Month: November 2012

Training for Half Marathon – Week 9.. Last Long Run

With the Half marathon due on the Sunday of next week, I wanted to do my last long run in the middle of this week. And since this is my first half marathon, I wanted to be know what I would be facing no the day of the run,  so I tried to simulate as many of the race conditions as possible. I started a little late, increased my water break intervals and increased my pace after 5 kms.

The result? After 10kms, I was exhausted. The conditions were overcast and it was a little more humid than normal so that didn’t help me. I started slow and maintained a slow pace for the first 3 kms. Any more than that would affect my race timing. After 3 kms I felt pretty strong so I increased my speed to match my normal runs. Then after 5 kms, I still felt strong so I thought.. why not go a little faster a try to set a better time.

All this while I had increased the intervals between my water breaks. I would usually stop after each km and take a sip from my bottle. Then I’d walk a little and start my run again. Yesterday I increased the intervals to 2 kms. I don’t know if it was the increased pace or the increase in intervals but after 10 kms I ran out of petrol. I completed the 10 in 1 hr so I was doing a very good time. But at that point it I didn’t think I would reach my target which was 18 kms.

So I dropped my pace, steeled myself to the pain and pushed on. After 14 I could still feel some energy in me so I continued the run and reached my target of 18 kms. I was pretty strong at the finish and my recovery was excellent but the run itself was taxing and hard. Moral of the story? Don’t try anything on the day of the run that you haven’t practiced before. My run took 1hr 53 mins. My dream of doing the half marathon under 2 hrs will remain a dream for now but since its only my first attempt and my training hasn’t been perfect, I think its acceptable.

At my current pace, I estimate that it will take me about 2 hrs 10 minutes to do the run. I can do a time lesser than that but I will have to plan the run carefully. Going express pace after 5 kms didn’t work yesterday. I think I’ll approach the run in phases depending on how my body holds up. I could divide the run into 3 phases of 10, 5 and 6 kms. The first 10 kms I use to get into the groove and lay the foundation.

I plan to complete 10kms in 1hr 5 minutes. If I feel strong after 10, I can slowly increase my pace for the next 5 kms. This phase I plan to complete in 21-22 minutes, provided everything goes well. I don’t think I’ll feel strong after 15kms. The last phase will be difficult and I have to be mentally prepared for that. 6 minutes on average per km in the last phase will get me to the finish line in 2hrs and 2 minutes. I’ll give myself a 3 minute cover so my target for the run is about 2 hrs 5 minutes.

Should be an interesting run..


Struggling for form..

After the Reading 7-5, Arsenal have played 4 games with varying degrees of success. First we played ManU at Old Trafford which we lost 2-1. The scoreline might  suggest a close match but in reality, our goal was scored in stoppage time by Cazorla. They outplayed us most of the game and we lost any chance of winning the game when Wilshere got sent off. Man U showed more drive and determination on the field and we struggled to create anything offensive.

Given that our team for the game was at full strength, the game really showed the gap in quality between the two teams. Rooney had a terrific game and if I were a Man U supporter, I would have enjoyed watching the game. van Persie scored.. if anyone cares to know.

Then we had an away game against Schalke that we drew 2-2. Before the game, we would have been happy with a draw but after going 2-0 up in the first half, we had a fantastic opportunity to win the game and go on top of the league. But it wasn’t to be. We let in 2 goals and now sit in the second spot in the table, 1 point behind Schalke.

The game against Fulham was one which we should have won. We went 2-0 in 20 minutes but then we let 3 in. Giroud scored an excellent equalizer in the second half and we had a penalty awarded in the stoppage time. Arteta took the penalty and really should have done better but their keeper pulled of a save and we had to settle for a draw. A rare bad game for Arteta and 2 points dropped for us.

Next we beat Tottenham 5-2 in a game which saw Adebayor getting sent off and Mertesacker score his first Arsenal goal through a brilliant header. The scoreline is similar to the same fixture last season and the game was equally tasty. I missed watching the game on t.v and had to follow the game on liveblog.

So after 12 games, we sit in 6th spot behind West Brom and Everton. Third spot is 5 points ahead of us and unless Chelsea has a bad stretch, it will be difficult for us to catch up to them. Suarez leads the scoring chart with 10 goals while Cazorla and Giroud have scored 4 each for us in the league so far. Walcott has scored the most for us in all competitions this season at 9 and I really hope he signs a new deal with us.

We play Montpellier at home today and after that, we play 6 games in the next 11 days. With Gibbs and Gervinho back in the squad, we have a full strength team for this crucial period. I hope we score the maximum points and by the end of 17th Dec, sit in 4th position in the league. It would be a fantastic birthday for me if it were to happen.


Training for Half Marathon – Week 6,7,8

My preparation for the Marathon got disrupted some more by the storm that developed over Chennai. I could only manage a 6k hard run and a 7k moderate in Week -6. Week 7 was a little better. I did a 15k run on Tuesday. It took me 1:35 hrs. The recovery wasn’t great though. I finished the run strongly and felt good when I reached home but after a while, my body became really tired. I should have eaten something after my run to help the body recover.

