Recently in being healthy Category
I got sick on the first day of our holiday, the first day in Copenhagen. Could have been on the plane, layover at Dubai, the train from the airport, or when walking around in the city. I knew when my throat felt so dry when I woke up after the first night. It wasn’t a sore throat, just an extremely uncomfortable dryness. I tried drinking throughout the day, and had a supply of ricola and chewing gum at hand.
By the time we got on the cruise I knew I was going to be sick. The worst day was Kiel, when my throat felt like it was on fire the whole day. Apart from that, I didn’t feel any worse than normal, no tiredness, no cough (yet) so I tried to continue with the holiday as normal.
The fiery throat abated somewhat over the next 2 days when we reached the fjords but the coughing started. Mum asked if I wanted to go to the medical centre, but I didn’t want to. By the time we reached Bergen, I had begun to run out of ricola but luckily we found a 7-eleven and bought some strepsils. Or as they call it, repsils. Big help, especially the double action ones.
What also helped was the availability of honey and lemon in the cafeteria. I took enough pots of honey at breakfast to last the whole day and there’s always sliced lemon at the tea/coffee station. Drinking 3-4 large glasses a day must have helped soothe the scratchiness in my throat. And the coughing too. If I were at home I would have added whisky (of course) but just the honey and lemon was good enough.
Plus, this time I didn’t try to run a half marathon in the middle of a flu, just slow 30mins on the treadmill in the gym, so I didn’t get more sick. Still coughing a little, just as well I still have a supply of honey.
I went out walking in the afternoon, to get out of the flat. Walked to the library to return a book, then wandered around. Bought wine, coke zero, some toiletries. Total eventually was over 2hrs, wow. And then I did some weights. Gentle exercising, together with lots of vegetables, a healthy sort of day. Oh, well, I had ice cream too.
Sis dragged me to thai boxing class. I’m not very keen on classes, I’ve tried yoga, aerobics and dancing and didn’t really enjoy them. This thai boxing was quite okay, long warm up with stretching, squats, crunches and the like then it was punching, jabbing and kicking against the punching bag or the trainer. It was good, I wasn’t all that winded. But I don’t think I’ll go again.
Did some work on her book, then it was mad rush to take my niece to enopi class then taikwondo class. Grilled some fish back at Sis’ home for dinner. Quite a full day.
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.
5.68km 39.28min 6.56min/km (11.10min/mi)
What a difference one year makes. 15 April 2012 I ran the Brighton Marathon in 5.05, still a PR and re-reading the race report, a race I thoroughly enjoyed. 15 April 2013 I barely made it through 5k. Everyone is probably sick of reading about my running failures in the past year so I’ll stop now.
Very sad to read about the 23 year old runner who collapsed and died at Mile 16 at Brighton. I don’t know whether it’s more runners, more frequent occurrence, or the sensationalism aspect but it seems like there are far too many reports of marathon deaths lately. And with it, discussions about whether people should be exercising so intensely, even questioning why people run marathons in the first place. Not going there.
Even sadder news, that 2 bombs went off at the finish line of Boston. Shocked. Very sad. The explosions were timed for maximum carnage—at around 4hrs of a fast race there’d be lots of people finishing and lots of spectators at the side. Who does things like this? Boston, in addition to being one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world, is the one where everybody agrees has the best supporters. The whole city comes out to cheer on the runners. The spirit of community is out in force after the explosions as people are offering their homes for people needing a place to stay.
London is this coming weekend. Already security is being stepped up. I hope stringent security isn’t a sign of things to come and runners aren’t discouraged to enter this and other marathons. One of the reasons the marathon majors (6 now) are so prestigious is the sheer amount of support of spectators along the course. A course 26.2 miles long in the middle of a bustling city is impossible to close down in the security sense—too many buildings, parks, rubbish bins, bridges and other city stuff. Do we want to move races to walled off highways with no view, no space for spectators and where the officials seem to be more intent on getting the last runner off so they can clear the road for car users to pollute the air again? No, no and no. That’s why I have no interest in running the most soulless marathon in the world, even though it’s cheap and easy logistically.
Thoughts are with the dead and injured. Please, no more violence.
6.40km 50.49min 7.56min/km (12.47min/mi)
It’s been pissing down with rain, but I was determined to go running today and managed to take advantage of a lull in the storm. Pretty slow, but it’s nice to be active again.
And as usual, I posted to twitter, which auto-posts to fb; and updated fitocracy. No action required on nikeplus, it syncs by itself. Compared to other obsessive people, I don’t think I post too much about my running or weight training or other exercise activities.
I don’t post to brag — my results aren’t good enough. I post because I want someplace to record my efforts. It’s motivating, in a way. I made sure I speeded up when my speed fell below 8min/km because I’d be embarrassed to show this slow speed on a public forum.
Seems though that perhaps others don’t share my view. Apparently, people who post about their diet and fitness progress are the worst thing about social media.
Ugh. At least I’m not an overly proud parent, ticket seller or serial commenter.
8.25km 1.04.39hr 7.50min/km (12.37min/mi)
I need to pull my finger out and get over this lethargy. No running for 3 weeks, stuck inside for a whole week? Pitiful and lame. So I went running after lunch. 8.25km is just over 5 miles. Mostly ran slowly, with some walking at the water fountains. Just getting back to the rhythm.
And because it’s St Patrick’s Day, the reward is pork chops, roasted cauliflower and a big bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Yum.
p.s. that glass is an extremely heavy ML crystal glass that I got when I reached 5 years’ service, there’s a tiny bull engraving at the front. Wonder if it’s a collectors’ item now.
Now that I’m sick and not running, I have to be careful of what I eat. Well, when I have the appetite, I haven’t felt like eating much anyway. My maintenance calorie target isn’t very generous; if I go out for a meal that usually is it.
It’s interesting to see what 200 calories look like. One avocado, half a bar of snickers, a huge plate (almost 1.5kg) of celery, or a tiny glass of baileys. Some quite deceptive.
Not a big surprise. Couldn’t sleep. Cough, cough, cough. Non-productive (dry) so there was nothing to bring up. Mum, bless her, dragged me to the clinic and I got some cough syrup. We had a quick dinner and I went home to wallow in my misery.
official time: 2:54:28 8.16min/km 13.18min/mi
The annual standard chartered race, HM this year. The question when I woke up was, should I even go. Coughing. Not enough sleep. Not enough training. But I thought I may as well try, DNF is better than DNS, right?
I guess having some race experience helped. I was going to tackle the race in 3 segments of 7k, do 3k or 5k and walk whenever I needed it. Started off okay, if a lot slow. The nikeplus went bonkers, telling me I did the first kilometer in just over a minute, clearly the GPS is being optimistic.
The first 7k was almost an hour, with lots of walking in between. Thankfully the water line was long and they also had energy drinks. With a limit of 3hrs, I needed to get a move on. I knew Sis and my niece were coming to cheer me on, and we’d agreed on a time and place. I whatsapped her that I was behind schedule. The second 7k was okay, with the dreaded western harbour tunnel consisting of running the first half and walking the second half.
It was great to see the pink flag that my niece was waving. At that point there were lots of spectators and only about 500m to go, so it was a boost. My nikeplus showed 2:53 and the official time was 2:54.
Long trek to baggage collection. Walked to SIs’ place so I could shower. Parents were there too. We all went to lunch at the bar downstairs, had steak. Went home, totally exhausted, still very very sick. Should I have gone while sick? Probably not. At least I finished.
Registration opened on the 19th. I didn’t register; it’s like going to the supermarket when you’re full, I didn’t feel like signing up while sick. Anyway, this year isn’t good for a marathon so far away. So I was surprised when I read about how the registration system ground to a halt 3 hours after registration opened. Likely too many people trying to get into one of the last world class marathons that didn’t operate an impossible to get into lottery system. Registration will be closed till the 28th, with apparently 15,000 place still left. This is too painful! Just get filled up already so I’m not constantly tempted!
At parents’ and I’ve got mum’s cough syrup and soup and dad’s cooking. Trying to get better by sunday. Not enough time left.
I have a race on sunday, a half marathon I’ve half-heartedly trained for. I also have a really bad cough — I’ve had enough long term coughs to know it’s probably bronchitis and the cough will last months. Not confident I’ll recover in 5 days. Race or not race, I can’t decide.
Last weekend before race. Should have gone out for a long run. Dammit. Sore throat and bad cough and aches and pains. Didn’t go.
The annual SC marathon is next week. Went and collected my HM race pack. Interesting to see the other racers. Not the usual collection of marathoners, some were less athletic than I was expecting. Family galore at the 10k tables. The longest queue was for the HM, may be it was the timeslot for HM collection, I dunno. I have a slight sore throat, I hope I’m not coming down with something.
Registration for chicago marathon starts in just over 2 weeks, at noon CST 19 February. I’m nowhere near marathon readiness, even though it’s in October and I have the whole summer to train. I also know that logically I should go for marathons nearer home, like Tokyo, which recently celebrated being added to the world marathon majors. Or Great Wall (um, no. Way too tough). Or at least VLM or Paris or Berlin.
The problem is, my heart tells me Chicago is my home marathon. I don’t have a lot of time to decide. Places will go very quickly, as it is one of the few major marathons that are still first come, first served. Sigh. I’m in so much trouble.
Huh. I’ve been doing weights using the trx recently, and almost every time I’ve felt dizzy and slightly nauseous afterwards. It’s weird. I don’t feel like I’m over-exerting myself, not more than when I was using actual weights. It seems to be a mixture of new type of exercise, breathing or lack of hydration. Have to be careful going forward.
13.02km 1.45.58hr 8.08min/km (13.06min/mi)
I don’t know if it’s lack of practice or that I only had a bowl of soup beforehand, today’s run was hard work. Started off fine, then around the halfway mark, I ran out of steam. Luckily I had some sports beans with me, but they only helped for a bit. At around 10k my knee started to hurt. Sigh.The last 1km was slow, and the last 400m was pretty much all walking.
8.27km 1.17.53hr 9.29min/km (15.16min/mi)
There’s a route that goes uphill all the way from my home to the Peak. I hadn’t tried it before so it’s about time I did. It really was a very steep incline. The start was 1-in-7 and there were some parts that were steeper. And no barriers either. Needless to say I wasn’t able to run all the way up, there was a lot of walking involved. Once I got up to the Peak, I ran around the relatively flat circular trail before heading back the way I came. Going down was pretty tough too, lots of pressure on the calves because of the downhill motion. It’s a nice trail, a bit too quiet and isolated in places, it’s best to go during the day when there are people around.
My Sis bought me a trx a while ago, but I only just got round to trying it out. They call themselves a suspension training system, which is basically a glorified name for resistance bands. Initially I couldn’t get it properly anchored at the door, they sell a couple of pieces of accessories that did the job but I don’t have them. Came across a brilliant method of using just a towel to act as anchor. Works like a charm.
The system came with a dvd and an instruction booklet. There are also tons of videos on youtube. I did a few basic exercises, to get the feel of the system. Chest press, fly, row, pushup and such like. It feels different than working out with weights. I only did 2 sets of 12, but I wasn’t breaking out in sweat so I think I can up the intensity and the number of sets.
It’s very convenient, and the exercises range from fairly easy to difficult. I like it. By just changing where I put my feet I can make an exercise harder. I need to practice getting my feet into the hoops for the floor exercises. A nice change-up to my regular weights.
I do weights with my dumbbells and barbell. Bench using 2 dumbbells at 20lbs each, which wasn’t too smooth when I started the weights routine again. But as I’m getting better and my form smoother, I think that it’s time to add another plate. I’m so pleased I bought these quicklock interchangeable dumbbells, I can add in increments of 2.5 or 5lbs. This guy’s set goes up to 160lbs, my set only goes up to 75 but it’s plenty enough for me. He is also doing bench presses with 2x80=160lbs total. Yikes. Going from 40 total to 50 total is progress enough for me.
When I’m training, I try to rotate between 3 pairs of shoes. I’ve been using just 2 for a while, so it’s quite exciting to “open” a third. Nike dual fusion I got on sale. Will it make me faster? Probably not, but it’s orangey-red and really bright.
metric: total 740.08km, average 7.13min/km
imperial: total 459.86 miles, average 11.36min/mi
It started very well, training was good, I ran a good marathon in April. Then I got lazy and busy. All the more reason to set better goals in 2013.
I had a 12k long run scheduled today, but I didn’t go: 1) it was raining very heavily and 2) my sis at the last minute asked if my niece can come over and play. Instead of doing nothing, I did some weights. Lunge jumps are new, I like them better than regular lunges or woodchopper lunges. And they are hard to transition smoothly. These, plus pushups, are the parts of the set that make my heartrate go up. Nice.
My new filing cabinet arrived (yes, the delivery people worked Boxing Day) so I’m even better organised. It sits right next to my desk and before, I used the space for a calendar. Been thinking whether it may be a good place to display my race medals. Hmm. Anyway, these are just the more interesting medals: 3 marathons, 2 HM and the BUPA 10k.
Did an easy 10k, even though I got interrupted by phone calls in the middle. According to nikeplus I’ve done exactly one full marathon in the last 30 days. Hmm. I should be doing this every week, or at most every 2 weeks. The only good stat is that I’m above average.
8.40km 1.01.45hr 7.21min/km (11.49min/mi)
Back to the scene of the original crime, I suppose. I started running 4 years ago. Before all the marathon training, before all the injuries, I ran as fast as a beginner would. Faster than now anyway. Initially I just ran around the block, sometimes taking the long way round, before I discovered the Bowen Road jogging trail.
Co-incidentally, I’ve been away 4 years. During that time, I’ve ran along the lake in Chicago, along the Thames in London and along the seafront in Brighton. Today’s run was back on Bowen Road. I ran 6km on 12 Dec 2008, and I could imagine the beginner runner me of 4 years ago running along the same path. Ah, nostalgia.
My next race is a half marathon on 24 Feb 2013. I’m going to follow the Higdon novice 2 plan, although I know I will miss some dates. I’m already behind, the plan started on Monday and I missed most of the week. Anyway, I did 5 miles today to sort of make it up. Very slow 5 miles (8.26k), and my ITBS flared up again. Slowly does it.
10.23km 1:17:18hr 7.33min/km (12.12min/mi)
overall: 1902 / 2584
gender: 694 / 1148
For some reason I thought this race was yesterday, so I woke up at 5.30am and was almost there on the train when I noticed that there weren’t any other racers on the train. So I checked my email. Ugh, silly me. I considered not bothering today, not wanting to wake up at 5.30am again, but I did wake up before the alarm so off I went. This time, there were plenty of other racers on the train so I know I got the day right.
The race should have been on yesterday when it was cool and windy. Today, it was absolutely drenching with rain. I had a jacket but it got soaked quickly, my Chicago marathon cap started dripping right away. It was tough to run in that rain, and it was quite warm too at 20C. I needed both water stations, at 3k and 7k. Time, well, it can always be better but I did okay considering the lack of practice and the weather.
There were long queues for energy bars so I left, didn’t want to stand in the rain any longer. Got an express bus, then changed to taxi. Home by 10am, there was not a part of me that wasn’t wet.
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.
5.25km 41.18min 7.52min/km (12.40min/mi)
I can’t wait to be home. It’s getting tiresome, to be living on one suitcase of clothes, to have to eat at a certain time, to lose so much of my own space. Shouldn’t complain.
Finally the weather turned cooler for me to go for a run. Excuses, excuses. It was still hot, though thankfully with a breeze. Slow. Very, very slow.
I ran my first marathon 2 years ago, on 10.10.10. It was a struggle due to the heat and slight undertraining. Still, I did it and no one can take it away from me. This past weekend, I followed the 2012 Chicago marathon from afar, saw that two Ethiopians won and, most importantly, a couple of my close ex-colleagues finished. I was sad that I couldn’t make it, and sadder that I haven’t kept up my running. The sooner I get my life back into normal mode, the better.
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.
My right ear was terribly blocked, so I went to the doctor who removed the ear wax buildup using a terribly uncomfortable method of poking a thin metal rod inside. Not the gentle syringing using water, oh no, it was a probe vacuum.
But it was effective. And now I can hear much more. More ambient traffic sounds, more wind blowing outside, even my clothes rustling when I’m walking around. Sounds like the experience is not unlike the first days with a new hearing aid.
5.25km 37.36min 7.09min/km (11.31min/mi)
In the realm of doing a sport that I haven’t done for a while, it’s back to running, the first time in a month or so. The track has been closed since April and has only just re-opened. The surface has been relaid and is very springy. There are new fences and a shot put area and lots of markings on the lanes. The run itself, blurgh, nothing to write home about. All the eating while mm was here means I probably put on half a stone and all of it has gone to belly fat so I desperately need to get rid of it. At least the run loosened up the sore muscle from yesterday’s tennis.
The last time I played tennis was over 10 years ago. The last time I played tennis at the park was probably closer to 20 years ago. Booked for 2hrs at the synthetic court and played with CC and Mak. Rusty in the beginning, but got better. Still a little fitness left from running, stamina wasn’t a problem. There will be sore muscles tomorrow though, not used to using those particular muscle groups. Ah, I’m reminded of how much I like racket sports — tennis, squash, badminton, table tennis — I’ll take them all. Problem is, I need other people to play with me.
official: 5.6km 34.46min 6.10min/km (9.56min/mi)
nike+: 35.40min 6.14min/km (10.04min/mi)
Race #6, second of the week. Corporate challenges always clash with other races, almost every year. This will be my last corporate challenge, which is a bit sad. Ah well. I had to go into the office to pick up my t-shirt and bib this morning, and I was early getting to battersea park, not sure about train times and all. It wasn’t ideal for running — yes the temperature was cool but it was sunny one minute and heavy showers the next, it’s the unpredictability that caused the problem. I wore my hot chocolate raincoat while waiting with the rest of the team — didn’t have anything to bagcheck. I don’t like wearing it on the race itself but I didn’t have much choice.
Took forever to start, despite the corrals. Really crowded too, with people running 2- or 3-abreast (these 3 women walking in the middle of the path too) and at the other end of the scale people pushing through running faster. The course being only 3.5miles I could afford to go quicker. At the straight part, I did okay, and then there was one part where everyone slowed to a walk because of the mud.
Decent time. Still waiting for the day when I can go back to my old form and complete this under 30mins. We get a finisher’s t-shirt, bananas, water and there was a voucher for a burger (i had chicken) and 2 drinks (beer of course). Socialised for a while, then headed home on the bus.
official: 10.0km 1:04:58hr 6:29min/km (10:27min/mi)
nike+: 10.2km 1:05:02hr 6:22min/km (10:16min/mi)
overall placing: 13,480 / 19,716
Race #5 this year. I ran this race last year and wasn’t impressed, so I’m not entirely sure why I registered this year. I’m totally not in running mode and was pretty tired when I woke up. Briefly I thought about skipping it for a second but one does not DNS without good reason. Tired is not one of them.
It was pelting down with rain, so I got out the disposable rain poncho that my sis bought for me. That proved to be so useful, I had it on until about 5 mins from the start and it kept me dry and warm.
Ah, the start. Fiasco last year, marginally better this year. Some singer sang a song, they played all 3 verses of the national anthem and the race started 10mins late. No corrals and having people line up on Piccadilly then turn around over the underpass really doesn’t work. At least the bad weather probably deterred some of the walkers, I remember scalds of them blocking the road last year. They still blocked the road but there were fewer of them.
I’m out of practice. Started faster than I wanted, still quite slow. The rain stopped for the first part and then it started pelting down. There was no cover, kudos to all the spectators who stuck around. I didn’t feel tired and kept a fairly even pace. Even managed to sprint a little down the last 200m.
Nike was the sponsor this year, may be the extra sponsorship money was responsible for the basic things in a race like timing chip and extra water. There wasn’t enough water last year, and this year there were 3 water stations. Of course it being a rainy day not as much was needed. We also had to wear the race shirt to qualify for a free official pic. It’s a nice shirt, I just hate the small sleeves for women’s t-shirts. There was also a finishers’ shirt and I grabbed a men’s one instead.
Definitely just a fun run. And yes, great course through London passing all the important sights, which I guess is its biggest draw. There simply aren’t enough big London races — plenty of smaller ones but only this one, BUPA 10k and VLM come to mind. And this one come a very distant third behind those two great races.
5.01km 35.03min 6.59min/km (11.16min/mi)
Alright, back to running. Have just under 2 weeks to get back to shape for the British 10k on 8 July and corporate challenge on 11 July. Yes, hardly any running and no races since April and 2 races in a week. Luckily they are short races.
The track is still blocked off, so it’s running around the rest of the park. Cloudy and muggy day, there were a lot of buggies and just a few dogs. The cricket pitch is fenced off, against dogs I think, a wonderful thing.
Not caring about the time, need to get stamina and energy back up to an acceptable level.
10k (10.57km on nike+) 1:08:30hr 6:51min/km (11:02min/mi)
overall: 7,522 / 10,512
gender: 2,933 / 5,076
age division: 288 / 485
My 4th race this year, and absolutely no expectations: a) I’d done a grand total of 2x5k runs since the marathon and b) it was an extremely hot day.
The BUPA10k is one of London’s top races and prides itself on organisation. This year there’s the added bonus that the course is run on the Olympic marathon route this summer. May be we’re getting a taste of what the weather will be like too. Okay, 26°C is not a big deal for somewhere like New York or California or Spain, but that’s hot for here. Add on the race started at 10am and it was pretty tough going. Everyone assembled in Green Park, and the corrals were really very very well organised. Just over 10,000 people in 9 corrals. I was in #6 and it took about 8 minutes to the start line.
It is a great route. Start on the Mall, with Buckingham Palace as backdrop. Through to Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, St Paul’s and Bank before coming back, passing the Eye, hitting Big Ben, Horseguards and finishing on the Mall again. My only complaint is that there didn’t seem to be enough water stations and the promised water misters were nowhere to be found. Not a lot of shade either so I had to pace myself and drink constantly. It was a relief to turn left to see the 200m to go sign.
Time was respectable. I wonder if one of these days I’ll take a race much more seriously and leave my camera behind and not stop for pictures along the route. Or I’d train properly. Or not go into a race with only 2 5k runs over the previous 5 weeks. I always talk about goals like sub-30 for 5k; sub-60 for 10k and breaking 5hr for the marathon. The flipside is that if I get too competitive and race races, where’s the fun?
I didn’t check any bags so I just collected my goodie bag and made my way to the bus stop. Somehow ended up outside Buckingham Palace and some nice Italian people took my picture for me. The Race for Life was also taking place at Hyde Park, I watched it for about 10mins, a few participants noticed my medal and waved.
5.0km 31.04min 6.12min/km (10.00min/mi)
Nothing remarkable about the distance or the time, but it was the first time I went running in 2 weeks. I was ready last week, but got lazy. No more excuses. The ballot for VLM opened today. I registered at 7am and I was already 126,XXX in the confirmation list. I just checked and the chance for ballot entry has already closed. Less than 24 hours. Wow.
Anyway, it’s back to running. I should find an autumn HM to train against. I don’t run well without a training plan.
Well no, I didn’t run in a 5k race, I’m still knackered and I had problem running across the road. I saw this event on runnersworld UK, someone is organising a star wars fancy dress fun run to coincide with the 35th anniversary of episode 4 coming out. Only £10 and 500 participants; there’s a 1k for kids, a 2k handcycle / wheelchair race and a 5k. A bit out of the way, at Watford, I’ll need to zipcar which instantly quadruples the cost. And needless to say there will be a complete lack of chip timing or anything resembling a competitive race, they actually advertise it as a run/walk for charity.
