Going, Going, Gone!

Shanthi Balasubramanian gives us a humorous peek in to what the families of the running fraternity go through!

WifeLetsMeGoRunningRunning is fun, ecstatic, exhilarating and perhaps many other such adjectives for the runners. But please spare a thought for those standing or rather left behind – the wives and families of all these runners. Ever wonder what the family goes through?

Well, what they go through is – A lot!

It is not very difficult to spot a runner’s house. You need to look out only for a few things:

  1. An assortment of shoes on the shoe rack outside the house with mismatched smelly socks stuffed inside
  2. Hideous looking tees overflowing from the clothes line
  3. If not, then the washing basket will be full of them
  4. BIBs that have served their purpose long ago but refuse to be discarded lying around in bunches around the house
  5. Medals lying around in such large numbers that guests wonder whether they are into some kind of special business
  6. Most shopping bags are the event goody bags
  7. Larger than life photos of runners with a wicked smile on their faces
  8. At least one person in the house walking around in shorts
  9. Terms such as personal best, DNF, sub 4 and such being discussed ardently over a phone conversation
  10. Stretches or push-ups may begin right in the middle of a serious conversation
  11. And if you happen to live close by , then watch for lights out at 7pm and the house buzzing with activity at 4am in the morning

To add to all this if there are cycles and other gym paraphernalia lying around you can safely assume that there is at least one very serious runner lurking around.

I envy families that are normal. By normal I mean, families that spend weekday mornings over a hot cup of coffee chatting about normal things or TALKING about exercise. Weekends at a mall or a cinema or a nice eat out. Because, for a family that has a runner amidst them, these normal things are not a possibility at all. Even holiday plans revolve around deciding on places where a hill run or flyover run is a possibility and the shoes are the first thing that get packed.

Mornings will begin at an ungodly hour of 3 or 4 am. You can hide as much as you like under the pillow and pretend to be asleep but rest assured, Mr. Runner will not get the message. He will ask you questions about his bike keys, cycle keys or fresh socks or some such till you are wide awake. And the fact that he will dorn his shoes right in the middle of the hall and leave a mud trail behind will make you lose sleep forever. I hate waking up in the morning because I can only run as far as the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes. Whereas Mr. Runner is always excited about waking up because he can simply run away! Of course, he will not leave without reminding you about being hungry when he gets back. Which means, “Since you are up now, make sure there is a SUMPTOUS breakfast when I return”.

I wonder if it is only my home that has a weirdo runner or is it commonplace with the wives of all runners. In the early days when my husband started to experiment with running, we would accompany him to most events. Looking back at those days now, I realize how foolhardy we have been.

I remember accompanying my runner husband to Mysore for a running event. We agreed that my husband would run at the event while we would look around Mysore and enjoy ourselves.

But what actually happened was a different story altogether. At his insistence, we – that is my two young children and I woke up at 3am and went to the starting point to wish him luck because he had brainwashed us into believing that we were his lucky mascots! And then, the children only managed to sleep through the rest of the day in the car when we were actually supposed to be sightseeing!

Of late, I have become smarter and see through his plans easily. When he says something like, “Let’s go to Javadhu Hills this weekend”, I know he means “I am going to run an event at Javadhu hills. You can watch me if you like”. Over the years I have matured and have learnt to say a firm NO.

Conversations in the house are mostly about running and I am seriously concerned about the impact of this on young children. By now they are probably convinced that running away is indeed an excellent idea. Because the runaway father obviously seems like one happy man!

The non-stop plans of going to scenic places in the pretext of running which do not include us, the continuous banter about the so called milestone achievements and of course the endless experiments with healthy food – all of which I am cooking.

And if the runner cannot convince you to take up running, he will at least convince you take up volunteering. So basically, if you are not up to running then at least STAND either at the breakfast counter, registration counter or the t-shirt counters.

I simply cannot STAND it anymore. One of these days I am surely going to take up RUNNING!

Well, you know what they say! “If you can’t beat them, join them!” We at TWCM hope many of you suffering under the pile of dryfit tshirts of all colours join the fray! 

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Gear up for your run!

In which Niranjan discusses a few must-haves before you step out the door! 

