What did you see on your run today? #384 comes from snowy Vancouver

While we sit here in New Delhi, grumbling about the cold, and the fog, over in Vancouver, where they know the meaning of winter, the intrepid Namrata Joshipura is out running in the real McCoy.

Real cold.

Proper snow,

And how lovely it looks 😀


Makes our early morning 9C here in Delhi look positively wimpi-ish 😛
Thanks Namrata for the lovely photos, and, as you always do, #keeprunning #keepinspiring.  Also, crucially, girlfriend – #keepwarm!

My half marathon check list

Who else is running a race tomorrow?

Who else is spending Saturday night busy checking their gear and their playlists and their stash of gels?

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be running a half marathon in New Delhi, India, where I live, and with a 5.00am reporting time, it behoves me to get my ducks in a row tonight.

So here we go.

My pre-HM checklist.  Shout if I’ve forgotten something, please!

Main items

Shoes, socks, sports bra, underwear, trousers, top, bib, Garmin.

Extras

Waist pouch for phone, snacks, gels, kleenex. Headphones,

Extra extras

Sweater for journey to venue, beanie for journey to venue, water for car, bananas for car.

Still undecided about…

Gloves, head torch (5.30 start in deepest, darkest winter)

Need to do tonight before I sleep

Pin on bib, check playlist for the umpteenth time, charge Garmin for nth time, carbo-load, hydrate, calm down, remember I’m doing this for fun AND paying good money to do so!

Wish me luck, folks 🙂

And if I’ve forgotten anything, PLEASE tell me now!

Follow-up review of the ASICS DynaFlyte 3

5 weeks ago, I posted my first review of the ASICS DynaFlyte 3, and since we have now completed another 100km together, I thought a quick follow-up review might be in order.

As I stated in my first review, I am a recently appointed ASICS Running Influencer in India, where I live, but the company has put me under no obligation whatsoever to write reviews, favourable or otherwise.

Not once has anyone suggested I should even review their products.
Right, it’s now been 2 months & 215km that we’ve been together, and so how are we doing, my lovely turquoise shoes & I?

We are doing just fine and dandy, and I am every bit as impressed by these beauties as when I took them for their first run, exactly 2 months ago today 🙂 (So happy 2 months to us!).

The DynaFlyte 3 continues to impress me with its lightness.

You lace them up and then can almost forget about them, since they are so light and un-clunky.

In the last 100km we’ve run together, there has been some road work on Delhi’s hard, unforgiving roads, but mainly on paths and trails in my local park.

Like so:

My shoes have got dusty and muddy, and been washed a couple of times – they come up looking as good as new!

No chafing, no noticeable wear & tear.

No feeling that the wonderful cushioned soles are wearing down.

All round, I’m still delighted with them.

Since they are so sleek-looking (plus I LOVE the colour) I’ve worn them out and about a few times for non-running events.

Looking forward to many more miles in my DynaFlyte 3.

What did you see on your run today? #383 comes from wintery Canada

Namrata Joshipura is a woman of many talents.

She is one of India’s leading fashion designers, is a mother and business woman, splits her time between New Delhi & Vancouver, and is a seriously accomplished runner & climber.

Truly a woman to be admired.

Namrata was out running in Vancouver today and shared some stunning photos of the frosty winter wonderland she saw as she trained in University Endowment Land.

Just take a look at how pretty her world looks:

I love the contrast between the white frost and the colours of leaves and berries.

Stay nice and warm as you run, Namrata, and enjoy what must be lovely clean air 🙂

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

There’s running. And then there’s life

Or is it the other way round?

Which comes first, running or life?

Seriously, there are times when I marvel at just how complicated something as intrinsically uncomplicated as running can be.

It’s not the running itself that’s complicated.

Far from it.

Running is dead easy.

Lace up your shoes and head out.

End of story.

It’s the whole fitting your running into a busy schedule that includes so many moving parts. And other people.  And other people’s demands.  And work.  And everything else.

That’s the complicated part.

Let me state my own case, to get the ball rolling.

I have life pretty easy, I’m the first to admit.

I’m old, so don’t have young dependent children.