But, the kid in me who actually watched episode 4 when it came out and who still has the original cinema ticktet is screaming, it’s Star Wars. May the Fourth be with you and all that. I can wear my Darth Maul hoodie and/or my Jedi robe and bring my lightsaber. So tempting.
chip time: 5:04:54hr 7:14min/km (11:38min/mi) 7174 / 8878 overall
Pictures at flickr
Here’s the short version, I had 3 goals:
- A goal of 5:15
- B goal of 5:30
- Consolation goal of just beating 5:38
I surprised myself by beating even the A goal and came very close to sub-5. Had a good race, learned more about training and pacing. The rest of this post is the long version of the race report.
I met a fellow runner as I was coming out of my room at the hotel and she kindly gave me a lift in her taxi to Preston Park station, saving me a good 15mins of walking. It was her first marathon, I hope she did well. I did bag drop and wandered around the park. Tried out the squeezable water pouch we would get along the course, picked up a bottle of powerade and generally tried to stay warm. It was a sunny morning but very cold, I wasn’t the only one with chattering teeth waiting at the start corral.
The race got underway at 9am and the corrals moved out slowly. I was in the last corral, just happened to stand next to the 4:45 pacer. He was the slowest pacer, so I was prepared for the group to pass me early on. The first mile was around the park, then we headed out to the streets. I’m not familiar with the city, we were mainly in local-ish commercial areas, with some hilly bits, then we hit the Pavillion and at mile 5 turned left into (I think it’s called) Marine Drive that ran along the coast. I felt good, at the back of my mind I wanted to try to keep to under 12min/mi which, as my pace band told me, is on time for 5:15.
mile 5-12 — Rottingdean and back
It was sunny with no cover, the wind was fairly brisk though. This bit of the course was boring, nothing much to see and the spectators had thinned out. I was keeping good pace, and feeling pretty fresh. Past Roedean and the hills started. At the U-turn between miles 8 and 9 they gave out bloks and cereal bars. I took a walk break up the hill at mile 9. It was good to turn around and start running downhill. The 15k marker was a welcome sight. Part of the course doubled back, in theory it was super easy to cheat, in reality who would do such a thing? The other thing about doubling back is that we could see faster runners coming on the opposite side of the road. These people are fast. By mile 12 we were back in town and aiming towards the pier.
mile 12-20 — centre of town
Halfway point was at the Hilton. All the way from the pier on, the crowd was thickest and there were a lot of encouragement. At my pace, I’m running mainly with charity runners. Those who had their names on their shirt received the most shouts. Now is the time to mention the runners in costume, I saw a tiger, a badger, a lion, rhino, angry birds, spongebob squarepants and fairies. There was also an army guy in full gear and backpack, and I was lucky enough to run next to a wheelchair participant at one point. Apparently £4m was raised for various charities which is wonderful. Charity running is still not my thing, but if it gets results and people enjoy it, then it’s not for me to comment.
Past mile 14 and we turned “inland” to first shops and then residential neighbourhoods. It was fantastic of people to come out of their houses to blast music or give out jelly babies or simply clap their support. I waved at the Queen and Kate (in masks) and received high fives from kids. Took a loo break at mile 16, there was somewhat of a queue and it took me about 5 minutes. More on that 5 minutes later.
Coming out to the seafront at mile 18 meant being hit by the wind. That part of the course was pretty tough with the wind and not many spectators. There were hardly any marshalls either, but the crowds seemed to be able to stay off the course.
mile 20-23 — the Wall
They even had an arch at the entrance of “the road to hell” — an apt description given its setting of an industrial estate looping around the power station. I took my second walk break just after mile 20. I was slowing down and I figured a 3 min walk will restore my energy. And it did, to an extent. There was also a gu station, someone gave me a raspberry flavoured one and I almost spit it out. Luckily there were chocolate ones scattered on another table which took the nasty berry flavour away. All through the course I had been drinking their water, grabbing bloks and I had my own blok supply too. As far as nutrition was concerned I was okay.
Coming out of the Wall area was a great feeling. The mile 23 sign flashed by and I knew I only had 5k or so left to go.
mile 23 to finish
I was thinking about another walk break at mile 24, but I skipped it. It was a long way home along the coast but at least we were running in the direction of the finish line. I found myself running, not fast but not lagging. I was passing quite a few people who were plodding or simply walking at that point. Lots of encouragement from the sparse spectators along Portslade. I even got one myself, a young girl and her father shouted “Go, lady in orange t-shirt, Go!!!” And we shared a big thumbs up. It was a great feeling.
Just keep running. Mile 24, then mile 25 and we were back along the crowded part of the course. I skipped the last water station and there it was, 400m to go, 200m to go. Past the pier and the last few meters. I took my finish line photo on the run, and then I was across the line. Another marathon done.
It was a long, over 1 mile walk back to the hotel. I had to sit for a bit on the curb before I ventured out. Initially I had to walk slowly, my calves were sore. Then halfway, it got easier, I think the walk ended up being good for relaxing my muscles. First thing after my shower was I put on compression socks, they are doing their magic now.
I knew, coming out of the Wall, that I had a good chance of beating 5:15. The strategy of staying under 12min/mi worked, apart from the walk breaks, I made a conscious effort to stick to it. I crossed the finish line with the official clock at 5:17 so I knew I’d done well. Nike+ showed 5:08, but it wasn’t until I checked on the marathon app (yes, they had an app) that I saw that I was under 5:05. Wow. Oh wow. That’s 34mins off last year’s Chicago PR.
HM time was 2:26 so a 12min positive split. Both Chicago times had HM splits in that area, so what I did right this race was I did not bonk in the second half. Is a 12min positive split good? It’s okay, but it should be lower. Am I okay about it? Yes, absolutely. Could I have tried harder in the second half, knowing that an even split would net me sub-5? I thought about it, but decided that preserving energy was more important. I was already on my way to beating my A goal, I didn’t want to jeopardize it.
At the end, it was only 5 minutes. Could I have gotten that 5min back somewhere else? The obvious points were the 2 walk breaks and the loo break. Not much I can do about the loo break; I did keep to only one, and I had to keep hydrated. I’m not a guy so sprinking the flora isn’t an option and although I did see an odd female or two doing the same, I’d rather “waste” a few minutes queuing for the portaloo. Should I have taken the walk breaks? Probably not, but I was tired at those 2 points and I needed the psychological moreso than the physical boost. More training will take care of that.
Brighton bills itself as the second biggest UK marathon. I think the organisers try their very best to promote it as a race on its own merit and not a sort of consolation for people who didn’t get into the VLM lottery and don’t want a charity place. The reality was there were a lot of “loser” VLM fleeces out there. The race has a lot going for it — location, seafront atmosphere, fairly flat course and the organisation gets high marks from me. Certainly did not feel like it’s only their 3rd time round. There was plenty of water and energy. The volunteers as usual were great. Yes, the course was boring and could do with more bands, I’m not bothered about small things like that.
I really liked the app. It’s simple, and it gave me my time almost instaneously. When I whatsapp’ed mm afterwards she already knew my time because she also downloaded the app. Much better system than the not!working text at Chicago. The biggest issue is that it only gave me my overall position, not age or gender division. Coming in the 7,000 out of almost 9,000 runners is not a result I like.
Would I do it again? It deserves it, that’s for sure. Problem is, Paris is on the same weekend, so if I’m still in Europe next year and if I’m running marathons again and if I apply and don’t get into VLM, I’ll probably go for Paris instead. Nothing against Brighton, but it’s Paris.
I did Chicago in October, and now Brighton. In theory, it means I’m capable of 2 marathons a year. In practice, even though part of me is itching to do another one (marathons are addicting, just ask any marathoner), I don’t want to go through the training cycle. It’s a huge timesuck and I’d like to have a life. What did go right this training cycle was I stuck 95% to the plan. The midweek runs from work with the backpack turned out to be fantastic training tools. The long weekend runs without the backpack felt so much easier.
Here’s the dilemma. I’m so close to sub-5 I should do another one soon, within a year, to take advantage off my current fitness level and break that 5hr barrier. Asking an elite to go drom 2:04 to 1:59 is extremely tough, but for me to get to sub-5 means only going from 11:38min/mi to 11:24, it’s not inconceivable that I can take 15 seconds off each mile. I do know that in order to improve, I have to take the wheels off and move up from novice training plans. 35 miles a week will not bring 4:30; a minimum of 50 miles a week is required. Do I want to spend the time? Sigh. I don’t know. I don’t think so, not today anyway.
That said, I do like the structure of a proper training plan. I only have a couple of 10k races in the calendar so I need to find a HM to aim for. Or find a plan that focuses on speed. I’ll take some rest, then start planning for the rest of the year. I won’t stop running, it’s taken me this far, I can’t stop now.
Easy, fast train journey to Brighton. Hopped onto the bus to get to the hotel, and even though I was early the room was ready so I was able to check in. The room is small, yes, but it’s okay for one person. There’s a small balcony that overlooks directly Regency Square, the sea and the derelict old pier.
First port of call was the expo, a short 5 mins walk away. A lot of charities, a few stalls selling gels and whatnot, massage, and the big Saucony (sponsors) stall. I bought a tech training shirt for £15 and a pair of compression socks for £10.
The weather turned nice and I took a long walk all the way to the pier and back. Played £1 worth of 2p pushers for old times’ sake. A pot of whelks for the same reason.
The training plan has 2 miles today, which I didn’t do but I’m thinking that walking for 2hrs is a good substitute. Got water and coke zero from the supermarket and then made my way to the Lanes to find somewhere to have dinner. Didn’t feel like the proverbial big pasta carb loading. Possibilities included venison burger, seafood, bistro or tapas. I ended up at a pub with a pint of local ale and a root vegetable pie with mash, carrots and beetroot. The pie was ok, the veg was good, the mash was rubbery. For dessert I got 1 scoops of peanut butter and blueberry gelato from an ice cream shop opposite the pub.
Seems like there’s a lot of people in town for the race. Signs are already up on Marine Drive, if the Grand is at 13 miles, then Regency Square, aka “home”, is halfway. That’s a good landmark to aim for.
Am I ready? Still hasn’t sunk in. I’ll take it one mile at a time. 6.30am start tomorrow, bed soon.
Almost time for the race. I’m taking the train down tomorrow to go to the expo and explore a bit, it’s been years since I’ve visited Brighton. I’m definitely getting more nervous. Staying 2 nights I should only have a few things, but my bag is actually quite heavy because I’ve overpacked. 3 race shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, spare socks, spare everything I can think of, loads of food and even Powerade.
Can’t stop looking at the course video either. The start is in Preston Park and it looks like it winds through narrow residential streets before hitting the main stretch along the beach. The part they call The Wall starting at mile 22 looks industrial and could be tough. The weather forecast is cold (10°C) with pretty strong winds. Not liking the winds but it’s better than blazing hot sun on a course that has little or no cover.
Am I ready? I’ll know better tomorrow night.
5.00km 27.59min 5.35min/km (9.00min/mi)
Holy crap that felt good. The taper must be working. Missed the weekend 8-miler (whisky holiday more important heehee). There’s only 3 runs this week, 3 miles and 2x2miles. The last time I went running was a week ago, and I am so happy I haven’t lost my fitness. I was not tired, and actually it didn’t feel like I was going especially fast. Nice splits. I’d be ecstatic if I ran a 5k race with a sub-28 time.
6.0km 36.27min 6.04min/km (9.46 min/mi)
4 miles around the track. Felt good, went fast. The compression socks (or placebo effect) must have worked — no pain in calves, no tightness in ankles, just a tiny discomfort at the top of the foot. Looking good for the race, must continue to keep an eye out for injuries. Whee!
20.0km 2:21:51hr 7:05min/km (11:25min/mi)
Well no, I wasn’t running with just compression socks. Running naked means no music. Easy-ish 12 miles today at Hyde Park. Good conditions, not too crowded.
The taper is going as well as can be. The pain at the top of my foot persists and is slowly spreading to the ankle and calf. Not serious enough to hinder the race I think. Hope.
I bought a pair of compression socks to test them out. I’ve seen people wearing them at races and it seems that they do work somewhat. I thought about wearing them whilst running but decided to wear them as recovery instead. So I’ve been wearing them since the end of my run and shower, all evening. They were tight to put on, which is the whole idea. Comfortable, with slight pressure at my ankle, which is what I need. May be it’s just a placebo effect, but even it it’s all mental, I’ll take any and all advantage I can.
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.
5.20km 33.20min 6.21min/km (10.19 min/mi)
I’m so glad it’s taper time. I’m still feeling the effects of the 20 miler — top of foot is slightly swollen, calves very tight and generally achy everywhere. Instead of the scheduled 5 miles, I did 5k around the track to try to loosen the muscles. Not sure if successful, still achy everywhere. I didn’t want to completely skip the run though.
32.22km (20mi) 3:58:35hr 7:24min/km (11:56 min/mi)
Second 20 miler of this training cycle; and then the taper begins. It was a hot day, luckily there was some wind. I ate a big ham & egg sandwich for breakfast and took off at 9:30am. So happy that the water fountains are back on, I was running out of liquid at one point. Refilled and immediately drank half a bottle. Managed the full 20 miles in just under 4hrs, a bit slower than the first 20 miler, pretty pleased with the pace.
I was exhausted when I got home. Didn’t have any energy to do anything but sit on my sofa with my feet up for half an hour before my calves stopped hurting so I could go shower. Then mm whatsapped me, and Mum wanted to skype. Sigh.
The upside of running 20 miles is…I can eat whatever I want. I got this bone-in rib from Whole Foods a while back, it was on sale. 700g (24oz) for £9-something. At Hawksmoor, it’s £9 per 100g, so this was bargain compared to eating out. I know, can’t compare restaurant food with home-cooked food. Instead of Hawksmoor’s extremely hot charcoal grill, I grilled mine slowly on the hob and had it with cavolo negro (black cabbage), carrots and mushroom. Tasted great. Couldn’t eat the whole thing, may be about 2/3rd.
I’m not eating enough, it’s a little alarming. I eat biscuits and pizza and noodles and stuff like that so it’s not like I’m skimping. But i can’t seem to get up to 1,288 net calories, my dailyplate goal. I don’t feel hungry or deprived. I need to try a new strategy; with 3 weeks till the race, I should slowly increase my carb intake. It’s just that I’m not used to too much carbs, we had pizza at work today and it gave me pretty uncomfortable stomach upset this evening. Frustrated.
5.47km (3.4mi) 29.47min 5.26min/km (8.46 min/mi)
For once in a long, long time, I managed to get some speed. Lots of it, in fact. Everything fell in place — a bit chilly, no rain, enough space to run on the track, didn’t feel tired at all and was able to open up especially down the back straight. The only blemish was, and it’s now becoming too much of a regular occurrence to be annoying, the nike+ wasn’t working. I knew that 2.5 laps = 1km, but when I checked it was showing 0.6km. Restarted, and then it showed 0.8km for the next km. Ridiculous.
The distance and time was all Garmin. At the end of the run, I reset the app and recalibrated. Walked 100m. Seems to be back working now.
Only one month to go till the marathon. Unlike the other two, I have to travel to it. (Okay, last year’s Chicago marathon I flew all the way from London; but staying at Car’s house and driving to Millennium Park in my own car is a different type of travel.) It adds another layer of organisation and, well, stress.
I’m going down on Saturday, the race is on Sunday and I’m coming back on Monday. I have my train ticket £6.60, resisting the temptation to get first class, which at £25, isn’t that expensive, but for a 50min train ride, not worth the extra expense. Hotel is the boutique Artist Residence. Let’s hope the room actually looks somewhat like the picture on their website.
5.01km 28.54min 5.46min/km (9.17 min/mi)
Apologies that I’m so obsessed with my running and training. Only 4.5 weeks to go, I have to be obsessive. With the iffy ankle I substituted the planned 5-miler with a simple 5k around the track.
It felt good from the get go, I wasn’t afraid to go faster because I knew I won’t run out of stamina. That’s the whole purpose of the training; having done 20 miles on Sunday, a 5k should be a doddle. Splits look good. Fastest km at 5:39 is 9:05min/mi pace. And the ankle held, I didn’t even notice it was stiff.
nike+ didn’t pick up first 3km: 32.2km (20mi) 3:55:28hr 7:18min/km (11.46min/mi)
It was a nice day, sunny with some winds. I was all prepared. Time for the first 20-miler of this marathon training cycle. The usual route down to Hyde Park. I had planned on coming home after 13-ish miles, replenishing water and then going over to Regent’s Park, but it turned out I was doing fine and I stayed at the park for the entire run.
Mid-week running with the backpack must be working, it felt great to be running with just the water belt. The nike+ didn’t pick up the first 3km so I was relying on the garmin. Took 3 walk breaks at 8, 13 and 17 miles. May be about 2 mins each time. Those breaks were good, I ate a banana, a gu and a cereal bar and my legs felt rested. By the time I thought about my rapidly emptying powerade bottle I was already only 4 miles from home.
Pace surprised me in the nicest way possible. I was tired the last mile, but looked at the watch and realised I was going to break 4hrs. I think it’s the first time I’ve done that for 20miles, I’m pretty chuffed.
I’ve been following the training plan pretty closely and seems to have solved the problem of the mid-week run. An 8-mile day is simply running from the office; a 5-mile day is starting at Euston Square station then into Regent’s Park. One loop around inner circle followed by the anti-clockwise part of outer circle to my normal exit. One loop around the track and it’s exactly 8km.
I even have a mini-streak going, and so even too, 5 miles every day. That will end tomorrow cos it’s a rest day.
February mileage was 167.5km, or 104 miles. It feels good to have done 100 miles, and in a short month too.
Turned out, I missed last friday’s run to work day. Well, it wouldn’t have been practical anyway. It’s something ike 7.5-8 miles, which is on the edge of doable in the morning. Problem is, there is no shower facilities at work so, no way. I did run home for 5 miles from Euston Square station today.
29.03km (18mi) 3:36:44hr 7.28min/km (12.00 min/mi)
This week’s long run is 18 miles. I tried to break it down into smaller, manageable (mentally) pieces. Ran down to Hyde Park, around the Serpentine and then back home at mile 12. Took a loo break, took off my long sleeved shirt and changed shoes. The remainder 6 miles was done around the track. I must admit, up to the HM mark it was okay, the last couple of miles were tough. I probably shouldn’t have done it around the track cos it is very boring. I had in mind around 3.30 so I wasn’t far off. Only ate one cereal bar and a bunch of chomps, plus a bottle of lucozade sports. Should probably have had a second cereal bar.
Feet hurt at the end. Not injury, just tiredness. Sat on the cushion in the living room for almost half an hour with chocolate milk until I could move again to take a shower. I did reward myself with a lamb burger and skinny chips at gbk. I wanted buffalo but they didn’t have any. Had to take an afternoon nap too.
chip: 21.1km 2:24:29hr 6:51min/km (10:58 min/mi)
nike+: 21.34km 2:25:22hr 6:49min/km (10:58min/mi)
Race #2 of 2012, Race Your Pace Half Marathon, held at Dorney Lake which is: a) Eton’s rowing centre and b) where the Olympics rowing events will be held this year. That was one of the reasons I signed up for the race, to see the venue. Of course, the only feasible way of getting there is by driving, so I had to zipcar it thus increasing the cost from £27 to over £100. (Did a big shop at Tesco’s afterwards, sort of justifying the zipcar cost.)
The race start time was 10am, I got there just after 8.30am, which ended up being a good thing because I was able to park pretty close to where everything was taking place. People who came later ended up parking almost 1 mile from the tents. Got a cup of tea and then hurried to the warmth and safety of the boathouse café. It was cold-ish, not too cold. But what made it really bad was how strong the wind was. The 20min before the race start (which was delayed by 15mins) was absolutely miserable, standing in the open being buffeted by the wind with teeth chattering and hands becoming frozen. Ugh.
The course was 4 laps around the lake. Not very interesting, but flat and good asphalt running surface. The wind never went away, along the 2km long length of the course, it was either crosswinds from the left or crosswinds from the right. Where I got hit direct by the headwind, I could feel myself struggling to move forward.
I started with the 11min/mile pace group, at the advice of the (absolutely fantastic) pacer, I stayed just in front of the group. It was a good tactic as my aim was never to let them pass me, and that proved to be a great incentive. At times it was touch and go with the headwind. Being a multi-lap course, it was inevitable that we got lapped by the faster runners. The field was only about 1,000 people so there was never too much crowding.
Can’t remember exactly what time I had halfway, but 10k was at 1:10. I took one bathroom break, ate some chomps and took a couple of bottles of the lucozade sports. They did advertise this as a pancake flat course that was good for setting PRs. My previous best was at the Chicago Half and I had in mind to finish at 2:20 or even 2:15. I’m not trying to make excuses, but if the wind wasn’t so blasted strong, I may have had a chance. As it was, I was coming up to the last 2km stretch and I saw that I was lagging. At Mile 12 I opened up, figuring I should have enough gas left to go for it for the last mile. My last km split was 6:13min or 10min/mi, and I did finish in front of the pace group.
It’s only a 17 second PR, but I’ll take it. I learned more about pacing and more importantly, that perhaps I do have the endurance and energy level to run faster under race conditions. The trick is to get more experience and get to the point where I don’t have to hold so much back.
Something went wrong with my nike+. Either the GPS wasn’t working or something. It recorded that I ran 0.03km, or 33 yards. Funny, I know I ran around the track 17 times. The Garmin showed 4.1miles, or 6.6km, at 42.45mins. Not a bad pace 6.28min/km or 10.24min/mile. Stupid nike+. The website isn’t working with firefox either. I really should switch to Garmin Connect.
Wow. It only opened 6 days ago, and today registration for chicago marathon 2012 has closed already. That’s in record time. Seems like more and more people are taking up marathon racing. And with this being one of the majors that does not depend on qualification or lottery, it’s not surprising that it’s so popular.
24.01km 3:06:01hr 7:45min/km
15 mile long run today in the plan. I missed 2 weeks’ of training, so I had no expectations of pace. Normally I do my long run on Sunday, and my intention was to do it tomorrow. Two things changed my mind: it was sunny, and the forecast is snow overnight. I know, I know, it’s just London snow, which is piddly. And I’ve been crazy enough to go running in the snow, rain and wind. Thing is, why unnecessarily torture yourself?
I tried out my new photochromatic glasses, the ones that darken in the sun. They were fabulous, I won’t have to worry about losing the clip-ons again.
What wasn’t so fabulous was the run itself. The first 10k was okay, and then I got tired. Had to take a couple of walk breaks, and it was slow going from 19k till the end. Lack of training and too much food when I was on vacation. I need to build my endurance back up, and probably can do with getting rid of 5 pounds or so. Conditions were great though, dry and sunny, just some parts when it got windy. It was very cold, 2°C, I had long sleeves, long pants and gloves.
After dinner, I went outside to take the rubbish out. It’s snowing. Light flurries, not sure if it will stick. Very glad I pushed myself to run today, don’t fancy having to negotiate icy pavements tomorrow.
I registered for the nikeplus virtual women’s half marathon challenge, where participants run a HM in their own time during the weekend of 14-15 Jan. For some reason, my HM never showed up in the challenge, sigh. Flagged it as a problem on their fb page and they had been very helpful, even adjusting the time of my run to fit into the criteria. Didn’t work. Just as well I hadn’t paid $40 for the souvenir finisher’s braclet.
Ran around Regent’s Park on the way home from work. That takes care of the 10k mid-week run this week. And now I’m going to take a 2 week break, going on vacation from Thursday. Good timing, because my left knee is starting to act up — on Saturday’s HM, I felt it snap with about 4k left. It’s not bad ITBS, I think, just pinching at the bottom of the patella that causes a sudden loss of control. Flared up again on today’s run. Ordinarily I don’t like taking such a long break in the middle of the training cycle, but I’ve had breaks before, so hopefully it should be okay. I’m not bringing any running stuff on vacation; I suppose I could go buy some shoes if I really really feel the urge.
