Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Weekly Log 29-Apr to 5-May-2013: Overseas Running Week 1

 1,000 yards.  Due to a snafu with getting my visa for India, I ended up with a 2-day trip delay.  Gave me an opportunity to get in another swim with FiveK.  We pushed it pretty hard, including 4 x 50 on 1 minute, which by the 4th, it was taking me the full minute to swim it, so no rest.

 6 miles.  Last day in the US for a while.  What do I want to do?  How about a run in Woody Hill, followed by a sushi lunch, before heading up to Logan.  So that's what I did.  Parked at Wahaneeta (by the Little League field), and ran up to the Swamp Trail and wound my way west to the rock precipice trail that Tom and I had previously found, past the Woody Hill Marsh, and back into Wahaneeta to finish up.  Was dismayed by all the fresh ATV tracks I saw; hoping they're related to all the rescue ATVs that were called in for the recent fire, as opposed to a trend renewal.

Took the train and Silver Line to Logan, vowing to make the best of it.  It didn't help when the person checking me in said, "Mr. Walker, I see you're going to India.  I'm so sorry.".  Seriously!  Wow!  The open bar at British Airways club did help perk me up.

 13 miles.  London, England.  Arrived Heathrow at 6:30AM.  Most of my colleagues prefer to stay in the airport security area for their layover when they fly this route, but gazelles don’t like airport security areas.  Wasted almost an hour waiting in line, sorry, "joining the queue" as they say here, for UK customs and immigration.
Once I cleared customs, I changed into running gear, checked my carry-on luggage into a storage facility, and took an express train to downtown London.  Chilly 41 degrees, but warmed up once running.  Ran somewhat busy streets to Hyde Park, but it was only ½ mile. King Henry VIII was an obese man if history serves me correctly, and thus not likely to be a runner; however, he served many future runners well when he set aside the 630 acre Hyde Park in 1536.  It’s really a beautiful park with lawns, ponds, fountains, etc.  You can choose to run asphalt or dirt trails, have the company of hundreds of runners, but mostly quite spread out, and can run without crossing the streets.  I ran the perimeter, which was 4 miles alone.
Passing a large group of runners (military?) in Hyde Park

I left Hyde Park, and ran through Green Park, passing directly by Buckingham Palace and the famed guards in funny red hats, and then onto St James Park.  From here, I left that park and ran in the city along the River Thames.  Unfortunately my Blackberry battery died here, so no pics of riverfront running.  Downside were the crowds here; upside were the beautiful views as the sun came out and I ran past Big Ben, Parliament Buildings, and the London Eye.  Ran for a couple miles along the river, crossed the river at Blackfriars Bridge, and made my way back to the quiet of St James Park, through Hyde Park, and back to Paddington train station.  Had another 25 minutes left and not wanting to waste time, ran out along the Grand Union Canal and its various houseboats.
Yep, I'm in London.  Buckingham Palace in background.
I think the palace guard would be
happier if he just came for a run

As one of my favorite countries, wished I could have stayed the whole trip in England.  But alas, I turned around to head back to the train station for the final time and trip to the airport.  Enough time for a quick shower before my next flight.

Thursday:  0
Arrived Bengaluru Hindustan Airport at 4AM local time.  Despite sleeping well on the 11 hour flight from London, I was exhausted all day.  My driver, Murthy, met me and transported me for the 1 hour, dusty, noisy, bumpy ride into the city.  Didn’t see any cows crossing the street today, but did see an open truck with men sitting on stacks of crates with cramped goats inside.  Supposedly the government is building a highway that will be ready in 2016.  
When falling asleep at the office in the afternoon, I went for a short walk outside, but I’m not sure 95 degrees and dust helped.  One day down, seven more to go …

5 miles.  Bangalore, India.  Easy pace.  Despite the mornings being cooler, I still struggled running in the heat as I’m not acclimated (82 degrees during run this morning).  Pictorial essay:
Running from the hotel to Cubbon Park was
no picnic, but only 1/4 mile

Path I ran in Cubbon Park

Now make sure to follow the rules, boys and girls.
I guess I can live with these.

