DHARAMKOT with CHILDREN : Things to Know Before You Go!


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                                           Dharamkot is a quaint little, hippy-dippy hill station !!                                    (PC: Karan Ingle)

Dharamkot (2109m) is a quaint little, hippy-dippy hill station with only one road that ends where the village starts. It’s a place where you will hardly find families visiting ( with ours being an exception). It’s mostly populated with locals (naturally, duh!), Non-Indian tourists and few Indian backpackers. Mcleodgunj and Dharamshala are more family oriented destinations.

WHERE?

Asia > India > Himachal > Kangra Valley > Dharamkot

WHY DHARAMKOT ? 

Dharamkot is a Hippies paradise !! It has a very spaced out feeling about it. It is not a place to come and “see” but a place to Trek and Dine and soak in the tranquility of nature. This place has many cheap (read reasonable) places to stay and awesome food (mostly Israeli cuisine) to taste.

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Dharamkot has a sort of peaceful smell around it!

The Trip to Dharamkot for us was our FIRST UNPLANNED TRIP EVER with our CHILDREN! Except for our bus bookings we had done no other booking or planning. Having experienced this once, I think we are ever so motivated and tempted to try more of such unplanned trips!

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Four of us and our equally enthusiastic dear friends “the Gang of Jains” !!

WORD OF CAUTION !! As a “mother” AND a “Non-smoker”, I was baulked at the very thought of my children dining at the same place people are smoking cigarettes and hash (charas)!! However, I soon figured out that it’s either best for kids to play in open area till food is served or find a place next to the Lamas in the cafe and you will have found a non-smoking area for your kids!!

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                                                                 Radha Krishna Cafe!                                                                             Dharamkot has many reasonable places to stay and awesome food to eat !

All said and done, Dharamkot has a sort of peaceful smell – almost as though there is an umbrella of serenity over it !! It’s a kind of place children run up and down, laughing and giggling and hopping around while parents take a “TimeOut” !

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TimeOut !!

HOW TO GET HERE :

Dharmakot can be reached

By Air

Air India and SpiceJet fly to Gaggal Airport (also known as Kangra Airport) which happens to be the nearest airport to Dharamkot . From Gaggal Airport it is about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) to McLeod Ganj, and takes about 45 minutes by taxi.

By Rail

The nearest railway stations to Dharamkot are Pathankot and Chakki Bank. Chakki Bank is a smaller station near Pathankot. Once you reach Pathankot, there are three options to get to Mcleod Ganj:

  • Taxi (convenient and quickest but expensive) :The taxi takes around 2.5 hours depending on the traffic but the fares are high.
  • Bus ( economical but usually crowded): the bus stops at every village and takes around 4 to 5 hours.
  • and the  Kangra Toy Train (very very slow but spectacular) : tickets are available at Pathankot Railway Station. The Toy Train leaves Pathankot at 9:05am and reaches Kangra at 1:45pm.

By Road

Regular Deluxe bus services are available from Delhi, Chandigarh, and Pathankot to Dharamshala. We booked Himachal Road Transport Corporation‘s Himsuta A/C(Volvo) Seater (2+2) for Rs.1272/- on www.redbus.in. We took Yellow Line Metro to Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate to avoid Delhi traffic. I must say ISBT was everything that I had not expected it to be. It was clean and air conditioned and our bus departed on time. Our bus left sharp 8:30 and we reached McLeod Ganj the next morning around 7:30 am.

delete 3.jpgFor hubby dear and the 8 year old, a couple of hours on winding mountain roads is a sure set recipe for sickness. On the advise of a doctor friend, whose child has a similar problem, we gave avomine tablet to the kids and they slept like babies!! Much to our relief, contrary to our previous experiences, they were fresh when they woke up and were all set to trek.

From McLeodganj bus stop, there’s a short cut to Dharamkot which depending upon your fitness level can take anywhere between 15 to 30 mins. Since, we had luggage and children with us, we chose to hire cab which cost us Rs.200 / – . However, on all our subsequent visits to Mcleodganj, we did not bother to hire cab and chose to travel up and down the hill on foot.

WHERE TO STAY and WHERE TO EAT !!

You can walk in almost any cafe in Dharamkot and ask the staff for a place to stay since most of them rent out rooms in their own properties. If they are booked, they will soon call out “Bhai (or Chacha or Aunty), aapke pass room hai kya ? Since there is not much to do you can go exploring home stays and zero down on the one which suits your needs. You can find rooms starting from Rs.500 / – to Rs. 2000/- per night. If you are staying longer you can get a good bargain.

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I Loved this Cappucino @Trek and Dine!

We were pleasantly surprised to discover that every single café that we visited in Dharamkot had  totally nailed their salads, hummus, pastas, wood-fired pizzas, bruschettas and shakshukas.

At the entry point of Dharamkot is Dharmkot Chowk ( 10 minutes from Mcleodganj) and at the chowk is the Himalaya Tea Shop. This is the only place which sells Wai Wai Noodles in the whole of Dharamkot and McLeodganj area and so for my wai wai loving kids this was the most favourite place to be in. Himalaya Tea Shop, as the name suggests, is not a Homestay. This place is good for titbits. This place is also at the starting point of Triund Trek.

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The only place my kids found their favourite wai wai noodles to eat !

As you move down from here , a narrow lane on the right leads you to this serene picturesque cafe called Morgan’s Place. This place has rooms to stay and there is an outdoor and indoor sitting area for dining. We liked everything we ordered here especially their wood oven pizzas.

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The serene Picturesque cafe called Morgan’s Place.

Little further down is Radha Krishna Cafe. We found this place comparatively more expensive than the other cafes.

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The kids found this description at the Radha Krishna Cafe highly amusing !!

At the start of the Dharamkot Market is Dharamkot Inn, which is where we stayed. A family room at Dharamkot Inn cost us Rs.1000/- and extra mattress for Rs. 200/- . The staff was exceptionally hospitable and amicable.

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Dharamkot Inn : Comparatively expensive but very Hospitable Staff !

and then there was TREK AND DINE !

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                             Everything that comes out of the kitchen is an eye candy!                                                       (PC : Sanyog Jain)

 

Our family favourite and of all the days we were at Dharamkot, we spent most of our time here. Their set breakfasts are a treat to have.

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                      Trek and Dine : Away from the Hustle and Bustle of Touristy Mcleodgunj !                                 (PC : Archana Bansal)

THINGS TO DO WITH CHILDREN @DHARMAKOT :

1.Trek to Triund and Camp Overnight : Which is what we had come for to Dharamshala in the first place. The Trek to Triund falls under the easy to moderate category. Though the Triund trek is very rocky and can be tiresome for the uninitiated but the view of the beautiful Dhauladhar range from the Triund top is worth all the effort. The children superseded our expectations and trekked very well on the difficult terrain. It can take 4 to 6 hours depending on your fitness level. The kids took 4 hours 50 mins to be precise from Dharamkot to Triund Top. Many people start this trek from Galu Devi temple thereby saving 3 kms / one hour trek.

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The Rocky Terrain of Triund

2.Visit the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Regional Mountaineering Centre : ‘Be Roman in Rome’ and ‘Be a Child when with Children’. The kids had noticed the obstacles inside the Centre whilst crossing it on our way to Mcleodgunj and so it was a place we had to visit before we could visit absolutely anything else. 