10.03km 1:16:28hr 7.37min/km (12.15 pace)
6 miles or 10k on the training plan today. This medium run is always the problem, because it’s in the middle of the work week and I don’t exactly live next door to the office. Last marathon training cycle I ran the midweek 8-miler from work to home, so for this cycle I thought I’d do the 6-miler the same way. Instead of starting from the office, I took the tube to Great Portland Street with the intention of avoiding the heaviest traffic and running through Regent’s Park. Yikes, I should have remembered, it’s dark and there are no lights inside the park which meant it was closed. So I ended up doing 3 circuits around Inner Circle, headed home and did the last 2km on the track. I was home by 7pm, which means I saved about 45mins or more.
I had my backpack, which was a hindrance and slowed me down. The other factor was that it was very dark, and I was extremely grateful for my reflective vest. Other people who weren’t in fluorescent or light coloured clothing were pretty much completely invisible, so I can’t imagine it is safe. My time ended up being slow, but at least I got this run out of the way.
It feels decadent eating cake and drinking wine while watching the biggest loser. But hey, I run a lot of miles and I try to eat healthily normally. I firmly believe in calories in vs calories out. I mean, no, I don’t stick to it every day, but over the long run I think I’ve managed to maintain. When people say “you’re so thin” I find it both offensive and hilarious. Why do you think I run? It is not a chicken and egg situation, it is very clearly: I run, therefore I am at a healthy weight.
What the hell is up with stupid idiot running groups? This coach brings his teams for training on the track around the same time as I go for runs. The track has 6 lanes and these idiots think they own the entire track. They do warm ups, run in the opposite direction and STOP suddenly with no regard for other runners. The coach yells a half-hearted “look out for others” but these idiots are oblivious.
Track etiquette is common sense and easily googled:
- run anti-clockwise — I’ve done clockwise on a long run just to break up the monotony, I ran on the outermost lane and watched out for other runners
- the fastest lane is on the inside — omg these stupid middle-eastern women who walk three abreast on the inside lane breaks me
- never block the track, ie stand around chatting or doing pushups or talking on the phone
- never stop suddenly, move to the side and stop
- no bikes, dogs (fucking dogs), skateboards, rollerblades, kids or people who are not running on the track
- no kicking a football around or playing basketball or other sports that are inappropriate on the track
- be aware of others
Sadly, only the very few will do this. I bought a sonic dog repeller, I so wish there is a human equivalent.
Did a mediocre 5k in very strong winds around the track, then about 10mins’ worth of shooting the hoops. It was a fun and twisted sort of nightmare to keep track of the basketball while I was running — I’d stuck it underneath a bin, then in a gap in the roots of a tree, then at the corner of the gate — it insisted in escaping, cos of the wind. At one point I just carried it with me and did one lap.
Sigh, I’m so horribly out of practice. I still know how to shoot the ball, but most times it bounced off the board or the rim and I don’t get the basket. There is only one solution to this. Play more.
image courtesy flickr user GonchoA
I was at Lillywhites getting a Man U shirt for my friend’s son, and at the till there was a bunch of basketballs for £2.99. So now after more than 20 years, I am once again the proud owner of a basketball. It has been so long since I played. Wow, the days when I played for the school team. Memories. Yes, I’m short and I wear glasses and I’m no longer fast. But I still love it, hopefully I get a chance to go out to the court and mess around a little.
chip time: 10.03km 1:04:11hr 6:25min/km 10:19min/mile
nike+ time: 10.03km 1:03:55hr 6:22min/km 10:15min/mile
overall: 391 / 463
gender division: 141 / 194
age division: 19 / 27
Race #1 of 2012, serpentine new year’s day 10k. A very reasonable start time of 11am, and a field full of what looked like dedicated and keen runners. Lots in club shirts too, clubs are big things here. A couple wearing a Racine Ironman cap recognised my Chicago marathon cap and we chatted for a bit. Heh, I should have worn my Chicago shirt. Ah, but luckily no. No with these times.
The course started at Hyde Park, went along the outer carriage drive then to the Serpentine, crossing to Kensington Gardens. Mostly it was run there. The paths were narrow, and even with a small field of 500 runners there were parts that could only allow 2 across. There was also a loop, so at one point both the frontrunners and slower people were on the same path. (Would have been so easy to cheat, calling Kip Litton.)
We had to share the course with the public, ack. Mostly, the public were alright, but there are always idiots. Families with buggies and old people walking 3 abreast. Tourists who never know how to walk in London anyway. One stupid woman had 3 dogs (black and white things) which she had off leash and they were running across the path and into the runners. Fucking dog owners. I hate dogs.
Chip, garmin and nike+ times were by and large close. I did better than I thought. With the narrow path, the multiple turns and short walking break at the water station (they gave us bottled water with no caps, had to drink it while walking), I’m pleasantly surprised I came under 1:05. 59:xx will come, one day, I know it.
Lots of volunteers on the course, and I tried to thank as many as I could. They seemed to appreciate a “thanks for coming out” and were all in good spirits. Volunteers make a race, any race. There was a souvenir running sock at the end, but that’s it. I’m so glad I brought my own water, otherwise would have had to buy it at the snack bar opposite. The good thing about Hyde Park, aside from it being my “home” course, is the quick hop on the bus home. I also ran this as part of the nikerunning hangover challenge. Hee.
Total 986.28km or 612.85 miles tracked on nike+. I knew at the beginning of this week that I’m close to 1000km, and if I did a few more runs, I would have passed it. But it doesn’t matter, I didn’t get the transmitter back till mid-Jan so I probably did go over 1000km. In terms of miles, 600 is a good milestone.
- injury free — some small niggles with my back and knee, but those are par for the course
- racing in London — first time doing smaller (a few hundred people) races and it was fun
- having a track nearby, both Hyde Park and Regent’s Park within running distance
- followed the novice 2 training plan pretty well, even got that last 20-miler done in atrocious conditions
- another marathon done
- I miss the lake
- too many pedestrians and tourists all over the place
- racing in London —it’s different, sometimes I miss the slickness of Chicago races; the British 10k in July was a disappointment in terms of organisation and crowd, ie walkers obstructing the course, control
3 sets of 8: db shoulder press 2x40, squat 20, bent over row 20, lunge 2x20, 24 pushups, 2x1min plank
I haven’t done any weights in over a year. Took me long enough to assemble the bench and I had to get SM’s help to unstuck the weights. There is way less room here, I don’t even have space to use the barbell, but I managed okay with the bench and the small space next to my bed. Wow, so out of practice. Almost couldn’t get to the last rep of the db press, and at only 40lbs. If I want to get better with my marathon training, I have to do more cross training. Those weights need to be used more.
April seems so far away, especially since it’s cold, windy, grotty and it’s already dark at 3pm. But it is true. Training starts today for the brighton marathon, 18 weeks away. Since it is a week before the VLM, I expect to see people start their training next week.
Following Higdon’s novice 2 again. I wish I have the discipline to move up to Intermediate 1, but I don’t want to spend the time. It’s hard enough to train through the winter for a spring marathon anyway. Supposedly the plan starts today, and it’s a rest day. But there are work dinner functions this week, so I took advantage of a work-from-home day to do Wednesday’s 5-miler today. It’s supposed to be a pace run, although I don’t see my pace being any different from usual. Hmm.
I called up a local dentist last week for a checkup appointment. Just a random clinic I found on the NHS website. I chose it because it was nearby, it’s open on Saturdays and it has positive reviews. It’s at Harrow Road where I do my shopping, and I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed it before. It’s really just a neighbourhood sort of place, not very posh. The people were very nice though, the dentist matter of fact and did a good job. Check up, X-rays and cleaning altogether cost me £65, which, compared with the unspeakable amount I spent last year on a crown, 6 veneers, new fillings and some flashy bleaching in the US, is an absolute bargain.
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.
So, the more facebook friends we have the more developed our brains are in certain regions: memory, emotional responses and social interactions. Hmm. I have almost 900 friends in my “public” account but less than 100 in my real name account. So, fail here.
Another study shows that faster walkers have higher life expectancy. Hmm. I’m not a fast walker, mm always leaves me behind. Fail again.
At least I’m not a total failure: beer contains silicon, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Yet again, it’s all about the beer.
I can’t remember this happening last year. This year I can’t seem to stop snacking. Problem is of course that I’m not consuming the same number of calories as when I was training so the danger is weight gain. Ah well, another reason to get back to training soon and now I see why people fret about the downtime between training cycles.
Generally, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to recover from the strain of running 26 miles 385 yards. Return too quickly and you increase your risk of injury. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing! Others suggest one day for every kilometer, thus 42 days rest. Often the determining factor is not how quickly your body recovers, but how quickly your mind recovers, since you temporarily will have lost your main training goal.
I briefly thought about going running yesterday. Glad that I did today after work. Just a 5k, which really, after 42k, is nothing. It was a good run, I went out faster than usual, because I knew I had enough endurance. Ended up being sub-30, and I’m not tired or sore. This is the pace I should aim at achieving on all runs.
I wore the chicago marathon t-shirt, although it was too dark for anyone to notice it. Not too many people out this evening. I planned out the training for Brighton. 18 weeks start 12 December, earlier than I thought / hoped. It’s gonna be a long, cold, tough winter.
Went over to Niketown on Michigan to get my marathon finisher’s shirt. Hmm, orange. They also had finisher’s cap but I’d bought one already at the expo. I shouldn’t buy so much stuff anyway, trying to downsize.
Lots of people wearing the race shirt today. Also a fair few wearing their medals. In public. On the street. While shopping. Not something I would do. I wore it to the car, and I did take it to work to show people. Each to their own, I guess. Don’t want to take away other people’s achievement.
42.2km 5:38:14hr 8:01min/km | 26.2miles 5:38:14hr 12:55min/mile
overall: 29,985 / 35,558
gender division: 12,145 / 15,404
age division1,017 / 1,363
mile 0: start
It took less than 30mins to drive up to town, then 15mins to navigate around the road closures. I parked at Grant Park North, wanting to be nearby and in a car park that I know. By 6.30am I was in the Bank of America tent, which they laid on for customers. There was water, gatorade, bananas, cereal bars, bench seating and most importantly, private portaloos.
As I was walking towards the start corral, the sun came out. Lovely view of it coming up on the lake. It’s gonna be a glorious day. I had signed up with the 5:15 pace group (12mm) so I found my way there. Saw my colleague K, and we lined up together. She is injured and wasn’t going to finish the race, but I said I’d walk with her for a bit.
We were lined up so far behind that we could barely hear the national anthem and the announcements. Took about 18mins to get to the actual start. I did walk K for about 100m, then she dropped out, limping. It’s disappointing for her, to DNF on her first marathon, but at least she crossed the start line and it will be the start of a longer journey for her.
miles 1-3: the loop
This is the best part of the race. Legs are fresh, crowds everywhere, perfect for absorbing the atmosphere. I had my headphones but didn’t put any music on. I don’t often run without music, but I find I’m not missing it. Speedwise I was going slowly, with the sheer number of people it wasn’t feasible to run fast anyway.
Ran past all the familiar landmarks. My favourite shot from last year was in front of the Chicago theatre so I did the same shot this year.
miles 3-7: towards lincoln park
It got quieter up la salle into Lakeview. There was still lots of shade, running was comfortable. Mile 4.5 was where the supporters from the Moody Church were stationed. They had music and gave everyone a high five. I’m afraid to admit that I’m not sure which denomination the church belongs to (not Catholic, that’s all I can say) but they provided much needed encouragement at a point in the race for which I’m grateful.
Feeling strong into Lincoln Park. I remember last year I had to stop at the aid station near mile 6 to wrap up a blister. This year I stopped there again to tape up the KT tape which had fallen off. Didn’t last long. By mile 7 I’d ripped it off. It was also in Lincoln Park that I saw a guy running with an American flag. He passed me, so I sprinted past him to get the shot.
miles 7-12: boystown, sedgwick, back to the loop
Up towards mile 7 was by the LSD, where K cheered me on last year. I thought about her, probably back at the start watching the runners. Almost to mile 8 was the northermost point of the course where it turned back at Addision. Lots of crowd there.
And then it was fun for the next 2 miles. The atmosphere at Boystown can never be beat, lots of spectators dressed up, the ROTC troupe was there, it was like carnival. It was at that point that I lost my sunglasses attachment. I spent 10mins looking for it, but it was pretty impossible. Sad, but I had to continue.
Shady down Sedgwick, which was good. Japanese drummers provided support. The stretch down Wells was okay. I was trying to see if I was feeling ok. About 1/3 done and I felt like I had 2/3 in the tank. Sponges and something luxurious — I think it was the La Salle Street Church that had a sign out front that bathroom facilities were open to runners. Oh man!! Talk about not needing to queue up for the portaloos and having a real bathroom. I know I seem to be obsessed with bathrooms, but if you’re out for 5hrs constantly drinking, toilet breaks become strategic.
mile 13.1: halfway
Entering the Loop again brings back the strong crowd support, especially at the 2 cheer zones underneath Sears Tower. Cross Wacker and there was the 13.1 sign. HALFWAY!! Time was about 2:40. Slow, ah well. People were shouting “Spiderwoman!” close to me, and I turned around to see that yes, Spiderwoman was running behind me. She passed me at 13.1 and I stuck close to her until around mile 14.
miles 13-19: the hard slog
Ah. Mile 14. When there were hardly any crowds, the sun began beating down and for me, that was the toughest point. I realised that I probably didn’t have 50% in the tank and it would take some digging. Not the wall as such, but I slowed down a lot. I also finished my pack of chomps. I’ve been taking gatorade and water from every station, so energy-wise I was doing okay.
My friend M met me at between mile 17-18 where they were giving out gels. I took a couple and saw her next to a water hose. Ran through the hose, but she didn’t mind giving me a hug even though I was soaked through. I was feeling a little miserable at that point and seeing her gave me a push. Thanks, M.
miles 18-21: pilsen, halsted
Mile 18-19 was down a very hot Ashland. Most people around me were walking. Turning into 18th Street was a vast relief. The Hispanic neighbourhood of Pilsen was out in force, welcoming us. Lots of cheers, music and I got the BEST gift all race — an elderly lady at the side of the road gave me a cola-flavoured ice lolly (American: popsicle). It was absolutely delicious, thirst-quenching and gave me the energy to start running again. Thank you, Ice Lolly Lady.
And then, mile 20 came up. Instead of the wall, I got my second wind. People say a marathon is actually 2 races: a 20-miler followed by a 10k. As I reached the “second” race, I felt really positive. I can run 10k. I run 10k easy. I was going to make it.
miles 21-26: chinatown, the long way home
Feeling good coming up to Chinatown. The second hardest part of the course, between miles 22-24, wasn’t too bad for me. I found the 5:30 pace group and followed them for about half a mile before dropping off. I was watching the clock and realised that I probably wasn’t going to make 5:30 so I may as well conserve some energy. Coming north on Michigan I passed a few people, then slowed down somewhat in the South Loop.
mile 26: mount roosevelt
I read somewhere that coming up to the right hand turn at Roosevelt to start kicking because of the uphill incline. I felt nice and strong and managed to pass quite a few runners. Hopefully the official photos look okay too. I tried to keep my mouth closed and to look halfway decent whenever I see a photographer.
mile 26.2: finish line
200m, 100m and there it was: the finish line. I was almost sprinting to the line, and saw on my garmin that the time was 5:38. Exactly the same as last year. The iphone battery had died at mile 22, and I didn’t have a backup on the nike+. Not bothered. I know I’ll get my time from the official site.
It was a long walk down the chute. Got a heat blanket, water, gatorade, free beer, , banana, a pack of snack and an official photo. Headed to the BoA tent for more food, drink and to use the portaloo. Lined up for 10mins for another free beer. There wasn’t a lot of food available — hot dog, chili and gyro. None of which I fancied so I ate a whole pack of mini cereal.
volunteers, organisation, supporters
There are not enough good words in the world to describe how I feel about the volunteers. Fantastic, wonderful in every way. Every single one had a smile and a cheer for us. I stopped at every station except the last one and to see the mountain of cups with gatorade and water. And always someone clearing up. Like I said, wonderful.
The organisation too. There’s a lot of talk about moving the race back a week or two to avoid the heat. It got hot out there today, although thankfully it was dry. I’m sure the organisers will make the right decision. A race this size, there will always be someone not satisfied. For me? The organisation was flawless, from the expo, crowd control at the beginning and end, making sure there were enough supplies, aid stations were spaced out well, the results were out the same day. I have zero complaints.
The supporters. Wow. Hundreds of thousands on the street, cheering for someone they know or for complete strangers. I had a couple of friends, K and M, and it helped me a huge amount. I was told I’m really good at exercise. A complete stranger gave me an ice lolly. Kids waved at me and gave me high fives. At one point we were clapping with the music from a band at the side (can’t remember which song). This is why Chicago is one of the best marathon experiences in the world.
I finished my second marathon. Who would have thought? I don’t feel like a marathoner, but technically, I am. I think it’s because my time is so slow. Everyone I meet have been so supportive, because to finish is an achievement. I wear my finisher’s medal proudly. Tomorrow I will go to Niketown and buy a finisher’s t-shirt.
I didn’t get into London 2012 but I’m confirmed for Brighton the week before. I’ll train for that, and then I’ll have to be very disciplined and not sign up for more. It’s imperative that I focus on speedwork. Halfs are fine, but no fulls.
Finally, my thoughts go out to the family of Captain William Caviness, who collapsed and later died at the race. He raised over $2000 for charity and was a real hero. This year’s race should be dedicated to him.
Getting my marathon gear ready for tomorrow. From top: spibelt, sunscreen, knee braces, garmin, small towel, headband, last year’s hat, phiten, shorts with bib, headphones, kt tape, pace tattoo, shirt, iphone, ipod, gu, cara card, sunglasses, gear check ticket, money/credit card/ID bundle.
Not in pic: keys, shoes, backpack, bank of america wristband (for getting into the special customer tent), other iphone, blackberry, spare shirt. Some of that will stay in the car.
The obsession began a week or so ago, but every Chicagoan knows that it’s pointless to try to predict the weather here. But less then 36hrs from the start, I think I can officially start obsessing.
It’s been hot the past week, so it’s no surprise that the forecast is warm but not extreme. Probably better early in the day than last year, and then it will get hot towards the end. Another reason to work on speed next year rather than marathon distance races. The article, and the people on the rw forum say,
this is nothing drastically different than what they’ve been running in all summer and what they’ve been training in
Sigh. Except that some of us have been training during a
summer that is coldest in 13 years.
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!!”
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.
As part of registering with the local surgery I get a free NHS health check. Went for my blood test ages ago and only got the return appointment last week for this morning. It was mainly the clinician asking me questions and him trying to figure out where to put the answers on his computer. Snerk.
Non-smoker, moderate drinker, regular exercise — all good. Glucose level ok. BP was high, and cholesterol tiny bit high too. Nothing I didn’t know before. The overall test was to assess CVD, or cardiovascular disease risk in the next 10 years. Apparently my score ws 1.9, but he couldn’t quite tell me what it means or what the range is, only that they will start getting worried for scores at 20. So I guess I’m fine. Found some online calculators that puts me in the green zone anyway.
Then again, you hear of otherwise fit people having heart attacks in the middle of running or doing sports, so even a risk factor of 0.00001 is still a risk. The clinician’s advice was pretty standard: exercise, low salt, low oil. And I really do have to watch the BP.
nikeplus: 31.08km (19.3miles) 4:10:38hr 8.04min/km
garmin: 32.2km (20miles) 4:10:38hr 7.47min/km
The second 20-miler in the training program. Regardless of whether it was 19 or 20 miles, it was long enough. Did the usual loops around Hyde Park, switching walk breaks to speakers’ corner because of the crowds. Felt pretty decent until around mile 17 when I got really tired. It’s funny (funny strange, not funny haha), I did the CARA ready-to-run 20-miler last year in 4:16 and I thought it was a disaster. The same distance this year in 4:10 and I think it’s a good result. I can’t deny that truth, that I’m slower this year, probably due to weight gain and worse diet. Doesn’t matter, I feel less exhausted after today’s run and ultimately I think that’s an important gauge of success. So, taper start.
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.
pic courtesy flickr user LaN_Luis
Should have known. Took a train forever to arrive, we were told there was a signal failure at baker street. Then at farringdon it was “all change please” and no prospect of continuing the journey westbound. What I should have done: walked to chancery lane or holborn, caught the central line. What I ended up doing: walked all the way home. I don’t believe in recording anything but runs on the nike+ but I thought it’d be informative: 7km+ 1hr 20mins 11.27min/km.
Lots of tube delays lately. How will they cope next year?
32.02km (20miles) 4:14:30hr 7.57min/km
So Higdon’s Novice 2 gets up to the 20-miler one week after the smartcoach plan I was following last year. I don’t feel particularly well prepared or trained this year, but I’ll persevere. Went out at noon, figuring it’ll take me 4 hours. Normal route down to Hyde Park then 4 times around the 6k loop. It was cloudly and slightly drizzly when I started, but then it started raining.
For 2 hours.
It was miserable. I was so soaked through the water was dripping from my cap, and my shirt so waterlogged I had to wring it out. Blech. I thought about giving up constantly, but couldn’t because I need this training run. I did have walk breaks often though, every time at Hyde Park Corner, and then a short one to refill the water bottle. Also took one loo break.
The last 2-3k was a struggle physically. By then the rain had stopped and parts of me didn’t feel like a drowned rat. Time is slow due to the conditions and the frequent stops. At this rate, I’ll be close to my 26.2 time last year, which isn’t what I want.
The nikerunning site has been a pita lately. Can’t log in, white screen, and need to use other browsers. Once I got in, I noticed that I’m only 1 marathon away from the next level, purple, on nikeplus. That’s next week.
25.76km 3:15:16hr 7.35min/km #running
I willingly and happily missed a whole week of training. Last weekend’s long run should have been 18 miles, and this week 13 miles. So I did 16 miles. The carnival was still on, so I avoided that whole area and ran down to Hyde Park via the canal. Three loops, walk breaks at Hype Park Corner, and a short break to refill the water bottle. Pretty sore. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself up to this. I was explaining to mm that long runs carve out 4-5 hours at weekends, but she said she can practice the piano for that long, if she wanted to get to diploma level. We like it that we have our own hobbies.
28.00km (17.4miles) 3:35:48hr 7:42min/km
It’s one days like this that I miss the lake so much. Running like an idiot 3 times around Hyde Park absolutely cannot compare with running along the lake. Last year’s 18-miler was a nice run down the lake to the boat and back. Today I had to battle narrow streets just to get to hyde park, and there was zero view and not a lot of breeze. Crowded as usual, and I had a couple of close calls, but in general I was able to dodge people. I had wished for showers but I got sun, at least most of the route was under tree cover.
Took a packet of pocari powder, which meant I only needed 1 water bottle. Was able to refill and make the drink using the water fountain. Brought 3 cereal bars, which I took at the hourly mark.
Time is slow, still. I wonder if I’ll ever get faster. All this talk about running more —> getting faster is…well, I should be happy, I can run sub-30 5k on a good day. Next week is supposed to be 18-miles but I’ll miss it cos I’ll be on holiday with mm.
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.
