Monday, May 28, 2018

Running Colfax Marathon - a recap

On Sunday, May 20, 2018, I ran Colfax Marathon 2018, and in the process completed my third marathon of 2018. 

This being the home state marathon for me, and likely the first and only marathon I will run in Colorado in the next few years, it was indeed a special experience for me. I had invited many of my friends in Colorado to come cheer for me on this occasion and make it special indeed.

I wasn't expecting to set a personal record at this event as my training leading up to it was not adequate, but the 5h7m finish time matched the time I accomplished at the Los Angeles Marathon in March and exceeded my expectations by a good 10-15 minutes. 

My nephew Shashidhar drove me to the start-line; we started from home around 4:30am to make it there around 5:30am. That gave me a good enough time to walk over to the start line, use the toilets near the start line and get in the corral ready to start on time. 

My friends Amar and Tim surprised me at the start line with a sign! Seeing my name on a sign, I was very surprised and walked over to see who it was. πŸ˜†

Had enough time to get a picture with them before I had to start running. 

Amar and Tim again surprised me at Sloan Lake just as we were leaving the lake area and heading back to Colfax Avenue. Amar got a video of me running at this stage. 

Instead of heading back home as per the plan Shashidhar and I had originally discussed, Shashidhar surprised me by suddenly showing up around the 8-mile mark when the marathon course turns away from Colfax Avenue towards Sloan Lake. With all of it happening so quickly, I didn't think about taking a picture at that time. Thankfully, as the marathon course had us return to Colfax Avenue, I met him again and was able to get a picture with him. 
I came upon my friends at Dojo4 around 19.5 miles mark just before turning from Colfax Avenue to the Mile High Stadium. Ara Howard got a good video of me running at this stage.
Around the same stage, Corey Kohn got a very good picture of me running. πŸ˜€

The Dojo4 team met up me again at around the 25th-mile mark. This time I made time to stop and take a picture with everyone!

During this marathon, unlike the two earlier marathons, I was not keeping track of my progress regularly by checking Endomondo app on my phone. I wanted to just run at a natural rhythm without pressurizing myself about being slow. The only times I took out my phone was to take pictures. πŸ˜€

At the two earlier marathons, I had religiously followed the 3-minute-run, 1-minute-walk cycles in the second half of the marathon. At this marathon, I did the 3-minute-run, 1-minute-walk cycles only a small part (2-3 miles) of the run after the halfway mark, and tried to run as much as possible rest of the way. Nevertheless, I had to slow down and walk some parts of the run in the last 6 to 8 miles. 

I was successful in keeping up with the pacers some part of the run. All around the Sloan Lake (8-11 miles), I was keeping up with the 4h45m pacer, talking with her and fellow runners about how to become a pacer, why we were running, etc. Just as we were exiting the Sloan Lake area, I had to stop for a toilet break; that made me fall behind. 

I met up with the 5h pacer just as we got back into the Mile High Stadium and kept up with her for a mile or two before falling behind being too tired to keep going at the same pace. At this point in time, I was worried that my finish time would be over 5h30m; so was very surprised to see my finish time was 5h7m. 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my home state marathon! Thanks to all my friends who came out to cheer me on!

The main lesson I am taking from running the Colfax Marathon is that I need to work on strengthening myself to run strongly in the second half of the marathon; so I will be working towards achieving a negative split in my upcoming marathons. 

The marathons I have planned for in the near future:
  • Cheyenne Marathon in Wyoming on September 23, 2018. That will be my sixth marathon.
  • Chicago Marathon in Illinois on October 7, 2018 (2 weeks after Cheyenne Marathon)
  • Moab Trail Marathon in Utah on November 3, 2018. Trail Marathon; so should be much slower than other marathons. 
  • Memphis Marathon in Tennessee on December 1, 2018.
  • 3 Bridges Marathon in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 15, 2018. If all goes according to plan, I will be ending 2018 by finishing a total of 10 marathons all-time!
  • A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon in Florida on February 17, 2019. Starting off 2019 visiting my family members in Florida and spending some time on the beaches!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Watch me talk about living with Glioblastoma at Ignite Boulder this Thursday

This Thursday, May 17th, 2018, I will be talking at Ignite Boulder 35 about living with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

With May being #BrainTumorAwarenessMonth, it is perfect timing that I will be sharing my Brain Tumor story with the Boulder Startup Week participants at this event. 

The event will be live-streamed at 

The event will start promptly at 7pm MDT on Thursday and is likely to run till 9pm MDT. 

For my family and friends in India, that will be 6:30am to 8:30am IST on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Set your alarms, and get ready to watch the event live-streaming this Thursday/Friday! 

Having seen some of my fellow speakers' talks at the practice sessions, I can vouch for there being some weighty and thought-provoking talks at this event which will leave the audience inspired and amazed, while being educated about wide-ranging topics in a burst of 5 minute talks. 

My spark proposal from a few months ago:

I am one of the 14 or 15 speakers taking the stage that day, and the order of the talks will be decided just before the start of the event. So my talk could be anytime between 7pm to 9pm. 

A high resolution video of the talk will be online on YouTube a few weeks after Ignite.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My daughter. My pillar of strength

My daughter Aisiri turned three, eleven days after my Craniotomy & the subsequent diagnosis with a terminal Cancer. She has been an amazing and magical presence in my life during this testing times, and a source of immense strength. 

