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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My First Ultra Marathon ... yeahhhh!!!!

Coming back to the topic of this post, it's been a life-long ambition to complete a full-marathon and this was a spur of the moment decision to "Just Do It". Late-September, I was debating between the 12.5K and the 25K and the 12.5 would have been the more reasonable choice considering the longest I'd ever run was the TCS 10K earlier this year. But then, I thought what the hell. What's life without a challenge. This post is a long (really really long) time coming. I was once an avid blogger and wrote on the smallest of events of my life. This past month has been the most eventful month of my life and I felt that it deserved a post even if it doesn't become the restart of what was once a regular habit.

The two events:

Event 1: Nov 11th, 2012 - Ran and completed my first ever Marathon (OK, it was just a half marathon rather a 25K race).
Event 2: In just a little under 4 weeks after that, we were blessed with a little angel (To-Be-Named) at 5:38 am on the 8th of December. After some initial breathing troubles and a minor bout of Jaundice, she is now back at home enjoying her long naps interspersed with frequent smiles immediately followed by frowns which keeps us amused all day.

The next 6 weeks were spent in diligent training. lots of useful advice from my experienced marathoner friends (Special thanks to Rajit), lots of purchases (shoes, ankle and knee support, running clothes - all to keep me motivated & fake preparedness:-)) and tons of (pre-exam day like) anxiety over if I would be able to do it. Before I knew it, race-day was onto me. The longest I'd run in my 5 week training on my long run days was about 11-12K and the race was double the distance.

Race day started really early. Got up at 3am (after a couple of hours of sleep) and drove down to MG Road to get on the Bus to the race location. Reached the race venue at 5am, did my stretches, ate some light snacks since by my estimate the race would only end around 10am for me (Positive thinking that I would make the end) and started at the back of the line-up when we were called to the starting line. Start late, start slowly was what everyone had told me. I followed the advice to the T.

I really was at the back of the pack and even the few who started behind me started running past me pretty soon ... was jogging that slowly. It wasn't until the 3k mark that I finally noticed a few people who'd raced ahead starting to walk and I slowly jogged past them. Since it was a 6.25x2 loop that we had to repeat twice, I made the half loop in around 48". Relatively slow, but I was still jogging and hadn't once stopped but for the occassional walks at the water junctions.

I continued on and surprise surprise, was still jogging at the 12.5 mark. When I was about 200m from the half-way mark, I heard a lot of chatter and excitement on the loud speaker. I did for a moment begin to wonder if all the excitement was for my completing the biggest run of my life ... I looked back and saw a tall lanky dude running after me. I suddenly realized that this was the "To-Be-Winner" of the half-marathon who was running towards the finish line. I definitely didn't want to get lapped, not even by the winner of the race ... so I ran like I was actually racing him to the finish line. Was probably a funny sight for the volunteers ... but it definitely mattered to me. :-) I crossed the half-way mark at around 1'45". This speed and I would make the full race at 3'30" which would have been amazing for a first-timer.

Happy that I'd made it past the half-way mark, I continued running/jogging till about the 15K mark ... that was when I started feeling a real pain on my left heel. I'd strapped myself around the ankle and the ankle-brace while keeping my ankle protected was starting to hurt near the heel real badly since I'd not strapped it on correctly. I stopped to remove my shoe & the ankle brace and that was probably the first big mistake. The break was a long one (atleast 5-8mins) and I lost a lot of time and momentum. After that, I was not able to jog continuously however hard I tried. As I neared the 3/4 distance point the runs had reduced to a few meters followed by long walks.

Lot of pain, lot of hobbling and several failed attempts at running later made it to about a km of the finish line. I definitely didn't want to walk past the finish line and jogged the last km despite being in real pain. Was a satisfying finish in 3'50" ... much slower than what I'd hoped for at the half-way mark but within my worst case scenario of 4 hours. And better news was delivered a few minutes after I finished ... the announcer announced that there were still around 75 people still running after I had finished. I wasn't the last one and that was good enough for me.

Finishing a half-marathon was probably never a big deal ... finishing it when I am at my heaviest & most unfit without picking up any major injury both during the training & during the race is the real story.

Having spent the last month gloating over having finished a marathon, I signed up for the Auroville Marathon to make sure that I keep up my running and don't give up on my dream to one day complete a full-marathon. After a month of lazing on my backside and resting on my so-called laurels & accolades (read likes), I ran my first training run yesterday. The goal for Auroville is to complete the shorter distance of 21.2K (Half-Marathon) at a 2'30" OR atleast a 2'40". Might be ambitious ... but what's life without a challenge or two. Wish me luck!!!

A side note: I did make sure I told my gym instructor about this. In early October, the dude gave me a "you must be joking" look and laughed his heart out when I told him that I'd signed up for a 25K. Saying that "he was shocked" when he heard that I'd completed the 25K would be an understatement.  :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Top 7 Resume Improvement Tips - For even the best

I gave out Free Resume Tips to improve even the best CV all of July on Facebook.com/Randhir.Net. While it has been shared and liked by many friends & clients, I thought it would be great to share them in one place.

#R2J Tip 1: Resume is about what you achieved and what you can achieve and not about what you were supposed to do as per your job description. Check every line of your CV to make sure that this is what it is doing.

#R2J Tip 2: Tables look lame on your CV but are a powerful way of Formatting your content into multiple columns/sections. A cool way to get the best of both is to create the tables, but remove the borders.

