Friday, September 28, 2012

Runalyze This - Episode Two

Have you heard the 2nd episode of Runalyze This?
Click on the above link if you want to use iTunes or download the mp3 from here.

I will soon make a parallel post on SoundCloud

New books

After quite a break from book-buying and quite honestly, even reading, I went and bought a few books today. The principle of not buying books on my own cash as long as I can, has been maintained thanks to credit card points.

1 much lusted-for book was among the three I bought today -
The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross^
The Dinner by Herman Koch*
Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

Landmark Book store in Forum is in such a state of reorganization right now that it does not seem like the sprawling haunt for books it used to be. I never found the store conducive to reading given the high footfalls but now the book stocks leave much to be desired for.

I couldn't find Jai Arjun's book on JBDY at all! Imagine their biggest store in BLR does not have stock of it. The world is coming to an end!

Also made mental note of other books I want to buy/read soon. See the updated Book Lust post.

And of course, buying new books is almost always like finding new & interesting people to talk to - sometimes they end up becoming friends and you read them more than once, just like you'd talk to someone you liked.


^ finally!
* learnt about this book, quite oddly from the movie by the same name which was on Emirates when I flew to the US in June. I am always on the lookout for books in languages other than English (translates, of course!) and this is perhaps the only 2nd book I have bought, whose original and the translated versions have been wild successes in Europe


Sunday, September 09, 2012

A year of living dangerously

Last year on Sep 9*, I quit my salaried job with a consulting firm, which then, was my longest job ever.

I chose to do this coaching business mostly out of wanting to do something that was close to my interests, about something I wouldn't whine about frequently (I was sick of myself doing that!). All I had to ride on was a few friends who trusted me more than they should have, given my complete inexperience at the job I was taking on.

I have run far from what I used to do then. Quite literally I have run around 1800 miles in the last 365 days. I suspect it would have been a little more had I not been laid low for 6 weeks due to jaundice, which brings me to what the year has been like.

The year of living dangerously began quite awfully with my diagnosis of jaundice within days of my resignation. So I went from making a comfortable living to having no job, no idea on what I'd do next since I couldn't coach being sick and since I was sick, not much of an outlook for the next few months. In fact the only positive was that I lost so much weight, I realized how much fat I had to lose (not much actually, about 3 kg), if I worked out like De Niro did in Cape Fear (He is supposed to have had 3% body fat!). But I digress.

Actually before I started full-time, my plan had been to fly to Bangalore every weekend for a few weeks and learn to coach with my pal, Santhosh, who basically gave me free access to his coaching gig. I was planning to do this part-time. I did that for a few weeks till I fell sick. Then the Boston Qualifiers got announced and I just quit my job in a flash. I decided Tue night (when the qualifiers were announced), spoke to my parents and resigned the next morning.

The year I must say has been more than rewarding. The one thing which has worked out to plan is staying happy. I have never been happier for any other part of my life. Actually, for the few weeks after my sub 3:10 last year, I was happier than I have ever been in life (and that was before I quit my job), but I am talking about a general sense of happiness, not a specific event. So while maximum daily happiness may have been higher during those few weeks/months, the average for the last 365 days is higher.

There have been quite a few surprises - not all of them pleasant. I no longer have a continuous source of paid writing. I only work for myself. When I started my year, after the initial hiccup, at one point, I had multiple writing assignments and a coaching gig in addition to my own. Life was really smooth for about 3 months. Then things nose-dived. Every source of income literally died. Now, all I do is coach people to run.

I haven't read as many books as I would have wanted, despite having more time to myself than I did earlier.

I have learnt a lot - mostly about other humans, as well as myself. In fact, I am planning to write my 2nd book (never mind that the first one is still unpublished!) on what I have learnt while coaching.

I sleep really well. Especially due to the mileage as above, I rarely sleep less than 8 hours a day and almost 9-11 hours when I am training, as I am now.

My customers are more happy on an average even if I say so myself. I would think if I had more unhappy ones, I wouldn't have many by now.

I am fitter than I have ever been in life. I have metrics for this (however questionable the measuring system may be, the trend is still positive). I have managed to enhance my body weight while reducing the fat, which means I added muscle mass.

The one thing that hasn't changed is my parents' concern (and that of some other people, at least a few of them well-wishers) that I should be married, to lead a fulfilling life. I can't say I agree with that assumption. So it is one unaddressed demand. But I never even set out to remedy that in the last 12 months.

My bank balance has only been damaged by my trips to the US to run races but my savings haven't been affected otherwise although obviously, I haven't added much to them in the last 12 months. I hope to change that in the next 12 months.

When I decided to quit my job, I had given myself 6 months to decide whether to continue and then another 6 months to ensure I could live off the work I was doing. I had banked a year's worth of expenses so that I could just eat out my savings while things settled in. Since I didn't tap into that in the last year, I am giving myself another year at least at doing what I really enjoy.

I owe thanks to a bunch of people, too numerous to be named. I am grateful to be alive, healthy and happy, pretty much in that order.


* For those of you, especially in the US, I swear I didn't choose the date for any reason other than wanting to quit on a Fri