Monday, December 15, 2008

Strides of Hope: Dallas Whiterock Marathon

I finished the Dallas Whiterock Marathon on 14th Dec 2008. This is my 5th marathon and second one running with Team Asha and raising funds for Asha. I finished in a time of 4hrs 14mins. Even though this is not a PR, I am still very happy, given the conditions of the day and also my training being sub par.

The day started at 5am. I took the train along with my wife at 6am to reach the marathon start area (American Airlines Center) by 6:45am. The temperature was good but it was way too windy (25+ mph). I met other Asha runners and we were getting ready for the run. There were long lines for the portable restrooms and I almost missed the start.

The race started at 8am and it was great to see 15000+ runners lined up and ready to run. I started off at a steady 10 min/mile pace for the first couple of miles. I was feeling good and did the next 5-6 miles closer to 9 min/mile pace and was feeling great. I saw the Asha volunteers at mile 6 (Asha had a water station) and it felt great to see so many familiar faces cheering for you. I next few miles went by fast. The weather was getting better as I felt it to be less windy. I had to take a potty break at around mile 11 and then I met another Asha runner, Cnu and ran with him for a few miles. I had already started to feel stiffness in my right calf muscle and also my left IT band. I was a little worried as it was a hot day and I had a bad feeling that I might struggle in the last few miles. Cnu wanted to walk a little at mile 14 and I went ahead at my own pace.

I reached mile 15 in about 2:15 which was where I wanted to be, to finish under 4:20. I was already feeling a little tired and seeing more Asha folks at mile 15 gave me a boost. At this point I have already realized that I will not be able to speed up the last 10 miles and have started running ~10 min/mile pace. Also, as the temperature was creeping up, I started to drink Gatorade at every water station in addition to my intake of salt capsules every 45 mins. I reached 20 mile mark in 3:10. I have quite happy with both my timing and the way I felt, tired but not fully drained.

The few miles between 19-22 have some hills, which we have run a few times during training. I just slowed down a little and those hills seemed quite easy even after 3 hours of running. I hardly had to walk for those 3 miles. At around mile 22, I started to feel some pain in near my right ankle and also some stiffness in my left IT band. I was telling myself just to keep moving one step at a time and in another 40 mins or so it will be over with. I started to walk a minute at every water booth and felt good when I reached mile 25. I was amazed to realize that I did mile 25 and 26 in about 9 min/mile pace. In no time, the finish line was in sight and for the last few hundred yards, no matter how beat up I was, I sprinted towards the finish line and had a strong finish. I finished in 4:13:46. I saw many Asha folks at the finish line, including my wife. Even though, this is not my first marathon, it always feels great to finish a daunting distance 26.2miles and especially if it is done for a good cause, to support the less fortunate children.

It was a very hot day to run a marathon and the temperature was 79F when we finished. I have seen many people cramp up and struggle at finish. I think I just caught a break as I was running a little slower and also took plenty electrolytes and salts. The other Asha runners also finished in good times and high spirits. A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped me and many other runners to finish. It is lot of hardwork and it needs to be appreciated a lot. I got a nice complementary massage for my aching legs and my stiff IT band. We had a nice photo session for all the Asha runners and volunteers. We all (30+ people) went to Roti grill and had nice Indian food, before we called it a day.

My first part of the commitment to Asha is complete with running the marathon and now remains the more important part of raising funds for the less fortunate little ones in India. Now that the marathon is over, I am in the process of reaching out to my friends and family to spread word about Asha and raise funds to help them continue the good charity work. I would encourage you to visit my Asha fundraising page and donate and be part of this worthy cause.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Marathon in a few days

The big day of Dallas Whiterock Marathon is finally around the corner. I have not updated my blog for a while. I have not been training that well in the last few weeks, but I do feel like I am ready for the big day this weekend. I guess having run few marathons does help, at least psychologically :)

Now that marathon is just few days away, I request your support to raise funds for Asha. I am raising funds for a charity, Asha for Education which is working to uplift the underprivileged children in India. I am trying to raise $2000 between myself and my wife, who is also running as a part of relay. I would really appreciate if you take sometime to check out my Team Asha fundraising page and do contribute. I shall writeup my marathon experience and also provide updates on my fundraising in the coming days and weeks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Week-13: 9/29-10/5

-Monday (9/29): 5 mile tempo run. I did a pretty hard tempo run on Renner Trail averaging 7:50 per mile for 5 miles. My HR stats are here.

