Srikanth Perinkulam

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Tag: Running

VT100 Finish

Photo taken at: West Windsor, Vermont

In races of all kinds, there’s always a push to finish strong. Most runners conserve that little energy to turbo boost at the last quarter mile. While it’s exhilarating to watch that strong finish, I’ve always been enamored by those who trudge in slowly, with almost no display of gratification as they cross the line.

Today as I stood behind the finish line watching runners slowly trickle in, one particular runner swept the ground away from beneath my feet. The clock froze at 03:04am as he limped across the line. Pale face, headlamp off and no support crew. All he did was turn around, looked at the finish line for that bleak second, stopped his watch and plopped on the ground. I could sense he was frozen in time and so was I. Wonder what was grinding in his mind. Was he happy he finished the run? Was he in pain? Did he know he’d finished? Was he just soaking it all in? Or was he contemplating what to do next? Why was he all alone there? I heavily resisted the urge to go speak to him and let him savor the moment. Some questions are better left unanswered.

Volunteering at the VT100 this weekend has truly been an experience. Way different from last year. Last year I was predominantly taking care of the runners needs and ended up pacing a gentleman for about 17 miles. This year, I ended up primarily taking care of parking duties, closing out the camp and fixing a support van’s flat tire.  Nothing beyond the call of duty. But if I were to steal one snapshot from this weekend, it would be that brief moment at the finish line where I seemed to connect with that runner.

The Wapack and Back 50 miler earlier this year was a reasonable goal I’d set for myself. Something that I put in a ton of effort for but miserably failed. I let my practical side easily override my neural urges and THAT is something I want to breach. Someday I’d like to cross a bold finish line. Something that I demarcate myself. And when I do that, I want to have invested everything that I could in my realms into it, and go beyond that. Only then will I possibly start scraping the surface…

Not all finish lines are the same…

31 to the 50

A good 31 miler weekend to close out the third training week. And with that I’ve met Miss Me’s mandated clause of sticking to the training plan at least till the end of January (I’ve never really trained for any of my long runs this far!)  and bought myself an entry to the Wapack and Back 50 miler this May. Psyched!

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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.

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Ragnar – Washington DC

One of most exhilarating (and wet) runs so far. The night run with pitch dark trails and just Joaquin for company made this one unforgettable experience.  Reminded me of the Katrabai Pass hike back in India.  The Ragnar Appalachians still remains unchecked!

2015 Ragnar

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.

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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!

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Ragnar 2014 GPX Feeds

Just found a nifty plugin that would map charts feeding off from gpx inputs. Here are the chart outputs from my recent Ragnar Run.

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Appalachians next!

Ragnar

Couldn’t have ended September on a better note! Pounding the hilly terrain in the Adirondacks for 36 hrs, straight through the night with 9 other folks – This has been my best run so far. Though technically that’s a lot of time for 197 miles, I guess it’s the nuances of the event that really gives you the extra kick.

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Mumbai 2012 Full Marathon

Mumbai 2012

Goa River Half Marathon

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 two-year full-time commitment with TeachforIndia, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. But now, having experience the ground reality my resolve to weed this out got even stronger. As a class teacher of 46 second grade kids in a low-income private school out here in Pune, every single day I’m amused, thrilled and challenged to provide them a better way of life, to provide them opportunities to excel and nourish the hope in their lives to be confident and self dependent.And more importantly have trust that one day they would be on par with any other kid who’d graduate from an élite school or college.
It would be great if you could help me spread the word and chip-in any amount that you can afford. I am sure it would go a long way in contributing towards the cause and my efforts. Please feel free to reach out to me should you need more information on TeachforIndia or the work I do.
You could help by:
– Contributing[Whatever be the amount!] towards this cause – http://wishberry.in/users/wishlistview/1157
– Volunteering in my Classroom in Pune in your free time. [The kids love to meet new people!]
– Sponsoring one or more of my kids in the classroom. [I’m ready to keep you updated on the kids progress as frequently as you need!]
– Contribute to the class fund – I plan to buy a projector and several teaching aids to make my sessions more engaging. Still sourcing up sponsors!
– Joining the fellowship yourself! [Yay! Applications for the 2011 fellowship is now open]
Thank you!