I work from home, so am more mistress of my time than many people.

And yet…

Getting the life-work-family-running balance sorted is not easy, and never more so than when I’m 6 weeks from a full marathon & totally under-trained.  Carving out blocks of 3 and 4 and 5 hours to run is not simple.

And, as I said, I have life very easy.

For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, India, a city which is currently cursed with the reputation of being one of the most polluted cities on the planet.  It is therefore not a good idea to get up in the pre-dawn dark and try and get those miles in, because the early morning pollution levels are horrific.

One feels (whether it is true or not) that the sun “burns off” some of the pollution, so I tend to head out mid-morning to run in my local park.  That’s an advantage office-goers don’t have, I fully appreciate, and I do love my solo runs.

But…we have house guests.

As one does in India at this time of the year.

And so what am I supposed to do, as I must get my long runs in, other than abandon them for 4 1/2 hours, which is what I did yesterday?

Yes, I did abandon them and, for the record, felt mighty guilty about it.

Now what I’m about to tell you next is such a first world problem, but one of the hazards of trying to train hard in Delhi in the winters is that social life takes over.

Yeah, such a problem, right? 😛

Fellow Delhi runners will understand – actually I think all my fellow Indian runners will understand – but this is full-on wedding season.

For those of you unfamiliar with Indian weddings, they are not a half-day affair, like most western Christian weddings.  No sirree.

Your Big Fat Indian wedding lasts for days, has a cast of thousands, involves many different functions, is admittedly great fun, but is completely incompatible with pre-marathon early nights.

Totally impossible.

I have a dreadful reputation amongst my husband’s friends, whose children are all getting married and/or having babies (which involves equal amounts of partying).  I routinely skip functions, because I have a race the next day, and the all-round perception of me is (I’m sure) of someone who is totally wrapped up in her own interests over those of whoever is celebrating.

However lovely it is to be invited out, if there’s a race on the horizon, or a major training session, these have to be prioritised.

After 5 years of running, I still have NO idea how to manage my life-work-running balance.  Someone or something always seems to be offended.

I am bored witless by people telling me that I’m obsessive about my running.

Bored.  Witless.

Perhaps I am obsessed, but what of it?

Isn’t it better to be obsessed with trying to exercise and keep healthy in my dotage?

And since the “obsessive” monniker usually comes in the context of not wanting to party late/go out/have another drink, it’s always deeply ironic.

Yeah, perhaps I am obsessed, but at least it’s a healthy obsession, right?

Oh dear, I don’t want to sound grumpy, and I think that is how it sounds…

I run.  I love it.

But it’s unfortunate that for so many people in my immediate world, the need to run, and train, and train some more is perceived as being a selfish pursuit.

I see that I have shared similar thoughts on the Running vs Life debate twice before, and I’m clearly no closer to getting it sorted than I was 3 years ago when I first discussed it & in July this year

First impressions of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 20

Disclosure, before I even start my review

I am an ASICS Running Influencer, and, on the advice of my running coach & an excellent ASICS store manager, I chose the new Gel Nimbus 20, in which to run and train.

A couple of weeks earlier, I had bought the DynaFlyte3 & I alternate between these 2 pairs in my runs, as I prepare for a half marathon this week, a full in January and another full in February.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be putting in a lot of mileage together.

I must point out that ASICS has placed me under no obligation whatsoever to write a review, favourable or otherwise, of these shoes.

So, what do I think about these shoes so far?

I have run 119.5km in my Gel Nimbus 20 (shall we call it 120km for simplicity’s sake?!) and am totally and utterly in love with these shoes.

I have run in my Nimbus 20s on several different terrains in New Delhi, India, where I live – roads, parks, tracks, grass, & even some outdoor gym equipment, and the cushioning of these shoes, especially on the roads, is brilliant.  Absolutely fantastic.

Just take a look at the cushioning on the heel:)

The shoes felt totally comfortable from the word go, and I have had no teething problems.  They feel super light, despite the solid heel cushioning.

Here are some technical specs that I downloaded from a website called dickssportinggoods.com

I find the shoes light, as I said, and surprisingly sleek.

