Sunday, November 21, 2010

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon - A Run not to compete with peers but with self

21-Nov-2010, entire Delhi was on run. 35,000 plus participants and Cozy morning of November made it really awesome experience. Its not only young crowd but also senior citizens, middle aged people and a large part would be in their late forties. One can feel the spirit of being healthy, being fit and being united over there.

My passion for running this time brought me to Delhi Half Marathon event, a much awaited event by Delhi every year. My excitement to run and write a beautiful chapter for life time did not allow me to sleep well in the night.

The race was to start at 7:30 AM and I made sure that I hit the ground at least an hour before it. The crowd of people raised my spirits very high ,spent sometime on my warm up and relaxed for a while.

Normally when it comes to Distance Running, one thing comes to mind it physical fitness and youngsters but this event defies all such rules. So many old people take part in it that you would be forced to think whether you will be able to maintain this much of physical fitness and mental strength in later part of your life?


The run started at 7:30 AM from Central Civil Services Ground at Chankyapuri towards India Gate. And my and run started with a big mistake and that was OVER SPEED. With lot of people running around me, I just lost on my normal pace ran with crowd. It was 5K when I realized that I am running at a pace which I will not be able to sustain for full run and if I continue with the same I will collapse somewhere. For me it was better late than never and I reduced my speed to make it sustainable.


By the time I finished 8K distance of my run, lot of people have started overtaking me and that was the time I found myself lost in crowd but self motivation was needed the most at this time. Sun was heating up and it added more flavor of difficulty into my run.


Crossing through India Gate was very interesting with open space and lot of people cheering up there for runners. There were so many English ladies who really had a great speed and ran like crazy.


10.5km and all the energy was sucked in the heat of sun. But I had to do the equal distance yet. So kept going. Completed another couple of KM by chatting with few people around.


Oh God !! This was the stage where I started fighting with my mental strength also. Moreover along with feet and knees now my hands also were paining with cramps. I had never experienced a single KM so long, it was  like a full marathon for me. I managed to reach 16KM without any break.


Well, the sun was hot enough to force me to take a small break and stretch ahead was also not so short. I picked up the bottle of water, sipped it, put rest of the water on my head and started running again. I was running out of energy by the time I finished 17KM. From 17KM to 19KM I stopped three times for few seconds to accumulate energy for next 500meters.


By this time we were very close to the holding area and lot of people were there to cheer up the runners and last 1KM did not pain much. Lots of cameras keeping any eye on you and people acknowledging your achievement really makes one happy.

I had a target to finish 21.09 KM in 110 minutes but due to Sun it took me 125 minutes to complete Half Marathon. Its all about practice, since I never practiced in heat and sun I found it difficult to do this first time.

The entire mood was in high spirits and people were helping each others to make this event the memorable experience for all.

It is not the competition with others but a challenge to ourselves and to prove ourselves that yes we can do it. And this was the only motive I had. What else I need I just proved myself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips for running Half Marathon

Delhi Half Marathon countdown has begun and it will end exactly after 5 days from today i.e 21st Nov 2010. My registration for this year has been confirmed and I am too excited for the event. Practice for long runs is on and so is the focus on nutritious food.

Its not only practice for longer stretches which would make your half marathon successful run but also the food intake for at least last couple of weeks before half marathon.


Running is an activity or sport in which relatively lesser gears are needed. Some critical things to do:-
1)      The most important is to have best of the running shoes. Do not get carried away on saving small amount of money by compromising on cheaper brands.
2)      Normally people tend to least bother about quality of Socks. It becomes more important to have best socks as it will be in direct contact with feet throughout the run. Right choice of socks will protect your feet from blisters and discomfort caused by high temperature around it.
3)      Knee caps are advisable for people who are not comfortable with their knees on long runs like half marathon.
4)      Dress should be preferably, Shorts and T Shirt, needless to mention that make sure that you are comfortable with dress.
5)      Avoid carrying unnecessary accessories with you.


If you are running first time for Half Marathon and you have not practiced longer stretch as equal to 21KM, it is highly likely that you would not be able to complete it in Half Marathon event. Moreover if in case you are completely not into running, in those cases forget about Half Marathon without practice.

