0.5k

0.5k

I’ll stop posting about packing updates because it’s making me depressed and very stressed.

I wish I have the motivation to go out and take a walk or go for a run. Sigh.

Anyway, a town in Texas will hold a 0.5k in May. That’s not a typo, the race is all of half a kilometer. The race starts at a local brewery (free beer), there’s a doughnut & coffee stop at 150m, and the race ends at another local brewery (more free beer). There’s the usual t-shirt and medals.

There’s even a VIP option, where for an extra $25, the VIPs get to go from start to finish in a 1963 VW bus. They still get the free beers too.

Proceeds go to a charity that provides food for underprivileged children. It all seems so much fun. I think they should expand it, who needs Rock’n’Roll races when there are 0.5ks to be organised.

boston marathon 2018

Last weekend was the Boston Marathon. The unsurprising results were in the wheelchair division: Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug. In the non-wheelchair division the results were complete surprises–Yuki Kawauchi won the men’s and Desiree Linden won the women’s race. Only one Kenyan in either podium positions–Geoffrey Kirui came second in the men’s race. No Ethiopian, and the women’s podium had 3 North Americans.

The weather contributed a lot to the results. Conditions were horrid, cold and windy and rainy. Which made Kawauchi’s and Linden’s victories all that special.

Desiree Linden is an experienced marathoner, representing the US in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and came 4th at Boston last year. She is also a fabulous team player, slowing down mid-race to wait for Shalane Flanagan and again helping Molly Huddle try to close the gap on the leaders. If that isn’t the epitome of sportsmanship, what is.

kawauchiboston

Yuki Kawauchi is the first Japanese winner and he’s always been a legend. He participates in an average of one marathon per month. Just this year alone he’s run 4 marathons and look at his results:

  • Marshfield Road Runners–first
  • Kitakyushu–first
  • New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi–first
  • Boston–first

What’s more amazing is he’s still classified as an amateur–he has a full-time job working for the government of Saitama prefecture and unusually for Japanese runners, is not part of an ekiden. Because of his amateur status, he doesn’t have a sponsor although he is eligible to receive prize money. [Edit: he announced after Boston that he is turning pro.]

Brett Larner at japan running news has a detailed account of Kawauchi’s career leading up to Boston. He ran 2:08:27 at Tokyo 2011 and started looking at entering races abroad. Before this year his work schedule didn’t allow him to run Boston, which takes place on a monday. He has run NYC 3 times because the november race falls in a long weekend in japan.

The planning for Boston 2018 began one year earlier. Brett tells the story of meeting Bill Rodgers at a Red Sox game in 2017 and him recording a short video for Kawauchi. The message: “I know you haven’t run Boston yet. You HAVE TO run Boston.”

Kawauchi’s 2018 results show how versatile and tough he is. He finished 3rd on the brutal downhill 6th stage at the Hakone ekiden which shows he can tackle downhill. He won the Marshfield New Year marathon, Marshfield being south of Boston and it was sub-zero in January. Wan Ji Shi in Taiwan was in hot and humid conditions. All his bases were covered as far as possible Boston weather conditions.

That left strategising against the competition. The Kenyans, the Ethiopians, and the Americans, especially Chicago winner Galen Rupp. What became clear was it’s historically impossible to win Boston by going out fast, leading for the first 25k, and not fast enough in the last 10k. Nobody who goes out hard wins Boston.

So what did Kawauchi do?

He went out hard, very hard, 4:37 first mile. He made everyone in the field go out hard too, and played a little psychological warfare with them. They knew they shouldn’t be going out fast, but had to keep up with him, and at the back of their minds is the conventional wisdom of not going out hard. It must have played on the minds of the others. And then he started breaking them one by one. Rupp broke and ended up DNF, as did many others. The only remaining obstacle was Geoffrey Kirui, and he got passed at around 35k.

tl;dr:

Kawauchi came to Boston fully prepared for any situation. In the words of outside:

On a day when the conventional running wisdom dictated that it would be absolute suicide to take the lead early and bear the brunt of the gale-force winds, Kawauchi not only took the lead, but jetted out at sub-world record pace for the first mile, opening up a huge gap between himself and the rest of the field.

He controlled the race. And that’s why he won.

what did i miss part 3

A few of the stuff that’s happened over the past 2 weeks during nano, part 3. Sports and drinks, not sports drinks, two separate topics.

1a. marathons #1 — elites

The headlines all shouted “Galen Rupp is first American winner of the Chicago Marathon since 2002.” And although some of them clarifies that it’s the first American male since 2002 (last American female was Deena Kastor in 2005) it still feels like a huge, huge disservice to Tatyana McFadden, who has won the women’s wheelchair race fo the past seven years. I swear, paralympic athletes get an even worse deal than women athletes, the sort of media attention they get, ie zero. Not to take away Rupp’s victory, but the blatant inequality really needs to be addressed.

In the NYC marathon, Meb, in his last NYC, finished in 2:15:29, putting the 42 year old in 11th place. The women’s race was won by Shalane Flanagan. So the two big autumn US marathons both had American able-bodied winners. That’s good for the US. Much needed good news for them.

In unrelated news, Mo Farah is moving up to the marathon. And he got knighted. Yay Sir Mo!!


1b. marathons #2 — blind solo runner

Simon Wheatcroft finished the NYC marathon in 5:17:40. An unremarkable time, but what’s truly remarkable is that he is a blind runner who ran the race solo.

I ran a night race a couple of years ago and there were a number of visually impaired runners. They were just as fast and just as good as able-bodied runners. The route was through part of the country park so the terrain was rough with narrow and winding paths; the runners and their guides negotiated those with ease and I could hear the guides telling the runners to make a right turn or there is a hump coming up. I’m full of admiration for them, as I am with all paralympic athletes.

Wheatcroft suffers from a rare genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, and his sight has gradually deteriorated since he was a teenager. Nowadays, he can distinguish changes in light and darkness, like seeing the world through a fog. He knows when someone stands in front of him, because he sees a blurry shadow, but that’s it. He is also an experienced runner, marathoner and ultramarathoner, previously running with guides and trains by running up and down a straight abandoned road near his home in Doncaster. He memorises routes, obstacles, and navigate along the slightly raised edges of painted double yellow lines along the road.

