Thursday, October 29, 2009

The 100th Sub 2:07th Marathon

IAAF says:
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (pictured) may have lost the race and the course record at the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon last Sunday, but when he crossed the finish line behind Gilbert Kirwa he still made some history. His finishing time of 2:06:23 was the one-hundredth sub-2:07 marathon ever run.

The all-time progression of sub 2:07 races:
1988 – 1
1998 – 2
1999 – 9
2000 – 2
2001 – 1
2002 – 12
2003 – 10
2004 – 7
2005 – 1
2006 – 9
2007 – 6
2008 – 16
2009 – 24

Races with the most sub-2:07s:
London – 20
Berlin – 17
Chicago – 14
Amsterdam – 12
Paris – 12
Rotterdam – 12
The 100 sub-2:07s have been run by 64 different men. Haile Gebrselassie, as at so many other distances, is the King of the Clock here, with a lifetime total of nine. But the man who may be the heir apparent, Samuel Wanjiru, already has produced five before his 23rd birthday. Felix Limo, with four, is the only other man with more than three lifetime sub-2:07s.
Certainly the least surprising aspect has to be the country that has accounted for the largest number of sub-2:07s: Kenya. Their 61 is more than three times that of the next closest country (Ethiopia, 19). In fact African runners as a whole are responsible for 89 of the total (or 92 considering Moroccan-born runners who later changed nationalities).
Sub-2:07s by country:
Kenya – 61
Ethiopia – 19
Morocco – 7
United States – 3
Japan – 3
France – 2
South Africa – 2
Brazil – 1
Portugal – 1
Spain – 1

Limping Over - New York Marathon

I have stopped limping now but I am far from healed. I think I will give it three weeks to cover even the knees. I am rereading on marathons and marathon training plans because I intend to come back with a very serious bang. No shit.
The NY marathon is due next weekend and now that Lel and Tergat have pulled out due to injuries, we have two strong runners in Robert Cheruiyot and his training partner Kwambai. People say that Kwambai is the favorite. And he very well may be because he is the fastest in the pack. But I think it will be Cheruiyot. Because Cheruiyot missed Boston and even in the World Athletic Championships, he just destroyed the Ethiopians with an incredible speed to help Abel Kirui and Mutai take the win. I don't think he can afford not to win this one.
Below is Cheruiyot and Kwambai training in Eldoret.

Another favorite is two time winner Marilos Gomes Dos Santos. The fastest non-African marathoner. SA's Hendrick Ramalaa also maintains this is his time. Below is Dos Santos winning one of his NYC races.

America's Ryan Hall and Meb may also be planning to pull something. Lets see what happens. But I predict 'Mwafrica' (RC) will win.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My first DNF

I had prepared well, tapered, carb-loaded and even had a strategy in mind that I would execute: start the 1st Km in a relaxed pace as warm-up, let the speed come to me in the 2nd to 4th Km and maintain a tempo up to the 12th Km the open the turbo from the 13th Km and do my damnedest to maintain speed till the finnish or die trying.
We were at the venue on time and found a good parking space with my wife and sister and we were all set. I was well hydrated and I visited the loo to ensure my bladder was empty. I stretched as I met friends and fellow running-mates.

Myself, Ogutu, Kariuki, Gachanja and Sikuku pose for a photo just before the race.

I stretched a little. Planning to warm up in the first 5K. My wife was at hand also to take photos and cheer me on.

Me and my wife before the race.

So at the scheduled time, the gun went off and we were off. The race was on. Sikuku and I decided to pace each other. Hundreds of runners surged forward. I was passing about 30runners per minute for the first 8 minutes.
I cleared the first Km in about 4:40 and the second in 4:38 and Sikuku was complaining about his chest not opening up. I assured him it would and was starting to accelerate when a pain started playing around my right  calf area.
I have ran through many pains in my running so I wasnt too worried about it but it quickly got worse even as I was getting quietly satisfied at passing Wainaina, a guy who beat me in last year's Ndakaini Marathon. Was this a phantom pain?
It got worse. Several unseen pins were painfully searing my calf muscles. I tried to ignore it. It got worse and unrelenting. I had to stop. I tried massaging and punching my calves to no avail and I had to stop running. I decided to walk for some few minutes to cool down or whatever. It persisted. After walking for 7 minutes, I knew I would return a DNF for the first time. Fuckity fuckity fuck! I muttered as I limped on. The ambulance guys sprayed some stupid liquid on my calf. I was so mad.