Here is how one should approach practice:-
1)      Practice everyday minimum of 5 to 8 KM starting two months before the event. Run on longer stretches of 15, 18 and 21KMs in between at least once.
2)      Do not run continuously more than three days; take minimum one day break after three days run.
3)      Do not accelerate suddenly and vice versa; run at same pace.
4)      Avoid hard surface like Roads.
5)      Do spend few minutes on Stretching before and after the run.
6)      To avoid injuries run at pace as per your comfort level, it’s a practice for 21KM and not for 100 Meter wherein speed plays a great role.
7)      Do take nice sleep everyday, it will reflect in your efficiency of next day’s run.
8)      Do not get carried away with nicely marketed supplements available. It promises to give you so many things but in reality takes away lot of precious things from you. My advice would be to stay away from them.
9)      Longer stretches like Half Marathon not only check your physical strengths but to large extent your mental strength. Set your own goals and measure your efficiency against it, it will keep you motivated and going.
10)   Treadmill is the biggest enemy for runners. Treadmill Dashboard shows nice number in terms of your speed calories weight etc but fact of the matter is that after practicing on treadmill (at least a month) when it comes to actually running on surface you will realise that you are not even able to do 1KM.  
11)   Stop the practice completely at least 4 days well before the event.


Nutrition and food intake is vital part for any runner. No one would like to add extra pounds well before events like Half Marathon. So we need a detailed nutrition and food intake plan. 

Food need to be selected focusing on four following contents:-
1)      Carbohydrate
2)      Protein
3)      Fat
4)      Water

Carbohydrate is most important content to be taken. The source for Carbohydrate is banana, wheat, brown rice, beans, corn, carrot, guava and mango etc.

Protein needs to be balanced to large extent so do not go high on it. The key source for protein would be Eggs, Pulses most importantly soyabeans, Cheese and Fish etc. Avoid eating Non Vegetarian food a day before the event or preferably two days.

Fat, a careful approach need to be adopted, lower intake as well as higher intake will be visible to you. Main source is Oils, Butter/Ghee, all fried Indian food and non veg and egg etc.

Water plays key role among all. Make a point to drink lot of water and you can also take Fresh/canned juices. Say no to Supplements or energy drinks.

Now you are ready to make a record. When it comes to the event like Delhi Half Marathon it really does not matter whether you are in top of point’s table or not, such events leaves a life transforming impression which becomes the source of infinite motivation to live life happily.

This time it’s your turn go ahead and make it happen, HAVE A GREAT DELHI HALF MARATHON.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Spanish and an Indian on Golden Triangle Delhi - Agra(Taj Mahal) - Jaipur -Delhi

My Colleague Ulises was planned to arrive in India on Night of 1st October 2010 and he had only 2nd and 3rd October to explore some places nearby Delhi. 2nd Oct Gandhi's Birth Anniversary and 3rd Oct Opening Ceremony of Common Wealth Games in Delhi made it difficult for me to make a plan to explore Delhi's historical places. Keeping in mind that Ulises had an interest in exploring historical places, the final plan I made was to go to Taj Mahal on 2nd Oct and same day reach Jaipur, Explore Jaipur on 3rd Oct and head back to Delhi in the evening, and this makes perfect Triangle on map.

Delhi to Agra on 2nd October 2010

We started our day at 8:00 AM and we had opted for a cab which remained with us for full two days with Driver and a Guide. Since I met Ulises first time so we had enough of topics to discuss about our countries, starting from culture, politics, people to living standards etc. On the way from Delhi we crossed few villages wherein I realised that Ulises was too excited to see cows and buffaloes roaming on the road. And he had numerous questions about it.

Ulises and me
Unfortunately the drive from Delhi to Agra was not smooth as we kept getting stuck in traffic jams at many places. It was lunch time when we reached Agra and instead of visiting TajMahal first, we opted for lucnh. Now Spanish man was ready to try  Indian Food. Once Ulises had Chicken Tikka and Cheese Nan he reacted in his Spanish accent "Its too Spicy". Well that was relatively less spicy, so I thought what if he had encountered fully spicy Chicken Tikka?