In recent years, there have been massive inroads made in providing assisted technologies to help visually impaired people “see” by using AI and VR technologies. However, these type of technologies are limited–it requires outside help, or only work in static situations. For instance, a google glass subscription called aira connects the blind person and a sighted person so the sighted assistant can give verbal clues to tell the blind person what they are seeing through the glasses. The subscription costs US$349 per month, which is really expensive. Most assisted technology solutions are built around some sort of visual input and an audio output, but audio output is cumbersome. The Verge:

Imagine a Siri or Alexa-like interface describing every single object in your field of vision. Consider the cognitive overload that it would create on an already loud street crowded with obstacles.

wearworks

Wheatcroft set out to look for alternatives and came across Wayband, a product from a company called WearWorks that uses haptic technology, which provides output through the sense of touch rather than audio. The company was cofounded by 3 graduates of New York’s Pratt Institute and just finished a 3 year residency at Brooklyn’s Urban-X incubator. Wayband was featured at SXSW and uses two technologies. First, it uses known GPS technology (google maps, OpenStreetMap) to map a route for the runner, the signal is transmitted via bluetooth using an armband which buzzes in a sort of Morse code (eg 2 long taps to turn right). This pairs with an ultrasonic device called the Tortoise that broadcasts and receives ultrasonic pulses. If there is an object or person in range, the ultrasonic waves that reflect back are changed and the device lets the user know using a series of vibrations. This is not new, devices that help people park their cars use similar ultrasonic technology.

During the NYC marathon, Wheatcroft started by using this system, the first time it had been tested in a race. And what a way to test. Not a small local race, but one of the largest marathons in the world, with more than 50,000 runners. During the race he was also accompanied by Kevin Yoo, one of the founders of WearWorks as well as Neil Bacon and Andrea Corak, his longtime friends and guides. They ran behind him and were there as a last resort, to prevent him from running into another runner and ruining their marathon.

It wasn’t perfect: tall buildings affected the GPS which incorrectly told him he was off course, the rain caused the Tortoise to stop working at mile 15, and at one of the water stops another runner stopped abruptly in front of him. Even a sighted runner would have found it difficult to stop in time and there was a small collision. Neither runner was hurt. The team ended the race with guides running next to Wheatcroft as per usual, but the experiment was by and large successful. There is still a way to go before the product can be marketed but the team now knows what those improvements are.

The implications are huge. Not only for running or sports, this system can help a blind person navigate through normal life. Wheatcroft on NYT:

It’s not the end, it’s just a start.”


1c. marathons #3 — grass root runner

The running bubble has popped, says the NYT on the day of the NYC marathon. A strange thing to say, considering 50,000 participated and the success rate for applications was 17%. I got my annual VLM rejection in October, so from my perspective the running bubble hasn’t quite popped.

Thing is, although interest in the big races have held steady, less well known races and shorter distance races have seen a decline in participation. Some reasons:

  • cost — gone are the days of US$10 or $25 races, now the cost is astronomical, Las Vegas RNR 5k is $79.99!
  • too much focus on charity running — while an honourable effort, it has become blackmail with too few places available for non-charity runners and huge amounts that needs to be raised
  • too many races, and competition from speciality races like mud runs
  • competition from other fitness activities like cross fit

The industry has become a victim of its own success and commercialisation. Once a race gets taken over by corporate interests, something goes missing. Not only will I not pay $80 for a 5k, I won’t ever run a RNR race again whatever the price because they have become pure greed. I remember a long time ago an ex-colleague asked me if I was running the NYC marathon and I said it’s too expensive ($295 now). She was so surprised, she thought it was free and you just showed up. I wish.

I’ve written about charity running before. TL;DR: I hate it with the venom of a million exploding suns.

What we need, is a return to grassroots. Running clubs are still popular and just look at the success of parkruns in the UK. Another reason I want to go back to the UK.


2a. drinks #1 — alcohol and cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncological published a report that says even light drinking can cause cancer. Yet another study that tells us not to eat or drink something, so much so that there was a study on the study of what foods are bad for us–in 2013 researchers took 40 ingredients from an ordinary cookbook and found 264 studies on whether at least one of those ingredients causes cancer. We’re talking about ingredients that are in almost everybody’s cupboards: salt, pepper, flour, egg, bread, butter, lemon, onion, carrot, milk, cheese.

We know that heavy or even moderate drinking has detrimental effects. The report says in the US, 3.5% of cancer deaths are attributable to alcohol. But as the NYT says in a more-or-less rebuttal:

this means that 96.5 percent of cancer deaths are not attributable to alcohol. If we eliminate heavy drinking, which no one endorses as healthy…that number climbs. If we also eliminate those who smoke…the number of cancer deaths not attributable to alcohol approaches 100 percent.

These reports mean well, but they tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies and then the media reports them using scaremongering headlines. The traditional image of a researcher is someone who observes or achieves some results and then postulates a theory that explains those results. There are researchers that are basically reverse-researchers, they know what result they want and then they do so-called research till they get those results. I call them hacks.


2b. drinks #2 — bartending in antarctica

antarcticabar

Interesting article about bars in Antarctica. There are 45 research stations in Antarctica, with thousands of researchers there in the summer but only a few hundred during the winter. Each station has its own bar with names like Gallagher’s Pub, Southern Exposure, Tatty Flag. The bars had no owners, no official hours, and no price. People shared their stash of personal alcohol and were in luck when one of the researchers also have bartending skills. Bartending in Antarctica is voluntary and requires creativity and innovation, as not all ingredients are available. The good thing is, no fridge is needed, just put the stuff outside.

Drinking can be a problem in Antarctica, because of the monotony of life, especially in the winter months. The bars became social focus points, and bartenders did the job all other bartenders do all over the world. One bartending researcher said he:

swapped out soda for booze when people drank too much…and kept them inside the bar rather than watching them stumble out the door where, completely inebriated, they could hurt themselves or pass out in the snow.


2c. drinks #3 — escape from IPA

escapefromipa

I do quick research during nano and I came across this beer called Escape from IPA from Pipeworks brewery in Chicago. What I found hilarious is the label, which is in line with all their other labels. Look at that Han Solo pirate escaping helicopters and red F1 racing cars, kinda comic book cliché.

With a name like Escape from IPA, it suggests that it’s the anti-IPA (scourge of craft beers). But it’s actually a 10% West Coast styled triple IPA made from 3 hops with the fancy names of Equinox, Galaxy, and Centennial.

Some people bet on racehorses based on their names or the colour of their jockey’s shirt. This is definitely one instance where people may pick a beer based on name or garish label. That’s exactly what my character did.


2d. drinks #4 — free beer while shopping

So a Morrisons in Leeds started offering free beer to shoppers while they go about their weekly shop. Not just beer, they have cider and wine too. The beer they serve is Saltaire Blonde ale from a local brewery.

morrisonsbeer

It’s a whole pint, according to the daily mail (not linking to that drek). Sounds like a good idea, except I’d prefer half or 1/3 pints because of drinking and driving. They should put the featured beer on its own display stand and study how sales increase. I’m very sure more people will buy it because they are given a sample.

almost #breaking2


2:00:25.

