Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for improving education and literacy in Africa.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Did a local hike yesterday.

Yesterday did my first practice hike with the expedition team. Already know some of them from before. Just two more weeks to go. Feeling pretty good. Looking forward to the expedition. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

23 days left for my expedition to the Himalayas!

Preparation is going on in full swing. Reusing most of the stuff from my Mt. Kilimanjaro trip. Some last minute things still pending. Feeling pretty good. Thanks to all my sponsors and others who have made donations to my charity. I cannot thank you all enough for all your support for my charity. You are the people who have given me all the courage and encouragement to keep me going.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012 Dragon Boat Race - An opportunity for team building

We were in the final 3 in the 2012 Dragon Boat Race (Columbus Ohio). Unfortunately it was the final 3 from the bottom. But at least we beat the Mayor's team by 4/10 of a second. Overall it was great fun. Here are some pictures from the Boat Race.

Originally, when we registered, we were 25. The team needed 21 core members and 4 as alternates (substitutes). We were at full capacity with 25. As the day approached, people started realizing that it was a long weekend and they had better things to do on the 2 practice days and the race day. Nothing against them. They did have other priorities and emergencies that they had not realized earlier. There were a few who had some medical reasons too. Just like on any project, when the team is formed, all of us are ready to jump in. And in a few days, all of us have other priorities, days off, medical days and other commitments that we had not thought of earlier.
I was the team captain so I tried to keep the roster updated. Then there was one gentleman who had thought he registered and should have been in the core team but I was not aware of this. Just like on real projects where someone gets some commitment from someone on the team but that commitment is not communicated to the right person on the team. So, I then decide to hold a meeting with the full team for 30 mins so I could get everyone on the same page. Not surprising, a few of them were asking me the same questions on the logistics of the practice sessions even though I had sent at least two emails to the full team. Just like on projects where we communicate all details over email and still we end up with someone who has not read the email or has no clue about the communications.
Any way, come practice day and we are short of 4 people. In all we had 17 for the first practice day. And the best part, not everyone knew everyone else on the team. There was no one on the team who knew more than 3 others on the team. So, naturally everyone was 'scoping out' everyone else. Just like on a new project, trying to work with the new members on our project team.
The stearsman was from GWN and he was our instructor trying to explain us the best practices of rowing, positioning, counting, embarking and disembarking the boat, etc. Half of the team members were just more interested in checking out the new environment and getting comfortable. Just like on a new project, everyone wants to first be comfortable with their own role, and then listen to the project objectives etc. Even though the stearsman explained the correct style, people wanted to row with their own style and what made them more comfortable. Just like on projects each person wants to do their work in their own way without consideration of how that work is linked to someone elses work.
Then finally the stearsman explained the importance of the drummer counting the numbers loudly and everyone rowing in sync to the counting. Seemed like everyone got it. Just like in a project kick-off meeting, everyone gets it. But very soon many of the people rowing also started counting with the drummer instead of concentrating on doing their own job which was to row in sync with the person in front. Exactly like on projects where we think others don't know what they are doing and instead of focussing on our own work, we try to do someone elses work thereby impacting our own work and efficiency. Very soon, everyone was out of sync since there were many people counting and as such the oars started hitting each other. Just like on projects, we are busy doing our work without considering the dependency of what we are doing and how it impacts others down the stream. We did not have the drums to help in getting sync. The drums were to be made available to us only during the race day. So we had to improvise with either shouting the numbers or waving the hands (drummer). Just like on projects, the real production environment is not available until the day the system goes live. So we have to improvise and test as much as possible in the test environments.
Second day. Many of the team members understand that being in sync is important. So, on the second day we do much better than the first day. There was a time when we did a trial run. We went to the start point and the stearsman commanded "Hold the boat". Meaning just put your oars in water and stop rowing so the boat is steady at the start line. But we still had a couple people not paying attention and busy trying to row. The stearsman then shouted really loud and still it did not make a difference until some other team members nudged these people to stop. Exactly like on a project. Sometimes people do not pay any attention and keep doing what they want to do and others have to nudge them.
Come race day, race one. We are short of two people. Having never been in a Dragon Boat, the team did pretty good. But so did the other teams since no one had done this thing before. Then we had a break of about 2 hours. I asked everyone to be on time for the start of the second race. Time for second race and we have a few people missing. We start calling people on their cell phones. We track everyone except one. Finally we had to start the second race with yet one more person short. Just like on projects. You just cannot get everyone at the time you want them to be there. This meant that there were 7 people on one side and 8 on the other. That made the boat a bit unstable. We managed with what we had and finished the second race.
What we learned: Though it was rather late in the process, we all did realize that every member of the team wheather it was the drummer, stearsman or the people rowing, each had a very specific task that they needed to execute. This task was to be done not stand-alone but along with other tasks that other team members were doing and were dependent on. If you screwed up, it would impact others on your team causing chaos and confusion resulting in a failure to reach our goal. There is one captain and that everyone has to listen to the captain. There cannot be "too many chiefs and not enough Indians". Exactly like on a project. Every person has a specific role to play. Others are depending on you to play your role to the best of your ability. And you are depending on others to play their role. If you try doing someone elses role you cause more chaos and confusion. Your success on the project depends on everyone elses success. YOU WIN ONLY IF THE TEAM WINS. So, if you want to win, help your team to win by fulfilling your own role on the team.

