Month: December 2012

Sridhar Reddy review – 2012

So.. this is a first. How do I review myself… Let’s see

There are still 3 days left in 2012. But I don’t think anything drastic is going to happen now. So I think I have a pretty full account of my year gone past.

Start: Flat 14, Sai Pooja Avenue, Kandanchavadi, Chennai

End: Flat GF5, Sri Jayendra Colony, Kandanchavadi, Chennai

I think I have improved considerably as a person in the year gone by. I have become more self conscious, more responsible for myself, matured as a person and I now am more confident. I have done things that I am proud of. Like persist with the guitar. I have come to the point where I can tell people that I am good with the guitar. And if someone asks me to play, I can play something that I am confident they will like. I couldn’t do that 1 year ago.

The half marathon was another achievement. I have felt that things have come really easily to me in life. But the run wasn’t easy. It was a lot of effort. I take pride in having the determination to stick to running and am proud of having achieved my goal. It’s a nice feeling, when you are able to achieve a goal that you set for yourself. I haven’t felt this feeling before. My goal in BITS would always be to do better in the semester and crack the courses but I never did. That is why I was never proud of myself.

Any other achievements? Thinking hard.. still thinking.. No. That’s it. There is nothing else remarkable enough to be mentioned.

How about things that I did well. I improved my communication with my brother. Was in constant touch with mom and dad. Made an effort to improve mom’s life. Tried to give back something to society through Action Aid and Greenpeace donations. Took more interest in politics and tried to be more aware of what’s happening around me. Became less lazy in general and tried to help the people around me.

So that’s about things I did well. On to things I didn’t do so well. When I was stuck in bench for those 6 months, I didn’t really try to force myself out of the situation. I was content to sit back and let things happen. I need to change that about myself. I need to start taking things in my hands. Become more decisive and less hesitant. That is a major change I would like to see in myself. I want to become less hesitant in public. And the rating that Kamal gave me. I can blame him for it but I can see that it was my fault also in a way. It certainly cost me close to 25,000 Rs. I have to keep this experience in mind always and act accordingly.

Major changes/ things I bought:

The bike in April. Cost me 23,500 then. Including the repairs that I have made on it till date, the cost comes to 29,000 Rs. It’s now in perfect condition. I have now decided to get the bike registered in my name. 7 months without an accident. It’s a good bike. I’ll carry it with me if I move. Bought car in August. Booked for home in June for which I took a personal loan of 3,00,000 Rs. The house is nearing completion and will be completed in a month. Gruha Pravesham is in a couple of weeks. Also bought a sofa set and a fridge for home. Minor things include a new pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, a new mp3 player.. that’s it.

Major losses:

Lifted a pair of Bose earphones from bro that I really enjoyed. They broke down a week back. I really feel the loss. Fell from the bus in January. Broke a tooth. Got a replacement. Spent 3000 for car window shades that had to be pulled down. And I managed to lose my license. And I have no idea when and where. Thats it?

Financial situation:

Liabilities:

Personal Loan: 3,82,500, Car Loan: 6,16,600, Education Loan: 4,50,000, Credit card: 35,000

Total: 14,85,000 Rs

Assets:

Car: 5,50000 Rs, Bike: 25,000 Rs, Room Advance: 24,000 Rs

Total: 599000

Deficit: 8,86,000 Rs.

Goals for 2013:

I think in 2013 I want to improve on what I have already built up. I want to break the 1:50 Hrs. barrier in half marathon. I want to improve further in guitar playing skills. I want to bring down the deficit in my financial sheet to under 6 lakhs. It’ll take some doing seeing as there will be a new addition to loans pretty soon but I will try my best and be proud if I do good. I want to keep coming up with innovative ideas to write about. I want to create a structure to my career and lay down some concrete plans. I want to find out what my dream is. And I want to get laid. Obviously.

I am in a dilemma career wise right now. I am not really sure what I want to do next. The lack of a C.S or an IT degree means I’ll never be able to work in technology companies. The options I have left for me are product related companies or IT companies. My current path is that of an Oracle DBA. I can arrange it to show that I have 2 years experience in DBA come June 2013. I can do that, or I can learn Java and try for a product based company. Product  based companies pay well. I can only get into IT companies as a DBA. Is money everything? Which career path is better? I don’t have answers to these questions. I have to make up my mind in the next 2 months about this. I’ll speak to different people and decide for my own. This is something I’ll like to have cleared up by the end of 2013.

So things to look forward to in 2013: My bro’s marriage. How I shape my carrier. More marathon runs. More guitar playing. And learning tamil …..

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Preparing for Second Marathon – Weeks 1-4, Shin Splints

I decided to participate in the Auroville marathon after successfully completing the Chennai Marathon. The gap between the two events was 10 weeks so that gave me a nice interval where I could create a schedule and prepare properly. But my preparation so far hasn’t been the greatest.

The first week was all rest. I was sore for three days after the run and I donated blood midweek so I took it easy for that week. I started running the next week but had to struggle in my runs. I blamed the loss of blood for the struggle and it was expected. I ran 12k the first week and 18k the next week.