So close. Eliud Kipchoge almost succeeded in Nike’s #breaking2 marathon challenge at Monza F1 course. Even if he had gone sub-2 it wouldn’t have counted as a world record because he had 30 pacers and a lead car. Plus Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoes and sports drinks delivered by moped were questionable against IAAF rules.

The amazing thing is, he was on pace until around 30km, when he dropped back. Regardless of whether it was a staged event, and regardless of the fact that he didn’t go sub-2, it was still, as the Guardian said,

the most glorious of failures.

breaking2split

Just look at his splits. Wow.

spring marathons #bostonstrong

It’s spring marathon season. Brighton was last weekend, Paris was yesterday, London is next weekend. Today is Boston, which is an anomaly in world marathons in that it’s run on a monday.

I’m mesmerised, watching how they let pedestrians cross the street in the middle of the marathon course. Effective and using low tech ideas. Just a few officials, a couple of signs, rope and a rectanglar box in the middle of the street. Very clever.

switzer

And talking about Boston, it’s the 5th anniversary of the bombing so #BostonStrong. The biggest finisher wasn’t Geoffrey Kirui or Edna Kiplagat (yay for Kenya) but bib #261, Kathrine Switzer, aged 70. Ms Switzer was the first woman to officially run Boston in 1967, having registerd as K.V. Switzer. The iconic photo of the race director trying to grab her mid-course seems so ridiculous now, but what she did for women’s sports was set a fantastic example and role model. 70 years old and she finished in 4:44:31. Amazing.

The BAA has retired her bib #261, in her honour.

illustrated marathon maps

marathondrawinglondon

Went running the other day, did 5k around the reservoir park. Extremely slow and there is no doubt I’ve lost 100% of my fitness, probably more since I need to lose weight too. It’s been a year since my last serious run. I still follow Paris Marathon on social media but I don’t dare think about any of it. I wonder when I’ll be ready to go back to running.

Saw the reddit thread by an artist who produced illustrated marathon maps. He’s done maps for Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, MCM, New York, Pittsburg, San Francisco, and Tokyo. All the drawings are fantastic, my favourites are London and Tokyo mainly because these are two cities I know and love. Definitely worth checking out the full gallery.

marathondrawingtokyo

The prints are available for sale. $28 isn’t too bad though I wish they sold postcard sized too so I can get the whole set. If they did a Paris map I’ll consider getting the print; it’s the one that got away, innit.

global running day

globalrunningday2016

5.0km 38.11min 7.38min/km

1 June is global running day:

a day for people around the world to celebrate the joys of running. Participation is easy—just pledge to take part in some type of running activity on June 1, 2016. It can be a solo lap around the block, a long run with friends, or even a game of tag with your kids. The key is to share your passion for the sport and inspire others to get moving

Brooks made a bib template to encourage people to participate in the event. I asked G if she can draw something for my bib. She didn’t use the template but what she gave me was a million times better. So cute!

running20160602

We’re under the first big heatwave of the year, temp up to 32ºC. Not wise to run during the day so I ran around the streets downstairs after dinner. Started faster than I’ve run recently, but then the heat got to me and I slowed down a lot.

barkley marathons

This weekend is the barkley marathons. And no, there is no typo, it’s marathons. Barkley is one of the toughest and secretive ultramarathons in the world. 100 miles in the Tennessee wildnerness. Registration, course and even start time are secretive and all up to the organiser Laz. The course is a 20-mile unmarked route,

with no aid stations except water at two points along the route and the runner’s parked car at the beginning of the loop

plus an elevation of over 50,000 accumulated climb. There is a “fun run” at 60 miles, with a time limit of 40hrs. The race itself has a time limit of 60hrs, or 12hrs per loop.

Since its inauguration in 1986 only 15 winners have won. The race mystique was increased this year with the release of a documentary.

rhonda

This year’s race is covered widely on twitter via #bm100. One of the most remarkable runners is Rhonda-Marie Avery, a blind runner who will run with a guide. This is her arriving after completing one loop in 32hrs. She tapped out at one loop but what an achievement.

Edit: the race was won by Jared Campbell, his third finish. What an achievement.

day of paris marathon

pm0k

I’m been switching between local and Paris time occasionally during the day. I was in the last coral, scheduled to depart at 10.35am CET. I was looking at the clock around 20mins before, and felt a small pang of sadness. Then we went to the hospital and there was again an improvement, which immediately took the sadness away.

When we left at the end of visiting hour, it was around 2pm CET, so I was imagining where I would have been. I got home, showered and it was nearing 3.30pm CET. If I were aiming at 5.30, I would have been around 5k from the finish. Realistically, I was probably at around 35-37k. Slowness, tiredness and definitely stopping to take pictures.

pm30k

The official fb page has been posting pics. This is a nice one at 30k, can see part of the Eiffel Tower. They have a nice set showing the glorious day (may be too sunny) and the magnificent city the route takes.

Found a google earth route. I’ve been wondering about what it would be like at the 2 borses. I guess it’s difficult unless you’re there in person.

The women’s race was won by Visiline Jepkesho (Ken) at 2.25.53 and the men’s race by Cybrian Kotut (Ken) at 2.07.11.

ZERO regrets about missing the race.

Eddie Izzard 27 marathons in 27 days

Regardless of what you feel about Eddie Izzard, my hat off to him for completing 27 marathons in 27 days. He did 2 on the last day and raised more than £1 million for charity. Awesome.

BBC3 has been following him on his quest, the clip of his last day shows dedication as well as humour. Yes he has a team supporting him but it seems so lonely to run mostly on his own. I bet he got a lift from supporters running with him and cheering him along the way. And why did they make him climb up those stairs to Nelson Mandela’s statue after he ran 56 miles that day?

Someone posted a really funny comment on runnit:

As far as I can tell, Eddie Izzard’s daily schedule looks something like:

5.30 am, Alarm goes off
Brush teeth
A quick before breakfast marathon
Shower. A healthy breakfast
Get dressed. Try on a sequined dress. Look fabulous
Change of mind. Put on a suit
A brisk 26.2 mile jog into work
Start shooting scenes for pilot of tv show. Nail every scene
The odd marathon between takes
That’s a wrap
After work drinks
Marathon
Dinner
Marathon
Head downtown to do a standup show. Audience is in stitches
Leave stage
Fit in a quick marathon before returning to thunderous applause to perform encore

Teehee, I love reddit.

Japanese marathon monks

Something else I’ve been reading up on the last few days is the Kaihōgyō 回峰行 or circling the mountains meditation challenge that is undertaken by the so-called marathon monks of Mt Hiei, just outside Kyoto.