As you can see, I could still muster a smile after the DNF.

For the uninitiated, DNF means Did Not Finnish. I watched as I was passed by hundreds of runners. When this was happening, I got to appreciate how far ahead I was and I am sure I could have returned something below 1:32.
Anyways, I can handle disappointment and handle it I did. I walked back to the stadium to see Wainaina finnishing in about 1:47. Sikuku went on but also encountered problems and finished in 1:50. Ogutu finished in 2:20 thereabouts and Kariuki dropped out also due to some problems. GK also improved his PB but also encountered some problems. Gachanja also encountered problems and finished in 2:13.

I am glad I have a DNF experience under my belt and for whatever its worth, I hope it makes me stronger and mature as an athlete because as they say, cant see the rainbow if you cant stand the rain. I know I am at a better place than I was last year runningwise and that will be my base as I seek a 1:20 Half Marathon. As SD says, There is no failure, there is only the next race. My focus is my next race and I am seeking to hit 1:20.

So I am not too bothered by the DNF - hey, it happens to the best Tadese, Tergat, Bekele etc - because I love running and what I will do is see a doctor, get some NSAIDs, rest, watch some movies and plan for my wedding as I focus on next year. My right calf is now swollen and I am limping coz its aching like hell.
I have learnt a lot from this year and I want to adopt Haad's marathon training plan more intensely next year and my goals include being able to do over 100Kms per week. I will go ahead and aim for 1:20 because I know its doable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final 5K in 20:20 - 1:30 half possible. Now I rest.

I did a 5K speed test on the track yesterday and finished in 20:20. When I plot this on MacMillan's running calculator I get a 42:14 10K, a 1:05:27 15K and a 1:29:04 20K as you can see from the table below. This places a sub 1:30 21K a little out of my reach.

I know that I can run better during race day so long as I don't screw 5K by starting out too fast. But then again, what is too fast? Pacing is something I will have to learn. At any rate, I can aim to cross 5K in 21:30, 10K in 43:00, 15K in 1:06, 20K in 1:27 and probably 21K in 1:30 something.
The thing about race conditions that differ from the track which can make me run faster are as follows:
  • Availability of pace-setters and competitors. Ensuring you don't go to sleep when running.
  • Tarmac throughout - better grip.
  • Stronger due to carb-loading 
  • Fresh legs - hopefully.
  • Charged atmosphere.
The only thing that can screw me up is bad weather and if my knee flares up. Right now my left knee is painful but I will let it talk to the ice for a while as I rest.
The only thing I can do now is be ready to try my best.And to remember that I normally run 23K in 2:20 but ran it in 1:47 in Mwea. Meaning that I sliced 33minutes off my training pace during the race.
Who knows what can happen on 25th October?


8K Recovery Run and Taper is On

After my 24K on Sunday with GK, I did an 8K recovery run which quickly, dashingly and enthusiastically and with utter abandon, developed into a fartlek session though I was doing 100m fartleks. I need speed like God needs worship.
Anyways, I did the fartleks on the grass to give my legs a break from the 24K tarmac. And my knees demonstrated that they are strong and can handle fast speeds which need braking and accelerating. It started pouring towards the end and I had to rush to a shelter. The weather here is kind of cold. The met guys are claiming that el nino is here with us the way the Matrix had Neo.
My knees ache a little but they are 87% okay. Actually the problem I had on Wednesday was some pain on my left rib.
I feel strong. I feel good.
What I want to do today is go for a 5K speed test where I seek to do a sub 20mins 5K. Last week I did 5K in 21:40 so I want to see whether I can slash that 1 minute off the 5K time. If I feel strong I will probably add some 7K to that 5K then I rest and wait for that big day.
The good thing about being able to run 4 or 5 times a week is that a rest of 3 days feels like forever and should be enough for recovery and topping up of my energy stores so that I dont tank anywhere within 21K, irrespective of my speed. And boy, oh boy, don't I intend to kick some ass!
I am still not sure I can deliver a sub 1:30 Half M but I know its possible but is a helluva tall order. Whatever the case, next year I want to aim at delivering a sub 1:20 Half M. More importantly, next year I want to focus on mileage and I am to do up to 150Kms per week. I know of a guy (a student) aiming at 1:00 who delivers 210Kms per week.
Talking of tall Order, I just remembered Rorschach, a character in the Watchmen (2009) movie. At one point he says, "Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon."
And when he is faced with the Armageddon in the face of an all-knowing, immortal and powerful "watchman" (Jon Osterman), he refuses to compromise and says: "Of course. Must protect Veidt's utopia. One more body amongst foundations makes little difference. Well, what are you waiting for? Do it."
And when he enters prison, he tells the prison thugs trying to bully him that the idea of them killing him is a "tall order" irrespective of their numbers. Here is part of their conversation:
Fat Thug: Hey, Boss, you notice? None of that "small world, tall order" crap, cause he knows once we slice open his lock, he's next on the block.
Rorschach: Fat chance.

