Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Long Beach Half Marathon Lessons

After three months of steady training thanks to an inspiring Coach (Carlos Romero), Sunday, October 13th beckoned me to Long Beach. Nervousness coursed through my body as I walked towards the bib pick up table. Thousands milled about shoreline and ocean blvd. Flashing lights from the cop cars illuminated portions of the street. For a moment, I felt lost, not worthy to be among so many who looked to be so much better shape than me.

I couldn’t help thinking of how I failed to train in New York and gorged on dozens on pizza. I felt swollen, fat, and out of shape. And for a moment, quitting sounded extremely tempting. Yet, throwing away three months of training and letting down my coach embarrassed me, and so I sidled up to Wave 3 of the starting line. Thankfully, the waves were staggered according to average run times to reduce slowing down faster runners, and also so slow runners did not feel pressured to go faster than needed. As the horn, sounded, I began running, struggling with turning on my beat headphones.

I spent half a mile before getting the headphones and spotify to work. Of course, I’d managed to lose one of the soft buds from the headphones, but it didn’t matter. The music began, and I lost myself in the playlist. I was grateful for taking the time to make my own playlist of indian, 90s music and bhangra especially Rocky 4, my all time favorite soundtrack.  As I ran, I felt more confident and comfortable. I managed to pass up people, and also got passed up by many, yet what truly supported me was this one gentleman who plodded in front of me, and for 7 miles I followed him, and then I surpassed him and followed two ladie for another 5, and then Carlos surprised me on the last mile by showing up. Thank you to those strangers. My gratitude at that kind gesture is that one that still stays with me.  I had never been alone, and I could do this.

It wasn’t a great time, but it wasn’t a bad one either because I finished. And now I am excited for the next step in my running: a full marathon. After that, a triathlon, and if god willing, an iron man in 2021.

Happy Monday. What will you accomplish next?

Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal, My Past, Myself


The sudden quiet of the morning for once doesn’t feel soothing. Like a dull ache comes the realization I am home, far away from my family where I go to spend 10 glorious days gorging myself not just on pizza, but on love, laughter and memories. I truly cannot answer what took me so long to get back there. What could have been more important than creating such amazing memories? Work? Money? General busyness?  These past ten days I have laughed more, eaten more and been loved more than the entire year. And again I ask myself. Why? Why did it take so long to get back to this?

I got to spend time with my uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, old friends and all because I managed to say yes for once and got out of the way. Coming to this dull quiet, it hits me that with the loss of my dad and aunt, there are so many ways to keep their memories going that do not involve grief. Its sharing old stories, laughing at old jokes, and missteps and most of all, around 30 of us sitting in one room just sharing. It’s teasing each other, enjoying meals together, and it’s creating reasons to keep coming back to spend time with us.

I cannot help but count my blessings for the family that I have. I truly wish those close to me got to experience the kind, generous and giving family I come from. Sure, from the outside, it could be said we came for a 16th and 50th birthday party but truly we came to be together, to reconnect, to remind ourselves that with loss there are also gains. This trip became that reminder for me.

Happy Tuesday!

Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

What Took Me So Long?

Nothing like the hustle and bustle of Manhattan streets to remind me of what it means to be in a big city like really in it. Walking by, jostled by those rushing, homeless sleeping on the street, a lady begging for a fifty cents, and hanging with a dear friend. It’s an intoxicating city and one that I love coming back to, and I always wonder why it took me so long. Of course, there is the family where we share belly aching laughs, and again I wonder why it took me so long to come here.

Its’s soul-filling t be around so many who are genuinely excited to spend time with you and share their world. I forget sometimes that there are those who wish nothing but success for me, and think the best of me. Sometimes, it my daily life, I tend to believe my own negative thoughts and fears of not being good enough and now seeing myself reflected in my friends and family’s eyes, I realized I allowed my fear to guide me for far too long. It hit me that being around family and friends is important for me to get a true glimpse of who I am.