As part of a 7 year quest, a participating monk runs or walks 1000 marathons in 1000 days:

  • year 1: 30-40km every day for 100 consecutive days
  • year 2: 30-40km every day for 100 consecutive days
  • year 3: 30-40km every day for 100 consecutive days
  • year 4: 30-40km every day for 200 consecutive days
  • year 5: 30-40km every day for 200 consecutive days
  • end of year 5: survive 9 days without food, water or sleep
  • year 6: 60km every day for 100 consecutive days
  • year 7: 85km every day for 100 consecutive days

They don’t just walk along paths in the mountain, they stop off at places of worship too. It was moving to see in the film how people bowed and kneeled along the path of the kaihōgyō in order to be blessed by the monk.

The monks are part of the Tendai school of Buddhism, and only 46 monks have ever completed the challenge. Traditionally after the first 100 days, the monk must either complete the challenge or commit suicide if he fails. In practice, a solid selection process means no one has had to commit suicide for over 100 years. Upon successful completion, the monk achieves the revered status of living Buddha and become celebrities.

They don’t walk or run with the type of gear used by modern day runners. Their shoes are handmade from straw and they wear their white monk’s habit. What’s most amazing, as writer and runner Adharanand Finn discovered when he met one of the monks and tells a story of someone meeting a marathon monk on the last day of his challenge, expecting to see his feet all swollen and sore.

“But they were smooth and clean,” she says. “As though he had been floating over the ground.”

bookmarathonmonk

The term marathon monk was coined by John Stevens in his book of the same name. Himself a marathon monk, with 35 years experience living in Japan and an expert in aikido, this is a book I’d love to read.

The reader will learn about the monks’ death-defying fasts, their vegetarian training diet, their handmade straw running shoes, and feats of endurance such as their ceremonial leap into a waterfall

Perhaps not to buy. I don’t think the library has it, it’s a shame.

running not in $99 gear

8.0km 1.11.07hr 8.53min/km

Humidity is marginally lower, but speed is still not here. Whatever.

I try to think back to why I started running. What I posted 4 years ago is still relevant. I hadn’t made much progress in 4 years, due to lethargy and lack of interest in participating in the local running scene.

Anyway, another reason for starting running was the cost, or supposed lack of cost. I don’t like joining gyms, I hate group classes. I love racket sports but have no one to play with. I love basketball but haven’t played in 20 years.

So yeah, cheapest sport. Everyone should have t-shirt, shorts or loose clothing. Most people will have sneakers or comfortable shoes. Tell the time using a watch, or check the clock on the way out and way in. Check distance by measuring on a map or run around a track. So in theory it costs nothing, but of course it doesn’t work that way. Gear creep starts with shoes, then it’s tech shirts, then GPS, then wearables, then all the various and sundry accessories.

Shoes come first for me. Initially I went to the running store to get the latest models but I quickly learned how to seek out good running shoes for under $100. One pair can last something like 500 miles, so it is worth the investment, unlike cheap $16 walmart shoes that are so terrible they aren’t even worth paying for.

I used to have a nike+, then a polar HRM, then a garmin. I just use the iphone nowadays. Zombies run is free, although I did pay $9.99 for a full version before they messed up the pricing and update. It was worth the money, especially since legacy pro users came out ahead after the mess.

Other gear I’ve bought include a very useful spibelt, water bottle belt, earphones, knee braces, KT tape, foam rollers and compression socks. I don’t think I’ve been that indulgent. Many of the gear is from 4-5 years ago and I’ll keep on using them until they need to be replaced. I run in tech shirts from races, cheap shorts from the market, ordinary socks and a towel, the sort we get from the market to use around home.

I guess if I wanted to, I can splash out a lot for clothing. But I won’t. I’m certainly not going to pay $89, or $99, or $129 full price for this ridiculously named PHYSICLO x RXACTIVE: Activewear series of shorts and leggings with

custom power mesh panels that push your leg muscles to work harder, resulting in increased muscle tone and caloric burn

physiclox

The claims are equally impressive outlandish: 23% more muscle activity, 14% more calories burned, 8% increase in heart rate. What’s amazing is over 850 people have bought into the indiegogo campaign. Hive mindset or people with too much money or people wanting to get in on the lastes, coolest, gear?

new running accessories

 

6.0km 44.48min 7.28min/km

A couple of running accessories arrived today. A small foam roller that is sort of portable—it comes with a carrying bag afterall. The foam roller I have at home is a 36” high density model, it’s very essential. This one is 12” with ridges and a smaller lower density one that slips perfectly inside the outer one. They work great, although I had to get used to the smaller width.

The other item is another set of headphones. I have something like 4-5 headphones I use regularly for running. I don’t find earbuds useful—they slip out, no matter what size—so I’m always on the lookout for headphones that will work for my ears. These are newer models of my favourite ones, and even these are discontinued so I don’t know how much longer I can still get them.

Went out for a faster run today, managed 6k outside. Still too slow for my liking. 7.28 is a 5.15 marathon; if I were to break 5hrs I need to go below 7.07. And training isn’t going as well as I would like. Sigh.

impact of heat and humidity on running

The problem with entering a race in October is the bulk of the training takes place during the summer months. If the weather regularly reaches over 30ºC and 90% humidity, it’s very unpleasant for being outdoors, let alone trying to run. I’m still not back at pre-holiday form, and add on the weather, recent outdoor runs have been poor:

  • 09-may: 9.5km 1.23.45hr 8.49min/km
  • 18-may: 10.02km 1.40.00hr 9.59min/km
  • 21-may: 5.01km 39.40min 7.55min/km
  • 25-may: 8.0km 1.16.45hr 9.36min/km *
  • 27-may: 6.36km 49.13min 7.44min/km

*wanted to do 10k, had to cut short because it was so hot, barely any shade.

It’s common sense, that heat and humidity affects performance. The explanation is fairly scientific too: when it’s hot, body temperature rises. Sweating is a mechanism for the body to cool down (thermodynamics: energy is required to convert liquid to gas, the energy in this case comes from body heat). When it’s humid, sweat can’t evaporate into the saturated atmosphere and stays on the body. Body temperature continues to rise causing heartrate to increase. The body compensates by diverting blood and oxygen from muscles to skin capillaries for cooling, and the body slows down.

heatpace01

The best condition for running is cold (around 10-12ºC) with a breeze and preferably with lots of shade or cloud cover. Running coach Jeff Galloway has a chart that correlates pace with temperature (I converted to ºC). It’s not scientific, but based on his and other runners’ experiences. It makes sense.

heatpace02

The folks at runontexas (via) has a table that shows the change with heat and humidity. This is in seconds per mile and assumes humid conditions means over 60%. It’s not hard to project that the effect when it’s over 90% will be even more pronounced.

heatpace04

As always, plotting data out in a chart makes it even easier to understand. The decrease in pace is exponential, once it gets to 30ºC and humid, expect to add 3 minutes per mile, that’s 2 mins per km.

heatpace03

Translating that to my own running. If I optimistically assume a base pace of 6.40min/km (10.45min/mi), then with current conditions, um, first of all it’s not recommended. If I did go running, then it’s a minimum of 8.32 pace. Since I’m nowhere near my base pace, I should expect to go even slower. This puts my recent runs into perspective, I haven’t been doing too badly on the shorter runs, need to build up endurance for longer runs. Wear a hat, find shade, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The latest run was decent, I stuck to shaded paths and drank about 1.5l of sports drink during the run, and more afterwards.