I can only assume/hope I'm following whatever this rule says

I guess this is where I go if I don't follow the rules.
On the edge of Cubbon Park.  Doesn't look like such a bad place.
("Karnataka" is the state I'm in; kind of like Connecticut, only different)

Follow the yellow brick road.
(Or the red clay trail, as it may be)

 5 miles.  What to do to make my weekend in India pass quicker?  Searched online for road races; only found a half-marathon in the Himalayas that is hundreds of miles away from southern India.  Did the next best thing and found a running group that was meeting today at 6AM less than 1/2 mile from my hotel.  There were about 200 runners there!  They spent a lot of time (more than 30 minutes) stretching, followed by a 7K group run, followed by a core strengthening session.  It was a little odd to be the only Caucasian in a sea of Indians, but at least all the instruction was English, albeit accented.  I did fine on the stretching and group run, but struggled on the core strengthening exercises, especially plank exercises and ab strengthening where you hold for a count to 60.  One of the instructors came over to help me a few times, and said I was quite rigid - not very flexible.  Have to agree there!  I need to take a cue from FiveK.  The instruction, run, drinks, and cookies were all free!
Check in at the Nike sponsored running club.
I had to join, but it was free.

Meeting spot every Saturday morning at
Sree Kanteerava Stadium

Along the group run on a road that's closed to vehicular traffic until 8AM
Fast forward to the afternoon, and I went off to a mountain area called Nandi Hills, 60 kilometers away in Chikkaballapur (got to love these location names).  My colleagues had suggested it and said it would be a lot cooler, due to its elevation at 4,800'.  They were right, kind of - it was a lot "cooler" at 90 degrees instead of  back in Bangalore where it's 95 degrees.
View from the top of Nandi Hills:  hot, dry climate

First time I had ever seen monkeys in the wild:
they were everywhere!

Me in front of a Hindu temple near top of Nandi Hills.  Took off shoes and went into the temple
with my driver.  No English spoken here.  Inside were various stone rooms.  I didn't understand
any of the chanting or rituals, but I'm guessing my driver is a Hindu religious person as
he participated in most of the rituals and I just tried to watch from a distance and be respectful.
9 mile run in 86 degree morning heat, before it really warms up.  Mix of trails and roads.  Ran my 2nd mile at 6:43.  Brutal.  Dropped it back to a more manageable mid 7s after that.  Left the phone/camera at home to focus on a continuous run.  Usually no one makes eye contact with me or talks to the strange foreigner, but midway through the run, a family passed me on bicycles when a kid about 10 pulled up next to me and just stared at me as he mumbled something to his parents.  "Mommy, Daddy, what kind of creature is this one?", is what I imagine he said.  Not knowing how to react, I just said "Good morning".  A huge smile came over his face and he repeated "Good morning" back to me twice.  Made my day.
When I finished this run, I was dehydrated and spent.  I don't want to hear you guys (and gals) bitchin' about  running on the first day it hits 75 degrees back in New England.

Afternoon I went for a walk in the city, by now it was 94 degrees and full sun.  Was really happy to find an air conditioned place that served ice coffee.

700 yards.  By late afternoon, when the sun started to go down, I went to the hotel pool for the first time.
Nice 25 meter rooftop pool at hotel
One of the highlights of the hotel:
Pool complex seen from up higher -
it looks like you're going to swim right over the edge!

Weekly Totals:
Run: 38 miles
Bike:  ---
Swim:  1,700 yards

Week in review:
Running in London was really cool.  Here in India, it's definitely tough getting acclimated to the heat, but as you can see, I'm trying to make the best of it.  Running helps the time go by, keeps the fitness up, and lifts the mood as always.  Next week look for much of the same; I may try to get a track workout in here, but don't know if that's possible for me in the heat.  At minimum, will try some interval running.  Halfway through my trip!


  1. Safe Travels! Hope you get in some good runs while you are away!

  2. Have a safe trip! I'll be in touch about the ferry to Block for the Shad Bloom race, get some training in over there!

  3. Hope your trip isn't too awful. And I hope you can get some awesome runs in like last time, heat be damned!

  4. Way to make use of your London time. Jealous. I hoped you jumped into a pub for a quick pint. Now onward to India!

  5. Did you bring any WTAC applications – international division?
    I’m sure the palace guard would like to join, as well as the Queen
    Cool place to run

  6. No spitting in the park! Can a runner at least do a farmer's blow (AKA snot rocket) without getting in trouble?
    Good job getting your runs in!

    1. Don't know about the snot rockets, Greg! With the dry heat here, my nose never gets runny. Seeing all the litter here, I'm guessing many people unfortunately don't follow that rule.

  7. Very impressive mileage for such a travel-heavy week, and thanks for the photo essays as well!

  8. I'm loving your blog this week.

  9. i agree with Seth - enjoying the blog, cool pool at the hotel

  10. I know cows are holy & sacred there. What about their cloven-hooved brethren, the gazelle?