Matilda. Running Angel.

89°, feels like 98°! Last mile on the 10 mile (flat) course, a course that did not offer much shade at all. I was walking, struggling. Hard. About to run out of water. How far to the finish? About a half mile?

I saw this girl take off and start running 1f3c3-2640while we were waiting for the gun to go off. She had a bib which means she’s in the race. I saw her come back when I was about half a mile on the course. I guess she did a 5K? There were 5K, 10K, and 10 mile options at the race. Later, about a mile to the finish, I saw her running the opposite direction! Guess she’s running another 5k?

Oh, the struggle to finish! A lil over a half mile (ish) to go. Someone taps me on my shoulder, screaming, “come on man, you got his”, as she was passing me. It was that 5k girl.

I got his? I am not so sure young lady! 15c16cf39f5ab5b857081a285b1c2ecd--innovation-emojis

She doesn’t quit, “come on pick it up, run with me”.

<gulp> Oh! I guess I should.

And I did. download (1)

“Extend your strides, run faster”, she goes.

Ohhh kayy…. Guess I could give it a shot……

Whoa! I am doing it!

“Its about a quarter mile to the finish, let’s sprint”.

With my tired old legs in my severely dehydrated body?

“Come on! You can do this. We got this. See that girl wearing fuchsia? Let’s pass her”.

Looks like that girl is about to hit the finish line but what the hell, let’s try. I pushed hard, with her. Sure enough, we passed her, and that was a fucking strong finish!

We hi-fi.  We hug. We take pictures together. We follow each other on Instagram.

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She’s Matilda. The angel appeared out of nowhere and help me redeem an otherwise sad race, that I was getting ready to file under “pathetic”.

What happened above, happened at Freedom 10 Miler race, at C&O Canal Tow Path, Georgetown. Another excellent race from Bishop’s Events in Washington. It was the hottest race I’ve ever done. 80° fire.pngat the start and 90°fire at the finish. With humidity, it was ‘feels like’ 98°collision.png. Although the course was flat, it meant nothing, there were hardly any shade throughout the course. But…. it’s been broughten.img_5898

This got me thinking. How were I able to find it in me to push that hard when I thought i was done completely and that there was nothing left in me! Moments like that happen a lot, during my races. I always think about Rich Roll’s conversations with many of his guests “when you feel like you are completely empty during a race and that you have nothing left to go on, you are using only about 60% of your capability. There’s more in you to perform”. Easier said than done, usually. You have to find a way to dig deeper. That’s exactly what I did it at this race. With some serious help, that is.

The mission (if I choose to accept) is to find Matilda every race, every time, at the moments of real struggle. I am on it. I will share how I do that, when I figure it out.

I must. So I will.

I like races in Georgetown because I can take DC Circulator to the race and back. I went straight to Vida and did yoga with my fav teacher, Mario. That was the best thing I could offer my battered and bruised body at the time.

Earlier in the day this is what my bathroom scale told me. I was all set to break another PR but fucking weather had shitty plans for me.

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I was chatting with Shan later and learned STUDMFFN8+ (that’s the name of my phone) knows me too well. See the word suggestion! download (1)
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As usual, I had to go workout with Katie and brag about my race the next morning. It was just the two of us, just like I like. No, there is no dry spot on my outfit. It was 80° + at 6 am!

img_5922Wait…. Do I look tired? Wut? 15c16cf39f5ab5b857081a285b1c2ecd--innovation-emojis

See the comment from my friend on my picture!

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And last not the least. At the finish.

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Trail Half Marathon PR!

I can’t remember my half marathon PR. I’m pretty sure that it’s under 1:55 (ish). Anway, it’s been a while since I ran one under 2:00.

When I run, whether a race or a training run, I use apps – Strava, Run Keeper, Nike running, and Charity Miles. All of them. Run Keeper was the first app I ever used, been using it since 2008. So I have long history there. Strava because that’s where most of my friends are. Nike, because I have an Apple watch and also because I think that is the most accurate in tracking. Charity Miles because they give money to Girls on the Run, every time I run! What’s funny though, is that none of these apps give me consistent numbers. Then again, there are some factors that affect the tracking numbers, such as, when the app was turned on, how long it took for the app to start tracking, whether the app was able to maintain continuous connection with satellites etc.

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There is a local group in DC that puts out races throughout the year called Bishop’s Events. Most of their Washington races are at the C&O Canal Towpath, at the west end of Georgetown. Yes, trail races! The courses are typically super flat.

