Monday, January 20, 2014

The Run 2014

As far as results go, this was my worst performance till date. I have run 5 half marathons in the last 4 years and 2:11:34 is the absolute worst of them all. And its not unexpected. There are no miracles. I got what I prepped for.

Having said that, I must say, Mumbai has upped its game on fitness. With each passing year, more and more people are improving their timings. I was was ranked 1700 something in my category 2200 something overall. In 2009 a friend of mine ran the marathon and clocked the same time. He was 600 something. He clocked the same the next year and was 1000 something. In 2014 the same timing got me 2200. Wow Mumbai, you rock! 

And it was so evident on the road. I agree I was slower than previous years, but mostly, by the time you reach Haji Ali, the crowd disaggregates . As you hit Chowpati, it visibly thins down. But not this time. This time it stayed crowded till the end. Interestingly, there were girls (ranging from in their 20s to probably mid 30s) running alongside me who not only kept pace but beat me to the finish line. Incredible! It was a little embarrassing but what the heck. Great showing by girls...

Another inspiring bit was the blade runners. I saw a Surd, a one leg amputee on the blades starting off at the Bandra sea link alongside me. He was a short stocky guy. Well built. He carried a thin long stick with him, perhaps for support. Once the race started, I lost him in the crowd. As I continued my run, I caught sight of with him again around the 9 km mark. He must have slowed down due to pain / discomfort as I generally keep a constant pace and I was catching up with him. Seeing him pull through the journey sent a shiver down my spine. I slowed down and kept myself couple of paces behind him slightly to his left so as not to make him conscious. He was running to the far right, perhaps to avoid getting caught up in the crowd. I could see him grimace, and yet push through. A lump formed in my throat. I so wanted to tell him how inspired and honored I felt running besides him. But then, thats not like me. Right! I broke away and ran ahead. I hope he finished the race. But having seen him run gave me enough of an adrenalin boost that I ran 14.5 km before my first break. Typically, I take a break around 12 km mark. He helped me push myself harder. If not for him I'd have clocked worse than I did. God bless him!

Anyhow, no knee pain, no pulled back. Only 2 blisters. Manageable. I'm happy to have finished it in the time I did. 

The big question. With declining performance year on year, 2 years in a row, will there be a next time? We'll know...

Post 200

This blog post has been an 8 year journey. Its seen my joys, my misery(some of it), my wild and way off target predictions, my views getting shaped on things I care about. It may not have my deepest fears or confessions but it does recount an evolutionary journey. In between there have been long hiatus. Those were my darkest days. There may be no record of them in this blog, but they are etched so deep in my conscience that they don't need recounting. Nor do I want to revisit them.

I hope to continue giving prose to my thoughts as they churn and soak in the world around me. A view of the world through my lenses.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Post #33 Going Back 13 years.

Back in the day, when mobiles were a craze and the SMS was just catching on, I had an itch. What if I could get the my bank account balance on my mobile. Not just for one bank but a consolidated balance across all banks.

The idea got me excited. I had a Nokia mobile with a serial connector. I hooked up my mobile to my desktop and wrote an ugly little program in VB.

I remember I had accounts with HDFC, ICICI and Citi. It took me a good while and along the way I got my accounts blocked for exceeding max tries for wrong passwords. Finally I had cracked it. I could get balances across all 3 of them. Each one of them had their own checks and balances. One of them checked for Referer Header and logged out in absence of one. Another one used javascript to create "POST". and so on.

Cut to 2013, When I was toying with the idea of my website, I the thought of revisiting this had occurred to me, but then I let go because I thought, It would be difficult to write this service for dozens of Banks in India. How will I keep the passwords safe. With hundreds of thousands of users using my website, I'll have to invest a lot to make things secure. But a year on and I being the only user, I think I can do it. I should do it to make my my own life better. I take 30-40 min every month just downloading the statements from the banks and then uploading these on my site. If I could write the program, this could be automated saving precious time.

And so I embarked on this journey all over again. Its fun. With its usual challenges et al. I started on this last week. I've had success in one of the banks, though I think they certainly have upped the game and it took me some time to understand how I should work around it.

Its a lot of work. I need to make an entire framework of how to schedule these downloads etc. I'm not even sure of whether this would work from within AWS environment.

A lot of challenges and the thrill of doing it... That's what I live for :)

The Eve of the Run

I sit here nervous about tomorrow's run. With the minimal prep, I'm afraid I'll embarrass myself. None the less I've charged my mp3 player, have tanked myself up with sugar and other carbs. Laid my clothes and shaved for the photoshoot.

My bldg. soc. has its annual day today. Not sure how long will the celebrations go. I have to get up at 4 am tomorrow and the music is playing out loud. So not very sure, when I get to sleep.

I'm wondering about last year. The times have changed... or have they?

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Impending Run 2014!

Its time of the year for Mumbai Marathon. I haven't blogged about my preparedness or my expectations this time. The reason is I have few expectations. Starting April, I had a heart scare and kept me off the treadmill till September. The other problem was by back that's become too fragile. I had 3 back spasm incidents in 2013. To add to the misery, due to lack of exercise, I've put on about 5 kilos of unwanted weight. Add them together and summarize, I'm a gonner. I'm not confident of even completing the race. None the less, I registered in July and so I went to collect the bib et al.

My stamina has also suffered a big fall. If I could put a finger to it, I've never run well since my last bout of flu in Dec-2012. Its a shame. I did not run a single 10 km in 54 min or a 7 km in 37 min. 11.2 kmph which was my hallmark till last year has come to 10kmph this year. I've not done a single 16 km run this season.

Will there be a next time, was my muse last year after my dismal performance. All my fears about giving up are coming true. If you are not improving, you are declining. How prophetic!!