By week three, my fitness improved a little but the runs were still difficult as I started facing shin pain in the middle of my runs. I thought the pain was a result of lack of proper warmup and it wasn’t severe so I ignored it. I did 20k in week 3 including a 10k. My shins troubled me on all 3 runs of week 3 but they settled down once I had done some distance in the runs.

I scheduled 28k for week 4. I started with a 6k hard run which I struggled to complete. The shin problem of week 3 was in the back of my mind so I made sure I warmed up properly for the run. But I was in trouble after the first km. I took breaks during the run – the way I usually do on a hard run, but the shin kept aching. I could feel the soreness after completing the run. I had a good stretching  session and took rest the next day. But the pain did not go away. It troubled me from the beginning of my next run so I decided to take it easy and not to push through the pain.

There hasn’t been any significant change in conditions before and after the Chennai marathon. The shoes are worn out and I ordered another pair but the shin trouble may not be related to the shoes. All other conditions remaining the same, I think the its just a case of overuse. I have decided to take it easy the rest of week 4. I am icing the effected region twice a day and am doing shin related exercises. I do this for three days and then run again on Monday in week 5 with new shoes. If the problem persists, I’ll have to seriously think about this.

Running through the pain is a bad idea. In all the research that I have done about shin splints, all the people have suggested that running through shin splints might lead to stress fracture. This is something that I need to deal with very carefully. I’d rather be off the road for 2 weeks than 3 months. I outdid my expectations for the Chennai marathon so I shouldn’t push too hard for the Auroville marathon. I’ll be happy to participate and get some more experience. The 5 month lay off after Auroville can be used to build strength and fitness for the runs in the later part of 2013.

So I am not pushing in my runs. Auroville is 6 weeks away and I might not be as perfectly prepared for it as I was for Wipro marathon but that doesn’t mean I didn’t put in effort. When the body is fatigued, it pleads for rest. It’s better to give it the rest it asks for.

My quest for a dream

What is my dream? What do I plan to become? What is my ultimate goal? What do I see myself doing when I fantasize about the future?

I have no answer to these questions in Dec 2012. I hope to have them by Dec 2013. Even as I ask myself the question at this point of time, I don’t know how I should go about finding the answer. Do I close my eyes and lay back and the image pops into my head. Is there an equation I can solve whose solution would be the answer to my question. Is there someone I can find who would answer my question for me. I don’t know.

The question “What is the meaning of my life” is a very profound one. Every human asks themselves this question at some point of time in their lives. Some find their answer in religion. But that is a shortcut. I don’t think it’s wrong. You might find genuine pleasure in doing the things your religion asks you to do and that is what its all about. But I want my answer to come from within and not get it from somewhere. I guess it’s ego.

I guess my absence of faith is really an ego thing. I might think of myself of being devoid of ego but hey.. who am I kidding. I have as big an ego as anybody else. I reject the idea that somebody else controls my live because my ego doesn’t agree to it. I want to be my own man. I want my own actions to influence my future and have myself to blame when shit happens. But here I am straying from the topic.

Coming back to dream. Is it really me or are there scores of other people who don’t have a dream. It’s a really difficult position I am in. I can’t discuss this with anyone. All my  friends live far away. Why is a dream important anyway. Is it really important?

Rarely in our lives, say once in 3 months, we take a step back from what we are doing and really look at ourselves. When we do that, the question we ask ourselves is: are we happy doing what we are doing? And the source of true happiness lies in pursuing your dream. So we come back to our question. What is my dream?

I have no clue. And I am not happy having no clue. I want to be happy. I want to have a dream. And that is my goal in 2013. Find a dream. I hope I am successful.

Looking Ahead

My timing for the half marathon was announced 3 days after the run. 2hrs 2 minutes 34 seconds. Not bad. About 1140 people registered for the run. I guess about 700 turned up. 153 people finished before me. Among them were 9 women.

After the run, I wasn’t overly tired so I felt that my recovery would be smooth but that wasn’t to be. My legs were sore for 3 days. Recovery for the long runs before the event were never this bad. My last long run was of 18 Kms and I felt perfectly good after that. I couldn’t do my stretches after the half the way I usually do them at home because there were too many people at the finish line and I didn’t really put in an effort. This is something I need to take care of when I do my next Half Marathon.

Which brings me to the next Half Marathon. There is a run in Auroville near Pondicherry on Feb 10th. That gives me a nice 10 week break where I can build up my strength again. I have been taking it easy in the last couple of weeks. I happened to donate blood last week and that really affected my stamina. I am also facing difficulty in waking up my legs before the runs. My shins are giving me trouble in the middle of the runs. I hope the issue settles down with some rest.

My goal in the Auroville Marathon is to try a time of 1 hr 55 mins. So I did some research after the run about improving performance. I found numerous tips on how some strength training would help in running. I decided to do Squats after my every run. Body Squats are not a very intensive exercise so I will have to do a large number of repetitions. I hope to go upto 7 sets of 20. I’ll also try to include some hamstring strengthening exercises though I’m yet to find any that can be done at home.

