Tuesday, July 26, 2011


So, as I reach the finish line (of what was the most grueling task I have ever faced), my adrenaline and endorphins pumping I felt the “runners high”. The feeling is so good that it was worth the effort.
Five minutes into the run, I was to myself “It’s not too late to turn back, I am not yet deep into the trail”. As the run progressed I found an internal balanced, my muscles and mind were in sync and I felt like a well oiled machine!    
Until mile 6 or 7 I was doing fine, then running is just a mental game. Mental stamina and strength is as important as training hard for a marathon. Running is a mental game and we are all INSANE!
Anyways, so soon after the run you feel like on cloud nine and the sense of accomplishment is like no other. But, all you need is a good nap and then you come crashing down to earth. With all the euphoria, I did not bother to stretch and crashed (literally) when I got home.
I have never felt my legs so stiff before and I could not lift them more than an inch from the bed without pain. Climbing steps, getting in and out of the shower, putting on clothes etc were just painful.
I thought that trail runs are a one time thing and no more marathon for me. Walking was a task and now I sympathise with older people walking slowly cause their muscles are weak.
But, our body is the most amenable, accommodating and adaptable creation and all it needs is good rest and ALLOT of stretching. Day two after muddy paws, with great effort and stretching I was able to run 3 miles at a very very very slow pace. I hope in a week’s time we are back on track and on our way!
My fellow runners, don’t lose hope with sore muscles. It always gets betterJ
------Aparna Chittaranjan

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Muddy Paws, July 22.

So one day during our training Aparna musters courage and puts forth the question to Sohani and myself: Should we do the Muddy Paws 10 Mile trail run. As usual, I was non-committal, but the women I was practising with were over-the-top keen on doing it.  How tough is it? Are we ready? Who'll drive us there?----there was only one answer: 'We'll manage'. And we did! Sohani drove us there.

We woke up @4.30 am and gave each other wake-up calls @4.45 am, (honestly none of us were confident of waking up, so I atleast did not get much sleep), and were ready to leave by 5.30 am. We followed the GPS religiously and, as it happens when GPS defeats instinct, started looping around Shaker Sq for the first 10 mins. Finally we found Van-Aiken, the smile returned on Sohani's face, the music was turned up and we were on our way! DCH style.

We reach the venue, greeted by some chilly morning drizzle (romantic eh) and make our registrations. Ram, another Team Asha member, joined us (positively hyper as ever :) ). We pick up our bibs (with time-keeping technology), pin them and look at each other. That's when Aparna says 'waapas chaley?' (she's the most deceptively strong person I've met, lol)

With 2-3 mins to the race, we are taken down a hill to line up in a huge human caterpillar. On your marks, get set, go!

The race started in a beautiful valley over-looking awesomely dense and copius green cover. Five minutes into the race, the green cover was on us. Thickets, bushes, canopies and Nature. It had rained the previous night so it was a slippery track. We all stood our balance and kept on going. One very important thing in long distance running is 'U NEVER STOP', if u do, your muscles 'lock' in on u, your mind refuses to push forward, and u give up. Now this was a hilly, slippery trail. With people of all age groups (literally). And because the track was narrow, the human train would stop at times and then continue. Bummer! With my first stop I could literally feel myself beginning to say 'this is so tough, why aren't u sleeping on a Saturday!'

And the race went on, in fact it just refused to get over. One hill would lead to another, wooden steps, slippery bridges, slush, slush, more slush. It wasn't a test of stamina alone, it was a test of mental strength (what a cliche!), flexibility in identifying and handling challenges, resource management, improvisation, and at times, lending a helping hand.

I could go on, but the race finally ended. Sohani and myself (the weaker breed) stopped at 5 miles, while Aparna and Ram completed 10 miles. It took Team Asha a little over 2 hrs. The sun played best friend and hid from us the entire run. By 11 am, we were done, rejuvenated with Muscle Milk, bananas, and some of us, water-melon. Our way back was full of energetic car-singing, and perfect celebration of personal achievement, except for a small road mishap.Nonetheless, all of us had an awesome time, and went home super proud, earning ourselves 5 hrs of good sleep.

p.s. Cannot end this write-up without thanking Punit Shah for his car and Anuj.Rohan for being great dosts.