My total mileage on week 7 was 36 Kms.  I traveled home for Diwali on week 8 so my running wasn’t as smooth as I usually like but I still managed to do 34 Kms. The week ended with a 16k run which took me 1:39 hrs. Recovery this time was a little better compared to the last long run. I had a couple of eggs soon after the run. This was followed by a glass of milk and a plate of Khichdi. I did feel down for a couple of hours but by evening, I felt just fine.


Ours is a 4 dimensional world, having 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time. A hundred years ago, the only recognized dimensions were that of space. Today time is added to space and together they are called space-time dimensions. But even though time is clubbed together with space, they are in-fact quite different.

It is possible for a person to stay still in one set of spacial coordinates. In absolute terms this is not true because the earth is constantly moving but atleast relatively, it is possible. When it comes to time however it is not possible. The only way to stay still relative to time is to move at the speed of light and I am quite confident that as of today, that is physically impossible.

I want to explore the effect that time has on the human mind. More precisely, I want to know how change of time affects us. Things that we know of in one instant may be forgotten after a few hours. Phone numbers, tasks, names.. are just a few things that slip from our mind as time passes. We don’t forget everything. We force the things that we deem important to stay in our mind and to not forget. The less important things can slip off our mind without causing any fuss.

So how do we determine the value of something relative to time. A 100 rupee note made in 1980 is worth 100 rupees in 1980. By 1990 it might still be worth 100 rupees. By 2000, newer versions of the 100 rupee note have been created and the 1980 version is obsolete, its value nothing. But what about 2020. What is the value of the note in 2020? Or 2050 or 2080 when its a 100 years after its creation. By 2080, the note might become a rare collectors item and its worth might be many times what it was originally worth.. 100 rupees.

The passage of time has dramatically altered the value of our 100 rupee note. Why is that? Why is it that the older an object becomes, the more valuable it gets. But before I get to the why, I want to ask.. is it just physical objects that may become valuable with time? What about memories. Do memories become valuable as time passes?

The picture of a baby taking its first steps might not be very valuable to a father as he is taking the picture. What is the value of this picture 40 years later? What would a father give to be able to relive his child’s first steps. What would an retired athlete give to relive his first major victory? A surgeon his first successful operation, a writer the release of his first novel..

In some cases, it may not be possible to assign a value to these memories. Because once lost, there maybe no way to get them back. Hence the value. As time passes, situations change and the occurrence of an event may become rare. After enough time passes, the event has become so rare that something that was commonplace in the past becomes valuable in the future.

I am amazed by a humans ability to miss this fact. We are so caught up in the present that we don’t consider what value something in the present might have in the future. Experiences are easily forgotten. But they could become valuable in the future if they were remembered. It is difficult for a person to look at something today and think about what it could become in the future. People who can do this are called visionaries. They are few in number and they change the lives of many others.

Can there be a mechanism whereby you could tell if something would become valuable in the future. It would be great if there was a way to save things or experiences and retrieve them when they become valuable. Everything has a beginning and an end. Even though the beginning might not be apparent, if recognized, the object could be saved for the future. I wish I could broaden my mind and look at everything from times perspective. It would be a great exercise and would bring me a lot of pleasure in the future.

Ground breaking communication with my bro

So I happened to send my bro a mail and he happened to reply back. I want to record this mail here for future reference. It is an indicator of the gulf between our thinking.
ME: Your life is in a rut. I wanted to put it a more subtle way but I’m not able to come up with anything else at the moment. A certain amount of introspection will tell you that I am right. Atleast I think I am.

BRO:   Without even going into the reasons, It is probably true, i am definitely not the best i have been or i could ever be. Doesn’t take a lot to figure out that.

ME: It would be presumptuous on my part to assume that I know everything that has gone on in your life. I’ll never know what you have been through till now. The pressures and the struggles that you have faced  are things only you will know. But I think I can understand the situation that you are in right now. I may be facing a similar situation. A lesser version perhaps.

BRO:     I don’t want to go into details of what happened, but i have gone through what i have gone through. Its easy now to say those were tough days but i don’t want that to be the center piece of my life however unpleasant it might have been. I have moved on from it, however what bothers me is the impact it has had which is hard to erase. I have been judged by what i have been through and to over come all that and be able to do what i want to do and what i could be will take as much time as i have been a drift, which is probably a lot of years if i cant put a number on it.

ME: This is ground breaking stuff. Me writing this and you reading it. We have never done this before.. me sending you a mail and giving you advise about life. Any other day I would feel silly doing this. But not today. I could tell you this stuff in gtalk or on the phone.. but I wouldn’t have the same flow and you wouldn’t giving me the chance. Who wants to be lectured by his younger brother?

BRO:     I don’t feel i am being lectured, i know the difference between a healthy lecture and arrogant advice, both of which i have seen a lot. I don’t think my family would give me arrogant advice.

