Monday, May 14, 2012

Letter from the Doctor, soon-to-be Ultra Marathoner

Hello again friends,
Hope you all had a great weekend, and happy mother's day to all you moms out there! Now that's a whole lot harder of a task, and on a daily basis, than just hitting the trails and belting out a few dozen miles, and no medal either, so this one day of acknowledging all that it takes to carry off this amazing responsibility is so richly deserved!

We have been blessed with a beautiful spring here in Northeast Ohio after a strangely mild and muddy trails winter, and the trails are in excellent shape, beautiful as ever. In spite of now having run a few marathons, it is still always a daunting prospect to undertake another one, I have a healthy respect for that distance, there are so many variables on any given day despite long weeks and months of training, a fact that was brought painfully home to me during my first one, when I was crippled by muscle cramps from mile 18 to 23. And everyone who has ever run one knows that it's almost two different races, the first 20 miles are the relatively easier part, but it's a whole different ball game for the last 6.2, most of which is mental. So to tack on another 5 miles to that is an intimidating thought, and there seems to be no rational way to train for a 50K either, other than just putting in long hours out there on the trails. So after another high mileage week culminating with an insanely long run yesterday, and a shorter one today, I feel slightly relieved at having survived these past few weeks without any serious aches or pains, and a bit more confident.

Thank you so much to those of you who have already stepped up so promptly, your generosity is sincerely appreciated, and here's the best part, my dear friends Ranjit and IlaTamaskar have once again challenged me to come up with $2000 in donations, which they will then match, dollar for dollar! (link to donations page) And I am a quarter of the way there already, so let's rally around again friends, as you all have so kindly in the past, the race is now less than 3 weeks away. As I get ready to begin an eagerly awaited 'taper', which is in some ways an agonizing period, I need not remind you that your donations shall, as in the past, be meaningfully used, the different projects supported by Asha Cleveland are all on their website, and can be visited by those of you who have any interest in doing so on future visits to India.

Thank you again for your support and wishes!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Making the Commitment

Running a marathon started off as something on my bucket list, something I would eventually like to get in the next few years. I think it starts off this way for most people, and I wasn't any different. It was on one of those cold, dreary March days when I was spending (wasting) endless hours on Facebook, that I came across a post announcing Team Asha's information meeting about running the Akron Marathon. It seemed to strike an instant chord with me because I had heard so many things about the marathon runners of last year. Furthermore, the cause of aiding in Indian children's education is a noble one. I attended the first information at Case with the intent of just trying to complete a half marathon; I was extremely leery of even attempting the full because I would consider myself one of those beginner runners. I have always worked out and run on a treadmill, sometimes hitting 3 or 4 miles on an odd day; running a distance wasn't something I did consistently.
A Saturday morning run through the Towpath 

It's been a month into training now, and I have committed myself to running the full marathon. From the coaches who provide invaluable tips and advise, to team Asha members who keep me going during our early morning runs, everybody has been a big help. I do have to give credit to my incredible friends and family who constantly ask about my progress and actually let me sleep on a decent hour on Friday nights:)

In just a month I find myself more disciplined to practice, and looking forward to my weekly runs to see how far I can push myself. I am actually excited to start hill training, see if the steep hill on Little Italy is conquerable.

I ran my first 5 miles yesterday, something that till a month ago was only a hope.

- Swara Vyas