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.

What next!

I started training for this race in mid January of this year. It’s been a roller coaster ride until after the race. It was really cool to have something to focus on, something that is so demanding. Now, I’m completely lost. Historically, I put on a lot of weight soon after a big race. This time, I’m hoping, with the help of Cat (my awesome dietitian) I can maintain the (lost)weight.

I have been eating super healthy (for the most part) during my training. Now I can’t eat super oily (read super delicious) fried awesomeness anymore, it is messing up my stomach! I can’t drink wine either, in fact the only things I can drink without fear of hurling is whiskey and beer. Is that a positive thing? I can’t decide.

What next, you ask?

I wanna go back to Iceland and complete the race without DNFing any stages and earn that medal. When? Not sure now, will have to plan that. I also want to do more multi-stage, multi-terrain ultras. Because I am a glutton for pain and misery. Hehe… For the time being I have plans to run a full and 2 half marathons for the rest of the year. I wonder if I will be able to run without a heavy pack on my back. 😛

What else? I sent my thank you notes already, before the race. And I will miss hanging / working out with George!

Check me out wearing a shirt that I bought 8 months back but could never get in to because it was too small. While you are at it, take a close look at me kickass kicks too!

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Stand by for pictures of Ellen and I (with a couple of puffins) digging into the Icelandic alcohol loot this weekend. 😀

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Starting today….

Flying out to Iceland tonight.

I had some painting accident last night. File_005

Just kidding, my awesome stylist, Cat, designed a fire and ice themed hair style for me to wear during the race! How cool, right? Here’s me with the designer! File_004.jpeg

This morning I went to see Cat (my dietitian) and George. This happened. File_008.jpeg

Here are some key players at VIDA who was there with me throughout this journey.

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From L to R: Cat, Saiju, Saiju, George, Gabe, Saiju

Gabe is in charge of the Fuel bar and he hooked me up with the most delicious recovery drinks every morning for the last few months!

From now till Monday  morning when the race starts, will be hell! Do they have whiskey in Iceland?

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.

Fuck you diabetes

I got diagnosed with diabetes a few years back. At the time I was running / biking 3-4 times a week!

I have some super enthused coworkers (Thenna D, Komal P) who want to start racing (running). One of them have the same situation as me, not losing weight or his gut in spite of running, like, A LOT. Then one of them found this article.

Wait.

What the crap?

[Since you didn’t read the article, here is the skinny. It says, when you are at an aerobic workout for an extended period of time, cortisol stays active in your system, fucking up your insulin functions causing your blood sugar to shoot up and eventually making you diabetic. Oh, and your gut growth goes on overdrive.]

Yes, this is also a thing. Upon further research by yours lovingly and my RNP Amy S (who has dedicated her life to keep me as a diabetic endurance athlete) and my awesome dietitian Cat T (who (unwarily)happily accepted the mountainous challenge of working with a vegan, diabetic, endurance athlete), it was established, I have that crappy body type where regardless of what I do, I will remain fat, FOREVER. Some of my wise coworkers immediately dropped all plans to run.

Me?                 me

Umm… But I ….

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” –The Buddha

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I started some HIIT (big up George C, my kickass trainer), speed training etc, to supplement my slow, long distance grinding. Let’s see how it pans out!

More on this fucked up “condition” – http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

I can see clearly now…..

Scotch makes things better

As I was sipping my 4th Glenfiddich 12 from the tiny airline bottle (I pretend I am a giant whenever i hold those bottles), it hit me. What the fuck am I doing? I am supposed to run a full, trail marathon in 7 days.

Why am I in an airplane, drinking Scotch? distance

I made a new friend, Ellen K, who was introduced to me as a crazy (in a very admirable way) person on Christmas eve, 2015. One of the first things she asked me to do was to go check this site out (Fire & Ice). I did, that night, and thought – whoa! I must do this!

Off to a vegan yoga retreat 2 days later, where I was surrounded by beautiful ladies, I run my big mouth, announcing my plans to run 250 KM, in 6 days, with all the required living supplies on my back, in the northern part of Iceland (yeah, the country) through unbelievably tough terrains that includes a (active)volcano.

Fuck! Now I have to do it! loudly-crying-face

Back on mainland, signed up for core training with a personal trainer, and a nutrition consultant, in a sad attempt to minimize the (likely)scenario of me running to my death in Iceland.

4 months later, I have not lost a single pound, my body fat % is the same as when I started the training and my gut still enters a room a couple of seconds before my body. I needed to do something to break out of the rut. What do we, as “westerners” do?

Go to India. IMG_2326 (3)

Now you know why.

I did not run that marathon.

But I am running that multi-stage ultra in Iceland, late summer 2016. Hence this long story.