Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training day 25: 12K - Almost

I had gone to bed yesterday still debating within myself whether to run today or take a break and run on Thursday. My right knee had some pain and my left leg had some other pains. Would I convert the pains to injuries by running today? I asked myself.
Anyway, I decided since I am only doing 12K and since I am actually tapering this week, there should be no injury. Plus, my objective is to put my cerelac legs under pressure so that they can become hard and chew sugarcane.
So at 4.30 I was up and by 4:40am I was out. This time, I made sure to bandage my right leg properly and my left shin too. I felt pretty good. I only met three runners. I realized my familiarity with the road and my comfort with the distance had increased my confidence. So I decided to be faster than yesterday and I was! I cleared the first 6k in 29:42 and I felt energized. I hoped to do a negative split but it didnt happen and I cleared the 12K in 1:00:10. This is good. I am pretty confident that by the end of next week I should be able to do 12K in 58 mins. Its important to note that I am doing it comfortably fast, not at an all-out effort or speed. I have to bear in mind that for me to have done the halfm in 102mins last year, I did 11K in about 50mins. So I have to reach that 50mins for 12K by end of August. By slashing 2 mins per week. Yes, pretty ambitious. Hopefully, no injuries will stand in my way. I rest tomorrow then another 12K on Friday.

PS: By the way, I am kinda glad that my quads are painful today. Its about time they started doing some work. So far only my lower legs have registered pain of straining. I hope this is a good sign. Good in the sense that injury-prone muscles and joints are off the hook and now the big muscles are saying "Thanks, we will take it from here on." That would be excellent.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Training Day 24: 12k

I ran today after 3 days of rest so my legs were relatively fresh. And I wanted to take advantage of that to dip under an hour for the 12K. But My first 200m had problems: the bandage I tied above my knee started falling - apparently, I had tied it too loosely. So I had to stop, twice to sort it and I had to run without that knee support. I met only two runners today. I cleared the first 6K in 31 minutes and hoped to do a negative split but I had no energy and was sorta sluggish. Even then, I was only 42 seconds slower in the next 6K and cleared the 12K in 1:2:42. Which is an improvement on last week's time. And its a good ratio so it means my mileage is not so bad. At any rate, I will keep sniping at that 12K time until I reach near 50minutes. That is my target. Let me observe myself. I may just do another 12k tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Training day 23: 12K

Today I was up quite hungry for speed so I got up as usual considering doing the 12K in under an hour. The stretched nerve behind my knee was acting up so I bandaged it. Plus the spot just above my right knee to ensure my injury doesnt recur due to lack of knee support. So Off I went. I cleared the first Km in under 5 minutes but I also realized the darkness, marauding dogs, crazy drivers and potholes take their toll on speed and So I did the first 6K in 31:46 and couldnt master the energy for a negative split so I ended up clearing the 12K in 1:04mins. I am sorta drained and the nerve behind my left leg is quite painful now. I am nearly limping! At any rate, I am resting for the next 2 or three days (I dont know if Monday will allow me to run because I am traveling on Sunday night and starting a Linux class on Monday). I am proud and glad that I have cleared my first 50K. Now I have to crawl slowly toward 70Kms per week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Training Day 22: 12K

I was up @ 4.30am and but 4.45am I was on the road. I was quite strong and quick today and completed the 12K in 1hr:05 mins.
So I realized today that even yesterday I actually did 12K and not 11k. That means that this week I have done 14+12+12=38Kms. I have some pains here and there but they are normal: not injuries.
I will do another 12K on Friday and that should make it 50K this week. Yipeeeeeeeee!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Training Day 21: 11K

I was up at 4.30am today because I wanted to make sure I clear the 10.5Kms stretch and still be ready for work before 7am. I have been having some nagging pain at my achilles tendon but anyhow. So I put on my runners, my safety jacket and my sweatshirt and stretched a little and gulped some water.
So off I went. I met one runner after one Km and after 3Kms I met another, who warned me that a pack of dogs were some 100m ahead and I should be careful lest I become their breakfast. He suggested I walk while approaching the seaction. I decided to cross the road to the other side and ran right on. I cleared 5.5 in 30.4 and ran back and cleared in 1 hr 08 mins.
So that makes 11+14 which is 25Kms this week. 23Kms to go. I am considering doing another 11K tomorrow tho I have some pains...