“The Road is Free. Just go out and Run”. Or so some people may tell you. If only it were so simple.

color-marathoner-web

(this cartoon from Dave Granlund still remains the most hilarious thing ever, doesn’t it? The Wind Turbine Generator gets me every time! )

We have some true blue runners who run barefoot, often bare-chested, carrying nothing but a song on their lips. For the rest of us who are less hardy and are used to your creature comforts, these are some important gear you may need.

  • Shoes – the first thing that comes to a beginner runner’s mind is, “what shoe should I buy?”. There are a whole range of shoes and brands for various budgets available out there. A brief analysis of your foot type (flat / medium arch / high arch) will help choose the right shoe. Fellow Runner Ashwin’s article explains this further : The Right Running Shoe
  • Clothes – You are bound to sweat loads when you run, specially in Chennai, Mumbai, and so on. While cotton is great for casual summer wear, it isn’t ideal for running. A moisture-wicking fabric for ALL your clothes – tees, shorts/tracks, socks, inner wear, is recommended, so they don’t get heavier and flop around and start chafing. You also get fabrics with sun protection (look for a ‘UPF’ number on the label), which are great for our weather. Bright clothes with reflective accents are advisable – these provide more visibility when you run in the dark (besides giving us a break from our everyday dreary corporate colors). And, it’s best to carry a cap made of the same material. For women runners, a supportive sports bra made from moisture-wicking fabric is of prime importance. Do your homework online for good options!
  • Hydration – Since you will be sweating a fair bit, you need to ensure you are well-hydrated when you run. On runs over 30 mins, it’s a good idea to carry some water or electrolytes on you as it’s not very convenient to stop and look around for a place to get a drink in the middle of a run. Various hydration systems, from the humble half litre used PET bottle to backpacks and hydration belts are available. These also double up as places to store your key, cash, ID, etc. An article on various options was featured in the June 2014 edition of Chennai Runners’ Rundown magazine. You can download a copy at : The Rundown June 2014
  • Lubrication : As you pick up running distance and pace, you are likely to find chafing happening in various body parts which rub against fabric, or each other. It is best to lubricate these parts as chafing can be very painful. Thankfully this can be fixed easily and relatively cheaply by rubbing some ‘Bodyglide’ or ‘Vaseline’ on these areas.
  • Run Tracking : This is optional, and you are free to run without worrying about how long or how fast you are running. However, most serious runners feel the need for some method to track their runs. Measuring your runs for goals and self-improvement is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on track. Chennai Runners’ co-founder Ram rounds up some of the options here : Tracking Your Run 
  • Music : Some people like to have quiet runs, enjoying the surroundings or lost in their own thoughts. Some like music. Some like to sing. If you don’t have a voice like M.S. (not our CSK caption) or TMS, and you don’t want to scare passers-by, you may consider carrying some music device with you. Any MP3 player or phone will usually do, but get a waterproof case or plastic cover so you don’t drench it (and kill it) with your sweat. Make sure you also get water resistant headphones which let some ambient noise in, so you can hear vehicles around you. And keep the volume low for the same reason.
  • ID : Another essential is to carry some identification with you while you run, for any unforeseen situations. A laminated card with your details and emergency contacts is good. A wearable band like the RoadId, which has these details etched on it is even better. Either way, ensure you don’t go out for your run without carrying something which will help passersby/medical staff identify you and take appropriate action in case of any emergency.

Lastly, don’t get too scared about this extensive (and expensive!) list. Just go out and run, and you will figure out what you need and what you don’t soon enough.

-Niranjan Sankar

Niranjan is a speedy, avid Chennai Runner and regular writer of running related articles and such. He blogs occasionally here and is well known for his penchant for running gear! Be sure to look out for him at the Chicago Marathon on Oct 12, 2014! 

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Strength Training: Must you, mustn’t you?

In which, Soundarya gives you the low down on Strength Training for runners

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work were made to look fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental or deliberate.

Story Time… 

Let’s take two friends, Walter ‘Wacky’ Vetrivel and Revolver ‘Realistic’ Rita. Both of them are runners!

‘Wacky’ joins his local running chapter and starts his running saga. After overcoming the initial sluggishness, he slowly builds his endurance level and soon he becomes comfortable with the 10K distance. But according to ‘Wacky’ Vetrivel, running is just about distance and pace. Mention words like Core Strengthening, Form, Squats and he just laughs sarcastically, asking you to “Stop Wasting Time” and instead join him for the next two weeks where he decides to run 10K on all 14 days.