- 100k total // done 137.75k (85.6 miles) — the next milestone will be 100-mile month
- at least 3 runs a week // done — 4 runs a week for week 1-2; 3 runs a week for week 3-4
- 20k (12miles) long run // done twice — 21k and 23k weekend long runs
- sub-30min 5k// done 29:20min — I got down to 6:09min/km for a while on one of the 6k runs, getting sub-6min/km should get easier
23.31km (14.5miles) 3:04:28hr 7:55min/km
Long run this week is 15miles (24k) which I thought would take me about 3 hrs. I didn’t want to run 3 times around Hyde Park so I did a route through 4 parks — my local park for warm up, then to Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park. Hyde Park was busy, but manageable and actually quite nice. Green Park was nice too, not too crowded except the bit around the tube station. St James’s Park was the pits — full of tourists and groups of idiotic foreign kids who were noisy, blocked the path and had zero sense to move over even when someone yells “excuse me”. I hate to be judgmental but it’s always Spanish and Italian and Middle Eastern people. I wonder what they teach in their schools, they don’t behave like they even have schools.
Planned 3 walk breaks, ended up taking 4. Had a couple of cereal bars for the breaks, and it was good that Hyde Park has a water fountain so I could refill my bottle. Pace of 7:55min/km is around 12:45m/m, which is acceptable. Didn’t fully complete the 15 miles cos I was in a hurry to get home to skype with Mum, I don’t think the extra 700m matters.
Less tired than after the long run last week, so hopefully this means I’m gaining some endurance. Cut back week next week, then the push towards the first 20-miler of the training plan.
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.
21.01km 2:48:09hr 8:00min/km
The training plan had a 14-miler this weekend, but I deliberately only went out for 13 miles because that’s the half marathon distance. Ran down to Hyde Park, did 2 circuits then back home. It was tough — the weather decided to turn sunny and I couldn’t count on there being any water fountains. I took one gu, a cereal bar, one bottle of water and one of gatorade. Finished them all except the cereal bar. May be on one of the later walk breaks, I should have ate it, probably why I was so slow and exhausted for the last 2-3km.
11.15km 1:13:49hr 6:37min/km
Missed yesterday’s run already so even though I did not feel like it, I reluctantly made myself go running after work today. One of the trepidations was that the plan says 7 miles (11k) and I haven’t gone on runs more than 5k during the week for a while. The first thing that went right was the nike+ GPS, which had acted up the last 2 runs, decided to fix itself. The second, and main thing, that went well was it was a good run. Not fast, but at 4k I felt like I had more in the tank than 2/3 and at halfway it was the same. Conditions were good — cool, cloudy and a steady drizzle throughout. Because of the rain, the track was free of the casual people who normally gets in the way and annoy me. Ultimately I decided the reason behind the relatively good run is…thick, cushiony socks.
14.5km 1:43:29hr 7:08min/km
Trying to keep to the training plan — 9 miles long run this weekend. First time I tried running down to Hyde Park, it was a decent enough run, even in the heavy rain. If only the nike+ hadn’t decided to malfunction and overestimated how fast and far I was running — it claimed I’d done 17.5km at under 6min/km, hahaha. The GPS didn’t record the run at all, this was self-plotted on the nikerunning site. Good thing I had the garmin, so I could keep track and stop when I hit 9 miles. That’s another problem with running in London, I don’t have enough sense of how far I’ve run, unlike on the lake where I know it’s 3km to the roundabout and 11km to the totem pole. Sigh.
nike+: 10.4km 1:06:39hr 6.24min/km
chip time: 10k 1:05:57hr 6.41min/km
Race #5 this year, the british 10k. There’s a lot wrong with it, but it benefited from its major trump card: location location location. The route took 25,000 runners through hyde park corner, trafalgar square, st paul’s, embankment (across from the london eye), westminster bridge, parliament square, westminster abbey, and finished on whitehall. Considering I was forever stopping to take pictures — 24 in the set — I think I did pretty okay. My garmin lost its signal in the tunnels, the nike+ registered 10.4km, so even better.
So that was the pro, how about the cons:
- no corrals, and I was lucky in the free-for-all scrum to be near the front with a view of the start line
- the 9.35am start was delayed 10mins. From what I can see, it was because they had to set up the camera to interview the Mayor of Westminster, who was the official starter, and there were lots of dithering. Was it respectful to the 25,000 runners to be running late because of this? Probably not
- they played all 3 verses of the national anthem and the elites were getting ready at the end of verse 1 and then had to stop, pretty embarrassing
- funnel start caused lots of congestion
- did I mention no corrals?
- not even 300m from the start, still on Piccadilly, and we had to dodge past these idiotic women (and they’re almost always women) who were walking 4 abreast, I’m not kidding
- should be rebranded as a fun run, it was good that there were so many charity runners, but so many of them were clueless about racing etiquette. Nothing in the program to tell them that walking is fine, at the back of the pack and in single file, jeez no common sense
- only water available on the route — yes it’s only a 10k, but considering the number of charity runners and the hot weather, would have been nice to have gatorade and wet sponge
- gatorade was available at the end, but nothing else, no fruit, no banana, no cereal bar, zilch
- start and finish line too far away from bag check and meeting point
- not enough portaloos
- badly designed finisher’s t-shirt (in thin cotton), it’s going straight to the charity bin
- apparently they ran out of medals (!)
- (minor gripe) whoever designed the website must have been a myspace reject — framed, flashing graphics, poor font, not much content, difficult to find actual information, results not downloadable
- chip time took far too long to be posted, and then it’s only a time with no indication of classification
The reviews on runner’s world had similar sentiments to mine. The route was one of the best I’ve run on. Can’t beat Central London with all its glory. Supporters and spectators all along the route, atmosphere was good. Luckily I had a brainwave and stuffed one of those small collapsible shopping bags in my pocket and didn’t need to bag check. By the time I got on the tube and home it was almost noon.
Despite all the shortcomings I signed up for next year’s race, because only 2 weeks from the start of the Olympics and the the atmosphere in London will be sports-crazy then. Not sure about subsequent years though. Results:
chip time: 5.63km (3.5miles) 34.28min 6.07min/km
My third corporate challenge, my first in London. It was a big affair, the only JPMC CC location where the race is spread over 2 days. I’ll save my complaints about how the London office totally lags behind the Chicago office in terms of race organisation and participation. Suffice it to say that there were 200 people in Chicago last year (300 including supporters and family) and we had a tent, catering, a prize draw and a great time. In London we struggled to get 50 runners and we congregated at the signpost that said “meeting point G to O” — no tent, no supporters, can’t even find the group at times. At least we got a t-shirt and the same picnic chair gift. Oh, and there was a voucher for 2 drinks and a burger from the organisers. Big deal.
A field of 13,000 people and it was a corral start for the first time this year. I’d never run in Battersea Park before so it was always going to be a new experience. It was a meandering route on both concrete walking path and grass. I didn’t see many of my team mates, it was just like running on my own. I started out fast, 9mm, tucked in behind a couple of ladies. Lost them after a while, the field never thinned out. Did pretty well, considering I haven’t been training and I’m not at my fittest. Yes, 5mins slower than last year is a big difference. Ah well.
I queued up to retrieve my backpack, queued up for the burger and beer and sat down in the sun to scoff it all down. Found remnants of my group and stayed for a chat for 10mins but I was eager to get home. Results:
- overall: 7,445/10,090
- gender: 1,747/3,377
I couldn’t even run 10k today. It was probably too optimistic given that I’ve been sick and barely able to breathe normally the past 2 weeks. I got as far as 4k, then had to take numerous walk breaks; the last 2k was almost all walking. Now I’m 3 weeks behind training schedule, sigh. So, the plan is:
- get better
- short runs
- try to get back on track
Had a blood test on Tuesday, and there’s still a residual bruise on my arm. I’m pretty relaxed when I get my blood drawn, although usually there’s not this much bruising. Ah well, it’ll go away eventually, I’m not overly bothered.
I guess it’s the drugs, but the pain in the ribs was under control for a bit. I even went running yesterday. Thing is, I must have picked up some germs from the surgery cos now I have bronchitis. My entire breathing system feels like an inferno and when I cough it pulls the rib muscles so they hurt all over again. Argh.
Remember when I had the altercation with the pedestrian crossing pole almost 2 weeks ago. Well, my chest started hurting last weekend, towards the end of the trip, and has gotten steadily worse the last few days. There’s a sharp pain if I take a deep breath, get up from the chair, or move about too strenously. Oh, and if I run too. So I finally got myself registered with a NHS GP and apparently it’s inflammation of the rib muscles. Nothing to be done, apart from taking painkillers.
And while he was at it, the doc sent me for a health check and made me set up appointments with the nurse. Gonna be going back to the surgery frequently in the next few weeks.
For most of the trip my left ear was blocked and I couldn’t hear very well. Sometimes it’d pop for a bit, and then it blocks up again. I didn’t mind. What I needed to hear, I managed. The rest, it’s all noise.
I know now that there’s only 18 weeks till the Chicago marathon, why? Because marathon training starts today!! I’m trying to follow Higdon’s Intermediate I this year, but I suspect I’ll end up somewhere between Intemediate I and Beginner. The beginner program maxes out at 36 miles and Intermediate at 43, the only difference being that there’s an extra weekend run for Intermediate.
The program starts today by cross-training. Um, does 20mins of walking to and from the station count? And I know the next 2 weeks will be difficult cos I’m at GCLS. See, I’m not following already, sigh.
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.
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.
So nike+ is 5 years old. I’ve had my fair share of nike+ devices over the past 2.5 years of running. They are offering the nike+ gps app free, I can’t remember if I ever paid for mine, hmm. There’s also a challenge, every 5km logged in nike running will be entered into a lucky draw. The prize is fantastic: 2 bibs at either Chicago 2012 or Nike Women’s marathon in SF, both in 2012. Although the chances are pretty slim, I never have any luck in lotteries or prize draws.
5.01km 29.44min 5.56min/km
It’s frustrating. Routinely going sub-30 for a 5k should not be this difficult. I know the solution is to run more. Does it really help?
I had a conference today that I didn’t need to be at till 10am, so I had an hour. I thought I’d try running in the morning. Did some sort of fartlek on the home straight of the track — 300m normal speed, 100m faster speed. In reality it was more like 250m normal speed, 75m faster speed, 75m snail’s pace.
garmin: 4.68km 28.05min 6.00min/km
Race #3, I did end up registering for the beat the banana race.
It was held at Hyde Park at 6pm, so I left the office at 4.30pm to get there to pick up my bib. Received the t-shirt in the mail earlier this week. I’m glad it wasn’t that hot, and it’s a short distance. It was a nice cotton (sigh) t-shirt, but cotton and racing are incompatible. But, this is a fun run, so can’t expect more. About 500 people, and one guy dressed as a banana. No chip, so I had to time myself. The distance was advertised at 5k, but the garmin said 2.91miles (4.68km), which seems right. I wasn’t going particularly fast and 28min for 5k didn’t feel right. Pace was exacly 6.00min/km so I would have just made it to the 30min mark.
The race is supposed to beat the banana guy, who had about 20 seconds headstart. But when I rounded the last corner towards the finish line, he was coming down the course, running with some people for a few meters and encouraging the rest. I got a high five. Such a nice gesture, he either finished or didn’t cross the finish line until after the last person was done.
This was a charity run. I had a low profile campaign, raised a modest £125 for the world cancer research fund. I got a medal and a goodie bag — water, banana, and a few WCRF booklets on healthy living and healthy recipes. Got a bus home, and was showered and having a curry dinner by 7.45pm.
Several times a year, I get hit by rotator cuff pain. The first time it happened was about 10 years ago while on holiday in Australia with mm, it was bad because I couldn’t lift my arm or push it back without being in excrutiating pain, and I had to shift gears while driving. That was the first time that pushed me to find a chiropractor.
This time, it was after the run on Friday. I woke up Saturday and it was tough to get dressed. The whole left shoulder hurt, the right side of my neck hurt (it’s all connected), I couldn’t lift my arm and the most simple action had to be done by moving the whole body. Luckily it’s on the left, I’ve never been so glad to be right-handed. Wasn’t helped by going to the food show and buying a huge amount of stuff that I had to carry in my backpack. Sunday’s run was also pretty painful. I don’t know if running causes the injury or not, it predates my running days and I thought that exercising helped all the aches and pains I’ve had over the years.
I don’t have a chiro or PT here, so I had to figure out something to help myself. Thank goodness for the foam roller. There are a bunch of exercises on youtube and I followed a couple of them. Helped a tiny amount. Then last night I slept without a pillow keeping my neck straight and it seems to be a little better. Range of motion has increased, although it still crack loudly and in certain positions I feel twinges. I went running today with the aim of loosening up. Fingers crossed.
5.01km 31.19min 6.14min/km
I thought I’d go do a fast 5k after work. It was sunny, the track was crowded. Sigh. Not fast at all, it ended up being as mediocre as all my runs.
What is fast? Read this on a rw thread:
- real world fast = you are the quickest runner in your office
- age group fast = you occasionally get a ribbon
- actually fast = you are in the top five of a race
- really fast = you have an actual medal from national or international competition, or you wear a bib # that is a single digit
- astoundingly fast = your bib simply has your first name
I’m not even at #1, there are a couple of twentysomethings at work who must be faster, and definitely the guy who does 4-5 runs a week, 22min 5ks, who are faster. Double sigh.
5.01km 29.29min 5.53min/km
Sub-30 5k. Neat. Of course, I’d have to run sub-25 to have any chance of coming in the top 10, and sub-20 to be in the top 3 in my AG in races. I just have to settle for just under 30 consistently.
Talking about sub-30 makes me sad. It’s the ravenswood 5k this weekend. Last year I ran 29.53, which is still my 5k PR (Corporate Challenge was faster, but it was 3.5miles). I think that if I were to run again this year, I could beat that. The Ravenswood is a fast course, and because it’s so close by I don’t have the stress of travelling all the way downtown. Big sigh. I can just imagine cycling down to the start, running the race and cycling home.
Final running news today. I registered for the 2012 london marathon ballot. I’m hopeful, but trying not to get over-excited. I was entry #122,000+ this morning, and there will inevitably be a huge demand. People who don’t get in through the ballot can donate their £32 entry fee to charity and get: a) a “loser” running jacket and b) a NYCM ballot entry. I already registered for the 2012 brighton marathon, as a fallback. It would be great to run london in london olympic year though.
10.80km 1:11:54hr 6.39min/km
I rarely run in the morning, except when there is a race. Given a choide I’d never do a morning run during the work week because I can’t imagine waking up so early. Very occasionally at the weekends. The track was pretty crowded at 9am, but I’d planned on heading towards Regent’s Park anyway. Ended up doing more than 10k. Much higher mileage than last week, definitely more than 10% increase, but it’s relatively small distances so it shouldn’t matter.
Skyped with Sis and Mum, then spent the rest of the day reading, writing and playing mw. Didn’t go out at all. In lieu of easter eggs, I had a few candy cane frangos that I’d brought over with me.
A lot of people say, it’s easy to start running. All you need is a pair of sneakers. But that’s not strictly true. Very appropriately, gizmodo combined the love of running with the love of gadgets and came up with 10 tools for runners. I won’t go as far as calling them tools, and some I disagree with.
- running shoes — they specified particularly a reebok, when every self-respecting runner will know that shoes are very personal and it’s highly recommended to get fitted. Ii do think that the trend for too much specialisation is marketing, but I absolutely think that it’s up to the individual to find shoes that work for them
- compression shorts — I guess they are useful, I’m not seeing a need for them for me
- nike+ gps watch — this is one of the most looked forward to products in running circles. I’m a big nike+ fan, but I’ll stick with the iphone app and garmin for the time being
- sennheiser PMX680 headphones — yes!!
- foot spa — nice to have, but doesn’t have a place in a top 10. Ice bath and a foam roller may be
- massage mat — see above, a foam roller does the job much better
- iTreadmill — I wonder why they picked this app, sponsorship? Runkeeper and the nike+ apps are better
- Tech shirt — run in enough races and there’s no need to buy tech shirts, in the US anyway
- ipod shuffle — if they are saying at the iTreadmill on the iphone, then there’s no need to take the shuffle as well for music
- pedometer — feels redundant, with all the apps that they’re suggesting
I would combine a few of them, and substitute the foam roller for the massaging tools. I’d also say a garmin is better than the nike+ watch. And they missed a couple of very important runners’ tools — bodyglide and spibelt. Still, not a bad list.
nike+ time: 9.82km 1.03.11hr 6.26min/km
chip time: 10k 1.02.45hr 6.16min/km
My first UK race, miles for missing people 10k at regent’s park. Differences between this race and chicago races:
- bib was mailed to me, there was no packet pickup
- t-shirt given out at the race itself, cotton not tech
- 10.30am start
- only 600 runners (I think they ended up with 650)
- no corrals — in fact the 10k, 2k fun run and walkers all started together
- rudimentary chip, which had my number handwritten with a felt tip pen and was attached to the shoe using disposal wire ties
- no idea if I’ll get the results, I can’t find even a link that talks about results on the website
All in all, less slick professional organisation, but in the typical “amateur” british way, it was endearing and worked well. I got a zipcar for the whole day (brent cross and tesco in the afternoon) and by sheer luck parked at the right entrance, only 5mins walk from where the race tents were.
I guess they couldn’t have more than 600 people, the start was a narrow gate that led out to a path that must be only 10ft wide. They had 3 events — 10k, 3k fun run and a walk. See #5 above, everyone started at the same time. This meant the first 1k I ran faster than I usually do, to get some room for myself. I faded towards the middle, and got passed by a ton of people. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know if I’ll get the results by mail or email, there’s nothing on their website.
What I really enjoyed was rock choir singing before and after the race. Some of them took part in the fun run and walk too. I’ll have to explore a little more about them.
Overall, it was a good race. The fastest finishers were all sub-40, and they had wine and chocolate as prizes. Sue Cook was there to present the prizes, now that’s a name I recognise.
ETA: I got the results via email in a spreadsheet. Had to do my own calculation for placing:
- overall: 333/505
- gender division: 126/262
- age division: 13/22
Very tempted to register for this, the beat the banana 5k fun run at Hyde Park on May 12th. The idea is to try to outrun the human banana, it’s that simple. Sounds silly, but I’m all for themed races. And it is becoming more and more obvious to me that races in the UK are very charity-driven. I think that with a “beat the banana” hook, it may be fun to get sponsorship.
no fees, no awards, no whining. Distances are typically 50 kilometers or 50 miles, but vary according to a race director’s whims or ability to borrow his buddy’s GPS device. There are no lotteries, no expos, no qualifying times, no triple-digit entry fees subsidizing multimillion-dollar “running clubs.” No one will urinate on you from the upper span of the Verrazano Bridge, and you won’t shiver for hours in a corral before the starting gun
Needless to say, these are relaxed races, where aid stations may consist of a volunteer pouring out water from a jug from home, or giving out candy from a large jar. Sounds quite attractive to me, especially the camaraderie, and evoking spirit of early racing. I’ve yet to do one trail run, but the movement seems to attract a lot of participants.
The other discovery this week is the really big free marathon that will be held November 2012 in Las Vegas. It’s both a full and half marathon, and there will be the usual medals, tech shirts and goodie bag. The organisers are working on the premise that the estimated $300,000 to put up a marathon will be borne solely by sponsors. So the trade-off for the zero registration fee is that racers will expect to have their personal information sold to sponsors and marketers. Ugh. There is a refundable $50 deposit, which is fine by me, but it’s the being the target of marketing that makes me uncomfortable. Plus, I may want to do London and Berlin (or Chicago round 3) next year, and I’m not sure I’m experienced enough for a third marathon. Anyway, registration opens March 24, I might just put my name down for the hell of it.
video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqx4-d_4g1U
Talking about commercialism, this feels propaganda-y and cliché-y, and they have a less than stellar reputation but I’m a nike fanboi anyway. This ad was “recycled” from old ads, and is part of the nike better world campaign. If we can get the world to a fitter place, or if we can help a potential athlete achieve their dream, then it doesn’t matter how and what is the ultimate motive as long as it harms none, right?
When I was migrating to the mba, I looked at some pics of me just 3-4 years ago and I was appalled at how unhealthy I was. Running played, and continues to play, a big part in making myself better. If I can help just one person do more sports, I’d like to believe I’m earning my keep in the world.
5.01km 30.35min 6.06min/km
Almost sub-30. It was a good run, a bit chilly and I was feeling loose. I should keep at it and hopefully by the time I start marathon training I can hit this small achievement milestone that is surprisingly very important to me.
I’ve also begun to register for races. There are a couple of 5k fun runs this weekend, but I’m going to skip them. I did register for the Miles for Missing People 10k in April. The biggest draw for me is that it’s in Regent’s Park, I can walk or bike there on the day.
It will be very strange, a field of only 600 runners. And a race that starts at 10.30am rather than first thing in the morning. I have no idea what the racing culture in London is like. I see a lot of runners around, both in the park and on the road, so it must be popular. After all, athletics is pretty big in the UK. The races seem to be focused on charity rather than just racing. I guess that’s good, cos you’d get away from the blatantly commercialism of something like the rock’n’roll series.
Why race? Why not just build base and then follow the training plan? I can say that for me, racing is addictive. I’ll never be a triathlete, but the last page of the March issue of Triathlete magazine has an article about why the author loves racing and this is the last point:
If there is a Camelot in my life, it’s a finish line…any finish line. The sponsors are happy, the race directors are happy, the volunteers are happy, the announcers are happy and, of course, the athletes are ecstatic. Everyone is cheering and there is a feeling of accomplishment that hangs in the air no matter how long or tough the race. Then you get to savor the rest of the day and that great finish line-induced adrenaline high. Of course, we all know that amazing feeling won’t last forever. Which is why you need to hurry home and figure out where you’ll be racing next weekend.
The plan is 8 races this year, and to apply for next year’s London marathon. Wish me luck.
8.09km 52.10min 6.27min/km
Perfect running weather today. A little bit sunny, gentle breeze, around 15°C. I wore my Shamrock Shuffle shirt for St Patrick’s Day, no need for long sleeves, shorts were good. Ran round the track, twice around the park, and back to the track again. Lots of people out with their kids and strollers, so it was better on the track. Despite the good conditions, my time stays the same as usual, can’t seem to break 10min/mile.
official result: 21.1km 2.28.22 (chip time) 2.27.39 (gun time)
nike+ time: 22.51km (13.99 miles, half marathon) 2.29.03hr 6.37min/km
flickr set: here
I’ve been running in the standard chartered marathon races since 2007, previously all in the 10k, this was my first half marathon.
I didn’t expect a good result, it’s been cold and wet, and I just got off the plane less than 48hrs ago. But once I was at the start line, I was fine even though it was 1am London time. The beginning was a scrum, it took at least 5k for the field to spread out so it didn’t feel like a cattle herd. It wasn’t that people weren’t fast, there was simply not enough room, at most 2 lanes of the highway.
Other than the lack of space, the organisation was impeccable. Aid stations every 5k with water, sports drink and wet sponges at every station, medical staff everywhere, officials who cheered us all on. There wasn’t much of a crowd until the last 1km, and then they were loud. I’d texted my sis about 3km in to tell her I’m 20mins away, and I slowed down at the end to look out for them but she couldn’t get through traffic. We met up after the finish line and my niece had made me a fantastic banner. So happy to see them!
We had lunch at the yacht club then she drove me home. Showered and chatted the afternoon away. Results come out in a couple of days’ time, not immediately. Ah well. I’ll edit the post when I see it.
ETA official results:
Didn’t get into the Great North Run. Ah well, might be a good thing, I was a bit iffy on having to trek all the way up north for that. Although, I’m trekking all the way to Chicago…that’s different (I try desperately to convince myself). I’m thinking of entering into the 2012 London marathon ballot, hope that I get luckier.
