TARC Camp 2017

Back from the TARC running camp all smitten with bug and mosquito bites. And it feels terrific! Logged a good sixteen odd miles back in the trails after a month’s rest and met a good bunch of folks. It’s always so inspiring to attend these TARC meets. Last year at the camp, it was my first ever deep exposure to TARC and I was blown away by the positivity, humbleness and expanse and depth of knowledge these (ultra)runners and other campers brought in. What really makes TARC outstanding is its inclusivity and support framework. They’re open to anybody who is remotely interested in the outdoors and just let the sheer culture of this community take over the reins.

In hindsight, that experience at camp last year deeply impacted my outlook towards running. From barely training for any of the half and full marathons and winging them for the most part, I diligently trained for a 50 miler early this year. The primary intention was to understand my body better and get into a better fitness regimen. Pretty ironic that I ended up spraining my ankle badly during the main event and had to drop out. A run for which I’d logged more than 300 miles in training! Endurance has always been my forte and however arduous it be, I have never ‘given-up’ during a run/hike over the last ten or so years that I’ve been exploring outdoors. As I was walking back to the car that day, I was in second thoughts if I should have pushed it and completed the run. Something that I didn’t have a definitive answer for then and neither do I have now. All I knew was that my morale did take a beating for sure. Wapack and Back remains an unfinished business and I will have to get back on those rolling peaks to make peace.

The camp this weekend was a much needed fix. Just being there surrounded by folks who have DNF’d before consciously for practical reasons and physical limitations took some load off my shoulders. Overall I believe I also had good quality runs this weekend. I felt much stronger on the trails and my average pace definitely seems to have gone up. I can’t wait to get back to a good training regimen again. I definitely do want to make it to more of the weekly runs at the Fells and should also probably join the Blue Hills group whenever feasible.

As a more tangible target, I have my eyes on the StoneCat 50 miler this November. The India trip may be a mild deterrent but I think I should be able to find a way around that…

Middlesex 17 miler

A good 5 hours out in the woods. Terribly underestimated the skyline trail. Quite a few foot slips and ankle twists made it more of a hike than a run. Also looks like my body is ‘reacting’ to the weekday runs. Badly needed some tummilicious food at mile 13. Note to self for future runs!

Finally got around visiting the Wrights tower! Despite visiting the fells several times over the last few years, I’ve never really ‘made it’ to this section of the trail. The tower by itself is nothing impressive but it does have some interesting history. Ice from here was apparently exported to India way back in the 1800s when Middlesex fells was a commercial plot. The tower gets it’s name from Elizur Wright who was instrumental in converting the erstwhile commercial land to what is now called the Middlesex Fells reservation.

Non-negotiable milers

Several years back, While in Pune, I’d resolved to spend every weekend outdoors. The plan was to get out of home before the break of dawn, head out to one of the umpteen number of forts and villages on the outskirts of the city and spend the rest two days just being out there. The weekends were an interesting mix of some terrific hikes, long bike rides or just days of hopping on and off arbitrary buses with no specific destination. The goal was also to write about my experiences. Arguably, that turned out to be a good vicious circle. I’d travel to write and write to travel. Looking back those were some of my most memorable days.

The Bear Mountain Half

Ran the #ECSNY Half at the Bear Mountain State park today! As the stats down under reveal – this was one divine killer run. One of the hardest long-runs I’ve run so far. My average timing on ‘flat-road’ half-marathons has been 02:10.  Over the last few weeks as I mentally and physically prepared for this run I was estimating a sub 03:00 finish.

BMSP NF

About six miles on the trail I targeted a sub 02:45 finish – But I guess I succumbed to the mountains and then the mind lost to the body in the last 3 or 4 miles. My initial strategy was to hike up the inclines and run down the slopes. Out there, running down the trails was absolutely inevitable and my glutes and calves reminded me of the innumerable hikes done years back in India. A gracious fall by a culvert further slowed me down. I ended with a 03:27 finish. Though these run stats are deplorable even under average standards; I had a truly wonderful time on the trail there.

In hindsight, I believe I need to strongly work on my lower back and do a lot more hill training. Also calls for a lot more hikes to work on the glutes and calves.  Now that the Bear mountain hike is off the list, eye’s on the SRT hike/run later this year.

Philadelphia Half

Great weather, strong finish and yet another run that convinced me running on city roads isn’t quite my thing. This most probably would be my last ‘scheduled’ run for 2014 and couldn’t have asked for a finer closure of a crazy week. Another exciting family event adds further to this silver lining making this run even more memorable.

Mile 10 will be remembered and Philadelphia – we shall be back!

Mumbai 2011 Full Marathon

This coming Jan, I'd be running my first ever full Marathon [42.19 km] in Mumbai. And since this is so important to me, I decided I'd as well run it for a cause that has so much been resonating in me - Eliminating the educational inequity in India. Six months back, when I left Infosys for a…