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Happily Ever After !!

 

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These pictures remind me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory !

“Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”
― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor

3. Picnic at the Dal lake (near  Tibetan children village) : Dal Lake is a small greenish water lake by the Shiva Mandir in the village of Tota Rani. The cabs take around Rs 200/- from Dharamkot to Dal Lake. We were not ready to pay for cab and kids were too tired to walk it up and so we gave it a slip !

4. Visit the Monasteries and Temples in McLeodgunj and Dharamshala : Chanting in air and peace in mind, if that’s what you are looking for you can visit the various monasteries and temples in Mcleodgunj and Dharamshala. We visited the Namgyal Monastery which is also referred to as Dalai Lama’s temple. The temple is beautiful but crowded.

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Namgyal Monastery (Also referred to as Dalai Lama’s temple)

5. Get High on Life and Chocolate : You must taste BHAGSU CAKE (a spinoff of an English dessert called millionaire’s shortbread). It has three layers : shortbread, caramel and chocolate!! Absolutely mind blowing for chocolate lovers like my children and I.

6. Visit Tibetian Market and Cafes in Mcleodgunj : 

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McLeodgunj Cafes are more crowded than Dharmkot’s !

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The momos on the street are a must have treats !!

7. Chill out and Relax : Dharamkot is a place where you can meditate ,walk amidst Deodar trees, trek or do absolutely nothing and you would still be at peace with yourself !

How was your Dharamkot Experience ? Did you things differently? What is your tip for this trip ?

You may also like 10 TIPS FOR TREKKING WITH CHILDREN !

 

 

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10 TIPS FOR TREKKING WITH CHILDREN !


Year 1992

SAR PASS

12,500 Feet

MY FIRST TREK 

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Sar Pass (1992) : My first trek with my parents ! (Top L to R )Mom, Dad, Sister (Down L to R) Cousin and I

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Nag Tibba (2015) ! My First Trek with hubby and Kids (then aged 7 & 9)

My parents introduced my sister and me to trekking when trekking wasn’t a phenomenon as it is today. At least, it wasn’t in Raipur, now the capital city of the state of Chhattisgarh, India. There definitely wasn’t any Facebook or Instagram to show off your latest feat on feet but of course there was “Chai par Charcha” aur charcho mein “Photo Album ka silsila” !! There was no escaping the long – detailed description that my dad gave to each one who dared to visit us after our family weekend getaways to nearby jungles or trips around the country. I am like my father just little different… I do the same thing albeit on social media, sitting at my desk in my pyjamas !!

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Nagaru (Sar Pass in 1992) (12,500 ft)

Today is my dad’s Birthday and this BlogPost is in the loving memory of him and his love for nature!

10 TIPS FOR TREKKING WITH CHILDREN !

When my parents went for their first trek, they were both 47 years old!! On this trek organised by YHAI, they were the oldest in the group.

TIP No.1 :

You don’t need to say goodbye to your dreams of hiking/trekking when you have kids!  Rather it is a great way to combine quality family time with exploration and appreciation of nature.

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Just before the Sar pass trek, I remember my parents checking up the dictionary to see how exactly a ‘Rucksack'(rʌksak) is pronounced! We were that novice and naive! The only Rucksacks we could afford then were available on rent with the NCC cadre.

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My parents on their first trek at the age of 47!!

Trekking shoes and pants were bought in Manali (India) and we were all set for our maiden adventure.

TIP No.2 : Gradually introduce your child to trekking : From a very early age, our parents took us to small excursions or rather walks lasting few hours. They were as simple as going to a temple and driving back without us !! My sister and I would shriek and run and laugh our hearts out when we could finally catch up with the snail pace moving Fiat that my dad owned!!

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As we grew older, our such wild escapades grew longer, suiting our stamina. From walks to the temple, to long nature walks, our parents gradually took us on longer walks on Forts of Maharashtra.

Arjun Majumdar, gives a detailed write up on gradually introducing children to trekking and it can be read here

TIP No.3 :Pack patience and flexibility : While spiderman’s uncle Ben would say, “With power comes great responsibility”, I would say, “With Children comes Even Greater Responsibility !!” You will have a heavier pack on your back and a pair of tiny, less strong, legs walking alongside! Put yourself in their boots (not literally of-course, Duh!), take a deep breath and carry on!! Have patience when they stop to ask questions for they may be seeing their first Buzzard or poop shaped slug.

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Let the plan be flexible. Spider webs, dew drops, a poop shaped Slug, scribbling on rocks – there’s so much of the natural world for kids to discover and examine!

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And the kids named it : Mr. Poopy Slug !!

Absolutely anything or everything can distract them, thereby slowing you down. But it is this sense of wonder and joy in their eyes, which makes it all so worthwhile.

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TIP No.4 : Route and Pace : Which route you choose and what pace you take will depend on the stamina and sportiness of your youngest. For starters, choose the easy ones specially trails with features that interest kids like lakes, ponds, waterfalls, view of snow capped mountain to name a few. Play it safe and plan the trek with enough breaks , stopping by mid-afternoon and reaching the camp site while it’s still bright.

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On our recent trek to Triund, our 8 year and 10 year old pleasantly surprised us with their speed, stamina and balance on the tricky rocky terrain.

TIP No.5 : Energy stops : Trekking requires a lot of energy both physically and psychologically and so call for rest stops before the kids ask for them. Unfortunately for my kids it’s “Maggi Point” which provides a great motivation to keep them moving on trail. On most of the trails in the Himalayas which are in the range of 12000 feet, almost all food stalls sell Steaming Hot Maggi!! But the energy stops could also be “When we reach that Rhododendron tree, we’ll stop for an energy stop” or “once those weight bearing mules reach us, we’ll stop for an energy stop”. Mules.jpgDon’t hesitate to go overboard in telling your child how well they are trekking, how strong and fit they look and how fast they are – even if they aren’t.

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TIP No.6 : Layers, layers, layers : The trick to keeping yourself warm is LAYERING !! Don’t carry knitted heavy sweaters. They are not only heavy but also bulky. Remember to keep an extra pair of clothig – just incase your children get wet or muddy!Make sure your kids have adequate hiking shoes, depending on terrain, this could range from sandals to hiking boots. I will soon come with a detailed list of items to carry.

TIP No.7 : Leave no trace : With Trekking comes great responsbility to leave no trace. Our kids carry Quechua Arpenaz 15 ULTRALIGHT BAGS, quechua-arpenaz-15-ultralight-day-sdl585481817-2-0dc26which are very light weight to carry on back. Kids can keep dumping their own waste like chocolate/ biscuit wrappers or tissue papers etc inside the bag. Alternatively a medium size zip-lock bag or a garbage bag will also serve the purpose. 

TIP No.8 : Sleeping Arrangements : Our kids get super excited about sleeping in tents. So far on all our trek with our Kids, we have always hired sleeping bags. Since, the routes we have been on are very tourist or hiker friendly, the sleeping bags are easy to find but are usually not in good shape. For this very reason, I prefer to have our own sleeping bag liners. Alternatively, the same can be made at home by stitching two sides of a single bed sheet and giving it the shape of a sarcophagus.

