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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Having Fun already...

Well, the marathon is done and I am taking a break. I realize that my writing has suffered very much.
The next thing I have to do is to develop a plan that will balance my writing and my running.
Anyways, I took the photos below at Windsor where we had a party. I am with colleagues. I am no 7.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Finally...2:02:27

I cleared the 23-24Km (according to some estimates) in 2.02 mins. We went through a long route because of confusion amongst the organizers of the race and as a result some 1.5-3 Kms were added to the distance. There were of course the elite runners who numbered around 200 and on our side of the start, there were at least 100 runners who run for a living. There were many experienced runners from over ten countries and of various sizes. I enjoyed the last 8Kms where I passed hundreds of runners. I estimate that we were 6,000 runners in the 21Kms.

At any rate, I am not too proud of my time. Mistake number one was that I forgot to carry along my watch so I had no way of timing myself and knowing when to push harder. This meant I could only use my body as a guide.

Mistake number two is that I adopted a strategy that was too conservative and I ended up completing the race with lots of energy left unused. I held myself back for too long and started too slow. So even as I was overtaking hundreds of people in the middle and end of the race and gaining a lot of satisfaction, I was still not fast enough because I was running among the slow.
I ran a very comfortable race. I never pushed myself and never put any effort except in the last 400m. I let my body pick its pace and I just let it go. I managed to be the best amongst my friends and colleagues and I passed the ones who started very fast, past the 13Km mark, so perhaps my strategy was not so bad. Everyone I passed past the 9Km mark never overtook me again as my pace picked. And I passed almost everyone I saw from the 10Km mark except one lady at the finnish.
Now, whats good is that I managed to complete the race without walking at any time. Secondly, I slashed off 32minutes from my last time. Thirdly, I learnt that I have lots of energy and now my strategy should focus on how to release it efficiently over the 21Kms.
I have already decided to slash off 40minutes from my time and enter the top 400 (I was No. 707 from No. 1369 last year). I am confident that I can do it in 12 months. I have what it takes.

Here is the game plan.

Rest for two-three weeks and let my injury heal and my body recover.

Start by running short distances daily or four times per week.

Reduce occurrence of injury by warming up for longer distances before picking up the pace.

Run 25Kms seven times next year. This is to help increase my glycogen stores so that I can confidently run w/o fear of burning out.

Strive to run 5Kms in under 20minutes and 10Kms in under 40 minutes.

Vary my running route to include Thika Road, which has hills.

Push myself as hard as hell through at least 600Kms in 12 months. But this is long term and I dont believe work gets done in the long term so I will formulate my short term strategy soon enough.
I am the proud recipient of the certificate and medal below.

Now excuse me while I enjoy my two weeks rest.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Did my Last Run 14Kms

My leg behaved quite well in my last run and I managed to pull off 14Kms before the darkness took over. I was with a slow colleague and to encourage him I ran slowly with him for 4Kms before I broke off from him. So I treated the first 4Kms as warm up. I was quite strong and my leg did not give me too much trouble yesterday. I finnished by backpedaling for 800m and worked on my crunches and arms. Yesterday the trainers I bought two weeks ago did not feel tight so I think that was also good: I "broke" into my trainers.
I think yesterday's session also marked a turning point for me because it showed me I should increase my warm-up distance. I warmed up for 4Kms because of the injury I had yet Paul Tergat routinely warms up for 4-7Kms during his runs.
During Last years Nairobi Marathon, I saw the Kalenjins (thats how we call people from the rift valley who are the gods of long distance running) warm up to a sweat and I was shocked because I was saving the little energy I had yet, to me, they were literally burning it away before the race! When the bell rang, they sprinted from the starting point and I never saw them again. Next year I hope I will have reached that level of fitness - enough to know my glycogen stores wont be depleted by a warm-up of a few Kilometers.
Anyways, my leg is better. And I will be giving it a regimen of massage and bandaging for the next three days and I am confident that by Sunday, I will be ready to do war. My knees are weak but I am strong and will be stronger in three days. I will probably tie some band around my knees on D-day to give it support. I am ready for war fellaz. I am looking at 1hr 40 mins thereabouts. I will run the bloody guts out of me if it kills me. So goddamn help me God.
Did I say God? I shouldnt have.