Running through the woods…

Yet another scooping rise from underneath – The water around blinds me out completely,  the leg craves for rest, but the mind defies succumbing to pain and the body just goes on in a sinusoidal motion towards a non descriptive goal. I turn around by instinct and damn the mind takes over; fear creeps in and I get back to the shores twice as deftly as I swam in to the ocean. As I sit on the shore staring out into the expanse ahead, the throbbing calf muscles stand testimony to what Running can get one to do! I’d just completed my second Half marathon earlier in the day and even before I could come out of the excitement, I’d already swum the farthest I’ve ever been into an ocean till date..Couldn’t ask for a better reward!

Feb 13th ’10 -19:15hrs. As I walk off from the 20 member group to pick to rick to head to the Pondicherry bus stand, I’m still in second thoughts. Four folks who were supposed to join me for the Auroville run decide to back off. I’m down with a sore throat and the flu only aggravates it. As I’m almost about to drop the flag, a message from ‘Chottu’  pops in my mobile wishing me a good run. I lurch into an auto and head to the Bus depot. A half an hour search for the right bus to Auroville and finally at about 20:30hrs I manage to hop off on the ECR beach road-Auroville stop. I remember seeing in the map that the organisers had provided, that the reporting point was about 4kms from the main road. Not able to find any ricks, I decide to walk down the stretch. About twenty minutes of walk down the winding narrow roads and dimly lit streets, I finally get to stop a rick coming in the opposite direction. I strike a deal of 150bucks for him to drop me at the Visitors center [another 4kms from that spot] and finally at about 21:30hrs I hop off the rick only to see the last set of folks boarding the last bus to the Dorm. I rush in and have a word with the organisers to keep the bus on hold for sometime. I’m registered as Runner#2101 and dash for the pasta dinner. In five minutes I gobble a full plate of lasagnes and pasta and head back to the bus. And from nowhere, this lad pops up! A quick catch-up and even before we realise we’re in the dormitory. Ankur was still on his was from Chennai. I send one last message from my power starved mobile and crash.

Feb 14th ’10 – 04:30hrs. There’s a sudden surge of activity in the room with runners decking themselves for the run. I kinda feel out of place seeing these pro’s gearing up for the run. At about 05:15hrs, We realise we’ve narrowly missed the shuttle bus that was supposed to take us to the start point.  As we head to the main road to hitch a ride, a refreshments vehicle stops over. In about five minutes, the streaming voice of one of the organisers at the start point gets the blood to boil with energy. Runners from various places warming up, people swarming into the startpoint and registering their presence and yet another group cheers up as they meet a long seen friend.  For me, this is the best part of any event – excitement, thrill, anxiety , emotion – It’s all in the air! Ankur eventually realises he would not be given a bib as he did not have a photo identity. Nevertheless, He decides to run.

Sharp at 06:00 the half marathon folks are given a go and even before I take my first step, I have a smile on my face – My second HM was just two hours away! People overtake you, you overtake people. The crowd isn’t talking much as they run. Probably it was just Ankur and me in the whole group who were out there babbling and catching up on the latest happenings in the cycling arena. Five kilometres into the run and the mind gets into a trance.The heart beats faster, the breath gets deeper and the best part of running sets in – the circuitous thought process. As dawn sets in, so does the beauty of the woods. We’d already left the asphalt roads about a couple of kilometres back and the trail starts winding through the mystic auroville village. The sun beams in onto the trails through the thick foliage of trees and the smell of moist sand takes you to an altogether different high!

Even before I realise, I cover the 12kms mark. This was the first time ever that I’ve run continuously for such a distance without stopping! The ever courteous volunteers and bicyclists make the run all the more pleasant. Quick dashes of electrolyte, water and bananas keeps the feet chiming on to the ground. The last few kilometers as expected turn out to be a bit demanding. The sun’s already up and the humidity makes it all the more tough reminding yet again that I should have trained better! At about 08:15hrs, as I take a turn round the corner, the beats from the drums gets the pulse up. I summon my spirits and sprint to the finish point. The last 50mts I blindly close my eyes and run to where my feet take me to. As a volunteer gives me royal welcome with a ‘completion’ medal, I gaze at my watch. My second HM is written out at 2h20m – About fifteen minutes off my target but I’m more than elated. This was THE best ever long run till date and as I walk out of the premises I promise to get back to Auroville for a Full marathon next year!