I dont know what took me so long, but I am glad I am here now.

Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Not Ready

Grief feels like a weighted blanket. It’s close to my body, but I put it away each morning and begin the day pretending it’s not there. Annoyance is also close by. The pitying question “how are you?” continues to grate. I don’t know how I am wish want to shout. How is it even after three years, I am no closer to feeling the hole inside recede. Grief is also tiring, mundane, boring even. Repetitive even. Well meaning people irritate with their questions, looking to see if you are whole when all you wish to do is scream, there is also now and before the death. They are just different.

So I continue each day, plodding along, hoping, praying, wishing even that my grief is no bigger or better than others, but the ache stays, the heaviness inside me remains. Only in this morning quiet do I allow myself the luxury of that blanket. But soon I must put it aside as the sun rises, ready to start another day, to answer that I am okay, because truth be told, there is no other way except to carry this for the rest of my life.

And so I begin the day with longing, remembering the laughing times, the old conversations, the many lectures, but most of all, I remember him waving goodbye in so many pictures. He was always ready.  I just wasn’t.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal


One of the many things that I have discovered in my long runs is the sheer amount of thoughts that go through me. Along with the idea of quitting at every single step, as I venture out to longer distances like ten miles plus, I get into an automatic mode in which my legs keep moving, yet my body’s desire to stop grows but is unable to keep me from my momentum. I also can no longer run away from my feelings. So many emotions come up while I am alone on the pavement in the early morning light. Round and round I go, and my thoughts follow me. I feel the hard pavement on my feet, and also a slight twinge of pain in left knees, but I keep moving and so does my brain.

More and more, I see that I get to wake up earlier to get the long run in otherwise once that window of time goes, I am unable to get a run with the sun blazing. So, in the morning darkness, I believe my 2 hour plus running journey. At first, I couldn’t fathom doing that distance especially without music, but lately, as I mark miles I see a willingness to be with my head. To be inside myself and explore what is really going on.

What I find isn’t pretty: deep depths of grief, sadness, anger, unresolved conflicts, and a growing anxiety that I am not making enough, not doing enough, that I am wasting my time in many areas of my life, that I am slow, I am old, I am weak, I am in hiding. I keep the thoughts going, feel the emotion, and then I keep moving. Not away from them, but really allowing myself to feel it all.  Too often, in the past, I have denied and avoided my feelings, but now I honor myself by letting it come out, knowing that most of these things are expressions but they are not the reality.

That just because I am hurt or doubt myself doesn’t mean I give up on the relationship of the task. It just means it an opportunity to learn, to grow. I didn’t say it doesn’t suck, but my pain heals me, allows me to hurt so I can grow, and perhaps, maybe one day, the loneliness will fade.

Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal, My Past, Myself

Time Passes But Hurt Doesn’t

Another anniversary, another reminder of time passing, yet feels like no time at all.  Keep busy. Look down. Keep going. One task to another. Be in service to others. Remember him as the man he truly was not what I wished him to be. See him as a truly loving man who didn’t shy away from saying I love you. Heart full, head heavy. Yet images of him smiling always come to mind. Hard to imagine her pain, waking up to a day like this. Words and emotions flying inside me, but I dare not release them onto others. This is my suffering, to do alone, to serve as penance for not utilizing my time with him well.

But then I remember how much good and fun we did manage to have. Through the arguments, his unwavering support even when he doubted my crazy ideas about Desi music and Ziba, cemented our friendship. Yes, I could say I was friends with Papa.  Yet, the hurt stays, the pain never really gone, just a dull thud, but also the realization that I am the man I am thanks to him. His actions became my opportunities to learn. His mistakes, my pain to overcome and become better.

It’s tempting to build him up, erase the tension and the disagreements, the regret of not following his instructions. The day comes but he’s lasted for years and will for as long as I am here, and hopefully after. I Love you, Papa