Running & the Boston Marathon Qualification goal

I am starting this blog-series primarily as a hopefully interesting read and insight into training for a tough marathon – The Boston Marathon.

For my age category, the qualifying time to participate in the Boston marathon is 3:10 (3 hours 10 minutes). Given the current scenario of the places getting filled some 2.5 min ahead of the qualifying times across age categories, The realistic time is 3:07.

I will let the rest of the posts in this series do more talking, beginning with why this goal, where do I stand, which run am I aiming for and for how long it has been on my mind.

I am to make the series full of pictures and as entertaining as possible. I definitely want some percentage of non-runners to read it and get inspired as well!

15 solid ways to tap into your worst self

Enough of posts with good advice. Let’s share some bad advice and see what we can learn from them.

1)Let complaining be your most active hobby. The traffic, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the wife, parents, boss, colleague, neighbor, country, economy, selfishness, greed. PM me for more.

2)Sleep whenever you feel like, get up just in time to go to office. There is no dearth of time in life – optimize it for rest.

3) Stay at least 1 hour away from your workplace, 2+ hours is ideal.

4) Take pride in being unsocial – “I love being alone most of the time, I am an introvert”, “I hate people who do x,y…”!

5) If you are the social/fun-seeking type – party every night. Party definitely means consuming alcohol till you pass out. You anyways know all the ways to beat a hangover. Keep a log of the number of days you skipped partying. Don’t let it be below 25 days a month.

6) Lie/cheat whenever you can. You are smart, you wouldn’t get caught. If you didn’t get caught, you didn’t cheat – simple.

7) Be short-sighted and plan only for the next week. You never know if you would be alive the next year, why bother planning for it?

8) Don’t spend on others. The money you earn is just for you & probably your very close ones. Let others pay for you if they feel like. Not you. You save. As much as possible. After all it’s MONEY that runs the world. Save for what? No idea, since you haven’t planned. Probably for a very rainy day.

9) Don’t read any books – in fact don’t read anything except anything written on your Twitter/Facebook feeds. And the hoardings on the roads.

10) Eat only for taste… and optimize your meals – eat all you can in one shot till you get very hungry again.
And never bother about junk food, healthy food – that’s for the diabetics and the ill. Eating time of the day – doesn’t matter.

11)Stay away from sports – your age of playing is long gone. Sports is for kids – it makes you look less mature.

12) If you want to keep the play alive – play dirty office politics. Become a schemer. You will achieve your target of misery very soon.

13) Exercise – come on. That’s for the old and 50+. Or may be for someone less fortunate and agile. You don’t need it. You are gifted to live till 100 without much trouble.

14) Don’t believe in love – that’s for the movies. Life is about having fun and moving on.

15) Don’t care for your parents. You didn’t ask them to bring you into this world. They will be fine. No need calling them very frequently, they don’t have exciting topics to discuss anyway. They are old-fashioned.

Running a marathon should be on everyone’s bucket-list

Especially if you are looking for excitement, fun, pain and bliss rolled into a single unit.
Running as a sport has picked up big time in the recent past and the number of people signing up for events is at an all time high.

I am sure there is some word-to-mouth publicity that running gets which motivates a non-runner to take a shot at it.
After all it’s the simplest activity we all have done since childhood. But then it’s not a very “fun” sport. It can get lonely, boring and lethargic. Why is it that then every 4th or 5th guy/girl you know has just finished a 10k or a half-marathon or may be a full 42.195km marathon?

If you subscribe to the RunnersWorld or Competitor Running feed on Facebook, you will come across countless stories of before and after pictures of people who went from fat to fit, stories of how running transformed people’s lives and so on.
One big reason people run is because it de-stresses. The other strong reason is that there is no better(& faster) way to lose weight than to run regularly. It is almost a magic pill for weight loss.
So you are a regular runner/fitness enthusiast and you look fit, but should you attempt a marathon? How does it matter?

It does. Big time. Here are some reasons why training for and then finishing a marathon is worth it:

1) It resembles life – except that it gets wrapped in a day and you are alive at the end of it. Signing up for a marathon takes courage. Once you do that, and you start training for it, you go through a cycle of discipline(& lack of it), routine, good days, bad days, exuberance and all the emotions you can imagine. Marathon preparation is both a physical and a mental activity – it prepares you for life like no other sport.

2) It makes you feel great about yourself – And we all live for that. We live to feel awesome about ourselves. The feeling post finishing a marathon is undescribable. If self-confidence could be put in a jar, you buy a whole bucket of it post finishing it. You are literally ready for any other challenge. It’s a self-growth exercise.

3) Weight loss/Fitness becomes a by-product of the marathon training journey – I am a big proponent of aiming big.
“Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star”. By the time the marathon day comes closer, you are already in great shape and receiving compliments from people.