We were there to participate and have fun. Our participation in the race was to show our commitment and support for the 2012 Asian Festival and Dragon Boat Race. For me personally, I had to come to terms and accept to live with imperfections where it did not matter ;-) Looking at the bigger picture, I did learn many lessons from this event. I met many people from my own company that I had not met before and I am looking forward to next year to work with them once again and do better the next time.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finished another 5K today. Now getting ready for the Dragon Boat Race on May 28th

Just finished a 5K this morning. Good time. Now getting ready for the Dragon Boat Race on May 28th at the Scioto River (Columbus, Ohio). This race is a part of the 2012 Asian Festival. So if you are around, please do come and watch. The races start around 9am and go on until 4pm or so.
My company has a team and I am our team captain. And guess what? No one on the team has ever rowed a boat in their life time. Well. That does not discourage anyone since there are other teams who have not either. I hear that the OSU rowing team is participating and another team from a local gym. Well. That means sure we are not in the top two.  ;-)

Hey, I forgot. I have another 5K race to participate in on May 24th. This is a charity race for Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome Achieves is an independent not for profit corporation that empowers individuals and families living with Down syndrome by advancing the cause of research, advocating on their behalf, and educating them on life skills that enable them to lead meaningful, independent and healthy lives

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My personal best in Half Marathon - 2:08:17

Finished the CapCity Half Marathon yesterday and was very pleased with my performance and time. Nitin and I did it together. Before the race I was hoping to at least finish the race. Was thinking it would be good if I make it under 2:30 and very good if i came in under 2:21 (my last year time). As you see from my previous post I was not too sure about this race. Here are some pictures of my race. We get to downtown and meet with some friends and head to the start point. Nitin advised to start with the 2:15 pacer and then if we felt tired to fall back and keep pace with the 2:30 pacer. Lucky for us we could not find the 2:15 pacer. So we stuck with the 2:05 pacer. Race started at sharp 8am. Our coral came to the start point at what I thought was in 2 minutes. We were with the 2:05 pacer until 6 mile marker. Nitin fell back coz he had to stop for a 'break'. I carried on. Made some new friends on the run. At mile marker 9 wanted to stop for a pee. But I remembered what happened to me last year when I had stopped. So decided to carry on. Mile 11 to 12 was tough. Was very very tempted to walk but still kept going. There were many many people on the sides cheering all runners. One of them had a board which read - one step at a time, every step takes you nearer your goal. Another one read - don't walk, all of us are watching you. Such boards kept me going. Finally I see the smoke coming out at the far end. I thought the finish line was close. Yes it was but not that close. Then finally I see the finish line and that kept me going. The clock read 2:22:45. I was happy that I finished the race. Was not too happy to see 2:22. Thinking I started late the real time could be 2:20 and still I would be better than last year. Then Nitin comes in at 2:32 and says his time was around 2:24. That means my time should have been around 2:15. I get a little excited. Still not sure how I had done. Finally the results were announced and I had done my second half marathon in 2:08:17. This is my personal best. Yeah!!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just finished the 10K ;-)

Just finished the 10K this morning and was very happy with my time - 58 minutes and 21 seconds. Yeah!!  This was my best time. Now here is the real story behind this run if you really really want to know....A big lesson that I learned.

I had diarrhea this Friday late afternoon.... I told you. Continue reading if you really really want to know the details. Diarrhea carried on through Saturday. But was feeling pretty good this morning when I woke up. Had a cup of tea early morning, then a small glass of OJ at Dwight's place, then a few minutes before the race had some coconut water. Thought that would keep me hydrated. Had no idea of how dehydrated a person can get due to diarrhea. But learned my lesson pretty hard.

When I was at the 2 mile marker I started having cramps in my right calf. Tried to struggle a few feet but just could not take any more steps. Had to stop and lean to the side and shake my leg. Jeff stopped by to see if I needed help. I asked him to carry on. Then Dave also stopped by in a few minutes but I asked him to carry on too. Chetan said Hi and passed by. I started walking after a few minutes. Limping. Then after a few minutes started jogging. Then a couple more friends passed by. And I continued to chug along. Stopping and walking and then again picking up speed.

Finally I was at the 4 mile mark and the 28 minute pacer passed me. I was so so happy that I was not so far behind as I thought I would be. Then at the 5 mile mark the 30 minute pacer caught up with me. I refused to lag behind this pacer. Trying my best, one foot after another. Then came the turn that told me last 300 meters to go. And then I could see the finish at a distance. The 30 minute pacer goes to the right since he was doing the 15K and I was doing the 10K. Last 300 meters were not going by fast enough. I could not see anyone around me. Just the ground and the finish line. Finally I saw the big clock at the finish line. It read 58:11 and I was so so thrilled, I picked up speed in the last 100 meters or so. So focussed that I could not even see Dwight and others who were taking pictures at the finish line.

