Khardung la Challenge- My Training Log

Khardung la Challenge- Background

The Ladakh Marathon was started in 2012 following the 2010 Ladakh floods. According to Ladakh Marathon’s Wiki  “The initiative was started to convey to the world that Ladakh is back and running”. Ladakh Marathon has 4 races:

72 Km Khardung La Challenge

Ladakh Marathon

Ladakh Half Marathon

7 Km Run Ladakh for Fun

The Khardung La Challenge (72 km) is the Highest Ultra Marathon in the World. This race is amongst the Toughest and Ultimate Challenging Endurance Race.  The harsh conditions makes  this extremely tough  as approximately  60kms of the race is above 4000 m (14,000ft).

The Khardung La Challenge begins at Khardung village (3975m / 13,042 ft). The race route involves a gentle but steady climb to the top of Khardungla (5370m/ 17,582 ft), one of the highest motorable passes in the world. From here it is downhill all the way to Leh town (3500m / 11,500ft).

 

Khardung la challenge

Khardung la challenge Elevation

Signing up for Khardung la Challenge

I finished the 2017 with 4 Ultras (50 and 75 km), 5 Marathons and 42 runs between 21km and 40km i.e. a total of 51 Runs 21km or more and 1 Olympic distance Duathlon. After the 3 Hour 45 Minutes finish at the Tata Mumbai Marathon in January 2018, I felt I was ready for the Khardung la challenge.

I signed up for the 72 Km run in April 2018 and was accepted to run. My training plan for Khardung la was to increase my endurance with long runs and work on my breathing technique for the thin air, high altitude running. I signed up for Hyderabad 12 Hour Run (May), Tuffman Shimla Ultra Mashobra (June), Matheran Endurathon (July) and AFMC Marathon (August) to lead to Khardung la challenge.

Hyderabad 12 hour run (my first stadium run) was a new experience and after 219 laps and 87.6 kms I was feeling good and on track for Khardung la.

I picked up a knee injury on a training run after Hyderabad that persisted through Mashobra Ultra and Matheran Endurathon. I have recovered about 80%  from the knee injury; with 8 weeks to Khardung la challenge.

I’m completely off the training plan A,  this calls for revisiting the training plan B and C- that  includes knee pain management in addition to strength and flexibility.

In this blog I will share my weekly training for the next 8 weeks as I prepare for the 2018 Khardung la challenge. I plan to update this blog every Monday  for now till the race day.

Training for Khardung la Challenge

 8 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge (2018 July 09- July 22)

Start of the week note– Knee Pain, specially walking up or down the stairs. Is it Runners Knee? Have this feeling I may not be ready for Khardung la Challenge and that will be a heart break. Lesson learnt- Rest is as important as running , specially if you are over 40.

Goal for 2 weeks– Rest, recover from Matheran Edurathon 50K, start with medical yoga, get ready for training

Training log for 2 weeks

Hiking: Casual  7 KM Walk on July 20.

Yoga (Strength): 0 Sessions, 0 Hours

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 5 Sessions

Medical Yoga is a cross between Yoga and Physiotheray. The medical yoga teachers and practitioners have a deep understanding of  human musculoskeletal system and use specially designed excercises and equipments to get the body ‘aligned’.  I’m fortunate to know Shama Rana who has mastered this art over the last few years and runs Samsara – The Yoga Studio. She is committed to help people learn, through Yoga and Meditation, the skills needed to stop creating their own worlds or cycles of suffering and live fulfilling lives.

 

Khardungala Challenge Pre Training

Khardungla Challenge Pre Training- Medical Yoga

 

6 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge (Week Of July 23)

Start of the week note– Pain much lesser, I think I’m ready for the road.

End of the week note– 3 easy 10K runs (with knee support), work on strength and breathing.

Training log for the week

Running: 30km

Cycling: 38km

Hiking: 6km

Yoga (Strength): 2 Sessions

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 5 Sessions

Khardungla challenge- 6 weeks to go


5 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge ( Week Of July 30)

Start of the week note– With 3 runs last week feeling much better on the road. Try a hill run this week

End of the week note–  Started running without knee support on August 02.