4) It makes you humble – A marathon is a “marathon” literally. No matter how well trained/fit you are, you will face challenges during the training and the run itself. There will be someone who will overtake you. Humility is a guaranteed virtue post a marathon.

5) FOMO(Fear/Feeling of missing out) is not a good thing. We all experience FOMO throughout our lives for various things – objects, money, achievements, fame etc. Finishing a marathon puts you up in the “league”. You earn bragging rights and as with any other achievement, it dilutes the overall FOMO and insecurity.

6) You become an inspiration for people around you – which again by our very nature makes us feel good about ourselves.
No matter how self-centered or selfish you may think you are, there is a big part of us wanting to motivate others. Once you finish a marathon, that part of you grows larger than the selfish part.
For a first timer, it usually takes 6 to 12 months to train for a marathon(and it’s risky to try to do it in a shorter timeframe), but it’s an accelerated path to self-discovery.

Don’t rush but make sure you check running a marathon off your bucket list sooner – you will thank yourself!

Why do many Indians abroad relocate to India saying “I want my kids to grow up in India”?

Answer by Debarghya Das:

Having been schooled in an American elementary school for 7 years, Indian middle and high school for 7 years and returned to college in the US for what has been 2 years now, I feel like I have acquired some knowledge to answer this question.
Many of the important points have already been brought up here, but here's what I have to add:
  • Toughening up
    I am of the opinion that kids in US high schools live a sheltered existence. They're in their own little shell of how the world is like. When I went to school there, I'm ashamed to say that I was too. They simply don't care about the rest of the world. It's quite amazing, really. Everything from their sports and their system of units to their culture or  geography, they are unimaginably oblivious to the rest of the world. As a 5th grader ready to move to India, I myself realized that I had never even imagined a lifestyle besides the one I had been in all this while. I thought India was an abode of lots of brown people, cows, and snake charmers. This is what growing up in the US does to you.
  • Identity
    What's great about America is pretty much everything – their infrastructure, their lifestyle, and also the fact that people from so many different racial backgrounds can co-exist. However, this often leads to an identity crisis. If you're anything like what I was, the term identity crisis sounds like jargon to you. But it is a big deal. Knowing about who you are is a big deal. Indian children in America grow up with no identity. Are they American? Are they Indian? If they are American, why are they not white? Why can they not do all these American things? How come all their family friends are Indian? If they are Indian, what makes them so? Do they know anything about life in India? No. Should they? Probably. This makes them partake in a bunch of random pseudo-Indian activities (which is great), but makes them really fake. Without any great passion or association to Indian classical music, maybe one of their parents forced them to learn the tabla. I can go on. Point is, growing up in India is what makes you Indian. Not a citizenship card, not a NRI or PIO stamp, not anything else. You have to experience gully cricket, Goa, know Hindi, get an Indian accent, go through Indian schooling, watch Indian movies – it's a cultural thing. It's something that sticks with you for life – knowing where you're really from – your roots.

Besides this, I want to dispel some doubts people have about an Indian upbringing:

  • America presents more opportunities than India does
    You didn't mention this explicitly but it's an argument many have for not going back to India. For one, yes, it's probably true. India is a harder place to be successful in. However, as pointed out in other answers, you can always go back to the US for higher education and eventually settle there.
  • "What about the filth, narrow-mindedness, overpopulation, child sex abuse, VIP culture, lack of civic sense, caste-based reservations, no value for human life?"
    India is not homogeneous, buddy. Yes, it can be filthy, gross, sweaty and overpopulated, but you know what? You take away something from it. Because I lived life in those conditions, I appreciate everything about a developed country so much more. The filth won't kill you, the sweat won't kill you, and the people won't asphyxiate you. Growing up in a perfect house with a perfect car where nothing is dirty and people are few and far between might kill your satisfaction later in life though.
    Caste-based reservations, you say? Yeah, they suck. You think the US doesn't have racial reservation? They're just silent about it. Do you want to explain to me why the standards for Asians getting into college in America is far far higher than Blacks?
    No value for human life? Indians aren't inhuman by culture. Growing up in a place where there's fewer resources than there are people makes poverty more prone. We see that day in and day out. We're bound to adapt to it. It doesn't mean we don't value life. We don't panic when a bomb goes off and start blaming everybody like they do in the US because we have bigger problems at hand.
    Narrow-mindedness? The way you think should not be a characteristic of where you live.
    It's easy to point out your countries problems and cite them as a reason for not going back, but it's taking the easy way out. Your childhood shouldn't be a breeze – it should be hard, and fun. That way, you can spend the rest of your life trying to make it better, and appreciating the fruits of your labor. Your kids show grow up in India to know what it's problems are, so maybe someday when he's successful and a dad, he can go back and help out.

Why do many Indians abroad relocate to India saying "I want my kids to grow up in India"?