Paris Marathon 2016 – the plunge!

1st January 2016

‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer’

The beauty of our dreams is that there is no limit to it. But sometimes, we do like to test the limits of our dreams, to take on our dreams.

This was the maniacal thought that made us ( subhash, Kalpa, Viji and me) take up the challenge  few months ago. Training however stalled due to several reasons, laziness being prima facie…. So the main 2016 resolution was to train hard, train smart.

My CP ( crazy partner, my soul) is with me throughout in body and mind, but somehow surrounded by a lot of darkness.  That is my main hurdle. I can’t do it without my CP and somehow it is a double challenge, ie to get my CP on board and to train well in a positive note.

It is indeed an uphill task but if my heart is in it, I know I will do it.

Ram, as always, is the one with full faith in us and always encourages us especially when i feel low . He is our  sole trainer and mood elevator.

Subhash is my training buddy, both need desperately to rise upto the challenge and mainly, lose weight ( which is more of a herculean task than the actual marathon!) , though he is better prepared mentally and physically for it.

Day 1 (2/1/16) – 10.4k (1.11hrs)

Difficulty Level- 10 (hilly welsh terra


Positivity score *****
Very very difficult run, through the ups and downs of the welsh country side! Felt easier after 3k and could have gone for longer.

Feel positive now…..

Tuesday 5th January 2016

Day 2  (5/1/16) – 40 mins

Difficulty Level- 10 ( not well )

Positivity score *

Reeling under the effects of viral fe

ver, day 3 , slightly better but still chesty. Thought about canceling today ‘s run but decided to take the plunge. Did 2 sets off 20 minutes on the tread mill.


Day 3 (7/1/16) – 11.75k (1.28hrs)

Difficulty Level- 7 (Solihull)

Positivity score *****

The Ice Age

Lesson learnt today- be well covered in the cold. It was a chilly 4 degree, subhash was sensibly wrapped in 3 layers and I decided to go in a single half sleeve cycling jersey with no gloves or anything else. Stopped feeling my fingers after 40 mins. Reached home and started shivering uncontrollably. Three layers  and heavy duvets still took time theto bring  core body temperature to normal.

Never again! Lesson learnt!!


Day 4 (9/1/16) – 16k (1.43hrs)

Difficulty Level- 7 (Knowle)

Positivity score *****

The miracle it was !

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” Jon Bingham

Today was a day of surprise . It was the much awaited long run and with lots of anticipation and trepidation, we started the run. The starting was smooth and i was gently surprised because it was the first time, we appeared to cruise along. Viji joined us and inspite of  her worries, was right in the front.

Subhash tried to be a hard task master and made sure we went on and on. I am sure i would have given up after a couple of miles.

I starred flagging after the 8th mile but kept going some way or the other. The last 2 miles were on autopilot and finally we DID it. And boy, so proud I am, thanks to my running partners.

Another day, another milestone achieved. Feel fresh and rejuvenated.


Day 5 (12/1/16) – 20 mins varied run , 40 mins core training (1.11hrs)

Difficulty Level- 10 (the gym)

Positivity score *****

Today was the return of the prodigal daughter 😁 back to stephen and it felt great. Did a set of 3 circuit repetitions. Realised that my BFI is 29 😂😂 and that i must must reduce weight. Well, on a positive note, my fitness pal is being kind anyway ….


Day 6 run – 3.3 miles (0.40hrs)

Difficulty Level- 8

Positivity score *****
This time it was different. Was running alone, at 2 degrees an determination was key. But just the thought of all these days of training, of good friends and of course paris, kept me hoping, well barely !!


Day 7 ( 16/1/16) – 13 miles (2.20hrs)

Difficulty Level- 7
Positivity score *****
Today was a different story altogether…. It was a long run and for the first time in my life, I found my rhythm. Like they say running is all a game of the day and today it was definitely my day. I don’t think  i will be able to do this so smoothly again, do reliving this glory. Subhash was recovering from his flu and still did very well, and so did Viji, so hopefully I will be able to match up to them in paris 🙂

So far so good, the efforts of the week paid off:)))


Setback 1: The shin villain hits again!

Two days post and my old friend, the shin villain has started hurting again! Possibly in keeping with the four hour dance session…. Have to be careful 🙂

Setback for this week. No running. Full rest.

Did core and cardio with stephen.


The long run

Day 10 ( 31/1/16) – (2.40hrs)

Difficulty Level- 8
Positivity score **¥¥
Today was another long run day, did 13 miles but awas really tough because of the terrain…… We follow the cycling route with its ups and downs. Felt that it went on for hours but somehow managed it. My shin splits hurt in the beginning but eased off later.

Evening, got the girls to do core exercises and they all enjoyed it thoroughly 🙂



The lazy losers 😜😜
Day 11 ( 04/02/16) – (1.12hrs)

Difficulty Level- 7
Positivity score **
Felt very very full and lethargic, didn’t feel like running at all. Somehow gathered the mental strength and pushed each other through. Had visions of gliding along the chic parisian boulevards, followed instantly by stronger images of our sweaty, crumbling bodies alongside pretty lithe lycra class runners……ah, the mind games continue 😂😂😂.