PS: By the way, I am kinda glad that my quads are painful today. Its about time they started doing some work. So far only my lower legs have registered pain of straining. I hope this is a good sign. Good in the sense that injury-prone muscles and joints are off the hook and now the big muscles are saying "Thanks, we will take it from here on." That would be excellent.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Training day 20: 14K

I decided to go for training yesterday, joining Ogutu who was going for 21K. It went well and I managed to clear the distance in 1:15:37. I have some pains so I am off today and will resume with a 12K tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Training Day 19: 10K

I did 10K today. I was hungry for speed and crossed 5K in about 22minutes. The last 5K saw me tired and finished and I completed the 10K in 49:05.
Right now, I am as tired as hell.
So I have decided to put away my watch for the next two or three weeks and concentrate on the mileage because I am getting obsessed with speed, which is neither helpful nor advisory. I will get back to speed when I hit 60Kms per week.
This week I have done 44Kms. Next week I shall do either 48Kms or 50Kms. As for now, my ass is knocked outta energy and I just wanna go home and sleep the hell out.
I have a cold so its sorta screwing up my breathing and personal comfort but I am all over this and now I have done week 5 of Training. 18 weeks to go. Bring It on!.
I am kinda free this weekend. I may just decide to go and do 14 or 16K on Sunday.
Until then,
PS: Did I say sleep the hell out? That should be "sleep the hell up!" No?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Training day 18: 12K

I did 12 K in 59:46. I am suffering from a cold so my energy levels are sorta low but I was determined to do under 2 mins per lap so there you are.
Tomorrow 10K.
PS: I had some blister bothering me after the 23rd lap but I braved it through even though it slowed me down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Planning 23 Km Road run on 19th July

Yeah. Two people have confirmed participation. I decided to waste the time I had learning to draw a map and below is my handiwork. I am dead tired.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Training Day 17: 10K

I did 10K yesterday under considerable pain from behind my left knee; something is torn there. I didn't respect the pain because It was not caused by running - I got it after running for just 200m from my house on Monday so I was not going to let some random pain stand in the way of my goals.
So I tied a bandage around the knee and hobbled for 25 laps - that took me 54:55 - I had to put speed aside and just get the mileage done. It feels better today and I think it will heal pretty fast since running doesn't seem to exacerbate it. I feel darn tired though; I had little sleep after watching UFC 99 for a good part of the night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Its Our Turn to beScrewed

I completed John Githongo's book today after reading it intermittently for almost two months. I read the online version that has circulated (illegally) though the internet. So yes, guilty as charged; it was sleazy because I am complicit in robbing the author of their royalties. For no respectable reason, Kenyan bookshops are not stocking the book, purportedly because of fear of being sued, and predictably losing the lawsuits to corrupt thieves, who can hire the best lawyers in this ass-end of the world.

Michela Wrong, the author of It’s Our Turn to Eat - The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower, does a great job in chronicling the events surrounding John Githongo's resignation as Kenya's Anti Corruption chief, Corruption in the Kenyan government, Kenyan attitudes, Githongo's escape to Britain, his expose of the Anglo Leasing scam, Kenyan's reaction and his return to Kenya.

For all intents and purposes, this book is a tragedy and a sad tale of a lost war unravels before the eyes of the reader. At the end of the book, faced with the insignificant changes in the face of out-of-control and blatant grand corruption, with the whistle blowers dealt mortal blows and the fat, belching potbellied politicians strutting around freely in manicured golf lawns, my heart was broken, my spirit crippled and my insides emptied of hope and warmth. I feel mortified.

Michela is an engaging, introspective, daring and capable author who clearly did her research as far as Kenya's tribalism, attitudes, class divisions and NGO world are concerned and the book is very informative from a geo-political perspective.

Sometimes, she dares to lay bare a non-flattering character aspect of her subject (John Githongo) and even forays into his love life. Her insights in the workings of the US and UK ambassadors in Kenya are informative and reveal a lot of what happens behind the press conferences and the thinking behind the donor agencies and their frustrations with Africa and their own contradictions.

Ultimately, after reading the book, as a Kenyan, I feel trapped and royally screwed by the political class who continually tighten their boa-like grip on the minds of the majority of Kenyans. No, no, Michella's writing does not foster a feeling of helplessness or paralysis; it is just the sad, raw brutal presentation of how screwed up the Kenyan situation is that makes one sad. And it is undisputable that politicians and our chequered history of tribalism, royal land-grabbing, nepotism and corruption have contributed to our present situation. The oligarchy that occupies the top echelons of our society is getting stronger and stronger and the gap between the rich and poor widens even as jobless youth increase each year.