 

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You can stitch your single bed sheet in the shape of  Sarcophagus!

We usually hire a family tent but in our last trek, due to unavailability of family tent we got “2 people camping” tent. Since, we would not expect our 8 and 10 year olds to sleep in the tent all by themselves in the wild, we did the “one adult in each tent” thing. We are waiting for the day when the kids would graduate into their own tent!!

 

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TIP No.9 : Transportation : Many trekking trailheads can be reached by bus or hired taxi or at some places even with auto-rickshaws. For hubby dear and the 8 year old, a couple of hours on winding mountain roads is a sure set recipe for sickness. On the advise of a doctor friend, whose child has a similar problem, we gave avomine tablet to the kids and they slept like babies!! Much to our relief, contrary to our previous experiences, they were fresh when they woke up and were all set to trek.

TIP No.10 : Hike/Trek often! Trek with family, trek with family friends and mix it with some fun activities.

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The more you go on regular hikes or treks, the more the chances of your children bonding with nature ! It doesn’t matter where you are located!

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Absolutely, all terrains have their own beauty to offer, each waiting to be explored by new set of eyes, pair of legs! Find friends, find your own trail, write your own story.

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Now that I’ve shared some of my “trekking with kids” tips with you, I’d love to hear from you! What’s your tip !?!

 

How to find the Right Cycling Expedition Operator !


HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT CYCLING EXPEDITION OPERATOR : How to find this elusive creature, when in general, anyone can start a business and call themselves a travel agency in India. Here are a few tips :-

  1. Is the operator a Cyclist himself : Having spoken to the many operators and having faced cancelations close to the Manali – Leh expedition date, I have come to the conclusion that it makes a big difference if the operator himself is a cyclist. A Cyclist knows what it is like to be on a mountain, struggling with gears and lack of oxygen and yet the will to keep going. A non-cyclist will not understand these nuances and might encourage you to give up!! Sudhir says he was more inclined to go with someone who does not see expedition as a pure business deal. Since Nitin himself cycles and is very passionate about it, Sudhir was pretty sure that he will put in all his experience in making the expedition successful and safe. Sudhir also adds with a wink, “Nitin is such a talented photographer, who wouldn’t want to have their lifetime expedition to be captured by a such a pro at no extra cost :)”whatsapp-image-2016-09-28-at-11-35-20-am
  2. Meet the Operator personally or at least have a long chat to understand that you and he are on the same page : After our previous two bad experiences with the expedition operators, Bhavna and I, went personally to meet Nitin at the Cycleit office. Another cyclist friend had recommended his name. We told him that we were not physically fit but at no point will we sit in the back up vehicle. He assured us that even if we get slow whilst cycling, no one will pressurise us to give up. dscn7899
  3. Interview the operator : Does he tell you everything you need to know? When you don’t like a certain thing, does he shift gears immediately to find alternatives or try to force the issue? If your operator responds well in these situations, stick by him.
  4. Reputation of the Operator : Check out the website and Facebook page for reviews on the operator. I looked up for Facebook friends who had gone on cycling expeditions and asked them for references.
  5. Your Budget : Your budget will be a big deciding factor as to which operator you can choose. The low budget ones make you stay at the local dhabas, mid level ones at tents and high end ones in a combination of tents and hotels.14232048_1397193910310391_479290794155762230_o-1
  6. Toilets : Unless you are staying in the luxury tents with attached toilets or close to Leh in Hotels, you will end up either using open toilets or temporary toilets. Many people have inhibitions regarding sharing toilets. Check with your operator about this arrangement beforehand. 14

How has your experience been with your Expedition Operator?

For Manali to Leh Cycling (Part 1) : Diary of a Non-Cyclist ! Click HERE!

For Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 2) – What Does it Take ? Click HERE!

For Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 3) – Day to Day Diary ! Click HERE !!

 

Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 2) – What Does it Take ?


This ain’t no touristy stuff! This is that once in a lifetime event that cyclists around the world dream of. 16.jpgThe Manali Leh cycling expedition takes you from dirt tracks to some tough climbs along with gut-wrenching descents. Everyday the distance covered ranges from 40 to 80 km traversing altitudes over 4000 m. It takes on an average (depending upon the distance covered everyday of course) 9 days to cover this distance.

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Many friends have been asking me, ‘What Does It Take to Cycle from Manali to Leh ?’ !! This is Part 2 of my Manali To Leh Cycling Diary! Part 1, “Manali to Leh Cycling (Part 1) : Diary of a Non-Cyclist!” can be read HERE!

THE CHALLENGE : I AM NO SPRING CHICKEN TO GO ON SUCH EXPEDITIONS UNPREPARED : 3My Manali To Leh Cycling expedition was to commence from 21st August. I was barely one month shy of going on the expedition. So far, I had been cycling barely for a month, wasn’t running for almost a year and was weighing 4 kgs more than what I was when I last ran my half marathon.

Around this time I read the blog post, Manali to Leh cycling – What does it take? written by Ajay Jaiman. In this article the author stresses, “Well, I am trying to drive home the point that while you do need to be fairly fit you do not need to be an athlete.” This sounded encouraging !!

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SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE ? There is obviously a lot more to it than a six-bullet-point list ! The preparation would be different for each rider depending upon the rider’s previous Riding Experience. So I have tried to segregate them on the basis of previous riding experience.

GENERAL GUIDELINES : (Issued by Cycleit (Our expedition Organisers )

1) No matter what you do, nothing can prepare you for this !

ALL I READ WAS : NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU SO DON’T WORRY ABOUT PREPARATION !!

2) 90% is mental strength and 10% is physical !

ALL I UNDERSTOOD WAS : I am mentally strong, so 90% of the expedition has been taken care of, I should not worry about the remaining 10 % !!

3) Incorporating strength and flexibility work outs even for five minutes a day delivers results.

4)Try reducing weight by a combination of good diet and exercise.

5) Cycling from Manali to Leh is not about speed but about distance. Try to spend as much time as possible on the saddle : Preferably going for 100km+ rides on weekends !

TIPS FROM A NON-CYCLIST : ME !!

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“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! ” – Dr Seuss

Having Been There and Done That I am a more mature person and I would list out the following as a Non-inclusive list of what it takes to do the Manali Leh Expedition !!

  1. Family Support : I would rate this as THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR! If you are Married! With Kids !! There is no escaping this very important factor : FAMILY SUPPORT!! You might be physically or mentally strong, you might have the best of the MTBs, you might have all the money and time for the expedition but if you don’t have Family Support it is going to be a steep climb (literally and figuratively).

  1. Mental Strength : Coming to think of it, I can’t think of anything in life which is not dominated by mental strength! No matter how physically strong you are, you need to be mentally strong for this expedition : You would come across passes where you can see your destination and yet it takes hours to reach, the mental strength will pull you through!

  1. Physical Strength : The long days and not so friendly terrain demands high physical fitness. To prepare you body, start jogging regularly. You must be able to do 10 km in 60 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks (Well I definitely wasn’t this fit but this is a good benchmark). when i lost all my excsesStrengthening your core muscles is extremely important : I sought the help of Sonia Baja and worked with her on my core muscles and general Strengthening for a month. I also went on Ketosis and was able to shed few kilos before the expedition.

