Friday, January 28, 2011

Kapama Safari

Lion Safari

Recently had an opportunity to go on a bush safari at Kapama Reserve - a private game reserve near the world renowned kruger national park in south africa.

the forest was unlike the visuals one sees on tv-of wide open grasslands (savannas) with hordes of wild animals. this was more like an indian jungle , low lying dense trees with thick bushes, termite hills.

during the safari on customised land rovers we saw lions, zebra, wild boar, giraffe, impala and the white rhinos. a pride of 3 young lionesses seemed to have no fear and posed at a distance of some 10 ft away from the vehicles. also at a water hole came across mother and baby rhino.

the safari was guided by a reserve ranger with a tracker sitting in front.

we missed seeing a leopard..scanned all trees..probably a future visit destined.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flower Power ( AIKGA Gulmohar Club, Feb'09 )

Recently the Gulmohar Club(New Delhi ) organised the annual AIKGA flower/plant show. It was a pleasure to see the colorful spread & organically grown vegetables, fruits.. there were exquisite trays , hanging plant baskets, flower arrangements & other gardening related products on display.

The show was inaugrated by the Vice President's wife ( Mrs Ansari )and was well attended by ladies & families of Gulmohar Park & the neighbouring colonies.

Enjoy the beautiful show....

Gurgaon Half Marathon ( Feb 15' 09 )

The's Gurgaon run last Sunday marked the end of this running season for me.

This run was preceded by the Auroville Half on Feb15..The previous day was marked wth bouts of stomach upset which had me dehydrated on the race morning..

The half marathon started at 7.00 am with around 130 participants. The route was from Sector 55 park towards the Badshahpur-Sohna stretch..a longish , smooth wide road with tall buildings on one side. We went down this road till 7K and then returned back to starting point..again moved for a distance of 3.5-4 k and return.

Fears of upsetting my stomach balance, led me to avoid too much of fluid intake..i just sipped some Gatorade during the run. Also some fatigue resulted in my poor finish of 2:04.

The race ended with finishers medal ( embossed good quality leather ) and a timing certificate. Thanks Rahul Verghese & the team of volunteers for the wonderful organisation.

Agendas for next running season:

1.Build up lower back & legs strength (thru cross training or gym training..something which I have totally missed out this year )

2. Endurance training..and importantly training to run faster.

3. Enough long runs to prepare for my first full marathon next year( probably Mawana or Gurgaon )

4. Do a Auroville and /or Bangalore Ultra during next year

Monday, February 16, 2009

2nd Auroville ( Pondicherry ) Half Marathon

The cool shades of Auroville are still fresh as I pen down my account of the 2nd Auroville Marathon . Yesterday I finished the Auroville half-marathon with a time of 1: 56. My goal was a sub 1.50 finish considering the track was flat & soft clay. The certificate (being brought over my friends still at Pondi ) will confirm the exact timings.

The race was well organized. The trail was scenic ( mostly shaded forest tracks )with distinctive markings across the route. Pitstops were at every 4 KM ( there spaced out during the initial 10 KM ), stocked with water, glucose, biscuits, bananas, lemons( not salt though ) etc. People running the full marathon started at 5 AM and were given torches ( they must have run the first hour in total dark ). The half marathon started at 6 AM.
The pre-race pasta and the post-race breakfast ( peanut butter sandwitch, idlis, dosa ) was really good.The race went well even though I expected a better timing.

Here's a short course of events.

We reached Chennai by Spicejet on Friday. Amit Ojha with wife & kids , me and Venkat. There was a 4 hour delay in taking off due to heavy fog in Delhi ( someone told me that only Indian Airlines & Indigo pilots are trained to take off using Cat3 systems ) . Anyhow landed at 2.00 PM . We then took a Innova & a ambassador to Pondi , just stopping for lunch at Swagath on the Byepass road for a quick southie thali meal.

I checked into Hotel Coromandel , a small place on Needaraja Pillai St. Evening was spent strolling on the beach ( just a km away from my hotel ) & a chilled beer with Amit. The beach at Pondi is rocky with a long promenade alongside where people came to stroll, enjoy the fresh sea & generally chill out.

On Saturday, we reached Auroville for a tour of the place. Its well hidden from the ECR with no road pointers , but could see a lot of foreigners on bikes & cycles going towards the road leading to Auroville. Went to the daily market (opp solar kitchen ) where I had my first taste of wheat grass juice (its really strong ) & some other organically grown fruits/vegetables & products. We also visited the main information centre ,boutique store, solar kitchen & matrimandir. In the evening , we collected our Bibs ( # 316 ) & kit bag with the blue T shirt.

I also visited the Pondi beach ( for a sunrise view & some snaps ) & the Mother’s Samadhi ( Aurobindo Ashram ) during the morning. The ashram is a serene grey bulding on a quite Pondi street ( No cameras, mobiles switched off & no shoes )

Race day ( Sunday ) started at 4 AM. I got ready & took the waiting Innova to pick up Amit & Venkat /Rajeshwari ( Venkat’s wife ) & reached Certitude ( starting point ) around 5.00 AM.

We warmed up with a bit of slow jogging / stretching , took snaps . Came across a group of runners from Nanded ( Maharashtra )..they looked really strong and claimed to run a half in 1.16. Anyhow post rubbing some gel /iodex on the arms & legs it was time to start the half run at 6.00 am ( the race started a bit late at 6.06 am ).
Amit & me started a slow pace till around 4 km. We had decided to run together & take our time to enjoy the track & the Auroville experience. But without realising it, both of us picked up pace till 12km. From then we decided to do a steady pace & reached the 18 km point on the road. The last 3 km were through a much looped forest course & Amit picked up during the last 1.5 km.
We finished within 2mins of each other amongst a lot of cheering from volunteers, friends & families of runners.

I returned to Chennai by the express Byepass Bus ( Tamil Nadu State Transport ) on Sunday itself & took the evening Spicejet flight to Delhi reaching home at 10.30 PM.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Running & Blogging

I have been doing some fairly regular running since my last post in Oct.. Finished 3 half marathons ..all in Delhi.
Airtel Delhi Half - Nov 30 '08 - 2.02 min
Runningand Living ( Gurgaon ) Half - Dec 7 '08 - 1.57 min
Mawana Sugars Indian Open -Half - 1.53 min
Most of the runners from my group have managed to finish a full marathon this year at Mumbai.. but I have decided to push the first full to next year. Another half on the list is Pondicheery (Auroville ) on Feb 15.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Airtel Half marathon - Nov 9 , 2008

Have started training for the Delhi Airtel Half run. The runs during weekdays are at Deer Park/Rose Garden . Weekend long runs at Nehru Garden-Rajpath -India Gate stretch. I have been following a plan which prepares runners to complete the full marathon. I just have to run a half.

Last weekend the run was 19 km ( 2 Outside loops Nehru Park- Niti Marg-Shantipath-South Avenue- Rajpath-India Gate & back ). There were 6 runners including Anita/Amit & Venkat.
We again had the long run today ( since I will be travelling next 4 days)..same stretch but 22 kms ( which included a India Gate roundabout )