When you share your joy of running

One of the nicest people in the Delhi running community is Navi Singh, who has, incidentally, written a few guest posts for us here.

To wit:

Navi never hesitates to pick up the phone and give me a good talking to about my runnning form – usually of the “why don’t you train more consistently & stop faffing around?” variety 😛

Navi is a runner with a BIG heart who cares about his friends, and so when he posted on social media this account of running with his house help, I knew he wouldn’t mind my sharing it here.

It is also SO typical of the man.

This is such a feel-good post 🙂

“Ever since he joined our house as a help, Sandeep has been asking me to take him along for a run (almost 3+ months).
Most of the running over last 3-4 months has been on the road, thus I was not able to take him along because I did not know how much he would be able to run, and my run would be compromised because of him.
I promised him whenever I go to a park for a run he’ll be going along for sure.

I had a confirmed plan to run today, but even at 8am the aqi was 540+, thus I dropped out at the last moment.

When in the afternoon the aqi dropped drastically to 170, this turned out to be a perfect opportunity to take Sandeep for a run

Landed at Central park, and after a warmup, we started to run together

I was utterly shocked to see him matching pace to pace with me for full 5km non stop in 29mins

Then, after resting for 15 mins, he again joined me for another 2km, averaging the 7km @sub 5 pace.

So, so glad he got inspired and now wants to run and train with me on regular basis.

Never know where he lands up in the next 2-3 years.”

Shabash, my friend for your own fast run. For taking Sandeep along. And, I’m sure, mentoring him in the future.

We’ll need regular feedback as to how Sandeep is doing, you do realise that?

#keeprunning

#keepinspiring

An injured runner moans – no, no – speaks

Don’t want to start 2020 on a glum note, but my late-2019-injury is actually getting worse, or so it would appear.

I tore the meniscus in my left knee at the end of November.

Cried a lot.

Consulted several specialists.

Cried a little less.

Withdrew from my 3 main winter races – a half marathon & 2 fulls.

Physio-ed away.

Exercised as instructed by the physio.

Started gentle walking.

The pain was definitely reducing.

And then, wham!

3 days ago the old knee started hurting big time.

So here I am, trying to be all upbeat & positive & New-Year-y-cheerful…and failing dismally.

My knee hurts.

Even walking is painful,

And I’ve discovered that I’m a lousy invalid.

Walking is no substitute for running, for someone like me, but it is a zillion times better than lolling on a sofa, with a cushion under my knee, “exercising” by flexing my ankles. All while reading Murukami’s “What I talk about when I talk about running”. Obviously.

(This talking to you is my own version of Murukami, by the way 😛 )

On a scale of injuries, a torn meniscus isn’t a big deal, I know, I know, and I feel bad for moaning, but I had such hopes and plans for this year.

So now it’s all about an even slower recovery than I’d hoped for, and recalibrating, and re-planning 2020.

Perhaps that climbing trip won’t happen, after all…

Perhaps that first ultra run won’t happen after all…

New Years are all about new beginnings.

Clearly, this year I’m going to have to put that into practice.

FIFTY PLACES TO RUN BEFORE YOU DIE by CHRIS SANTELLA

Stretched out on my sofa, nursing a very painful torn meniscus that has seen me pull out of 2 marathons and one half marathon this winter season, guess what I’m reading?

One of my Christmas presents from my sister.

”Fifty places to run before you die.”

Talk about rubbing salt into the wound!

The text and photos of the 50 places to run – many of them in the US, but sadly none in India (where I live) – are enticing, to put it mildly.

There are temptations a plenty for an older runner like myself, who came to running late in life and is desperate to see/do/run/enjoy as much as possible – pause to curse the dratted torn meniscus…

Expert runners and athletes have picked their favourite places to run, and so they describe the courses with insider knowledge and affection. Many categories of runs are covered – marathons, ultras, 10ks and simple scenic trails. Since I want to start trail running, those are the photos over which I have lingered the most, just wishing I were fit enough to run in beautiful mountainous terrain.