Training log for the week

Running: 41.3km, 870m Elevation Gain including 1 hill training 21km ( Bopdev Ghat x 2)

Yoga (Strength): 2 Sessions

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 4 Sessions

Khardungla challenge- 5 weeks to go

Bopdev Ghat- Hill Repeats


4 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge ( Week Of August 06)

Start of the week note– The left knee was a bit shaky after the Bopdev Ghat run. I should use knee support for  my hill runs

End of the week note– This week included 4 Runs.  Additional strength training (1 km walk and lunges) and a massage. Legs are feeling better than last Sunday. Also, I dropped out of AFMC Marathon– (Did Not Show)- I did not feel ready and did not want to over exert at this stage. AFMC- Next year maybe?

Training log for the week

Running: 47.2 km with 1071 m elevation gain ( Bopdev Ghat x 2 + Heaven Park x 2)

Yoga (Strength): 2 Sessions +  1 km (walk and lunges) with 16 kg weight.

1 km Walk- Lunges with 16 kg weight

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 4 Sessions

 

4 Weeks to Khardung la -Training log

Hill Repeats- Bopdev Ghat

 


3 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge ( Week Of August 13)

Start of the week note– Bopdev Ghat run last week with knee support help me negotiate the turns better while coming downhill. I will continue with knee support this week. Also there is a public holiday (Independence Day) this week. I can put in more hours

End of the week note– Amazing training this week. 2 Hill runs ( Bopdev and Sinhagad. 2 continuous days 21K + Hill run.

Highlight of the week: Sinhagad Downhill Tactical run ( 3km 420 meters elevation loss) done in 22 minutes and 37 SecondsFeeling amazing as my knee behaved through the run.

Sinhagad hill down run

Training log for the week- 

Running: 4 Runs, 1858 meters elevation gain. 3 runs 21Km or more. 2 continuous days 21K + hill run.

Yoga (Strength): 2 Sessions

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 4 Sessions

Khardungla Challenge training- August 13

Khadakwasla to Sinhagad Run


2 Weeks to Khardung la Challenge ( Week Of August 20)

Start of the week note– 78 kms last week with 2 back to back hill runs ( 25km + each) did leave me a bit exhausted on Monday and Tuesday. Also, with 3 weeks to the big run it’s time to taper down. I will go easy this week and focus on Yoga and pain management

End of the week note– Did 2 rund this week including a hill run ( Bopdev Ghat x 2). Continued with knee support.  Had to skip Sunday training for Rakshabandhan festivities.

Highlight of the week: Got the best pace for this season on Bopdev Ghat: 7.46/KM over 21 Km and 630 meter elevation gain.

Training log for the week-  

Running: 2 Runs, 770 meters elevation gain.

Yoga (Strength): 2 Sessions

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 3 Sessions + 1 Meditation and breathing technique session.

Khardung la challenge Training - Tapering

Khardung la Challenge Training Bopdev Ghat

1 Week to Khardung la Challenge ( Week Of August 27- 31)

Start of the week note– Tapering continues, I hope to pack 2 runs this week before flying out on Friday. This is also the week to pack my gear. The race starts at 3AM and the temperatue is expected to be south of 3 degree celsius- have to pack 3 layers for the run plus medications including Diamox for altitude sickness- Hope I do not need that.

End of the week note– This was a short week (5 days) packed it wil 2 runs and 20kms.

August was good training month (though not as good as i had hoped). 6 Hill Runs Half Marathon or more, 209 kms aggregate, 4703 meters elevation gain.

August 2018- Training Calendar

Training log for the week  

Running: 20 Kms (Monday- Friday)

Yoga (Strength): 1

Medical Yoga (Flexibility, Pain Management): 2

Khardung la Challenge- Week -1 Tapering

Training is done now it’s time for Khardung la. Leh here I come..

Bhaskar Thakur- Khardung la challenge

 

Matheran Endurathon- Beauty of a Trail

Two weeks after 80 Km Tuffman Shimla Ultra Mashobra, on July 07, 2018, I  packed my running gear and was off to Matheran– a hill station in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. I need not introduce Matheran to Mumbaikars and Punekars, for the others- Matheran is the smallest hill station in India and is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level. It is about 120 km from Pune.

Matheran [ means “forest on the forehead (of the mountains)”] is an eco-sensitive region and  Asia’s only automobile-free hill station. You have to park your vehicles at “Dasturi Car Parking” and hike up or ride a horse about 2 kilometers to reach Matheran.

We started early morning as finding a place to park the car is the biggest (perhaps the only) challenge at Matheran. This day was special though, the excitement caught on the moment we started driving-  it had been raining in Pune for couple of days and the road to Matheran was flooded. There were sctions on the way where the car felt like a boat.