Unlike Michela Wrong, I don’t think the situation will explode like in the French Revolution: the rich political class will just recruit more young people into the police force and GSU to beat back the tidal wave of angry poor youth. In the final end, barring getting a reformist leader, desperate Kenyan youth will probably start leaving their own country in thousands to UAE, Canada, Australia and South Africa to seek greener pastures, just the same way youth from North Africa drown while trying to swim their way to Spain and other European countries. It is more efficient than trying to shake off rich, powerful leeches from their warm host.

After taping conversations of shameless tribal thugs conspiring to rob the country, shameless failure to prosecute them by those paid to do exactly that, and the tribal and myopic view of most Kenyan's, Githongo's efforts amount to almost naught. Naught. That is the tragic thread that runs through the book. Githongo is left a middle-aged man caught between multiple possible careers, alone after his fiancée got hitched to another man, his efforts laid to waste, the thugs he exposed rewarded with bigger positions and the person who appointed him smugly ignoring all his efforts.

Virtue is its own reward, someone once said. But after reading this story, and considering the stories of other Kenyan whistleblowers like Munyakei, one wonders whether it is worth it, and whether this is the only way to deal with corruption, given that it is almost ineffective in the current scheme of things. Yes, other anti-corruption stalwarts like Mwalimu Mati and Muthoni Wanyeki are still fighting the good fight, but in Kenya, when you push aside the cheap transitory drama that politicians throw at us daily to distract us from the real issues, and you see the ugly trail that lurks behind it, from Goldenberg, the Kroll report, Charterhouse, Anglo Leasing, Grand Regency Sale and the inane "typing errors" in the treasury, and the utter inaction and subterfuge orchestrated in handling them, your heart is broken.
Broken to a million pieces at the feet of virtue. Her hands lay limp at her side, her head is bowed and her spirit broken. And the thieves roam freely in a society blinded by tribal fear, too poor to think beyond their basic needs and too divided to act collectively.

That is the thread that runs through the story of Githongo's war against corruption. He starts out by accepting the government appointment while naive and idealistic. Then he gets royally screwed of his innocence, his life gets turned upside down, he becomes a fugitive, then he is a stigmatized pariah assigned near irrelevant status. He is ostracized by the very people he was trying to protect from the marauding hyenas that believe it is their turn to eat. And our turn to be screwed - consider the stinking GoldenBerg sale, Safaricom sale, Pyramid Schemes sanctioned by central Bank, Nyaga and Thuo stockbrockers, Discount Securities, Mobitelea, treasury "typing errors", stolen election, maize saga, Triton saga etc.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Training Day 16: 12k

It rained in town yesterday so I expect that the pitch is in quite a mess today. So I decided to run in the morning today. My run was to take about 60 mins so I got up at about 4:40am and was out of the house at about 5"50am. It was a difficult run because the muscles behind my knees became very painful but since I am no respecter of spontaneous injuries, I pushed on and struggled on. It abated after about 9Kms but it was tough. I am feeling it now but hope by tomoyow, it will be okay.
I cleared the first approx 6Kms in 34 mins and the other half in 32mins. I will confirm the distance later.
So far so good (*Yawn*). Laters.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Training day 15: 8K

I was late due to a protracted meeting and darkness was gathering fast. So I decided to dip below 2mins per lap in the scheduled 8K. And I did. I ended up completing the 8K in 39:29. Which is pretty good. I completed the first 10laps (4K) in 19:40. Meaning the last 10laps I was 4 seconds slower. Which again, is pretty good.
So this was a sorta fast run but at the same time, I wanted to maintain good form as I strove to stay below 120seconds per lap. I managed quite comfortably.
I know I shouldn't be doing speed runs now but this was not exactly a speed run; just trying to do some decent times whilst working out.
My ankles are aching but its not a bad ache. I did the last two laps in about 90 seconds and I was pretty comfortable. I have noticed I am getting new abilities slowly. I was joined by Bonnie, a fellow runner.
Next week I should be doing about 40-42Kms. So maybe 12, 10, 10, 8 for MTTF. Depending on how I feel, I may convert the 8K to 10K next Friday. Challenging and exciting week ahead. Today and tomorrow I rest and heal.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Training Day 14: 10K