  1. Respect for your body : Do not ignore the signs of altitude sickness but respect it. Do not push yourself too much at higher altitudes and respect your body. Given my trekking experience, I was very conscious that my heart and my legs were in sync with each other! This helped me conserve energy and at No Point did I feel exhausted!!

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    “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr Seuss

TAKE AWAY TIP : On our way we met 170 Buddhist nuns of the Drukpa order who are also known as the Kung Fu Nuns. They were cycling all the way from Nepal to Leh! What we observed was that their Rinpoche (spiritual teacher) made them take periodic rests and so the brave nuns could cycle their way with ease even uphill .

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The Kung Fu Nuns!

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Bhavna and I with the Buddhist Nuns of the Drukpa Order!

Eventually, I adopted the same strategy and depending on the pass / altitude we were climbing, I took periodic stops which ranged from every 15 minutes to every 45 minutes. The heart rate decided my pace and so I felt far more in control of myself.

TIPS FROM AN OLD TIMER CYCLIST : SUDHIR  !!
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  1. First and foremost one needs courage and belief that you can do it. Once i read, “you are right, when you say you can do it..! or you cannot do it..!”.  Of course you need a good fitness level but after a while its all belief in yourself and never give up attitude.
  2. I had some mountain biking experience, so i knew what it would be like and that gave me so much confidence to start with.
  3. I had been running 30-40K weekly months before i decided to do Manali-Leh. Running and strengthening helped me a lot.
  4. Now that i know how cold it is, probably i will make some better choices in keeping better warm clothes for next time.
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“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose ” – Dr Seuss

THE RISKS INVOLVED!

The Manali Leh route is 480kms long : While the route is very scenic, in-spite of BRO’s constant endeavours, at many places the rains have damaged the road and one needs to ride on loose gravel! Even on a proper tarmac road, beware of the tourist vans and travellers, who have no respect for either traffic rules or riders!! There are turns where the narrow road hangs directly over the valley, and it is here that you need to be doubly cautious on your saddle!!

One needs to cross 5 high altitude passes; Starting with Rohtang-La @3980mtrs, then Baralacha-La @4830mtrs, Nakee-La @4442mtrs, Lachung-La @5065mtrs and finally Tanglang-La the highest of them @5328 mtrs. This is a considerable altitude when coming in from the plains. This is where you will be most susceptible to catching Acute Mountain Sickness. This can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox : I took half tablet of 250 gms of diamox twice in a day and was not affected by altitude at all!

Continue reading

Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 1) : Diary of a Non-Cyclist!


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9 days, 480 kms and 5300 mts : A Surreally Challenging Expedition !!

Like many ladies, my first adult bike (Merida Matts 20-MD) was gifted to me by my husband. I had all intentions of taking it to places but over a period of two years it was relegated from the Lift Lobby to Balcony to the store room.

One fine day, the day I was dreading arrived, when my husband said,

“You NEVER ride the Cycle, OLX par bech de ?” (Shall we sell it on OLX?)

Hearing this, I wanted to dive into hubby dear’s tool box and show him stuff that has NEVER EVER been used!! However, it soon dawned on me that even if you want to sell, nobody really wants to buy the bamboo sticks that were yet to be turned into book shelves or the home made solar cooker yet to cook anything in it !! So cycle it was ! And if I wanted to save it from the clutches of OLX, I had to act fast.

HOW THE CYCLE GOT ROLLING:

One thing led to another and my neighbour Kashish introduced me to GurgaonGirlRiders and  GurgaonRoadRunners. Soon I was cycling with a group of Lady cyclists I could identify with.

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Ride to Kutub Minar with Gurgaon Girl Riders!

It no more felt silly that a group of women in their late 30s were going to bed early on friday nights so they could ride their bikes around in circles early Saturday mornings. It was my first taste of riding in a group at speed, long distance and I loved it.

Within a month of cycling, I realised that it was getting addictive and I needed a bigger and more challenging goal. Couple of years ago, I had read about Times Passion Trail, in which a friend who was a serious cyclist, had participated and cycled from Manali to Leh. The idea of Cycling from Manali to Leh, traversing through some of the highest passes in the world,cutting across beautiful trails made it a hard thing to beat!!

Take Away Tip : Find a group of people who share your interest and plan your rides with them. Riding in company is not only safe but also encouraging as you will always have someone who rides at your pace, someone you can look up to and hopefully someone whom you can guide !! If you happen to be at a place where such groups are difficult to find, don’t give up but try cycling on a stationary cycle in a gym close to you. If you happen to be at a place where there is no gym, look around, you just might be in the mountains!! Enjoy the serenity!

HOW I MET MY TEAM MEMBERS :

img-20160912-wa0012

(L to R : Bhavna, Sudhir and I (or is it me :P)

Bhavna and I have known each other for quite sometime and when I asked her if she would be interested in the expedition, she instantly said YES!! I am lucky to have found Bhavna as my cycling partner because it was NEVER , “will we be able to do it?” but ALWAYS, “How will we do it?” and we did whatever we could in the given time frame.

THE EXPEDITION OPERATOR DITCHES US : The date of departure was decided to be 24th of June. Unfortunately, the expedition operator we were to go with, canceled his batch due to insufficient number of cyclists.

blog-5We were disappointed but definitely not disheartened.

After few recommendations, we approached yet another expedition operator and a week before our departure he too canceled the expedition citing the same reasons!!

 We were highly disappointed this time and definitely even more determined to do the expedition.

After 2 canceled flight tickets and broken dreams we finally met Nitin from Cycleit. Nitin gave us the assurance that even though taking just the two of us is not going to be profitable for him, he will nevertheless take us on the expedition.

Somewhere in Delhi NCR, unknown to us, Sudhir (who has been cycling since 2009) was planning the same expedition and he contacted Nitin for the same. Soon it was three of us heading for the same expedition with 3 different mindsets and 3 different physical preparations.

blog-6

THE TEAM

Cycleit, took care of our arrangements. Our team comprised of 3 riders (Bhavna, Sudhir and I), 4 Support Staff , Nitin our Tour Leader from Cycleit and  Professional Photographer Varun!

14125126_10208538730080597_6137256314608460675_o

Next in the series :-

For Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 2) – What Does it Take ? Click HERE!

For Manali To Leh Cycling (Part 3) – DAY TO DAY DIARY !! Click HERE! 

For How to find the Right Cycling Expedition Operator ! Click HERE !

Too Lazy to Exercise?


“Come on Lazy Bones, get up and exercise!”

“Why”

“Because you should”

“Why”

“Because it’s good for you”

“Why”

“Because it will make you healthy”

“Then why don’t you exercise?”

“Ah..hmm….Stop answering back and go and exercise!”

that awkward moment

Does this parent-child conversation sound familiar? Is this conversation happening at your neighbour’s? Your cousin’s? Or your own house? Ever wonder what might motivate your child to go the heathy way? Well, read on.

Your child excels in debates, you pat yourself on your back, after all the child has taken after you. Your child excels in studies, your partner beams like a lighted christmas tree, after all the child has taken after him. But on the flip side, if the child is lazy and lethargic you both growl at each other, silently exchanging the blame glances. While we bask in the glory of our children’s success we don’t want to take the blame for their not so successful ventures.