Meanwhile, on Monday (19th) 21 year old Gilbert Yegon made an auspicious debut in the Marathon, delivering a 2:06:18 for  in the Amsterdam Marathon to take down Haile Gebrselassie's course record. A painful hamstring slowed him in the last hundred metres. Here he is crossing the finish line.

 Cheers and best luck to y'all tapering fellaz.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Did 24K with GK. 2:18. Too busy to blog.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

12K in 59:40 with 5K in 21:40 - Out of the 80s - My Inspirations

My weight dipped to 79.9 so I am getting out of the 80s. If I can reach 78Kgs in the next 10 days, that would be excellent! I wasn't that strong yesterday but managed to do 5K in 21:40 and 12K in 59:40. I was both disappointed and glad at the same time.
Glad that I could pull off such a performance after covering 32Kms in the last two days and disappointed that it reflected some low mileage and speed.
At any rate, I was knocked out and was pretty tired so I have today off and possibly tomorrow.
I have to travel urgently to Mbsa to sort some issues related to my wedding. Meaning I have to reschedule the 27K slated for Saturday.
I am supposed to be tapering anyways and they claim that you need at least four weeks to start losing your endurance...
Today I share with you some of my inspirations.
One is branch warren, a body builder who is about 5" 9 but works his butt off with workouts from hell. His dedication to the sport and the manner in which he pushed his body to staggering limits, is an inspiration to me.

Another is Forrest Griffin whose heart inspires me. He has recently suffered two losses with the recent one being most humiliating. He is seen below in a photo with a bloodied face fighting against Tito Ortiz in a 2006 match Ortiz won in a split decision. I understand we will have Ortiz vs Griffin 2 in November.

For now, let me take a break.
Cheers Fellaz.

Monday, October 12, 2009

8K Recovery Run - Tadese Wins. Again

I did 8K recovery run on the grass yesterday. It went pretty well. I did strides for 10 mins. I have some slight discomfort below my calves meaning to me, at least, that there are some muscles that I recruited yesterday.
I want to defy my aching knees and do a 12K tempo run today.
Meanwhile, as Wanjiru was winning the WMM and the Chicago Marathon, Tadese, was getting Christened a man for all surfaces after winning the World Half Marathon championship held in Birmingham. write that "Zersenay Tadese succeeded today where the great Haile Gebrselassie failed and where that other legendary Ethiopian, Kenenisa Bekele, has yet to tread.

Tadese’s victory in the IAAF/EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships completed a marvellous year for Tadese. Three World Championship medals in one year on three different surfaces is a feat performed previously by only one athlete, Kenya’s Paul Tergat in 1999.

Gebrselassie, World Half Marathon champion in 2001 and four-time World 10,000m champion on the track, gave up trying in cross country after four failed attempts at an individual medal. Bekele, winner of 11 senior World Cross Country titles and four at 10,000m, has yet to make his debut at the half marathon distance and test himself in a world road running championship.

Prior to today, Tadese had finished third in the 2009 World Cross Country Championships, in Amman, Jordan, and runner-up over 10,000m at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, in Berlin. His runaway win this morning, in 59:35, gave him his fourth successive world road running title and he does not intend to stop there.