So this is all kinda depressing, but looking on the bright side, there is a silver lining:

when cooler weather returns you will be surprised at how you are in better condition and can run faster than you expect – often coinciding just in time for your goal fall race

I can only hope.

#39a: run/walk/bike 1001 km/miles

1001kmtable

Task #39 of 101.1001 is to run/walk/bike 1001 km/miles. It started off as 1001 km, but then I changed to 1001 miles, since I was going for the 1779 mile walk to mordor (task #40) anyway.

Of course there’s a spreadsheet, keeping track of actual km/miles as well as progress needed to complete the 3 goals of 1001 km, 1001 miles and 1779 miles in 1001 days. I count running, walking, cycling and swimming too.

1001kmchart

I’ve tried to follow the mordor target (green line), so the actual (red line) fairly mimics it. Today’s run of 5km brought me past the 1001km mark. Almost 1 year, from 01-dec-2013. More walking and stationary bike during the summer months, more running to come with winter and marathon training. 

4 ways to improve running

nikedualfusion2013

New article 4 actionable ways to start improving your running. Makes sense.

1. strides

run at an easy pace, and then gradually get faster until you’re at about 95% of your maximum effort. Hold that for about 2-3 seconds, and then gradually slow to a stop

Another type of intervals, a bit like sprints. The advice is to start with 4 strides, then increase to 6-8.

2. balanced strength training

There are 3 types of workouts: front & back, lateral, and rotational. Running is front & back, so to balance, do exercises that are lateral and rotational like side lunges and hay bales. Hay bales are like goblet squats with rotation.

3. negative splits are good

Some trainers say negative split means not enough effort has been put in the first half of a race. This advice says it improves endurance.

4. different long runs

Accepting that long runs are boring, it’s good to add some variety and fun. Hills, farteks, progressions.  

#40 update: hobbiton to rivendell

mordorwalk458

Task #40 of 101 in 1001 is to complete the walk to mordor challenge, following Frodo and Sam’s journey from Hobbiton to Mt Doom. It’s a total of 1779 miles.

No, I haven’t gone that far yet, though I’m determined to finish this task by the end of 101.1001. I’m happy to say that I’ve reached a milestone: 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell.

This was from a combination of walking, running and cycling (both real bikes and stationary bike). Didn’t keep details of how many miles by each method, I think at the end of the day it’ll balance out.

Next milestone is 462 miles away. This is where Frodo and Sam set out with the Fellowship from Rivendell, through Moria, to Lothlorien to get to 920 miles total.

mordor20140822

So it’s taken me 265 days to complete 459 miles. I’ve used up 26.4% of my time allocation to achieve 25.8% of my goal, so I’m very slightly behind. I have 736 days to cover the remaining 1320 miles, at just over 1.79 miles per day. So far I’ve averaged 1.73 miles per day so I just have to ramp it up a notch and I’ll be back on track.

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imogen heap run time song and app

via giz

Imogen Heap is awesome. Not only is she a great musician, she is also working on an app called Run Time that customises a run. It takes ambient sounds like breathing, footsteps, traffic and even birds and layers them with a pre-recorded electronic track. The best thing is that the runner can adjust the tempo of the music according to stages of a run: slow warm up, walking, running, acceleration and deceleration. She demonstrates this perfectly in her video.

Run-time, the song is based on the app. The album Sparks will be released on 19 August.

The app is still in development. Depending on how much it is, I will likely get it. Although, I won’t lope around NYC like a crazy person the way she did.

run more

1001miles201407

5.11km 39.54min 7.48min/km (12.33min/mi)

I hate this stupid weather, so hot and humid that I’m sweating buckets even though I have the air-con on and even the curtains closed so the sun doesn’t get in. Went over to sis’ place to use the gym. They keep the room pretty cold but I was completely soaked after a while.

Task #39 of 101 in 1001 is to run/walk/bike 1001 miles. Task #40 is to walk 1779 miles to mordor. I’ve been tracking progress and so far I’ve done 413 miles in 8 months. The average of 51.6 miles sounds good, except that most were earlier this year. June was 39.5 miles and July was a horrible 31 miles that caused me to fall behind the 1779 target.

1001milestable201407

In order to keep up I need to average 25 miles per month to meet the 1001 target and 57 to meet the 1779 target. At the back of my mind, I know that once I start training for Chicago marathon 2015 the miles will pile on, but I shouldn’t be complacent.

I just need the weather to cooperate and be less hot. Hate it here. Hate hate hate.

how long is a marathon

How Long is a Marathon?

I’m woefully unprepared for the 5k race on Saturday. I keep saying to myself, it’s only 5k. We’ll see.

Saw this on rock’n’roll marathon’s twitter feed, an interesting infographic on how long is a marathon. Using their average finish time of 4:25hr, I learn that only 2,750 calories burned during the race. For some reason I thought it’s more—we always overestimate calories used during exercise. 2,750 calories is only around 2 burger-and-fries meals. But on the other hand, to get the same amount of calorie burn, we’d have to watch our favourite 30-min tv program 98 times. No favourite is worth sitting through 98 times.

Going to send this to the next person who says “5k marathon” — more useful than strangling them.

zombies run mission 1.4

runzombies
5.12km 39.05min 7.33min/km (12.15min/mi

I downloaded the run, zombies app because I hadn’t been running and needed some serious motivation. The idea of the app is to run through missions (30 or 60mins) that roughly follow a post-apocalyptic story — run to pick up items, escape zombies and help a survival township. It tracks progress via GPS, there’s a radio operator to guide the runner and it plays music in between tasks from a specified playlist.

I tried it on the cruise, and it was really great. The 30mins went by extremely quickly, both when I ran on deck and at the treadmill. I had to manually enter the distance of course. The run today (mission 1.4) was the first with GPS, and I had to escape zombies by increasing my speed. The first couple of times I didn’t realise I had to run faster, but I got it when they came after me the third time. Overall speed of 7.33 is still a minute from the 6.30-6.40 baseline I’m used to when I’m marathon training but a lot better than the 8.00 I’ve been clocking (hence the demotivation).

