Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Red-use, Re-use, Recycle

Yesterday (April 22nd) was Earth Day. If I were not in US probably I wouldn't have known about it. Lot of people here are concerned about their carbon footprint. It's a different matter that US does most of the climate damage.
There's a lot of talk about Recycling. That's nice but the other problem is that the US economy is primarily driven by consumption. For a variety of reasons (cost, convenience), there is excessive consumption. This is really bad for the environment. It's economically cheaper to buy a new good instead of getting it repaired because of the labor cost. Just dump it and buy a new one. And yeah we can recycle it. There is extra cost for recycling it. It would have helped the environment a lot if the good was reused and extra goods were not manufactured at all.
One fact I realized is that there is a lot of food that gets flown via flights to different parts of the world. This contributes to significant amount of global warming because of the fuel required for transport. Often the cost to environment is not considered in the economics.
Individual can do considerable help in reducing global warming. Some of the things are:-
- Switching off lights when not in use
- Carpooling/Biking/Taking buses etc whenever possible
- Avoiding using throwaway plastic cutlery and styrofoam plates
- Reusing stuff as much as possible

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as much as possible.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

AIDS/Lifecycle Practice 1

Now that the event AIDS/Lifecycle is just 6 weeks away, and now that the California Summer of 2008 has arrived (Forget the afternoon, but the evenings are amazingly refreshing), I shred my lethargy and went for my first practice ride from Cupertino to Stanford and back a total of 24 miles at a stretch. Did it in 2 hrs, my usual speed. I know it's very less and I feel the pinch every now and then when somebody overtakes with ease :-(. This is a good beginging and if I keep commuting to office on my bicycle that should serve the minimum training. But I need to build my lower-back muscles so that they are strong enough to keep in the riding position everyday for 80 miles for a week. My back started aching towards the last quarter of the ride today. Time to go to gym.
Here's the map from Google Pedometer

My First Half-Marathon

I have been jogging all through my life but never for more than 1 hour and never very seriously. The last public event of worth mentioning is Hyderabad 10k run (in 2005) around the Hussain Sagar. I guess I completed it in a little over 1 hour. On that day I realized that I could run for even 2 hrs at that low speed. Running very slowly is the key atleast for beginers.

Thanks to Vamsi & Sudhir, we all (including Bharath) registered for this event that was to happen on April 5th 2008. Sudhir & myself knew that running 13 miles wouldn't be easy without practice, so we started practicing running on school tracks in the evenings. The practice helped us a little, but little did we know how hilly the terrain would be in the Golden Gate Headlands Marathon (Rodeo Beach, California). The idea of going to the Rancho San Antonia Park, turned out to be helpful as we realized how difficult it would be to run on Hills. Then, couple of days before the event Sudhir saw the altitude graph of the terrain, and then we had some vague idea of the difficulty involved. At least these events prepared us mentally for the half-marathon.

It was nice to see the number of participants of all ages. This was my first such public event in USA. In the begining itself we had to climb a hill and the altitude gain in the first 1.5 miles was around 600 ft (600 ft looks very small, but you'll know only when you run it :-). And there were steps in one place. We were happy to see the steps as we could stop running there and walk for some time. Sudhir and I ran together and completed the half-marathon in 2 hrs 19 mins. It's not a bad timing considering the terrain and that this was the first one for us and we hadn't
really practiced much before the event and I felt good. The last stretch on the beach was quite tough and it sapped me completely. But seeing Sudhir continuing, I pushed myself. Running together helps a lot atleast for beginers like us. I had a small knee pain, which I generally get if I use too much of my legs. Other than that there weren't any problems.
Check out the result here:-

And the photos are available here on Flickr:-