17.89km (11.11 miles) 2:02:29hr 6.51min/km
Had to put in a 10-miler before the HM next week. It was cold and dreary and drizzled throughout the entire run, but I went ahead anyway. Warmed up at the park, then ran down to the Regent’s canal, through Paddington and then to Regent’s Park. I just followed the road, there wasn’t much planning. Regent’s Park is nice to run in, so for long runs I’ll probably head over there.
I think I ran less than 11 miles. There’s a discrepancy between the nike+ and the garmin. 11 miles is nike+ distance, garmin shows around 10. Judging by my speed, I’d say the garmin is more accurate. My hands were so cold at the end I had difficulty opening the zipper of the spibelt. I bought some chocolate milk but didn’t like the taste, only drank half. I did get a cider though, and had it with my calves’ liver dinner.
5.16km 32.42min 6.20min/km
Middle of February and I finally got a run up on nikerunning. I left the sensor in the shipment so the (very few) runs I did for the first 6 weeks of the year were in the garmin, but not on nike+. The run last weekend couldn’t get uploaded because of my crappy connection and the huge amount of crappy flash on the nike site.
So now I can get going with peeling away the 687km I need to get to purple level. 426 miles. Hmm. Not impossible for this year, if I focus and not get lazy or sidetracked. Chicago is once again the goal. I registered already.
10.3km 1:09:25hr 6.48min/km
It’s not the lake or even the Embankment, but 30 seconds from my front door is the park and the running track. I can’t complain. The track is a standard 400m, I remember years and years and years ago I tried running around it and managed 200m. Snerk. I alternated between the track and doing a circuit around the park. The park circuit is just over 1km, so it gave some variety. There were dogs around but thankfully they were well behaved. I don’t know if it’s true, are British dogs trained to ignore people.
Between running without any knee support (I forgot the knee braces) and the unpacking, my lower back is absolutely killing me. Had to roller it very gently. So glad I unpacked my sports stuff.
p.s. this actually is a pic of the track. one of these days I’ll go take my own picture.
The great north run HM is one of the biggest events in the UK. 54,000 runners make it one of the largest HMs in the world. It takes place in Gateshead in Sept and entry is by ballot. Last week, there was an advanced ballot by the Mirror, and now I get the notification that my ballot entry wasn’t successful. However it’s automatically entered into the general ballot, so wish me luck.
8.05km 1:00:00hr exactly 7.27min/km
I got up early, and it wasn’t raining. So to start 2011 on a positive, motivational manner, I went running. Went over and across City bridges — Tower, London, Millennium and Blackfriars. Quite a nice route, came across about a dozen other runners.
This is garmin time. It took the 305 about 3mins to lock onto a satellite, which is okay except it made my average speed even slower than I was. I can’t wait till I get an iphone plan or my shipment so I can get it all recorded on the nike+. I suppose I should upload it to the garmin site.
I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. I left the nike+ transmitter in the shipment so nothing registered for December. 969km is 602 miles.
- shamrock shuffle 8k, which wasn’t my longest distance but it was a good start to the season
- breaking 6min/km consistently at the beginning of the season
- generally, the privilege of running along the lake
- marathon, marathon, marathon
- getting injured, I’m still not back to my ideal speed
- that dismal ready-to-run 20miler
- post-marathon slump, followed by moving to London and needing to settle into a routine
8.05km 55.15min 6.56min/km
I made myself go out running today. It’s so easy to be lethargic and stay home, but I’m glad I did. Looked online for some routes and decided on the one along the Thames — past all the bridges, turning around at Westminster Bridge and back via the Southbank. Except it wasn’t such a good decision, I’d forgotten it’s Sunday afternoon and the area around Westminster and the South Bank was full of tourists. I literally had to push my way through, the pavement was full of people. Argh.
The run itself was slow, and the weather was good. Once I got past Embankment there were fewer people and I could enjoy it again. Next time I’ll run east instead of west. It isn’t logged on nike+ because silly me I left the shoe sensor in the shipment. I might go buy a replacement one. I can’t use the gps app because it’ll be extremely expensive and I can’t justify using roaming for running! The garmin is brilliant though.
8k 47.46min 5.58min/km
Race #12, the 33rd annual turkey trot.
This was my last race of the year, and likely my last race in Chicago for a while. Sigh. Very very sad. I had a great year of running, and will take away several PRs and tons of great memories.
The race was at Lincoln Park, starting at the zoo, heading a little north then looping south till North Avenue beach before turning north as far as Belmont Harbor and ending at the same spot as the start line. It had been cold all week, and yesterday it was raining cats and dogs. We caught a break, the sky was overcast but no rain. It was actually less cold than at the Hot Chocolate. May be it’s because I drove, so I was in a better frame of mind. And then I had a free bagel and hot chocolate, which warmed me up. I also lined up in the chute early and did some shuffling and stretching.
There were no corrals, we were asked to seed ourselves and judging from some of the people at the start line they have no clue what pace they were at. Can’t blame them, it looks like a lot of them are casual runners. So to be on the safe side, I stood fairly near the start. There were about 7000 runners, so it wasn’t as big a race as the others, but still large enough. I was happily waiting when this couple, the woman obnoxiously in a Boston jacket, pushed through and stood right in front of me. I glared at her but she was too much of a thick-skinned idiot to notice. I mean, Boston jacket, srsly?
Anyway, I went out faster than I normally would at other races, because it was only 8k. I also had my new garmin 305 with me, so I could tell my pace. I think I’m in love with my garmin. I still had the nike app open on my iphone, but I can see why now people swear by their garmins. Anyway, I was able to keep to under 9mm for the first 3-4k, before slowed down after half way. Had enough left in the tank to speed up at 7k. Could have been faster if I hadn’t walked through the water stations. Had to drive down to Car’s for thanksgiving so I didn’t linger at the finish, grabbed bananas, water and went straight to my car. Had to call mm back, cos she rang when I was at about 6.5k, so we talked for a bit. I’m thinking I placed better because of the number of casual runners and walkers, but it could also be I was consciously running faster. Results:
- overall — 2092 / 5683
- gender — 855 / 3275
- age division — 35 / 166
I wanted to go to Fleet Feet Piper’s Alley to register for Thursday’s Turkey Trot 8k, they were doing registration and packet pickup in the store, so it saved me even registering online. Piper’s Alley is down in Uptown where the Saturday market is. The normal mode of transport would have been drive or get the #22 bus. Then I thought, it’s a good distance to bike — I run all the way to the boat when I was training, so it shouldn’t be a problem to take my bike. And it wasn’t. Except for parts where it got windy, it was a nice ride down and back home. Total 13.2 miles, according to google maps.
15k 1:36:02hr 6.24min/km
Race #11, the hot chocolate 15k.
After last year’s experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this race this year. The course wasn’t that great, the chocolate fondue and drink post-race were not impressive at all, and it’s expensive at $55 for the 15k. But like many, I got caught up post-marathon and wanted to run another race soon, so there I was. Of course since the marathon I’d done a grand total of 8k — not good, not good.
There were many improvements from last year. The first was that packet pickup wasn’t somewhere in the UIC campus, but Union Station. How much more convenient can it get? I mean, I work right next door. The second improvement was the course moved from crowded Montrose to South Lake Shore — start at Grant Park, then south to museum campus and LSD, following the RNR route. The third improvement was a very nice and soft jacket.
They couldn’t do anything about the weather. It was dry but cold. They still had 2 separate starts for the 5k and 15k; and it got crowded with both groups in the area. The 5k racers were back when we were lining up in the start chute, I made my way to the barrier and saw them come back in. This meant the 15k racers were standing around for almost 30mins freezing our butts off. I was one of the few people in shorts. Not capris, normal shorts. And on top was the long sleeved marathon shirt, having gear checked the jacket. If the race started 5 mins later, I would have been shivering and chattering.
This meant it took me like 3-4k just to not feel cold, and more to warm up. The summer of training helped, even after taking almost 4 weeks off. At no point was I winded, and my knees held up. Because of the slow, cold start and wanting to conserve energy, I wasn’t aiming for any particular time. I did kick in a little with 5k to go, only to get side stitch at the last kilometer. But I ignored the pain, because that’s what i should do.
There was more food at the fondue — 3-4 slices of apple, half a banana, pretzel sticks, cereal bar and cake. All dipped in chocolate, this time provided by Ghiradelli’s. I dropped my drink ticket but they still gave me a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Lingered a bit, walking around to look at the park again. It’s my last race there this year. Got sentimental for a minute. Placing:
- overall — 7689 / 12368
- gender — 4432 / 8150
- age division — 259 / 523
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.
Official results came in quickly yesterday, official photos are still being sorted — they must have taken hundreds of thousands of pics, and all have to be tagged. I saw a few already on the site, and I’m very tempted to buy a couple.
The official results came with splits. It’s easy to see how I started at a reasonable pace then slowed right down at the end. 35k is mile 21, just past Chinatown and into the barren, shadeless lands of Wentworth and Michigan.
I still think I did okay in terms of pacing. Could I have pushed harder? Probably, but it may have caused injury and the wheels really coming off. People always say don’t worry about the time for the first marathon, because it’s all about gaining experience. I can’t agree more. Next time, I’ll need to get even more miles in during training, and seriously ramp it up. If there is a next time.
42km (26.2miles) 5:38:53hr 8.04min/km
Race #10. The Big One. I went to bed at 9pm, but wasn’t able to fall asleep right away. Woke up at 1am, tossed and turned again. Alarm went off at 4.30am. Had a big breakfast of cereal and cream cheese bagel. A banana at the BoA tent when I got to Grant Park. That was very nice, having a quiet area to sit down and no-queue portaloos.
At first I lined up with the 5.30 pace group, then decided psychologically I’d rather run with a faster group and get overtaken by slower ones than never being able to catch up with a group. So I moved up to the 4.30 group. It was warm already, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast day for me.
I was less than 15mins behind the gun, so kudos for organisation. The interesting sight was sweatshirts and t-shirts being flung to the sides as the race got going. The early parts — Columbus, Grand, Rush, State were all familiar territory. I was doing pretty well, conserving energy and enjoying the crowd support along the way. When we turned up La Salle and to Old Town and Lincoln Park the crowds got scarcer but I was going fine. I stopped at the medical tent at mile 5-6 for a band-aid to patch up a toe that was threatening to blister. By then the sun was beating down pretty hard and I took gatorade and water at every station.
My friend Karen was at Sheridan at mile 7, it was great to see her and she took a few pics of me. The turning point was at Addison and wow! the crowds there was phenomenal, Boystown really did us proud today. I ran behind Batman and Batgirl for a while, there weren’t that many people in costumes today, the ones who were got a rousing cheer. I was feeling good all the way back downtown and into the loop. More wonderful crowds all the way to the halfway point just past Sears Tower (almost immediately behind the office actually). I hit 13.1 at 2.35, was I feeling like I have 50% left? Yep.
I took a portaloo break at mile 14, and by then I was getting a little tired. Walked through each aid station but ran between them. My colleague Michelle was supposed to be at mile 19-20 but I couldn’t see her. I did see Eiffel Tower guy, boy that must be heavy. And then I got past 20 miles without hitting the wall, PR yay! Chinatown was another nice part, with crowds. Miles 21-23 down Wentworth was tough, with not a lot of cover.
Then it was miles 23-24 and the lonely run up Michigan. The event alert system had been upgraded to Red for a few miles now. Had to dig deep and keep moving. My knees were starting to hurt, which I ignored. The numbers got smaller and smaller and all of a sudden there was only 1 mile to go. By then I knew I’d miss 5.30, but it was okay. The end of Michigan and the right hand turn into “Mount” Roosevelt and 600m to go. Had enough legs to run up, and then it was the left hand turn into the home stretch. It is very moving, to see the finish line.
I got my beer, rested a little at the tent, then took the “L” home. Had a little scare with getting dizzy and had to get off at Sheridan for fresh air. The walk home from the station was long, long, long. Ice bath, chocolate milk, reheat pizza from yesterday. Exhausted. Knees hurt like hell. Blisters on right foot. But it’s all good.
So I did it. ! finished a marathon. Results:
- overall: 29959 / 49586
- gender: 12459 / 16186
- age division: 1112 / 1437
Flickr set: here
Thanks to: Karen, Michelle, everyone at work who were so encouraging; Janet for tracking my progress all the way in London; mm who says she’s keeping me under surveillance; Debra for the daily support. And most of all, every single volunteer along the route.
This is almost everything I’m taking with me to the marathon tomorrow. The only things missing are the camera (well, cos I was using it to take the pic) and my shorts. This is a lot of stuff! Although, I’ll be wearing or carrying the majority. From top left:
- water belt
- spare t-shirt
- titanium necklace
- race shoes with D-tag already in place, plus socks — I’m racing in these very light nike lunar racer 2
- knee straps
- bondi band that says 26.2
- race t-shirt
- course map and paperwork
- nike+ badge — I got this at the expo and it apparently gives free gifts or discounts or something
- KT tape — which I will apply on my knees and shins before bed tonight
- wet towel in ziploc bag, this will be gear checked and used post-race
- small hand towel that fits in my pocket
- ID, ICE card, credit card, CARA membership card, CTA pass
- keys, money
- bloks — tequila and cola flavours
- gu — blueberry and chocolate
- nutrigrain bars — the only reason I take these is because they are soft and chewy
- bagel — in the morning I will fill it with cream cheese and chop into 4 bite-sized pieces, nutrition for mid-race
- Bank of America customer upgrade gold wristband — allows access into BoA tent with water, bananas, toilets and seating
- number bib with gear check and 312 beer tag
- Polar HRM and strap
Run scheduled today is 19k, just under a half-marathon. I’ve been slow and in discomfort since last week, but all I need to do is not fall apart for 2 weeks.
The beginning of the run was completely ruined by a stupid dog walking event where fucking dog owners and their idiotic dogs took up a 2 mile procession of the entire lakefront path. Naturally, given that they are dog owners after all, they know nothing about sharing the path with other people. Selfish fuckers. All dogs need to die. Dog owners too. With as maximum suffering.
I had to detour and find a different route. Eventually found the inner bike path which took me all the way down to Lincoln Park and over the pedestrian bridge to North Ave Beach. The way back along the beach was really tough, between 10-13k the headwind was so strong that it took all my energy to inch forward. Once I got back to Belmont, it was shielded and not too bad. But I was already sapped.
Anyway, I got home and immediately got on the foam roller to fix my back, ITB and knees. Other than that I was feeling okay. No need for ice bath, and not tired. I’m dreading the marathon to be honest. I don’t think I want to go through another training cycle again — if there is a next time I’ll have to increase my mpw, may be follow pfitz 18/55, which is even more of a time suck.
So here’s the state of my knees today. All taped up. Like I said, just need to hang in there for 2 more weeks.
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.
32.36km 4:16:35hr 8.08min/km
Second 20-miler of the training cycle today, and I joined the cara ready to run 20miler training run. The attractions were: pace groups, fully supported, starts at Foster and bus back.
Long story short, I bonked. The chart shows it perfectly where it happened — 23k / mile 14. I had nothing in my legs and had to walk. Never recovered, and was reduced to shuffling and walking the rest of the way. At least I finished. I can make up lots of excuses, but instead I’m focusing on the lessons learned:
- keep warm at the start line — I was standing around for an hour and by the time it was my wave my teeth were chattering. Didn’t help that the sun came out and the latter part of the course had no shade
- do NOT start out too quickly — one of the volunteers shouted out at mile 6 how fresh we all looked; I was thinking I feel okay, yes, but it felt like halfway and not just 30%
- walk breaks — I was running too hard the first half and didn’t take a walk break till 2:15, when I should have taken a break each hour
On the bus back, someone commented on how far we’d run, so it was an achievement. We started at 5200N and ended at 7100S. I was glad I could bike home. Had an ice bath and 2 showers. Feeling exhausted, disappointed and everywhere hurts. My knees, calves, shins and back all hurt. I’m having to k-tape my knees and legs.
My nike+ sensor conked out, which is very annoying cos it’s less than a year old and already the battery is gone? So instead of getting a new $20 sensor, I spent $1.99 on the new nike+ gps app. I’m going for a 20-miler tomorrow, so I took it out for a test run today.
It doesn’t need the sensor, and set up was a breeze. The gps signal picked up quickly and I was on my way. At the end of the run, it synced to my nike+ account automatically without needing to go through itunes. The stats were all there, as well as my route. It’s well worth the price, and then some.
Apparently the gps is quite a drain on the battery so I’m worried about the iphone lasting the whole marathon. Let’s see how it shapes up on the 20-miler tomorrow.
- lose weight
- exercise regularly
- healthy diet
- reduce sodium
- limit alcohol
- no smoking (includes second hand smoke)
- limit caffeine
- reduce stres
- monitor bp, get checked up regularly
- get support from family and friends
See what I mean? I’m doing most of these already! So I’ve come up with my own list of how to reduce my bp:
- give me some quiet, me time…regularly
- just focus on work, ignore toxic people, rise above politics
- kill all dogs
- invent a volume control button for the universe
- see a smoker, cross the road
- less emphasis on weight, more on body fat and composition
- eat healthy but don’t undereat
- stop obsessing about my bp
I’m extremely annoyed. My bp is not in a good place. I thought I’d avoided it by running and eating relatively healthily. Genetics is catching up with me, I don’t know how much I can escape it. Must watch salt intake and reduce alcohol. It’d also help if I can get rid of work stress.
21km 2:24:46hr 6.54min/km
When I did this year’s race planning I wasn’t going to run the chicago half marathon because: a) I wanted to run the rock and roll and b) it takes place at the south lake shore, which is unfamiliar territory. It was my colleagues EH and KC who persuaded me to register. I was still uncomfortable cos of the transportation issue. They had shuttles from town and special trains, but to get to the shuttles and train station was already a hassle. So I drove.
A Bears home game meant the start time was push back to 7am. I had to get up at 4.30am, eat breakfast, get all my gear ready and leave by 5.15am. Like most people who drove, I parked at the museum of science and industry and boy was there a long queue to exit lake shore drive and into the car park. Plus a long walk to the start line. After gear check and going to the loo there wasn’t much hanging around time before the start.
15,000 runners, and credit to the organisers the start was fast, I was only 8 mins out. Conditions were good — it was sunny but luckily also breezy. The scenery was outstanding, I think even better than the north lakeshore. They closed lake shore drive so we were running on there for most of the way, unlike the rock and roll where we were running on the bike path next to LSD. What a difference a 3-lane highway makes.
I felt pretty strong. For some reason the nike+ decided to report progress in miles instead of the usual km so it threw me a bit. The miles flew by pretty consistently. I walked at the water stops, total about 10mins for the whole race. No other walking break.
By halfway I realised I was going too slowly if I wanted to break 2:30, so I picked up the pace a bit. Kicked it up at mile 11 and was very happy and impressed I had quite a lot left in the tank. I think if I hadn’t started so slowly and stopped to take pictures (ie if I focused on racing) I could have come close to 2:15. One of these days.
We all got finisher’s medals at the end, together with water, bananas, cookies and cereal bar. There was also deep dish pizza sponsored by Lou Malnati’s. Now that is already a good reason to come back next year. I think I prefer this race to the rock and roll. Granted I’ve had more training and the weather was nicer, but I really like the course. The only disadvantage was the long walk back to the car, it took me a good hour to get home. Results:
- overall: 10020/13541
- gender: 5280/7892
- age division: 279/455
I’ve been looking forward to this all week. My first “official” cycling cross-training session. I’m still very cautious about riding on the streets, but once I got to the lake it was fine. It occurred to me how easy it was, didn’t have to take all the paraphernalia associated with going out for a run, didn’t even change out of work clothes.
A leisurely 25mins to Diversey Harbor. Running would have taken me almost 1.5hrs to get to that point. I read somewhere that bike:run effort ratio is between 3:1 to 4:1, so I guess cycling 50mins is like running 5k. Livestrong tells me that 45mins cycling at leisurely pace = 461 calories, when my rule of thumb for running is 30min = 220-230 calories. Something doesn’t track here. I think the cycling calories burned is too generous.
Anyway, I was able to measure the ride on google maps, but it made me realise how useful a garmin would be. The nike+ only functions for running whereas the garmin does running and cycling. Argh! Another gadget want.
The first race I ever ran was a 10k in Jan-2007. I was unfit and had zero training. I had to walk the part under the western harbour tunnel and I lost the soles of my totally unsuitable sneakers near the end of the course. My time of 1:39 was not impressive at all.
Fast forward 3 years to the same 10k race. With a year’s racing experience behind me, in horrid 91% humidity, I managed 1:14.
Hard to believe if anyone asked me when I started that in Sep-2010, I’d think about a 10k as an easy run, almost a jog. It’s much cooler now, may be 21°C when I went out, and although it was very windy the conditions were good. I wasn’t winded or tired when I finished.
I’ve been lethargic about running the last week or so. I’m thinking can we get to October already so I can get the marathon over and done with. Training has become kinda boring. Although once I get going and warmed up I was enjoying myself. Took me about 3k to completely warm up and I didn’t hit my stride till about 6-7k. That’s a good reminder for this sunday’s HM, start slow and warm up.
One of these days I’ll clock under 1hr. May be the goals for next year is to see about setting some PRs.
I was window shopping on Clark yesterday, walked south till there were no more interesting shops, then walked north. Not looking for anything in particular. The only thing I bought was an ice cream at george’s.
The final destination was the produce place to get eggs and veg. The local bike store next to the produce place had 20-odd bikes out on the pavement, all refurbished and on sale. And remembering how nice it was to rent a bike a couple of weeks ago, I looked to see if they had something cheap. There was one for $100 I liked, but I wasn’t tall enough. They had a similar one at the back that they were still working on, but if I could come back in an hour they would have it ready. So I did. And I thought it was a pretty nice bike. I mean, it’s nothing fancy, but it suits my needs. Even if I go out on it 4 times, it’d be cheaper than renting. (Although, I forgot I had to buy a helmet and lights and a lock, so 4 times is probably more like 8.)
Took it out to the lake and rode as far as the totem pole. It will come in handy for training — the days I’m not running I should be cross-training and I haven’t done it so far. No more excuses.
Because of the bleaching, I can only have white or clear food for 24hrs cos any colour (natural or artificial) will get absorbed into the still fragile enamel. This means no tea, no coke zero. Argh!!! As a result I have a caffeine headache the entire day. No amount of painkillers have been able to get rid of it and I think I’ll have to retire to bed soon.
I have salmon and summer squash in the fridge, but they’re out till tomorrow. Lunch today was scallop pasta that I had leftover. I figured the tiny amount of pesto will be okay. Dinner was instant oatmeal with an apple diced in. Sprite zero and soda water satisfied my need for fizz but not caffeine. Can’t wait for that first cup of tea tomorrow morning.
Supposed to be an easy 3km run today, which shouldn’t take more than 20mins including getting ready. But I’m on strike. Knees still hurt and I’m feeling bleh. I’ll make it up later this week.
32.00km 3:46:02hr 7.03min/km
Most marathon training programs get up to 20miles (32km) 2-3 times and then starts tapering 2 weeks before the race. The idea is that race day adrenaline and training will push us the additional 6 miles. This way, we’re not training so hard that we risk injury or burn-out.
So today was the day for the first 20-miler. It’s only 2 more miles compared with the 18-miler last week, but I was feeling more pressure. Milestones have a habit of doing that. It’s still very hot, when I went out at 3pm the sun was beating down pretty hard. I took 2 bottles of gatorade, a cereal bar, gu and chomps with me. I went out slow. Very slow. Tried to conserve energy and stay hydrated.