I spent most of the flights in and out to the cruise watching the entire season 3 of the Walking Dead, and it’s telling how the app is so similar to the walking dead storyline. Gives the story even more of a context and now I can’t wait for the next run/mission. The app is also integrated with the web which gives a nice breakdown of the whole run. Lots of stats and pretty charts. I was also able to run nikeplus in the background so it’s tracked in both places.

marathons are good for the city

So I’m trying to pitch and write a MBA case study on the economic and other impact of holding a marathon, with focus on Tokyo, since it just joined the world marathon series. Trying out an introduction and putting down thoughts for rest of the paper.

————————————————

Joining the Super Elites: Economic and Other Impact of Tokyo Marathon Joining the World Marathon Series

wmmhistory

In 2013, only 6 years after its inauguration, Tokyo became the sixth member of the prestigious World Marathon Majors (“WMM”). The other races are: Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London and New York. These are the most prestigious marathons in the world, attracing over 200,000 participants between them. The total prize money tops $1 million, shared between the 6 races.

Marathon races have become big business, with the World Marathon Major series as the top running brand in the world. Major marathons are profit-making as well as boasting millions of dollars of impact on the local economy through visitor spending, sponsorship and increased media exposure. It is also the largest source of fund raising for many charities.

Tad Hayano, the race director of the Tokyo Marathon, wanted to join the World Marathon Majors “to promote the Tokyo Marathon to the world.” The WMM previously had rules for inclusion including a large pro and mass participation, prize money, significant news coverage and a history of 25 years or more. Tokyo Marathon was able to request for, and received an exception to, consideration of the last rule.

The first WMM Tokyo Marathon was April 2013. What, if any, were the impact of WMM membership? What will future races be like? What lies ahead for other regional marathons, in Japan and in the surrounding Asia Pacific region?

Sections:

  • growth in sports participation, focus on running and races — no of races, participation growing exponentially
  • economic impact of sporting events — summer olympics
  • impact of marathons — NYC, Chicago, London study + even smaller marathons
    • economic impact — visitors spending (NYC 2 million visitors), sponsors, vendors, positive marketing
    • charitable impact — millions raised for non-profits
    • community impact — local schools and clubs participation, volunteers
  • how and why tokyo joined marathon majors
  • possible and desired impact — prize money, sponsorship, revenue, visitor spending
  • runner and world reaction
  • knock on effect on other japanese marathons, other asian marathons

#runforboston

4.56km 26.06min 5.43min/km (9.13min/mi)

The GPS was weak because of the crap weather so I did 26 mins instead of 2.62 miles. Just run, jog, walk and log your miles in support. Wear a race shirt or if you don’t have a race shirt, wear blue and yellow.

nike plus 4 years

nikeplus

5.80km 43.13min 7.27min/km (11.59min/mi)

I dragged Mum to the park so I could run on the track there and she can play on the all-weather gym. Not a very fast run, still a ways to go to get back to fighting fitness.

What was nice, was the badge that came up on nike+. I joined 4 years ago, logged 420 runs totalling 3,473km (2,158 miles). I’ve run 3 marathons, 4 official half marathons (not including 13.1miles run during training runs) and quite a few 5/10k races. My longest run came at 5hr 45mins (first Chicago marathon, I think), my fastest mile was 5.41mins and there’s a lot more running still left in me.

running new park

park

Went with Mum to the park. It’s about 1 mile away, we took a taxi. There’s an athletics track, tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields and even a skating rink. The track is good, and there’s even another path outside the track for when the track is closed or there’s an event. The path is nicely marked in 100m increments, total 550m. Mum walked and I ran, by the time we met back up I’d done 2.5km.

claire squires

Claire Squires collapsed and sadly died during last Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon. She was only 30 years old, and this was her second marathon. She was running for the Samaritans and had raised around £500 for them. Since Sunday, donations on her donation page has surged and is now over £700,000. With giftaid and justgiving waiving their fee, the total donations will top £1 million.

Except for the first £500 donors, most of us who did put in a small amount didn’t know Ms Squires. I’m not a big fan of charity running, and I must admit I don’t give as much as I should to charitable causes. But her death has touched something very raw and emotional — she was a healthy young woman who should be alive today. As a marathoner, there is this fear at the back of our minds that it could happen to any of us, and just as suddenly.

There is so much sadness and tragedy in the world. When we read or watch the news, there is often a sense of helplessness. There is a want to do something, and I’m thinking this is why people have donated to her page. It was very easy, just a few clicks. There is also, at least for me, a sense of comfort, that it is through justgiving, and to the Samaritans, both reputable and trustworthy. If this huge donation can help the Samaritans provide more and better of their invaluable services, then there is something good that comes out of this tragedy.

run now beer later

runnowbeerlater

Runners are one of the biggest groups of drinkers I’ve known. At least in Chicago races, there will usually be beer at the end. Free, or cheap. The good stuff too, 312 or Goose Island. I mean, we’re not all Chris Hoy, who has Olympic gold in sight.

But too much alcohol isn’t good for marathon training. So for the next 3 weeks, I’m going to limit alcohol to weekends only. This includes the 4-day weekend that is Easter.

the day after nano

running20111024

5.00km 30.36min 6.07min/km

The day after I finish nano is usually a bit of a let down. I don’t know what to do. It was quiet at work and I had nothing to write. I come home, watch TV, made lunch for tomorrow and there is nothing to write. Oh, I know, I know. There’s the Lamplight rewrite which has dragged on for too long and I have about 10 books planned so saying there is nothing to write is technically incorrect. There is just nothing to write today.

So, I do the next best thing. I went running. 5k around the track. Getting a little speed back. It’ll be nice if I can consistently do sub-30 5k this year. It’s a reasonable goal.

no london marathon next year

vlmloserfleece

Came home today to a soft red package inside the front door. It’s my “loser” jacket for not getting a place in the london marathon 2012 ballot. I donated my £32 entry fee to charity in case I’m unsuccessful so I got:

  • the fleece jacket
  • entry into a draw for an additional 1,000 guaranteed places
  • free draw for 1 entry into the ING NYC Marathon 2012 including travel & accommodation, or 1 week’s sporting holiday for two

There’s also a magazine that has a huge COMMISERATIONS! written across the front cover, just to rub it in. Most of the magazine consists of adverts for charity. The message is, “come run with us, we have places!! Oh, you have to raise hundreds or even thousands of pounds for us. But hey look, we have places!!”

Sigh.

Okay, don’t get me wrong. Running for charity is a good idea. I’ve done it myself. But something clicked when I came to the UK and started looking into races. Almost all are driven by charities. The focus isn’t on running but on getting as much money from donors as possible. I’ve had a couple of people (non-runners) offering to sponsor me when I say I’m running a marathon and surprised that I said I’m not in a charity group. They thought it was a requirement.

