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.

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.

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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