Monthly Archives: July 2018

Vishwanathan Iyer- Train The Trainer

At the young age of 18, Vishwanathan Iyer accidentally became a teacher 😊. Having completed his HSC with fairly good marks, he was approached by two youngsters who needed guidance with Book-Keeping and Accountancy. By the time he graduated, he was a huge hit with more than 100 students 😎. Needless to say, Prof. Iyer went from strength to strength and his Heramb Coaching Classes became the go to place for the Commerce students in Kalyan E over the next 20 years. Unfortunately his busy schedule and 14-hour work days took a toll and soon he was not only obese but also detected with Diabetes 😔.

Spotting a running post on FB put up by his ex-student Pratik Shetty about time trials in May-June 2015, Vishwanathan got in touch with him. However, Pratik informed him that the batch was already full with no room for new entrants. Luckily, he was able to join their new batch in August even though he delayed by a week due to a prior family commitment.

On 9th August, 2015, Vishu woke up at 4 am; a feat he had never managed before 😁. All excited he reached the KDMC ground at 6 am, way before the reporting time of 6:30. That day, after a bit of stretching the Coach- Suhas Bhopi Sir asked him to jog 3 rounds of the 500m ground. Somehow he managed to do the same. This was followed by some stretching and 5 more rounds using run-walk strategy. He managed this humongous task almost walking and crawling rather than running 😌.

That evening his body was painful and stiff forcing him to move around like a robot. The next day was even worse but Vishu laughed at himself and kept at it realizing his poor body condition. The following week was a big struggle as he progressed from running 10 minutes to 60 minutes.

It took him a whole month to get to 5K. To be precise, on 6th September, 2015 Vishwanathan ran about 4.5K from Wilson College to NCPA with the MRR Gang. Thereafter he joined MRR Stalwart, Satish Gujaran who was there to motivate newbies at the Badlapur pipeline road and ran his first 6K 😎.

Thereafter despite the tedious journey from Kalyan to Mumbai, Vishwanathan tries to join in the monthly MRR Runs along with other friends. He also makes it a point to volunteer during the MRR Anniversary Run every year. Of course the Annual MRR Awards Night Bash is one party that just cannot be missed 🤗.

On 2nd October, 2015 Vishu did his first timed event at the Kurla Peace Run. A terrible event in all respects but he was happy to complete his first timed 5K in 40 minutes. He followed it up with his next 5K at the Mastek Run two weeks later finishing in 33 minutes.

In December 2015, he did his first 10K in 63 minutes at Daman managing to qualify for the SCMM 2017 🙂.

On 1st January, 2016 Vishu ran his very first 21K at the Badlapur Pipeline Road in about 3 hours. Unfortunately, like many novice runners; having gone too far too fast, he was hit with an ITB (Iliotibial band) Injury. After taking complete rest for 3 weeks he did his debut Half Marathon on 31st January at the Rutu Run, Kalyan. It was a disastrously painful run where he finished in 3:19 and lead to further exacerbation of his ITB 😓.

This was followed by a few rounds to the doctors and physiotherapist and had him out of action for the next 3 months. He felt especially guilty for having ignored senior runner Devendra Mane who had told him skip the Rutu Run due to his injury. Thereafter, he started training under Devendra and the duo started interacting more as both were Admins at KDR by then.

In June 2016, Dev floated the idea of professionally coaching people in running besides organizing marathons to Vishwanathan along with his college friend and runner Dhananjay Shettigar. Thus M/s RunBurn was born and their flagship event TPHC (Tiger Point Hill Challenge) was conducted at Lonavala in November 2016 😎.

RunBurn has grown successfully since with coaching being provided at Kalyan E, Kalyan W, Dombivali and BKC. They have already organized around 10 events in the last three years.

After running a few 10Ks and HMs in 2016, Vishwanathan focused and did his first SCMM in 2017 finishing in 2:24; a whopping 55 minutes improvement in a year 🤗.

Realizing the importance of Form and Endurance, he attended a 2-day workshop with Ash Nath in June 2017 and has been working hard to inculcate his learnings. In fact, he focused on running mostly 10Ks in 2017 so as to build endurance and improve his timings. He also got a chance to be a 10K Pacer at the Customs Marathon and Yeour Hill Challenge 😎. He finished on a high in December 2017 where he got his PB of 2:12 at the Jaipur HM, his best effort till date 😇.

Vishu paced again at the ICT Marathon and KOR in 2018. The highlight this year though was undoubtedly the Runtastics 6-hour Midnight Run on 7-8 July, 2018 where he completed his very first FM 😀. Now the goal is to concentrate and do his first timed FM at the TMM in January 2019.

