Sunday, June 26, 2011

A weekend of two halves...

62 miles for the week. A new half marathon PR and two half marathon races on consecutive days.

Mon - 6
It was one of my slowest runs since the marathon but it will do me good. A much needed recovery run after yesterday's long run. What's with the sprinklers on the path?? I guess if the mercury rises in August I won't be complaining.

I went to a talk by "India's barefoot runner", Anand Anantharaman at MSFT. He is the organizer of a barefoot half marathon in Navi Mumbai. Despite all I have heard about the merits of barefoot running I don't intend to give up my shoes anytime soon. A wise man once said - "If it ain't broke don't fix it" :p My primary motivation for going to the talk was the free food.

Today was also a performance by the Microsoft Orchestra in the building 34 cafe. I was in awe of their talent.

Tue - 6.7 w/ 4*400m + 2 @ HMP
80F ... When I started running the original version of the Braveheart theme song was playing in my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifr4aGA2o_A . By the time I was finishing up it had changed to the techno version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JikryzBBZIU :) Got me to listen to the soundtrack from one of my favourite movies of all time: Gladiator - Now We Are Free: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xButjfhZWVU&feature=related once I was back home.

Got to love Chuck's response when I asked him if he though pacing the half on Sat would impact my race on Sunday - "Difficult to say Sub. Either ways it will make you tougher". :)) Got to love a coach who supports our craziness...

The longest day of the year!! Someday I want to be in Iceland on a day when the sun never sets :)

Sight of the day: As I threw my last pack of chocolate milk, two things went through my mind: 1) Thank god I run to burn all this off 2) Thank you Microsoft!!

Wed - 10
As I was finishing up at 10pm there was still light outside... Amazing! There will be dark and cold days in winter so we've got to relish these days...

Today was a good day in terms of goals. I made it to my first Toastmasters meeting in main campus as well as attended a MS Dance lesson. This week was salsa. I also signed up for Hip Hop lessons at the Century ballroom. That should make it 2 days of dance classes for the rest of the summer...

I got a second SLR from ebay. This I will use for underwater and sea kayaking pictures. That means I now have 5 cameras (2 SLRs, 2 POSs & a smart phone) to go with my 5 computing devices (1 PC, 1 laptop, 1 netbook, 1 tablet & a smart phone). Bill Gates' dream of "a PC in every home" isn't looking too far fetched now is it :)

Thur - 6
Wet, wet, wet... It started raining after I started running :)

I also was at the pacer booth at the RNR Seattle expo...




Sight of the day: As the cloudy day cleared up a column of mist rose from the MSFT soccer fields.

Fri - 6
A pretty tedious run after going to the expo for the pacers meeting. In the last few minutes before the expo shut the vendors were looking to get rid of their freebies. I make a killing at the Odwilla booth. Each bottle sells for $4 odd a pop and the protein bars are pretty expensive too. I probably got $50+ worth of stuff :) At work for a de-stress we got freshly baked (they brought an oven), thin crust pizzas. Pretty good food day all around :p

When I was walking back from the expo I saw a fellow pacer. I was going to catch up with him. Then I noticed that he was busy impressing a cute girl with his Boston jacket and pacer sign. I didn't want to ruin his chances so I let him be :)

Today's Monk re-run was based around the running of the San Francisco marathon :)


Sat - 13.11 - Rock and Roll marathon Seattle
Official Pacer for the 1:45 half. Finished at 1:44:25 after being to the second till mile 9. The markers were off towards the end & I had flaky GPS signal so I made the executive decision of making sure I made it in before 1:45 for sure.

Thought: It's difficult to describe the satisfaction derived from helping others accomplish their goal. Very different from achieving a personal goal.
Sun - 1
Warm-up before the race.

Sun - 13.11 - Scotiabank Vancouver Half
New PR - 1:31:53!

In the last 48 hours I had slept very little. Having to make it to 7am starts for two halves in a row. Then there was the Russell Peters & co (Majority tour) show on Sat evening. This time around I didn't have a seat next to the mike and didn't get picked on. It was fun however in a big group.

So I headed to Vancouver with *no sleep*. I was feeling sooo sleepy and tired. I wondered why I was running this race when all I wanted to do was sleep. I ran into a Canadian border official who was clearly bitchy (PMS like) at 4:30am. She wanted to know why I was driving in so slowly into the check post??? Should I have told her because I was sleepy :)

I felt good and awake once I started running. I was on 1:28:XX pace till mile 7 (the first half is significantly faster) before hitting the wall hard. My quads were toast. Held on for a PR but that's that.

