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Soooo many races!

Navy Air Force Half Marathon in September and Marine Corps Marathon 2018 in October rounded up my year. More details on those later.

There was a small but beautiful New Year’s Eve party at my place.

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Before that I got myself this calendar.

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Somewhere along the line, it occurred to me that I need a new challenge for the new year. What better (read dumb) idea than running EVERY DAY! Thus born #RunEveryDay.

Run every day of the year and have at least 1000 miles at the end of the year and even try to get 1500 total miles for the year. It was going well. 260+ miles until March 25, not a single day went without a run. #Brilliant, right?

Then…..

I ride my bike all over DC. My mountain racer, GT Avalanche 10. Her name is Heather. DC is supposedly a bike friendly city but there have been some biker deaths lately. Also depending on where you are in DC, you need to decide to ride the bike lane (or lack of one) or the sidewalks. 16th street NW is where “villagers” speed thru, coming into town to enjoy all the amazements this beautiful city has to offer, or speed thru to get back to their homes after trashing my lovely city. No way I ride the bike lane there. Anyhoo, I was crossing the street and on to the sidewalk and I found myself kissing the concrete. Got up, rode back home, went for a 5 mile run. Got back and I was taking off my compression socks, it was wet. From blood. Arm is hurting a lot. And limited mobility. I remember I landed hard on my right hand. Chain ring cut through my right calf. There were a bunch of cuts, 2 of them deep.

Next morning, I go on a 3 mile run. More blood on my socks. Also my doctor later said there might be a fracture on my elbow. #RunEveryDay – dead. 2 days later at the Orthopedics’s office, I got the wonderful news that there is, in fact, a fracture at the head of the radius on my right arm. My right arm is on a sling now.

A few days later, there was a 10 mile race – Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. On a Sunday. The Friday before the race, I had dinner with Amy. She was telling me her injury stories and how I need to be very careful with mine. And that I need complete rest.

I agreed.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was a beautiful race. As it is, every year. I can’t find words to express how cool it is to run through full bloom for most of the race. And it is a flat course. But running with an arm in the sling was frustrating to say the least. But getting compliments from strangers for running while injured was pretty dope.

 

Amy did not talk to me for 10 days.

More to come……..

Limitless

I should have titled this “weightless” or “weightloss” or something to do with “weight”. But limitless has more drama. Plus that’s how I feel lately. download (1)

I go to a group workout, bootcamp, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Through Vida Fitness, the #1 gym in DC. Wednesdays there’s a bootcamp in the evening as well which I just started going to. Yes, 2 bootcamps, 1 day. Typically I burn over a 1000 kcal during one of those 50 minute sessions. Easily. BTW, my badass trainer Katie runs these bootcamps! raising-hands

About 5 weeks back, I started on a path to eat better. Yes I am a plant based athlete but it does not automatically mean I am a healthy eater. I am one of those *junk food vegans* (JFV)! Yes, it’s a thing. Well, lemme say, I WAS, a JFV. Enter the two new beautiful human vegans. Around the same time! They started “addressing” my bad food habits. Got called out on the following:

I don't like most vegetables (I knowEye-roll.fw_-300x300). 
Love me all the fried stuff. Samosas, fries yumm... 
I snack all the time. 
Cupcakes and donuts - all of them! emoji5
Potatoes: All.the.way.
Bread. Bread. Bread.

Long story short, I dropped 8 lbs in less in that 5 weeks. Probably the healthiest weight loss in history. Hit me up if you like to know the specifics.

Wait…

I drank more beer in that same 5 weeks than the entirety of last year. Honest! Then how…? c60e666a9af7bcd1a7b887437b3520c3_384 I know. 4 out of 5 of the recent weekends, I burned 6000+ calories, each (Saturday and Sunday combined). Work hard play hard, right homies? Run, bike, HIIT, yoga, and wait for it….

Zumba!