This is a collective work, and each chapter ends with an “If you go” section, that includes tips on when to go, where to stay, and gives links to the race websites.

Personal favourites in the book, that made me dream the most?

The Big Five Marathon in our beloved South Africa.

The Antarctica Marathon – just because.

The Wall Marathon in China.

Such a great gift, and one that will keep me dreaming for as long as I’m fit enough to lace up my running shoes.

A shiny new year is as good as any time to dream and plan exciting adventures, so why not get hold of this lovely-looking book and set your 2020 goals?

Here’s the link, below, to order the book:

“The older you are, the greater the benefit”

Now those are not words you hear that often, are they?!

Hardly surprising, then, that I was thrilled to bits to read an article my lovely sister forwarded to me, about the health benefits of marathon running for we – ahem – older folk.

The article in question (I read it in The Times of London) focuses on the benefits of running a marathon for the first time, but one has to hope that the benefits carry forward to future races, too. Otherwise I’ve already blown my chances!

Here are 2 links to the study;

1 from Reuters

1 from the BBC

I’m going to quote quite liberally here from The Times article, because it is fascinating stuff.

A study has just been published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” that was conducted by researchers at Barts NHS Trust & University College London. Apparently training for and running your first marathon ”can make your arteries four years younger and also have a rejuvenating effect on your blood pressure.”

The writer says that the prize at the finishing line (and no, it’s not the medal) is the chance ‘to reverse the consequences of ageing” on your blood vessels, as well as reducing your risk if a stroke by 10%,

In a piece of welcome news for slow runners like yours very truly, the study says that “older, slower individuals enjoyed the greatest Improvements in vascular health.”

Although running a marathon gets a bad rap sometimes with nay-sayers claiming it causes short-term damage to kidneys, and might cause muscle and bone stress, “the health benefits are deemed to far outweigh the risks.”

Ta da!

Good news all round, and I must remember to quote this study the next time I get a mean/critical comment about running “at your age”…

Happy running in 2020.

What did you see on your run today? #387 comes from Budapest

Happy New Year everyone!

As we all make resolutions to run more in 2020, to stretch more, to yoga more, to d0-everything-healthy-more, I bring you one runner who kickstarted 2020 in style.

Delhi-based Sneh Wadhwaney saw in the New Year in Budapest and went for a run this early New Year’s morning.

Listen to her happy description of how her 2020 started:

“A perfect start to 2020! A lovely run this morning. The best way to see a city is in its quiet moments.

The streets were silent & a cacophony of sounds, voices & music that filled the air last night until the wee hours this morning, replaced by peace & stillness.

A new dawn, a new moment, a new day.”

Isn’t that such a beautiful description of exploring a sleeping-in town? Possibly even a hung-over town?!

And just LOOK at the views. And the blue sky:

Budapest looks SO beautiful, Sneh – and so much for dreary European winter weather! Just look at that blue sky 🙂

Thanks for sharing your new year with us, and here’s to many more such magical runs.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

Reflections on 2019, before the year runs away from us

Feeble pun, I know, but hey! at least I tried.

2019 is almost over.

The nice sounding 2020 is just a few days away.

So taking stock of my running year isn’t a bad idea, as I sit in the waiting room at the physio.

And if that doesn’t give you a clue…

Being injured is a total pain, and I don’t mean literally.

The pain from my torn meniscus is manageable. It’s the enforced “being careful”, and restrictions, and proscriptions that are an absolute pain.

I was told at my last physio session that I m-i-g-h-t be able to start slow jogging in late January – a whole month away – which is obviously good news, but it does involve staying sensible & limiting my activities for another 4 weeks. That’s the tough part!

Injury aside, running-wise, 2019 has been good.

And not good.

Good because I ran the Mumbai Marathon, enjoyed it & won a medal.

Good because, 4 weeks later, I ran the New Delhi Marathon, enjoyed it & won a medal.

Good because I got a PB in a rain-soaked 5km race in early March, marking International Womens’ Day.