My wife and I - being grownups - understand what a Glioblastoma diagnosis means, and tend to get lost in worries or regrets. By being in the past with "What did we do to bring this monstrosity on ourselves?", "What could we have done different?", and other questions. Or by being in the future  with "What will happen if I die tomorrow?", "How will we manage if I lose my ability to work soon?", "Where will we get the money to pay the rent if my income plummets?",  and other questions. 

Aisiri being at a age where she is just about to understand what is going on around her, and express herself, has thankfully none of that tendency to worry or fret. She has many a time told me "OK, you have a scar on your head. Now come play with me!" πŸ‘Ά 

Aisiri is the wisest among the 3 of us, always being in the present!
On a day to day basis, she is actively involved in my treatment and medication. Here she is converting the surgilast strip I use to cover the Optune arrays as a hairband, bringing playfulness to a sombre activity. πŸ’–

She is always reminding me to take my daily medications, often "helping" me with it. πŸ˜‰

At times, she can be the hard task-master, reminding me to not scratch the itch when my head becomes itchy with a stern "NO SCRATCHING!"

Today, it being Mothers Day, I want to pay tribute to my wife for bringing an amazing bundle of joy into our life. And also celebrate the wonderful mother that my daughter will be in the future.


Friday, May 11, 2018

My Colorado Peeps : Come cheer for me at Colfax Marathon

Hello My Dear Friends, Family, and Members of My Wider Communities in Colorado!

On Sunday May 20, 2018 (next Sunday), I will be running the Colfax Marathon in Denver

This will be my third marathon of 2018. After the Los Angeles Marathon on March 18, 2018. And the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS on April, 7th, 2018. This madness of running waaaaaaaay too many marathons is part of my plan to survive a terminal cancer by running as far away from it as possible. πŸ˜†πŸ˜‡

Also, this marathon is likely to be the only marathon I will be running in Colorado in the next 4-5 years. I will definitely run another marathon in Colorado in the future. However, that will be after I make significant progress on my plans to run a marathon in every state in the US and as many countries as possible. So my plan for the next few years is to run every next marathon in a new state/country. Consequently, Colorado will have to wait for its second chance for a while. πŸ˜†

In this context, I have a request for all you folks: 
While running/walking for 5-6 hours to finish a marathon, I have found people cheering on the side of the road to be of huge motivation. Even if they have general signs like "Go Random Stranger!" or "I believe in you, Total Stranger." I can only imagine how much more motivating it will be if there were signs with my name on it along the marathon course. πŸ‘πŸ‘Š

Here is the Course for Colfax Marathon this year:

I am planning to run at a pace of around 12 minutes to 12.5 minutes per mile, with a finish time of around 5h15m to 5h45m. The marathon starts at 6am. I will probably cross the start line by around 6:15am being at the very back of the running pack. So I am likely to come back to the finish line at the City Park by around 11:15am to 11:45am.

With all that in mind, here are the times at which you can expect to see me on the marathon course:
LocationApproximate time I will get there
Start Line - City Park, Denver6:00am - 6:20am
Colorado State Capitol / Civic Center Park area (~3 miles)6:40am - 7:00am
Centennial Gardens / Elitch Gardens (~5 miles)7:10am - 7:30am
Colfax Ave & Irving St (~7 miles)7:40am - 8:00am
Enter Sloan Lake (~8 miles)7:55am - 8:20am
Exit Sloan Lake (~10.5 miles)8:40am - 9:00am
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (~13 miles)9:00am - 9:20am
Colfax Ave & Dudley St. (~16 miles)9:40am - 10:00am
Colfax Ave & Perry St. on the way back (~19 miles)10:20am - 10:40am
17th Ave & Washington St (16th Ave Mall area) (~24 miles)11:00am - 11:20am
Finish Line at City Park, Denver11:15am - 11:45am

A note about my running pace and finish time for this marathon:

My personal best time for a Marathon has been the 4h56m that I managed to accomplish at the Eisenhower Marathon a few weeks ago. I don't think I will be able to beat that this time. I am not going to kill myself by trying to run a faster marathon and set a personal record - of 4h45m or some such time. If I do kill myself trying to run a faster marathon, Glioblastoma - which has been saving me for later, to kill me with peace of mind at its own sweet time in its leisure - would be very disappointed in me. πŸ˜›πŸ˜‚

Additional reasons why I am taking it easy this time:
  • I want to be able to recover very quickly from this Marathon to be able to get back to work and play with my daughter / take care of personal obligations as soon as possible after the marathon.
  • Also, I want to be able to attempt the Mt Evans Ascent less than 3 weeks later. I am not even thinking of finishing it at this time given my zero training at high altitude and with significant elevation gain.
  • I want to stop and chat, exchange pleasantries, take pictures with as many of my friends and comrades along the marathon trail as possible. πŸ˜›πŸ˜‚
That reminds me. I will be using the following hash-tags for my social media posts while running the marathon:
  1. #PrakashRunsColfax : A way for me to find posts related to this marathon in the future to re-live the magic!
  2. #BTAM, #BTSM & #Glioblastoma or #GBM : May is Brain Tumor Awareness month. I want my marathon run to help raise awareness about brain tumors and Glioblastoma. #BTAM = Brain Tumor Awareness Month. #BTSM = Brain Tumor Social Media - Tag used for communicating about Brain Tumors. I was considering #FuckGlioblastoma earlier, but decided to drop it as it doesn't exactly portray the relationship I have with GBM. πŸ˜›
If you do see me at the marathon and post about it, please tag with the above hash-tags.

So Folks: See you along the Colfax Marathon running trail on Sunday! Start making your signs!!

The story so far

It has been a month since I decided to start a blog to journal my journey with Glioblastoma Multiforme after bei...