I’m a Zumba bitch now. emoji-cool-guy-pillow-with-cool-blue-hair--82F6B28D.zoom

I am not trying to be a role model here. Nor I am trying to tell you anything good about approaching workouts and weight loss. A lil bragging? May be. emoji-happy-thumbs-up.jpg

This morning, it was 78° – 80° during bootcamp. It was just me at the group class so Katie worked out with me. SeaMoji-boom I love working out with Kaite, my favorite sessions. Something extra in the way she pushes me as a workout partner, from a trainer!

OK OK, back to the story. It was so humid, the heat index must have been 85ish. Plus it was one tough workout! The old Saiju would have burned, like, 1200 kcal but I only burned about 900! img_5553 Even a minor change in body weight plays a big part in your performance! Truth. On Friday, I ran 3.5 miles with Katie at about 8:40 / mile! That’s a big deal. Yes, I am lighter on my feet, more agile, have more energy. Plus all the beer!

You know I am diabetic, right? I set an aggressive fucking goal for myself. I will reverse diabetes by the end of the year.

There.      Accountability…      created.

Run a marathon with no run training

#HowTo #DIY #HipFlexor

Start hip flexor training about 30 days prior to the race

Strengthening workouts exclusively on your hip flexor,  twice a week with your trainer

Learn home hip flxor strengthening routines from your trainer (and try to do it at home at least once before the race)  download (1)

Stretch extensively, like, all the time  (learn from your cats)

Get a stand-up desk at work

Increase the number of training sessions to 3 per week, 2 weeks prior to the race

Eat K. Eat a LOT OF K. Dates, Bananas, coconut water, Nuun…..

Yoga 4 times a day week

No alcohol until the race (then make up for lost time)

Dye your hair fiery pink/orange/yellow (it helps,… serious)

DO NOT RUN UNTIL RACE DAY
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No training marathons

2011

It never rains in L.A. But on March 20, 2011, it rained the whole day. No, it poured like the super heavy monsoon rains in India.

Why, how, you ask?

Because I was running my second marathon. See, my first ever marathon was in Estes Park, Colorado, on June 2010, which happens to be the highest paved marathon in the US. Why would someone living in flat fucking Florida run his first marathon at 9000ft+ elevation?

Stupid

Anyhoo, what was supposed to be a nice spring 70ish weather turned out to be (on and off) freezing rain and sleet, till about mile 23.

But I feeneesh.

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Less than a year later, L.A. understood me. L.A. knew exactly what I needed to run a marathon – Rain.

Hmm… Why am I telling you this, now?

Well, I’m running DC Rock n Roll Marathon on March 10. Wait… I’m registered to run…. So I might as well. How much training did I get? None, until Feb 9. I’m gonna go and pretend to run this anyway.

See my L.A. Marathon training was a disaster. I got IT band syndrome on week 4 of my 18 weeks training. So I ran that race with no training run for 14 weeks leading up to the race. Cold, wet, knee pain, through it all, against all the odds, I finished.

219019_10150147314466886_3943385_o (2)I’m hoping to wondering if I can pull the same magic out of my butt again on March 10. This time, there was the 4 week long flu, 6 week long headache bullshit and some laziness – hence no run training.

The only hope, to not have to be carried off the course on a stretcher, is my HIPFLEXERS ONLY training with Katie from now till the gun goes off on race day morning. Continuously. And yoga.

If I believed in prayers, the only thing I had to do was to be on my knees, crying, praying, until race day.
Some significant people from 2010/2011:
Brad - partner in (running) crime
Alyssa - trainer
L.A & Mike- trainers and hosts in Denver
Shantanu (& Sonali) - host(s) in L.A. And keeper of sanity
Mercedes & Luke - greeters at finish
Rajesh & Sona - party people

 

The Shitshow

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This picture says it all.

2017, the shitshow comes to an end.

0 marathons, 2 half, 1 10M, 1 10K, 2 5Ks. The last race was in May, Lace Up For RAINN 5K in DC. Had to defer MCM to next year. Missed 2 registered marathons, Virginia Beach and Running For The Bay.

