Saturday, October 15, 2005

Marathoning: experiences so far

2003 marathon training lead to regular weekly runs and long runs, running turned out to be more of a sport and a change in lifestyle listing my experiences of marathons since 2004

3: Big Sur marathon April 2004

Hilly marathon, great organization, Awesome views, best marathon experience so far.

Rajeev Patel had mentioned about this marathon during one of the long runs in september 2003, since then wanted to run on the scenic highway 1 from Big sur to Carmel. Ran most of the course with kiran, tried Jeff Galloway's walk/runapproach for the first time and it did work.

- Felt lot less fatigued in the 20+ miles.
- Did not cramp till the last mile

Post-race fanfares was great, had lot of goodies for the tired runners. Best organized marathon.

4: Nisene Marks June 2004

Treated it as a Training run for 50k in the following 2 weeks, good uphill course 1st and totally downhill 2nd half.

This marathon is quite special to me as did my first 5k race ever with Kaveesh in 2002 Jun.

5: SF marathon July 2004

Ran at a easy pace, last couple miles were tough, felt lot fatigued. Probably didnt recover from myfirst 50k 6 weeks prior to this race and wasnt able to train much due to RV trip and East coast Trip with Kasturi Maami

6: Portland marathon Oct 2004

Decided to run with rashmi was very good experience. did a easy training run. not easy to run with a spouse :)

7: SV marathon Oct 2004

Ran for a time goal of 4:20, did make it in 4:17, perfectly paced marathon. Totally satisfied with the training of 2 months for this race.

Lessons learnt:

For extra Salt intake, used Succeed tablets.

Walk breaks does help to deal with fatigue and achieved PR. Splits, 2:09 and 2:07

8: Nisene marks Jun 2005

Training run with Kiran , good easy course. Felt lot better than 2004.

9: SF marathon 2005 July

Wasnt sure if I would be able to run this marathon, as I had run 50k 2 weeks before but surprizing recovered quite well and was all set for the scenic course.

Very good race, great course, good expo with lot of freebies and lot bigger than past year.
main objective:
- Treat this as a training run
- Enjoy the 1st half of the course (running on golden gate bridge is special moment)
- Finish strong.

Didnt get good sleep 2 days prior to marathon, so was little concerned about the race. but due to stay at Srini's friend's place in SF managed to get a extra sleep and got a convenient drive to start line. the race started at 5:20, weather was little chilly, foggy perfect running temprature. As usual me and kiran decided run together and try to hit 4:30 goal without pushing too hard. As recovery was one of the concerns.

We ran the initial part with 4:30 pace group they did 6:1(galloway walk break technique) we conveniently followed that, soon we were joined by Pankaj gupta, ran along fine at a easy 10:30 pace, at the first uphill we took potty break and missed pankaj out there, was little concerned about lack of cytomax at the first 3 aid stations i.e abt 7 miles into race, but was hopeful wud have plenty ahead..

At mile 7 GG bridge stretch started, this was my 2nd time on the scenic bridge, though it was misty was enjoying the run on the bridge, traffic on the bridge was blocked for runners. next 3 miles went pretty smoothly with hoards of runners alongside. by this time we had already missed the 4:30 group.

Mile 10 had a good downhill section followed by a long easy uphill, at this point Tom(Padma's ex-boss) joined us, he seemed to be very strong. at mile 11.

2nd half of the course is not that scenic as it passes through industrial areas, but me and kiran decided to push a bit and try to run the race within 4:30.. we did end up doing in 4:29:55 felt good attaining the goal considering we had lot of gas in the end.

2005 was lot fun run than 2004 as lot TeamAsha runners were doing the half-marathon.

One dissapointing aspect of this race was the post-race treament, we hardly had any nutritional stuff, had 1 banana and cytomax.. for all the effort spent in past 26.2 miles. I remember kiran asking for 1 more banana and the lady told him runners are allowed for only 1.. kiran couldnt beleive that he spent 3000+ calories and
being give a 100 calorie banana to replenish!!!

Guess race folks spent all money on the expo, they need to balance it out next time.

10. Chicago Marathon 2005 with Ajith

This was ajith's first marathon, Ajith ran a very well paced race, he was pretty strong till mile 21 and we started incrasing walks breaks but he decided to push and run most of the miles between mile 23-26.2. At finish we celebrated with Michlebob ultra beer and waited for rush, who seeemed to suffer from quad and calf fatigue and walked the last 7 miles with Heeral. Great camaraderie from heeral..