Having become the first athlete of either sex to win four world road running titles, Tadese was asked whether he would be seeking a fifth in Nanning, China, next year. “I will try,” he said. He will also revisit the marathon distance, having dropped out after 35km in his debut at the distance, in the Flora London Marathon, last April."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Did 24K and a fast Run

Yep. Yesterday I did 24K and I plan to do an easy 6K today as a recovery run. My knees aren't in the best shape but I am not too worried coz my quads are getting stronger and the knees harder.
I decided it would be a fun run so I started slowly and focused on maintaining good form and ensuring my form did not fall apart even after 18Kms. I succeeded though I returned the same time as last weekend 2:18 yet last weekend we tried to be fast.
Yes, Wanjiru did what he needed to do and now is 70Million Shillings richer after winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:05:41.
It means that only three men have managed to get under 2:05 - Haile, Tergat, Kibet and Kwambai.

Here is Wanjiru winning the 2009 Chicago Marathon. He breaks all the course records wherever he runs and alwais wins except in the 2008 London Marathon where Lel outsprinted himin the final 200m.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Knee Better...Ready to Go Hard...

After yesterdays rest my knees feel much better and I am ready to go hard today with speed runs - I prefer them in form of fartleks rather than interval runs.
I have a busy afternoon meaning I may be forced to run on the track - I would have preferred the 12K route because of hills but oh well...I want to work my feet and quads because they are the ones that work most when running fast. And my fast-twitch muscles, hopefully, are gonna get awakened as my LT goes up ever so slightly.

Wanjiru is headed to Chocago for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday 11th Oct 2009. He hopes to lower his PB of 2:05:10 that he set in London this year. I will be following it.
Below, Marathon winners Samuel Wanjiru (R) of Kenya and Irina Mikitenko (L) of Germany pose together during the Flora London Marathon Winner's Photocall at Tower Bridge on April 27, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Easy 7K

I did an easy 7K though couldn't help myself afterward and sprinted a little at the end. My knee is still not 100% but its becoming the norm now, isn't it?
I did it on the track, ran clockwise for 22 mins and anticlockwise for 22 minutes then stretched and did some core strength exercises.
Today I rest and hope I will be in shape tomorrow for a hard 12K.

Here is Deriba Merga winning 2009 Boston Marathon.

Deriba Merga (Ejigu) became just the third Ethiopian to win the Boston Marathon with his dominating run at the 2009 race. In 2006, Merga won the Paris Half-Marathon, Wincanton Montferland Run 15-K and Great Ethiopian Run 10-K. He was also sixth at the World Road Running Championships 20-K.
At the 2007 WRRC Merga set PRs en route for 10-K (27:35), 15-K (41:34) and 20-K (56:13). Last year he also set a 10,000m PR of 27:02.62 at the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo.

Merga began 2008 by becoming the first Ethiopian to win the World's Best 10-K (28:03) over an extremely competitive field. He ran his first Major at London and wound up with the fastest sixth place time in history, 2:06:38.
He is in the leading group of the 2009/2010 World Marathon Majors leaders board alongside Wanjiru, Abel Kirui, Gebrselassie, and Tsegaye Kebede all with 25 points.

Monday, October 5, 2009

12 K - Knees....

Yesterday I had to leave work early after a very busy morning in stormy meetings that saw me pissed. At any rate, I decided to keep off the track even if it meant risking injury by running on tarmac. So I decided to take a 12Km route through town up procession road past state house thro aboretum to Kileleshwa and back to NPC valley road to public service.
I did it alone. I hoped to clear the distance in under an hour but the sun saw to it that I was slowed down and sweating thoroughly. Anyways it was a struggle with the 4.00pm blazing sun up ahead and dust. But it was quite peaceful because there were no crowds of people walking back home from work and no traffic jams to plough through. It actually felt like a Sunday and I managed to cleat in 1:05 after which I stretched and did push ups and crunches.
Today I will go for an easy run. Maybe 8K or 6K on the track. The keyword here being EASY. Because I am very poor at taking it easy. Then Thursday it will be a hard speed run. My knees don't feel 100% but I can run alright.

Today I give you Brito's Paula Radcliffe who has been a trailblazer in the Marathon circuit. Paula Radcliffe has revolutionized the concept of how fast a woman can run 26 miles 385 yards.