Ran coldest race, 17° at the start of Rock n Roll DC!

Let’s recap. Had a minor adductor injury in Feb. Decided to get a Ph.D on tearing-just-a-hyper-stretched-muscle by running and HIIT. Races in March, April and May. Continued HIIT till November while rehabing.

The reason I finally decided to take complete rest is some unexplained headaches. Like getting hit by a hammer on my head when I land on my foot, every step, while sprinting. An MRI showed unmistakable presence of BRAIN (woohoo) with no major issues but some “white matter” in it. I am pretty sure that is just a high concentration of extra IQ but I am forced to consult with a neurologist, first week of Jan.

Fine, I’ll play.

Doctors – necessary evil.

What learned was it is hard for me to get up and train / run, without a goal! But Katie helped big time (yes still training with Katie), without her I’d be a complete slob, gained extra 20 lbs etc.

Thank you Katie.

What did I do with all the extra time by not running, you ask?

Well, I got much more involved in Animal Rights activism. To the point PETA had to lol-emojipresent me with the following:

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Thank you PETA! I feel honored.

Also elevated my alcohol game. Still haven’t put on any extra pounds, surprisingly!

Tentative plans for next year? (Provided, no more playing macho while injured)

MCM
Rock n Roll DC
At least 1 ultra (I have a couple that I have my eyes on) 
At least 1 trail marathon (yes, I know which ones(s))

*Back in the high life again…

So almost 14 weeks after Iceland, epic fail at running, last Saturday morning! Could not go for more than 1 mile due to some new shit on my right foot! WTF! What a runner to do?

Go to my rolfer, the miracle worker.

One session one afternoon. The next morning, I ran to the gym, about .5 mile, NO PAIN! Saturday can’t get here sooner!

BTW my physical therapist asked me last week why do I keep showing up for therapy. And that I am good to go. So I took off the braces and started wearing non-compression socks in a long time.

#Win

*that song is singing for me 

There are other ways to go blind than masturbation

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned my eye issues. I said I’ll explain later.

It’s been over 2 years since I got diagnosed with type II diabetes. At the time when I found out, I was biking / running 3-4 times a week.

WTF, right!

I went through a diabetes eye test a bit later and there were no issues at all. 18 months later, I had a severe *stye attack*, I had to go to an ophthalmologist. She decided it is a good time to do another diabetes eye test and …. wait for it….

I have diabetic retinopathy! Yay!

FML

The only thing worse is if I have to stop running because of this.

Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults. ~National Eye Institute

I am going through laser coagulation treatment now. Hopefully that will contain the leaks and stabilize it. If not, I am moving to Oregon, you know!

Read more
Diabetic Retinopathy – http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy?sso=y
Laser Coagulation – http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/laser-photocoagulation-for-diabetic-retinopathy

A stress reaction

On day 4 of Fire & Ice, after running about 80 miles altogether, I had severe pain on the lower part of my left shin. I ignored it and continued for at least another 30 miles in the next couple of days. I will step forward with my right but I had to drag my left to keep moving. When the race director said he’s not gonna let me go on the last day, it was heartbreaking. He said if I went, I will be by myself, without any support if I needed it. So I pooled in my resources to discuss my options. I talked to Shan, Ellen, Cat, and Matthew (I just met him at this race) and they helped me make the decision to not race the last day (I still went, without my pack for a few miles). Amy (from OK) also chimed in on fb asking me not to do anything stupid and to stop, citing her own bad experience. I came back home and decided to wait for a few days to see if the swelling and the pain will go away. After all it is just a muscle strain, right?

Wrong.

An MRI showed I have severe stress reaction on my left tibia. A stress reaction one teeny tiny step before a stress fracture. Had I raced the last day, I would have come home with a full on tibia fracture. My initial reaction is how thankful I am to those who walked me through the decision making process that night. Special mention to Amy (from OK) for posting the right words, in the right order on that comment on fb and Cat (my dietitian) for calling me back, realizing that I am in crisis mode.

