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.”


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?




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 🙂

Women inspiring women to run

This lovely guest post is by one of my running girlfriends Mousumee Mishra.  We ran the “Shed it” Run together a couple of months ago.

Mousumee shares here the story of the first ever Pinkathon run in the eastern state of Odisha, and she tells it with her usual verve and enthusiasm.

I can almost hear her happy laughter 🙂

“Pinkathon Day is celebrated on the 21st of October. It is India’s biggest women’s run founded by Milind Soman and Reema Sanghavi, & was created with the objective of spreading awareness about women’s health related issues like breast cancer. Through the Pinkathon we encourage women to adopt health and fitness in their daily lifestyles by means of running. The Pinkathon, organized by the United Sisters Foundation, is conceived as more than just a running event & the purpose of the run is to use community running as a tool, to empower and enable thousands of women across India to bring positive physical change into their lives.

Our body is perfected over millions of years to perform endurance exercise in fairly warm conditions. Running helps to better your own fitness levels. Training the body to push past the “I need to stop” thought truly helped many runners to build an indomitable level of determination across all spheres in their life. Running brings positive change in my mental and physical state of being. I’d heard about Pinkathon for 4 years and how Milind was able to make a fitness goal for women across states to have healthier women at all households. As I was scrolling through the website of Pinkathon day, I was curious to know who the Ambassador for my hometown, Bhubaneswar was.

There was no name!

The reason why I chose to lead the Pinkathon day in Bhubaneswar is that my roots belong here, with the city. I want to make a difference in my hometown. I want to make running as a lifestyle choice for them, just didn’t have the right platform or partner to demonstrate that.

“Why do you run?” is the question asked by every non-runner.

I don’t have an answer for them. And I have stopped asking myself this question. The night before any run I imagine myself balancing some insane amount of energy and strength on the road in my running gear, and then there is no looking back when the alarm rings.

For any event to be successful , we need like-minded leaders to hold hands and share the load of organizing such event which was first of its kind in the city. Through Milind and his core team of Sharmila and Vaishnavi I got introduced to two of my co-leads, Indira and Biswanath, both runners and who had the same goal in minds. Objective was set, we are going to organize a run for women health awareness.  It would be a 5km run, with online registrations of them and a few men volunteers for this event.

But here was the twist, neither Indira nor I was in Bhubaneswar to ensure seamless execution. Through the Pinkathon Whatsapp group, we were guided and given instructions at every step in our journey. Bhubaneswar got a slot a week before the closing date. And boom we had close to 200 registrations. Long story short , we managed the first step.


Biswanath conducted weekly runs for the enthusiastic participants and we encouraged many of them to start practicing. As Team Bhubaneswar started gearing up for the run, so did the monsoons and the Durga puja preparation in the city. Durga puja festival is the time of the year where the whole city is united to celebrate Maa Durga’s nine avatars with pomp and show. Amongst the beautifully lit pandals and street food, the training runs were conducted.

Finally the D day arrived with loads of pre preparation anxiety.

Our volunteers and Ambassadors had reached the venue at 5am. We stuck with our race plan with directional signage made by participant’s children and special kids from Hopes and Smiles. We placed the volunteers with medical kit and kilometre boards and instructed all to follow the same. All the volunteers were trained properly with their respective responsibilities.

We started with few minutes of warm up session and as all started running it was an empowering experience to see that. We saw the light chatty runners,  the speedster runners, the mother kid duo run, the ex-veteran athlete runners. Most of them felt really relaxed. We let them do what they are comfortable with and we wanted all to have fun. I saw many women sharing fitness coaching ideas and bonding camaraderie and seeking help to reach each other’s training goals. And for a few, the blissful solitude of running alone and soaking all energy.

One of the great things about running is the freedom to do it wherever and whenever you like.

My parents stood like a strong pillar, not only in supporting but by participating and push and ensuring this event was executed properly. They are always an integral part in my fitness journey to ensure I can juggle it in between home and work and get enough recovery.

For the first time in Bhubaneswar history, 150+ women joined hands together with few generous men to run the PINKATHON DAY.