Kahani, Par Kahani, Par Kahini!

Research has proven that childhood development owes itself to many influences, the primary being the parents. Children look up to their parents for examples. Both the parents play an equally pivotal role in influencing the child. A health conscious mom alone can’t bring a change and neither can an exercise loving father. Mother and father have to both work together in setting an example that they want their child to be.

We know it’s good for our child to exercise, we know it’s good for us to exercise but we have our own stories to tell.

“I am such a social Bird! I am way too busy partying late night, I can’t get up early to exercise yaar!”

or

“I am way too fat to exercise”

or

“I KNOW I need to exercise but it’s just so boring yaar!”

or

 “ You won’t understand I try so hard but I don’t loose weight.” “Have you tried exercising?” “Nopes!”

i will do anything to loose weight

I can almost imagine Sunny Deol raising his “Dhai Kilo Ka Haath” and saying, “ Kahani, par Kahani, Par Kahini!”

Everybody has their story. A story that keeps them away from exercising. They work long hours but don’t work out, they eat but eat irregularly, they know the answer is exercising, but “Whose got the time yaar?”

In our La La Land we weave these beautiful dreams of being fit, fitting in the old Jeans, buying a sexy swim suit. But snap once out of our la la land we loose our mojo and slump back to yet another story!

The Million Dollar Question is HOW not to loose the mojo and focus on a lifestyle that lasts forever?

when i lost all my excsesYes, Loosing the excuses is the first step to changing YOUR STORY. If you fall in the above category of “Kahani, par Kahani, Par Kahini” let’s bring a twist to this story. Let’s not start on a diet or an exercise regime that has an expiration date. How about we rewrite our stories that focus on a lifestyle that will last forever, even when you are snapped out of your La La Land.

THE POWER OF CHOICE : “What we think, we become” are the great words of Buddha. If my story is that I can’t get up early to exercise, I am definitely not getting up in the morning. If my story is that I am way too fat to run, I will not run and remain fat. If my story is that I have tried it all, I am definitely not trying anything new because deep down in my heart I have convinced myself that nothing that I do ever works.

STORY MEIN ZARA TWIST HO JAYE: In your mind, identify yourself as the person that you want to be. Be ambitious, I say be over ambitious and decide, I want to be this super fit and healthy person. Remember Buddha and change your belief. Because once you believe you can be that fit and healthy, you will be that fit and healthy person. Remember you deserve to have a better and healthy life and the only thing that is stopping you from getting there are your own inner thoughts, your own fears.

What we think, we become: Change your Belief and see the change in yourself. If you think you can fit in the ear-rings you wore to college, you are going to fit in (ok may be not the right example ).

Let’s reframe our Thoughts: If you think getting up early is your cup of tea, I can see you making yourself a cup of tea early morning. If you think you can eat healthy, healthy is what you are going to eat. If you think you are confident about loosing weight, no berry cake can stop you. So be bindaas and write your own story. A story very different from the present story of denial. A story of hope. A story of fitness and good health.

slower than turtles

What is your story? Are you ready to change it for better?

This article was published in an online magazine for parents, under the title “Getting your Children and Yourself to Exercise!”

The original article can be read here : http://parentedge.in/getting-your-children-and-yourself-to-exercise/

JACK AND JILL WENT UP THE HILL…DID YOU?


 Well I DID and not on any mountain but on the oldest fold mountains in India, the Aravalis

https://bhataktimaa.wordpress.com/

 The Aravali range cradles Gurgaon in its arms and ifTaazi khuli hawa is in your mind then head straight to the Aravalis Biodiversity Park.

 As Part of my running Schedule my Coach from Gurgaon Road Runners suggested we do “Hill Repeats” on the Hills of the Aravalis Biodiversity park at 5:30a.m.

Repeat what?” I exclaimed!

I am not sure if running on hills was more shocking or reaching some Hills at 5:30 am was.

If you want to increase your endurance and thereby your speed you must train on hills. You burn more calories running on hills,” said the coach.

I was sold at “You burn more calories running on hills”.

 That was it!

I was sold at “You burn more calories running on hills”.

He didn’t have to convince me further.

As I readied myself for an early rise, I quickly j googled for the Aravalis Biodiverstiy Park. I gathered that there are two Aravalis Bio Diversity parks, the older one is pocketed between Vasant Vihar, Vasant Kunj & Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi and the other one is on MG Road, Gurgaon.

THODI HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY HO JAYE!

The large number of mining activities, operation of stone crushers and deforestation was causing serious environmental degradation in the Aravalis. Fearing a catastrophic ecological fallout, the Ministy of Environment and Forests, issued a notification in 1992, declaring few Aravali Hills of Gurgaon district as gair mumkin pahar (uncultivable forested hills) . In January 2011, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) inaugurated the multi-crore Biodiversity Park project in association with NGO ‘iamgurgaon’ in one of these “gair mumkin pahar”, promising residents a site of pristine green in 576 acre of land in the Aravali range, today known as the Aravalis Biodiversity Park.

COLISEUM OF BIODIVERSITY

Next day all set for my Hill repeats, I reached the Park with my Running Group. The gate was unguarded and open. Now, I am a simple girl, who finds happiness in simple things in life like fresh air and free parking. I found both here.

Source: Gurgaon Road Runners

Beyond the gravelled parking, the hills looked welcoming. As a metro passed from behind us, I gazed at the lush green forest. Back in my Law College days, a leading Environment Lawyer had said, “There will always be a conflict between Human Development and Environment Preservation, we have to find a via media.” If only the smog filled millennium city had shown more respect to the environment we could perhaps be having more such Green lungs in Gurgaon.

As I jogged, the Aravalis looked like coliseum of biodiversity. The Opening Act was by the sun which rose from behind the jogging track. I felt as if I was running in a pool of the most beautiful orange coloured waves. As the fresh breeze brushed against my skin, I heard the melodious call of a Koel. Not to be left behind, a flashy blue headed peacock called out from one of the hills to which two motted brown peanhens harmonicaly replied. The wild flowers left an intoxicating smell in the air. The forest seemed still, calm and yet so Vibrant.

THE CONSERVATION

However, all was not hunky dory few years back. Latika Thukral founder of NGO, I am Gurgaon, who is closely associated with the multi-crore project said that they started this project four years back with the intention of restoring this scarred land into a biodiversity reserve and revive the rich flora of the Aravali Range.

THE FAUNA

Latika informed that they have been able to plant about 130 species of plants (trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers) in the said park. Some of the species growing in their nursery are, Albizia odorotissima (kala basa), Boswellia serrata (salai), Anogeissus pendula (dhau) etc.

THE FLORA

While walking on the tracks you will easily spot families of Peafowls and hear Parakeets, Mynahs & Cuckoos. The park attracts 120 species of birds, informed Latika, including Oriental Magpie Robin, Rufous-fronted Prinia, Purple Sunbird, Common Tailorbird, Rufous Treepie, Long-tailed Shrike, Jungle Prinia, Common Babbler etc.

TRING! TRING! NATURE CALLS!!