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Sunday morning, 7:30. I ran the EOD Warrior Half Marathon, benefiting the EOD Warrior Foundation. It was close to 80° at the start, and like 84° at the finish. But at least it was a flat course! My apps kept messing up through the race, I could here the alert “pausing” pretty much throughout the race. Anyway, as I was running past the finish line I glanced at the official clock and it read 2:05 (or was it 2:15?). download (1)Hmm… not bad, I thought. I was on the third wave to start, so I must have finished faster than the time on the clock. Good. I walked to the bus stop and caught the Union Station – Georgetown Cirulator home.

Met up with Catie for a post race brunch. Tofu scrambles, roasted potatoes, and beers. I love brunches especially with awesome people.

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She’s wearing my funky glasses! lol

As always, my watch and my phone were inundated with notifications, mails, texts, Instagram, Facebook. Everything. Ugh.

‘Ugh’ because lately, I have been on a path to bring my phone addiction under control. (Yes, I enabled notifications because it works for me sometimes.) What I mean is, when I am spending time with people I like, I am gonna try not to waste time on the phone. Be present at the present, not disrespect the company. Because, life is short. Your fiends are precious. And time is irrecoverable. There. Pearls of Wisdom for you. You are welcome.

OK OK, back to the story. I was still stealing glances at the notifications that kept coming in. I was on my 3rd(I think) beer when I saw a mail from Bishop’s. I had to see it so I apologized to Catie and looked at the mail. Of course, the race results. I finished in….

wait for it….

1:56!!!36088159_10155841340031886_1645877570006155264_n

Wha…! I drank more beer.

A trail half marathon PR!

Can I get a BOOYAH!!!

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Poor Catie, and the sweet waitress Cat at Meridian Pint, they had to listen to me brag, shamelessly, for the rest of the brunch. But they were super nice about it. I:56 is no biggie, in the grand scheme of things. Probably puts me at the top 40%. But this was a power performance, individually. No proper training, and the heat. And it was a trsai race. I hardly ever run trails lately! Also, for some personal reasons. I needed this. I pulled it off. Also, I decided to run this race just 4 days prior! Congratulations Saiju. You are a rockstar. You da man! (See,… bragging…)

And the fucking apps. Of course the numbers on my apps were incorrect! Nike gave me 10.07 miles. Strava 8.69 miles. Run Keeper 10.15. And IDGAF about Charity Miles numbers, the only reason I turn it on to get Girls on the Run some money when I run.

Unrelated: I went to went to Suns Cinema with Amy in the evening and watched The Beaches of Agnes. The movie was not at all what I was expecting but the experience was amazing. Small “theatre” that sits about 30 peeps, with a bar at the back of the hall where I drank the 8th beer of the day!

Bootcamp with my badass trainer Katie every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings is an event I look forward to and try my best to never miss (thru VIDA Fitness). It is a tough workout, every single time, where I typically burn a 1000+ kcal. So early in the morning, the day after the race, I had to go to bootcamp! Guess what, I burned 1200! How I was physically able to do that? Hey, thanks for asking. Since going vegan, recovery time is just a light suggestion, not at all a requirement.

Vegan Power!!!

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*Screen shot from MyZone app.

Train (not locomotion)

Abstract
Training. Training? Who wants training.download (1).jpg

Introduction
Historically I suck at sticking to a training plan. Or a plan. Any plan. Or a recipe. How I supremely suck at baking.

Hypothetical:

"To save the world, all you have to do is to bake this slab of tofu".

"I guess we are all gonna die then".

I hate training. smiley-angry

History
Of the 100 (close enough, one of these days I need to sit down and figure out the exact number) races, I’ve properly trained for two, my first half marathon and my first full marathon. Both in 2010. Only because Brad was after me, threatening me, like, train or face the consequences. The consequences being we won’t brew beer together or we cont hang out and drink beer together or play Rockband together or all of the above, etc.. Beer. Since then, not because I bloomed into this kickass runner / athlete, it was easy and convenient to, just half-assed thu it all. Including racing a few with no training at all.

Inference
My best time is 4:36 (approx) Not a single marathon under 5 since. Not a single half under 2 since my 1:54. Didn’t consume much alcohol during training for the first half and first full but since then I never let training come in between me alcohol and meself.

Methods
I figured improvising with some effective methodologies may make me wanna train; such as

Training others: The best way to train is to train others! lol-emoji But seriously tho, it works.

Races: Find shorter distance races, close enough distance to the training distance for the weekend.

