Single Parenting

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

April 29th 2010

As someone who has had a mother who stayed at home and a dad who worked almost round the clock but mostly from our home, I have never been alone all my life. I have not known what it is to come to a home where hot tiffin is not ready. I have not experienced what it is to have only one parent or have someone you value very much living away from you for any period of time. 

With K being away due to work for the first time for a week, I am a single parent to Mr. V. What was meant to be a couple of days ended up being a WHOLE 5 days. I know it is not that long but try pausing on the 55555555 and maybe it will seem like. And while it has not been physically taxing, emotionally it has been extremely painful to say the least. It is not something I want to do anytime again.

And while I prod along waiting for him to arrive tomorrow, I have been thinking this whole week of all the single parents in this world who have so become either by choice or because of a lack of one. I have been thinking of the strength and endurance they must have to not only earn a living but to also hold the family together with no emotional support that you so unconditionally get from a good spouse. And worse still I think of the people who have had to lose someone they love and worse a child who has lost his parent and how the family would deal with that. The thought is unbearable for me, I pray for those who live that reality.

And I continue to learn lessons in humility and be in awe of the supreme and say my prayers with more fervency. And also be more thankful for what I have today and that K continues to not mind taking the trash out. 

P.S. This week's trash waits for him too.

Race Day

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , , ,

April 11th 2010

As I sit typing this, my lower body is so sore, I could use a massage right now and a bath that I will never get up from :)  I am feeling parts of my leg that I did not know existed. I did it and ran my first half-marathon today. This post is a rambling of my thoughts before, during and after the race.

I dreamt today morning that I had slept through the race and did not wake up on time and as a result could not run. Great beginning I thought when I finally woke up to the sound of the alarm. The race would start at 7 am, we had to be in our spots by 6:30 am, which meant I had to leave the house by 5:45 am ( to give leeway for murphy's law). Woke up at 4:50 am and finally left at 5:50 am. The drive was beautiful. I left a sleeping V and K, to drive in the dark morning. But the weather Gods had heard my prayers and it was not going to rain.  Yay! I ate the very first CLIF energy bar in my life today morning. As I drove to the race, I was mentally telling myself that this was not worth it. I had to take time off from family to do my long runs, not what I wanted to do at all. And today, I was alone physically because K was on-call and of course V could not come on his own now can he? Even when I parked and walked in, that is what I felt.

And then bam, it hit me as I walked into the exhibit hall A. It was ginormous, like a huge conference room. And the adrenaline level was so high. I saw people young and old, fit and not so fit, all ready to race. And so many athletic people, it was just too much in a nice way. And at that minute, I was so kicked that I had decided to do this and made peace that it would all be worth it.  The enthusiam was so contagious. I have felt this many times when I trained and I felt it here again too that one should have a partner. It makes it so much fun. In my case, since I trained based on V's schedule I did not want to burden anyone else with my sketchy routine and hence refrained from searching for a partner. But the next time, when I do will be with someone for sure.

The race was very well organized. We had drop off areas for our stuff and a stretch routine before we started. And right at 7 am we began. I lined myself between the 11:00 min/mile and 12:00 min/mile runners/walkers. When we finally took off, to my left and right every one was overtaking me :) Even walkers and that was shameful. But I did not want to tire myself out the first mile, I was being sensible I told myself. At some points, I just looked back to make sure there were some people behind me after all!

I timed myself and was able to do a steady 12min mile for the first 10 miles for the most part. There was water and gatorade every 2 m, which I definitely needed and almost choked trying to drink while running like I have seen on TV. I should have realised I have seen it on TV and I was not on TV! Then on, I would rest a min, drink it and then continue.  I was good for about 4 miles. I did overtake a few people and that felt awesome. The route was not spectacular, but I got to see parts of Portland Downtown I have not seen so far. For that matter, K and I have not seen any of Portland yet.

And then at around mile 4, I got this crazy idea to pick a competitor who was my pace. What can I do,  I am Indian and competion runs in my blood. And I overtook her and kept going. At least it gave me something to focus. And then at mile 6, my shoelace had to come undone. My hands were so cold that I just could not tie it back again for a while. And and and she overtook me :( And that was that. I tried, but I have to admit not too hard. And she was a good 0.1m ahead of me from then on.

Something wonderful happened after mile 8. There was a huge stretch of a straight road where people ran on both sides. So you would go one way and turn out at the end and run forward in the other direction like an U. This was about 3/4 a mile each way. It was just an absolutely wonderful feeling to see so many people running. I really could feel the energy, enthusiam and good will flowing. And I thought, if humanity can give you such good vibes from such a small deed, how much more we can do if we come together for important, crucial causes? And with that thought and volunteering, I saw her again coming towards me as I continued yet to reach the turn. And we smiled at each other. And then competitor became friend and I no longer cared. Couldn't care too as my butt was being kicked royally as is :)

The last 2 miles, the last mile was especially hard. I could really sense my mind taking over my body and telling me over and over that I was not prepared to do this as the longest I had trained was for 10m. In the end, I did finish and here are the results.