#R2J Tip 3: Make sure your most important content is on Page 1 and at the Top of Page 1. A good way of doing this is to make sure your Professional Summary is your 2 minute pitch and the first 1-2 lines of the Summary is your 30 sec pitch. Add Skills, Achievements, a work summary

#R2J Tip 4: Have Certifications, Affiliated to some Industry Forum? Worked with Big Brand Names and are proud of it? Make sure you add the logos in appropriate locations on your CV so that they stand out in your CV.

#R2J Tip 5: Having a Social Profile (atleast on LinkedIn) is more important than ever before? I get 50 visitors on my LinkedIn profile every week and atleast 50% of them are prospective employers or consultants who are checking me out. My company does most of its sourcing on LinkedIn. Make sure you maintain it appropriately. Why is this a resume tip? If you have some great recos on LinkedIn, make sure you highlight that in your CV (Possibly in the Footer)

#R2J Tip 6: Want to switch industries? Want to take on a new role within the current company/industry? Freelance/Weekend projects & Internships in your area of interest and other areas too and a separate section that talks about all of your independent initiatives will help showcase you as a well-rounded individual and a go-getter.

#R2J Tip 7: Last in our Resume Improvement Tips, but definitely not the least. Matching the CV to the Job Description is very important. Matching could be as simple as moving bullet points around, highlighting keywords from JD or rewording parts of the CV to reflect relevant achievements that the Job is looking for. I typically start with a 1.5 page resume and cut down to 1page depending on the role I am applying to.

Do like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/randhir.net to keep getting tips such as these, special offers on our services and trainings and a lot lot more. Share this with your friends and family if you think they will benefit from our services or tips.

Also, go to the Photos section of our Fanpage to see Page#1 of my 1.5 page resume which has most of these tips incorporated. Feel free to learn from them and do it yourself. If you need my services, I am just a phone call away (+91.9945.254742). You can also book an appointment by going to our website and clicking on the meeting scheduler at the bottom right of the screen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Best Business Travel Innovations - A Guest Post

This is a guest post from Logan, a friend who is an expert on private air charters. He writes on some recent innovations and projects related to his field travel. 

Best Business Travel Innovations

As someone who is not short on travel experience, I can appreciate a good innovation in the field of business travel. Turns out the folks at Fast Company and the Global Business Travel Association share the same appreciation. On July 22, Fast Company and the GBTA will present the 2012 Business Traveler Innovation Awards. The awards has 7 categories including “Sustainable Practice,” “Traveler Comfort,” “Travel Personalization,” “Outstanding Apps,” ”Travel Convenience and Efficiency,” “Travel Management” and “Traveler Productivity.”  Visit this link to check out more information about the nominees. Of the many worthy nominees, I wanted to spotlight a few of my personal favorites.

The Carbon Dioxide Emissions Calculator

This handy tool allows customers of Avis Rental Group to calculate their CO2 emissions. The formula Avis uses was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and can calculate emissions for any time period and location and allows this information to be reported by businesses which have established rate codes. In this age, more and more people are conscious of and curious about their carbon footprint. This is a great tool to give people an idea of the impact they are making on the environment.

The Travisa Visa App

The Travisa Visa App gives relevant information on Visa and passport services to you via your Android or iOS device. This can be a life saver when you’re traveling between many different countries and keeping the various rules and regulations straight gets tough.


This site allows users to find, book and pay for a taxi in Europe from their mobile device. Gone are the days when you had to wait half an hour in the pouring rain simply trying to hail a cab. With this site, you have the power to do it all from the comfort of home. The company will also be launching its mobile app at the GBTA Conference.

TRX Travelinx 

If you’ve ever had multiple flights in a day or simply had many places to be in a short period of time, you’ll appreciate this app. The Travelinx app converts your entire travel itinerary into one simple-to-use list. This is the easiest and most efficient way to handle a schedule chock full of meetings and flights and bus rides.

Those are just a few of the nominees for awards at the GBTA Conference that I really appreciated. Check out a few of the nominees for yourself and next time you find yourself traveling on business, be sure and take advantage of a few of these great innovations in business travel.

Author's bio: Logan is a guest author and expert on private air charters. He uses Teterboro airport to fly all around the world.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Certifications - Great Opportunity to add a few to your CV today ...

One typical feedback I give most of my clients (especially freshers and young professionals) who come to me for Resume Improvement - Try and Add one or more Certifications relevant to your Profile to your CV. This will help prove yourself to potential employers (especially when you don't have relevant experience in the field/tool). The obvious question is which ones, how much to pay for it and aren't there free certifications that are worth going for to prove ourselves. While most certifications worth the paper they are printed on cost Rs. 5000 upwards, over the next two days, you and I have an opportunity to get certified in a few relevant courses from Brainbench.

This is what I got in the e-mail from Brainbench today or within the next two days (when it is free). Go ahead and register on Brainbench and get certified. In fact, do your bit for your country and get India to the top of the leader-board (as on today - 3/7 as I post this, India is at No. 3 behind US and Ukraine in terms of Most Certified and No. 5 in terms of those certified with a 4+ score).

If possible, please let me know which ones you got certified as well.

Brainbench would like to invite you to participate in our online worldwide certification competition -Bench Games!

Throughout this event we are making ALL of our 600+ certification tests free -- YES FREE -- fromMarch 5, 2012 through March 9th, 2012.
Learn more about Bench Games: Click Here

The Bench Games leader board will be available starting March 6th. Find out which:

  • Country has the most certified citizens
  • Person received the highest score on a given test
  • Country has the most MASTER level certified citizens
Support your country and get a chance to win free Brainbench annual subscriptions, all while enhancing your resume/CV and online transcript.
To take advantage of this great event, simply log-in to your Brainbench account during March 5th - 9th and start your testing!
The Brainbench Team