Currently Vishwanathan is following a 4-day Run schedule with Speed Intervals on Tuesday, Tempo Runs on Thursdays, short easy Run on Saturday followed by Long Slow Distance Run on Sunday while doing Leg and Core Strengthening on Wednesdays and Fridays with an average mileage of 120-150K that will increase August onwards once FM training sets in.

Ending on a happy note, Vishwanathan says his recent sugar levels are normal and his BMI is also in the Normal range, as against the Obese category that he was in two years back. He is also much more mindful and has made changes to his lifestyle besides reducing his teaching hours 😊.

He advises Newbies to go slow focusing initially on 10K for atleast 2-3 months, improving their timing. Then moving on to HMs which they should focus on for atleast a year before graduating to FMs and Ultras. He says one should not forget the primary goal of running for health. Basically every runner should develop patience, transit slowly and let their body accept the changes gradually.

Vishu signs off saying, “Work for Endurance, Speed will happen for sure.”

Lost in the woods

Lost in the woods
I was running on a trail. The redwoods were a magnificent sight and I was basking in the glory of running amidst nature. The organizers had asked us to follow the arrows marks and said that volunteers would be stationed at regular intervals.
I was soon lost in the beauty of the pristine green surroundings, the chirrup of the birds and the rustling sound of the leaves.  So much that I failed to keep track of other runners.
All on a sudden, I came to a halt. I seemed to have missed the arrow marks. Was I going in the right direction? Where were the rest of the runners?  I looked around frantically hoping to see someone who could guide me in the right direction.
I looked at the ground hoping to see an arrow mark somewhere as an indication of  where I was headed. All I saw were wild mushrooms. Beads of perspiration began to form on my forehead. I took out my phone and saw there was no signal. I almost cried out in despair. I ran up and down the pathway but I was clearly lost.
“Hey there, looking for something?”
I turned around to see an elderly lady dressed in a red t shirt and track pants.
“I lost my way.” I said almost in tears.
“Here. Have a sip of this”. She said handing me an energy drink.
“Where are the other runners? You see I was asked to keep track of the arrow marks but I couldn’t find them. “
“Relax. You will be fine.” She assured me.
“Are you running too?” I asked.
She smiled.
“Just go down that pathway and take a right turn. You will reach a road and if you follow that road, you will reach the finish line.”
I took a sip of the energy drink and listened to her instructions.
I looked at the direction she was pointing at just to get a vague idea about the path I was going to follow.
“Thanks” I said turning towards her. But she was not there.
“Hello. Where are you?” I called out.
Suddenly everything seemed still. The eerie silence in the woods was deafening. Confused I headed towards the muddy pathway and ran for a while before I took a turn towards the road.   Some volunteers were stationed there. They were dressed in white T shirts and shorts.
“Looking good.” they said as I paused at the aid station to take a sip of water.
“You know one of your volunteers was really helpful. I got lost she directed me this way.” Pointing to the direction where the woods were deep.
One of the volunteers looked at me strangely. “There is no one there”, he said.
“That lady in red T shirt…” I began.
“All our volunteers wear white t shirts. Not sure whom you saw.” he exclaimed.
I shivered as a gentle breeze blew at that time.
I soon reached the end of my run.
“Hello there, so how was your run?” The organizer asked smiling at me. I mentioned about the lady in red and he looked as perplexed as the volunteer.
“Well, we don’t station our volunteers there. That part of the woods carries some stories I hear.”
“Like?” I prompted
“Oh, we don’t want to scare you. Enjoy the breakfast.”
As I went home I couldn’t help but ponder about the lady in red.
Who was she??
Happy Friday the thirteenth! 😱

Lessons from Trail Running

Running imparts some interesting  lessons that holds forte in the long run. (Pun intended) Looking back at the events that I have done, there has been an interesting mix of trail and road running. While both courses have been challenging, I realize how trail running tends to enhance your mental strength a lot more.
Runs organized in a city have an enormous crowd support and volunteers stationed at every nook and corner.  Those placards with witty lines and loud cheers work as a marvelous booster. Enough to melt those fatigue spells and break down that infamous runner’s wall. You derive strength just seeing fellow runners by your side. Makes you realize that you aren’t alone in your journey to the finish line.
Trail running on the other hand does not always attract a large crowd. The loud cheer by the city crowd is conspicuous by its absence on these courses.  A chance of getting lost in the woods is pretty high if you do not follow the coloured arrow marks on these uneven terrains.
Nature’s trail presents a runner with some daunting inclines and harsh weather conditions. When you look around in despair just for that little motivation, you realize you are on your own.
Similar to life’s scenario where at times you are left to tend to your own troubles. People may not always turn up at your doorstep to pull you out of your woes. Such instances make you tougher and gives you the confidence to battle some really trying circumstances without having to depend on other folks.
The Gita emphasizes the fact that you come alone to this world and go back alone. Glad that the one year in US has taught me this. As the saying goes what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.