ME: It is only recently that I have come to accept responsibility.. of myself and of things more that me. While doing this I look for inspiration. The biggest people who inspire me are in my family. You and mum. And you happen to be the anchor that happens to hold this family together. So its natural the the rest of us keep fretting about your health.. physical and mental. And right now, your mental health is not in the greatest shape. Which brings me to what prompted me to write this mail. For some time now I have observed a routine in your life. You get up, go to work, get through the hours somehow. You come home and you have nothing to do. So you open skype and check if dad is online. If he’s not you call home. You are looking to pass the time. But that is not what you get. Where will mum get new stuff for you to fill in the hour everyday?There is nothing to talk about. So you relapse into the routine of thinking about the past. How you got into this position. What you have and don’t have. All morose thoughts that inevitable bring a temper onto you. Then you lash out. At dad. It takes mum better part of an hour to calm you down and then you go to sleep. This happens everyday. I don’t know what effect this routine is having on your mental state, but I know that it is detrimental to mum’s mental health. She worries about the things you say and why you say them and the pressures you face.She knows what the problem is. She tells you the solution but you don’t listen to her. What does she know? She may be uneducated  and may not know about the world but her strong point is her wisdom. She tells you to go out and do new stuff. Join a gym or get a hobby or something like that. I think she is absolutely right.

BRO:    What ever you have said here is true so i wont say anything

ME: Life doesn’t go the way we want it to. There may be many things that we can’t change even if we wanted to. You can’t just go to another state or get into another job. But there are certain things that are in your hands that you can do. Things that can keep you occupied and make you look into the future and not into the past.Is there anything in your life currently that you look forward do doing the next day when you are going to sleep the previous day? If there is, good. If there isn’t, get it. Sometime back you told me that you wanted to do dating and stuff and have a cool life for a while. The truth is that in your current stagnant state, even if you wanted to do it, you couldn’t. It’s because even you don’t know anything interesting about you.

BRO:    Life may not go the way we want it. Actually there is nothing i want to be a certain way, except lead a reasonably good life. I have come quite a long way on a track not as good as i wanted it to be. I am talking in a very general sense and nothing in particular. I wont say its been all bad but i know it could have been better. Truth is its hard for me to find something to keep me occupied which is surprising because i am not that boring person at all. I have my interests, but i don’t have the consistent drive to pursue it.

ME: You are my brother so I can boast about myself. As you know I am a man of many talents. All those books that I have read in my life have given me some skill when it comes to writing. There is a blog I write in very frequently. It’s personal to me and I don’t share it with anyone. Even as I write this piece, I know that it is a good work. It’s inspired and whatever I have to say flows out of me in a structured matter. Wondering where I am going with this? Even I don’t know. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even after an year, if I were to look back at this piece, I will know that it’s a good work and I’d be proud of it. I want you to find something in your life that you enjoy doing, and something you can look back to after sometime and be proud of.

BRO:   This para is incoherent but i understand what you are trying to say.

ME: As I get to the end, I start to get the feeling that this venture of mine was ill advised. But I have committed to it and will see it through. Talking about this in the future might get a little awkward so after I send this mail I will pretend I never did it. Maybe we can talk about it in the future and have a laugh about it. I’ll definitely love it if you replied with your thoughts on the things I have to say.

A few months back I had a very alarming realization. I was slowly and irrevocably turning from a youngster into an uncle. I decided that I would fight this change and constantly keep improving myself and keep up with the times. Hence the marathons and stuff. I want you to think about the things that I have said. You can be assured of mine and mom’s support at any point in life. So cheer up. Remember that any change for the better in your life will improve three other lives. I don’t mean to add any extra pressure but that’s the way it is. And what the hell happened to your sense of humor?

BRO:   Finally, a clearer answer from me is this: I see that my daily routine might be a part of the problem. I don’t know what can cause me to do away with it and be healthy and productive at the same time. You might ask if my bad days were behind me, then why i cant be better and happier now. Its an interesting question but i don’t have an answer.  May be what i have done/or could do for my family, the amount of time and effort and stress i have borne was for a reason that some day i will find solace and bliss. While i am not sad, I don’t have have that kind of inspiration left because then i had a reason to do, and now i am left with none. I know me questioning father isn’t going to be any productive and i am quite sick of it. But for me to find my own inspiration and go about my objectives will take time and i don’t know how much time it will take.

I can stay away from conversations with mom. I have vowed not to drink and smoke when i am under stress, I think i can manage it. But the only way i see to keep mom away from stress is rather not speaking about it.

I think i have made more statements that will make you think more than what you have made me do. I know about your efforts and moms to see me happy. Regards to marriage, a friend of mine told me marriage changes your life, in a better way and that you get a sense of being settled. You will have stuff to share and look forward to and as i think, it will inspire you to things you want to do. While societal impression i is unclear, i agree with my friend cause his intentions are true about life. I know i will get my time, but to expect to getting married so everything will change sounds too good to be true in my case although i have positive opinions about life.

I don’t want to say more, as anything more said feels less. May be this conversation is a good exercise, but its me who has to figure out the solution. Although i know what to do, i will leave it to time and fate to decide when and how i go about it.

So post his reply, I feel a little silly about the things that I wrote here. But the mail did serve a purpose in that it brought out direct communication about the core issues. So not feeling very embarrassed. Just a little.