Saturday, May 27, 2017

Do running events really unite us or divide us?

The growing number of runners and running events are probably the most beautiful thing to occur in Indian cities.  Indians are becoming more health conscious and taking up this beautiful sport to rediscover their hidden potential irrespective of the age, sex, and cultural backgrounds.  This trend is highly beneficial for the city dwellers who are leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating fast food, living a fast & stressful life, in a busy business and working community.

Running is another fabulous sport where each one of us can venture out with simple attire and a pair of running shoes and the world to explore. We make new friends, strengthen relationships, create new wonders ultimately investing time for a very strong foundation to a disease free healthy future.

There are several reasons why running events are organized by many.  Quite a few are friendly in nature, organized for the spirit and joy of running. Many others are purely commercial in nature with an intention to make money through sponsorship and by charging huge registration fees. Some could be for social causes and generate awareness.   There could be few with confused objectives, falling somewhere in between or nowhere.

Unfortunately, even the running events organized for a cause or to develop awareness are marketed to attract participants with discount vouchers, free T-Shirts, finisher medals & post run breakfast.

Whatever may be the reasons, such events provide an opportunity to stay united, to connect with people from different parts of life, bring out the entire city to streets on some occasions, create new jobs and more opportunities for many to have fun in different ways.

The expectations from these events grow with the money paid to participate. At the same time, there are no standards for expectations when everything is free and even when the quality is compromised.

It is very unfortunate to see that any debacles in paid running events instantly creates sparks and flames in the social media (healthy debates) and brings out the differences in our beliefs (to make things better).  The saddest part is when all these discussions turn toward individuals;  new groups are formed turning the healthy debate to personal attacks creating differences.

It is my wish,

let such running events and our differences unite us, 
not divide us

About me,

I'm a random writer who enjoys the basic act of sharing and teaching others.  I'm an ACE certified personal trainer, an ultramarathon runner, and a running coach with a personal touch.  I left my corporate job after 24 years of working and have founded KaysFIT Academy in 2016.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Expect nothing, apt to be surprised - TCSW10k experience

TCS World 10 K Bengaluru

The last time I ran a timed 10 k event was in the year 2015. It was my fastest and the most exciting run with a timing of 00:47:23, it was indeed painful to sustain that speed.  It took a toll on my body and I spent few days to recover from the hard efforts.

I did not have any plans to run the #TCSW10k this year since I just came out of my long enduring #424242running campaign as part of the SahayaLRTS's initiative towards road safety, followed by a full month of complete shutdown and bracing myself for the 12 hrs stadium run in Chennai.  Running a short distance event was not listed in my 2017 plan.  I was keeping myself adequately fit due to my regular and fun filled fitness and exercise sessions with my KaysFIT Academy members.

About two weeks back, I received an invitation to deliver the "The Next 48 hrs" session at the #tcsw10k expo, and I was excited and happy about it. I was totally soaked in the preparation for the talk since the time the invitation arrived. The more I prepared, the more I wanted to run... Nevertheless, the big day came too soon, and here's what I planned to speak. I put myself as a 10 k runner who would go through every bit of planning meticulously to prepare for the race.  I wore my running coach hat to provide the best advise to my clients.  With them, I wanted to travel back in time, over 16 weeks, starting from the foundation of the run, planning for the nutrition, rest, recovery and tapering.  I also created my bullet list to talk about how to “prime the body before the race day” to give the possible best performance.

I wanted to give the best experience for my audience like in a short & sweet 10 k race. I summed up my best personal learning both from the things that worked well and the things that did not.

Unfortunately, I felt extremely odd that I wasn’t going to run this marathon...

Hence, instead of running the race to my best efforts, I had decided to give my best preparation for the talk at the expo.   I wanted to fare well in delivering that and that was my race.

At the race expo

On Friday, when I entered the expo hall at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium, I felt something was missing.  I hadn’t registered for the event and for a change, I was only theoretically prepared well.

When the time arrived, I delivered my session.   It was well received by the runners who attended the session and the organizers alike.  I also received a wink from my little daughter and a big thumbs-up from my wife who was sitting in the front and recording.

The Next 48 hrs - session

With Mr. Venkat, an inspiring person who runs
It came as a pleasant surprise when I fount that I could complete a manual registration to run the race. Hastily I registered for this run! I was happy to run and had no expectations from myself for the race.

I collected the bib which had no name and with a starting lineup stamped as 'F' pen.

Few of my friends asked me whether I had any target finish time in mind.  My mind was wandering for an answer.   I did not plan for this race.  I wasn’t doing any speed training.  I told myself to settle down any time closer to my 2015 10k time or even few minutes slower due to the 'F' starting lineup.  I wasn’t sure if I could run the race better than the last time since I haven’t trained specifically for a short distance race.