Good because I did lots of solo running, which I enjoy.

Not good because I tore my meniscus.

Not good because my running group imploded & everyone went their separate ways – hence all that solo running I just mentioned.

And however much of a solo runner one is, there are definitely times when group dynamics help and encourage.

It’s sad that the group splintered. It all fell apart while I was climbing in Nepal, so I’m still not too sure what happened – but that’s life.

Running group politics entered into things, I suspect, but I’m not dwelling too much on it. It’s history. The new year is almost upon us, so looking forward is my mantra. Onwards & upwards, and that kind of thing.

So yes, 2020?

What do I have on my running calendar?

Sadly NOTHING 🙁

I have cancelled my participation in both the Mumbai and Delhi marathons in Jan & Feb, for obvious injury-related reasons, and those 2 are usually my 2 big winter races.

So instead, I’ll concentrate on healing, and then I’ll start slow jogging, and take it from there.

I do have big plans for 2020, including running further and climbing higher, so let’s see how they pan out.

Yes, so there we are.

2109 almost over.

2020 on the horizon.

Big goals ahead, which I’ll share with you anon.

In the meantime, here’s wishing every lovely one of you a happy and peaceful New Year. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

And do, please, try and stay injury-free 😛

What did you see on your run AND your walk today? #386 comes from Brussels & Mechelen

My Belgian cyber-friend Myriam has shared with us before the super concept of urban runs, where – literally – you run through your city – through offices, galleries, and places you might not otherwise be allowed.

It all sounds so much fun, and is such an innovative way of allowing citizens access to their city…pause for a quick sigh when I realise this would never, ever, EVER happen here in Delhi (where I live)…but back to Brussels…

Myriam, who knows I’m injured and not running, sweetly starts her guest post very tactfully:

“I would not want to disturb you with things like : how fun it is to run or it’s such a joy to run.”

Thanks, my friend 🙂

She then shares with us details of an urban walk through monuments and museums in Brussels, as well as an urban run she did in the city of Mechelen, making this a double-run guest post 🙂

“So, last weekend my husband and me participated in a walk through our capital Brussels. It’s nearly the same organisation as the urban runs. Just a different sponsor.

You start in waves and walk along the different sites.

Most of the time, you walk through museums or churches and places where you normally may not come.

It’s an interesting walk. Always.

We have already walked through Brugge, Gent and now Brussels. On vacation, you visit cities and places in strange countries. And most of the time you know these cities better than your own.

This is a perfect way to explore your country. And you’re walking (or running) and supporting a good cause like muco or diabetes.”

“And this weekend I did the same in Mechelen, but this time it was running.

Urban trail running.

Mechelen is a city between Antwerp & Brussels. It was cold but no rain.

And again the organisation was top!

The good cause in Mechelen was Plan International Belgium, and the motto was “unlock the power of girls”, so that girls in the whole world have the opportunity to learn, to lead, to decide for themselves. 

The next runs are ” in nature”, I hope ;-). Urban Trails are fun, I like doing it. And it’s educational. But nature… stays my favourite.

I know there’s one in February.”

Thanks so much, Myriam, for sharing yet more fun running adventures 🙂

The road to recovery starts right here

I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
Don’t lose your confidence if you slip, be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up, dust off, start over again.

So here’s the thing.

Last weekend, I tore the meniscus in my left knee, and after a week of doctors, and one very gloomy prognosis, and then a not-quite-so-gloomy prognosis, I am knuckling down to the serious work of recovery.

After a week of feeling mighty sorry for myself, I am, in the words of Mr. Sinatra, picking myself up, dusting myself off, and starting over again.

First of all, I cleared my running calendar of all events for December and January – boo hoo, no Mumbai marathon in January, one of my MOST favourite events ever 🙁

But there is simply no point in rushing recovery.

I’ve already had arthroscopies on my knee (yeah, plural. 2 arthroscopies thus far).

I am no longer as young as I was, and able to bounce back quickly from injury.