Finally I crossed the finish line and I sat down to catch my breath. I was wet all over. Could not even say a full sentence when Dwight came over. The only thing going on in my mind was....YES. I did it under one hour. Moral of the story....diarrhea can cause severe dehydration which could lead to cramps while running.

Now in the next two weeks is the CapCity Half Marathon (May 5th). I will be happy if I can just do it better than last year. That is all I am shooting for now.... wait..wait. There is also the Dragon Boat Race (May 28th) that I am participating in. I better be in shape since I am the Captain of our team. ;-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting back in shape

Finished my 5K in 27 minutes. Barely made it to the top 10 in my age group. Not bad taking into consideration that knee is recovering from Orthovisic shots. Getting ready for the 10K, then the half marathon. Will be happy if I come under 1 hour for the 10K and around 2 for the half.

Just got to know the dates for my Himalayan expedition. October 1st to 24th. Yeah!! Cannot wait. Already getting excited.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Been a bit busy catching up with "real work" and ....

Since I came back from my Desert Hiking Expedition, everyday I have thought about it and the people I went with. Specially my uncle and my cousin (Anita). It was so awesome to spend time with them. I have been in touch with the expedition leader Dhaval Shah and some others too. While they are busy trying to decide where to go for the next expedition, I have been busy catching up on work and trying to get back into my workout schedule.

Had a little setback with my knee but getting better by the day. Still on schedule for my various outdoor events this spring and summer. Training is going on in full swing for the following events -
1. March 31 - 5K run
2. April 22 - 10K run
3. May 5 - Half marathon
4. Undecided - Duathlon
5. Waiting on the exact dates (Sept/Oct) for the Himalaya expedition. We were thinking of doing the Everest Base Camp. But this place has been so commercialized that it is not fun or adventure anymore. The team is now deciding on going to Roopkund, a glacial lake (in the Himalayas at a height of about 16,500 feet) and summiting another nearby peak (yet to be named).

As you may know, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for raising money for the TBTG Foundation. The Himalayan expedition this Sept/Oct will also be for raising money for this same foundation. Hopefully I will be able to raise more money than I did last time.

Some good news from my sponsors for this year:
  1. GU Energy Labs has renewed their sponsorship and their products are going to go a long way in helping me reach my goals for this year
  2. QuikPod has decided to sponsor me again for my next expedition to the Himalayas. They have sent me the QuikPod Pro as this was a very important gadget for me in my expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro last year. Please visit the "My Pictures" tab to see the pictures and videos taken using this indespensible gadget.
  3. Solio Solar Chargers also confirmed their sponsorship again for this Sept/Oct expedition to the Himalayas. They will be sending me a Bolt, a couple extra batteries, and a couple Clip-Minis.
  4. SteriPEN has confirmed their sponsorship for the Himalayan expedition. I have to let them know which product will be best suited for our use. I am thinking it would be the "Freedom" since it is the lightest, smallest and rechargable with my Solio Charger.
I had given the opportunity to LifeSaver Bottle to sponsor me for my desert expedition but they did not. So I ended up buying the bottle ($150)...which I gave to my cousin who is in the Army. The bottle was good but too heavy for an expedition. I wish they had something lighter. But on second thoughts, I think I will like the SteriPEN better.

Thats all for now.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just back from a 6 day Desert Hiking Expedition (in the Great Indian Thar Desert)

This was one of the best vacations I ever had. Imagine spending time hiking in the desert with a 93 year old legend for 6 full days. I thought it would be easy...but reality sunk in after the second day of walking in the desert sands. It reminded me of the day that I was very tired hiking Kilimanjaro. Absolutely amazing sights, sounds, and smells ;-)
Thanks again to QuikPod and Solio who helped tremendously in making our expedition memories.

I carried with me the QuikPod Explorer. This was voted the most popular gadget by our team. With this device I could take videos of me interviewing people while we were actually walking in the desert sands, riding on a camel, etc. There is no way that you would think I was holding my own camera. Very soon I will be posing these interviews so you can see for yourself how this handy gadget made our expedition a very memoriable one. By the end of the trip everyone on the team wanted one....finally I succumbed and gave mine to a new friend I made on the trip. Now I don't have any... :(

I also carried with me the Solio Bolt (solar charger) and this also was popular with the team since many of them burned out their cell phone batteries and camera batteries in the first few days. This is a very handy gadget to charge just about any battery - camera or cell. It had enough juice by end of each day to charge at least two camera or cell phone batteries. Absolutely amazing product and a very must have for all hikers who are planning to be away from civilization for more than a few days.

Now we are in the planning stages for an expedition to Everest Base Camp. If the logistics do not work, it would be an expedition to Roopkund - a glacial lake in the Himalayas at an height of about 16,500 feet. Not sure if I will be able to take time off but will try. I hope QuikPod and Solio will continue to sponsor me on this upcoming expedition too.

Will be posting some pictures and videos soon. Or...become my FaceBook friend (send me your details too since I do not accept requests from people I do not know) and see the pictures.