They offer great support and I love the look of them.  They are discreet, with the logo only hinted at on the sides.  Love the feel & look of the laces (if that doesn’t sound strange!)

Obviously I am totally in love with the colour 🙂

So, 120km together.

We have many more kilometres to go, many of them on the hard, unforgiving Indian roads, so I’ll report back after we’ve run together some more.

But so far, so good.

Looking back on 2 years of running club

When I went to my ASICS Running Club session this cold, dark morning, I didn’t realise at the time that it is exactly 2 years today since we started.

27 November 2106.

2 years.

That’s a long time to have trained and run with people who are now friends.

A long time to answer to a Coach who now knows exactly how weak I am, and which exercises I am still unable to do, even after 2 years!

As a group (like any group I imagine), we’ve had our ups and downs over the years, and we’ve had our disagreements.

We’ve also had loads of fun, loads of learning, and loads of progress.

We’ve had people come and go, and yet, over the course of these 2 years, there is a core group of us who have been there since Day One.

And I am proud to count myself amongst them.

Proudly ASICS since the word go 🙂

I can only speak for myself, obviously, but even though I haven’t improved my race speeds enormously, I know that I am a better runner than I was 2 years ago.

Not significantly faster, but better.

Until I joined the ASICS Running Club, I had never even heard of terms such as fartlek or interval training.

I only knew how to run, which up until then I’d done mainly on my own.

To join a group, to drill, to train, to learn different skills has been a huge & exciting learning, and I am eternally grateful to our Coach, Vijay Shukla, who has patiently nurtured us over the years.

How Coach keeps the faith when he has a runner like Yours Truly, who doesn’t practice when she’s told to, who doesn’t cross train, who doesn’t weight train…

And, yes, of course, that’s why I haven’t made significant progress over these 2 years!  Hardly rocket science.

I’ve sort of stayed at the same level, but I’m secretly pleased to be able to hold my own (just about!! 😛 ) with a much younger crowd.

The people with whom I train twice a week see more of me than my friends.

We all see each other in extreme conditions – tired, sweaty, exhausted, disappointed, jubilant, nervous, and everyone is amazingly supportive of everyone else.

I know that whenever I run with any of my ARC mates they will be there for me 100%, supporting, cheering, and being totally non-judgemental.

So, here’s to my ASICS tribe!

Here’s to our long suffering Coach!

Happy 2 years to us 🙂

Senior runners rock!

As a senior runner (in age, not experience) I find that I naturally gravitate to chat rooms and discussion groups involving older runners.  I have found a super group on Facebook called “Running after 60,” which is full of people my age who are running w-a-y faster, w-a-y longer and they all seem full of beans.

I find their stories quite inspirational – partly because everyone is so low-key and un-brag-y about their achievements.

From time to time I’m going to showcase some of these fab older folk (they are mostly in the US) and I thought this funny story, below, was a perfect one to kick-start this series.

A lady from Kentucky, called Tippi McTyeire shared this story on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

As a non-American, I googled turkey trot for you, because it’s mentioned in this hilarious anecdote.  Here you go:

“A turkey trot is a fun run or footrace, usually of the long-distance variety, that is held on or around Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Traditionally, turkey trots are held because Americans anticipate indulgent Thanksgiving feasts and run in turkey trots to burn off calories before the big meal.”

OK?

Right, so now let’s get back to Tippi’s story 😛

“The things that make you feel OLD.

I ran the 10k Turkey Trot in 58:21 & won my age group. I felt good.

Young man next to me asked what my plans were.

I said I was taking Mom hiking. He exclaimed, “No way your mother could possibly still be alive! There is no f***ing way!”

He called a group over, still exclaiming loudly that “this woman’s mother is still alive! Can you believe it?”

I suddenly felt Biblical in age.

But I beat his time!”

Let’s gloss over this young fella’s lack of manners, shall we, and rather enjoy the deliciousness of Tippi beating his time 🙂

I love running. Deal with it

For a while now, I’ve been mulling over writing (an admittedly self-indulgent blog post) about how one’s running affects other people, notably family.