I guess my body has a limit and I've hit it now. I am feverish and sick :(

Sight of the day 1: As sleepy as I was, I got to see a mesmerizing sunrise. The golden reflection of mountains on a quiet lake.

Sight of the day 2: A regal owl in the Reifel Bird Observatory. It looked amazing through the park ranger's telescope. An owl is the symbol of the goddess Lakshmi so hopefully some $$$ is forth-coming :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A fine fine week...

66.5 miles off 7 days of running :)

Mon - 6
Was finally at peace. For the last couple of weeks I been wrestling with whether I should give up my planned vacation to Alaska for a friend's wedding. She had decided on the dates pretty late and this was a trip I had been looking forward to... Finally, decided on the right thing. A friend's wedding happens once in a lifetime. I can do the trip anytime. I've noticed that even 10-20 years down the road people never forget the people who made it to their wedding. It's funny that I found out about their wedding plans a week before they went public. I was lying upstairs. They did not know I was around and were discussing their closely guarded secret plans :p When I told her later she remarked - "You always outsmart everyone" :)

Sight of the day: As I was stuck in traffic on the 520 bridge I spotted a bald eagle perched up on a tree. Reminded me of orientation at MSFT when they told us - "At least we you are stuck in traffic here you have beautiful surroundings to look at :)"

Sight of the day 2: The sky was very interesting today - cloudy with an orangish hue...

Interesting happening: I probably had the longest haircut of my life. There was this Japanese haircutting lady... When I found out that she was from Japan I told her about wanting to run the Tokyo marathon someday and started getting tips for visiting Japan. We talked about so much stuff  (differences between Koreans, Japanese and Chinese,...). Finally, her supervisor decided that this was taking too long and decided to finish the haircut. I did get an awesome haircut through. Small talk is something I need to get better at for my new role at work so... :p
Tue - 7 w/3 @ tempo
Why oh why did I have to have lunch at an Indian buffet on the day of a speed workout. I guess catching up with a good buddy after so long was worth any price :) Thankfully, I survived with just a little discomfort. In fact today was the first time I felt comfortable going fast since the marathon. I was up in the front leading out little group. Robin joked - "Today was just like the Fremont 5k. We got to keep looking at Sub up front... There's Sub" :)
Tempo splits: 6:33, 6:15, 6:22
Wed - 10
It was a nice day for running and I felt like running so I ran. It's a good thing I did though since today was a group BBQ. When they have these fridges of ice-cream, cookies, brownies et. al. it's tough not to sin :)

Sight of the day: The rising moon! It was just extraordinary. Huge, yellowish and along the Seattle skyline. It looked unreal. Even a couple of drunk dudes walking by the waterfront were captivated. After my run I rushed home to get a decent camera but it was too late - it had risen by the time I was back.

Moment of the day: A dad pointing at me and telling his toddler - "Run like him". The kiddo then began to try to run behind me :)

Thur - 6.5
Nice slow run after a personal training session at Crossfit. The emphasis was on doing squats and dead weight lifts right. My ab and back muscles can still feel the workout. Amazing what a difference the correct form makes! Though I think I won't be going back. I need some free time doing nothing before classes start again...

The homeless guy I used to see sleeping on the bench by the waterfront was just up and sitting on the bench getting ready to sleep... There's a security guard by sculpture park that I pass everyday.

There was some sort of college party going on in Pier 67. An African American dude waiting to go in looks at me and says - "Man, you're dedicated"...

Funny... There are a bunch of out of shape people in my new team. They've been opening up to me about how they are trying to eat healthy, exercise, and then ask me for suggestion. For some reason I seem to be making them feel introspective :p

Fri - 6
I started off slowly but finished it off with a 6:18 mile.

It's interesting how alive the city gets in summer... Musicians on the street. Weekends filled with events. Quite a contrast to the quiet winter months.

I noticed a rose garden on the Elliott bay path for the first time. Perhaps the flowers bloom only in summer.

Sat - 10
It was raining when I got up at 5:30am so I blew off running with the Chuckit folks and slept in :p

I finally ran after the Fremont Solstice Parade. A solid run at 7:26 pace...

When something is meant to happen: I had been waiting for a shuttle to the parade for about 20 minutes. There was quite a crowd at the stop. I decided that there was no way I'd make it to the parade in time. I gave up and was walking back home. Just then I saw a shuttle pull-up to what looked like another shuttle stop. I got in. The shuttle was so full that it did not even stop at the previous one I had been waiting at. I said a silent "Thank you." :)

Thanks: My friend's bridal shower was tonight. I can't remember being so happy for someone. I'm so glad things are working so well for her. We will miss having her in Seattle but we have to be thankful for the difference she made to our lives in Seattle and wish her all the best in life :)

Sun - 20.6
I woke-up pretty late and only started running at 4pm. I repeated the route to the Elliott Bay marina twice to make-up the distance. Solid run - 7:52 pace.

