Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I could do this on my hands!!!

So the day has finally come - I'll be running my first 20-miler this weekend! My first TWENTY miler....I am excited but nervous at the same time!

We've been told to come ready with a little internal affirmation catch phrase - basically self-compliments/positive affirmations that will keep us going through the run when we are going through a rough patch, in the middle of a nasty hill, or just feel like giving up.

Some words of wisdom from my coach.....

Coach Amy: I think the most important part is to come up with affirmations before you need them. When you read or hear a phrase that “speaks” to you, write it down. Reword it if necessary to make it short and rhythmical, so that it is easy to memorize. Before a particularly hard training day or before a race, go over your list and write a phrase or 2 on post-it notes. Put the post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, on your car dash, or on your computer screen and then commit the affirmation to heart so that you can repeat it over and over in your head. A few that I personally like are : “start easy, finish strong. Start easy, finish strong.” “I am mentally tough. Mentally tough.” I am well-trained. I am prepared for this race.” If you think a negative thought during your workout or race, immediately substitute your affirmation.

I've been trying to come up with something that will work for me and this morning - I was chatting with my colleague Andre, an avid marathon runner - and I found what I needed!! :)

Charanya says: my coach wants us to come up with a postivie reaffirmation phrase! any suggestions?
Andre says: Hrmm....
"This is the dumbest thing that I've ever done"
"But I like it"
Charanya says: haha....too long...what if i get demoralized at DUMB and then never finish???
Andre says: it's possible
Charanya says: for att half...i remember chanting "i love hills"
Andre says: "These Indian legs are strong!"
Charanya says: hahahahahah
Andre says: I like that
Andre says: "I could do this on my hands!"
Charanya says: hahahaha.....
I like "I could do this on my hands!"
Andre says: it's catchy
Charanya says: I think the visual image of me marathoning on my hands will just keep me going!
Charanya says: Good job - Gold Star for Andre!
Andre says: WAHOO!!!

And yes....I could so totally do this on my hands!!!!!!!!!
And as silly and strange as it sounds - just saying it right now a few times to myself is already making me feel good about it all!! It's not so much the actual words - but what it implies - that I am strong, and I will be able to do anything I put my mind to!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The ADC - To Do or Not To Do?

My life once upon a time used to be such that I would try to fit in exercise/physical fitness/sports in between all my other activities - and mostly only if there was nothing else better to do! Now with all this running and triathloning - I find myself trying to fit in my life in between all my training....And my old friends from school and family members are quite perplexed because this was the last thing they expected me to do while I was in school - I was a complete inactive bookworm then!! The only remotely active thing I used to do was play tennis and swim once a week - but more so because my folks made me join those classes - if given a choice, I probably would not have enrolled in those 2 either!!....

And now I am training for my 1st Marathon and have also just this morning exhanged about 20 emails with Areille contemplating doing the Austin Distance Challenge for the 2007-2008 season!!! (

We've both been asking each other if we've gone completeley crazy. Have we??

I discussed it with my coach - I wanted to find out if this was ok - training for a 2nd marathon right after having finished my 1st ever marathon - and she said it was absolutely fine - only thing I will need to do is take a complete break the week after the MCM - so absolutely NO running - and then ease into the running - no more than 30 mins a day - and no more frequent than once every other day!....

My only key concern with all this is - how this will affect the rest of my life!! I am (or at least used to be!) a pretty active social person - and love to go out, hang out with my friends etc. But because of all this running madness, I've been forced to skip/miss out on a lot of hangouts, dinners, movie outings, special events etc etc with my friends - mostly because I am opting to stay in and sleep and be prepared for the next day's run or to sleep and recuperate after a long morning run! I also used to be able to just drive to Houston any weekend I chose to and hang out with my parents...Now I have to plan these trips way in advance and plan them around my so-called "Easy Weeks"....so that I don't end up missing my longer runs....It's tough to get those runs in when I'm elsewhere and have to run alone - so that's something I defnitely need to do with my run group and hence need to be in Austin for! I'm also quite certain that my friends and family are quite fed up of hearing the "I'm sorry...gotta run" excuse!! I have so many calls that I need to return to disgruntled friends! I keep promising them it will all end come October - but here I am - already planning another 4 months of running! ....

I still feel like I want to do it though - this is the one time in my life that I can do all this w/o having any other responsibilites. I see working parents with young children and other individuals with insane work schedules come for training and then rush off to take care of their kids or to work etc etc...whereas I currently have the luxury to just come home and sleep all day and recuperate!!...