I’m still chewing it over, trying to temper words and feelings.

But the events of the last 3 days have prompted me to share this much at least.

“I run. I love it. Deal with it.”

Yeah, you’re right, just these 3 sentences alone are hardly worthy of a blog post, so I’ll flesh it out later.

But for now, with 2 family funerals in 3 days, I have never felt more need to get out there and run and celebrate the fact that, at 65, I can run.

On Friday we buried a first cousin of my husband’s.

On Saturday, we celebrated the engagement of my husband’s nephew.

On Sunday, we buried the same young man’s grandmother.

Too much emotion for one family in the space of 3 days.

And, as I said, I have never felt more keenly the need to let my heart and my brain and my ageing body know that while I can still run, I shall damn well continue to do so.

Being healthy & staying healthy should be mantras in everyone’s life, but never more so than at this stage of life.

I have NO intention of getting decrepit (touch wood) and I love running, even if I do look ridiculous, as I have cruelly been told.

It gets me out there and into a different head space, one that (for me) prioritises life and people and problems.

Running makes me feel alive.

Let’s hear it for Jammu!

Tomorrow, 11 November, Jammu (in Kashmir, India) will wake up to a brand new, shiny new, exciting event.

Tomorrow, hundreds of lucky runners will be the first people ever to be part of the inaugural Jammu Half Marathon.

Running history being made – such fun!

But how did the idea for this race take root?

When?

How?

Who?

Dilawar Khan, part of the core team behind this new running event, gives us the inside scoop.

Over to you, Dilawar!

It’s been more than 3 years of running for me now and I’ve participated in around 25 running events of various distances. The races I’ve ran are mostly out of Jammu, the city where I live. It was in 2016 that I came across a few familiar faces at the bib expo of ADHM.
(Editor’s note: That’s the Delhi HM, by the way)
Those were the people I’d seen only a week ago at a running event in Jammu thinking of them as participants from Punjab or some other city, and only after interacting with them I came to know they’d also come from Jammu to participate in ADHM. At that time we realised that there were many people running in Jammu but they were not in contact with each other.
So we felt the need of forming a running group to motivate each other and more people to start running. That’s when the Jammu Runners group was formed with 8-10 people and today we’ve more than 100 members.
Though we train together, go for long runs on Sundays and participate in many events,we always missed a good/proper running event in our own city. There have been many events organised by several groups or Govt. agencies, but they were nowhere close to a decent race.
We always felt that if other small neighbouring cities can organise good races why can’t ours. (Organising a running event had always been on back of my mind but for that you need resources and a support team)…Only 4 months back a running buddy Gaurav, along with his friend Vikram decided to organise a half marathon in Jammu and at the same time Jammu Athletes Club was also formed to promote running along with cycling and swimming.
Then started the challenging part of the event – seeking permissions from the Govt. officials/departments.
It’s even more challenging when it comes to our state due to security reasons (the excuse sometimes used to cover up their laziness). Full marks to Gaurav & Vikram for the job well done (besides permissions and all, they took care of getting sponsors).
Team Jammu Runners played their part by doing the word of mouth publicity and adding more people to the group.
The universe really conspired for this event by sending Gagan Deep, another run buddy from Delhi Runners Group (DRG) to Jammu. He actually got a job here in Jammu, so he has to relocate. His experience of being part of some running events in Delhi NCR region is also being utilised.
Similarly other teams were formed to look after different aspects of the events. I and Gagan took charge of finalising ambassadors and pacers, providing the technical feedback/advice and also promoting the event using our contacts in the running community.
Thankfully we’ve crossed the mark of 600 registrations from the length and breadth of country as well as a few from Kenya and one from Denmark as well (yes, we can call it an international event now!)
As it’s almost showtime, a scenic hill route (with some elevation) awaits all the participants. Hope everyone will have a great time…Fingers crossed…
My friend, I’m sure tomorrow is going to be an awesome day, and shabash to every single one of you.
Can’t wait to hear all about it.
For every one of you running tomorrow –  have fun, run safely, and please share your feedback here.  I’ll be showcasing as many stories as possible 🙂
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