I just came from doing a 10K in 52:08. Today I was strong and had no problems with my stomach or anything. My legs pained here and there but nothing major; just the muscles getting accustomed to the volumes I am traveling.
What I like about my current running is that I am able to maintain proper form and even do a negative split in my runs. I am doing them at a comfortable (not easy) pace and I am glad I am approaching 5mins per Km. I hope to dip to sub 5 mins by the end of June and 4:45 by the end of July. If I can do 4:45 comfortably, when I start speed work in August I should be able to do 4:20 or something less.
I just demolished a half a liter of sour milk and some bread.
The good news is that I went for an interview and came out the winner to be an IT manager. We didn't agree on the salary so I had to sadly decline so my search continues. Frantically. It feels good to know I kicked the asses of all those important looking buggers carefully sipping coffee while we were in the interview room.
I should do an easy 8K tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Training Day 13: 8k

I did 8K yesterday in 42:58 minutes. I had serious stomach problems that messed up my running. In fact I seriously entertained the thought of calling it off at 5Kms but I decided to clench my jaws, git my teeth and get the job done. The toilets will just have to wait, I swore. I learnt one thing; unless its a serious bout of diarrhea, if you hang in there with stoic discipline, the problems will go away.
So I am glad I have 18K down: 16K to go for the week. Today I am resting and now I can feel my leg muscles holding discussions about how they are overworked lately. I was impressed by my ability to do 44 pushups without trying too hard. This way, I can still meet my 100pushups ambitions without following the suggested program!
My crunches were also better except for the stomach problem. I am keen on maintaining proper form as I am running, unlike the past. And I can do this because the distances are shorter (but more) and my speed is comfortable. If I keep this up, my speed is likely to go up since my strides are longer.

I Got Saved!!!!

Yeeeesssss! His noodly appendage kindly touched me and breached the delightful holiness of his grace in me. You better obey his noodliness.
You can see in the image below his noodliness creating Adam.

Long live Pastafarianism! Praise the FSM or DIEEEEEEE!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Training day 12: 10K

I did 10K in 54:18 minutes, crossing 8K in 43:46. My energy levels were quite low even though I was strong and comfortably did the 10K. I was alone but was joined later by my friend Ogutu, who is shooting for a 2Hr in the upcoming Sararicom Lewa Marathon on June 27th. By the time I was through it was sorta dark so I didn't take photos. Again.
My knee is better. I am sorta relieved that the pain is on a different muscle and I think I will heal and hack it.
I did heel/toe raises then did crunches and pushups. It was interesting to have a conversation with a footballer who accosted me and marveled at how I run many laps then he asked me how many laps I ran yesterday. When I told him 25 he was amazed. I didn't know anyone had noticed!
Anyways, I am doing fine. Still on track. Today I will do 8K.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Training Day 11: 8k

I did 8K yesterday on the track at a comfortable pace and cleared in 44:05. I increased my speed slightly and was averaging 2:10 per lap. It went well. I will rest today and tomorrow and start with 10K on Monday. Cheers.
PS: Sorry I didn't take photos. I realized my camera battery was out of charge and I forgot to recharge it. SO maybe Monday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Training Day 10: 8k

I just did 8K (20 laps) in 44:34. I was running in an average of 2:15 per lap with a colleague - Kariuki. It was a comfortable pace that saw us hit 5K in about 25:40 which is not too bad considering that this was a relaxed, comfortable pace.
The great thing about running on the track is that its easy on the body, you have company, can pace yourself accurately and most importantly, you can stretch and do heel/toe walks, pushups and crunches on the green grass.
Aaaahhhhh. Excellent. In fact, tomorrow I will take some photos.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Training Day 9: 6Kms

I didn't run last evening due to a downpour so today I was up at 5am and hit the road. It was pretty good. I met about five runners with two being female so the running bug is catching on for some reason. I was feeling okay and ran for some 40 minutes which I approximate to be 6Kms but I know its slightly over 6Kms. My knees are fine, no flaring up so far and I feel I can stick to my planned runs. I am tying a bandage just above the knee to act as knee support and to prevent any recurrence of the tendon injury. My feeling is that if I can keep this up for 5 weeks, I am out of the woods as far as injury goes. And oh, I have dropped a kilo. Not bad at all.

Training day 8: Running in the Heat

I was in Mombasa yesterday and decided to do my 8Km as scheduled. It wasn't that hot when I set out and in fact I enjoyed the first 4Kms then things went south pretty fast when the sun decided to give me an experience of what open-fire roasting is exactly.
I was losing a lot of body fluid in form of sweat but what curtailed my running was the sheer heat. My body was heating up faster than it could dissipate the heat. I tried rubbing my hands but I was on fire. It felt like my organs were on fire too. My body was too hot I felt like an oven so I had to stop after about 6Kms. It was hell.
But I am glad I was true to my schedule and I did my run.
Today is day 9. On the track.