Managed 10k with difficulty bc of shin pain.

Better luck next time.

Romeo ‘s welcome at the end made up for it.


Sunday 7th February 2016

Day 12 (7/02/16) – 40 mins

Difficulty Level- 10 ( bad weather)

Blame it on the weather!

It rained incessantly for 2 days so decided to run in the gym, barely managed 7k, didn’t feel like it at all. Hung around just enjoying the calm of the usually buzzing gym. Subhash, on the other hand, was heading towards the 16 mile mark in reading!!!


Tuesday 5th January 2016
Day 13 (12/02/16) – 90 mins
Difficulty Level- 5

The lazy spell continues…

Another lazy week…. Both subhash and me were on a mission to see who would encourage whom to move their butts into running mode. Each day, we came up with new excuses for not running. Managed to get out on friday but felt great afterwards. Celebrated with prosecco in the evening 🙂 and why not!


Sunday 14th February 2016

Day 14 (14/02/16) – 2.40 mins

Difficulty Level- 7

The 17 mile run

Today was amazing. Did my longest run ever, felt on top of the world. But that was after all the pain and jelly legs feeling😂😂

First 9 miles were okay, then the cold set in, legs felt rock solid, we started relying on gels, and more stretches along the way! The last 3 miles were sheer torture but that was when w crossed my longest threshold…..

Thoughts kept playing throughout the run….. Gliding through the arc de triumphe, waving to the cheering crowds at the eiffel tower and so on till towards the end, all I could see was home :)))


The 2-0 trophy 👑👑👑👑👑
Day 15 ( 20/02/16) – 20 miles (4.12hrs)

Difficulty Level- 8
Positivity score *****
What a feeling….. Irene Cara

The feeling , was being alive….. Throughout the four plus hours of running…… Not one moment did a negative thought cross my mind. This run was the sweetest and most satisfying run in my life. Felt the rhythm, felt one with my surroundings and felt free 😄

I know that its always good days and bad days, and this was deficient my good one. Will savour this feeling……

What a feeling, being’s believin’

I can have it all, now I’m dancing for my life  ,

Take your passion and make it happen,

Pictures come alive, now I’m dancing through my liFe……


Day 16 ( 28/02/16) – 13.3 miles (2.30hrs)

Difficulty Level- 8

Positivity score ***

The coventry half marathon

The vision

There is always a vision, everyone has a vision and standing non-descript, amongst thousands of runners of varying shapes, age and sizes, I had a vision. Of the super fit me, in bright lycras and endless legs, bounding away to the muffled beats of music, pony tail tossing in the wind, evoking all sorts of responses from the appreciative crowds….. and the half marathon started . We placed ourselves near the 2.15 pacer flags, smiled at each other with the confidence of an Olympian about to claim his third medal and all seemed perfect.

Mile 1-3
I woke up with a jolt in the first mile itself. Somehow those long strides seemed to drag and it continued. We told ourselves that this was the warm up run and it is common to feel heavy. The route was crowded and we avoided the temptation to rush ahead. The 2.15 pacer flag kept bobbing in front and it was a sense of security. The locals were great, lots of oranges offered, music bands cheering us and of course the jelly beans on offer. Regular water stops kept us hydrated. Some army cadets carrying large loads on their backs bundled past, their pert backs offering enough eye candy in the vast expanse of grunting wannabe runners.

Lesson learnt- FUEL: Carb loading 24 hours before and ample breakfast on the day prevents jelly legs.

Mile 4-6
The pacer flag disappeared and soon, we latched onto an orange turbaned Sikh gentleman and a Supergirl. My thighs started their jelly wobble and my legs felt weak. I knew I was being punished for not eating enough at the start. Supergirl flew away rather quickly and the Sikh guy also sped past. Lots of people overtook us and my morale started sagging as it seemed that the whole crowd seemed to be pulling past us. We, subconsciously increased pace, but I still didn’t feel the rhythm. We were now slowly moving out into the countryside and the route seemed to go uphill and downhill more frequently than expected. We passed a rather fit man who was running with 2 women , encouraging them, giving them reasons to step up and forward. It turned out that he was a seasoned runner and was just running with his mates to help them out. A great individual, he taught us what we already knew, marathon running is all about helping each other. Subhash probably understood his plight as he was suffering the same with me, offering gels at regular intervals and volunteering to hold my unnecessary paraphernalia.

Lesson learnt: SUPPORT: a reliable running mate works wonders, gets you out of your cosy comfort during the late raining cold nights, will challenge your inner voice and will motivate you to achieve your dream.
The African proverb rings – if you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, run together.

Mile 7-9
This was where it all changed. My trance and slowly fading vision was shattered when there was suddenly a flurry of activity around us. I turned to see a real lean mean running machine charging ahead, in a barely there green hot pants and resplendant with a blonde pony tail bobbing in sync to the steps of a sudden surge in half marathon runners. My running partner also surged ahead only to be reminded that we were meant to keep pace together. For a few miles, she kept us company but then soon, I realised that slowly the tables seemed to have turned. WE seemed to be overtaking more than falling back. This was true on the uphill and the sweet rewards of regular training were ours.

