Saturday, October 1, 2016

Athletic Adventures Part 3 : Spending Money (Unwisely) and First Races

Continuing on from previous posts...

As every amateur athlete who has deep pockets and little talent, the urge to spend money on stuff without putting on much time in training caught up with me last week. 

After looking it up in the yellow book (yes I still use Yellow Book), I found a little known shop known as Das Cycles. It sounded rad, more rad than other cycle shops, especially the Little Flower bike shop, which just made me feel weak in the chest. C'mon, who labels a bike shop Little Flower?

So I went to this Das Cycles, situated purposelessly in the middle of no-man's land past the purposely located sewage plant and demanded some slick new tires.

While being shown around, I picked up a fight with a burly man with the big mustache (maybe Das himself) when he remarked in his infinite wisdom that tires don't make a difference to rolling inertia. Heresy! To make my point, I bought the most expensive set of tires available which told something else on it's packaging and stormed off the shop with a determined nod.

Not to poo poo burly men with moutaches, I love these guys. But don't you think these salesmen should keep opinions to themselves and not contradict with the marketing hype on product packaging? Just make it easy for buyers jeez. It's time salesmen started believing in advertising, or is that not the trend nowadays? Everyone seems to have an opinion!

Wasting money aside, I had decided to run/jog a few miles with what little time I had last week and headed off to my first track meet ever , that's right, ever hosted at NYU Abu Dhabi by the good folks at the University's Athletics department.

The one thing I did quite right the past week was not the running/jogging part but the eating. Knowing that I was fully carb loaded for the early season races, I sucked in all the air in the poshy looking air conditioned 200m track and stood on the start line with a few kids.

With near to zero fitness, I knew the upcoming vomit session wasn't going to be friendly to me. Just as I was about to think that I could brag on Facebook I was the first Indian to do this (as is also the trend nowadays by Indian men), I spotted two other desi guys straddling me left and right on the track. Great. There goes that dream.

I had scratched off a new quick notes on a napkin before the race after copious referering to Google. Even tried Siri on my wife's Iphone 7. "Hey Siri, how do I run this track race...:"   The reply promptly automated from the phone's speakers : "Sorry, to watch this race, you cannot run but must drive 150km", and showed me a location pin to a camel track near the border of UAE and Saudi Arabia.

With something like that race strategy in the back of my mind, I whisked off the start line at the gun shot. For the next 3 minutes, it was indeed lung surgery as I kept the two Indians at bay to take 3rd place at the 800m's. Then as every self-respecting Indian does, I went and shook their hands and started the usual round of questions, shaking my head and all  'ah where are you from in India, ... ah I much is your salary...?'

Results, split times and stride rates for 800m were like so :

Distance       Time        Stride Rate
200m           0:00:42        101
200m           0:00:42         99
200m           0:00:42         98
200m           0:00:42         97

TotalTime    0:02:47

After being the second loser at the 800's, I forgot the fact that I had registered for the men's 1500's as well that afternoon. I peered at my watch! Yikes, not even 3 minutes left for the other race to start. Zero fitness and zero recovery do not go together well, said Abraham Lincoln once when he was cutting wood (Did you know Lincoln also coined the phrase 'my legs feel like wood..' commonly used among cyclists and runners today on social media after hard workouts...)

At the 1500m start line, the Indian dudes had disappeared leaving me like a black man in Middle America. What more motivation do you need to run?

Unfortunately, my heart rate was 250 already and not slowing down. The gun shot went and I fell back, puttered along the track like a poorly maintained padmini, almost puked a little somewhere in lane 5 just next to lane Anerobic Thresholdia (which I was on by the way) and just managed to hop over the finish line as janitors were switching off the lights in the arena.

Results and split times for 1500m were like so :

Distance       Time        Stride Rate
200m           0:00:51         95
200m           0:00:51         95
200m           0:00:51         94
200m           0:00:51         94
200m           0:00:51         94
200m           0:00:51         93
200m           0:00:51         93
100m           0:00:25         92

TotalTime    0:06:21

Two embarrassing finishes later, I took my belongings and secretly existed the premises with tail between the legs.

Thank you NYUAD and Mr. Wayne Young, director of Athletics for the event. Kudos to all the runners who took a shot at racing with Mr. Zero Fitness.

This ends two weeks of sporting adventure. More to follow. Stay tuned. No, watch this space.

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