At the 2003 Flora London Marathon, Radcliffe did so in just 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds, averaging 5:09.9 per mile/3:12.56 per kilometer. It was the first and only time in history that the women's world record was within 10 minutes of the contemporary men's record (2:05:38).

Among her many accomplishments have been two world records at 5K (14:57 and 14:51), the current world record at 10K (30:21) and the current world best time for the half-marathon (1:05:40). In both 2000 and 2001 she won the IAAF World Half-Marathon championships.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

24K - knee better

We went for a 24K run on Sato as planned. We started late (5:40am) but were lucky because the sun didn't come out by the time we were finishing. Bonnie came in very good time: 5:00am as agreed. and GK came about 15 mins later. We waited for Joram for some 20 mins then left.
I wasn't strong because I didn't eat much the previous night and at the same time, had only slept for an hour and a half the previous night. But I wasn't gonna miss this one for anything.
GK set a great pace and we passed the 6K mark in 32mins and we reached the Mbagathi way roundabout in less than one hour. I got a stitch after about 13Kms that slowed me down. My body was quite fine though after 22Kms, I felt its toll. I slowed down and maintained good form. I want worried because we had achieved our objective: train the body to withstand the pressure of running for more than 90 mins and let it learn to use fat as a source of energy.
Bonnie hit the wall after about 19Kms and stopped running - weight and lack of regular training. I ran on to clear in 2:18, which is not bad at all. My knee, which I was worried about, didnt give me much of a problem even after the run. That means to me that the track has been screwing my knees up, particularly the lateral ligaments. So that Public Service track will have to be avoided - it lacks rounded corners and is more of a square track. I am also realizing that I just have two weeks of serious training left with this week being one of the two. So I will keep away from the track and take the road instead - trying to avoud the tarmac and concrete as much as possible. I will need all the discipline I can muster because boy, this running business ain't easy at all. So many priorities, so many things standing in the way...
Two weeks. Only two weeks left. That is the mantra that will keep me on track for the next two weeks otherwise I drop out.
In the last week I will do a 27K on 17th and a 5K speed test on 20th then I rest for four days and get back fresh legs so I can kick ass on 25th.

Today I give you one runner I have always admired : Eritrea's Zersenay Tadesse. Who has single-handedly placed that small country on the map when it comes to athletics. He is the three-time reigning champion of World Half Marathon Championships which take place in Birmingham, UK on 11 October 2009. Sammy Kitwara and Kwambai will be there to challenge him. Paul Musyoki wont show up and Ngatunyi rejected the offer to represent Kenya, which has bagged 17 out of the 19 team championships.

Here is Tadese, on full flight to another win:

Tadese won the first of his titles in Debrecen, Hungary in 2007, at the briefly (for two years) renamed World Road Running Championship, over the distance of 20km. He repeated his success the following year over the half marathon in the northern Italian town of Udine setting his personal best of 58:59 which still stands as the seventh quickest run of all time on courses applicable for record purposes.

Look at his smile after a win. Like Haile, he smiles generously.

Friday, October 2, 2009

45 Mins. Legs Better

I had a friend visiting yesterday and had several meetings so I had to leave work early and go for my run in order to go pick the friend.
My energy levels weren't high in fact after 30 minutes, I felt bored. So anyways, I started fartleks after 40 mins and then stretched and did some exercises for core strength.
My knees are much better. I have realized that the several turns on the track have something to do with the pain. And I suspect that my weak quads may have hurt them because since I started doing leg extensions, my knees have become better and better. Since my compartment muscles are now strong, I will keep working my quads and my shins to keep away injuries. The speed runs will take care of the hamstrings and the last two remaining long runs should take care of my endurance.
My feet are now aching. Its a delicious pain because it shows me the muscles that were asleep now being recruited to propel my body forward during my speed runs. So more speed runs are slated in the next three weeks.
Tomorrow I have 24K and I think there will be 4 of us. I intend to make it quite fast. I hope my knee wont have to talk to the ice.

Today I give you myself (in white cap) at the Mwea Marathon where I cleared 23K in 1Hr 47 mins. In the photo, we are on our way to the start line with Kamau next to me. I am contemplating the dust ahead. Sikuku's legs are the ones on the extreme right. Click to enlarge photo.

At Mwea I had not done any speed runs. Lets hope that the work I put in in the next four weeks will yield something.