When in nature and if nature calls, you might have to jump behind some bushes to relieve yourself. There are no restrooms inside the park. Also if you decide to picnic in the park, remember to carry your own food and water as there are no eateries or restaurants inside or immediately outside the park. However, if you drive further down on the Gurgaon Faridabaad Road (pahari rasta) you will find coconut water vendors on the road side. So take a break from the fizzy drinks and go the natural way to Replenish Electrolytes by drinking coconut water.

Source: Gurgaon Road Runners

It does not matter whether you are strolling, walking, running or just sitting and gazing at the rising sun listening to the natural melody of birds singing, there is something very pristine and serene about the stillness and freshness of a forest. There are different points in the park where one can rest depending on one’s physical fitness. A perfect place for family outing though you will need to wrap up before the Sun shines in all its glory. It is in fact a good place to take your young kids to explore the nature and get the feel of trekking.

So when are you planning your visit to the Park ?

ARAVALIS BIODIVERSITY PARK AT A GLANCE:

AREA : 576 acres

LOCATION : DLF Phase 3, Mehrauli Gurgaon Road, Gurgaon, Haryana.

NEAREST METRO STATION: Guru Dronacharya Metro Station.

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/yY5XR

Source: Gurgaon Road Runners

WHAT’S THERE IN FOR YOU

– For starters, Plenty and plenty of Fresh Air.

– 4-km long cycle track

– 3.5-km jogger’s track

– 500 seater amphitheatres ( Latika Thukral informs, the amphitheatre has housed many Social events )

– If you are a runner this is the best place for Hill Repeats, which will help to make you a stronger, faster and a healthier runner. The “Gurgaon Road Runners group” organises free runs in this park at least once in two weeks.

Pets : Allowed (unless your pet is a fire breathing Dragon)

Fit for kids? : yes

Visit duration : 1 to 2 hours.                Park Timings : The park is open

Entry Fees : Free              Parking : yes               Photography : Allowed

Food or water point : None inside or immediately outside the park

Restroom : Not Available

SOURCES:

http://www.cpcb.nic.in/

http://iamgurgaon.org/aravalli-bio-diversity-park/

http://www.wwf.org.au/

NOTE  : This post of mine was featured on whatsupgurgaon. I am re-posting it here.

 

HILL REPEATS : REPEAT WHAT ?


We all want to Run fast…at least faster than what we presently are running at and for that we need strength!
This is where the Hill training / Hill repetitions (Reps) come into picture. 

HOW TO RUN :

Exaggeration is the Key to Hill training…. Well almost. Hill repetitions require an exaggerated running action.

MY MANTRA :-

While going uphill

– After a warmup, the Hill reps can be started.

– Take Baby steps ( small strides) while going up hill – the legs should not be going too fast. Though you need to lift your knees higher than normal runs, but remember to land softly.

– Move your arms in a sprinter type arm action. Keep moving them backward and forward.

– Look towards the crest of the hill, not at your feet.

While coming downhill

Going downhill is the time to recover ( Rest period). My mantra while going downhill is to take maximum advantage of gravity.

– I go with the flow but I am conscious not to sprint.

– I avoid holding back and using my leg muscles as brakes.

– I Quicken up my stride to stay balanced. Which means I lengthen my stride as I pick up speed.

REPETITIONS

– Once downhill and recovered, go for your next repetition.

When to stop

– When you feel tired or cannot fully recover in the rest period, it is time to stop. Now this repetition becomes your target number for future session.

As you train and get used to do the Hill Repeats, you can increase the number of reps and the speed.

How do you Hill train? Do you have any suggestions for me?

 

WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS ?


Interesting Read : This little 8 year old Blogger explores “Why do dogs chase cars”…Forget Car, in a country populated with street dogs, even I have been chased by dogs while running. Probably they want my running shoes 😉

Have you ever been chased by Dogs whilst running ??

The Why Why Girl

 

WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS ?

THE WHY WHY GIRL SAYS :-

– The dogs want to drive the car.

-The dogs chase cars because they think they will find their girl friend there.

– May be they think there is something to eat inside the car.

FRIENDS OF THE WHY WHY GIRL SAY :- 

-The dogs think the cars are playing with them – Kavin – 6 yrs

-The dogs think they should catch the cars just like frisbees  – Aayush – 8 yrs

-The dogs think we will take them with us in the car – Krishiv – 8 yrs

-The dogs want to come to our house – Riddhi – 8 Yrs

-The dogs are angry because we woke them up from sleep – Aryan – 8 yrs

-The dogs think we will harm them. – Anika – 8 yrs

-When we are driving we are moving, so…

View original post 318 more words

B is for Banana : Go Bananas


B is for BANANA ,

” daudne ke pehle jarur khaana !”

( Make sure to Eat Banana before your run) !!

Cramps in leg – eat banana!

Want to restore enegry – eat banana!

Want stronger bones – eat banana!

“Bananas contain an array of vital nutrients which help restore the energy , maintain body weight, keep bowls healthy and regulate heart rhythm, ” says Gurgaon based Dietician Priyanka Verma.

She advices :-

WHEN TO EAT THE BANANA?

Eat a banana everyday , an hour before the race or Practise sessions and see the benefits it provides.

How to eat a banana?

Go the Monkey way : The best way to eat it is to just peel it off and eat it just the way the monkeys do!! However, this delicious and nutritious powerhouse of energy can be eaten in the form of smoothies or with cereals also.

Why to eat a banana?

– Bananas are a boon for the runners since it helps restore the balance between the two important electrolytes,magnesium and potassium which are lost in sweat and thereby prevent cramps in leg.

– Also being a good source of Calcium and protein, bananas repair muscle damage and build stronger bones.

– Being a rich source of Vitamin B, C , A and E bananas protect us from free radical damage.

So Go bananas and reap the benefits !!

 

*DISCLAIMER*

A is for APPLE : An Apple after a run, Helps you refuel when you are done !!


A is for APPLE very essential for RUNNERS.

Credited to : weheartit.com

Credited to : weheartit.com

“An Apple after a run, Helps you refuel when you are done !!” Says Gurgaon based Dietician Priyanka Verma. She suggests runners include apples in their diet as these fruits provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals including a good amount of fiber required by a runner’s body. ” So if you need to be fuelled the entire day go the apple way!!

 

Here are some Tips for Runners and those watching their weight ( Aren’t we all!!) by Priyanka.

WHEN TO EAT THE APPLE

Since Apple is a gas producing fruit, the best time to eat is after a run to restore the lost energy.

HOW TO EAT THE APPLE

Eat apple as it is, along with its peel, in order to get maximum health-benefits. The Shiny Red peel is the nutrient storehouse of the apple and has host of health benefits from building muscles to keeping extra kilos away.

WHY TO EAT AN APPLE

– If weight loss is on your mind, apple should be on your diet plan. Apple contains vitamins, minerals and fiber but low calorie and fat. 

– Helps restore energy thereby making you stronger !!

– Low in Glycemic Index (38), Apples are a good bet for healthy eating. Low GI aids in keeping blood sugar levels where you want them.

– Aside from their nutritional value, the best aspect of apples is that they are super handy and can be carried anywhere !!

So did you have your Apple Today ??

 

*DISCLAIMER* 

YOU …MOTHER runner !!