Running gives you a lot of time to think. And that I did for sure today. Some things really moved me during the race, I saw at corners spouses waiting with their kids, waiting for their mother/father to show up and cheer them along. It was lovely to see that. I saw women pushing strollers and running the 10K, one lady was pushing twins and I wanted to do a god-salute to her right there. I saw determinatoin, discipline and drive in the people I ran with today. And in all the volunteers who were there at every mile marker, in between mile markers, giving water, picking up cups, cheering us along at 7 am in the cold, I saw good people who inspired me to do something more than what I currently do. I missed having my boys with me today, but I wore on my hand the watch K gave me 10 years ago and felt his support throughout. And that timed me at 2h 40 min, humpf to the chip timer!

I know I have not won an Oscar but I want to thank my family and friends for their support and encouragement. For many this might be nothing, but for a non-runner like me it is a big deal and I thank God for making this possible.


  • Invest in a good shoe. I don't mean just buy one. Go to a runner's store and check out how your feet are and what kind of arches you have and what will suit best. I did not and I regret it.

  • Find a partner, so you will feel motivated and enjoy the process at least for the long runs.

  • Pick paths and routes that have highs and lows, flats are boring and tough.

  • Get some kind of a waist strap or band to hold water on your long runs, you will need it.

  • Pick good music to use when you run, create a peppy playlist.

  • Morning long runs are great compared to any other time of the day. Also so you won't skip it.

  • Pick a time in your life that is stressful and don't skip training, invest the 8 weeks or 10 weeks that you need and you will enjoy the journey more.

  • Carry too much on the day of the race, they will have all you need, unless you want to carry energy bars and such.

  • Pick a training program that has only running, pick a varied one so you won't be bored.

My First Half Marathon - And I did it !!

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Race planned: Race for the Roses
Gear: a supportive husband, 2 old nike shoes, ipod, water bottle, variety of t-shirts and tracks :)

Week 6
  • Remember to check the wind when you run, I had a bad run on Monday with the wind blowing on my face and it was hard to even do the 3 m which I did.
  • Was a bad week as far as runs, I was quite inconsistent. I was hoping the blog post would actually motivate me but ended up having the reverse effect.
  • I almost did not do my long run this week. Thanks to K I finally shoved my fat butt up and ran in the afternoon while the little one slept. I even encouraged K to catch up on some sleep :)  I ran, walked, ran and died running the 10 miles. The first few miles were good but the last few were very hard. Nothing helped, not the music or the lovely weather. Only the thought of coming to V drove me, but it is over and I am dreading the 12m next week. What was I thinking when I signed up for this?
  • The soreness all over on Sunday, I loved it!
  • Something I have realized from running the past few weeks, pick a path that has slopes, more downs than ups and you will gain your energy some every time you run down a slope. If you pick a straight path then you will feel tired as you just have to keep running and there is nothing you can use to leverage or gain momentum, contrary to my initial thought that flat areas would be better.
  • Week's tally:  17 miles
Week 7
  • Was a hard 4m on Monday, my legs hurt constantly and was feeling thirsty. My knees are still sore from the 10m on Saturday, maybe I am not cut out for this?
  • Did 6m on Wed, was long but good.
  • Walked 3.5m on Thursday. Was an idiot and left my WO clothes at home and could not teach my aerobics class.
  • Could not run any more this weekend, so very low mile count.
  • 3 more weeks to go and I better be ready!
  • Week's tally:  10 miles run + 3.5 m walk
Week 8
  • At this point, my energy and motivation level are quite low. Mainly because I think I am a little bit disappointed in not losing any weight or inches. It would definitely have been a nice side benefit :)
  • And I was getting bored of just running and running. I think I should have picked a trianing program where I would be doing other stuff also.
  • And to top it, this damn rain in Portland just won't stop. It is a getting a bit much where the last 10 days have been rainy and the next 10 too :) in fact there is forecast of rain on the half marathon day, sigh!
  • Week's tally: ~12 miles

Week 9
  • Energy level is high again as I am so close to finishing. I signed up for the half-marathon on March 31st.
  • I did a long run of 8m this week after 2 weeks of not doing it. I actually had a lot of energy and did not need a break almost till 5 miles.  Did not go further than 8m as I did not want to tire myself out the week before the big one.
  • Week's tally: 14-15 miles
Week 10
  • I was a nervous wreck this week mainly because I felt I had not trained enough. The longest I had run is 10m. That left me 3 miles short of the goal. That was a lot to put on race day running high. Suppose I felt too low and could not go beyond a certain point.
  • I decided worst was that I would walk.
  • Ran 3m on Monday, rested on Tuesday, 3m walk on Wednesday and Friday, and taught my aerobics class on Thursday.
  • Rested all day Saturday..ready to run at 7 am Sunday morning.
  • Week's tally: 9 miles