-Wednesday (10/1):
6 mile track workout. I met few other Team Asha runners and did a nice track workout at Park Hill Junior High School. I did 2x1200 intervals followed by 3x800 with ~2:00 walking breaks. I did pretty hard intervals as I averaged 5:04 for 1200m and 3:24 for 800m. I did 2 miles of cool down for a total of 6 miles. The details of the run are here.

-Saturday (10/04): Today's plan was to race at DRC's The Loop 15K and do 6-7 miles before the race for a total of 16 miles. Sravanthi is doing 5K and she had to come with me and wait in the car till the race started at 8am. I started off running with the group around 6:45am and we did 7 miles of easy running in about 1:05. The weather was great and temperature was in mid 60s. The race was about to begin when we finished our pre-race miles and I did met the rest of Team Asha runners. Race started around 8:05 and sun was out and temperature was about 70F. I started out fast and soon realized that I did 8:05 for the first mile. I was happy with the pace and tried to maintain it as much as I could. The first 6 miles were good and I was around 8:00 pace. But, I think my HR was creeping up slowly every mile and I felt that I might not be able to sustain this pace for the whole race. I took a 30 sec walk break after mile 6, and that did indeed help a lot. I started to feel better and miles 7-9 went by fast and I was able to sprint to finish in 1:14:44. All of Team Asha runners did good and Sravanthi finished her 5K in ~49mins. My run details are here and the race results are here.

-Sunday (10/05):
I wanted to maintain my tradition of a good bike ride on Sunday and went out to Whiterock Creek Trail. I started on the creek trail and after 7 miles merged with Whiterock lake trail to loop the lake and came back on the creek trail to finish a 24 mile bike ride. I did the first half of the ride about 16mph and the second half in~17mph. I had a great feeling after this bike ride as I have ridden the bike little faster than normally, which probably explains the fact that I was a little sore in my legs after the ride. Details of the ride are here.

Week-12: 9/22-9/28

-Wednesday (9/24): 5.5mi Hill workout @ Prairie Creek elementary school. It was my first time at this place and it had nice long hills which makes it ideal for hill workout. After about 0.8 mile of warm up, I did 5 hill repeats. Each repeat was about 0.37mi with ~60 foot elevation gain.

-Thursday (9/25):
6 mile tempo run @ Renner Trail. I did an easier tempo run at an average pace of 9:11 per mile as I did a hill workout the day before. I usually take a rest day between 2 hard workouts as per FIRST training, but this week I could not do it as I skipped running on Monday and Tuesday. My HR stats are here.

-Saturday (9/27): 15 mile long run. I finally was able to join Greg's group (8:30-9:30pace group) for this week's long run. The group was planning to run at an average pace of 9:15 per mile, which is just about what I wanted to do. We started off at Mockingbird DART station and ran toward the Whiterock lake. By about mile 5 we joined the lake and had a great run around most of the lake. I saw our other Team Asha runners, who are running with other pace groups. We took a water break at mile 12 and then finished off well back at the DART station. Our route can be found here. My stats for the run are, avg. pace 9:25 min/mile and Avg.HR=150.

-Sunday (9/28):
24 mile bike ride on Chisholm & Bluebonnet trail. I got on my bike after about 10 days and it felt good. I started from my home and got on the Chisholm trail in couple of miles. It was a nice and long trail when you combine Chisholm and Bluebonnet trail and I could bike about 24 miles in ~1:45. My average speed was less than what I would have liked, due to the frequent breaks at the many places the trail crosses the roads, but other wise it was a nice trail to either bike or run. I am thinking, next time I might bike on the Whiterock creek and lake trails from my home, which would make the round trip about 30 miles.