Taj Mahal - Spectacular Monument

Once we were done with our Lunch, we met our Guide who took us to Taj Mahal. The benefit which we got from Guide was that we entered through back gate and skipped all the crowd standing in queue on other side. 

This is what you see first at entrance
It was not the first time I was visiting Taj Mahal but I have to accept that when I stood at main entrance and looked straight on the monument it looked completely new, fresh and different to me. Last time I went there was around 2 years ago and I had criticized it because of its poor maintenance but this time it looked so fresh that I had to recollect 2 years old experience and compare both, but did not find correct answer for two different opinions. I think that is all about the great work done by Spectacular and Unbeatable Engineering and Art.

Spectacular monument of White Marble created in 16th Century

Marble Factory at Agra

After spending some time at Tajmahal and listening to the stories from Guide on Tajmahal, we reached at a Marble Factory in Agra. We learnt that descenders of worker who worked on Tajmahal in 16th Century makes various marble items by hand. I was excited to see as I had never seen it before. Contrary to what we were told it was a Marble Items showroom. But the collection of marble made items was huge. The entire Shop looked really beautiful as if it was decorated for some festival or celebration.

A Chess Table

Drive from Agra to Jaipur on 2nd Oct 2010

Time had become constraint for us so we cut down the plan to visit Agra market and left Agra at 5:00 PM. The drive from Agra to Jaipur was heavenly, our Innova was cruising like boat on water. The National Highway was too good with almost avoiding all main cities with flyovers on it. We reached Jaipur by 10:00 AM in the night and slow traffic and rough roads of Jaipur welcomed us by awaking us from sleep.

Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) at Jaipur - 3rd Oct 2010

Next day 3rd Oct 2010, Our Guide joined us at Hotel itself and first place he took us was Hawa Mahal. It is situated in the middle of the city and roads crossing Hawa Mahal are too busy with local traffic.

Amber Fort - Jaipur

Soon after parking for a while at Hawa Mahal we went to Amber Fort, one of the most famous and beautiful fort in the city. Amber Fort has an unique characterstick of having built in blend of Hindu and Muslim style. It is situated on the top of a small hill and entire Jaipur City can be seen from there. The fort has been protected by the wall all around the hill.

A view of Amber fort from Jaipur City

Amber Fort

A window for Queens to look outside view from Amber Fort

The field was made on Water to grow saffron in ancient times

Wall on the entire hill made to protect Fort

Water Palace

Water Palace is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur City. The Palace was built earlier than 18th Century. It was renovated in 18th Century by then King Jai Singh II. Water Palace situated on Lake looks breathtaking and small mountains behind lake adds the flavor of greenery into the entire view.

A Boy at Water Palace. At first sight this boy looked to me a beggar but soon I realized that he is a small magician. I have a great respect for him. A true Indian - Earning his living with respect.

City Palace

As the name suggests, it is situated in the middle of city and crowded roads connects its entrance from outisde. From outside it looks an ordinary building but once you enter it you realize that it is other way round. We spent sometime going through the history along with our Guide.

Busy entrance of City Palace. Neither Ulises nor I missed the opportunity of clicking much talked Cows of Indian Streets

King of Jaipur still live in this Palace

It was noon time and Sun had sucked almost all the energy out of us. We decided to wrap the day and headed for lunch. Ulises was very careful about the food by now and opted for relatively light food.

The last Line of the triangle was yet to be drawn to make a perfect Triangle and we headed back to Delhi immediately after Lunch. I reached home at 7:00 PM and that was the time when Live telecast of Common Wealth Games Opening Ceremony started. It was all over on TV.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diwali 2010 at Chamba Himachal Pradesh - My Hometown

This Diwali I was fortunate enough to celebrate it at Chamba my hometown with my parents and my sister's family. With my niece this Diwali became really special and full of fun for all of us.