‘Realistic’ Rita takes her steps in a slow and steady way. Rita doesn’t try to run too much, too hard, initially. After doing her research, she decides on a plan where she runs for 3 days and strength trains for 2 days in a week. Swing by Bamboola play school on a Monday morning and you will see Rita with kettlebells in hand doing squats, swings, lunges and the likes.

Chow(pic courtesy The Quad)

A number of beginners think that weight lifting to a runner is as useful as a scuba diving suit to a shark. Well, sadly, you are wrong! Strength training through weights is one of the most vital activities that you need to start doing if you want to run like a pro, let alone run without the risk of injuring yourself. Think about it! What will happen if you are driving your car at a 100 kilometres per hour and the rod connecting the wheels to the body of the car is cracked and loose? The same logic applies to the human body as well.

Without strengthening your body (Your body includes not just the legs, but also the arms, chest, core, gluts, etc.), your muscles and joints, the components which bear your ENTIRE weight will crack under the stress and your running journey will come to a frustrating and painful end. You will come to know about dreaded terms like ITB strain, stress fracture, muscle tear, etc. Now, we wouldn’t want to face that miserable situation, would we?

Have no fear! Revolver Rita is here! We will follow her footsteps and make sure that you will continue to do what you loved to do: Wake up at 4.30 in the morning, lace up your shoes and RUN.

Step1 – Fix your running form:

Are you kidding me? Come on, everyone knows how to run. It’s just putting one foot in front of the other right? It’s most the most natural movement in the world. NO!

There’s more to it and correcting your running form at the very beginning will go a long way in ensuring a painless and smooth running journey. It will be painful, frustrating and pointless. But it is what is going to help you sustain your running.

Here is a very useful link by the experts on good running form: Arvind’s Blog on Running form

 Read on only if you promise you are working on your running form

Step 2 – Strength Training:

Squat. Push. Pull. Hinge.

The four basic strength moves which are going to save your body from all the stress you put it through. But before that:

Myth Debunking: What do you imagine when you hear terms like ‘Strength Training’ and ‘Lifting Weights’? 9 out of 10 would have thought about this

WeightLifter

But we are here to tell you that you cannot be more wrong. To become like Arnie, you need to do a WHOLE lot of other things. Trust me! He does a lot more to look the way he does. With strength training, you can actually look like this.

Ryan

Here is one which women (and men of course) love

Katrina

Now that you are comfortable with the idea of strength training, here are a few very basic exercises which you could include as a part of your routine:

 SquatMake sure to read through the text & comments!

 Push upWork on your form!

 Pull upYes you can!

 Hinge - also very important 

 Plank – Most runners LOVE the plank!

 Or you can follow this routine which strengthens the majority of the muscles. You might think, ‘Hey! It’s going to be an easy. After all, it’s just 15 minutes, right’. Well, you go ahead and let me know how easy it was after you’re done ;-)

Raj Ganpath’s 15 Minute Workout Routine

Don’t like this? Try one of these:

Raj Ganpath’s Other Workouts 

 

We hope you understand the importance of strength training. Your body is a machine. Listen to it. Respect it. Strengthen it. Nurture it.

Train hard and we hope to see a stronger ‘You’ at the finish line of #TWCM14!

Oh, we almost forgot about the running journeys of Walter and Revolver. Never mind! By now we’re pretty sure you’ll know who’s running strong and who’s nursing a weak hamstring!

Note: Thanks to my coaches and co-founders of Quad, Raj Ganpath and Arvind Ashok for allowing me to liberally share their blog posts.I’m sure they will prove to be a treasure trove of knowledge for any fitness lover. Also thanks to Shiva for his inputs on the post! 

 

 

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Cross Training Gyaan

In which Shiva talks about that most important thing runners must do!

Let’s take a food which everybody loves. Potatoes! Imagine having to eat potato every single meal for the next two weeks of your lives. Boredom and frustration aside, you would be missing out on essential nutrients that come from eating a variety of foods. For those two weeks, you’ll have enough carbs. But what about your proteins or fats or vitamins? Just the same way our body needs a diverse diet regimen to cater to all our needs, a runner also needs to have a diverse set of calisthenics to work different parts of your body in different ways – and this brings us to the topic of the day, Cross Training.

cross-training

(Photo from the lovely blog: Sole Sisters of LSU)

What comes under Cross-Training?