I hold in my breath!! It’s not helping. I try to muffle  myself with my hands. It’s still no good. I clench my teeth, I clench my fists but I can’t stop the inevitable!

From English achoo to Filipino ha-ching, I have bouts of sneezes.

I know the game is over!! I know it is just a matter of seconds when it will all end…!!

KNOCK KNOCK

“MUMMA!! Are you in here??”

“NO”

“Then can I use your bathroom”

“NO”

“Why not?”

“Because I am in here”

“But you just said you are not in there”

“But you know that I AM in here”

“then why don’t you come out”

Hmm…Why don’t I come out?? How do I say that, Mumma’s bathroom is Mumma’s haven where she wishes to disappear for sometime wishing no one comes knocking at the door!! Mumma wishes to be at a place where she can be lost in her own thoughts without worrying about changing diapers and feeding babies.

I soon realised that bathroom was no longer a safe “Haven” and I had to find better avenues.

running away

Here’s how my kids unknowingly helped me in finding my mojo.

My now 6 and 8 year olds  were ambitious about their mother (ME)  since their birth! When they were babies they made me RUN all around the house feeding them, cleaning them, feeding them again, cleaning them again and yes feeding them again and again and cleaning them like fore ever! Whew!! Soon, the little toddlers, upped my sessions by turning into littler explorers. They made me SPRINT around the house, me, trying to salvage whatever their tiny hands could explore.

mom drinks wine

The Optimistic person that I am, I kept telling myself that this too shall pass and soon came the time to send them to School.

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time,

the insane asylum would be filled with mothers.” – Edgar Watson Howe

But my training sessions are from over!

I RUN  EVERY weekday morning,

in pajamas,

in slippers,

trying to stop the School bus from leaving without my kids. I will race, I will sprint, but I will not let the bus betray me and leave my kids behind with me for the entire day. I want my five hours of cool down, I NEED my five hours of cool down.

I am always on run !! I am running after the kids, for the kids and honestly, many a times away from the kids.

mom runner

Running gives me that haven of peace where I am away from all worries.  I don’t run for medals, I don’t run for accolades (Yes, may be for the free t-shirts!!). I run because it’s my time, at my pace for my peace. I nod when I see other mothers running and I feel encouraged when they wave back because I know there is another woman there, running for her very precious “Me time”!!


Vroom Vroom How to Replenish After Running !!


 

When should I be eating after a run to maximise recovery?

The sooner the better – ideally within 30 minutes post a workout.

What should I be eating ?

Once hydration has been achieved, the body needs essential nutrients like proteins to kick start the repair and recovery process. This will also minimise muscle stiffness and soreness. The Celebrity Dietician, Rujuta Diwekar goes to the extent of saying that, ” If you can’t arrange for your post workout meal to have protein and high GI Carb, you are better off not working out”.

Run-Sutra’s Diet !!

Immediately after running even if I am going crazy readying up the kids, hopping they don’t miss the school bus ( lest they stay back home) I grab the following :-

2 Eggs ( Four eggs if I run beyond 10k) + 2 slices of Bread Toast (white or wheat : Doesn’t bother me). If you do not consume eggs I guess you can have Tofu !!

At least 1 Fruit ( in summers it’s ALWAYS Mango)

200ml Soya milk

1 tsp Spoon roasted flax seeds

Boiled Potato ( If i have run out of eggs)

MY CHEAT TREAT : At times ( not more than once a week ) I eat 1 Home Made Laddoo or 1 Home Made Chakli (my mom makes the most amazing chaklis ever). Since post exercise the metabolism is the highest I cheat eat on home made stuff which I know contain healthy fats (like ghee).

So what’s your cheat treat ??

 

 

*DISCLAIMER*

 

 

Replenish Electrolytes the Natural way with Coconut water after Workouts.


 

WHEN TO HAVE IT? :

After workouts which last for an hour or less – In lame layman’s (that’s me) language, Potassium is one of the key players in rehydration and the Potassium rich Coconut Water helps replenish the electrolytes.

Coconut water though rich in Potassium is fairly low in sodium and so when you go for any workouts lasting longer than an hour, your body will need high sodium drinks like “sports drinks” to replenish the sodium lost due to sweat.

WHY TAKE IT? :

Coconut water is biologically pure, has natural salts and sugars and is identical to human plasma. In addition, it will decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol(Source : Rujuta Diwekar). Besides this, coconut water helps your Skin Glow (and I definitely ain’t complaining )!

So did you take your today’s Dose ?

 

PS. Pls Read *Disclaimer*

 

LEMONS: FOR SMELLY SWEATY UNDERARMS!


why-dont-whales-sweat-no-armpits-dedb6

 

TIRED OF SMELLY SWEATY ARMPITS ??

Use Lime as Natural Deodarant.

Here’s what I do : I rub a lime on my underarms 15 minutes before bath time and wash it off during bath.

Lemon juice lowers your skin’s pH level making it difficult for odour producing bacteria to survive (Source: Rapidhomeremedies)

*Disclaimer*

 

 

SEDUCTIVELY AWKWARD FIRST RUN!!


10 TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST RUN

At the onset let me clarify, I am no spring chicken and neither am I, in any way, shape or form, a running or a life coach (Don’t believe me if i Pretend to be an Expert !). Do what is best for YOU. Please turn to your doctor or professional for advice specific to your needs and body. I just want to share with you my experiences and experiments with running. The views expressed by Me are in no way endorsed by any National or International Authority OR IN FACT AT TIMES EVEN BY ME!

UNFORTUNATELY NO!

UNFORTUNATELY NO!

TIP 1 : BEGINNERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE FAT OR UNFIT OR BOTH : You needn’t be fit to run, running will make you Fit! So don’t worry about your fitness level or lack of it and just join the Running Bandwagon.EXCUSES

TIP 2 : ABANDON ALL YOUR PRETEXTS OF NOT TO RUN : Too lazy to wake up early? Too busy partying late night that you can’t wake up the next day? Gotta pack off kids to school and husbands to office? Abandon these or 1000 such other excuses that you can think of and just get off your ass. If you want to work out, you HAVE to make minor adjustments to your schedule for the day and things will gradually fall in place.

Yeah! Do That!

Yeah! Do That!

TIP 3 : EQUIP YOURSELF WITH THREE IMPORTANT THINGS :

1. Comfortable Shoes : You should be able to wiggle your toes.

2. Comfortable Clothes : Dress as per the season you are running in, preferably dry fit clothes. For Ladies a good sports Bra is an Essential.

3. Strong Will power : This will give wings to your shoes!brain realises

TIP 4 : FIND A RUNNING PARTNER :

I think one of the most motivating factors is to have a good running partner. Somebody, who you know, will take care of you lest you slip over a banana peel or God forbid, get chased by a dog. I discovered “Joys of Running in a group”, with Gurgaon Road Runners. While the Chief is “Courteously Tyrant” , the other runners in the group give each other that extra push.

Buddy Running

TIP 5 : BEFORE THE RUN :

Always start your running session with a brisk walk for at least five minutes to warm up your body. Follow this up with dynamic stretches(stretching that involves moment) to “Wake Up” all your leg muscles—inner and outer thighs, hips, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps.  Hip swings, Butt Kicks, walking Lunges, marching, jumping jacks and leg kicks are a examples of dynamic stretches.