My Niece Diya "Fully excited"

A candle lit for lighting up the Temple

Diwali "A festival of Love and Affection"

Kids having fun with crackers 

Crackers are enough to light up the surrounding

Naked eyes can not see what I have got it here for you

Its all about Light, Noise, Fun and lot of Food

She is not gonna stop

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My First DSLR Camera - CANON EOS 500D

Disappointing quality of pictures from compact digital cameras led me to look for DSLR camera which will tackle all the problems I was facing with compact digital cameras. Keeping in mind that I am not a professional photographer it was a bit of challenge to marry price of the camera and quality of pictures to make it value for money deal and a win win situation. My research on internet world went on for months to conclude on the make and model of my first DSLR. Honestly I myself was not exactly clear what all I was looking for?

Downloaded from Internet world
Somehow I manage to reach the final stage of my research on make and model and it was Canon EOS 500D. Yes Nikon 5000D was in game till last moment but my comfort with Canon helped me stick to the decision to buy only Canon.

In first week of November 2010 I finally got much awaited DSLR Canon EOS 500D at cost of INR 34,000 only. The first thing I liked about this camera was its looks, it looks superb.

The key features it brought:-
  1. 15.1 Mega Pixels resolution. (Don’t really need it)
  2. 3 inch LCD screen with 920K pixels. It is far better than some of desktop screen resolution
  3. Self Cleaning Sensor Unit
  4. Extremely less start up time i.e 0.1 Seconds
  5. High Definition Video
  7. EFS Lenses 18-55mm with image stabilizer and auto/manual focus
First Test of Canon EOS 500D
The time was to test its efficiency on ground. I started exploring it with Auto mode. The first thing I found interesting about it was its Shutter Speed, it fascinated me so much that I ended up clicking numerous pictures without trying to use various options the new gadget had brought. Compact Digital Cameras has frustrating shutter speed but Canon EOS 500D was delivering pictures in fraction of seconds.

A Dark ceiling of Old Temple in Chamba
Auto Focus / Manual Focus
What to say about it, irrespective of whether the lenses are set to 18mm or the extreme 55mm, Auto Focus does real wonders. You will not even realise when lenses have done their work in terms of focus. It just happens real-time. Of course in manual focus, you will have to adjust the focus manually at level where the clarity is on it peak.

With 18mm EFS lense in Auto Focus mode
Image Stabiliser
Tried my camera while travelling on Bus of hilly terrains and rough roads, results of the pictures because of amazing shutter speed and effective image stabiliser, produced great quality pictures.

Clicked from running Bus
Pictures at Night or in Low Light
This was one of the main reasons for me to opt for DSLR. Canon EOS 500D solved my problem. You just forget about the word “BLUR” in your pictures. Not even a single dot of blur on night/low light pictures. I could catch some great moments of Diwali night in Gadget.

Diwali Night. A picture without flash
Close up Shots
This was another fascinating part for me. I love to click close up pictures for small flowers and species. This time again my choice buying of Canon EOS 500D proved me right. No matter how close you take camera to the object, EFS lenses and Auto Focus ensures high quality blur less picture.

Clicked with 55mm EFS lense from a distance of few centimeters
The camera has different basic shooting modes which are:-
  1. Full Auto - Applicable in almost all conditions
  2. Portraits - For Portraits pictures with more focus on close-up
  3. Landscapes - For wider view of Landscapes. I did not find it different from Auto mode
  4. Close-Up - Ensures more clarity of object and blur background
  5. Sports - For moving objects. Quite an useful mode
  6. Night - Ensure Blur less pictures in night
  7. Disabling Flash - Comes handy where Flash is not allowed e.g museum etc
  8. Creative Auto - As per me it’s a Semi Manual mode wherein you can adjust Flash firing, Blurring/sharpening background or object, adjust recording quality and drive mode.
Apart from Basic modes the most important part comes with Advance shooting modes which includes Program AE, A-DEP, AV, TV and of course Manual mode.

I have not yet explored Video mode at all so doesn’t know the actual delivery against highly talked about HD Video of this model.