I’m not alone in feeling the charity fatigue. People are tired of the incessant hounding. It is telling though, that one of the people in the article said,

I hate that every marathon or burst of activity has to be sponsored – for goodness sake, just get off your backside and go for a run if you want to

The problem, I think, is that the only way the person’s friend could get into the marathon or burst of activity was to “pay” the charity entrance fee (pay as in paid by their friends, family and colleagues). I understand that in these times charities are hard hit, and the majority are good causes. But there is a fine line between the noble cause of doing something for charity and blatant guilt trip to the verge of blackmail. My question is, do the charities think that the hard-sell method used by their chuggers, or the hoarding of popular race slots, really work? I guess the former mostly turns people off but the latter does work, because I’m sure the VLM will be at capacity next year.

Back to the VLM. I’m not that bothered that I didn’t get in. If I’m still in London I’ll probably go watch. And besides, I’m confirmed for the Brighton marathon a few weeks before.

blue to purple

running20110910 running20110911

Trivial and inconsequential. Over the weekend I did 20k on Saturday and 5k on Sunday. Around halfway during Sunday’s run I logged 2,500km on the nikeplus and got moved to the next level. It’s another 2,497km to the level after that so I’ll probably be purple for a couple of years at least. Of course not all runs were logged, and there was a duplicate or two. 99% of those were actual, proper (albeit slow) running.

this is why I run

chimarathon037finish

Ms M, one of my fb commenters:

Tell us about this running. Why, when did it start? I mean, did you just wake up one morning and say to yourself, “I think i’ll run a hundred miles a month.”

So I think I’ll try to tell my running story. [Warning: possibly long-winded, definitely self-indulgent.]

I was a fairly active child. Despite being short, I played netball and basketball at school; basketball, tennis and squash at university. Then, as it happens to millions of people, I stopped when I started working. My fitness quickly declined and my weight steadily grew.

From 2003 onwards, I was travelling a lot. I was on a plane, in a hotel something like once every 1-2 months. It got to the point when I did 113,000 miles in 2008. With travelling came unhealthy eating and all of a sudden I looked at my shadow (not even a mirror reflection, it was a shadow on my bedroom wall cast from my bedside table) and I saw 2 disgusting lumps in my mid-section. It was HORRIBLE.

I entered a 10k race in March 2007. With zero training and my shoes falling apart after halfway through, I hobbled home in 1:39. Did the same race a year later, shoes kept the shape but I still struggled to finish in 1:36.

I never thought of myself as a runner, it seemed so boring. But I had to do something about that dreadful gut. So I ran around my neighbourhood. I remember those first runs, I could barely make half a mile without walking. A couple of weeks in, and knowing how I’m a goal and gadget oriented type, I got a nano and a nike+. My first run logged on nike+ was 27-Oct-2008: 10.59km 1:15:22hr 7:07min/km. I probably went out too fast, or it wasn’t calibrated properly. Still, big difference from that first 10k race.

And that was it. The goal initially was 80% weight-loss and 20% fitness. Between running, counting calories and moving I lost 25 pounds between Oct 2008 and Feb 2009.

I moved to Chicago Jan 2009 and lived in a corporate apartment for 5 months. The best thing about that apartment was the free gym, so I got to know the treadmills very well. When it got warmer, in April, I ventured out to the small track. I kept up the running when I moved to my own place, thankful that I was so near the lake. I also started entering into a few races. Mostly 5k, and I was doing pretty well.

Beginning of 2010, I was reading about the Chicago marathon 10-10-10. With such an auspicious date I had to participate. Marathon training plans are tough, so I picked one that was pretty low mileage and seemed doable.

Then I got injured.

Too much, too soon, and I ended up with ITBS. It slowed me down, even to this date. But I got a foam roller, trained more, gritted my teeth and managed to finish the marathon in a disappointing time of 5:38. Should I have done it? Probably too ambitious, given that I didn’t have enough of a base. Not sorry I did it though. Thing about running and marathons and races is that they are like addictions. Once bitten, it’s very hard to shake the bug. I try to run in races regularly, and have on schedule:

  • Chicago marathon Oct-2011
  • Brighton marathon Apr-2012
  • Virgin London marathon (applied for) Apr-2012
  • BUPA 10k May-2012
  • British 10k Jul-2012
  • Really Big Free marathon Las Vegas Nov-2012

Running is easy, just put on some shoes and go. Running consistently and towards goal races takes a lot more time, energy and dedication. I run initially because I looked terrible — that stubborn mid-section pouch is smaller but still there. Now I run because it took me this much effort to get to the shape I’m in now and I owe it to myself to maintain it. I try to build my weekly and monthly mileage because I’m determined to train better and smarter so I have better race experiences. Somedays I feel utter lazy and think why do I have to set aside 4 hours on a weekend. Then I watch the chicago 10-10-10 highlight video and I whisper to myself “I was there.”

Okay, that sounded way too serious. How many people read this far? How many of you are so moved/inspired/motivated that you’ll start running? [beat] Exactly. How about this: why run? Running burns around 300 calories per 5k. An average pint of beer is 250 calories. Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is 200 calories. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BEER.

homerun london

The idea behind homerun is simple — reserve a place, show up, dump your bag, RUN, collect your bag, go home. They transport the running group’s bags by bike to a pre-arranged destination and an agreed time. A great way of combining the work-home commute with running.

They only have one route right now, from Charing Cross to Clapham Common (4miles) but there’s a few proposed ones on the website they say they will consider putting on if enough people vote for them. The only one that is vaguely suitable for me is Oxford Circus to Sheperd’s Bush and even that one is a stretch. I’ll wait for them to be more established, but the idea is a good one.

running injuries

video link: http://youtu.be/m-hCuYjvw2I

So I was running yesterday and this idiot and his stupid backpack left 2 inches for me to sqeeze past so naturally I clipped against it. Caused me to spin around and I ended up colliding with a pedestrian crossing pole. The button box was just the height of my collarbone and now there’s a nasty scratch there as well as possible brusing. Bloody pedestrians.

Running injuries are par for the course. This is a funny and very realistic video of the day after the London marathon in the days when it was still sponsored by Flora.

saucony kinvara vizi orange

kinvaraorange

I brought another pair of shoes into rotation today, these Saucony Kinvaras in what they call vizi orange. The Vomeros are about 2 years old and I got the LunarRacers about a year ago. I didn’t bring the previous pair of Motos from Chicago and I’m careful with the Racers. This means the bulk of my running this year has been with the Vomeros so it’s time to share the burden a little.

This is the first non-Nike sneakers I’ve had for a long long time. Actually I can’t think of when I’ve not worn Nikes. The Kinvaras have had overwhelmingly excellent reviews, that it’s a minimalist-styled shoe that is extremely light (7.7oz) with enough cushioning that distinguishes it from the likes of five fingers. I wanted to try them out.