I could pat myself on the back, after seeing the perfect execution of the plan and the floods of posts in digital and print media about happy runners. Thanking the media who ensured our goal fitness reached each household.

Next year we will make it bigger, and ensure more people are on the street running for fitness.”

Well done, my friend, for being instrumental in launching such a great fitness initiative and I wish you and the great ladies and girls of Odisha good luck for all future events 🙂

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

When running is super fun. Really!

It’s Saturday night, which means I have to turn in early to get enough sleep before tomorrow’s LSD (long slow distance)…#runnersproblems, I know, I know 😛

But I must share with you a quick update and lots of fun photos from our brilliant training session this morning.

Our ASICS Running Club coach, Vijay Shukla, has started introducing different elements into our training and thus far it’s great fun, and also a great learning.

For someone like me, who never did track and field at school, there is something super exciting about working in a team, drilling, practising, and then actually running our first “proper” relay race.  Coach made us practice the baton hand-over and to give us all credit, no-one dropped it once, so GO US!

Today we ran our relay on grass, but I have secret dreams of Coach letting us run on a proper track, in lanes, and then see how we fare!

I’m sure for many of my friends, today’s relay and the many agility drills we did, were a throwback to school days, but for me it was all new and super fun.

We did more of the parachute drills that we’d done last Saturday, and with 4 parachutes, we were quite an impressive sight, as we sprinted up and down.

I didn’t put my GPS on, after the warm up run, but I’m sure we covered a decent enough distance, between the relay and the drills, but it was all such fun and so varied, that the whole training session was over way too soon.

Here, let me try and share some of the vibe from this morning via the photos taken by 2 of our members, Sunil Punshi and Ujjwal Gomber.


Let me end with The Photo from today’s session.

Coach, showing how it’s done…

A newly minted ultra runner shares his story

My running friend Dilawer Khan, who lives in Jammu, has just become an ultra-runner.

How fantastic is that?

A week after running a super fast half marathon in delhi, Dilawer tackled a 63km run, and has thus moved himself into a new league altogether!

Congrats, my friend, and thanks for sharing your experiences in this vivid telling of your first ultra run.

Dear reader, I give you Dilawer in his own, happy, humorous words:

“It has been on mind right after some time I’d started running and now I’ve accomplished it- to run an ultra (anything beyond 42 Kms).

I started running in the year 2015 and ADHM was my first official race. Since then I’ve run around 15 half marathons, 2 full marathons and few 10k’s. With time I’ve been able to improve my pace and I’m only getting greedier. However at the same time I feel like running longer distances as well.

So basically need to strike a balance between distance and speed.

This Sunday my team, Jammu Runners, planned to run an inter-city ultra run from Jammu to Udhampur(65 Kms approx). I was a bit sceptical about this as I had ran my fastest HM only a week ago (ADHM’18).

Then I decided that I’ll take it as my usual Sunday LSD (long slow distance) run and see how far I could go.

We, the group of 13 runners (everyone with his own set of targets) and 3 crew cars, started at 5 AM and it was perfect weather for running. With the brief flat/downhill start it was mainly a continuous uphill run till around 20 Kms on NH-44. So it was even slower than the LSD pace.

The weather and the scenery around the highway made the ascent easier though the monkeys, our side spectators, did scare me at times. I crossed the highest point till that distance in around 2 and a half hours and it was the first time also that I crossed that toll plaza without paying anything 😀.

I along with my experienced ultra runner friend Gagan started with leading the run, were at the back of the pack now thanks to our generous stoppages and photo shoot sessions.

After the toll plaza we ran through the mountains (thanks to the tunnels). There we came across a man on his cycle rickshaw coming all the way from Jalandhar to pay his obeisance to Vaishno Devi at Katra(power of faith).