TIP 6 : DURING THE RUN :

It’s your first time, so know your limitations. Take Baby Steps. If you have never run before, start with small distance goal and gradually increase it. Remember, from being a “non-runner” to “now a runner”, you have already made a progress. what i think of when i am running

TIP 7 : AFTER THE RUN :

Post run, cool down your body by walking a short distance. Follow this with Static stretching ( Stretching done while standing) to realign the muscle fibres to how they were Pre-Run and to increase flexibility! Calf Stretch, quadricep Stretch, hamstring stretch are few examples of Static Stretching.

CAUTION : You have just come back from your run and your body is fatigued. Do not over do your stretches. Gradually let your body decide the stretch time. Do Not rush through it or prolong it.

TIP 8 : RECORD YOUR PROGRESS

It’s encouraging to see the “Before” and “After” figures. Keep a track of your practice sessions.

TIP 9 : STAY HYDRATED

I usually have a glass of water around 45 mins before my short runs and I do not drink water unless i have been running for more than an hour. If you are a beginner, running for 30 minutes or less, you don’t need to drink water during the run. Having said that, my advice is to Drink water according to your thirst. At times especially in warm weather, pouring water over head and neck helps.

TIP 10: STAY MOTIVATED

Once you start running, STAY motivated. After all running is one of the most  inexpensive and effective way to burn calories and stay in shape.

eating chips

Just like the First Kiss, The First Run too is seductively awkward. Enjoy it till it lasts.

seductively awkward

PS. you can read HERE about how I survived my First Half Marathon!

HOW I SURVIVED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!


Lazy Run-Sutra

Lazy Run-Sutra

When you are as lazy and lethargic as I am, You don’t even Harbour doubts about running.

and Yet I RAN

and Yet I RAN

But if you are an under-trainee in the Naval Academy, not running is not an option.

In Academy, I WAS

RUNNING ALL THE TIME!

RUNNING AGAINST MY WISHES!

and I totally SUCKED at RUNNING!!

and so on the day of the Passing Out parade, I vowed, not to run ever EVER AGAIN!

But then i got married to this very very “supportive” man who disillusioned me to run 21k in ADHM 2011. So on The Day , with NO PRIOR EXERCISE OR PRACTISE WHATSOEVER, The Husband and I set off like Proud Marathon warriors on our 21k conquest .Thighs cheering

The Run started. Outside I was smiling but inside I was running through vast Mustard fields. I tried to prepare a little speech i was going to give once back home. I felt I was born to run and it all felt so effortless till I saw my watch!! Hell broke loose when I saw the time because in spite of running through miles of imaginary fields and more than an hour long speech I had been running for all but 10 minutes. I was devastated. I had covered only 1 k by then.

I huffed and puffed my way through 10K and crawled till 15k. It felt like someone had tied rocks to my thunder thighs.

I looked at The Supportive Husband.

He feigned a sweaty smile and nodded.

If the stones tied to my thunder thighs were not invisible I would have most certainly been hurling them on this man who had made me break my vow and pushed me into running.

The last 2k were the worst. The sweat trickled down from the brow over my eyes. Making them misty.Through my misty eyes and painful smile i saw at a distance a black blob with red eyes. I knew it was time to say good bye.

I knew Yama had come for me, for I had broken my vow to never ever run again. I mentally started preparing my arguments. I wasn’t letting yama take me without hearing my arguments. I was going to tell him that I was just being a true Hindu wife (for a change) and had obediently listened to my husband when he asked me to run. I wiped my brow and rubbed my misty eyes. Yama looked digital, very numeric. Of course I convinced myself after all the yama space and cyber space might be neighbouring spaces.

As i drew closer yama blinked 2:54. I blinked back.

The yama land looked too crowded. There was a man with bleeding nipples. I knew eating sinful chocolates was way too sinful. Yama had decided Hell for me.

A sweaty hand landed on my shoulder. It was the husband. So yama had punished him too. I smiled half relieved to find him in hell too.

He smiled back and said, “we bloody did it”. I hugged back wondering why the husband was so jubilant in ending up in hell.

He repeated, “we finished our first 21k.” I couldn’t believe him. My eyes were misty again and I wanted to do a little jig. But both legs felt heavier than my grand mom’s grinding stones. I looked at him lovingly and I said, “Dear husband I vow to kill you if you make me run again”.

Two years later I was reintroduced to the world of running by Gurgaon Road Runners, with whom I ran my 2nd Half Marathon in 2013 in 02:18 Hrs.

Haven’t seen Yama for a long time now, perhaps will have to do a full marathon to see Yama again !!

Amen!! For the marathon (not for Yama for sure) !!

PS. You can find HERE 10 Tips for your First Run!

The Crescent Moon


It was the day of the Crescent Moon. I opened my eyes and got a hazy glimpse of you. There were supposed to be two of you. You were the only one who had survived, they said. You looked petite, wrinkled and with your tiny eyes tightly closed you tried to snuggle into my arms. You didn’t look like me. It was your father you resembled. But yet where was he? I knew he wasn’t coming back! As you gently smiled in your dreams, I knew I was to take care of you.

You were tiny and yet a load of work. You were eternally hungry and ceaselessly dirty. I yearned for my good night’s sleep and laid-back days. I wanted to run away into the fields, climb green mountains, chase birds, smell the morning dew on leaves but I was fettered by your love and shackled in the hope of a better future and I stayed by.

When you took your first wobbly steps it was beautiful but when you stood for me, it was magical. They called me a ‘Bitch’ and threw stones at me. You stood up and growled. You were all of One but now full grown. As you chased them away, I gazed at your face. For fear of losing you, now I yearned to wrap my arms around you and hold you tight.

The Versatile Blogger Award !! Thank you !!


Edited: Before I started writing as Bhatakti Maa, I had named this Blog “Run-Sutra” and even before that I had scribbled few posts under the name of “to kill a hamming bird”!! Phew!!

The Gothamite has nominated To Kill a Hamming Bird for the Versatile Blogger award and since I’m so new to blogging it means a lot to me . Thank you so much for this fine gesture!! Thank you, David (and I am sorry it took me so long to get to this post.)

Image

The rules for the Versatile Blog Award are :
1.Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
5. Notify these bloggers of the nominations by linking back to one of their specific blog posts so they get notified back.

Seven things about moi? Here we go :-

1. I am this tall

hitler for height

2. I have reproduced twice

2eggs

3. I am far too chatty for my own good

chatty-woman

4. Sometimes I earn by writing for animated television series you wished your kids weren’t watching.

5. I am at times

easy_inflammable

6. and at times

Flammable….

7. Wait they both mean the same…so yeah I am pretty much that !!

And now 15 blogs I have nominated for this award :

1. Hyperbole and a half

2. Andrea Kruck Photography

3. Thrill seeking behaviour

4.Randomrings

5. Blank Canvas Living

6. 40 is the new 30

7. Crazy as Normal

8. Esvasa

9. Ben’s Bitter Blog

10. Mom in the Muddle

11. I am baker

12. Passionate About Baking

13. Every Useless Thing

14. Life on the Farmlet

15. Kindism

16. walk out walk on

Wow, I added one extra 😉