Pepper!

It’s been over a month since I ran my first race of the year. A half marathon on the beach at Huntington Beach, CA. Although the longest distance I ran until that point was just about 5 miles, I had a strong race. It was my 3rd fastest half! The weather was perfect, about 45° and sunny. I ran the first 5 miles without stopping at about 8:30 per mile! Whoa, right?

Right.

 

Then there was another half in Woodside, CA the next Saturday. I reach my friends’ place in Menlo Park on Friday evening, one thing (whiskey) led to another (whiskey), I decided not to run that race. Hey, there will be more races, but not much free-single-malt-scotch-excellent-food-good-company around.

Hydroplane. Thats what happened during my trip to SF from LA. Over 20 (TWENTY) times. With almost zero visibility. 12675130-Illustration-of-a-scared-yellow-emoticon-isolated-on-a-white-background-Stock-Illustration My rental was a 328 (the purpose behind that was strictly to show off before my friends) which all of a sudden became my life saver. I can go on and on but that one amazing machine. Here is Pepper (I had to name her)! 16266094_10154601730656886_2063570189866537222_n

More catch up sesh coming up soon.

 

Worlds collided!

Remember when I went to Iceland to do that multi stage race? That was a tough mofo, right?

Could there be anything tougher?

The core team that prepared me to run that race consisted of my nutrition consultant, personal trainers, nurse practitioner, rolfer, massage therapist and yoga instructor. I managed get all of them to come to my place for a thank you party.

Yes, that was definitely tougher.

My boys ushered everybody in : “Welcome contestants. Let the hunger games begin.” img_5931

We gathered at my rooftop just as the wind picked up momentum. A few minutes later, while most of us were still eating and drinking, “just a lil bit of wind” gained hurricane force, started blowing food off of our plates and the tables and we had to abandon ship. Meaning all 11 of us (hmm… actually 13, sorry tango and Fox) had to get into my teeny tiny apartment where we pretty much had to take turns to sit.

Mostly because Tango (the axe cat) decided to keep a whole seat for himself. img_5932

We played Rockband 4 on my PS4. Fascinating, how, not more than one of us could play at the same time. Epic fail on the host. But one at a time, we played.

Oh, here is my awesome team14963191_2903562399422_7934598157229271738_n

From left : Amy from OK, Lisa, Michael, George, Nate, Alex, Saiju, Amy, Ellen and Chelsey.

And a million thanks to Cat for taking this picture.

Because between George “the lightweight” getting drunk and being hilarious after ONE drink AND Alex super patiently explaining “I’m whiskey”* to Cat AND me successfully escaping an attempt to make me retell my “undie story” AND all the “thats what she said” situations where I could not even make eye contact with Alex without bursting into a laughter AND Ellen’s funny and interesting stories (as usual) AND Cat and Nate and George playing RB guitar one small note at a time and their honest attempt at a high solo score…. HilaArious!

My point is, I was so into what was going on, it did not even occur to me to take pictures! The social media ho / diva / teenage girl / hairy Irish man in me is completely devastated! teen-girl-face-crying-facial-expression-cartoon-vector-illustrations-yellow-background-red-haired-emoji-79901552

And amazingly, they all liked the vegan food I got from my favorite South Indian restaurant, Woodlands!

Well, there were more than just Samosas and deep fried snacks but no pics <sadface>

I could write a post about each member of my team! May be after the next party… 😀

WORLDS COLLIDED! 

 

*  I introduced my kitties Tango and Foxtrot and said “that makes me Whiskey”. Cat had NO CLUE what that meant and Alex had to explain  the WTF *facts* 15037340_2903563079439_1666844468912705311_nAlex (L) and Cat

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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The Race!

What happened in Iceland is slowly sinking In and I am beginning to believe it actually happened! I wrote up about the race based on what I remember. I regret not taking more, strategic pictures.

Day 1 – Monday August 29, 2016
Bright and shiny outside, totally freaking out inside! Completed the day which included a humongous hill but mostly OK terrain. Lake, lots of volcanic ash and lava. My pack was too heavy, over 32 lbs and my left shoulder took the brunt of it. Get patched by the med team in the evening. The same camp as last night, by Askja the volcano.

Day 2
Miles and miles of lava rock terrain. Was it a mistake, or did they mean it be the course! There were some beautiful mountains along the way. The highlight of the day being seeing Herðubreið, the “queen” of Icelandic mountains. A lil bit of rain towards the end of the day didn’t hurt much. But it was cold.