I've now put in 462 miles on my current pair of shoes. It's been a while since I've dared to run so many miles on a pair of shoes. However, now my legs are screaming for them to be retired so bye bye shoes :)
Moment of the day: An African American street performer playing "The Sounds of Music" on the saxophone. He was amazing. It reminded me of a lady singing "Let it be" in a Boston subway station while I was waiting to go home. Her voice was so powerful and amazing I can still hear it in my head!

Sight of the day: I was running at around-about 7:45 pace. A girl breezes by me. She must have been running in the 6s... Effortlessly. Long legs and an amazing running form. I'd guess she must be an elite runner.

Quotes: I was looking at a new FB friend's quotations... She has quite a thought-provoking collection...

Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.

If you love somebody, set them free. If they return, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were.

Selfishness is not living the way I want to live, it's asking others to live the way I want to live. Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking, it's much easier kept than recovered.

Always tell the truth, then you don't have to remember anything.

Trust the people you love. Take them at face value and don't ever question them.
No Trust = no pain. No pain = no Love, No Trust = no Love.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A week in slumber + Top Five Regrets of the Dying

45 miles for the week. I have been catching up on a lot of sleep this week. Hopefully, I'll get out of my slumber soon :p

Tue - 4.6
2 mile time trial on the track. It took me 13 minutes!! My legs felt like lead. I think that's because I did not run after the 20 miler so I did not get a chance to get rid of the lactic acid build-up...

It had been a while since I had been on a Chuckit run so it was nice chatting with everyone :)

Oddly, I did not run the 1.4 more miles that would have gotten me to 6 miles for the day...

Wed - 6
One of those runs where I stopped quite a few times and looked at the water shimmering with the moon-light... Thinking about things. Not a smooth run at all - my mojo seems to be missing. That reminded me of one of my fav book series as a kid - "Mojo Swaptops". Looks like it's out of print now :)

Fri - Fremont 5k
After 7 years Sub finally runs another 5k race :) PR :p

Fri - 3
Warm-up and cool-down after the race

Sat - 18
I woke up at 3am and ended up decided to organize my apt :p Jason had a synagogue event at 10am and needed to get in 18 miles since he's running the RNR full... I agreed to run with him at 6am since he volunteered to come down to my apt. We made it from downtown to Greenlake. Stopped by at the store for Chuck's speech and came back home. Was a nice run...
Sun - 10

Wasn't a bad run... Was a little warm but not unduly so considering we're in the middle of June. A lot of people by the Elliott bay path which was nice :)

Experience of the day: It's been a while since a documentary/movie has moved me so much that I've teared up. Very few things in life do... "The Sound of Mumbai - A musical", which was screening in Seattle as part of the Seattle International Film festival did.

The slums are alive with the sound of music in Australian director Sarah McCarthy's inspirational documentary chronicling the experiences of dirt-poor children living in the Mumbai slums who get a chance to perform The Sound of Music with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra in front of 1,000 arts patrons. "I'm not a self-conscious boy. I have confidence in me," grins precocious 11-year-old Ashish. McCarthy's film is by turns funny, rousing and deeply moving as she shines the spotlight on Ashish, chosen to perform the concert's climactic title solo, and the endearing boy's friends, whose resentment makes his good fortune a mixed blessing. You'll be beaming and reaching for the Kleenex by the time you've witnessed the optimism and dreams of these youngsters and their families, who pin their hopes of a better life on them, and you'll be humbled by how remarkably contented most of these children are despite their unspeakable living conditions. A bonus is McCarthy's inventive use of the original Rodgers and Hammerstein classics to underscore the offstage action, and how they evoke images of the Austrian meadows in contrast to the chaotic urban jungle the children call home.

Discovery of the day: There is a new online Indian grocery store serving the Seattle area. Their prices are very competitive and they have pretty much everything I could want. This could be a solution to my empty fridge problem!! They have leechi's, mangos,...!
------------------*-----------------*------------
I think I've realized most of what she's written but it's very appropriate reading for the phases when you get caught up in the flow of life...