Race day

On Sunday morning, I reached the Coffee Day junction just around 4:50 AM.  I completed a 10-min warm-up behind the Coffee Day and rushed to the porta-potty before the start.  After 10 minutes of waiting in the queue, I walked out with great relief, victoriously.  The time was 5:10 AM.  I started clinging to the crowd and crawling towards the ‘F’ pen, inching towards the stands, 2 levels up.
Runners queuing up to enter the 'F' pen due to an unexpected water logged stands entrance, 5 minutes to start
The 20 mins that I spent bumping other runners shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet was very chaotic.  There was a growing impatience among the runners when they realized the queue was due to clogged walk ways at the entrance.  The rain that lashed the night before was one of the reasons.
View from the 'F' pen - Pens ahead of us were already ready to start the race
From a long distance at the stands, I watched the flag off at 5.30 am.  My legs were tap-dancing to the ambiance, craving to run.  With a slow crawl towards the start line, I managed to cross the start mat at 5:42 am, a good 12 mins after the official start.  I started running and carefully cut across a massive volume of runners to get to the open section of the road outside the stadium.

With thousands of runners filling the streets on a chilly morning, running was getting fun.  Going through the crowded streets and getting past the runners was like playing a complex maze game.  I ran faster whenever I saw space ahead of me, hopped to the right and left whenever I came close to other runners, slowed down when I did not have any space to move and accelerated whenever I could.  I ran on broken banners littered on the road and ran through the ankle deep water-logged sections.  The only thing missing was the presence of hurdles to completely call the race a steeplechase.  I was on a constant roll.

I finished with a memorable personal best of 00:45:34, 24th place out of 881 in my age (40-45 years) category

Pace split: 4:43, 4:23, 4:57, 4:33, 4:45, 4:32, 4:35, 4:10, 4:32, 4:08

At the finish line, I treasured the medal with no pressure.

“If you expect nothing, you're apt to be surprised. You'll get it"
-  Malcolm Forbes

Somewhere inside the Cubbon Park - sprinting

Extremely dangerous stretch for runners entering the stands post race to collect medals + breakfast
About me,

I'm a random writer who enjoys the basic act of sharing and teaching others.  I'm an ACE certified personal trainer, an ultramarathon runner, and a running coach with a personal touch.  I left my corporate job after 24 years of working and have founded KaysFIT Academy in 2016.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What keeps you going?

It was on 16-Apr-2016, on the final week campaign run on road safety "Be Safe! Be there to Save!" by Sahaya LRTS

"What keeps you going?"

I asked my 15 year old son (Aditya Kannan) after he ran about 29 km (on his way to complete a full marathon distance 42.2 km).

I am a true believer of processes to take me to my achieve what I aspire as goals.  I strive to spend a lot of time in planning and a little time in execution.  I learnt the very important aspect of always doing the self-talk to focus on one step at a time.  I very often, love testing my endurance limits.

During my tough days at work or all along my long distance endurance training runs on during any marathon event, I always struggled to find an answer for this question "What keeps me going?"

I've asked this question while running the Comrades Marathon, especially after crossing 60 km in 2015 up run and 2016 down run.

I've asked this question while attempting 42 consecutive weeks of running 42 km every week to spread awareness on road safety

I've been asking this question during my entire life

I always wanted to ask this question to everyone who inspires me - who keeps going on and on and on....with extreme focus and determination on anything that they do.

Oddly, whenever I found answers they were never the convincing ones.

I'm still discovering the true answer to this (also) philosophical question.

"What keeps you going?"

The response my son gave during the campaign run was simply awesome.

He spontaneously shared his idea of what kept him going on that day.  I was so lucky to capture that moment.

Those words uttered by him were like the "words of wisdom" and they reminded me to stick and focus on my goals and think about the finish line and the celebrations.

He said,

"The Goal"....after a brief pause he said, "The goal keeps me going"
"The celebrations...".... "the end..."
"and the experience..."
"the memories..."
"...and what I'm going to take from today"
"..that''s it"

he felt proud of this achievement and everybody who was joining him on that day...

"let's go..." is what he said... and after that, on that day, he kept on going till the finish and successfully completed his first 42.2 km.
On that day, he kept on going till the finish and successfully completed his first 42.2 km.

He has been a great source of inspiration, a great strength to my road safety campaign and also on various other aspects of my life.

It was certainly the proudest day for me and my wife Meera Kannan

What keeps you going?

Discover more about Aditya Kannan here... (

About me,

I'm an ACE certified personal trainer, an Ultra Marathon runner, and a running coach.  A writer here and there and always enjoys the basic act of sharing and teaching others.  I left my corporate job after 24 years of working and have founded KaysFIT Academy, with a mission to promote overall wellness, provide best possible fitness coaching & mentoring, and fitness education.  

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