Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pulse Pressure

I personally have borderline hypertension, but not very concerning (per doctor). When trying the Digital BP instrument I got from the US, I checked my own BP. As one would expect the systolic pressure came to around 130. The diastolic was well within the normal range. It was around 72. As a layman I would have just left it there. I however, decided to research it over the internet. What I found, freaked me out. Its called Pulse Pressure. Basically its Systolic pressure - Diastolic pressure. For normal people its around 40. For me it was 60. So what? It seems some research shows that high pulse pressure increases stroke risk. 20% more risk for every 10 points beyond 40. Ouch!

Since I stopped running this spring, I am worried about my weight gain. I usually ran 25 KMs a week burning about 2500 cal. As I stopped running, I was fearing the worst. I was researching the net one day when I read about Green Tea and its benefits. It helps in burning fat and reducing weight. One of the several benefits was reducing heart problems. Its Godsent. I've started taking it regularly despite its taste. Its helped me keep my weight in check. I haven't gained a single pound in the last month despite stopping running. Yesterday, I measured my BP and was surprised to see my pulse pressure coming down to ~50.

This habit is for keeps. Green Tea. 1 liter of it every day. Served chilled in a bottle. Its worked wonders.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Android vs Apple

I was using Google Nexus for more than a year till one day(about 2 weeks back) I threw it in a fit of rage and broke something important enough for it to stop working.

I'm not getting into rationalizing what I did. The next day, I went and bought an iPhone 4 for 33K from Alpha.

Ever since, I've been tempted to write about how the two compare. So here goes.

Firstly, Android Nexus N is the best phone amongst Andriod phones because google updates it to the latest version of Andriod automatically. For other phones such as Motorola, HTC, Samgsung the ugrades are slow or practically non-existent. I personally was running 2.3.

With Maps and Wi-Fi Hotspot feature in iOS3. The feature gap with Android has really narrowed. The only big thing out of reach is Flash support. Ego goes beyond reason and technology. This one feature is hostage to Apple's bloated ego.

Usability in general
Andriod has too many option buttons to it. The back button, home button, search, right click kind. It can be a little overwhelming for a new person. Also, hepatic control of Nexus N didn't quite work out for my wife. I was kind of okay with it. My wife hated my phone.

My daughter never played with my Android. She loves my iPhone and iTouch. Simplicity is the key and iPhone scores big over Android.

Options which kick in if I press and hold the item offer more options but also need higher user sophistication. I liked some of these features in Android. iPhone keeps it simple. Android has wider options that iPhone.

Office Work
The biggest draw for me came from MS exchange sync. With my Android, I could never sync up my Calendar with my Office mail (MS exchange) even after the latest version upgrade where all I had to do is click a checkbox to sync my calendar. I tried loading Google Calendar tool and installing on my office laptop. Its a clumsy way of doing things and I really do not have permission to install apps on my office laptop. With iPhone it works like a charm. I'm really pleased with this feature.

The pasted excel tables emails get completely distorted in Android. iPhone retains the formatting.

Grouping the conversations is supposed to be a Google thing. Ironically I have that feature in iPhone and is missing in Android (for my office mails).

The time it takes to load the mail content after I click on it is pathetically slow in Android. Its zipping fast in iPhone.

Media Player
One thing I liked about Android is that I could choose to build the playlist on the fly by keep adding to the currently playing list. iPhone does not have it.

One feature about iOS 4.3 I love is that I can play media including video stored on my local network on my iphone. Yesterday I watched a good part of Charlie Wilson's War on my iPhone streaming from my network drive. It was cool.

Gadgets controls such as media player were on my home screen on Android. Not so on iPhone.

Phone Quality
The iPhone Camera is better than Android.
The voice quality of iPhone is better.
The voice levels of iPhone is better.
Speaker phone of iPhone is better.
Battery life is the same.

Switching to Wi-Fi was always a problem with my nexus one. It would keep me on my mobile Edge network even when I was at home. To move it to Wi-Fi, I had to go to settings and Wi-Fi. Not that I had to choose the network, but I needed to go navigate to the screen before my Nexus one realized it had a Wi-Fi available and then it would switch to it.