Hmm....I don't know....I'm kinda confused now....I am enjoying the way things are currently - but I don't know if I am running (no pun intended) the risk of letting all this just dictate my life completely!!.....I also don't quite know what my big goal at the end of the day is for keeping on doing this - and if - I really need to even have such a goal! I had a specific goal for doing 1 marathon - it was a personal challenge - to see what I was capable of - but why do I want to do another one??

How about you guys? Have you ever felt this way about anything - something that you really want to do but takes up such a big chunk of your life - you don't quite know what it will amount to at the end of the day - but you still want to keep doing it anyway??

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

18 Miles and STILL Running....

Last Saturday, I ran my first ever 18 miles....(or what was just supposed to be 18 miles....)...and during this run, I experienced my first ever SERIOUS "Why the hell am I doing this???" thought....That thought has come to me before - several times, but it was something I always used to just brush aside, because things were never really that bad....and I was always reminded of my 3 main goals - get fit - reach my endurance goal - raise funds for Asha - and that used to be enough for me to want to go on!! But last Saturday - was the first time where I came really close to wanting to absolutely give up!!....

I woke up at 4am that morning, feeling strong and confident. I had done 2 16-milers already, and was looking forward to tackling this 18-miler. Several runners have told me before that upto 18 miles, the physical endurance plays a big part, but after that, it becomes a more mental challenge....So this was going to be quite a milestone and I was feeling good....

The run started well - we ran through the trail, then along the Lake Austin Boulevard stretch....it was after I made the right on Enfield, that my little "adventure" started....I was looking out for a turn - on Pecos - but for some reason..missed it....I ended up running the whole of Enfield trying to find it - until I hit Mopac.....I was separated from the group at this point. Most of the other 11-13min/mile runners had not shown up this week and I was pretty much solo by the time I reached mile 5. At the junction of Enfield and the Mopac, I met another lost runner!...We debated on what to do - we could try to run back on Enfield and find Pecos or keep going north on the Mopac feeder. We knew that we would eventually hit Far West - where we needed to cross Mopac! We chose Option 2 and continued running. We ran past Windsor, Westeover and kept going. The roads were slightly hilly and winding but still manageable. I had my water bottle with me and that helped both me and my fellow lost runner get by without needing a waterstop. We finally hit Exposition - a familiar road which we knew would lead us back on track....

Exposition, for those who have driven on it, is not a fun road to run on at all - it's where the coaches typically take us to do the dreaded HILL WORKOUTS.....UGH...at the end of it though...we reached 35th Street....which I knew would get me to Balcones and back on track!!...My fellow lost runner took off at this point - I was extremely grateful to have had his company but I knew he had been running at a slower pace for me - which was very sweet and considerate of him! I continued on Balcones - this was quite a long stretch FULL of steep ups and downs, and having just run all the hills on Exposition, I had a miserable time running these new hills...I ended up walking a few of the uphills - although I really didn't want to - but my legs just felt so darn energy-less!!...And it was right in the middle of one of these hills, in what felt middle of nowhere, that I came to a standstill and asked myself what the hell I was doing!!....My 3 goals floated in front of me - I just remember thinking - wot the heck, I'm fitter than the average person, I don't really need to meet the self-imposed endurance goal, and well there was Asha - I was thinking if I could get away with writing a big fat check?..... I literally stood there....motionless for 5 whole minutes - my mind whirling with crazy thoughts!!!

I guess that 3rd thought was the one that really made me feel kind of bad - I had just sent an email to all my friends and family a couple of days before asking them to assist me in helping to meet my fundraising goals....telling them how important this cause and effort was for me - and I could just imagine what they'd think if I were to give up now!! So I mustered whatever little energy I had left and walked up the hill I was in....to my pleasant surprise, I could see the end of Balcones right ahead AND I found a Rogue watersop!!! Coach Scott was just clearing the waterstop but waited for me, and filled up my water bottles. I explained what had happened, and he devised a new route for me to take. He said either ways, I was going to end up doing more than 18 miles!! He also said that I'd come this far - and well, that I should really try to motivate myself and enjoy the last 8 miles, which would be mostly downhill!...He made me consume my Gu and sent me off....I ran on 2222 to Shoal Creek and was greeted by a group of runners - all part of Gilbert's Gazelles - another major running group in Austin!....the run along Shoal Creek ended up being quite pleasant - it's amazing how having people running around you can really bring up your spirits - even if you don't know any of them! The GG water stops also helped me along the way, and I ended up hitting 38th Street....I took 38th and then took a right on Lamar and ran all the way back to the Town Lake Trail....

The run on Lamar was a little tough - but this was just the usual soreness I got during all my long runs - but the route itself was quite pretty, especially near the Campus Area....I got a little cramp along the way and walked for a bit - a GG coach found me walking along here and stopped his car and asked if I needed a ride back. I was very very tempted but declined. Once again though, I was really touched by the offer for help...the Austin running community is truly an awesome community to be part of and I felt more motivated then and managed to run the remaining 4 miles relatively well.....