Took Stairs (20 floors) preparing for last run

My leg has improved. I worked on my lower abs in the morning and took the stairs to 20th floor (my office) - instead of the lift.
Today I intend to take my last run. I am hoping I will get some 1hr 20 minutes and do at least 14Kms. That would be great.
Then I will devote the next 3 days to stretching (to ensure I will get a full range of motion on dday) and massaging my injured leg.
You better wish me luck fellaz because I have a war coming up ahead.
Regards,
Jacob

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Walked 9Kms. Still taking it easy

I walked some 9Kms yesterday, including walking home some 7Kms. The leg is much better than last week. I massaged it using Deep Heat and bandaged it to keep down the inflammation. As far as I can see, its not so bad even though there is some pain.
The lesson I learnt from last week is to keep away from hard surfaces unless I have some cushion, like shoes, or a carpet.
Tomorrow, I would like to run some 10Kms on the grass at a relatively slow speed then rest and wait for DDay. With a three-day massage-and-bandage regimen, I should be fine by Sunday.
One thing I realized from my run on Sunday is that when you are fit, you are fit. Nobody can take that away from you. Because even though I was nursing an injury, several runners came and ran and left exhausted while I ran on.
Lets hope I can get some 90 minutes on the grass tomorrow...
Cheers

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did 12Kms. I think I will make it

I walked for two Kms then jogged for 12Kms on the grass. It went pretty well and did not turn out to be as bad as I expected. It was easy but my legs did not feel that strong. I am considering doing another 10-12Kms on Wednesday then resting for three days. I think the moral of the story may be that an injury is as bad as how you take it. At any rate, I will be massaging the leg and bandaging it to keep off inflammation.
Lets see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Damn...

I gave my feet a rest period for the last seven days. I have however been cross-training; squats, crunches, press-ups, and so on. Yesterday, I did jump on the spot and ran around in my room a little.
I am sad to report that the pain and the injury persist to date. I will go to the field today and run slowly and see how it goes but as I type this, doubts have started creeping regarding whether or not I will participate in the Nairobi Marathon in seven days. It saddens me but I am not too worried since this was not about an event. I want to maintain a certain weight and a certain physical condition. This is a lifestyle even though I use events as markers and motivators. I want to be an athlete and even if I dont run on Sunday, I will simply set a new target for my athletic accomplishments. I am thinking of aiming to clear the next year's half marathon in 1hr 20 mins. So far, I have managed 1hr 43 minutes[with injuries and shit] this year but I think I can manage 1hr 20 minutes.
The good thing about this injury is that it will give me a reason to lazy around for a couple of weeks - say three weeks and I will look forward to running in the absence of pain and starting from scratch again, with renewed passion, plenty of experience and a better conditioned body.
I wanted to run for the next four days then rest from Thursday to Saturday. If todays trial proves that the injury is still here, I will stop all running and jumping activities and will spend the next six days stretching, doing crunches, calf raises, press-ups, massaging and bandaging my feet (to keep off any inflammation) and walking. Then perhaps, by Saturday, I will have healed. If so, I will still run.
Damn.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Walked Home

Yesterday I decided to forfeit the matatu's and walk home instead. Seven Kilometers. It took me 1.5 hours. My legs are better. Today I worked out in the morning for 40 minutes. Squats, preacher curls, calf raises and crunches.
I still pain in my right leg when I am going down the stairs but I am thinking of taking a slow jog in the morning tomorrow and see how it goes.
Because I was not wearing skin-tights, my pants did a number between my legs with the help of my trousers. It was dusty and the excercise was made a mess by hasty drivers who drove on the pedestrian's lane. I should probably walk some ten kilometers next weekend if my leg will still not have healed.
Tomorrow I am traveling again. The whole day. By road.
A

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Taking it easy and preparing to taper off

Yesterday I relaxed. Today I am contemplating taking an 8Km walk to help my injury heal and somehow introduce my legs to excercise smoothly.
If I get better, I will probably run for four days next week then wait for the big day - three days of rest. I will keep you updated. Meanwhile, my right leg is speaking in tongues and its telling me who the F do I think I am to push her like that. And I am saying, "I am sorry but I need you mate. Dont die on me now..." And the dialogue continues.

21Kms - My Energy is Back Plus an Injury

I did 21Kms yesterday. 1hr 43minutes. I was strong and could have gone further but it was dark. I cleared the first 12Kms in under 1 hour; approx 58minutes.
I seem to have developed an injury in my right leg. Its not so bad. I cant massage it because it appears to be somewhere deep in the bones/nerves. I may walk some eight Kms tomorrow and review how I am doing by Tuesday.
Otherwise, I am on course. In my view the 1hr 30 minutes target is still in my sights and is achievable in two weeks.
Cheers.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

10Kms on Tuesday and 5Kms yesterday

I am getting very busy at work. Anyways, as above. I am on a break today and will be doing 21Kms tomorrow. I have a nagging pain on my left foot - similar to a splintered shin but not standing in the way of my running. But pain nonetheless.
I did the 10Kms in 50mins. My energy is coming baaack! I peaked at around the 8Kms mark.
I am in love. I got a pair of asic trainers that are great!
Two weeks to go!

