What’s on your running playlist? LANA DEL REY

Starting running at this late stage in my life means that pretty much everything is a new discovery.

How so?

Oh, things like

• Hey! Guess what, I can actually run.

• How lovely fellow runners are.

• The excitement of competing, after a childhood of always being the last one to be picked for a team.

• And, of course, music.

Putting together my playlist –  which gets longer, the longer I run and how fabulous is that? – means that I am now moving beyond the music of my generation, and discovering new music from fellow runners.

Runners such as my friend Lieze in Cape Town (who is yet another of the seriously talented and accomplished women friends I am lucky to have) who sent me various names of singers on her running playlist.

And so now, thanks to Lieze, I have discovered Lana del Rey.

Yup, I know, I know.

Am I the only person on the planet who didn’t know of her?

But better late than never.  Be it running or music.

What a fab voice.


I have just downloaded this song (below)


And if you, too, like Wes Coast, the just click on the link below and hey presto, it’s on your running playlist, too!

Running (just a short distance) with the big guys

Today marked a new step in my very short running “career” when, for the first time ever, I ran more than 21.097494 kilometres.

Yes indeed, correct. That’s the distance of a half marathon.  And the furthest I had ever run.  Until this morning.

The occasion was a 100km-in-12-hour run organised by a group of dedicated runners, including my very own running guru Dr. Rajat Chauhan.

Obviously I didn’t run 100km, and had never even intended such, but I wanted to push beyond the HM mark, setting 25 km as my goal.

The logic was “What better way to do this than with a group of serious runners, running a tough event, quietly and without any of the hoopla that attends many running events?”

And it was such fun.

Hey, any non runners reading this, I can SEE you rolling your eyes, you know, at the mention of the word “fun”.

Yes, yes, yes, I got up at 4.30am in the hot and humid darkness, though my 5.45am running start was hours after the hard-core runners set off.

Yes, indeed, it was humid, humid, and did I mention humid.

But the group were so welcoming – I’ve blogged before about just how nice runners are – and the arrangements were amazing, and to see such low-key but oh-so-dedicated youngsters running was inspiring.

There was masses of food and water, initially manned by friends Sonea Mudgal from my running group (the one where we started running 100 metres at a time and felt shattered by it…) and Chetan Sehgal.

Some folks started out by running on the road outside the park in Dwarka where the event took place, but I decided to forego the dubious pleasure of running on Delhi roads I don’t know, and ran inside the park which had been chosen as the heart of the race.

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(Though with hindsight, the roads actually look fine.)

Any initial misgivings I had about running short loops in the park were totally unfounded, because what happened was this : every kilometre there was the option of food and drink, and a mandatory cheering or applause or “Well done” from the volunteers as I trotted past, and the sense of support and comradeship was amazing.

Long after I had come home, chuffed beyond belief at my 27.5 km, the hard core runners were running and running, and Srini finished his 100km in 11 hours and 55 minutes – talk about an amazing achievement.

And all for the love of running.

Here are just a few of the lovely, welcoming people from this morning:

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Thanks to Ravi Kishorre and Doc for the photos.

The former kindly sent them, to be used

Doc’s pictures I swiped from his Twitter feed without telling him…

And here some of us are, having a pit stop.



By the way, 21.097km + 6km (the first distance I ever ran in a race and a kind of lucky figure for me) = 27.097.  Once I’d done 25km it was obvious that the 27km barrier needed breaking.

Such fun.

What did you see on your run today? #9 comes from South Africa

Remember Seamus, the Irish wolfhound who starred in a photo of the day last week?

Well, here he is again, out running with my friend Sarah in their olive groves near Paarl in the Western Cape, in South Africa.  You really couldn’t find a more idyllic setting for a run, could you?

Mountains, fields and such a happy dog.

For city dwellers, to run in such natural beauty looks like paradise.  You can almost taste that fresh, clean, unpolluted air, can’t you?