Drive to Matheran

I still had pain in the knee ( though not as intense) from the injury I had picked up on June 4 trying to negotiate a tactical downhill . It was a niggling pain that intensified when I tried climbing down stairs. I was resting and mobilising my knee. Rational decision would have stay home and rest for a few more weeks.  Also, this was the 3rd edition or Matheran Endurathon and I had run 25km and 50km in the previous 2 editions- the Charm of Matheran was calling. “I will take it easy”- I promised myself.

My wife loves the hills of Matheran, and this is the trail which beckons her to do the 10km. As she says it is the nature that makes her move, considering she has not taken to runing and does not like to run in the city.

On July 08, 2018 I finished the 50 Km Matheran Endurathon in 7 Hours 8 Minutes- 1 Hour 14 Minutes slower than my 2017 timing. It was #Fail run for me, as far as timing goes, however,  there’s more to running Matheran Endurathon than timing.

Matheran Endurathon Results

In this blog I will NOT share my run, rather I will share got me to run the  3rd  Matheran Endurathons inspite of injury and 5 reasons that make this is one of the most beautiful trails in India.

Matheran Endurathon is organised by Run Buddies a team lead by Arvind Bijwe and Nikhil Shah. Here’s the Matheran Endurathon story from the horse’s mouth- That’s kind of funny in this context and the Race Marshal is on a Horse at Matheran:

Here are the top 5 things that make Matheran Endurathon “Charming’ for me.

1. Mesmerising Matheran : Matheran  is an easy 3 hour drive from Pune. Matheran starts to cast the spell as soon as you are parked at Dastuti Parking and buy entry ticket. About 200 meters from the gate is  Aman Lodge the (now) starting train station for the famed “toy ( narrow gauge) train. The train meanders through the steep slope with mesmerising view of the valley.

The Neral–Matheran Light Railway was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Peerbhoy and financed by his father, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, at a cost of $160000.  A feat of Indian engineering and testimony of Parsi entrepreneurship.

Matheran has around 38 designated look-out points, including the One Charlotte Lake, Tree Hill Point, Louisa Point, Hart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambgh Point, Panorma Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area . Each look out point is more mesmerising than the other.

Matheran is full of eateries and you do want to indulge in the fare after a hard days work. The street food tastes super special at Matheran be it the corn, wadapaw or Maggi noodles. One of my favorites is Chocolate Walnut Fudge- a great pre run breakfast.

chocolate Walnut Fudge
Chocolate Walnut Fudge

2. Matheran Endurathon is a mud fest: You can’t run the matheran trail and finish in shining running gear for the selfies. You have to go all in to tame this trail- and reach the finish line in a mud pack. Your running socks will need 2 washes and shoes will never get the pre endutharon look!

Remember Vijay Chauhan and abduction fight scene from Agneepath?

Matheran Endurathon is organized in the peak of monsoon and the trail is full of puddles. There are sections where you feel like you are running is a stream or doing an obstacle run. As a first time endurathon runner you try to keep your soles dry for the first 15-20 minutes however, you soon realize its futile fightling the mud and puddles- running becomes easier once you start enjoying them.

 

Puddles- Matheran Endurathon

 

Jump Puddles- Matheran Endurathon

Funny Fact: In the 2017 run, one runner lost his shoe in the first 10 minutes of the run and continued to finish the race!!

 

3. Race Route – Matheran Endurathon is a 12.5 Km out and back route passing through 8 lookout points. For a 50 Km run you have to run the trail rwice. You will want to stop at each of these points for photo opportunity, however, the runner in you will push you to continue. I find Charlotte Lake pretty interesting. You are running across a dam/ barage! There are not many visitors around the lake in the morning ( first 25 out and back) however, in the second round you have to push your way through 100s of selfie obsessed visitors. Some of them will ba amused on seeing the runners and may have a few not so polite comments for you.

Matheran Endurathon

Matheran Endurathon is a rolling trail with about 1000 meters elevetion gain and loss. There are a multiple tactical uphill and down hill sections.

Matheran Endurathon - Route

The excitement on this route starts with the briefing. The organizing team and the race director do the final reccee the evening  before and the brief includes instructions like:

1 Km fromthe start there is a tree that has fallen on the route, do not return from there, jump across or crawl under and continue

Fallen Tree on Matheran Endurathon Trail

 

4. Ever walked on the clouds? Here’s your chance to run.

Need I write more? Let the photos do the talking!