My edge network would disappear a couple of time a day at office. I had to go to Airplane mode and come back to get my Edge back.

iPhone does not have either of these problems. Good.

My earphone socket on the Andriod had started giving me trouble some time back(after about a year of use). I'll know about iPhone as I use it.

Overall, I'm happy I made the switch. For me iPhone rules.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Having completed 1 year of running, I presented myself a bright Red Nike jersey. It had "Run" printed on it. I liked it for its simplicity. No big words, no fancy / witty captions. Means exactly what it reads.

I had fancied running Half Marathon in less than 2 hours. It was not an unrealistic dream. It was well calibrated. Based of my past performance and had "Realistic" stamped all over it. I even came close to achieving it back in Feb.

Thane Marathon is a little tougher than Mumbai Stan Chart as it traverses Ghodbunder Road which is a little hilly in parts. I did 1min 20secs over 2 hours, which translates to about ~220 meters in a 21 KM race. It was my first formal Half Marathon run and best time for the distance. In the past 2 (informal / practice) attempts, I had clocked 9 min and 12 min over.

With ACL injury, running another half marathon seems a tall order. The doc has said no to running. MRI wasn't very positive. Hence, I have stopped running completely. I think I'll start again after the monsoons. I'll also apply for the next Mumbai Marathon. Whether I'm able to run, is just a Rs.600 question (participation fee).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Run Forrest Run

I'm tense and scared. I've done MRI on my right knee and will be consulting the doctor tomorrow. I hope the doctor will find some way to keep me going on the tread mill.

I've been a decent athlete but never really been a runner. The farthest I had ever run was in 1997. It was probably around 4 kms and I almost died getting back home. I re-discovered running in the winter of 2009.

Trying to lose weight, I found running possibly the most effective way of keeping healthy. 3 months into running, I got my cholesterol numbers under control, in 6 months, I stripped 2" off my waist.

In Jan-2010, my boss visited the US. Sameer is a fit man. He is about 7 years my senior and pretty energetic. He told me about his maiden half marathon experience and I started wondering if I could ever run 13 miles.

The day he left, I started taking running seriously. Winter of 2010 was one of the harshest winters in DC with record snowfall. As I could not go out, I took Washington gym membership and started running on treadmill. I still remember the first time I ran 6 miles in an hour. It was early march and it was late night (10:00 pm) I finished running. I was the only one there. I had raised my hands like I was crossing the ribbon at the end of the race.

By early April, I was doing 10 mile run once a week. And finally on the day I turned 37, I ran my first half marathon. It was on the treadmill, and I clocked, 02:09. It was tiring, but it felt good.

After I returned to Mumbai I took up membership at the local gym. I always ran on the treadmill. At office, I met a few enthusiasts, and we started comparing notes. By August, I was seriously practicing for Mumbai Marathon. Unfortunately, last year was the first time they introduced qualifying time and selection lottery. As I had never run a Marathon before, my name was put through the lottery and rejected. I received the check for Rs. 570 with a regret letter couple of weeks before the race. It broke my heart. I decided to run my own half marathon on the eastern express highway. It was the first time I ran the distance on the road. Let me just say it was quite different from running on a tread mill in the cosy confines of a gym.

I researched the net and found out another marathon was being planned in Thane on 27-Feb. I jumped on the opportunity and got myself registered. I had now started practicing on the road. During one of these practice runs, I felt pain in my right knee. The pain persisted for a day and then went away.

I finally ran the Half Marathon on the D-day clocking 02:01. I thought it was okay for a almost 38 yr first timer. The next day however, I could not walk. My knee hurt so much, I could not bend it.

From then on, my knee would hurt every I'd run and the next day and then it would be okay. As time progressed, it became worse, I stopped running on the road and went back to the treadmill. But the hurt kept worsening. I reduced the distance from 16kms to 10 to 8 to 5.

Then last week I finally decided to visit a doctor. He has asked to just stop running completely and ordered xray and MRI to check damage to bone / cartilage. He will review my case tomorrow.