Sarah, thank you once again.

Keep running, (keep writing) and give Seamus a big hug.

What did you see on your run today? #8 comes from London

Spotted on the streets of Olde Londone Towne…

Please meet my friend Romit Basu, also a recent-ish convert to the joys of running, but who already has the London marathon under his belt.

Romit assures me that he didn’t run dressed up as a beer bottle.  Apparently the lady who is the leader of Romit’s running club is running a marathon in this outfit.  The idea is that if she completes the marathon in this outfit, then Fuller’s will give a substantial amount to charity.

Amazing dedication.



What’s on your running playlist? JAI HO!

And a new section of runninginindia.rocks kicks off today.
Where we talk about the music that motivates us.

I’m going to share with you tracks from my playlist, and I really hope you will all reciprocate.  The songs that uplift us and make us keep on running are worth sharing and I for one am always on the lookout for new music.

So, what shall it be, to inaugurate this musical section of the blog?

Oh, “Jai ho”, I think.

It’s a brilliantly catchy song + I love it + when I ran my first ever HM last October,  I had a total “Jai ho!” moment.

It was, literally, the realisation that I “only” had 6km left to finish my first half marathon (which I had entered on the spur of the moment, totally unprepared) combined with “Jai ho!” blasting out through my headphones, that made me realise that yes, actually, I might just be able to have a Jai ho moment of my own.

Whenever I listen to this song –  which is once a day when I run –  that moment in front of the Red Fort comes back to me, and it makes me run a little bit faster.

Enjoy this 30 second clip, below, and you can then buy the song, if you want it on your playlist.

Should you wish to download this brilliant song right now, it couldn’t be easier. Just click on the link below, to go straight to the iTunes store.

Go Genzebe Dibaba !

And we have a new world record, as of yesterday.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba set a new world record of 3:50.08 for 1500m.

Which means (I think) that she ran a kilometre in 2 minutes and 40 seconds –  I am rounding up and down very loosely here.  And, being particularly inept at maths, if I’ve made a complete pig’s ear of this calculation, please feel free to correct me.

So where was I?

Yes, 2:40 minutes per km.

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Fast.  Very fast.

Makes my split timing of 5:54 for my best kilometre this morning seem oh-so-slow.

And yes, I know I know, you shouldn’t comment on people’s physical appearance, but concentrate only on their skills yadda yadda yadda, but what the heck  – I think this girl is absolutely gorgeous to boot.

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Just look at that smile:

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Just one look at that smile, and you love this girl.

And, by the way, another advantage of now being a runner is that stats and world records like this now actually/physically mean something.  Which is pretty cool.

What did YOU see on your run today? #7 (& a recipe) comes from Delhi

As well as a zillion peacocks dancing, and a pair of jackal, and a couple of kingfishers, and stray dogs galore, and the usual earlybird walkers and runners in the Aravali Biodiversity Park, this morning I saw a gentleman collecting berries from a bush.

He does this most mornings.

He’d already told me a few days ago that the berries are called “teet” in Hindi and that you make an “achar” or pickle from it (friends, won’t you PLEASE give me the Hindi spelling and should you know it, the English name?  Or even the botanical name? Thanks).

So this morning I asked him how to make the achar and, for good measure, whether you can eat the berries raw from the bush.

They have to be red and ripe to eat them raw, he said, reaching up and plucking one for me.

“Kha lo” he told me, so I did, I kha-ed it on the spot.  Great for my digestion he assured me.


Now, back to the achar recipe.

And I am open to correction if I have made any mistakes:


• Soak green berries in salted water for a week until they turn yellow.

• Drain and dry in the sun.

• Then cook them with chilli, haldi (turmeric), salt, pepper, ginger, garlic.

Voila –  teet achar.

And here is my cooking friend, who, when I asked him whether he ate the berries raw or only achar-ified, replied “8 or 10 every day,” opening his mouth and showing me a mush of half-masticated stuff on his tongue.