Ran all the way to the boat again, a longer route than last week. Took 3 walking breaks, total around 10mins. Ended up making a mistake in estimating distances and finished over 1km from home. Yikes. It was a long and painful walk from basically the 147 Berwyn stop. My knees, calves and feet were so tight I didn’t know which leg to limp on. I’d read somewhere that walking is a good way of cooling down, and true enough, by the time I’d shuffled home the stiffness had abated enough for me to be able to climb the stairs fairly normally.
I had a tepid ice bath, part of the RICE recovery program. Sat in the bathtub, ran cold water and added the tray of ice from the freezer. I admire anyone who can climb into an ice bath. The effect lasted about a hour, tops. Still needed major foam roller and additional ice pack treatment. And hopefully a good night’s sleep tonight.
Do I feel like I can run the full marathon? Not today, not tomorrow. Not without major pain. Then again, it’s part of the training plan, there’s 6 weeks to go. Will I be able to run the extra 10k by October? I think so.
What I should have done: 3-5k recovery run.
What I did: biked 15 miles down to Navy Pier.
Too gorgeous a day, even though I was a little sore from yesterday. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me to rent a bike, now I’m sorry I didn’t start doing it earlier in the summer.
The rental place is at Foster, I run past it every time. $30 for half a day and $35 for a whole day. I did just half a day. Smooth ride all the way down the lakefront, past Montrose and Belmont Harbors. Stopped for a bit at North Ave beach, which psychologically is a “turn around” point. But this time I went further south, ended up at Navy Pier.
Left the bike at the top of the pier and walked to the biergarten, wanting a beer. Wow, I paid attention to prices along the way, and it gets more expensive towards the end of the pier. Bud light for $5 at the biergarten, but there was one place near the entrance that had them for $3.75. So I went back and just sat on a bench in the shade, people watching. Lunch was beer and an orange creamsicle ice that was oh so delicious.
Nice ride back, I returned the bike early. I’m very tempted to buy a second hand bike, but it’s probably too late in the year for it. And besides, I always have to remember I’m only here temporarily.
Had a nap in the afternoon, then a quiet rest of the day. I’m the darkest I’ve ever been, cos of all the sun this summer.
29km 3:21:43hr 6.56min/km
The problem with long runs is the amount of time and planning needed. I figured it’ll take 3.5hrs for the planned training run today. Add on getting ready and showering that’s a good 4-hr chunk of the day. I didn’t want to run in the morning cos I know I need food beforehand, so I had to work backwards to make sure I’m home before it gets dark. Lunch was a large slice of deep dish sausage pizza that was leftover from work yesterday, it’s perfect for carb-loading.
A 3pm start is not ideal, it was sunny enough to warrant sunscreen. I went out with 2 drinks bottles filled with gatorade, when the hand-held bottle emptied I filled it up with water from the water fountains. Total 1.5l on the run. Took 2 walking breaks at the hour marks, about 3mins each time, to take in gu and cereal bar.
The lake is very, very hard to beat for a great running experience. I ran all the way down to the boat, and made sure I touched it to turn around. That was 16km. HM time was 2:26, which gives me lots of hope for the upcoming Chicago Half. Some parts of the path was crowded and I was constantly passed by other runners. But I feel fine. Going slow was good for my knees and well-being, my heart rate never went above 157 and I don’t feel as tired as the 11km lame tempo run on Thursday.
Some people can think when they run, my mind just goes blank. I tried to think about the upcoming holiday with mm, work, and what I’m planning for nano this year. Couldn’t hold a thought for more than a few minutes. It’s quite exhilarating, to be able to give my brain a rest. Somewhere on the way back though, I kinda decided that I might not do another marathon after chicago, cos of the amount of time needed for training. I’m pretty sure I can go the distance, and if I continue, to improve my time. But I’m actually looking forward to the week of 11th Oct when I plan to do absolutely no running. Famous last words, I’m sure I’ll be forced to eat my hat.
According to my HRM, I spent 1570 calories. This means…STEAK and wine!!! Yay! I have this huge 14oz rib-eye I bought this morning, which I grilled together with some baby asparagus. I also opened a bottle of châteauneuf-du-pape. Nice reward, eh? Now I’m completely stuffed and wanting ice cream.
20-miler next week. That’s gonna be a big milestone.
26.08km 3:01:06hr 6.57min/km
The plan called a long run of 26km this week. That’s 16miles. Another 3 miles on top of the half marathon I did last week. Eeeek.
I guess I’m lucky I had that big ice cream last night, cos I was still full when I woke up. I had cheerios for breakfast, then got ready and set out at 8.45am. The weather was nice, overcast with a little breeze. The first 1/3 was strong, ran my normal route at the lake to the steps. The susan komen 3 day 60 miles walkers were also on the course, it was a nice inspiration that pushed me a little.
Took a 3 min walking break at 10k to eat a cereal bar, and again at 20k for a shoelace break and to eat some chomps. Ran almost to the boat at north avenue beach, 16k (10miles). I got to 21k (half marathon) at 2:26hr, beating my time last week. It’s definitely the weather. On the way back, it started drizzling, then rained pretty steadily and only stopped when I was almost home.
The end of the run was just past broadway, so i had all 4 streets to walk. My knees and calves were so tight, I was barely able to walk. Had to ice both legs pretty seriously when I got home. Still, it’s the longest distance I’ve run. All easy 10k next week, then a push to get to 32k (20miles) in 2 weeks’ time.
A substantial chunk of a lower molar came off the other day. I wasn’t even eating anything hard, but I could feel the missing part. I called the dentist yesterday and got an appointment today.
Not surprisingly, considering the amount of tooth that is gone, I have to get a crown. The dentist and her assistant were both very nice and got the mould done with the minimum of pain. Well, I did have a local. They also complimented me on being a good patient — no complaints, no screaming, not too nervous. I have to go back in 2 weeks to get the crown fitted.
My mouth was numb for hours, so I couldn’t eat anything solid. I nibbled on a few slices of ham and drank a whole bottle of muscle milk that I’d grabbed at a race. If I still felt hungry I probably would have attacked the title=”gu”>GU jar. Who says running has only limited benefits?
No, not without clothes. Without gadgets.
Easy 3k recovery run today. Not even far enough to go out to the lake, I just did the streets up and down. Didn’t use the polar, no music. I did bring the nano cos of the nike+, but I didn’t take earphones so there was no music.
It was fine, didn’t need the music. What I did miss was the voice telling me how far I’d gone, it was fiddly to take the nano out of the spibelt whenever I wanted to check distance.
Race #7. Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon. My first time moving up to the half. Very daunting cos it’s a big distance, a big race and I’m only just getting back on the training plan.
A 6.30am start meant I had to get up at 4am. I made oatmeal yesterday so it was only a matter of microwaving it, adding yogurt and blueberries. One lesson I’d learned is to have enough food before a long run / race.
The red line was completely full by Fullerton, people couldn’t get on. Must have shocked the regular early morning travellers. I dropped my (empty) gear check bag at the CARA tent and went in search of the portaloos and water. They even had bananas before the race, impressive. The start was long, but much better organised than the shamrock shuffle. We were all allocated corals according to our bib numbers, and there were at least 28 corals. Each coral was separated by a rope and they released each group in 1-2 minute intervals. Yes, it meant it was past 7am by the time I got to the start line, but it wasn’t a scrum and for a few hundred meters I was running on an empty road cos I was right in the front of the pack.
There were bands at every mile, and loads of water and cytomax stations. I took my camera and managed to get a few pics. I was slower than usual at 5k, probably cos of camera breaks, but feeling strong. The crowds along Adams and Michigan were amazing and I wished I had someone cheering for me or waiting at the finish. Sigh. I tucked in behind the 2.30 pace group at Michigan and followed them to the south shore. Got hungry at mile 8 and was glad I brought my own GU. The south shore part of the course was tougher than the loop part — fewer spectators, hardly any cover from the sun, and tiredness. People say the wall hits at 10miles, I got tired at 11 and fell behind the pace group. Picked up a bit with 1k to go.
It was fantastic to run around the last turn and into the home stretch. Had enough to finish strong. My watch time was 2:33:47hrs, chip time was 2:33:51. Missed my target of 2:30, but I’m not bothered. It’s a good time and experience. There were bananas, oranges, energy bars, ice lollies and a cold wet towel in addition to water and cytomax at the finish. Also free beer and free concert by Five for Fighting. I only stayed for the beer, didn’t fancy sitting in the sun with soaked clothing for the band.
I was so hungry and tired when I got home. I did reward myself with a big steak, and the cheesecake I bought on friday. Went to bed almost immediately after lunch and slept for an hour or so. I hadn’t registered for the chicago half in september. Now I’m seriously thinking about it.
- overall: 12,798/18,555
- gender: 7,375/11,757
- age division: 434/778
This was the rocker balloon at 15k, the southermost point of the race where we turned back. Other pics: flickr set
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.
10.02km 1:06:53hr 6.40min/km
I missed the first 4 weeks of training and it’s becoming very important that I get back on track. I thought about re-doing another plan, for 12 weeks, but decided against it. I’m following week 5 of the plan, pretend weeks 1-4 were completed. Supposed to be easy 3k run on Monday, I did 5k yesterday. Supposed to be 10k tempo today, and I did. Couldn’t stick to the 6.19min/km for the middle 6k though — was okay for 3k, then got tired. I’m okay about that. LR this weekend, this will be the big test for half readiness.
10k 1:04:28hr 6.27min/km
Race #6, fleet feet 5k/10k women’s festival.
I was stressed cos I need to take my parents to the airport this morning and I only had a short window to get home and shower. Plus horribly out of practice, with only 1 run in the last few weeks. I would have DNS’ed, or changed to the 5k. But I didn’t. And I’m glad I ran the 10k portion.
Because of the time pressure I drove, otherwise I would have taken the bus or even walked. One of the reasons I wanted this race is cos it’s on home turf — start at Montrose, up to Foster and back south, turning around at the totem pole. Finish line at the Montrose beach house. Yep, definitely home turf.
Both 5k and 10k started at the same time, with the 10k group breaking south once we got back to Montrose. It’s been so hot, and what I learned from last race is to keep hydrated. So I brought my own pocari and picked up water and gatorade along the way.
I wanted to break 1:05, and I did that, helped by a tiny bit of sprint at the end. But still slow, barely making the top half in my AG is disappointing. Time to build up the miles. Two weeks to train for the half. Gulp. Placing:
- overall: 756/1469
- age group: 42/92
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.
5.0km 31.13min 6.28min/km
Race #5. Humana Race to Taste, as part of the Taste of Chicago event. I only registered on Tuesday when I realised I had time, and I needed a June race.
Packet pickup on the day was no problem. I pinned my number, gear checked and was out at the start line early. I knew I wasn’t going to have a fantastic race — 2+ weeks without running and the 8k I did yesterday caused some stiffness all over. I set out at a good pace, the first mile was just over 9min. But couldn’t keep it up. Fatigue, dehydration, heat and humidity got the better of me. Didn’t have any kick at the finish, I was panting by then.
The organisers set up a mobile sprinkler and it was much needed. I gobbled up a banana, half a bagel and downed lots of cups of water before I felt better. There were 3 free tickets to try out from 5 Taste stands, I had gazpacho, crab cake nugget and turkey sausage pizza. Stuck around for the raffle (didn’t win), got caught in the rain a little, was home at around10am. Placing:
- overall: 630/1358
- gender overall: 274/800
- gender age group: 16/54
5.84km 33.24min 5.43min/km
Race #4. JPMC corporate challenge. I drove in (sidebar, battery died had to get roadside assistance to jumpstart) to help transport some of the set up materials. We had a big tent, something like 200 people — participants, volunteers, family members. Nice atmosphere.
Big, big crowd at the start. There were 19,865 participants from 557 companies, no wonder. I could only get to the 9min/mile corral, knowing that people in front will be slower. How true! Took 4mins to get to the start line, luckily this year it’s B-tag chip timing, and the results are already online. It happens every race, slow people and walkers really should learn to start at the back.
Felt more comfortable than last year — experience and cooler weather helped. Time was okay, works out to be 9.30min/mile. It should be 1-2mins faster if not for the slow start and short walking break at the water station. Ah well, I’m not complaining. I had a good time. There were beer and burgers afterwards. Surprisingly, my knees feel perfectly fine. May be I should try going faster. Placing:
- gender overall: 1936/7195
- gender within team: 7/49
I haven’t weighed myself in 10 weeks. It’s not about losing weight anymore. Fitness, bf%, clothing size have taken over as health indicators. I’m deliberately not being numerical and analytic about this. I’m not in the “smash the scale” camp, so I did weigh myself for reference over the weekend.
I gained 4 pounds in 10 weeks.
I know I shouldn’t be too concerned cos I’m doing more running and my tightest pair of jeans now fit. I can’t help being disappointed though, sigh.
I’m still kinda watching what I ate, and counting calories. Come to think of it, I think the weight gain has to do with not eating enough some days. I’m not convinced it’s wholly due to starvation mode. It may be a factor, so I’ll be more careful with my diet.
Truthfully, my goals are more like 27min 5k, 1.59 half and 4.30 full marathon. At the back of my mind, sure I’d like to lose half a stone, but I’m sure as I ramp up the training, it’ll be fine.
On the livestrong forums is a thread on top 5 running songs. Till I Collapse by Eminem seems to be a favourite, but I find it too loud and hard to run to the beat. Doesn’t mean I don’t like rap, I run to 8 miles and Lose Yourself, which would make my top 10. So, top 5, in no particular order:
- mgmt — kids
- ben lee — afterlife
- killers — read my mind (or human, I can’t decide)
- uh huh her — common reaction
- muse — uprising
Honourable mentions: chris rea — auberge, lindsey buckingham — did you miss me, lady gaga — poker face, fort minor — where’d you go (or remember the name).
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.
13.53km 1:31:01hr 6.43min/km
That’s just over 8 miles. Lots of people out at the lake, including many who are starting their marathon training, cos they were showing off their shirt from last year.
Ran into bark in the park at Montrose. By that time it was too late to turn back or find another route. People and their dogs doing a 5k. Dogs everywhere. Fucking dogs. Hate. Hate. Hate.
Apart from that the run was pretty comfortable. And, looking at the nike+, very steady pace throughout. Had a gel at around the 60min mark, though I didn’t really need it. It was a hammer gel I got last week, wanted to try out the flavour. I need to find the locations of water fountains south of Montrose.
On the one extreme, a recent poster in a forum I read sometimes was saying how they were proud to be size 20+. I had to look it up, US size 20 = UK size 24.
On the other hand, people (mainly newbie) join fitness forums and says things like they don’t want to do weight training because they don’t want to become bulky…all they want to do is tone their muscles.
[Insert screaming and face plant here.]
Then on running forums there’s the feeling that, yeah okay, do weights but runners run. I think I’m in danger of falling into this camp of thinking, so I’m gonna make sure I continue to do some weight training.
Talk of weight training always bring up the bulking up vs toning crap. It’s impossible to accidentally bulk up, like you wake up one morning and hey presto, muscles!! I’ve been doing weights for a year and there is a tiny bit of definition, that’s it. Perhaps the best article I’ve read on the subject comes from Leigh Peele who wisely advocates training for the body type that best suit us because,
the only people that look like that lift or train aggressively are those who lift and train aggressively
What’s this got to do with the size 20+ person? I think it’s admirable that a person is proud of their body shape. But potentially ignoring the fact that size 20+ is dangerously unhealthy to the extent of not doing anything about it? Worries me. I’m still trying to unwind 15, 20 years of not eating, not exercising and I was by no means fat. We all have to take responsibility for our health.
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.
This is a little worrying. I’m not hitting my calorie goals. I already have a low calorie target (1288 calories) because of my height, weight and age. The problem with the last few days is that I’ve done more running than usual, and I’ve been finishing up the cauliflower cheese and pea & ham soup I made over the weekend. Both are filling and nutritious, but aren’t heavy hitters in terms of calories. I have strawberries & yogurt or apple & peanut butter after dinner and I find myself at 9pm already full but needing to eat more. I’ll take the decision not to stuff myself.
Here’s the plan. On big running days I should plan to eat more, like have a decent breakfast and some snacks during the day. I don’t want to get into starvation mode, then I’ll never get rid of the stupid tummy fat.
13.01km 1:29:28hr 6.52min
That’s 8.08 miles at 11min/mile. Not fast by any stretch of imagination but the idea today wasn’t fast but distance. This is the longest distance I’ve ever run. Ran all the way to Montrose beach then up to the roundabout and back. I wanted to see if I can do 8 miles comfortably and then think about which race to enter in April: CARA lakefront 10mile, Wrigley 5k or Ravenswood 5k. What I learned today:
- I’m fine with the distance
- running against the wind is hard
- technical shirts ftw
- take energy gel at around the 1hr mark
- bring water
As for which race, I’ll probably stick with the Ravenswood. Build endurance slowly, don’t get too ambitious.
This is the title of a thread on the runner’s world forum.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Associated Press
FREDERICK, Md. — A driver who fatally struck a jogger from Zelienople who was running in the road near Emmitsburg has been fined $500 under a plea agreement.
Twenty-nine-year-old Joshua Cool pleaded guilty Monday in Frederick to failing to exercise care to avoid a pedestrian. In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges of negligent driving and other offenses.
Mr. Cool was charged in the death last April of 22-year-old Elizabeth DiNunzio. She was a Spanish major at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg.
Defense attorney Kate English says her client was devastated by the accident.
Mr. Cool’s parents were fined $200 each earlier this month for letting their son drive the uninsured pickup truck that hit DiNunzio.
I don’t know the circumstances of this case. On the thread there are opposing thoughts — that the punishment was not severe enough vs it was an accident. There’s some information that suggest to me that the driver did indeed get away with it. Although he wasn’t drunk or anything like that, he was driving a truck that he wasn’t covered in the insurance. In fact, he was specifically excluded in the policy. It also matters to me whether he showed remorse, and what, if anything, he will do to show he has learned his lesson. From some of the comments, it seems that he hasn’t. So, yes, I’m going to condemn this person and wish that he suffers from the thought of having killed an innocent 22-year old all his life.
In memory of Ms DiNunzio, there’s going to be a 5k run /1 mile walk at Zelienople PA on 24 April. If it didn’t take 8 hours to drive there, I’d go there in a minute. I started my running career on the road. Now I run by the lake, but I have to run on the street and across a couple of main roads to get there. Traffic is thick. Cars come out of alleys and make turns with very little regard for pedestrians. I’m ramping up this year, this is important to me.
My second race this year — shamrock shuffle 8k
There was still a little snow on the ground when I left, and it was chilly windy. I get to experience the first advantage to being a cara member — gear check at the congress plaza hotel. Plus waiting inside out of the cold. It was cold to be standing out there waiting for the start. Not having participated before, I was in the open corral. It took me over 28mins to get to the start line after the gun. To give some perspective, the winner came in at 23-ish mins, which means he was back when the rest of us were still standing around at the start.
There were a good 25,000 runners. I tucked in behind the crowd at an easy pace. I got passed, but I managed to pass quite a few too. It was very nice to run through the city streets and not have to stop at traffic lights. I see what people mean about the finish at the chicago marathon — the last incline into grant park sapped energy. I must make a note to have some in reserve.
Finished in 55.23mins at 6.28min/km. Big crowd at the end too, gotta be aware of that for the marathon. Got my backpack from the hotel and went back to the park for after-race beer. I can’t remember who asked me, and was surprised that there is a fee for races. It’s for the organisation, volunteers, swag and of course the beer.
ETA: official results are in. I managed 53.50min, better than my own time. Overall 18204/25559. There’s no age category, gender classification 8640/14045.
5.03km 33.53min 6.44min/km
The sun was out when I drove home mid-afternoon. It was very pleasant and I knew I had no excuse. I must have had a brain freeze cos I started making beef stew, and suddenly realised it needs to be cooked for 3 hrs.
I took the risk. Once it was in the oven and stabilised, I quickly got ready to go running outside. Of course by that time clouds have moved in, but I was still in sunny mode. Ran outside in just a t-shirt. I was cold, especially my hands weren’t happy being attacked by the wind. Warmed up at 2k, and the rest was at usual pace.
6.26km 41.38min 6.39min/km
The sun was out today, about time I went for a run. It has been a while. My legs felt heavy and sore, so the time is only average. Time to start training.
Standchart results are in. As expected my time was 1:14:59. Within my class I came in 132/243. Overall for the 10k challenge I was 3914/5144. The winner of my class completed in 38.37, very impressive. Like I said, time to start training. I’m now confirmed for the rock and roll half in August.
I set the alarm for 4.15am but I was up before then. Excitement. I didn’t wake mm up, got all my running gear and was out of the door at around 4.40am.
It’s marathon day. Okay, I’m only on the 10k challenge, may be next year I’ll do the half. It was dark when I started, I stupidly signed up for the first race at 5.15am. In hindsight, it turned out to be a good decision. 91% humidity made for terrible running conditions. I had my camera with me, so I took my time. I’d wanted to try to break 1hr, and in those conditions I didn’t even try. I think my time was around 1:15, it doesn’t matter.
The later races were still going on when I got back to mm’s. Because of the traffic, she didn’t make it to mass, and we stole an hour or so more together time. I tried hard not to cry when we said goodbye. We’ve spent a lot of time in different countries throughout our relationship, it’s nothing new. I just don’t know what to do with our future.
Met parents, sis and niece for lunch. While parents went off to do their own things, I went ice skating with sis and niece. I was pretty out of practice, there were too many kids, I was done after half an hour. Tired from the running anyway.
I really didn’t want to go out for dinner, so home food it was. Thanks, Mum.
The weather was nice so I went skiing again. I know wilmot well now. Got there just before noon, got my boots and skis and was on the slopes in no time. Systematically worked my way left to right, alternating between State Line and Fanny Hill (blue and black) before lunch and then Exhibition and Snow Bowl after lunch. I think Snow Bowl is the most difficult, it gets fast and steep in places.
Begun to get tired by 3pm. This time I feel my arms and legs getting a good workout, I was working harder today, going faster and trying very hard to stick to parallel. Now I’m sad cos I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to go again this season. :(
Registration opened on Monday but it took me until today to summon up enough courage to register. I hesitated because originally my plan was to move up to the half this year, and not the full. But I thought about it, what’s the worst case scenario? I forfeit the $135 fee. No big deal.
Reasons for doing it:
- a worthwhile goal, personal milestone kind of thing
- it takes place on 10.10.10 — a date to remember
- I live here, people come from all over the world to participate, I don’t have to worry about hotels and stuff
- (related) I know most of the course, it will help
Reasons for not doing it:
- none, aside from not enough training —> unable to finish
Yes, it’s crowded, and some runners complain of being hindered by slower runners. I don’t think I’ll have that problem. It’s also a nice course in terms of elevation. On the runner’s world forum there was a discussion about elevation profile and someone summed it up nicely:
with the little bump at the end a small incline to the finish line. It’s so flat that no one has bothered to plot out the profile on various running sites. Someone else said,
The only marathon flatter than Chicago would be run on a treadmill
Come to think of it, that’s true. I haven’t even noticed, running around here and out to the lake, it’s completely flat. One more reason to run this one.
Haven’t thought about training. I’ll probably follow the Higdon 18-week program, with some adjustments. What I do plan on is one race a month. I’m already registered for:
April will either be another 10-miler, or an easy 5k like the ravenswood or wrigley. Corporate challenge in May is 2 days before the soldier field, so it will be a busy week. A few options in June and July, then the rock and roll half marathon in August.
It’s gonna be a BIG running year.