Alternate methods: Fartlek training. Mix it up. The pace, that is. I have inadvertently done some Fartlek training. In fact I have completed a couple of  marathons using Fartlek method! Eye-roll.fw_-300x300

Conclusion
Train, one must.

PS: Oh, I was talking about run training and run training only.

And all the memes 

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Poplar Springs 5K, TFW and Landa

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My first Team PETA Pack race is over where I lead the team from behind, as the team captain.  Hehe. From behind because I walked the race with my favorite people Audrey, Amy, Catie, and Melanie. And of course my favorite doggo, Gunner!

Kelly and Adam kicked serious ass with fast finishes. So proud of them! Then there was also Richa, John, Kat, Anna! All the vegan runners! download1f3c3-2640man-running

I ran to PETA DC volunteer party a couple of months back and was talking to people there about running. A couple of them expressed interest in running. From there to a 12 member team at Poplar Spring 5k, was a fun journey. A bunch of them were first time racers as well. Including Gunner! Our team performance was not that great. But like I told my Team Humane League friend Thomas, “we are not here to compete, we are here to contribute”. Zing… right?

PETA, very kindly created Team PETA Pack shirts for us. Beautiful shirts, I might add.

This is super exciting for me as Kelly and Katie signed up for their first half marathon, the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on September 16 in Washington DC! DGX9GyAXUAAGpIf.jpg That will be a PETA Pack race as well. Also this means we will be training through summer and hopefully nobody gets hurt. John and my super-athlete-mom-friend Landa may join our team as well. Oh and my runner / ex colleague friend Komal is already in.

I met Landa in Tallahassee in 2009 when for the first time in my life, I joined a “gym” Quotes because it was just a rented open space with no air-conditioning or anything and a bunch of us worked out together, we pooled in to pay the rent. It was called Train Fight Win. A few of us were actual trainers. I owe my athletic life to the founders L.A. and Mike. And my amazing trainers Alyssa, Brad, and Ray. I started doing races with them and they helped me with my first full marathon in Estes Park, CO. 101 continuous push ups, 1000 continuous squats, century bike race training, and training for a 500 mile, multi stage (7 days) bike ride etc.. We were a wild bunch.

Back to Landa.

I met Landa while she was a week away from delivering her baby. I looked at her as she was working out and thought we may have a baby on the floor before the end of this session! But no baby that day. Less than a month after her delivery, she was back at it. Less than 3 months after her delivery, she raced a triathlon! Whoa! Then again, I only associate myself with the best! She lives in NoVA now, ran MCM last year, less than a year after another baby! BTW, I’m proud to announce that I ran with Landa at her first half marathon in 2012.

Stand by for stories from what will be an amazing adventure with 2 first time half marathoners!

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2018

IMG_4383.JPGI asked Katie on Thursday about cancelling our core training session on Friday, citing my 10 mile race on Sunday. “Come, lets do some (foam)roll and stretch and prep you for the race. Your legs will thank me on Sunday.” Since my hipflexor-only-training-full-marathon was entirely made possible by Katie, I couldn’t argue. Then again, I shouldn’t have worried about the race much because I was running with Deepa, who is a new runner, this being her second ever race, last year’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler being her first, so naturally I will be running slower than my pace,

(Not taking anything away from Deepa, she being a mother, spending 9 hours at work every day with a 2+ hour commute, and not having trained well for this race, thanks to unusually cold weather)

although running slower than your comfortable pace is harder in a certain way. Easy peasy right?

My bladder (not the water, the crotch) started threatening (audibly) “gonna go right now” even less than a mile into the race!

Fuck.

I told Deepa I’ll catch up and to keep running, as I ran towards a potty. The people in front of me on the potty line must all have been #2 because it took an eternity to get my biznezz done and start running again. I was going at full speed but I can’t see Deepa. I told her to stay to the RIGHT SIDE of the crowd so that I won’t miss her. WTF Deepa! I thought you said you didn’t train for this! Finally, after mile marker 4, I see her, on the LEFT SIDE OF THE CROWD! Bravo girl! praying-hands-emoji

I probably got a 5K PR, right there! I think this is where Katie’s race-prep workout, all of a sudden, turned out to be significant!

Easy peasy my ass!

The rest of the race was uneventful. Except for the beer stop at mile 8, which I double-fisted! Did I mention that the Cherry (Blossom) trees were in full bloom? And that most of the race course were through Cherry (Blossom) trees? And that it was a gorgeous day to run? Started off at around 32° (butt ass cold) and ended at around 40° (nice and pleasant)! raising-hands

My friends Thenna and Komal ran the race as well. We all looked like we are about to rob a convenient stores, not run (well, it was a coldass fuckin morning).

