Friday, December 31, 2010

The Amazing 2010

Dear Friends and Family,
I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year. The year 2010 has been very eventful and exciting for me and I'd like to share some highlights with you all. On the work front, I switched jobs and am now working for IBM. I work in the sales group for IBM's WebSphere brand products. I continue to make deeper strides in the Healthcare industry and I stay excited at the future prospects. My new accounts are all local so I don't travel as much. Geetika and the kids now see me a little more than what they were accustomed to in the past. Which also lead us to some interesting personal space violation type challenges initially. Things settled down eventually with me learning to get more domesticated ;-). 
As for my sports endeavors, I stay on the track to getting younger each year ;-). But the proof is in the pudding, correct? Please see the attached picture collage.
One of the two pictures in it was taken 6-months ago and the other, 10-years ago. You get a prize for guessing which picture was taken 10 years ago.. left or right? Continuing from my first half Ironman 70.3 mile long Triathlon odyssey in 2009, I went on to compete in three more half Ironman races this year. I improved my personal record by over 90 minutes down to 7-hours and 22 minutes. I intend to compete in a 140.6 mile long full Ironman event this year. It is slated for June 28th 2011 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. As for training to survive the event, I'm four months deep into it. To prepare better, I train three days a week under the guidance of a wonderful professional coach and with a Tri team. My diet is very regimented and lean. Training hard, seven days a week has now become a way of life for me.
On an artistic front, I performed in my first ever theatrical musical "nautanki" play. My daughters got the gift of their life when we adopted  a Labrador puppy dog. My wife Geetika is off to a new career in Information Technology consulting in quality control and business analyst. My older daughter is ~10 years old now. She is a talented singer, pianist and a martial artist. The younger one is ~6-years old and is diligently following her older sister's foot steps which makes logistics a little easier on us. I have attached a picture of the three of them to this note below.

That's all from me. I hope to catch up with you over the next year.
Warm Regards,
Harpal Kochar

Sunday, March 7, 2010

26.2 mile run manarthon.. Is it overrated??

I ran the Napa marathon yesterday 03/07. It was my personal best time at 4-hours and 50 minutes. Last I participated in a marathon was 7-years ago.. And my reasons for dumping the sport then (which I seem to have forgotten) glared at me naked.. around mile-20 with my aches and pains.. in the knees.
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy doing long distance runs; just not the ones that drag out to 26 miles. While I enjoy running, the quality time alone and the grounded feeling, my pleasure limit is ~16-miles. Anything beyond that for me starts to enter the realm of torture. I wanted to quit at mile 20 in the race and the sag trucks hovering around was looking like a tempting option with every minute passing. But I still went on.. almost as if to prove a point. The pains brought back memories of the last leg of the Napa Vineman half Ironman race I did last year. And it was not fun. But once the Tylenol kicked in.. it wasn't as bad.
None the less.. I am more or less done with Marathons for now.. I did one just to get rid of the ghost of the bad run in Napa last year and I feel just fine now. I will stick to my Triathlon training going forward and only do Tris for the remainder of the year. They are far more fun and chances of knee and back injuries is lesser. I have a couple of big half Ironman races coming up in May and July later this year.

I still have to figure out a balance for my electrolyte pills though.. I loose too much salt in the race.. I noticed my face is perpetually coated with body salts.. the cramps stepped in at mile 21. This is despite the 2-bananas and nuts I ate in the first 20-miles. I took in a couple extra electrolyte pills and the cramps went away.
 I had hoped to finish stronger than I started but that goal still alludes me. I stayed at a healthy 9:30 for the first 15-miles or so. I slowed down considerably to ~12-minute mile in the last 10-miles or so.. but hey.. I didn't walk or stop.. And that act in itself was a huge victory over the mind for me. A dear friend of mine, Dan (he is going to run the Boston Marathon next month) never lets me stop or walk when we run together. He sees walking as a mental defeat. Slowing down, reducing the stride and maybe even the cadence are OK.. but you walk only if you are indeed injured.. so I kept going ON.
I met this one amazing guy during the race.. He wore a trophy shirt that said something like "Ran a marathon in all 50 states and in DC".. which I drew the conclusion as thinking he ran 51-marathons till date. I caught up with him around mile-17 and congratulated him. He corrected me stating that he had done more than one marathon in each of the states.. in fact he was running his 185th Marathon that day.. The guy was 60-years old.. and planned to do another 13-marathons this year.. Apparently the world record is around 600-marathons run by some crazy guy.. And here I was feeling proud of running my 3rd ever Marathon :-).