Northern hemisphere residents, this Thursday afternoon, coming to the theater above you, traveling at 1.3 million km/h (360 km per second!), watch Comet ISON shatter (most sungrazers are torn apart by Sun’s gravity and intense heat) or survive and light up the sky or watch it shatter! Nothing on Hunger Games but to watch this comet “catching fire” might be the only story you remember for years.
Google hangout: https://plus.google.com/events/c8t7i5dbr1k50oq89giloiqe8rc
NASA Comet ISON page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/comet_ison/index.html
C-ISON Infographic: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/docs/isoncomet_09b_Web_768-01.jpg
"Life has a way of maintaining the homeostasis once the basic needs are met… the rest is upto you."
— Found this quote as I was organizing my study desk at home. It must have been from a blog. Essentially, the quote describes our natural human tendency to be satisfied with the status quo - especially when the basic needs (housing, fooding, clothing) are met. We all reach this stage and there is nothing wrong with it. Some people have worked for it and they embrace it. However, I would like to challenge myself to learn and contribute more. I am in a good position right now but my learning curve could be steeper.
So this is it. This weekend I will be running my first marathon. I have not run a full marathon yet and the longest I have ran in my training is 18 miles. However, I think I should be able to do it and “Fowler-forbidding”  anything happens, I will reach my goal of completing the marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes.
The inspiration behind running the marathon was a mix of various factors: the Boston Marathon bombing, finding Hal Higdon’s book during one of the bi-weekly visits to the neighborhood Goodwill store, and always having the desire to run a marathon since I completed my first 5k run back in high school. Finally, I figured it would be a good way to maintain my health (now that I have graduated and began working) to run the marathon annually.
Regarding the training process, I recommend Hal Higdon’s website. Higdon also has training programs for other distances (my younger sister plans to do the 5k run next year). I made sure never to push myself too hard during the training process to avoid any injuries. This was mentioned as one of the major causes for first-time marathon runners not being able to make it to race day and also complete their first marathon (pushing hard in the earlier part of the race due to race day excitement). Higdon stresses on it as well in his book and I have been lucky so far (other than the minor Illotibial Band Syndrome) I used the Runkeeper app on my Android to track my runs (~150 miles) and bike rides (~140 miles).
Observing the runs and reflecting back on the past few months, I noticed that the first few miles (upto 3-4 miles), it is all mental - speaking to yourself and being in the right mindset (knowing why I was doing it, the good health karma and just feeling content). After this early “convince-myself” phase, I get into my “zone”. This is when I get very strategic about what I would like to think about. It is mostly related to the books I am reading at that moment or a new programming language (Python/Java/Ruby) or database (Neo4j) I am trying to learn or the Udacity course I am enrolled in. Since most of my runs are done at High Park, there aren’t many distractions other than the park visitors and other runners. This allows me to spend some time on my own and reflect on many things. The few times I had ear-phones on were when listening to two audio-books (The Foundation Trilogy and Surely you must be joking Mr. Feynman). I prefer thinking alone and acknowledging other runners (and talking to them) over listening to music. I am looking forward to an exciting conversation for the full marathon with one or more of the runners :)
Finally, to close off this post, I would be lying if I said I am not nervous. I have not run a full marathon in my training so I will be pushing my physical limits. Mentally, I feel prepared and look forward to sharing a photo of me crossing the finish line. Thanks for reading.
 I am an avid Liverpool FC fan. Been a fan for over 10 years now. One of Liverpool’s legend is Robbie Fowler is referred as “god”.