Oh boy. Just one longish run (12.35km today) and I’m a convert. They’re light with more support than the LunarRacers and most importantly, they felt comfortable. Normally running shoes need to be broken in, but these were great from the get go. I’ll probably order another pair next time I’m in the US.

They come in the usual white and black and blue (and pink for women, ugh). I couldn’t not the orange, they look so cool. No, I wasn’t self-conscious running about in bright orange shoes, in fact I was quite proud. If only I was running at speeds that match their image.

two marathons, one sad news

  • Emmanual Mutai won London in 2:04:40
  • Geoffrey Mutai won Boston in 2:03:02
  • Mary Keitay won London in 2:19:19
  • Caroline Kilei won Boston in 2:22:36

Four great results. Geoffrey Mutai’s time was the fastest in a marathon, but is not recognised as a world record because the Boston course is a) point-to-point and b) downhill with tailwind. Nevertheless, it’s still a fantastically fast time. In fact, both Mutai wins are fast times. I’d be ridiculously happy if I ran a half-marathon that close to 2 hours.

As a result of these times, there’s a lot of talk about when we’d see a sub-2 hour marathon. There’s a great chart on bbc that shows the evolution and everyone agrees that it is just a matter of time. However, the prudent thought is that it will take someone very extraordinary, and may not happen this generation:

reducing it from 2:16 to 2:12 took seven years, 2:12 to 2:08 took 19 years, and cutting it from 2:08 to the current mark of 2:03:59 took 24 years.

Amidst all the marathon celebration, a sad piece of news today, that nine-time NYC marathon winner Grete Waitz has passed away aged 57. I’m old enough to remember her in the 1984 Olympics, taking silver behind Joan Benoit. I can say I ran in the same marathon as Joan last year in Chicago (she ran 2:47:50, the fastest woman over 50), I can never have the same honour with Grete. What a legend.

marathon post-race thoughts

I’m still thinking about Sunday’s race so indulge me for another marathon post please. If I hadn’t been running, I would probably have been watching the whole race on TV. And watched in wonder at the final 1k battle between Sammy Wanjiru and Tsegaye Kebede. Wow!! The way they ran, it looks like they’re sprinting and not having run 41km. Sammy’s kick at the end…I’m awestruck now.

On another topic, I met a guy today who’s run Chicago, NYC, London, Paris, Rome, and a Swiss marathon (Zurich? Jungfrau? I have to look it up). And he came in at 5.17 on Sunday. I feel I didn’t do too badly.

Learned a new phrase today on the rw.com forums — redemption marathon. While we’re still at good fitness form, go run another marathon soon after this one, especially if the performance wasn’t ideal. For example NYC on 7 Nov is a perfect opportunity to redeem for Chicago. Hmm.

kinesio tape

There was a fair bit of attention on beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh in the 2008 Beijng Olympics. Not only because of how she and her partner dominated the event, or the attractiveness of their uniform; she had a strange criss-cross of tape across her shoulder. It prompted a lot of curiosity and it turned out that it was for a shoulder injury. Since 2008 the tape has been seen on the likes of David Beckham and Serena Williams as well as countless professional and amateur sportspeople.

The tape is called kinesio tape, it’s a stretchable athletic tape made of cotton that is applied over the target area in specific patterns to provide support, improve circulation and assist in lymphatic drainage. There are now several brands in the market and they come in different colours, even pretty patterns.

I knew when I had ITBS pain that I should get a roll. It’s not until after yesterday’s terrible 20-miler, and being achy and stiff all afternoon that I decided to try it. I followed the directions on the pack and taped around both knees. There was a small difference immediately. Today I feel less pain and not limping as much as after my previous long runs. Whether it really is due to the tape, or the ice-bath, or the fact that I went to bed at 9.30pm last night, or a combination thereof, I don’t really care. I’ll do whatever it takes to reduce the pain.

rice

rice

The last time I increased distance (the first time I got to 10miles) I ended up with stiff leg muscles and it was awful going downstairs. After yesterday’s long run I was determined to do better, so I stuck with the tried and tested RICE method, which treats and mitigates sports injuries.

RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression, elevation. I went to bed at 10pm; I iced both knees after showering; I wore an it band strap; and I added a large square cushion to the knee cushion I already use for sleeping so everywhere below my knees are elevated and supported.

Still a little stiff going down the stairs, but otherwise I felt fine today. I’m happy at how simple things work.

smart coach marathon training

smartcoach

I’m using the very simple smartcoach program at rw.com for my marathon training. You enter a recent race time, desired training intensity and long run day. It then gives you a schedule that brings you up to race day, together with predicted time.

According to the plan I should have started last week, and had a 13km run on Saturday. Yeah right. All I did was the 8k on saturday and the 5k race on sunday. Missed today’s 5k easy run too. Sigh. Not good.
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hate running groups, hate dogs

One of the reasons I don’t like running in a group is that they occupy the whole pavement and don’t allow enough space for other people. Hog the water fountains too. I was doing a nice 8k and this group (fleet feet? cara?) was having a briefing in a big circle and, yes, spread themselves out on the entire corner. I ran smack in the middle of their circle, I didn’t care.

Related, dogs and dog owners need to disappear off the face of the earth. They are the pits in terms of occupying useless space. Hate, hate, hate.

pain in the knee

runningkneepain

Sigh. I guess it’s inevitable that I’d get pain somewhere in my body due to running. It’s also likely that it’d be my knees. Surprising that it’s the left and not the previously injured right. It’s stiff either side of the kneecap, and there was a point during today’s run, at 12km, that it threatened to give out. Felt a lot like when I had the ski accident and couldn’t put any weight on my leg. There’s no swelling, which suggests to me that’s it’s IT band. What can I do about it:

Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces.

Hmm. I’m building base. This week I’ll hit 33km/20miles. That’s peanuts. I have to build up to 60-70km (over 40miles) to properly prepare for the marathon. And I’ve got the Ravenswood 5k on Sunday. I still haven’t gone a full 10miles in one run. Patience I have very little.

BQ

What does “BQ” mean to me? Before, it’d be B&Q for DIY stuff (UK equivalent of Home Depot, for non-Brits). The last few years it’s the beauty queens from TAR.

But now, it easily means boston qualifying. Even though some say it’s gotten too big, the Boston Marathon is still probably the world’s most prestigious marathon.

The marathon was today, and it was won by Robert Cheruiyot in 2:05:52 and Teyba Erkesso in 2:26:11. I was also moved by the wheelchair winners Wakako Tsuchida and Ernst Van Dyk.

To BQ is a holy grail of sorts for runners. For me, it’s so out of my reach that it’s not worth even thinking about. I’ll be lucky if I finish in 5:30 for Chicago so coming in under 4hrs? Yeah, right.