Monday, October 8, 2007

9Kms on the Road

This morning. At dawn. 9Kms. 45 Minutes. My energy is gone because I had to strain. It was not an easy run. I feel pretty banged up right now but its a familiar feeling.
I will probably take a break.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Did 12Kms On Saturday

I did 12Kms yesterday in 1 hr flat. I did it on the track. Each 400m lap took between 1min 40 secs and 2 mins. Most of the pressure was on my knees. I did not feel particularly strong but I was consistent throughout the 30 laps.
That makes the number of Kms I have covered last week - 50Kms. 21 on grass and 21 on the track and 9 on the tarmac.
Not bad. I will give my knees today and tomorrow a break and Tuesday I will be back with a bang of sorts. I intend to run on Tuesday and Thursday then do 21Kms on Saturday or Sunday. That will leave me with one week to taper off to the marathon. I want to see if I can achieve 1min 45 seconds per lap for 12Kms.
So far so good.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Back Home - 9Kms on the Road

It was great to be up at 5am on the road. The air was crisp and fresh as an apple.
As I warmed up in the first kilometer, I savored the feeling of solitude, the peace, the stable feel of the tarmac under my feet and the low traffic - both human and vehicular. No smoke, no dust. Just fresh air and a few early morning people and street lights.
It felt like I was back home after a long time. Recall that I have been running on the track for the past two months. It afforded me an opportunity to compare the two locations

Running on track has the following advantages:
1. You can run on the grass (the inner track) - this was the greatest advantage I got from this since it enabled me to recover from my splintered shins injury. The grass reduces the impact the legs suffer when running on a hard surface.
2. You can measure your progress (speed) more accurately since a lap is 400m.
3. There is company - mostly overweight people plodding along slowly so it makes you feel good about yourself. Plus you meet better people than yourself and you realize how slow you are so you cannot get smug or complacent.
4. There is daylight so the risk of incurring an injury becuse you dived into a manhole or pothole is eliminated.
5. The field affords you a chance to do other excercises like backpedaling, pressups, chinups (on the goalposts) and so on, which are not possible on the road.
6. You can organize to place water at strategic positions so you can do long runs without worrying about water supply.

Disadvantages of running on the Track.
1. Its a flat surface so if you find yourself on a hill, you may find the exertion excessive.
2. I think the bends slow you down. I have never proven it - just a thought.
3. It is found to be boring by some - like when you are doing 50 laps (close to two hours for amateurs like myself) seeing the same scenery can be boring. I didnt find it boring; I love running too much. Its just something I hear some people say. They should probably try treadmills to get the true meaning of "boring".

Advantages of running on the Road.
1. The grip of the tarmac is ecstatic.
2. The changing scenery makes the run a different experience at each distance.
3. The electricity poles, shops, buildings and petrol stations that flash past are a great motivator because they remind you that you are covering ground.
4. Its a new experience each time.
5. Its great when you are strong. I remind myself to Just keep going after I have reached the turning points.
6. There will be hills so you learn to deal with uneven surfaces and inclines.


Disadvantages

1. The hard surface is not good for your joints or muscles. Ask me. I know.
2. If you are running at dawn, you better be having streetlights because you may end up stepping in a pothole and getting injured.
3. Know your neighbourhood. Although its rare, some muggers target overweight people whom they relieve of their nice running shoes. Overweight people are typically affluent so are likely to be sporting some great runners (as Americans call runnung shoes).

Anyways, I did 9Kms in 45 minutes. There is pain in my feet and joints but I am not too worried since they are not shin splints. I was strong all the way. I need to look for New Edition's song Oh yeah - It Feels So good to Be Back.
Cheers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Did 8Kms. Banged up and Gaining Weight?

Yep. I did 8Kms in 40mins. Darkness crept in so fast and I had to stop. I was shocked to find that I had gained 3Kgs! Yet I have spent the last few weeks taking my clothes to the tailor (trousers mostly) to reduce the waist from 37 to 36 and now from 36 to 35 so that they can fit. In the mirror, my abs are popping out and on the field, I am much faster. I can now run 13Kms in 1 hour. How come I am heavier? Is that bone density going up?
Anyways, I felt pretty banged up after the run. I dont know whats up with my body but its not getting any respite in the next 20days. I will push it then rest for five days to the big day. I cannot entertain the luxury of taking a break now so it will just have to get used to getting banged up. I just want to ensure I avoid an injury.
Fuck the weight gain. The scale was probably faulty. I am faster (but not stronger) and my abs have popped out. And I have a goal to attain: 21Kms in 1.5 hours. It breaks down to 7Kms in 30 minutes. I managed 7Kms in 32 minutes on Sunday. Yesterday I was taking it easy. It was actually supposed to be a slow recovery run. But I see every time I am on the field as an opportunity! So I pushed on. I feel banged up right now. Damn.