I decided not to take a photo.


Said it before, saying it again.

There is NO such thing as a dull run in India.



Running in humidity

This morning was humid.

Why am I saying ‘was”?

Still is.

Big difference is that now I am inside my study, with the A/C on.  This morning I was out running in what my phone app assured me was 89% humidity but felt more like 300%.


Actually, from the screen shot of how Delhi was at 6am this morning, looks like today isn’t great for anything .

My favourite statistic, by the way, is the hair frizz risk.  Check it every day.  I kid you not.

Those of you who know me will understand why, since I have the messiest hair on the planet.  And curly hair + humidity = even messier than usual.  Trust me.

Yes, yes, as you say –  let’s get back to the humidity, shall we?

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You all know the science behind humidity and how our bodies react to it, so I won’t repeat it here, but if you do want a good informative analysis of how our bodies behave in humidity, then do read this article from runnersworld.com.  Very well explained.

All the websites I checked for advice re running in humid conditions are –  as I have remarked before here – phoren, and so obviously do not address our deshi problems.

Stands to reason.

But there’s not much point showing me photos of men running T-shirt-less (though that does happen here) and of women running in skimpy crop tops and teensy shorts, to beat the heat.  It’s bad enough going out in Delhi wearing normal running capri-style trousers, but the idea of going our wearing even less clothing just doesn’t work here.

A propos – I was behind a young Indian girl who was running in the street yesterday morning.  About 7.30 am.  She was young – probably in her early 20s – lean and fit, and was wearing running shorts (modest, not at all skimpy, but shorts) and a baggy T shirt, and as she overtook a gaggle of boys heading to school, they all started sniggering and giggling, until I galumphed past them.

Perhaps they were innocently giggling and sniggering about their maths homework but I very much doubt it, so I asked them what was so funny, and that shut them up pretty pronto.

Anyway, yes – long aside over –  the solution to this hot and humid weather does not lie in wearing less clothing.  Not here in Delhi, it doesn’t.

Nor does advice about going out earlier to beat the heat really work here.  We are all out running very early as it is, given our climate, so unless we start getting up at 3am, there’s not much one can do, is there?

So, what to do?

• I take my runs w-a-y slower in this weather, and drink a lot of water (a future post about loos, methinks…)

• After my poor show at my last HM, I take along some fruit gums to chew on, to give me some energy.  They are usually sticky as hell by the time I remember to eat them, but I guess a bit of sugar gets into the system.  It’s an odd diet for so early in the morning – sticky fruit gums and raisins which have become sticky by association.

Ah well, needs must.

And yes, I know, I know, really need to add salt to this odd diet.

• I carry my camelback with at least 1 litre of water, and since it has been in the fridge overnight, that initial coldness on my back seems to help.

• I wear a hat against the sun and I somehow feel it soaks up some of the sweat that otherwise trickles down into my eyes.

Trawling through all the various foriegn running sites for advice, I did come across a great idea:

“Wet and freeze your hat or a bandana the night before longer runs.”

Trying that tomorrow, for sure.

So, other than running slower and listening to our bodies, and hydrating properly –  what else should we be doing?  If you have advice and tips, do please share with us all.


And I shall end with the real reason I run so slowly in this humidity – I have a perfect excuse.  I’m old!

“Age is another variable—over time, your body becomes less adaptable to heat; age-related changes to sweat glands can decrease sweat production and reduce the body’s ability to cool itself effectively.”

Thank you runnersworld.com 🙂

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What did you see on your run? #6 Delhi by night

Today’s atmospheric running image actually comes from last night, if you see what I mean.

This photo was taken by my cyber friend Harminder Singh (we Instagram, we are taking part in the same #100days challenge) –  so, yes, Harminder has been running at night a lot lately.  I’m not a huge fan of running at night, but I have to say that this street looks quiet and well-lit.

Thanks Harminder –  and please keep the photos coming.

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