My last 5 runs have all been 5k at the treadmill. The times have been oddly consistent:
Now if I can a) do the same outside and b) translate that to a sub-60min 10k.
omg, I’m turning into a health nut or at least a health nut wannabe. I started eating oatmeal! I mean, for most of my adult life I only had 2-3 cups of tea for breakfast. The past year or so I started to have cereal, but more often than not I’m not eating anything. I’ve always equated oatmeal with breakfast porridge, ie stodgy gummy tasteless stuff that only appeal to militant vegetarian yoga health fanatics.
Then last week I got some instant oatmeal with apple and found that it tasted nice and was great at staving off my morning hunger. Today I cooked up a pot of steel cut oats (30mins of simmering and stirring), mixed in a small pot of greek yogurt with honey, and finally a handful of blueberries. It was rather good and filling. I deliberately cooked 5 portions, and divided it up into small containers so I can reheat at work.
Crikey. What next? Meditation, chanting? I hope I don’t start talking about supplements and ginko jujube whatever. I take 1 multi-vitamin tablet and 1 vitamin C drink a day if I remember, that’s it.
I woke up to a brilliant sunny morning. Perfect for skiing. It was so nice out that I didn’t go to four lakes, instead I ventured a little further to wilmot mountain in wisconsin. I figured it’d be a nice drive, and I can go to four lakes next time I want to ski and the weather (and therefore drive) isn’t as nice.
The weather report there actually showed fog when I left. It’s under 1.5hrs drive, and I got there at around 1pm just as the sun came out. It turned out to be a glorious afternoon and I got in plenty of skiing.
Yes, yes, I know. Compared with everywhere I’d skied, this is a tiny hill with artificial snow. But it was still fun. To get back to pre-accident proficiency I’d have to go back to live in Switzerland, or move to a place with real mountains, and that isn’t going to happen soon. Anyway, back to wilmot. It’s very well organised, with something like 10 chairlifts going up various slopes. The runs are mostly greens and blues, with some blacks — well, the blacks are easy reds IMO. I tried almost all of them, except the baby slopes, the ones at the far side and the mogul run.
Of course I picked one of the busiest weekends of the year to go, so there was a queue for rental and everything else. The queues for the lifts were manageable — there are so many, and they are pretty close together that it’s less than 5 mins to slide to the next one if the queue is too long.
I pretty much skied non-stop for 2-2.5hrs, taking a small break to get a drink from the car. Another thing — the carpark is right next to the mountain, well convenient. By 4pm I was getting tired, the sun had gone and the fog started to roll back in. The place opens till 11pm for night skiing, but I was done for the day. Left at 5pm and was home, showered and eating dinner by 7pm.
This is the house this morning. I’d wanted to take a picture with the snow for the last 3 days, but I leave too early and come back too late for there to be any decent light. It doesn’t look too bad, because people have been diligently shovelling.
It was also a nice sunny day, so I took the chance to run outside. It was too cold for the ice to be slippery, and most of the pavement was clear. The only bit was at the end of Foster before reaching the lake that was still full of snow. Had to walk through that. I was slower and more careful, so 6.53min/km is not a good pace.
Had to run inside cos it’s snowing like crazy today. While I was on the treadmill I got to thinking about how my exercise routine / goals / experience would have been different if I had taken the elliptical and gym machine route instead of running.
Several years ago when I was going through a “must exercise” phase I got on an elliptical machine and continued for a few months. The elliptical is easier to use for beginners, and supposedly not as tough on the knees. So when I started this healthy thing again, I tried the elliptical again. Yes, it was easy to use, and I could have continued.
Then I got the nike+. The thing about me is, I love the discipline of having to keep track of data and setting goals. I could have kept track of elliptical workouts on a spreadsheet, but the beauty of the nike+ was the analysis, the website and that I didn’t have to do anything. Problem is, it doesn’t work on an elliptical, or recumbent bike, or anything apart from running. So that was it.
Plus I was travelling quite a lot then and sometimes I don’t make it to a gym. Running was flexible. I didn’t have to make an effort to travel to a gym if I were at home, and of course no fees. In HK I could run at all hours, and it’d be safe. (Not in Chicago though.) Then when I got to PT, there were like 20 treadmills vs 3 ellipticals. So that was it.
The really fun thing about running are the races I’ve been able to participate. I mean, who’s heard of elliptical competitions?
something arrived in my mail today that I haven’t seen for long time — a print magazine. runner’s world to be precise. One of the perks of joining cara I suppose. It’s an interesting magazine, a few good articles like the one about running safely on the road, which is especially relevant in the winter when it gets dark too early. Runner vs vehicle, runner loses almost 100% of the time.
There’s also race calendars, a survey on the best marathons (most fun = NYC; best value = Fargo, ND; best destination = Big Sur, CA) and in general lots of encouragement. I visit the rw forum occasionally, but they seem too elitist and hardcore for me. It’ll be a change, to have a magazine to read in bed.
I bought wii fit plus during black friday even though it wasn’t on sale. At the time, I was debating between this wii fit, which I’d always wanted, and the new Tony Hawk skateboarding game.
The first time I started it up, the program did some body measurements — height, weight, bmi, balance. Then there are some basic exercises — yoga, strength training, cardio, which are pretty decent. I tried the balance training ones — skiing, heading a football etc and not only did I suck, it told me I was unbalanced. Heehee.
I did better at the advanced games, and these are fun! Segway, biking, martial arts, flying — all involve some form of balance, cardio or at the very least, moving the body. They really did great on the games.
Its selling point is that it’s a fitness program. Hmm. I’m on the fence on this one. I know people have claimed to have lost weight on wii tennis, I’m just not sure it’s an effective weight loss program. It will benefit people who aren’t active normally. For me, it’s a fun game. It’s not gonna replace running or strength training.
Santa Shuffle results are in. I was crap. 451 out of 803 overall, 17 out of 40 in my division. Blah.
So anyway, I did a summary of results of all my races this year. Total 7 races (strictly speaking the human race doesn’t count so it’s 6). I did pretty okay in all of them. The time for the beachathlon was slower cos of all the obstacles we ran through. It seems like generally I come in the middle of the field overall and within my division (gender and age based).
I really must beat that pesky 6min/km barrier next year.
My last race of 2009, the santa shuffle 5k at Lincoln Park this morning. It was cold, luckily sunny. All racers were given a hat, beard and santa t-shirt so there were lots of red around. Some others dressed more elaborately in santa costumes, and some were in flannel pajamas — they looked warm.
The race and course itself wasn’t that great. The gear check was one corner of one table with 2 pretty inexperienced people, good thing I dropped my backpack early, some people didn’t make gear check and had to carry their stuff on the race.
The course was a loop up to the zoo then back. The highest number I saw as 1100-something so I’m thinking around 1200 people. On the narrow paths of the park, initially on the pavement along the road then there was one stretch where people running up and down were sharing the same path. Any more runners and it would have been very crowded.
My nike plus picked today to run out of battery, sigh. I had to rely on the official clock, which told me I finished at 31.29mins, the fastest I’ve been recently. Some people were saying the course was over 5k, I dunno.
Afterwards there was a breakfast buffet and beer at a pub over at Webster. It was over 1 mile and I walked over. Usually after runs we get bananas and energy bars so a hot breakfast (with Bud Light) was welcome. They had bacon, sausage, egg, bagels, french toast, pancake, something with gravy (American gravy, ie white sauce) and an egg filled deep fried thing that was actually spicy and really nice. Well worth the mile walk. There were a lot of runners and the queue for the food was long, I was lucky I got in line early and was within the first 20 people. I wonder how it was at the end, whether they had enough food.
Because of all the eating over the Thanksgiving holiday, I knew i had to do some serious running for the remainder of the weekend. The weather had been good, and then today when I woke up…it was raining and i heard rumbles of thunder. Sigh.
I did go out after lunch, and now with my new long-sleeved running shirt on top, and running gloves. I ran south along the lake, past Montrose beach. It was pretty deserted, I saw fewer than 10 other runners. At first it was fine, and then after I turned around it started to get very, very, very windy. The worst was that I was running against the wind, which slowed me down a lot. And then it started drizzling. Sigh. I was glad of my dryfit shirt and my hat.
So now I have to be prepared for winter running and figure out how to do it when it starts snowing. There’s a lot of good clothing and tips out there:
- attire — layers, shell, hat, gloves, probably have to wear long pants soon — remember to wear a technical shirt underneath and not cotton
- visibility — I’m thinking of getting some reflective strips for extra visibility, the neighborhood street lamps aren’t terribly bright
- safety — I used to run at all hours, like 11.30pm, midnight. Not anymore in Chicago cos it’s unsafe, and I’d never go out to the lake in the dark. I already carry my ICE card in my ipod pouch, I’m gonna get a road ID soon
Jove posted in her fb status yesterday about how many calories were in a vanilla shake with whipped cream and sprinkles. I jokingly replied “what’s a calorie?” Truth is, not a single day passes without me thinking about calories. To recap, I started 13 months ago and got to where I am now by being very disciplined about my eating and going running. There’s thousands of articles out there about weight loss, diet, exercise. To me, it’s simple mathematics: IF (calories in > calories out) THEN (all is good) ELSE (try harder).
Ricky, Car, mm and other people was worried that I was getting too thin. Hmm. Recently, though, I feel like I’m filling out my clothes again. The problem is: a) I’ve stopped weighing myself and b) I’ve slowed down on strength training so it can’t be muscles building up. I think I’m putting on fat again. Sigh.
It’s likely to be diet, both what I’m eating and what I’m not. I know I’ve gotten too addicted to peanut butter, and too many snacks like chocolate(!!!). Calorie-wise though, I’m having a hard time hitting my target, look at the chart of the last 30 days, I only hit the goal (yellow area) like 5 days so it’s actually a combination of me becoming skinny fat and not eating enough.
So, what’s the plan? Winter is coming, so I’ll have to figure a way to acclimatise to running outside. Remember, I’ve not lived in such a cold city before. Not even Zurich. It’s also holiday season, and I’m prone to eating too much. I think I need to find the discipline again:
- run inside, use the gym at work
- do more weights!!! even if nrolw is too much, just do 50 crunches and some bench presses
- fewer snacks, or switch to healthier snacks
- hit the calorie goal target
That said, I have to start tomorrow. It’s already 9.30pm, there is no way I can eat another 495 calories tonight.
Woke up at 6am (argh, on a sunday) to do the hot chocolate 5k. Didn’t get a fantastic start — the stupid bus ran the stop, and the other passengers and I were like “the hell?” As I was checking the bus schedules, the red line pulled up so I had to sprint up to the platform. Pulled my thigh a little, and was uncomfortable leading up to the start of the race.
It turned out to be a beautiful morning, perfect for running. I kept the running jacket on, thought I got hot and should have checked it. Finished in just over 31mins.
Afterwards, the food was chocolate fondue. It was a small plate of: 1 apple slice, half a banana, 1 marshmallow and a couple of biscuits. Pretty puny. There was also a small cup of hot chocolate. Still, better than the banana and cereal bar combinations we get at other races. There was also a Nike+ tent, and by showing the run on the ipod, we were eligible for a prize draw. I got an armband, which is timely cos my existing one is showing signs of old age and use.
Home and showered by 10am. Dealt with fb game stuff and the rest of the day will be nano.
The first run I logged in my nike+, which to all intents and purposes was the beginning of my running career, was on 29 October 2008. So what have I achieved in 1 year:
- 752.07km | 467.31miles
- 83 hours 32 mins
- reduced speed from over 8min/km to around 6.40min/km
- ran in: JPMC corporate challenge, elvis is alive, beachathlon, aids run/walk so far — hot chocolate 15/5 and santa shuffle left this year
- lost 35 pounds, then stopped weighing myself
I have enough goals and tasks already, but generally in the next year I want to try to run one race a month, run faster and move up to half marathon. Achievable? I think so.
I went back to nrolw training today, starting on stage 2. I think I’ll do both workouts with smaller weights this week but not count officially to get back to the routine. Stage 2 has more variety, and some of the exercises look complex. But what I found difficult were the ones I had to balance on one leg — dumbbell 1 point row and rear leg elevated split squat. Workout B looks long, and has elaborate sounding exercises like wide grip deadlift from box and dumbbell prone cuban snatch. It also has 15mins of intervals, so it’ll take longer to complete. Later this week.
Even though I signed up for the nike human race that is supposed to happen today, I seriously doubted that I’d be able to do it. Today was Gram’s funeral and I’ve been up since 6am, driving down to the house, then we were at the funeral home, church, cemetery and the luncheon. It was a sad day for the loss of such a wonderful person, and yet a day where family and friends gathered together.
I got home just after 6pm, and the run was tickling at the back of my mind. The other concern was of course that I’m sick and the only exercise I’d done in the past 3 weeks was the one run at Ptown.
I thought to myself, no harm trying. If I get to tired, I can stop before 10k. I didn’t run to the lake, just made the rounds up and down the neighbourhood streets. And no, I didn’t get tired. I finished in a fairly normal time of 1hr 6 mins.
I woke up way too early cos I was nervous about this morning’s demo 2. It’s at our office and I had to make sure everything was set up right — breakfast ordered, DSL turned on through helpdesk, webex invitation sent, the vendors know where to go, our people know where to go. Got to the office at 7.45am. The vendor got in at 7.50am! First thing I said to him, “early much?”
This is a vastly different product, much more web 2.0 and startup like. The people weren’t in suits, they were friendly and there is a feeling of entrepreneurship when interacting with them. I was impressed by the product.
Managed to leave at 3.30pm and drove down to the wake. It was nice, lots of family and friends. There’s a plumbing problem at the house so I decided to come home instead of spending the night. Early start tomorrow.
I’m still feeling not 100% and pretty tired. I’m coughing up some stuff so it’s less painful and dry. Still staying away from that cough medicine.
First product demo today, so I couldn’t stay home. Of all the weeks to be sick, this is the worst week ever. I dare not take the cough medicine cos of drowsiness, but the inhaler seems to be working a little.
We were invited to our vendor’s office at Sears Tower for the demo, only a 5 min walk. When we walked in, we were greeted by a room full of suits! Scary. The demo was as expected, that’s what you get from the industry leader.
Bought a flower basket and drove down to Gram’s wake. The minute I walked in I knew I’d be told off, cos I’d been told to stay home and rest. But in all honesty, most people would have made the effort. It was a horrid drive down in heavy traffic and even more horrid drive home in the torrential rain. But I made it.
I’ve never felt this horrible. I had tons to do at work, so I couldn’t stay home. Drove in. Then straight to meetings. I was totally burning up, my eyeballs, throat, head, nose were all heating up. It was a struggle not to fall asleep.
So finished the last meeting at noon, then went directly to the clinic. A fairly long wait later and the doc said, “you have the flu, but then you knew that already.” Nice doc. I went back to the office, told everyone I was leaving then went home. The doc gave me Zanamvir, an anti-viral medicine via inhaler and a very very strong cough syrup. I took the syrup and was out pretty quickly. Napped till around 7.30pm, showered, watched Top Chef, and it’s time to go to bed.
Seems like a lot of people who were at Ptown got this cape cod crud, as someone called it. What a takeaway present.
I used to depend on panadol almost exclusively. When I was just visiting the US, I used to bring my own because I couldn’t find it at the drugstores. It’s only a couple of years ago that I sussed out that it’s tylenol.
For some reason, since I moved here I switched to ibuprofen. It has an interesting and simple synthesis story. I have a big jar of advil at home and a small bottle of motrin in my backpack. And it’s only earlier this year that I discovered that mm is allergic to it. So I need to keep some panadol in my pocket.
I was in desperate need of cough medicine today, my throat felt dry and painful, halfway down my chest actually. So I got a combo pack of dayquil and nyquil. Not quite feeling the effects yet, let’s see how the nyquil does tonight.
The dilemma tomorrow: drive to work or not? I don’t want to be the person on the train with the hacking cough. But there’s clearly a drowsiness risk. Hmm, I’ll have to see when I wake up. There is a departmental event in the evening, the more reason to drive.
I need to pick up the health routine again. One week of visitors and constant eating out, followed by a second week of holiday, totally screwed up my normal healthy eating / exercise routine. Only 1 run the whole fortnight — argh!!!
Should start back today, but feeling sick. Okay, there’s a big bit of laziness and lack of momentum in the mix too. But no more. Need discipline.
I got up really early, like 6.30am, for the AIDS 5k run at Grant Park. I was apparently one of the top 300 individual fundraisers so I got invited for a VIP breakfast before the race. The promise of egg soufflé, country bacon, oatmeal and juice was too good to pass up. At the end, I managed to raise almost $1400, with my family, mm and my fantastic colleagues pitching in. Company match helped the cause too.
It’d been raining so the ground was pretty wet and it was generally cold. I waited and waited till I could take my sweatshirt and track pants off and spent the 15mins before the race walking around in a t-shirt and shorts, shivering a bit.
I ended up pretty near the starting line. When the horn sounded I ran off with the others, only to be hindered by slow runners and a whole bunch of AIDSmarathoners who took up the whole pavement while doing marathon pace! I know they’re all there for a good cause but they really shouldn’t have blocked the pavement like that. I know the reason I didn’t get a smooth start was because of them, I was panting and my heart was pounding the first 500m.
The great thing about this race was that along the route there were entertainers and volunteers cheering us on. It gave a huge boost. I finished just under 31mins, grrrr I hate going “if only” but this time…if only I had a smooth start I could have beaten 30mins. Sigh.
One thing about these events, and it’s my 4th race this year already, is that they’re so well organised. It’s a testament to the volunteers. There were lots of freebies from the booths, promotional material and food — water, yogurt, banana, cereal bars, isotonic drinks, and this race the official “foodstuff” was a hotdog. Every time I come away from the race with my backpack stuffed full of goodies.
One more race in November. Then it’s winter. More races next year; and I’m thinking of moving up to 10k.
We had flu shots at work today, the building offered them for $30, which the company paid for. I had flu shots every year for a few years now, can’t say I’m completely immune to getting a virus or flu, but in my mind it’s been helpful. It’s always mitigation rather than reaction. A couple of my colleagues hadn’t had flu shots before and were nervous so we went together as a group.
Finished 7/8 tasks, the first time I’ve not achieved 100% completion.
- run a full 10k // done
- nrolw complete stage 1 // done
- deadlift half my body weight // done
- full pushup // did that one nrolw workout
- vegetarian day x4 // done
- quinoa recipe x1 // done
- sort gcls videos // sigh, I’m not sure when I’ll get round to this
- 6-word novels x20 // done
Talking about running, I registered for the nike 10k human race:
the Human Race 2009 is a virtual event - no need to get to a venue - you can run your 10K any where, any time on race day
I’d just started running last year and didn’t learn about this event till afterwards. It’s a self-participation event. Registering on the nike site means the run is tracked and recorded, which I do anyway with my Nike+. I’ve been stuck at 5k for a few months, this will be perfect. Plus this will bring my total race participation to 6 this year, I’m really pleased.
It was a perfect day for running along the lake. There were around 500 people at the beachathlon. The run was 4 miles plus 5 obstacles — pretty simple ones like people kicking giant beach balls at us, life preservers as “tires”. At the end there was the option of a normal land finish or running into the lake. I really wanted to do the water finish, but with the Nike+ in my shoe, my ipod, and carrying my small camera that was too many electronics to risk.
There were hula dancers, and a few runners in costumes. The winners of the costume competition were a tiki lady and a landshark — landshark being the sponsor of the race. I was on my way home by noon, stopping at the huge Lincoln Park farmer’s market on the way home.
Yep, perfect morning for running. I wasn’t even bothered with my time. It was officially tagged anyway, but with the obstacles and the slowness of running on sand, I think I ended up at the 40min mark.
I moved up 10 pounds for the s1-7 nrolw workouts, I’m at 60 for squats now. I know I can do more, possibly up to 1 rep body weight. The problem is, I can’t get the barbell up to the starting position behind my neck sitting on my shoulders. Towards the end of 50, I managed to clean the bar up above my head and lower it. But now at 60 it was difficult. I ended up using 2 chairs and crawling underneath. This won’t work for heavier weights I think.
So, I probably need to start looking at getting a squat rack.
a 4 mile running race set along the downtown lakefront running path and incorporates 5 fun filled beach obstacles throughout North Avenue Beach, Oak Street Beach and Ohio Beach
Participants will receive a lei at the finish line, plus a free beer. There will also be pina coladas and margaritas. Definitely a good reason to participate.
The AIDS 5k Run & Walk is a big charity event, participants are encouraged to get sponsors for their run. They give us a nice link so people can donate by credit card; and there are gifts for participants reaching certain amounts. So far, between my colleagues and family, I’m almost at my target of $1000. I did try posting the link on fb, but no one responded. *shrug*
5.01km 33.17min 6.37min/km.
You just know. Within the first paragraph/verse/bite, it’s already enough to tell if the book/song/meal is going to be good or bad.
Today was one of those days. I took a couple of steps, and just knew that the run wouldn’t be good. I couldn’t pick up the pace at all, my knees and legs and whole body felt sluggish. The last half km was quite a struggle, and I was only doing my normal 5k. Sigh.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably never going to break 6min/km. I’ve done it before, but recently it’s just not working out. It’s a bit like my weight, when I dropped below 120, I was to the point that I looked sick. Then I came back up to 122, and those 2 pounds made a big difference — I can maintain, and I don’t take on the emancipated vampire look. I guess each body has its “happy” place, regardless of 5k pace or weight. It’s okay, I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m always the one that lands on the wrong side of the milestone — coming 151st in the public exam missing out on the scholarship; the top 2(ii); getting 690 on my GMAT…I’m resigned to it. No use making a big deal.
I’ve set up my home gym for a couple of weeks now, and I’m pretty happy with it. Initially the debate was: weights or machine, like a bowflex. Weights won out, cos I’m used to using free weights. The next question was what type of weights. Having a full set like in a gym wasn’t feasible, so it was an easy decision to look at adjustable weights.
The market leaders seem to be bowflex selectech and powerblocks. I tried out the bowflex at sears, and found them quick large. The cage design of the powerblocks is a bit weird.
And then I read about ironmaster quick lock dumbbells, and the reviews were good — solid and part of a system. The changing isn’t as fast as the others, it isn’t a huge criteria for me anyway. So i went ahead and ordered the set, which came with a rack. To complete the system, I also got an ez-curl bar and the matching bench. The whole shipment came in 6 very large boxes.
The other item for my home gym is a balance ball. I have a regular one and a mat that I got at Target. I added a bosu ballast ball after using one in London. The filling inside stabilises the ball and that’s important to prevent slippage. Even though I have gym mats I’m on the normal floor when I’m using the balance balls.
I’ve started with NROL, and these came just in time. I feel like I’m lifting proper weights with the ironmasters, albeit I’m still at the 50 pound stage. The original balance ball is good for prone jackknife exercises and the ballast ball good for crunches. I don’t have a step, and have been using the step ladder for stepups, the only hack I’m using.
video link: http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/district-9/trailer
I opened up the NYT today and immediately was drawn to the review of a new film produced by Peter Jackson. District 9 is an alien film with a difference. Yes, there are ugly, dripping aliens who can’t speak Earth. They look dangerous. But it’s not your regular sci-fi film. It’s DEEP and looks amazing and the more poignant because it’s from South Africa. The LA Times says,
In a good summer, there’s usually a movie that will come out of nowhere and completely wow us. This is a good summer, and that movie is District 9.
I don’t know how I can do it, but I need to find the means to go see this one.
I finally gave in and got myself a heart rate monitor. The nike+ is great for measuring time and distance, but the HRM will keep track of my performance. Plus I can use it when I’m doing other exercises, it’d be interesting to see how I do during strength training.
The idea is to measure heart rate, and this is done through sensors that are at the back of the watch, or on a strap that is worn around the chest. After some research I decided on the polar f6, one of the most frequently recommended models.