I think I’ll take it easy for another week. That will leave me 7 weeks for the Auroville run. Should be enough time to get into perfect shape for the run.

Formula 1 2012 review

Formula 1 this season has been an absolute joy to watch. It ended with Red Bull winning the Constructors championship and Vettel winning the drivers championship. Given the pace of the red bull car and their consistency, it might seem obvious that Vettel had to win the championship. But a look at the final table would tell how close the fight between Vettel and Alonso was.

For me this season of Formula 1 has been about 3 drivers, Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. There is a lot one can learn from the way these drivers have performed this season. Vettel lead the 3 in terms of race wins with 5 while Hamilton had 4 and Alonso had 3. Yet Vettel and Alonso were separated by 3 points and Hamilton gathered 91 points fewer than Vettel. How did this happen? What do we learn?

Vettel:

This guy is one of the most talented drivers in the sport and had undoubtedly the fastest car in the season. But that didn’t guarantee his victory. With 6 races to go, he sat 29 points behind Alonso. He had to dig deep and string out 4 successive victories to overtake Alonso. He finished with a 3 point lead and could have lost the title in the final race. What can we learn from this? Talent and money can’t get you to the pinnacle. You have to work hard for it.

But will hard work alone get you there? No. You need a certain amount of luck too and Vettel had his share. The entire season of Vettel and Red Bull can be pictured in the Abu Dhabi grand prix. He had to start from the back of the grid due to a problem in qualifying. But that didn’t  deter Vettel or Red Bull. They changed the gear ratio’s in his car to make it go faster and adopted a 2 stop strategy while everyone else was on a 1 stop strategy. He gave everything he had in the race and drove superbly. He also had luck in his favor when 2 crashes brought on safety cars and he closed down the gap in the field after having taken his pit stops. He finished 3rd in the race. The result was borne from a mixture of skill, hard work and luck.That’s how it was the entire season. Hat’s off to Vettel for winning the title. My respect for this guy grown to a new high.

Alonso:

I have always been a fan of Alonso. Even before he joined Ferrari when he was battling with Schumacker for the title, I liked him. There was something about his calm persona and consistency in driving that won me over. I was very happy when he joined Ferrari. He may not have won the title this season but 5 years down the line, I will remember this season as having belonged to Alonso.

All through the season he struggled in qualifying. For most of the season, he qualified 4th of 5th and had to battle to get to podium. The consistency with which he did this was astounding. I’m no expert at Formula 1 but I believe 60 percent of Vettel’s performance was down to his RB7’s performance and the rest was his own effort. In case of Alonso however, 60 percent of his performance was down to his own efforts in a below par car. Even though the F2012 let him down in qualifying, he battled hard in the race and secured maximum points for himself and his team.

There is a lot one can learn from Alonso this season. Even if things are not going your way, you can still give yourself a chance to get to the top through hard work and sheer force of will. Even if you are not talented enough or have enough money, you can be the best. Alonso was undoubtedly frustrated by the lack of pace in his car compared to his rivals but he never let his frustration show and never criticized his team in public. Credit to Ferrari that although their car wasn’t the fastest, it was consistent and suffered very few mechanical problems. With a little more luck, he could have won this season. He single handedly brought Ferrari the runners up position and deserves a lot of credit for that.

I think Massa deserves a mention too. His form in the first half of this season was a continuation of last season and he struggled to secure points in the races. But he believed in himself and turned around his season in the latter half to finish at a respectable 7th position. I hope he has a better 2013 season for Ferrari.

Hamilton:

If Vettel and Alonso season was about positives, Hamilton’s season was about negatives. He had one more win than Alonso and clearly a faster car but he still finished 88 points behind Alonso. He was inconsistent and his car suffered multiple mechanical failures. Consistency is the key to get to the top and that is what Hamilton’s season teaches us. I don’t really like this guy but I admit he has fantastic driving skills. He could do better next season if he is consistent.

It’s a 4 month wait for me now before the start of next season but with a lot of Premier League and Cricket action due in this period, I won’t miss Fomula 1 very much. Just a little maybe.

First of Many?

So I finished my first Half Marathon a few hours ago. It took me approximately 2hrs and 2 minutes. I’m happy. I’d have been happier if it took me 2 minutes lesser. But I won’t bitch about it.

I think I have to thank the organizers inefficiency for my timing. There were no mile markers along the route so I had no idea what mileage I was doing. At one point I assumed that my distance covered was 14 kms when in fact it was just 11. All along the run I had a feeling that I was doing a fantastic time and I was feeling very strong at halfway point so I pushed on. And I mean I really pushed on. I have never run that fast for that long on my practice long runs. Kms 4 to 14 were just fantastic.

My bubble burst when I finally found a marker which said 14 when I was under the impression that I had covered 17. That was a shock. But it meant that I was still doing a decent time. It had taken me 1 hr 25 minutes to cover 14. My aim had been to do the run under 2 hrs if possible. That meant I had 35 mins to run 7 kms. The last stretch was difficult but I managed to hold myself together and finished the run strongly. Needed a little help with my left ankle at the end but other than that, physically I felt pretty good.