Thanks to our support team, we had been having proper supply of nutrition in the form of energy drinks, fruits and biscuits. After running for more than three hours and completing 22 kms we stopped for proper breakfast. After that it was kind of a picnic run, if I can call it so, with more stoppages and photo shoots. Without much fatigue and tiredness touched the mark of 30k, so my next target was full marathon. Some of the runners had already finished their run after achieving their respective targets and the leaders – Rajesh Padha (running 60k on his 60th birthday)and Mukesh(his first full/ultra marathon) had made the u-turn after touching the full marathon mark (they finished after completing 61kms).

As we, Gagan and me, decided against U-turn(to add an inter-city run to our running profiles 😋) bid adieu to our crew captain and had to carry our bags now.

After some more pics and more breaks and I crossed FM in around 5 hours (running time). Then the goal post shifted further to 50k(ultra).

After 10 hours on feet and 7 hours of running time I touched my first ultra run mark. Honestly speaking there was no special feeling of jubilation or sense of achievement, as now I was eyeing to finish it at another town.

Then we had our last break at 55k and set for Udhampur town.

The sun was setting and it was getting colder now.

Legs had started to show the signs fatigue.

After running 62 Kms on the highway we took the left turn towards the town, finally the destination was in front of my eyes and we finished after 63 Kms with more than 12 hours on feet and almost 10 hours of running time.

There I was with the feelings of joy and contentment or maybe no feelings at all. But now when I look back and go through that run again in my head I cannot believe that I have run from Jammu to Udhampur.

Here I have to thank my friends who made it possible (and look easier).

First of all Mr Rajesh Padha for making the plan and leading from the front, Rajeshwar for his unrelenting support on the way, Sandeep Singh for his energy injections (not literally!) and everybody who ran along with me.

Last but not least, Gagan, who actually turned this ultra run into a fun run with continuous sharing of his prior ultra running experience, holding me back whenever the speedster in me tried taking over and everything he did to make it a memorable experience.

This first ultra run of mine exactly did the same to me what most of the long runs do – makes you humble.”

Dilawer, my friend, I am speechless with admiration!

You put lazy ol’ runners like me to shame 😛

Fantabulous achievement & I am super proud of you.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring & the next time we meet in Delhi, you can buy me a coffee with the money you saved from the toll plaza!

“Just run, have fun”. A great running mantra

One of several runners in my ASICS Running Club who ran their first half marathons last weekend, Mudit Chawla has a lovely and very unique source of inspiration – his gorgeous little daughter, Saisha
This wee little muppet came to one of our training sessions a few weeks ago, and stole the show 🙂
Here she is running her own race a couple of weeks ago, and please don’t miss the relative size of the water bottle to her!
It looks to be about 20% of her size, bless her!
With Saisha as his inspirtaion, let Mudit tell you in his own words, his thoughts and reactions to his very first half marathon:
“Running has never been my cup of tea.. It was never on my mind. But after being blessed with a beautiful daughter, I always wanted to take up some kind of sports for her but was always confused. It was only when my 4 year old ran 100 mtrs in her school’s sports day and grabbed a silver, I decided to take up running..
I still remember the day when a dear friend of mine, Ujjawal Gomber introduced me to this running group “ASICS running club” and then there was no confusions and no looking back.
The credit for my first HM goes completely to my coach and mentor Vijay Shukla. My daughter inspired me and he turned running into my passion.
Since it was my first HM, I had a simple strategy – “Just run, Have fun and Enjoy the game” but Vijay Shukla sir made me believe “The harder the battle, The sweeter would be the Victory” and this is what I made my motto too while running 21 km. Unfortunately, I even had terrible ankle pain just 10 days before ADHM, which is constant till date but since it was my first HM, my team mates of ASICS running club (now my family) encouraged me to run and assured me that the pain I feel today will be the strength I will feel tomorrow.
That’s all I had in mind while running and thus could proudly finish my First ever HM – 21 kms in 02:28:34
A big shout out to my daughter for being my inspiration and my ASICS family for their motivation.”
Mudit, well done on both your first half, and also your gung-ho attitude, running despite aches and pains.
I love your sense of determination – “the pain I feel today will be the strength I will feel tomorrow.”
Like so!
This photo, below, was taken on Saturday at our agility session.
I shared it in the blog post I wrote about running with a parachute, but it’s such a smashing photo, I feel like sharing it again 🙂
And finally, here’s Mudit in action during the Airtel Delhi half Marathon:
Well done my friend.
#keeprunning and #keepinspiring

“I believe I can fly…”

“I believe I can fly…” really could’ve been the motto for our ASICS Running Club session this morning 🙂

I think I speak for all my running mates, when I say that we all had great fun at a very different kind of training this morning.