Lessons learnt- PACE: Always run at your own regular pace. Rushing too far ahead leads to fatigue and overall disappointment at the end. Remember, there is a place for everyone at the finish line.

Mile 10-13
Last 3 miles were relatively easier than the mid-section. The thought of finishing kept us going. Sore, tired, a little sounds inside my head screamed louder and louder now, ordering me to stop, cursing Subhash for getting me into this, cursing Ram for supporting me throughout and cursing my all other friends who were always willing to listen to my never ending saga of the Paris marathon preparations. The only way was to distract my mind. Usually, while running, we love the sound of silence, of being one with nature. But now it was time for some sing alongs and soon Bollywood bhangra tracks shrieked through the British countryside followed by Jessie J and Beyoncé. Subhash even did a mini jig and pumped his fists up in the air to the beat of music. I pretended that I didn’t know him J and towards the end, we were racing away, overtaking weary bodies slowly. I guess it is your frame of mind since we ignored those who overtook us.

Lessons learnt- PERSEVERANCE: There is always a gnome inside our head that will hold us back. Just ignore it and charge ahead. Every step is one step closer to the finish. I overheard this sentence several times during the race, runners encouraging the huffers and puffers along and it is so true. Just keep going and you will do it.

Mile 13.3
The finish line was there in sight, after unending curves and corners and we strode past, together, proud, broken, exalted, and dazed.
A quick respectful greeting and we slumped onto the nearest bus stop bench and just sat in silence, taking it all in, respecting each and every mortal who was hobbling in. A stuffed Peppa pig arrived, dragged his sweaty costume off and started kicking it furiously. Lovers kissed, families wept and kids hugged their superhero parents. We watched, together, proud, broken, exalted, and dazed.

The ride back was all music to my ears….
Paris, here we come
…..and we can build this dream together, standing tall forever
Nothing gonna stop us now
….and if this world runs out of runners, we’d still hobble together
Nothing gonna stop us now

Conquering the wall 💃💃💃💃
Throughout this journey, ie trolling through varied blogs and running sites, something called the wall always emerged…… The dreaded wall at 21 miles, where stragglers collapse and stalwarts crumble. It didn’t refer to Dravid ,the much revered wall of the indian diaspora but an imaginary 21 mile mark during the marathon where your body and mind seem to give up……

Since it was the highest peak of our training plan, it had to be done! So we prepared ourselves, meds, carb over load, multiple weather forecasts etc etc and so we started.

The auspicious coconut breaking ritual was substituted by a barrage of verbal onslaughts by Viji for changing the time, yet again 😁😁

The first half was a breeze, like always and mind games prevailed. One thing we realised is that futile it may seem, we always try to fool our mind. Do we run back the same way or do we run a downhill route , don’t want to run in home territory, etc etc…..

The second half stretched but not as painfully as last time. The boom box emerged, yet again and so the three musketeers trudged off, happily following britney ‘s girlfriend and thalaiva ‘s lungi ( thrice😁😁😁)…..

Day 17 (05/03/16) – 7.6m (1.29hrs)

Difficulty Level- 10 (just not in the mood)

Positivity score *

The week after the half marathon and any excuse needed, i guess, to  not perform. It was cold, it was windy, it was just not right and hence didnt feel like getting up and running. But we had to and hence, off we went, grumbling and moaning….And soon enough, were aptly punished for it. Split up and kept running grumpily, and returned after few miles. Felt sorry for ourselves at the end. But i guess, some dips are needed ….better luck next time.

Day 18 (08/03/16) – 3.6m (0.47hrs)

Difficulty Level- 5 (contemplative mood)

Positivity score *****

Mid week runs are never easy and this was just a peace keeping run for us, to reflect on how and why we had a bad session last time and also plan future sessions. Planning is our favourite, doesnt need much effort 🙂

Day 19 (12/03/16) – 22m (4.27hrs)

Difficulty Level- 5

Positivity score **********

On top of the world!!!!

We are positively, definitely, happily going to do it. in fact, i believe now that we have already conquered it.

Day 20 (18/3/16) – 2.6m (0.36hrs)

Difficulty Level- 10 (tired)

Positivity score *

IT was a Friday, it was a tiring week, it was a dull sad day and i just couldn’t run. feel in the dumps and feel that i have let Subhash down. need i say more, the stats speak for itself.

Day 21 (19/03//16) – 14m (2.30hrs)

Difficulty Level- 5

Positivity score *****

The final frontier….

The tapering starts now and boy, we were pleased. Did a half marathon distance and felt great.

Day 22 (22/03/16) – 3.5m (0.35hrs)

Difficulty Level- 4 (indoor training)

Positivity score *****

Part of the tapering session, only 35 mins of running. This tastes sweet 🙂


Day 23 ( 31/03/16) – Paris , here we come…

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