Top Five Regrets of the Dying
By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Bronnie Ware is a writer, singer/songwriter, songwriting teacher and speaker from Australia. She has lived nomadically for most of her adult life. Bronnie shares her inspiring observations and the insights gained along the way through the diversity of her work. To read more of her articles and learn about her other work, please visit Inspiration and Chai at http://www.inspirationandchai.com/.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Freedom - four months of...

43 miles for the week. My first 20 miler of the training cycle.

This was my birthday week. It really ended up being a birthday week thanks to friends and family who cared... Starting from a surprise b'day cake from my sis, my niece and nephew singing happy birthday to some sort of birthday celebration happening on Friday, Sat and Sun. The latter was because my friends could not reach consensus on what an appropriate birthday celebration would constitute of for me. So they did their own thing in sub-groups. I remember seeing multiple FB events with "Subhasish's B'day" in them. At the end the joke was that even U2 was having his concert in Seattle to "celebrate Subhasish's birthday" :p

Year 1 of the MBA program was done with this week! I have a bunch of things I want to do with the 4 months I have from school... Lets see how much of it ends up happening...

Mon - REST
I got up at 5:30am meaning to run but after seeing the thunderstorm, hot and muggy weather I went back to sleep :p

Moment of the day: A conversion with my bil's friend's dad... He gave me advise on so many things in life in a way only someone who's seen it all can :) He said finally - "Don't get offended but I'm talking to you like I would to my own son..." He is 76 and in perfect health. Walks 8km or so every day. Moderation in diet, yoga, meditation, discipline,... Didn't hurt that he asked me if I was 25 :p

Tue - 6 miles
So happy to be back in cool and beautiful Seattle :)

Moment of the day: For the first time in my life I decided to ring in my birthday while running... By the waterfront, running all out. That's the way I want to feel - high on endorphins and in great shape for the rest of the year, rest of my life. Running has given me so much peace during the past few months. The second thing I did on my birthday was to get back to working on my final exam - good too :)

Wed - 11 miles
Today is my birthday. Coincidentally it's also being celebrated as "National Running Day". I've become too old to run my age in miles but I did run a fraction of it :)

I was feeling unusually low in the morning. Perhaps because I had not had much sleep working on my last take home final due today, it was raining outside and because ...

I was pretty stoked to hand in my final exam. That completed year 1 of my MBA program. This I am proud of (I'm not usually proud of much) because it was just so hard. I had wanted to quit so many times. I was so incredibly busy trying to do so many things with so little time. There were times I was asking myself why I was doing this when my friends were enjoying their weekends...

Moment of the day: I got to talk properly to my dad on the phone after a long time. My dad has Parkinsons' and usually it's very difficult to understand what he is saying on the phone. Most of the time I just keep talking guessing what he would have said. Sometimes he asks - "Can you hear what I am saying?". With him it's a lot about the mind and today he was determined to talk. He might not be around for much longer so I'm got to treasure these moments.

Sight of the day: I ran all the way to the Eliot Bay boat marina. The throngs of boats looked so beautiful with the backdrop of the Seattle skyline. I remember thinking - "I wish I could capture this image". I did - in my head :)

Thu - 6
Sarah McLaughlin's Ordinary Miracle was playing in my head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4j_wrmpMnU. I last heard it at the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony. Great memories... Amazing how much has happened since then :)

Sat - 20
I had intended to run 17 but Chris was getting in his last long run before RNR Seattle so I figured why not :) It was such an amazing day to be up running bright and early. The sail boats, the sandy beach by the Silhshoe marina, Discovery park, Elliott bay,...

It's nice to be in good enough shape to be able to run 20 miles at sub-8 pace without even thinking about it. No water. No gels. No reason. Just running for the sake of running :)

I was in a hurry so I just picked up the first T shirt I could find. It was the T from the infamous Seafair 2008 marathon. I've never seen another runner wearing this. Towards the end of my run I saw another girl wearing the same T. We shared a moment that only runners can and exchanged smiles :)

I saw a desi girl trying to run. Nice that she was out there but why did she have to dress like she was going on an expedition to Antarctica?

Cruise season appears to be commencing. The Norwegian Star was docked in Pier 67 and throngs of retirees had taken over the waterfront :p

Post run recovery drink - All I had in the apartment was milk and I found some tea from eons back. Turned out to be pretty good mixture :p Something I'll try out again.

Sight of the day: Mt. Rainier in all it's glory in on absolutely gorgeous day!
Event of the day: U2 in concert!!

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
...
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
...
Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more



You're out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you're not moving anywhere
...
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
...
You're on the road
But you've got no destination
You're in the mud
In the maze of her imagination
You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you

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