#thugs #indianthugs

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Deepa’s 4yr old daughter was waiting for her at the finish (how did a 4 yr old get to DC from Vienna?) Amazing! 12675130-Illustration-of-a-scared-yellow-emoticon-isolated-on-a-white-background-Stock-Illustration

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Post race late brunch was marvelous, with my favorite peeps, Catie and Amy, at Meridian Pint, one of my fav brunch / watering spot in DC. My #BFF Amy and I have this thing. She loves avocados. And dislike potatoes. I hate avocados 800px_COLOURBOX20556388. And LOVE me some potatoes. So we trade (the best trade in trade history). Even with this trade, with a few kilos of roasted potatoes on my plate, I was worried about not having enough food to eat, got a side order of fries. Oh my Goat, it was large enough to feed a small country! (See exhibit A below) IMG_4381

And beer.

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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And the medal goes to….

Katie! img_3152

Have you ever dedicated a race to your trainer? Neither have I, until now. Seriously, I am still in denial that I finished! And the only reason I finished is, all the hip flexor training, and nothing but the hip flexor training. With, and designed by, Katie.

Did I mention I did could not do any run training, AT ALL, for this? Oh, OK then.

The report from the field:

It was a crisp pre-spring morning in DC. 0° (c) at the start of Rock n Roll DC Marathon, at 7 am. I went in, mentally prepared to take a DNF, I was there just for the love of running. (OK OK OK, I wanted to show off, as a vegan athlete, I can run a full marathon with ZERO training).

You are on your 16th marathon. Although you haven’t set any time goals, you just want to finish, running mile 6 at 5:56 is NOT OK. That’s actually worse than a rookie mistake! That’s outright dumb. (I don’t think I was that fast, I think the tracker app fucked up, but I did run super fast every now and then during the first half). At half way point, I was headed for a PR. But then I paid handsomely for it.

The last 8 miles tho….

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My PETA Pack shirt got me a nice conversation and some high fives while running, with another vegan runner. She showed me her custom bib which read “Vegan 4 Animals”. Mine said “IRun4Animals”.

And all the cheers for PETA!

A girl in a chicken costume, with a megaphone, on the course, stopped me and wanted to play with my hair. She ran her fingers thru it and I was thinking, “fuck, you are messing it up”.

BUT she actually fixed it! See before and after! img_3154

 

My friend Lia, who is from Philly, who I think runs this race every year, who is also a vegan athlete, passed me right after the half way mark, just after I started getting severe quad cramps (didn’t even know it was a thing, never experienced it before) but not without some small talk.

The first time ever, I did not consume anything other than gatorade and water throughout the race! Of course I carb loaded at dinner the night before and had a piece of bread and coffee prior to start.

There is this killer hill along the course, about 10 miles into it, which is also part of my usual training route, which is also part of MCM and other local distance races. So I have traversed the hill mountain at least 10 times in the past few years but never ran up the whole damn thing. No, this time it was different. This time I ran the whole thing up and continued till next water station,which was more than a mile after! Booyah….

And I had to stop for a moment and pose for the finish line photographers, during “finish strong” last-quarter-mile-sprint.

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And like a total moron, I finished through the half marathon finish line!

End of report. 

Less than a week before the race, at an attempted, failed inversion pose during yoga, I messed up my back, big time. For the next couple of days, I even thought I may have to sit this one out. But no, my friend, and massage therapist extraordinaire, Chelsey, by use of her her excellent magical hands, cured it!

A couple of days prior to that, my hip flexor muscle had some issues and I had to go see my lovely and super knowledgeable NP, Gretchen. It was still bothering me a bit on race morning. At the end of the race tho, everything was hurting, so no biggie!

My primary care physician, Dr Loomis, who is also vegan, who is also a runner, ran a half marathon in November, faster than my PR, he is almost 60! I went to see him with an irregular heart beat issue the day before the race. My EKG was normal so I got the green to race!

Here are a lot of pictures of me running, from same and different angles. I know you live for this shit.

 

And…. not the least….
Thank you Katie, Chelsey, George, Dr Loomis, Gretchen, Becca(for those awesome songs and the early race day morning message)

And Ellen, Catie, Adam, Brianna, Amy, Chelsey for the “party”.

And as always, Shantanu!

#RnRDC #DCRocknRollMarathon #VeganAthlete #VeganRunner #NoRunTrainingMarathon