Turn off of Canon EOS 500D:-
Really difficult to find out technical flaws in this brilliant work but:-
  1. It is so delicate that you need to take extra care of it unlike compact Digital cameras which can be carried in pocket without hesitation.
  2. As a consumer I would expect DSLR manufacturer to focus on Size of the camera. If you wish to carry it regularly you just can not do it.
  3. In Auto Mode, The flash goes up automatically with great speed which disturbs the photographer. It can be designed in a manner that it goes up gently and softly.
  4. Features like Bluetooth or infrared can make such model friendlier with Computers rather than traditional way of transferring data with the help of cable.
All in all the experience with this master piece has been amazing and I found it real value for money product.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Biking Tips for Enthusiast Bikers to Himalayas

Venturing into Himalayas on Bike? Based on my experience of various stretches on Bike Trips here are some important tips before you get into this adventure.


Any bike, in a good condition, but at least of 150 CC and plus would make your trip successful, yes bikes with 350 CC and 500 CC would have an advantage on high altitude and steep roads to make the experience heavenly. Important things to keep in mind:-
  1. Bike is properly and thoroughly serviced before you start the trip
  2. Change Engine Oil even if you had done this a month ago
  3. Many a times we forget to check some critical wires like Clutch wire, make sure all are in good condition
  4. Mirrors really help a lot, so even if you have removed the mirrors this is the time to put it on (both), you will realise its importance on busy terrains and helps you to keep a track of your fellows (who are following you) when you are busy on curves leaning your bike.
  5. Make sure to keep Fuel tank always full.


Personally I learnt that no matter how great is your bike and biking skills, if you are not equipped with right and comfortable apparels, you will undergo a hell for sure in Himalayas which is a heaven otherwise.
Here is what you must have:-
  1.  Helmet: Simply to say “IT IS MUST”. But make sure you have branded helmet (WITH VISOR ON IT) which will not only protect you in case of accident but also from extreme weather conditions with low temperature and killer winds on various passes.
  2.  Eyewear: Keep sunglasses, it will help you riding easy in a sunny day somewhere in the middle of Himalayas
  3. Gloves: Keep two pair of waterproof leather gloves, one pair can be fingerless gloves for riding in planes or hot days and other pair of Gloves for extreme cold conditions and high altitude ride.
  4. Jacket: You need to have Biking Jacket, which will serve you two critical purpose one protection from injuries in case of accident and second protection from cold weather and unfriendly winds.
  5. Boots: Many a times people make mistakes of bearing sports shoes, Never ever do that. Most of the sports shoes are meant with a motive to keep your feet fresh with Air. Go for shoes which will keep your feet warm. ALSO KEEP EXTRA PAIR OF SHOE WITH YOU, you will cross countless rivers and waterfalls on the way.
  6. Body Armour: It is advisable to use armours. If you have typical biking jacket it will have armour for chest, elbows, spine and shoulders so no need in that case else go for at least Elbow armour and Knee armour as well.

  1. Never go over speed in an excitement of thrilling and heavenly terrains.
  2. Never compete with fellow riders.
  3. Keep fair distance with each others if you are riding in big group
  4. Have clear Road map before you start the ride
  5. Make comprehensive plan for longer rides keeping in mind the stop overs, speed, Petrol Pumps and food.
  6. Obey all rules and regulations of area where you are riding. In some places you would require permission from Local authorities before you enter into specific areas, make arrangements for such situations accordingly.
  7. Keep some bike accessories with you, like an air pump, Tyre tube and a standard Tool kit.
  8. Carry all documents related to bike with you and needless to mention YOUR DRIVING LICENCE.
  9. Keep Fuel Tank and your stomach always full on the ride
  1. Wrist watch to keep a track on time and speed
  2. A compass and Altimeter. There are wrist watches available which has Temperature, altitude and compass in it. Ranges from 14,000 INR to 20,000 INR.
  3. A Torch will come handy in interiors and Roadside Tents.
  4. If you are doubtful about your comfort with Low Oxygen levels at high altitudes such as Leh, Khardoongla Pass (World’s highest motorable pass), Rohtang Pass on Manali Leh Road, keep medicines with you


All this will make your trip a great success for sure. HAVE A GREAT, SAFE AND HAPPY RIDE. GOOD LUCK !!


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