We did our usual warming up jog and stretching and drilling, but then we tackled a course laid out by our coach to test our agility.

I had missed an earlier session of this circuit agility training several months ago, & so was super happy that we did it today.

It was a bit like an obstacle course which we all had to tackle, with jumps and hops and more jumps.

There was a baton relay which was GREAT fun.

I had NEVER taken part in a baton relay, ever, and am therefore living proof that it truly is never too late in life to try something new!

But the star of the exercises was parachute training, which is exactly what it says.

You sprint, wearing a small parachute.

Like so:

Mudit in action, above, against a gorgeous wintery sky.

There is a small parachute, attached to a belt that you wear, and off you go running like the wind (in theory!!) with the ‘chute behind you, creating drag and making you work harder.

You can see a little of how it fastens on, from the photo (left), I’m wearing a belt with the parachute behind me, and was waiting for Harry to film one of our team.

The damp grass in the park wasn’t ideal, according to Coach, since it created resistance.

I imagine dry grass or a track would be optimal.

But the less than perfect conditions didn’t stop us all from having great fun.

I checked online to find out a little more about this form of training.

howstuffworks.com had this to say:

“The nylon parachutes attach to a harness around your waist or your chest and then expand as you speed up. As the chute expands, it creates drag, forcing you to work harder which, in turn, builds overall strength. Runners using parachutes create wind resistance even on a day when it isn’t windy at all.”


This was interesting:

“The running parachute operates on a system of progressive resistance. Simply stated this means the faster a runner runs, the more resistance they experience. This factor alone makes it obvious that running parachutes are adaptable to accommodate runners of a variety of different levels of skill and speed. Slower runners will experience less drag than faster runners. However, both slower and faster runners will experience a sufficient amount of drag to challenge their bodies and cause them to improve.”


Wearing the parachute and wanting it to float dramatically behind me certainly made me run faster, but the reality was quite different from the super phots you find online…



Ah well 😛  You can’t win ’em all 😛

Harry kindly did a super slo-mo of me in motion.  Please imagine the sound track of “I believe I can fly” playing…

[jwplayer mediaid=”30052″]

But the undisputed stars were our 2 youngest members who tackled today’s training with great gusto:

[jwplayer mediaid=”30053″]

A perfect end to a week in which we all took things a little easier, as we recovered from the half marathon.

Today’s training is, I suspect, the prelude to our next goal, as we all start working towards the many races happening over the winter.

What did you see on your run today? #382 stars Casper the lost dog

My running friend Rohit Manaktala has a lovely story from his 15k run in the Lodhi Gardens this morning.

Let him tell you this sweet story in his own words:

“As I finished my cool down walk after a nice 15k interval run at Lodhi today, I saw a car drive up with a beagle which looked exactly like Pixie, my neighbour’s dog, except he was not a she!

I came to know from the lady, a resident of our colony, that the dog was found loitering outside her gate and she thought it was Pixie, and so brought him here only to discover the vital difference!

We had seen a beagle being taken for walks to Lodhi, so surmised he was probably from the adjacent colony.  A couple of boys were sent to ask around and spread the word, and we also flashed the news on our colony’s Whatsapp group.  Whilst waiting, we kept Casper (discovered his name later) busy by playing with/petting him, and also introduced him to Pixie who, after some initial alarmed barking, started sniffing each other and became quite friendly.

The owner meanwhile had hard about the boys enquiring and came looking for Casper on a scooty.  She recognised his bark and zeroed in to where we had tied casper and given him water and biscuits while waiting.”


A happy ending and, maybe, just maybe, a budding romance between Pixie and Casper 🙂

Here’s the star of this cute story:

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