Any and all physical activity which involves movements or activities in addition to just running comes under the broad purview of Cross Training. Though physical sports like Basketball or Football might not be your ideal example of Cross-Training, it can still act as a half-hearted substitute. A few examples of Cross Training activities for runners are

• Cycling

• Swimming

• Yoga/Flexibility Training

• Rowing

• Dancing (Not this kind of dancing though :) 

• General Strength Training

If you want to know more activities which you can do as a part of Cross Training, check out this list.

Why Cross-Train?

If you pick 10 experienced runners at random and ask them to name one benefit of Cross Training, at least 8 of them will mention injury prevention as the primary reason. Though that is a vital and primary focus of Cross-Training, there are a plethora of other reasons why runners should include Cross-Training as a part of their training plan.

• Rehabilitation during injury

• Better running fitness

• Active recovery

• Better aerobic fitness i.e. Optimal usage of oxygen for your metabolic needs

• Beating the boredom (Remember the example of eating potato daily for two weeks. This is applicable to running as well.)

How often should I cross-train?

Cross Training is generally done once or twice in a week apart from your regular running routine.

How awesome will I become after I start cross training?

As a runner, you will become super awesome. The effects of cross training will be shown within a few weeks and you will be on your way to becoming a star runner in your group.

Hope this gives you an insight into the superpowers of Cross-Training. Start planning fun, cross training activities like Frisbee or Cricket with your respective running group and don’t forget to mention in the comments about your corresponding plans and how the actual event went!

- Shiva

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Planning on running a half marathon?

Where we make some excuses for various things but finally give you some useful info about training for a half marathon…

The good people of TWCM surely loved the 10Km training plan post we made recently! A couple of requests for similar plans for the half marathon and full marathon distances threw us over at TWCM Blog Headquarters into a tizzy. All named and unnamed fears about training for long distance races surfaced. Finally, we figured that the solution to all of life’s problems lies in a simple thing called the internet…

In our (sort of humble) opinion, you are ready to train for a half marathon if you have some experience of longish distance running under your belt. Perhaps it would be beneficial if you did actually enjoy running in general, but we know that is sometimes an acquired taste. Assuming this is so, and that you have signed up for the race of the year at our registration page, may we first list a few cautions?

  • Long distance running is tough – as is training for it – make sure you are fully fit to embark on this (admittedly wonderful) journey. Get that annual physical out of the way. Talk to your doctor. 
  • Patience is a virtue – in training for (and actually, even running) long distance races, the patient shall surely inherit the earth. Don’t do too much too soon! It’s neither helpful nor worth it.
  • Rest is best – New runners think they have to run every.single.day. As if you are going to forget it if you miss a day. You won’t. Give yourself sufficient rest, trust us, you will thank us on race day (and for the rest of your life).
  • Cross training – does not mean ‘running’ faster or slower. It’s defined as anything but running. Good options are walking, cycling, swimming. Bad options are TV watching and junk food binges. 
  • Walking in a race – is perfectly fine. We all do it. Don’t worry about it! In fact when you read on you will notice that a special training scheme actually recommends it!!
  • Time Goal – if this is your first race, your main goals should be finish, be strong at the end, and generally be happy and smiley all the time. Save time goals for later!  

There are many places you can go for a training plan for a half marathon. As the number of runners on our roads has increased dramatically over the past few decades, so have trainers and plans. Of course many of the old-timers ‘train themselves’ as well… In this post, we discuss some of the most popular, sort of conventional plans… If you are a beginner, this may be a good place to start learning about the art and science of marathons and half marathons…

  • Hal Higdon is a seasoned, veteran marathoner and author of several books, including the Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He has written for the running magazine, Runner’s World, for half a century now! Here you can find his free half marathon training plan for beginners: Hal Higdon’s Plan
  • Jeff Galloway is our personal favourite. He is the ‘inventor’ of the Galloway Run Walk Run routine. He has coached and training hundreds of thousands of runners and is a popular motivational speaker as well. You can check out his free half marathon training plan here: Run Walk Run Plan. 
  • The magazine giant Runner’s World will sell you a training plan – we know of someone who knows someone who likes these plans for sure. Check it out here, read also the detailed explanations there about Easy Runs, Tempo Runs and other such: Runner’s World Training 
  • In recent times, as busy executives and generally over-worked people have voluntarily entered into this recreational running gig, out of interest, for health reasons, etc., there is some focus on training routines that require less time. In this sort of space is the ‘Run Less Run Faster’ program of Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss. You have to understand the system here – and buy the book: Run Less Run Faster Web-Site. This may be something you aspire for for later maybe? After your first half marathon, when you feel like advancing to a full marathon in the Chennai Marathon in 2015? Bill Pierce is visiting India currently so make sure you meet him and look knowledgeable about the “Furman FIRST” program!! 
    Furman