Putting the strap around my torso wasn’t much of a problem, although I can see why some women may find it challenging. I didn’t even notice it after a few minutes. Moistened the electrodes and it started measuring my static heart rate. There’s also a functionality where I could set up my optimum heart rate in my ownzone to ensure I’m exercising within the correct zones. The idea is to be at a certain% of max heart rate depending on desired intensity of exercise. I probably didn’t set it up properly cos I did a slow 5k over to the lake and it was constantly beeping at me that I was exceeding my range. I think I have to reset the ownzone again. No biggie.
The interesting thing is the discrepancies of calories burned:
- nike+ = 319
- polar = 293
- tdp = 260
Considering I track at tdp, the more conservative number is probably an advantage. So now when I go running, I take: ipod nano, nike+, HRM strap, watch, keys, insurance card/ICE card, armband. More and more stuff.
video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj0eox45Dv4
I still haven’t started New Rules of Lifting. Two reasons: 1) need to get some weights (easy); 2) need to get mentally prepared for some of the harder exercises (procrastination).
One of the most ‘feared’ exercise, especially because it’s in Stage 1 is the prone jackknife. The first time I tried it, at PT, I couldn’t even get into the starting position. When I finally got there with difficulty, I was so wobbly that I kept falling off. It was both disheartening and, because it was at a public gym, kinda embarrassing.
I tried again today at home, and hey! I did a bunch of them, just like that. I’m pleasantly surprised. I have no idea why the change from the previous attempt at PT. Possibly:
- I have better core strength (yeah, I wish)
- I’m using a smaller, and less inflated swiss ball
- I wasn’t wearing shoes
- I was at home, so no fear about falling off and looking like an idiot
It’s a good core / ab strengthening exercise. I’ve been scoping out dumbbells, barbells, bench etc and I have a pretty good idea what I’ll be getting. I have quite a good budget to work with — if I joined the local gym it’ll be $800 a year, so my aim is to spend around that price point.
I ran in the Elvis is Alive 5k race tonight. I forgot the sensor for my nike+ so timing was done using my watch — I ran between 33.00 and 33.30mins. Pretty slow, considering the winning male was at 15.53 and the winning female 19.00. Ah well.
It was definitely a fun run, with emphasis on fun. Performing on the stage was Joe “Elvis” Tirrito, who did a good job. There were about 30 runners dressed as Elvis, from a baby to taichi Elvis, who I found doing, well, taichi, before the race. After the race there was a best dressed Elvis competition, which was judged according to the volume of cheers they got from the crowd. The initial favourite was a baby, and even though the martial arts Elvis trio did some moves, the prize went to a tall Elvis.
Each runner got a free beer after the race, and I bought one extra, heehee. There were also water, peanut butter & banana sandwiches, bananas, muscle milk and cookies. I found a spot on the lawn near the front of the stage, and made friends with a group of girls sitting next to me. They were dressed as Jailhouse Rock escapees. They asked me to take pictures of them, and I asked if I could take one with them. It was runners’ solidarity, I think.
full set at flickr
link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SukhjDsgeF4
I did 45mins upstairs at the work gym today. Machines cos someone was using the free weights. Like PC vs mac, canon vs nikon, there’s the perennial argument of machines vs free weights. Personally, I like free weights but the machines make me stick to better form. There’s no right or wrong, and if anything I like the idea of switching up regularly.
Speaking of machines and weights, I came across this infomercial on the tdp forum. Its selling point is so ridiculous it’s hilarious. One of the forum commenters posted,
Stupid people. You can do the same motion without spending $20 and get a free facial at the end. You could even make money with it!. I think marketing has the wrong angle
Watch the video and think about that comment. Hee. I’m 12.
5.13km 33.21min 6.29min/km
Hadn’t gone running for almost 2 weeks, which feels like forever. 6.29mins per km is way way too slow. I can theorize on why: out of practice, different route (actual roads vs track at PT), or plain having reached my optimum speed. I need to slowly train back up.
At the risk of sounding like i’m at confession — it’s been 6 weeks since I did weight training. Since I moved out of PT to be exact. I don’t own any weights, and I don’t want to join the nearby gym. For the $800 a year fee, I’d rather get my own weights, but it is fairly low down on my priority / shopping list — need to get a sofa bed and kitchen table first. The good news is, the office building has a free gym for its tenants. It’s fairly basic — a couple of ellipticals, a couple of treadmills, free weights — but more than enough for me. So I took stuff with me today and went upstairs at 4.30pm. There were only 2-3 other people, pretty good.
It was nice to lift weights again. I went straight back to the reps and weights I was using before my break and boy are my muscles hurting right now!
Conventional wisdom is that rest is an essential part of the fitness cycle of exercise, diet, recovery. There needs to be time off for the body to recover and build the muscles we all so want. I think it also makes the whole journey easier. At my peak I was exercising 5, even 6 days a week; a lot of people do that, but I’m not 100% sure i could have kept that up. Recently I’ve relapsed to only 1-2 times running a week, and I’m slacking in the food front too. I think somewhere in-between is the most feasible — 3 times exercise a week varying between running and lifting, continuing the healthy eating but allowing myself days off. Yep, that sounds like a permanent lifestyle change alright.
I’ve been waking up to horrible leg cramps in both calves, as i stretch the back of the calf muscle seize up and feels like it’s solidifying. It doesn’t last long, but the last couple of days i’ve stayed sore all day. Didn’t impact my running, but it’s annoying.
Seems to be a mineral deficit of some sort, one or more of the alkaline / alkaline earth metals — potassium, calcium, magnesium. And/or dehydration. Many of the remedies include bananas for the potassium level. Milk, potatoes and water.
So I had one yesterday and one today. I’m not very keen on bananas, especially if they’re too ripe. Still, if it helps, then i’m all for it. Then again, I suspect what I really need is the osim usqueeze foot massager — I gave mine to Mum, probably time to get a new one for myself.
Nine months is a good time to update on the Getting Healthy project. I guess I should start with some stats, which is basically 33 pounds / 15kg since October 2008. That’s over 21% of my starting weight.
Yes, I have acted nonchalant about it, saying simple things like, “oh, i just go running” when people comment on the weight loss. But I’d be cheating myself if i didn’t come clean and say, yes, i put a lot of effort into it. And I’m happy and proud of the result.
Been reading a lot of the NYT Health section, and this article about the cost of weight loss resonated. This is what they say about potential cost,
How ready are you? The more committed you are, the less you will need to spend.
The hardest is the $0.00 DIY approach — count calories, exercise, change lifestyle by yourself. This is the approach I took. Registered on tdp, started running. Ate out less, made more salads. I suppose if i had to place a monetary value, it’s the $30 I spent on the Nike+. More about that in a bit.
For those people who need more help than the DIY approach, the costs go up as more help and professionals get involved. Buying a diet or exercise book is low cost, as is joining a group or a low cost gym. But then it gets serious. Hospital programs, personal trainers, nutritionists. There is no end to the amount of money one can throw at the ultimate goal of losing weight.
In MBA school we were taught opportunity costs. There is general consensus that even if we had to spend money now on things like Weight Watchers, exercise equipment, or the perceived increased cost of healthier food, at the end of the day there is a HUGE potential savings in terms of avoided healthcare costs. As one of the commenters said
What’s cheaper — $13.00 a week to attend a lively, educating, and motivating Weight Watchers meeting; or 100.00 a month on cholesterol lowering drugs; insulin or the oral equivalent, blood pressure meds, and other obesity related illnesses?
I didn’t seek out any help or enrolled in any support group. In a way, I was arrogant enough to believe that I had sufficient commitment to motivate myself. Plus, until recently, i viewed this journey as a highly personal and private one. What helped, was that I didn’t set a fixed goal. I didn’t say lose x pounds by y date. I only set a rough target of around 8 to 8½ stone, all i wanted is to get under 120 pounds / 55kg. The key was as little pressure as possible and set small goals. More recently, i’ve given myself more slack in the calories front. If i had a weekend of overeating, then so be it. It’s no big deal.
That said, I’m glad that I’ve found friends who are also on the same journey. I should have known that having support and feedback would result in even more motivation and encouragement. I get a buzz every time I tweet my runs and someone likes or, better, comments, on my fb status. So thank you, friends.
And it brings me to this long, interesting Wired article on the data effect of Nike Plus. I can say it’s the best investment I’ve made in this journey. I don’t go running without it. It’s so simple, giving me great tracking data that satisfies on a deep, deep level. No, it’s not only because I’m a numbers person, an excel geek — 1.2 million runners, 130 million miles run attest to that.
So here is my Nike+ chart. The stats at the bottom say: 109 runs, 69 hours, 620km, 40684 calories burned. More stats: longest run 11.7km, fastest 5k @27.22min. On average i’m running 2 times a week, and I run most on a Monday. To which I say, i’m committed to keeping it up.
feeling a bit sorry for myself, found myself with conjunctivitis today for no good reason. Not as bad as some cases, a bit painful, can’t really open my left eye comfortably. Doctor and eye drops came to almost $150. I need some optrex or some saline to wash my eyes, but obviously I don’t have them at home. Sigh.
Nice article in the NYT about core exercises. It reinforces what I’ve learned since I started the Getting Healthy program — sit-ups aren’t good for you, core means the whole core and great abs are made in the kitchen.
Anyway this is a video I found on the TDP forums that had me chuckling. So much bullshit has been perpetuated by bad personal trainers and inaccurate articles in fashion magazines. I don’t know what mua means but I guess this is a convo between someone who is in the know and the average gullible girl who believes everything she reads in Us magazine. I mean, she said “toned” — such a sure sign.
I ran to the lake and back tonight after work. Oh boy, it’s such a great route, I’m at the lake in just over 2km (10mins) and the path is perfect — wide, good surface, not too many people. All in all 5.25km. Mapped the route at run.com so I had a sense of distances. I can see me doing 10km up and down the lakefront easy.
Exercise and food goals were met. Didn’t do any writing. Still debating whether to set June challenge. Business trip and moving — too many moving parts.
- run 50k || done 62.89km
- 5k in under 30mins x4 || done
- 500 crunches || done
- 500 squats || done
- vegetarian day x4 || done
- meet calorie goal 24 days || done
- find an apartment! || DONE!!!
- finish writing WS || nope
I ate all this food, including peanut butter cereal bar, half an apple crumble cookie, and still according to TDP I haven’t eaten enough for today. That’s cos it’s vegetarian day, I guess. I still have 80 calories left over, but i’m too full and it’s late. It’s been a pattern, I’m not eating enough, may be i need to make some more food.
I was watching The Biggest Loser the other night and was marvelling at the contestants who’ve lost more than I weigh! I do realize that 1) they started off with a lot to lose and 2) they were at a 18-week intensive boot camp. I hope they can keep it up in the long run.
Anyway, I hit 25 pounds lost last weekend, and it’s taken over 7 months. The period between Jan-Mar was difficult, cos of the whole being in PT and living out of suitcases thing. I didn’t even have my scale, and it was a miracle that I kept the same weight. I’m reasonably happy about my progress. Of course I would have wanted to get to this point earlier, and am dreading that last 5-10 pounds that would get me back to my college weight.
Everything I read tells me that 1-2 pounds is the maximum amount to lose per week. So when I read about the weight loss of 8, 10 pounds a week, my first thought is to worry that it’s too much. However, I don’t know where the people are on their weight-loss journey — if they have a lot to lose, and starting out, i think it’s okay.
Yes, Jove. Cutting calories without exercise results in the dreaded skinny fat.
Studies suggest that it might be deadlier to be thin, sedentary, and unfit than obese, active, and fit.
I started strength training in February. I’m seeing some results, but even though I’m lifting weights that are heavy for me, I suspect they’re not heavy enough. Sigh. When I move to my proper apartment, I’m getting weights, a bench and some equipment. Then I’m going to start NROLW.
I have a 10 day prescription of amoxycillin. 2 tablets twice a day, ie 2x1000mg a day. For 10 days. That’s the longest course of antibiotics I’ve even been given, and that’s a strong dose.
I must say that it seems to be mostly working (touch wood). I slept till after 12pm today, having been pretty much unconscious all night. Still groggy, but the severe coughing and especially the pain has abated.
Things today disappointed me:
- My cough worsened, to the point that the itchiness turned to discomfort and pain. Can’t take deep breaths either. So I sent myself home from work and went to see a doctor
- $130 for treatment and prescription. And I’d forgotten about the “get prescription at pharmacy, not at the clinic” bit. As I’m on the international health plan, the card isn’t recognised and I had to pay and claim
- My blood pressure was at 150/90. It’s not the flu or the cough; this is the one thing that is freaking me out — what would it be if I haven’t been running?
- Other general blah stuff, mainly work-related
I was curious, after signing up for the corporate challenge, about what my current 5k time is. When I did the standchart 10k last February, I was in the 40min region which is embarrassing really. According to my Nike+, the best time was around 33mins, which was probably part of some random run along Bowen Road. It’s still a slow time, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that a) I’m not a fast runner and b) it will take time and training.
So what I did on the treadmill yesterday and today was tried a fixed 5k. Warmed up for 4 mins, then started tracking on my Nike+. Not on the treadmill cos it’s in miles. Pushed harder today than yesterday and already seeing results: yesterday: 28.40mins | today: 27.26mins.
I’m pleased that I came in under 30mins. I still need to improve on it — the goal is to do the corporate challenge in under 30mins. The challenge is 3.5miles = 5.63km. Translated to 5k terms gives 26.40mins. I’m thinking it’s doable.
Today’s run: 46.02min 7.13km 6.26min/km
I haven’t gone running since the 8th, and I’ve been sick since good friday. My voice is still gone, and today I’ve had to supplement my 4 types of medicines and cough syrup with panadol cos of a ginormous headache.
What freaked me out was when I was putting on my trousers this morning, I had to go back one notch on the belt. This means I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost. Argh!!!!
I was wondering if I should go running while sick. My body certainly doesn’t feel like exercise, and my gut feeling is to be lazy. Should we exercise while sick? I guess it depends on a few things:
- the nature of the illness — broken bones does not lend itself towards running
- the intensity — if you’re too sick to get out of bed, then no
- type of exercise
The idea is not to overtax the body, whose priority at this point is to recover. A cold or flu, like what I have, should be okay for light exercise. This view seems to be shared by many people.
The other concern is to make sure other people aren’t going to be affected, especially in a gym. I actually was breathing well, and didn’t start coughing till 1 minute from the end. All in all, a good run.
I went for massage in some shape or form for 4 days in a row. Foot massage, spa massage, lymphatic drainage and then facial at L’Occitane. I was feeling quite miserable cos of the throat infection. It was a “Velvety Apple Almond” course. Cleanser, then…oh sweetness…10mins of STEAM treatment!!! It was supposed to be for my face, and both my face and my throat was ever so grateful. A little bit of pain as the therapist squeezed the blackheads off my nose, then a couple of masks. Feeling good afterwards.
We went back to our usual (more regular) massage place for a second round of body massage. The type that hurts and is definitely not soothing. A different experience.
It’s mm’s birthday. We went to a spa at one of the big hotels. Very tastefully and serenely decorated, with tea served as soon as we arrived and peaceful ambient music throughout.
We went for a 3 hour package. Started with foot massage — foot spa, massage itself then a mud wrap. Then hot stone massage and facial. The first time we had hot stone massage was in Bangkok after the Kenya trip. It was much needed, really great and relaxing. Nothing since then has compared. I fell asleep somewhere between the massage and facial, totally missing the facial experience. The next thing I knew, the therapist was peeling the mask off. Heh.
We had a little time to spare so we enjoyed the hot pool, sauna and steam room. Pretty decent.
Dinner with her family at the usual restaurant. Good to have a pampering day.
I did 40lbs shoulder press, and 180lb leg press today. woot! A new workout I came across is a combo. This one combines split squats with deltoid raises. For the second set I substituted the raises with hammer curls. [it is good]
ARGH! I’ve never had so much carbs in one day. Not my own pictures, but these are representations of what I had:
- honey wheat walnut toast, 2 slices at breakfast
- meatball pasta for tea/dinner
- french bread, 2 slices with pasta
- paczki, a type of polish doughnut served on what they call Fat Tuesday and is basically Shrove Tuesday
I can’t imagine the overload and the amount of exercise needed next week.
I got New Rules of Lifting for Women and looked through it last weekend. The idea is that women should stop with the tiny 5lb pink weights and start lifting heavier weights. I know this already, from hanging out at the tdp forums the last few months.
I also learn that:
- It’s ridiculously difficult to build muscles — fear of bulking up if using heavy weights is unfounded
- Toning is a marketing word and has no place in the vocabulary of anyone serious about their fitness
- Even though weight training doesn’t score very high on the calories-consumed scale, muscles will keep on working after exercise, and that’s when energy is spent — that’s the afterburn
- Cardio exercises (running, elliptical) are options, not mandatory, in fat loss programs
- Don’t obsess about weight-loss, focus on fat loss and changes in body shape — this is easier said than done cos weight is still the most visible quantitative measure
- It’s also impossible to spot reduce, which is bad news for getting rid of the fat-fat tummy
- Discipline and hard work are needed
That said, i haven’t started following the workouts in the book yet, I need to organise myself as they seem quite in depth. The whole book contains workouts for 6 months, gradually building up weight, intensity and reps. At this point in time, I don’t want to give up running completely, as cardio has its place in improving respiration, heart rate and circulation (ABC).
I’ve been using the machines here at PT, if I go early enough in the day, it’s not so crowded. Most recent workout:
- fly: 8@50 x3
- leg abductor inner: 8@130 x3
- leg abductor outer: 8@130 x3
- seated shoulder press: 8@25 x3
- tricep press: 8@60 x3
- abs: 8 sets x3
[nomenclature: 8@50 x3 = 8 reps, 50lbs, 3 sets]
I guess for a beginner it’s pretty decent. I found shoulder press very hard, barely able to get through the last rep of the sets, and I was only at 25-30lbs. Need to work on that.
I tested on the treadmill at Car’s home on 6 July 2008. At 0% incline I ran 1 mile in 14.31mins. When I went running today on the treadmill here at PT, I thought it’d be interesting to see how I’m doing in terms of speed. Random incline, between 0.4 and 1.6%, ran 1 mile in 12.30mins.
That’s 13.9% faster. Probably can do even better if I run all out.
New Year’s Day is the most popular time to set resolutions. And losing weight / exercising is probably the most popular resolution, like, ever.
I’ve never been one to make resolutions, and originally I didn’t want to post this cos a) i might get complacent and b) i really didn’t want any jinx effect. But it being new year resolution day I think I can afford to give myself some encouragement.
Anyway I discovered the daily plate way back in 2006, but only used it to track food very occasionally (ie when I remembered). When I started running, I used TDP to track food, exercise and weight. It’s a good tool, easy to use, easy to get into a habit of updating. it doesn’t have all the food I eat so I estimate; it overestimates the impact of exercise so I report 5-10mins less, it’s no big deal.
So, yeah, I lost like 15 pounds since October. Pretty neat.
I half-heartedly tried running a few times throughout the years, but could never get into it. I got breathless to quickly, my knees hurt, I felt I was going too slowly. The lesson of 2 10km races with no training weren’t heeded properly.
I started being serious about running 2 months ago when I got the ipod. Then I got the nike+ and being able to keep statistics was the biggest motivation. I should have realised that all it took was a geeky angle.
I was very slow initially. Added the inconvenience of street running — traffic, stupid pedestrians who block the whole pavement, dogs and their walkers — meant an inordinate amount stopping and starting. The first record on my nike+ showed a speed of 8min/km, a result of jogging for a block or two, walking, and walking during the final 20mins. Mostly I’ve been keeping in the 7-ish min/km tempo. Occasionally I’d break 7mins.
The knees haven’t stopped hurting, but in only 2 months I’ve done pretty okay. I’ve made an effort to run at least 4-5 times a week; other times I walked or if I’m at a hotel I use the elliptical. One day a week is rest day.
The latest big breakthrough is this weekend when I decided instead of running around the block, to run over to Bowen Road and use the “dedicated” running route. Boy it made such a huge difference! There were a lot of people, but it was never crowded. The initial parts were shared with traffic, but it then quickly became pedestrian only. Conditions were ideal, yesterday I ran until the 3km marker on the route, and including the distance from home it ended up being almost 12km.
Today I selected by distance. 5 mins walking warm-up before starting the workout. Hardly any traffic stops and running all the way, no walking. Turned the voice notification on and stopped the timer at 10km exactly. Then another 10 mins cool down walking home.
1.08 is still slow, I’d like to get to under 30mins per 5km. But as a target reached I feel I deserve a little self-congratulation. There’s lots of room for improvement, plenty of time for building up speed and strength.
I tried hiit aka high intensity interval training on the elliptical today. The idea of HIIT is to alternate short bursts of high intensity activity with a short period of low to medium intensity, and repeat for anything from 6-12 sets depending on level. As a beginner, I didn’t try to do too much: 5mins warm up, 30sec at resistance=10 pedalling as hard as I can, 90sec of slow pedalling at resistance=3, repeat for 6 sets, 5mins cool down.
There’s a lot of articles extolling the benefits of HIIT vs low intensity, steady cardio. It’s touted as the superior fat burning exercise. I think both are beneficial and it’s probably worth alternating between them. Mostly, the suggestions are to do HIIT only 2-3 times a week, and not to over “indulge”.
Calorie-wise, the actual calories burned during a HIIT session isn’t going to be greater than a steady cardio session, especially since it takes half the time to complete. But since it’s working the muscles harder, the muscles continue burning energy long after the exercise ends. Even after one session, and perhaps this is my preconception, I feel my arm and thigh muscles actually aching, and my heart pumps a little harder.
What I’m liking is that I’m discovering and coming up with different types of exercises. Weight loss will be good, but I want to see the difference in body shape much more.
So i got tired of too much eating and decided to take a little more control over what I eat 2 weeks ago. Been keeping to net around 1,200 calories a day and some running. Problem about being on business trips: a) eating out food and b) difficult to motivate myself to exercise (though this is as valid at home as being away). I’m proud that I did 30mins on the elliptical at the hotel gym 3 days in a row this week. Put in a tiny amount of weights too, and now my arm muscles are telling me I should have done that sooner.
Not seeing any major weight loss, which I’m sure will come eventually. Fingers crossed. What I have noticed, with basically keeping to salads and watching portions, is how not hard it’s been. Not quite easy, hence the not!hard. I don’t feel uncomfortably full after meals and I’ve been able to stay away from sweets. There were a couple of trays of treats — brownies, caramel slices, M&Ms — today cos of training sessions. I stood for the longest time smelling the treats and then walked away. I had too much chocolate when I was young, so I can stay away. Last time in Chicago I loaded up on steak but this trip I’ve had very little red meat. Travelling on my own without the influence of my colleagues help — I get food mainly from the deli next to the hotel — they do a great spinach, apple & cranberry salad and this lovely butternut squash ravioli.
I hope I can continue this discipline and continue running when I get home. Preparing for the 10km next February. I want to shave at least 10% off my time which, with training, shouldn’t be too difficult.
I’d be kidding myself if I claimed it’s all for getting healthy. The ultimate goal is to get back to my college weight. Healthy eating habit is the bonus goal.
So it’s 5am Chicago time and I’ve been up for almost 2 hours. Stupid jetlag.
I went to bed at 9pm, woke up at 1am then at 3am. 6 hours’ sleep. Doubt it’s enough to keep me going all day.
I feel like some fruit, or may be diet coke. But I’m too lazy at the prospect of brushing my teeth again.
I set the alarm for 7am. I wonder if I should crawl back to bed and attempt sleep.