First half marathon of 2008

I succesfully completed my first half marathon of 2008 yesterday. And to top it off, it was my first official cross country trail race. Although I signed up for multiple half marathons this year, as part of training for the Chicago Marathon, I was not able to run any of them due to conflicts with work.

Sri and I signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge on a whim a couple of months ago. Looking back, it sounds crazy :-). Why would anyone want to run a half marathon, 2 weeks after running a marathon and that too in the woods. But I am so glad we did it and that I got to finish it.

Sri, Hafsa and Joy came along with me to cheer me on during race. We took off at ~6:00 AM in the morning and had breakfast at a small diner along the way. The drive to Kettle Moraine state Forest, where the race was held, was senic. Esp with the fall colors. I never realized that Wisconsin was such a beautiful state. I guess that is what happens, when the only places you visit in a state are the touristy places (Wisconsin Dells).

The weather was perfect for the run (~40 degrees) and I got time before the run to warm up. Joy ran the first 1.7 miles with me to the first aid station. The first mile had a killer hill. We had to elevate ~1000 feet in a matter of 200 meters. We started off strong up the hill, but then got our senses and walked the second half of the hill :-).

The race had two loops of ~4.9 miles. The first loop was not as hilly as I expected (or maybe I wasn’t as tired 🙂 ), but was slushy and had a lot of barriers. The second loop was a lot more hilly. I never trained in the trails or hills this year. So this was a new experience. But the beautiful scenery around me kept me distracted and moving forward.

Joy joined me again for the last mile. I switched to “Supreme Hero.. Sweet Heart” 🙂 for the last half mile on my iPod and sprinted to the final. It was a photo finish ..

Some pictures from the race

Warm up

Take Off

The easy part of the trail

Fall Colors

More pictures can be found here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudithipudi/sets/72157608376845295/)

P.S : I came first in the race. i.e. in the desi category :-).

I realized that I am not superman!!

I successfull completed the 2008 Chicago Marathon in 6 hours and 57 seconds. My worst time so far (2004 was  04:46:01 and 2005 was 05:14:41), but boy am I so glad to finish it. It was hot (lower 80s) and humid, two things that I cannot stand. Despite my lack of consistant training, I thought I could finish the marathon in < 5 hours. By the time, I got to the 14th mile, I realized that I wasn’t superman and had to start walking :-). It was all downhill from there.. my walks got longer and my runs got shorter. By the time, I got to mile 22, I was ready to give up.. but then I remembered why I was running the marathon and picked myself up. Not to mention, my personal cheering squad (my sis, brother-in-law, Sri, Hafsa, Ravi, Deepthi, Achi, Madhavi, Sujana, Byna and Joy) were there to keep me going.

Thanks to everyone that supported my cause and provided moral support. You guys are the BEST!!!

Although I might have come 28472 out of 45000 people that ran the marathon, I was the ONLY guy (as far as I could tell) who ran with the Indian flag :).

I have to thank the wonderful folks at Team Asha, for putting together a great program for a worthy cause.

Finally, thanks to the folks at CARA for running a great training program. I was confused througout the program on what my pace group was, I kept jumping from 12 to 11:30 to 11:00 to 12 to 11:30 :).. but that was my issue :).

This is how a grown man cries in pain after running 26.2 miles!! 🙂

Week 14 & 15 training update

The last two weeks had been a bit crazy at work due to the recent hurricane hoopla we exeprienced here in the US. I was barely able to keep up with the mid week and weekend long runs. And I oficially missed the 4th race I registered for this year. I planned to run the Banco Half Marathon, last weekend, but wasn’t able to due to a hectic work schedule. I am so proud of the folks that ran it though. It was pouring all morning and I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to run in soggy shoes and clothes.

The 20 miler this weekend was tough. I started off strong and ran ~13 miles without any issues. Then the heat and humidity started to kick in and I had to literally walk the last 3 miles.

Joys of running and week 13 training

You know what one of the biggest joys of running is?? You can eat a full sized steak, some mussels with beer and top it all of with a tripe fudge chocolate with caramel and ice cream… and still not feel guilty about it :-). That was my dinner last night with my friend Brian and I was able to run 18 miles today without breaking a sweat (alright.. I am exaggerating here 🙂 ).

Another successful week of training. Was able to do all the mid week runs and the long run. Hopefully, will be able to keep it up till the marathon.

Confessions and Week 12 training..

As most of you saw, I only ran 10 miles in week 11. I was supposed to run 16 miles that Saturday. I ran for 10 miles and did the one thing that any runner would dread to do.. I stopped, gave up and took a cab back to the starting point. I was exhausted from running in the sun and thought that I would have a sun stroke.. Everyone, I spoke with said that I did the right thing by listening to my body..But long distance running is as much  (or more of) a mental challenge as it is a physical one. I felt crappy the whole day when I remembered that I gave up..

That night I was going through my e-mails and read all the encouraging and supportive e-mails, I received from friends and familly when I told them that I was running the marathon this year, to raise money for uneducated and unprivileged kids in India.. I felt that I had a mission to accomplish and that I couldn’t give up on these kids. And did I kick butt this week :).. I woke up at 4 in the morning on Saturday and ran the 16 miles I missed last week. And not only that.. I also increased my speed to an average of 10 min/mile.. Thx guys..

Week 9, 10 & 11

I was out of country for the first two weeks of August and could not keep up with my running schedule. And boy, has it been taking a toll on me on the long runs. If there is one thing, I would advise to folks that want to run a marathon, it is to keep up with the training schedule.

Week 8 training..

I am in India, on a business trip and haven’t been able to catch up on my mid week runs. Had to settle for a 7 mile run for the long run too. For those that have travelled to India, I am sure you will understand, when I say that India is not the most frendliest place for runners :).. This is in spite of the media attention on the 3 year kid that completed a marathon :)..

Week 7 training..

Chart of my week7 training for the marathon. I did better with mid week runs and also improved on my speed. I ran with the 11 min/mile pace group and was feeling really good after the weekend 12 mile run. Think, it is time to move up to 10:30 :)..

Week 6 training and improved charts with Google Charts

Week 6 of the Chicago marathon training and I was again not able to keep up with my mid week runs. Although I did manage to improve the charts displaying the training program :).. I added a new column to compare my actual milege to the recommended milege.

Here are the parameters I used

cht=bvg
chs=400×250
chtt=week+6+Training
chdl=Recommended+Miles|Actual+Miles
chco=ff0000,00ff00
chxt=x,y
chxr=1,0,15
chxl=0:|Mon|Tue|Wed|Thu|Fri|Sat|Sun|
chd=t:0,3,4,3,0,7,0|0,2,0,3,0,0,7
chbh=10