Matheran Endurathon- Run in the clouds

Matheran Endurathon- Run in the clouds

Matheran Endurathon- Run in the clouds

 

5. Race support and team Run Buddies

Team RunBuddies are a great bunch of people with a mission “to make India run’. They organize runs across India and their events events are super charged and designed for runners.

Matheran Endurathon- Horse Marshall

I had a conversation with Arvind this year and he mentioned that Matheran Endurathon is a logistical nightmare for him and his team. They have to ferry everything (from Tshirts, medals to water up) on  horses  to Matheran. Here’s Arvind speaking about the logistics to the press.

Organization  and race support is Amazing at Matheran Endurathon. The race Marshall is on a horse, there are guides at every turn and water, energy drinks and aid is available every few kilometers.

 

Kudos! to Team Run Buddies on pulling off Matheran Endurathon year after year!

Signing off note for Matheran Endurathon:

Here’s my run on Strava:

 

Arvind, Nikhil and Run Buddies- Matheran Endurathon is a wonderful event and kudos to you for the amazing planning and execution. Look forward to the 2019 run.

The message on the T-Shirt this year was ” Pain is Temporary Pride is Permanent”  Here’s my suggestion to 2019 T-Shirt message:

Matheran Endurathon T Shirt

 

 

 

Tuffman Shimla Ultra Mashobra 80k- Beast of an ultra trail run

Flashback: June 2017- I had run 50 Km Tuffman Shimla Ultra Mashobra (My first timed 50 km run) and I was super exhausted after the run, however, I had this feeling of ‘unfinished business’ – perhaps the prefix “Half” to  Tuffman was challenging me and I promised myself that I would return to take on the 80K Mashobra trail.

 

 

1 year, 3 Ultras, 3 Marathons, 1 stadium run (12 hours) and about 2000 km training runs later on  June 23, 2018, 5:30 AM, I was standing with 18 other runners to take on the trails of Mashobra, Shimla. Only this time I was fully aware that this beast is  not easy to tame.

Around 6:30 PM on I crossed the finish line. This was after 12 hours 42 minutes of gruelling trail run that included 2400 meters ( ~8000 ft) of elevation gain and loss. In this blog I am sharing my experience of running this beast of a trail.

Let me start with the organizers. Tuffman races are organized by the Mangla family and Tuffman team  across various beautiful destinations in India like Leh, Shimla, Coorg, Goa, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Manali, Dharamshala. Sanjay Mangla (the dude in Green, second from right in the frame below), Manjeet (Mandy), Jai, Meenakshi and the entire Mangla clan is a buch of passionate folks who organize events truly for the runners. These ever smiling folks never say no to any request runners have- food, hydration, race kit, route information. If you have not run a Tuffman event, you must put one on your running calendar.

 

Mashobra, Shimla

Mashobra is a town in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, situated 2,146 m (7,041 ft) above mean sea level. Mashobra is about 15 km from Shimla and well connected with buses and taxis.  It is a charming little town, away from the bustle of mall road and Shimla. Mashobra is notable for housing one of the two Presidential retreats in India.

Mighty Oak and Pine trees line up the woods around Mashobra and a walk in the woods is a great way to warm up for the run or recover from the run.

Mashobra is well connected to Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi by buses, trains and taxis. I had flown to Chandigarh from Pune and then took an Ola cab. It cost me ₹3500 and 5 hours to reach Mashobra.

I reached Mashobra on the briefing day, however, I would recommend getting there one day in advance to soak in the beauty.

Day break is around 5AM in June here and the sunset is early, you will not need head torch for 5:30AM start.

 

The Run starts at Mashobra Greens and you have the option to stay there. Mashobra Green is run by Sandeep and his team. Sandeep is a hardcore outboor enthusiast and a great organizer. You can’t miss him- he’s either on his bullet or a walkie-talkie. Mashobra Greens is known for their tents, however, we stayed in a bamboo cottage as we find tents a bit too cold at nights ( well! we are from Pune!). The food is amazing and the team super hospitable.

The Tuffman Mashobra Trail is a beast! As they say “It’s not TUFF if it does not BREAK you“.

Expect this trail to break you twice if you are in your early running years (as I am). It is a 20 km out and back trail. It you are trying the 80K you will do the circuit twice. You will be challenged with 2400 meters ( ~8000 ft) elevation gain and loss.

Tuffman Mashobra Trail is 80% gravel and 20% Tar and full of tactical up and down hills. The first 1.8 km greets you with an elevation gain of 200 meters. Attaboy welcome to Mashobra!!