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Golden Gate 50k Race Report

Marin County IMO is the most scenic place in this part of the world. Had run part of this course last year and was astonished by beauty of this course, this is a hidden treasure, known to very few runners/hikers /bikers in Marin, one easy access to these trails is from Tennessee valley.

Accidentally came across site in July 2005 and was thrilled to find this race covers Coastal trail, miles and miles of trails besides Pacific coast and much more. Checked with Our Coach Rajeev and within minutes got his response and we registered. I had hiked some parts of the course and was well aware of the scenic course.

Race day:

Got a very good 4 hr sleep, woke up at 4am and did the usual sanity check, usual dose of calories in terms of peanut chutney, balle-annu and in the process disturbed my better half who was trying to get some good sleep before her 19 miler.

Rajeev picked me up at 5:10am, next 1 hr drive we just listened to Golden classics of Rafi sahib. Rajeev rendering his voice intermittently.

6:15 am race check-in, picked up few goodies and spoke to some fellow runners, filled up the fuel belt with goodies for the course. This course mainly had 7 hills, I call them the Saptagiri course. This time had decided to take a camera but was foolish enough to pick one with only 6 reels..!!

Race started sharp at 7:00am from Rodeo beach, first quarter mile was on sand, could see the small hill ahead which passes through the rodeo lagoon, and joins miwok trail. Next 10 miles we were roller coasting, most of this section was foggy and couldn’t see much of the valley from the top.

At mile 10 we hit the Muir beach aid station, this is the start of 3 rd hill called the Cardiac hill, didn’t seem as bad as the name suggests, Rajeev and me ran part of the course, chatted with few other trail runners. That’s one of the interesting aspects of trail running, it is a very close knit community, you meet a runner and almost instantly you strike a bond, you exchange experiences and sometimes run the entire course with a complete stranger and in the end you have a friend.

Mile 13 we reach the cardiac hill aid station, we re-fueled and awed at the Number 1 runner pass by mile 20, Rajeev humored him and asked him topace him on his fast walks J

Soon we reached Pantoll, which took a toll on our dear knees, took Matt davis trail all the way down-to Stinson beach. 4 miles of scenic but brutal downhill section, usually I like downhills , its like putting yourself on cruise control and chugging along, but this was quite difficult, had to be very cautious to avoid those low tree branches and walk those steep steps. first time could feel some pain in my knees and Rajeev seemed to have some problem with hip flexors.

3 hrs 50 mins into the race we hit Stinson Beach aid station and our man entertaining the aid station volunteers with his humor and me busy re-fueling. We had reached just over half point and some of the breath taking views still ahead.

We had to climb our way back to Pantoll via steep ravine trail, exchanged few notes with Ironman lady and her plans to do WS 100 next year. Incidentally she had met Kiran/Padma a week before at 50k race at Salt point. This climb had some rewarding views, just walking into jungle with creeks andwater-falls besides the trail and absolute serenity all around.

Mile 20 we reach Cardiac hill, I felt lot better after the 3 mile climb, hiked all of it and ready for next 4 mile downhill section, which is a series of switchbacks to Muir beach one of the scenic parts, pacific ocean displaying its assortment of colors.

Mile 25 at Muir beach we see some familiar faces, volunteers out their all recognize Rajeev as the indefatigable soul and person to cheer them up (usually it’s the other way)

Next 3 miles to Tennessee valley had 2 hills but the best views were reserved for this section of the course. This led to Pirates cove which offers miles and miles of oceanview.

Passed the last aid station at Tennessee valley, had some coke/water all set for final Climb with another set of trail buddies who seemed to have done this trail quite a few times and warned us of the tough sections at every point.

At the end of 900ft climb, we had another 100ft to the one of peak points, which offered almost 270 degree view of pacific coast, later we realized we had a short cut to this point, race director fooled us by suggesting a round-about route!!

Last 4 miles Rajeev was very strong, he seemed to be enjoying every moment and ready for another couple more miles. It makes the course lot easier with a runner like him behind you cheering and offering advice. Probably wouldn’t have run this course if he hadn’t signed up for this.

Finally after about 7.5 hrs of scenic adventure we passed the finish point.

Its great to run with friends like Rajeev, Kiran and Padma. Though running seems to be a solo sport, to me it is also a team sport, you pull each other during different points of highs and lows.

Running to me is all about Scenic courses. Very glad to have found Trail running and fortunate to be in this part of the world. This race had some of the best volunteer support. Hats off to those self-less souls.

They will have lot better day with more cheerful runners like Rajeev. Still remember some volunteers cheering us and shouting at our man “here comes the fun guy”

Course pictures at

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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List of all 100 milers in US Online store for running related products, predominantly ultra running. Site with all calendar of multiday races, training tips.