To our minds, the above prescribed reading assignment will get you going on training for your first Half Marathon, with a song on your lips. Pick one of the options, and try it out! Make your own spreadsheet, listing what the planned routine is for each day of the week. 

Final Note: Join a training group – in Chennai we have several super options for you, via the most awesome Chennai Runners. Click below and join any of them! If you are in Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi and LOTS OF OTHER PLACES, there are running groups you can join. Trust us, you will fall in love ’cause Runners Are The Best People On The Planet.

Training runs Emailer 180714-01

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Let’s get this party started!

In which Preeti tries to convince you of the benefits of a ‘training plan’

At this time, we hope that several of you have taken the plunge and registered for a race. Or The Race. Perhaps you are now wondering what to do about it. Treat it like a (painful) Sunday outing in December, or train for it? We don’t need to tell you what is sensible here.

If you ask googlebaba, s/he will tell you all you need to ever know about training for a 10Km race. In fact, s/he will tell you more than you need to know. Before you know it, you are convinced you have ITB, Shin Splints, PF, DAF and Housemaid’s Knee (shout out in the comments if you remember this reference). And you will flit from training program to training program confusing yourself, your neighbours, and your dog in the process.

Well, we are not internet-averse, we admit. In fact, much of our running gyaan is gleaned from there. And a few thousand miles on the road. And unending discussions with our friends. But the culmination of it all is this:

Training plan 10Km creative 2

Download this and give it a spin! The terms are self-explanatory but we would like to re-iterate a few things nevertheless:

  • Consult your doctor and seek his/her approval for a gentle exercise program
  • Buy a good pair of shoes – and socks
  • Find a friend to go on this journey with you
  • Set an alarm or two to make sure you can wake up
  • Eat a small banana before you head out, if you feel like it
  • Carry a bottle of water and take gentle sips

The most important thing to train is your mind, actually. The muscles, legs, knees, all these will fall in place once you set your mind to to making this change in your life! Do keep in mind that this is not a professionally qualified person’s training plan, it’s just some collective wisdom type plan. Listen to  your body’s cues!

Tell us how this worked out for you? We value your feedback! This program is for beginners and you can tweak it a bit if you have a little prior experience! #ThereIsARunnerInYou #TWCM14

-Preeti, with Krishna & Ashwin

Useful links:: The Run Walk Run Method Hal Higdon’s 10 Km Plan 

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Running 101

In which Shiva tells you to begin at the beginning! 

STARTHow do I join the running movement that’s spreading like wildfire in these parts? Everyone faces this question at the beginning (I know I did!). To answer this, I present to you Running 101, a set of tips for those who want to take up running.

1. Sign up for a race: Signing up for a race implies that you have committed yourself towards something. By doing this, you are fixing a goal that is real and visible.

2. Find the right running gear: Find the right type of shoe which fits you. Identify the type of garments that you are most comfortable in while running. Would you want to listen to your music on your MP3 player, or would you want to use your smartphone to double as a music player and run tracker? There is no ‘one size fits all’ method here, but there are certain standard guides and measures to help you make your decision.

3. Run with a group: This is by far the strongest factor which will make a difference to your running. Find a group near your area and start running with them. Running groups typically have people in various calibers training together and the experienced runners take turns in guiding the beginners until they climb to the next level. This is a great chance to meet new people, train intelligently, and most importantly, beat the boredom of running alone.

4. Warm up & Stretch: These are a vital part of running and are often overlooked. We like the experience of the Runner’s High, but not the pain which comes afterwards when we are asked to touch our toes without bending our knees. These warm up and cool down routines are important in avoiding injury. This brings us to our next common topic of discussion…

5. Listen to your body: Let’s face it. We are not Superman. We do not have superhuman powers bestowed by the rays of the sun. We are ordinary human beings who are prone to injury. Running is not injurious, but injuries can happen on account of running. Having good running form, listening to our body, and not overdoing things, coupled with strengthening exercises, will make sure that we stay far away from an injured leg. All runners face injuries. The difference lies in the manner we treat and overcome that.