Here’s my detailed segment wise analysis of the elevation. (from Garmin)

When I signed up for Tuffman Mashobra Ultra, I knew it is not going to be  a walk in the park and I had started traing for this run end of March 2018- after a 6 weeks break after Tata Mumbai Marathon in January. I was targeting to finish the run under 11 hours 30 minutes. My plan was simple- ramp up my weekly milage to 80-100 km by  end of May, include hill runs and build core strength and flexibility with Yoga.

I was pretty much on the  target with 3-4 days running per week, 3 days Yoga, multiple runs across various ghats in Pune and a 12 hour stadium run at Hyderabad where I clocked 88 km.

I twisted my knee on June 4 trying to negotiate a tactical downhill and the training plan crashed. It was a niggling pain that intensified when I tried climbing down stairs. I was rested for 2 weeks . Between June 8, and race day I did two short runs in the Pune racecourse – A flat 2.2 km course.

On the briefing day (June 22) I knew I was not 100% fit to take on the Mashobra Trail, I had to run with knee braces. The good part- injury had healed about 70% and not critical anymore. I established 3 rules for the race day:

  1. I’m not 100% so I will not chase timing- go easy down hill.
  2. I will  Do Nothing Foolish (DNF) – and pull out, if needed instead of aggravating the injury.
  3. Enjoy my run and the beauty of Mashobra trail.

So there I was standing at the start line 5:00 AM not 100% fit but not too bad and ready to take on Mashobra trail. After a liitle warm-up, some coffee and greeting fellow runners we lined up for the the flag off.

I power walked the first 2 km (with 200 meters elevation gain) and then continued the run to the 20 km mark. I was steady. I reached the 20 km mark in about 2 hour 20 minutes crossing the 3 aid stations at 5, 10, 17.5 km marks.

 

By now my knee was acting and I slowed down a bit. My wife, Shweta, was volunteering at 17.5 km aid station. So I had some support and a pacer at the 22.5 KM mark (Remember- This is 20km out and back trail).

The 17.5 km mark is a special aid station on this trail and I will not spill the beans in this blog. Experience the fun @ 17.5 when you run this trail. 🙂

I continued running for another 3 hours  crossing the aid stations where a I picked up  fruits (peaches, banana), nuts, salts and water. I finished  40km and reached the starting point in 5 hour 30 minutes.

 

By this time the sun was in full glory and it was hot and humid. My left leg was not feeling any better and I had this thought of giving up there but then I saw 2 other runners at the aid station- Nakul Girdhar and Amit Ahuja. I decided to follow these guys for some time and then take a call. Thank you! Nakul and Amit for being at the aid station 🙂 It was amazing running with you. I picked up my MP3 player at the aid station- I knew I would need some motivation enroute.

The next 40 was tough, to say the least, with my left knee not keeping up.  Nakul, Amit and I ran the last 40 Km almost together each one of us leading by few 100 meters all the time.  That’s Amit Ahuja in the frame below. Say Hello Amit!!

At the 50 KM aid station I met Tuffam- Manjeet ( Mandy) and man did he not charge me up!! When you meet Mandy you can hear his flute in every word he speaks.

I continued running towards the 60 km mark with some music and soaking in the beauty of Mashobra.

The last 20k was slow and uneventful and I stopped at the 70 km mark and asked Jai for a concoction to help me do the next 5 km.  And Jai fixed me a lemonade with a punch.

KM 28-35 ( loop 1) and 58-65 (loop 2) Makes Mashobra Tuff:

In my opinion KM 28-35 ( loop 1) and 58-65 (loop 2) are the toughest on the Mashobra trail.  This section is gravel and about 800 meters elevation gain over 7-8 Km, no tree cover and this year there were heavy road construction equipments every few kilometers.

This stretch is a mind game.

I finished the run in 12 Hours 42 Minutes, not the timing I had targeted, however, I was happy with myself.

Tuffman Mashobra, Shimla 80K. Done and Dusted!

 

Here’s my run on Strava:

And Some bragging from Mashobra Greens:

 

Entrepreneurship lessons from Biking and Running!

The idea for this blog was seeded on my high school WhatsApp group- a bunch of fellows doing various things in their professional lives, connected by experiences shared in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In this WhatsApp Group (like any other) we share and debate everything under the sun. There are arguments- with data at times and with emotions at other times. Let me put it this way, it is a typical group of “men” in their 40‘s.  