I head back to Pondicherry and catch up with the remaining folks. An amazing evening in the beach and we head back to Mullodai calling it a day. Only at dinner does the body start complaining and the mind goes off balance. The run, the swim and the travel seem to be take a toll and a seething headache compliments the cold. I ravenously hog like a wild animal and head back to the Youth hostel as the remaining folks enjoy their dinner.

Despite being irregular during the training, If there was something that got me on my feet on weekends – it was the thought of running through the woods. Auroville amazingly lived to that dream and I simply cannot stop short of praises for the amazing set of folks and volunteers out there who’d made the run so easy.

And I just realised, I need to set a new target for my Dailymile tracker!

Run Boy Run!

Whew!! 2h.17mins – That was one solid run!  With this I officially enter the league of serious runners and not to mention, I’m now one among those millions of half marathoners! Goal three for this year accomplished [Enduro3 and a Himalayan escapade being the first two.]

Running was never something that turned me on. I never really understood why people ran kilometers in a stretch and I could never digest the fact that it would over time help you in reaching your goals. It was only during the Jalori Pass Mountain Biking expedition when I met Viral [Who still wears the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon wrist band!], I gave a thought to training for the Marathon. Back in hyd things soon faded out. Leave alone training, running as a hobby never materialized. Only in August when there was talk in the air of the second edition of the Hyderabad Marathon organised by the Hyderabad Runners club and the Hyd 10k Foundation, the guilt feeling of not training sank in. It was pretty late to start training so I volunteered instead. I’m so glad I did! It was indeed a wonderful experience getting to see the expression  on people’s faces as they were handed over their medallions amidst the thumping rock songs and tremendous cheering. Goal three got frozen right then!

Training for the HM wasn’t that great. As much as I’d loved to join the HRC members for a good run, distance of KBR park from my house was a big turn off. With no company to train in this part of the city I’ d started relying on dailymile for constant motivation and keeping those numbers up as days progressed [eventually ‘spamming’ my twitter account with training updates!]. Well, It did the trick! I managed to do a 10k and subsequent 6-7ks over the last couple of weeks. Though physically not that prepared, mentally that almost got me set for the 21.1k run. One day prior to the run, I made it a point to stay back at home and avoid any physical activity. Gulped litres of water and a decent carb. loading. A quick call with Ram to get some motivation and I was all set for the kill!

Nov 22nd – Sunday

05:00Hrs. The ambience was pretty electric at Peoples Plaza. About 220 runners were all geared up for the HM. The 10k folks were yet to arrive as their run was to start at 06:30hrs. At about 05:40 hrs, the group is fired off. Weather’s pretty good and the darkness gives good company. Even before you realise you’ve run a couple of kilometers, dawn breaks in and you’re directed towards ranigunj. Rock bands en-route give the necessary thump and slowly the ordeal begins. People move over to the sidelanes, stop by for water at the water stations but still move on. The AP police force make the roads clear  at all traffic points. By-standers cheer you all the way and even before you realise you’re almost near the 10k mark. A few more kilometers and you reach Charminar. That is when I resolve to complete the HM come what may.  It was as if this monument was effusing some positive energy that I never experienced before. The pain in the knees lingers but some unknown force motivates me to keep the leg moving. People over take me and I overtake people. Something in the air makes you feel more close to Hyderabad!

The last one kilometer is an amazing mix of emotions as we meet the 10k folks and run the last one kilometer together. There are no medallions this time at the finish line. Just a group of ebullient people amazingly self satisfied about their achievement. But what humbles you is septuagenarians and serious runners congratulating you wholeheartedly! The ambience is extremely cheerful and even before I realise, I’ve completed my first Half Marathon! I had no target in mind when I was training for the marathon. All I wanted was to complete the HM without any setback. But when I look at my watch,I realise i’ve clocked about 2hrs. 20mins. I’ve set a benchmark for myself today and opened up another parallel track in my list of outdoor activities. A day to remember.

A big thanks goes out to the  Hyd 10k foundation for having organised this event so meticulously, the AP police force for having been so pro-active and responsible in cutting out the traffic from the flowstream, the volunteers and co-runners for being ever-cheerful and helpful all through the circuit and oh yes, not to forget, Allu Arjun for having shamelessly driving into the runners track in his BMW. Wonder how these people end up being brand ambassadors of sport events!