6. Have fun: This trumps all the other points mentioned above. Running long distances is an experience. We get through the initial struggle to overcome the inertia, followed by the body getting into a rhythmic motion and eventually reaching the “Runner’s zone”. This is what we runners are addicted to. And adding to that, there is a joy in boasting to people that we ran <Insert long distance here> :-)

That’s it! It’s as simple as that! In future posts we will talk about training plans and strength training and so on, in the meantime, be sure to take the First Step!

Happy running, folks!!!

This article is written by Shivram Lakshminarayanan, one of the most charismatic and popular runners on our roads. This enthusiastic “Bessie Flyer” epitomizes “Runners are nice guys” and always manages to make newbies feel welcome & old guns feel special!

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Why we do what we do

In which, we ask you, the reader an important existential question, wind up this portion of the blog and move on to greener pastures..

In the past month since the inception of the TWCM14 blog, we began at the beginning. Why do we do what we do? What is it about running that makes our hearts go boom and ours eyes light up? Why is it that we are willing to endure insanely early morning wake-ups and other such hardships just for the pleasure of a run?

Doc Ram kicked it off with a low-down on the various health benefits of running – be sure to quote him the next time someone walks up to you and says ‘You are thin already, why do you have to run marathons?’ :-)

Have you experienced the runner’s high? It’s a harmless enough condition, we assure you, and perfectly legal and the feel good can last the whole day! Shreya talked us through that important motivator in our running in ‘Riding the runner’s high’.

“Ultramarathon Man” Dean Karnazes is an amazing man. His running exploits are legendary. In his (now kinda old) book “50/50″ available here (amazon), he talks about his experiences running across the 50 states of the US, on 50 consecutive days!

Dean

Our local hero, Ram, who coincidentally is off to run his 50th marathon this weekend, in beautiful San Francisco, regaled us with quips and tips about how he manages to run on his travels within and outside India in ‘Running takes you places

Finally, we diverted your attention to the most important reason running sustains as a hobby. That one true driver of all human actions – yes, yes – SELFIES! Well, photographs in general. Of course, food, a bursting-at-the-seams friends list on FB, and spending quality time with your BFF are reasons, but what’s the point of it all unless it’s captured for posterity, right?

We have tons more to say, but in fact, not much that hasn’t already been said. Like this little gem we found from a professional runner couple’s blogwhy-do-you-run

We know you like to run, which is why you are here, reading our blog, running our race, becoming part of our family. While we regroup and start talking about training and preparation and put together tips and tricks to help you in your running career (oops, hobby), do take a moment to tell us, why do YOU like to run? 

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Smile! You are on Camera!

In which Soundarya & Preeti bring you the ultimate collection of running fun!

All across the country we see running communities building – a group of enthusiastic, optimistic, fit individuals coming together several times a week to spread some joy and make the world a better place. The best part is that this movement is being well documented – for posterity! If you ask us, the best use of Social Media is this. To bring the message that runners are taking over the world! We used the liberty of browsing around on the ‘net to bring you some highlights from recent times.

Scroll on and enjoy this little tribute to you – the smiling faced, colourful runner. And maybe, just maybe, this will serve as a bit of motivation for the sceptic to enter our fold?

Chow-Food

 

 

Are you a foodie? Well, this is just a sample of the foods that were recently consumed by runners, early in the morning, after their sweaty workout. While cakes to celebrate birthdays and special occasions are the norm, fruit, laddoos, brownies also feature. Denizens of Chennai are not above a quick shot of sambar, idli & masala vadai either! If you like food, we suggest you come join us for a run, assured of a treat after!

 

 

 

Chow-Dance

 

 

Runners are gawky, serious individuals with no sense of fun, right? WRONG! Check these guys out, getting their groove on! Marathons and running events are party time, people! Give us some music – perhaps some drums – and watch us move! 

 

 

Chow-Neon1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love neon? Well, funky bright clothes in all colours of the rainbow – stuff you cannot DREAM of wearing to your office or college, are the norm for runners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although some prefer another look entirely – something that will SURELY not work in a board room. :-)

Chow-Neon2

No one reading your motivational messages and inspirational quotes on your facebook page? We have the solution for you!  You always have at least 10 friend requests after a run, you can take an awesome selfie, you have several photos to post on your Facebook profile everyday, your photo is liked, commented upon, and shared within seconds of uploading – just by listening to your alarm today!  