What now?

I have 2 races, a full and a half, on the last 2 Sundays of October. I have been ordered by my doctor and my podiatrist friend to not run at all and go through this rehab routine for the next few weeks. I told them I’d rather kill myself.

Never too early to say thanks….

Remember, it takes a whole city(apparently) for me to get ready for this race. I’ve mentioned a few people before, who have been part of this journey from the beginning. I wanna make sure that I give them proper credit!

Ellen – my race partner, who is to blame for this mess. 12-face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-winking-eye.png She has been inspiring me from the beginning with her performance. And how humble she is about it! And front-ending all the logistics associated with this race. And for all the whiskey and beer and deelish food during our planning sessions! And driving me to race after race after…

Cat – my fabulous dietitian. She gets to be on top of this list because she has made the biggest positive change in my lifestyle. For starters(SWIDT?) I eat vegetables now, not just potatoes. She made me check the nutrition levels in my body and I find out that I have severe D deficiency (that will explain a lot of my physical problems including my eye issues – more on the eye later). Even crazier that she is not vegan herself but now knows everything about vegan diet and a (vegan)diabetic athlete!

George – he makes me smile, throughout every (tough)core training session at VIDA. And remembers every race I do (there was a fucking lot of them – even I couldn’t keep up) and checks with me at the end of every race.

Deepa – you spend a LOT of time with your coworkers. When you have someone you can call a BFF at work, it’s precious. I have no idea how she still manages to keep a smiling face and offers worthwhile responses everytime I am down. And whining.

Shantanu – my bro from anotha mutha. Puts up with all my bullshit (it’s a lot) still welcomes me with open arms everytime I visit LA(which is alot) and picks up my call everytime(again, a LOT), regardless of what time it is. Being a neuroscientist, he dukes out some seriously solid advises that you should never question, but I always do.

Dr. Salcedo – I haven’t said a word about Dr. Salcedo until now, though we have been working together since March (and her lovely assistant Virginia). She is my physical therapist and a tremendous resource for an athlete with her wealth of knowledge. She fixed my tendinitis and my injured back, quickly, like a boss. I learned a LOT about performing like an athlete from her! You can go see her at Chirocentric. Tell her Saiju sent ya!

Lisa – I have not mentioned Lisa either! She is a Rolfer extraordinaire, who keeps my body parts from separating out (or something like that). Cat connected us and it’s been awesome! I cry everytime during the session but feel AMAZING after!

Amy – my RNP who has been on *it* to keep me running and do other crazy things in spite of my diabetes and a slew of related and unrelated shitty issues!

Michelle – I have known Michelle for over 15 years now. I have been talking to her about racing recently and we are going to run a marathon together in October. Talking to her made me pay attention to a lot of minor details that will make a major difference. There are a bunch of them, which I might write about later.

Sumit – my bro I’ve known since 1990 (that’s a whopping 26+ years)! When I was not sure of running this race in the beginning, he talked to me in such a way that made sense to me to push my limits and pursue my goals! Bonus points to him for not using the term YOLO.

Amy (from OK) – my partner in crime, lately. Huge emotional support provider (because I am emotionally weak and a big time whiner), who told me “you are not shallow, you are discerning” which was a revolting concept for me! Bonus points for being an excellent yoga instructor.

Sonali, Rajesh and Sona, Rajesh and Sreeja, Rajesh and Kavitha (haha, they make it easy for me to remember their names), Santhosh and Lekshmi, JK, Tripti, Komal, Thenna…. some way or the other were there for me.

And then there is lovely Stephanie. My kitties love her and so do I. I can go away for races peacefully without worrying about Tango and Foxtrot thanks to Steph being there for us. And she is ALWAYS smiling.

Here is to hoping I won’t let my team down.