I had never been so happy as I was at the end of that run to see the RunTex store...and I was even more thrilled to see Lindsay, a fellow Iron Chick and massage therapist, who was there offering massages to all the runners....She gave me an AMAZING massage....I remember telling a friend right after that it felt like my legs had an orgasm! ;)....hahaha...I met the Asha men there, who were there for the AT&T kickoff...I still had a dazed look on my face though, and I got quite a few concerned "Are you Okay??"s from them!! :)

I went home after that and soaked in my tub for a bit, in icy cold water....then ate and SLEPT for nearly 5 solid hours, and woke up feeling all renewed again, and the miserable morning run felt like it happened ages ago!! I thought at that point about how close I'd come to giving up that morning and felt really glad that I hadn't!!....I had done 19.5 miles and survived the run with no major physical strains (touch wood!!)....I knew though that I had to really focus on my mental energy and training for the weeks ahead!! My next big milestone is going to be a 20 mile run 2 weekends from now...but thanks to my little adventure last weekend, I'm not going to be running a significantly longer distance, but I really do hope to have a much better experience, and a much stronger finish!! Meanwhile....my dear readers....Charanya's gonna STILL be running! :)

On a completely different note....HAPPY 60TH INDEPENDENCE DAY to my dear home country and all my fellow Indians!!! VANDE MATARAM!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I am an Indian citizen, but having been brought up in Singapore and having lived there for close to 14 years, I pretty much consider it as one of my homes!! Singapore celebrates it's 42nd Birthday today, and one of my fondest memories of this day is of singing the National songs together in school and during the National Day Parades!!....

My favorite song amongst those was Singapore Town! I wish I could sing it for you - but you'll just have to settle for this - if you even care to listen!! (Shasha is probably the only one who will!!! hahaha....)This song even has cool hand actions and all!! ALAMAK - I am such a dork!!!!!!!! :D

Singapore Town
Music & Lyrics: The Sidaislers

You could take a little trip around Singapore town
In a Singapore city bus
To see Collyer Quay and Raffles Place
The Esplanade and all of us

Because in Singapore, Singapore
Their hearts are big and wide you'll find
Because in Singapore, Singapore
You'll find happiness (chachacha) for everyone

Let's go down to the riverside, it's an unforgettable sight
To see the sunrise on a faraway isle, turning darkness into light

( Repeat Chorus )

The buildings are climbing all the way to the sky
And there's a hundred other people who are striving
For people like you and I

( Repeat Chorus )

HAPPY NATIONAL DAY TO ALL SINGAPOREANS!!! (Blue ICs can consider also lah!!! :) )

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thumbs Up!

We did the Marshes x 1.5 for my Marathon Quality workout this morning....My fellow Rogue'ers will know what this is....for the rest...it's essentially a nasty hill workout!!....When I was doing the Half-Marathon training, we used to do just 0.5 (so one up)....As part of my Marathon training, we had to at least 1.5 and optionally 2.0 (so up down up down).....My legs were crying as I finished the workout but as always, I felt good after!!! :)

My coach talked to me at the end of the workout and told me that while running, I fold my palms into a "Thumbs Up" position and grip it tight - adding unnecessary tension!!!.....I had absolutely no idea I did that, but apparently I do it a lot...and well unfortunately....although the actual hand position has a positive connotation (~ Good Job!) and pple who run past me probably thing that I am constantly encouraging them :) , for me, it actually has negative results!! I went and looked at some of my old running pictures (and NO...I don't take pics of myself running and analyze them :)...these are from old races)...and noticed that I really do do (Chandler flashback!!) the "Thumbs Up" a lot!!....So now I need to focus on keeping my hands and palms much more relaxed while running...One of my other coaches told us to imagine that we were running with a egg in our hand and our goal should be to ensure that the egg is intact and not broken by the time we finish our run!!.....Hmm....

Other than that, we are doing 16 miles again this weekend - but this time it's going to be a much more HILLY route (yuck!!).....the run has been aptly named "The Run from Hell"....thank god I have nothing else planned for Saturday morning/afternoon....cuz this run is defn gonna put me into bedrest for at least half the day!!!

I also went ahead and signed up for Skeese Greet's...an all-women's Sprint Tri due to happen at the end of the month....so pretty psyched about that....I'm not going to be able to train that well...since my primary focus will be my running....but I hope to be much better prepared than I was for the Couples Tri! And this will be the first race I'll be doing with Sha....so I am super duper excited!!!