Day 3
Hypothermia. DNF. 35 degree, rain all day, 2 glacier river crossings (about 50ft wide each, about knee deep water). That was the day. The camp was at the most expensive camp site in the world, inside a broken volcano! Saw some Northern lights. The whiskey flask I was carrying with me with some 15 yr old Glenfiddich made my tent mates happy!

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About to go into a fetal position….

Day 4
Sunny and beautiful day. Severe shin issues as a result of walking through some super unfriendly terrains, limped my way to the camp for about 15 miles off the total of 30 miles. Walking on volcanic ash is like walking on a beach! There was this beautiful waterfall (it is the most powerful one in the northern hemisphere) with a rainbow framing it where I spent some time just admiring it. Saw more, brighter, bigger Northern Lights!

Day 5
Toughest terrain, the first (almost)12 miles were through Heathland vegetation. My already injured left leg was completely mad at em for doign this! At the first checkpoint, I decided enough is enough, time to stop for the day. Not an easy decision but I had to. The truck drove me straight to the natural hot bath thigies, right next to the camp! Dipping in that spring was one of the best experience ever! After that, where I was sitting, the wind kept bringing steam out of the springs.

Day 6
The race director would not allow me to race today, citing my injury. So I went on a limping run / walk for 10+ miles on my own, without the pack, just a bottle of water and a bag of roasted chick peas (I regretted not taking my phone with me when I walked past “boiling mud” pits!). It was fun, why couldn’t I do that the whole time! 🙂

Coming up, more Iceland shit, with pictures. Stay tuned…..

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?

The Intern

What does Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson(who?) have in common?

There was a Caturday night party at my place with me and the boys. We watched the movie “The Intern”. Twice. (this is a clue to the answer)

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As it gets closer to my race, more and more of my body is being converted to just nerves. What is the best way to remain calm? Yoga? No. Meditation? May be. Whiskey? YES! (but i can’t) facebook-sad-smiley-facebook-symbols-and-chat-emoticons-Do1w2U-clipart Anne Hathaway? Perfectly.

I used to watch Devil Wears Prada over and over and over… to feel better when I am anxious. Now it’s “The Intern”. Why these movies, you ask? They have Anne Hathaway practically in every frame in the movie! (Now you know the answer to my original question)  There were some waterworks during the show (mostly my kitties, they are weak) but feel good movies always make me happy. This movie has plenty of such moments. It is the lil things!  960.jpg

I am the guy who can’t get a good night’s sleep even if it just 10 mile race the next morning. images So you can imagine how a 250 KM race can keep me up the whole week leading up to it. PSA: Find something that works and easy to do, to stay focused, eliminate freak-outs.

Yes, it is happening in just 7 days!

Am I ready?

No.

Had enough training? NOOO. Packed? Somewhat. Food schedule? Thanks to my awesome dietitian, Cat, its almost there.

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How do I feel? Nervous and excited. In related news, I have never felt stronger ever before (I think).

And watching The Bangles live last night was amazing. They haven’t skipped a beat. Spirits lifted, good distraction on the nervous energy. Good company that was Amy (from OK).

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I wanna marry Susanna Hoffs.

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Old friends and wine, or alcohol, in general

You know that saying “old friends are like (vegan)wine…… “?

I don’t know either.

But the fact that it feels like the friends you grew up with, through your defining years, have certain rights to your life, is real! Again, the reason why today was possible is my injured back.

Ever heard that saying “one momentary lapse of form leads to amazing experiences”?

Me neither.

Been hanging out with friends from school, completely off my food restrictions, sleep schedule, just about everything that was *normal* for the past 6 months. It was liberating. How good an idea is to do this so close to my *big race*? Only time will tell. I am not a yolo(yuck) kind of guy but I do recognize the fact that some events and people are just too good to postpone in your life. I am not a believer, and only (may be)semi-spiritual but I do count my blessings.

What is the reason behind this oodles and globes of love, you ask? Always loving (growing-heartTripti and Sumit) like an oak tree in my life, and the most well-connected man in the universe and fellow runner (JK), Princeton, Philadelphia, Trenton, Amtrak….

And super cutie Jackie who I asked out at the restaurant, who did NOT (fuck yeah) say no. Amtrak, you are going make a shit ton of money off of me on trips to Philly from DC, until I fuck it up with Jackie.