Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dodging snow pellets and acupuncture needles

Today's run was in horrific conditions. Freezing rain and 28 mph winds. It felt like I was dodging snow pellets and acupuncture needles while running into a brick wall completely drenched.

I think the only creatures that were truly enjoying the conditions were the sea gulls. They seemed to be enjoying gliding without any effort. Some of the other birds appeared shell-shocked on the trees.

I felt a sense of camaraderie with the other runners out there - a wave or a greeting for fellow warriors. Then in the building elevator I ran into another fellow runner who had come back from walking her dog. Her - "Wow. You made it through this." Me - "I was supposed to do my long run but instead of 17 I just did 7. I'll do the long run tomorrow." Her - "Same here. Doing my long run tomorrow too". Me - "Seems like better conditions tomorrow". Indeed better conditions - instead of rain and 28 mph winds there will be rain and 14 mph winds :p

The city is all revved up for the SeaHawks Playoff game today. The Space Needle dawns a 12th man flag. I will spare the chances of the Hawks by staying away from the game!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Upper body workouts and TRX

All the times in my life I've been in decent shape I've gotten greedy and had the craving to get into even better shape. That usually means working on my upper body strength. I enter one of those phases for the umpteenth time. Running is easy, but upper body stuff :( Yesterday, I tried a TRX workout. Gosh, today I am sore in places that I didn't know had muscles :(( Let's see how long this phase lasts before I quit :-|

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Air and a lot of it and the 130s...

On a vacation you're supposed to gain a ton of weight and get out of shape, right?

Clearly, I did not get the memo. I knocked off 12 pounds during the trip. That after eating so well! It's just that this was probably the most active vacation of my life. I wasn't in bad shape before heading down there but now I'm back into the 130s which corresponds to life-best fitness levels for me.

How about not running for a month?

Well, yeah. Not running for a month but instead spending four weeks above 13000 ft and hiking over a 100 challenging miles! It was funny how when we'd get down to about 9000 ft or so I'd think in my head - "Oh, so we're going down to lower elevations :)"

Back at sea level I'd say I'm in pretty decent fitness :) I find an abundance of air and runs appear to be effortless! All my clothes in my wardrobe fit and fit well! Now if I can just hold onto this fitness level ... Somehow...

I wasn't sure how I would deal with altitude... Sure, I had finished the Pike's Peak marathon with practically no altitude training but I wasn't at high altitude for long then. This was a definitive test that my body can handle altitude pretty well. I didn't need any altitude meds or didn't have the need to chew cocoa leaves like a cocaine addict :) Onto Mt. Kilimanjaro next!!

I spent my formative year in Lovedale in the Niligris at an altitude of around 7500 ft. That could be a factor. I remember I'd volunteer as a healthy subject as a poor student in college (hey, it was easy money). In one of those studies they took an EKG of my heart and told me it was abnormally large. That they said could be normal or a deformity. I didn't give it another thought until I started running long distance and Ryan Shay died due to a heart malfunction in the NY Olympic trials. I figured I'd better get checked out. Then I was working and had the best of the best health insurance. So on one of those 3D cardiograms I got a stress test done. The cardiologist was elated and informed me that I had a very low chance of a heart attack for the next 30 years and I had a "well-trained" heart.

Long story short, I represented my flat-lander clans well during the Inka trail hikes. I even got a nick-name Chaski (which is what we called our porters out of respect). Apparently, when we were climbing up Dead Woman's pass (14000 feet+) and the Chaski's were taking a break I showed no signs of tiring and then I'd run down the hills like they did :)

I remember when I was seeing some of the sights I did I told a friend - "When we go back home it will hit us as to how amazing these sights are." That comment appeared to be quite fortuitous. Some of the pictures I have captured just appear surreal! A couple of Colombian guys in our group who had traveled across South America remarked - "You won't see too much more amazing than this in South America"...

I remain thankful for the mental, physical and financial abilities to be able to travel to all the places I've been to so far. I hope to cover a lot more of the world but if I don't... I'm satisfied. I've still seen a lot more than a lot of people see in their life times :)

Friday, January 03, 2014

Moments like this...

... make your run special!

A 9 mile run on ...
A sunny wintry afternoon...
And the Seattle rain appears...
As you finish your run, in the golden light of sunset, a rainbow appears!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

January 1, 2014

This ended up being quite a frenetic and eventful day.

It started with ringing in New Year's in Lima, Peru. This continued my streak of ringing the New Year in interesting locals (Ecuador, Cairo, Madrid,...). I already have the venue for New Year 2015 planned out ;)

I then jumped on one of my most comfortable plane rides, to Miami. I had the whole middle row to lie on while entertaining myself to "The Internship" and then blissful sleep. Oh why did the journey from Lima to Miami only have to last 5 odd hours.

In Miami, I got onto my rental car to drive to and from the Florida Keys... What a beautiful drive through the sky blue and turquoise green waters. I finally got to drive across the legendary "7 mile" bridge!

As amazing as my South American trip was, I was happy to return to the Seattle that I left! I hadn't noticed how beautiful, neat and tidy my dwelling really was! I guess a month on the road puts things into perspective :)

There's nothing like starting off the year with a run. So I headed out at 11 pm for a run on a dark, cloudy moonless night. I was a bit tired but it felt great! It was sad to see "the homeless man" preparing to go to sleep on a bench on new years day :(

Then sleep dear sleep on the most comfortable bed in the world!!

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