One of the topics we keep going back to is ‘Health’. Most times when it comes to health, there are no arguments in the group, it is pure sharing. However, last week started different, we bantered on health, and the topic was  cycling vs running.  It was a long thread of arguments and finally, we agreed to disagree; to each their own poison. Good Fun!

Fast forward to the weekend (March 19), I competed and finished duathlon, Olympic Distance- 10Km run, followed by 40Km biking, followed by 5Km run. I have run many half marathons, a few marathons and biked maximum 120K in a day. However, had never done duathlon earlier.

2017- Pune International Duathlon

2017 Pune International Duathlon

It was an amazing first experience! Different from what biking or running. I think  the exciting and wierd parts were transitions- from running to biking and from biking to running. At the start of the finish run (transitioning from biking to running) for about a kilometer I felt like a penguin- hopping more than running.

In this blog I have tried to capture the similarities and differences of these 2 endurance sports and how biking and running have made me me a better entrepreneur and a better person.

Lesson 1. The definition of ‘inertia’ needs a relook.

Inertia is defined as “a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force”.

Learning from endurance sports : In my experience there is no external force strong enough to make a person jump off the bed at 3:30AM every sunday and say to themselves let’s burn 3K calories. There’s no external force strong enough to make one run the last mile in a marathon with cramps. For good 10 years there were people around me running marathons, eating healthy. However, these external forces did not change my state of inertia.

The force is ‘internal’, perhaps the definition of inertia should be “a property of people by which they continue in their existing state of rest, unless that state is changed by an INTERNAL force”

Entrepreneurship Lesson: Do not jump on the entrepreneurship boat inspired by the success stories. Look at the sacrifices and years these entrepreneurs put  in to be successful. Speak with entrepreneurs who failed. The calling should be from within because there is a psychological price of entrepreneurship.

Lesson 2. Understand the game before making your ‘move’.

The one big difference I find between biking and running is how one deals with elevation- both gain and loss. In plain english, while biking going uphill is super exhausting and coming down is super relaxing. In running going uphill is less exhausting however running downhill is a skill hard to master.

Learning from endurance sports : Descending feels easy aerobically, but each step triggers muscle-damaging eccentric contractions in the quadriceps and lower legs. On level ground, these muscles shorten as they fire; on declines, they elongate while under tension as they work to control your speed. This creates more micro-tears in each fiber, which stimulates muscle growth but leaves you fatigued and sore.

While biking get in the right gear while approaching elevation, maintaining posture and pace your ride. While running do not give in to gravity, tread with caution, try other techniques like shorter strides.

Entrepreneurship Lesson: Evaluate the opportunity, understand the macro environment, follow your competition before you venture out. Copy pasting business models is a recipe for disaster.

Lesson 3.  Everyone is alone alone, in their special timelines.

This is where biking, running and all endurance sports are similar. For athletes every race is about “Personal Best”. When one (amateur athletes) laces up or takes to the saddle of the bike it is not about beating others, it is about giving ones personal best.

Learning from endurance sports : The experience in the holding area could be daunting. Thousands of atheletes all lined up waiting for the gun. Some warming up, some meditating, few joking and singing. However, few minutes into the race everyone is running alone. Similarly, even in our lives we have many  many people around us- friends, family, acquaintances and the unknown. However, if one really thinks about it, they are alone in their timeline from womb to tomb.

Entrepreneurship Lesson: There’s no right age to start and you could fail any number of times in this journey. The best time to start a business depends on the maturity of the industry and more importantly maturity of the entrepreneur.

Lesson 4. There’s opportunity when things are “Going Downhill”

Normally the phrase “going downhill” means declinining and growing worse. It is not very uncommon to hear this phrase in organizations and life, for example-“2016 was bad year for startups, everything went downhill”. However, in biking and running going downhill presents an opportunity.

Learning from endurance sports : Most people learn to ride bike downhill because it is so much easier and natural. Even for experienced bikers going down slope seems such a bliss. Looking at the course gradient is integral part of race planning for any athlete. For runners, hill runs are initially a challenge, specially going downhill. However, after training for a few months on long hills, short hills, hill sprints, hill endurance, one barely notices these hills and starts gliding downhill. Looking back at 2016, Matheran hill endurathon was one of the most enjoyable events for me that year.

Entrepreneurship Lesson: There are 2 lessons here, an entrepreneur must cherish failures as much as success. There’s more learning in failure than in success. The second lesson is that it may be the best time to start when the economy and industry is going “downhill”- there are opportunities and resources are available.

Keep running, biking, walking, hiking and creating awesome stuff by starting again after every failure!