the shoe http://www.newtonrunning.com/pages/technology/

I have logged in more than 200kms in these beauties in less than two months. I have tested them over different terrains, different running drills (tempo run, hill training and long runs) and kilometres.

And undoubtedly, it has emerged a clear (and comfortable) winner in all the categories. The best experiences in these shoes are the long runs and half marathons.

Usually, after about 12-15kms of running on the road, the foot (especially the mid-section) starts to feel the strain and thus, results in slowing one down. However, the added 5-lug P.O.P 2 platform and Action/Reaction technology in the midfoot and heel, makes it super comfortable and one can feel a sensation of a little push with each step. Moreover, the stability of the shoes has helped me with my foot strike and with the swing (inward) of my legs while running.

The shoes are comfortable for those long runs and excellent for running half marathons (or full, although I haven’t touched that milestone, YET) or any distance for that matter.

It is difficult to feel tired while running in them.

Try them!

Thanks Deeksha, and as I mentioned in my own review there was no pressure whatsoever from Newton to review or even publicise their product.

These reviews are from the heart.

What’s on your running playlist? SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

We were just Q&A-ing with Deepinderr Singh Bindra, who said that although he doesn’t listen to music whilst running, were he to, it would be Saturday Night Fever.

Sound man.

Am a HUGE Bee Gees fan, and already have several of their tracks on my own playlist, but nom excuse is needed to sit back and enjoy the classic “Staying Alive.”

The clothes 🙂

The disco 🙂

The clothes, again 🙂

The hair 🙂

Oh, it’s all too fab for those of us who were young (*young-ish in my case) in the 70s.

Enjoy!

Now go on, admit it, you really want “Staying Alive” on your playlist, don’t you?

Never fear.  Help is at hand!

These links should take you straight to the iTunes store & disco heaven.

Why do you run? “Because it’s so liberating”

A couple of days ago, I shared with you the inspirational story of a runner who has lost 90kg, turning his life and his heath around in the process.  Hey, in case you missed it, here’s the link – a great story.

Since today is Deepinderr’s birthday, I thought we should wish him well by Q&A-ing with him.  Even though the video about his transformation told us lots about his journey and his motivation, I still wanted his As to my Qs.

And here they are:

Q Why do you run?

A I run because it’s so liberating 

Q When did you start running?

A Two years ago 

Q Morning/evening runner?

A Morning

Q With or without music?

A Never ran with music. I try to feel the breeze, soak in the environment, listen to chirping of birds & in general let my body take the rhythm of the surroundings.

Q Next running goal ?

A Currently my best is 2:17 for a half marathon. Want to do a sub 2

I love the reply to the with/without music question.  And I also love the fact that ins PS, Deppinderr added “if I had the choice of running with music, it would be Saturday Night Fever by Bee Gees.”

Yaay!  A fellow Bee Gees fan!  Knew there was I reason I liked the man 😛

Happy birthday, my friend and #keeprunning #keepinspiring

And now click here, to enjoy some Saturday Night Fever magic.

What did you see on your run today? #319 stars a wild critter

So, yesterday, on our chatty ASICS Running Club Whatsapp group, this photo pops up, amidst all the sweaty-post-run group shots. How lovely.  A nilgai, or blue bull.

Neeraj Rawat had shared it, and told us all that he’d been doing a slow walk-run in Jahanpanah Forest in Delhi, when he spotted this lovely fella.

Fast forward 24 hours, and what do we get?

Yup, correct.  More nilgai from Neeraj.

 

Intrigued, I asked him to tell us more.

2 great wildlife sightings, 2 days in a row, is too special not to share with everyone.

Neeraj has injured his ankle, so is doing slow runs interspersed with brisk walks, and as he wryly explained, it is actually “thanks” to his injury that he got these photos (a man who takes the glass-half-full approach to injury, clearly 😛 )

“I have been going to Jahanpanah city forest for the last 2 years to run, but have never had an injury, thus never stopped to take snaps and spoil my average.  I am fortunate enough that in the last 2 days I have seen nilgai and the good part is that I was not trying to build my pace average and was carrying my mobile.”

Now my friend Neeraj is clearly made of way more disciplined stuff than your editor, who stops constantly to take photos, since he ends with this sweet wish:

“I want all your wishes so that I can come back from injury to do my best in my next marathon and not stop while practicing to disturb these lovely animals.”

Thanks for sharing these photos, Neeraj, and #keeprunning #keepinspiring, and, of course, most importantly get better soon 🙂

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