Chow-FB1
Chow-FB2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chow-Relationships

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last but not the least, those relationships that you hold close to your heart? Spouse, child, BFF, well, you find new ways to celebrate them. Check out these happy happy folks here – from a sense of accomplishment at completing a tough feat, to just plain joyousness at spending time together – these runners are over the moon! 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it, not a dour face in the house. We know running is healthy, it builds character, makes us stronger, keeps life-style diseases at bay, blah blah. But all that hardly bears thought because we all know that running is, and us runners are, FUN! Do share your fun and happy moments with us in the comments section!

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Running Takes You Places!

His legions of fans vicariously enjoy his trips, and his reports of the myriad races he has run. “The Monk” Ram took time out of his busy travel schedule to share with us the coolest things he has encountered over the course of his running career…

We all take to running for a variety of reasons and the benefits are plenty.  To see what motivates others to run, I did an unscientific experiment.  I pulled random paragraphs from a few posts on the net talking about why people run.  I put these blobs in to a word cloud engine for sentiment analysis and look what it threw up.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see the ‘prominence’ of Travel in the word cloud. (The size of word reflects how often it was found in the given text). Of course, I have no disagreement with this!

Running has clearly taken me to places that I wouldn’t have dreamt of going otherwise, both locally and internationally.  In fact, I ran my first marathon in Singapore by squeezing out time between my business trips in 2005.  And I might get to run my 50th marathon later this month in San Francisco if my business travel firms up.   In fact, whenever an International business trip shows up on my calendar, the first thing I do is to look for a running event close by.

Last year I was able to run two marathons in beautiful Switzerland that way.  Though I had passed through Geneva several times, I didn’t visit the city till I ran a marathon there.  Similarly, the majestic Matterhorn would have never been on my list had it not been for the Zermatt Marathon.

RamPic2 I try get out for a run as soon as I reach a new place.  It helps me a) get out of jet lag faster b) familiarizes with the local surroundings and weather  c) locate a convenience store in case food emergency.  That last one is very important, as many countries I visit are not vegetarian friendly.  So, its good to know the whereabouts of the nearest ‘potti kadai’ to get some fruits & vegetables as the last resort or in some cases the only option.

Running also helps see places with a new perspective.  Many business travelers refer to business trips as the ‘triangle of death’; meaning all their time is spent in just shuttling between Airport – Hotel – Office with no time for much else.  But squeezing some time for a run or even a quick stroll in a new place will show the city in an entirely new light.  The sights and sounds of the city will be very different on foot.  I get a much better feel of the local culture and people by being part of the crowd than by gazing at them from a car.

That’s how I discovered Shenzhen Bay during my last visit to China.  I had been to Shenzhen many times and taken the majestic bridge to cross over from Hong Kong into China.  But got to marvel the colossal bridge only when I saw it from Shenzhen Bay.

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This time, after losing my way a little bit, I found Shenzhen Bay and it was worth the labor. With an awesome view of the bridge, miles of track and umpteen recreational options, Shenzhen Bay was buzzing with people. The vibrancy of the place rubbed off on me and I ended up doing a half marathon instead of the originally planned 10km!

Some might call it the hazard of running in a new place, but I consider ‘getting lost in a new place’ fun and part of the game (as long as you don’t get in to trouble!). I have gotten lost in many places but always end up discovering something new like a place to eat or see. But three things are essential before venturing out in a new place; a) Photo ID, b) Hotel address in local language & c) cash. With these and some basic sign language, I mostly find my way back even if it means a few extra kms of running!

So friends, next time you are going somewhere, do take your running gear with you. Go for a run and do your own discovery of the new place. And, do remember to share your experiences with us. Remember, you can always Do More & Start Running.

This article is penned by Ram Viswanathan

Ram Viswanathan is a co-founder of Chennai Runners, and an IBM distinguished engineer. A ‘late bloomer’ as he calls himself, he started running in his forties. Not that you can tell, considering the sheer number of marathons he has run, in so many countries of the world. A beloved mentor, running partner and friend to many, Ram’s facebook page is a treasure trove of running photos. He blogs here on various topics including running, marathons, techie stuff, and Chennai! 

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