The thought of not being able to run in the future is a horrid one.

So sensible, slow recovery is the name of the game.

Running and climbing are WAY too important to me, and so I’m gonna be oh-so-sensible, my friends.

Oh. So. Sensible.

I’ll probably start physio next week and once I’m cleared by the physio will start going to a gym, which, as things currently stand, is my idea of hell on earth.

But needs must.

And so, as we head towards 2020, you’re about to witness a new me 😛

Gym rat 😛

I’ll share with you some of the details of this road to recovery. Not everything, worry not! No point boring you all witless.

But over the coming weeks, I’ll share a modicum of updates, because, let’s face it, injury is all too often part & parcel of sports.

Today, I worked on my arms, telling myself as I did that I was also tackling my horrid bingo-wings!!

The road to recovery begins right here and now.

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving

For a non-American like me, Thanksgiving is the quintessential American celebration.

It evokes images of happy families sitting round a table, eating turkey & pecan pie. All rather Norman Rockwell-esque, in the nicest possible way.

The only time I have ever been to a Thanksgiving dinner was here in New Delhi, where I live. At one point, everyone around the table said a few words, one by one, sharing what they were thankful for.

I guess, by and large, we are all very quick to complain, and w-a-y less likely to give thanks for the things we have in life.

But this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for one very specific thing. I’ll spare you all the guff about being thankful for family and friends since (pleasant as all of that is) it actually has nothing to do with running.

What I am so, so, SO thankful for this Thanksgiving is that my knee injury isn’t the bummer I thought it was.

From a sudden, puzzling knee ache during my run on Saturday, it turned into agonising knee ache on Sunday, making me cry out in pain each time I put my weight on it.

The local GP immediately diagnosed it as a torn meniscus, which was backed up by an MRI, and one of the scariest reports ever.

GP took one look and told me, very firmly, that the prognosis was bad.

My running days were over.

As in over. Finito.

I needed a cast on my left leg.

I’ll spare you the full report, but suffice it to say I left the clinic in tears.

The idea of never running again was truly scary.

I’m not sure I quite realised, until that moment, how important running has become to me, these past 6 years.

I sought a second opinion with my running guru Dr. Rajat Chauhan, with whom I started running, and who knows my various aches and pains. Doc was more sanguine, and although telling me firmly that I needed to rest, and vary my routine, and incorporate strength training, his view was that I would definitely be able to continue running.

Doc then sent me for a consultation with an othopaedic surgeon who concurred.

Yes, I had a meniscus tear.

No, it wasn’t half as bad as the report made out.

No, I absolutely could not run a half marathon next week (I’d already told the good folk at the Super Sikh Run that I wouldn’t be able to run).

Yes, I could possibly still run the Mumbai marathon in January (though I won’t. Another cause for sadness and regret…)

BUT I left the 4th clinic in 2 days much relieved, and almost crying – though with happiness this time.

So today, Thanksgiving let me indeed give thanks.

For an injury not being had as bad as I was initially told.

I’m thankful.for being able to run.

“At my age”.

Yes, it had to be said 😛

I’m thankful that I can apparently continue running.

I’m thankful for the chance to sort-of-start-all-over-again, training better, varying routines, getting stronger.

The only thing left for me to say here, is to wish a very happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it.

MY SHERO!!!!

I have found my role model for the next 20 years 🙂

Meet the ab fab 86 year old Ginette Bedard, who will run the New York City Marathon today.

Ms Bedard only started running at 69, knocking my start date into a cocked hat.

She is hilarious!

I laughed out loud when I watched this – she is so sassy and has great answers. Love her answer to the question about the worst thing about getting old – “looking old!!”

Watch it through to the end – it is totally worth it 🙂

I’m not sure I’ll follow her make-up advice, but other than that, Ginette Bedard, you are my total, absolute, 100% shero!!!!

PS – don’t you love the woman making the “If Grandma can do it…” comment and then promptly banging into our rockstar 😛 ?!

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