Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stanchart Marathon 2011 Race Report - 21K in 1:48

Wow, todays race was great even though very difficult and very disappointing to me. I did not do as well as I wanted. But in retrospect, it adds up. I think I hadn't done adequate mileage for what I wanted, and it shows and also the hamstring injury may have screwed the last two weeks more than I want to believe.
At any rate, we were there early, had enough time to stretch and play chicken and take photos. The weather was excellent. The crowds were perfect. I felt kinds heavy but that made sense since I had added 2Kg in the last 2 weeks. Imagine that shit.

Here  I pose with Ogutu and Mutwiri. I set my garmin to beep after every Km and display the time taken to cover it.
And we were off!
The first 1K was crowded and at times I had to get out of the road to move forward. I couldn't see Ogutu, Mark, Borura etc. At the H. Selassie roundabout, my garmin beeped:
That was fast. But I decided not to slow down coz I was not speeding. I was just going with the current. I went on cruising with the surging crowd. Water at 1.5K. My garmin beeped.
Okay, not bad. I saw Gacho, who hollered. I also saw the smooth-runnin guy we saw in Ndaka. He wore a cadense sensor, was carrying his signature liquid in a water bottle and this time, he wore shorts instead of tights. Still smooth-moving. I ran alongside him for a while. I looked around and couldn't see my guys. My garmin beeped and I glanced at it.
Very good. Gotta ease off the gas pedal though. I thought. So I did and the guy drifted away. I still hadn't started working. I was just running. But my garmin indicated that my HR was 172 so I was working even if my mind hadn't registered it.
Not bad. I went on. Just cruising.
Here, I started working but I didn't want to push too much. 5K in under 25mins was okay.
I developed a stitch.
Stitch is gone. Some two white guys run up to me and we pace each other.
Damn, I wasn't goin to do 13K within 1 hour. The two guys leave me behind.
Okay, so sub 1:40 is beyond reach. Damn. And I seem to have no energy. WTF?
I realize if I keep running like this, I wont get anything interesting. I decide to just run. I use my garmin and use my heart rate to pace myself. I use whatever pace can keep me at 170.
Yeah, its 4K only left but I am screwed up so bad. I grit my teeth and push. I have nothing left. I dont get it but this is happening right now.
I pass some old man who passed me at 18K in Ndakaini. I smile. I see I am not the only one returning a poor performance. I made a little snack out of his struggling form.
My legs are shot. Nothing is left in the tank.
My garmin reads 1:48 when I cross the finnish line. But thats for 21.3K. My 21K time is 1:46:43. I will print the certificate and share. My legs are totally shot. I never felt this way in a long, long time. Its like I didnt train as hard as I did this year! I cant freakin believe this shit.
Anyways, that is that. The main thing is not to lose the momentum. Like SFD says, There is No failure, there is only the Next Race. I will rest maybe for two weeks or so then resume. Weight loss will continue. My LSRs will now hit 30K and I will find a way of ensuring I have a decent mileage. I have to cut off at least 10mins from this time next year.
Mark finished ahead of me which is impressive. I have learnt something today: someone building on a poor performance last year is better of this year than someone coming back after a 2 year hiatus and an impressive performance three years ago.
This is very important. And I probably shouldn't be so hard on myself since I last raced in 2008 and resumed proper racing this year.
Now next year I build on this foundation. War Jack!
Borura debuted with a sub 2 hr race. Mutwiri in 2:05. Nice! Ogutu's race report is one thing I can't wait. I already bought popcorn for reading how he lost the 10K I threw at him.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last 12K in 58:36

I went for a 12K today in Kisumu, Milimani area. It wasnt a struggle but I felt heavy and my HRM reported high heart rates. It was a perfect 12K though. I think I should manage a sub 100mins. I just need to hydrate well and stay focused on running sub 5mins/Km. Here are the readings.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy 8K

I did an easy 8K after 5 days off. I think I am 90% healed. 43mins. I will do another 10K on Wednesday and wait for race day. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hamstring Pull

Yesterday I was doing speed runs and after doing some 400x8, I decided to sprint harder and do some 100m X5. On the third leg, my hamstring pulled.
I now walk with a slight limp. I want ti believe that if I rehabilitate it correctly, I should be good to go on 30th.
I was well warmed up and well stretched so I think what caused it may be the fact that I was exercising harder beyond my capacity, or my muscles were tired. At any rate, I am not too worried even if I dont make it to the start line on 30th October. This year, I have worked well and now I have my Garmin. I know that next I am targeting 4min/Km and a 1:40 for Ndakaini in 2012.

Monday, October 17, 2011

21K Easy

I hadnt slept. I had no legs. So I took it easy. Colic. Damn.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review of Unbowed - One Woman's Story

I got a copy of Wangari Maathai's 2007 book, Unbowed - One Woman's Story from a friend yesterday. This friend is a budding writer whose work was included in Kwani? 06, a book I gave a critical review that was published in The East African of Feb 21 2011. Some of the writers from the Kwani? fold  met my review with angry knee-jerk reactions that took the form of who-the-Hell-is-Jacob-Aliet and he-must-be-a-failed-writer but after interacting with some of them in facebook, we became friends. Mehul Gohil, one of the writers, is actually one of the top three chess players in Kenya and an exceptional writer.
At any rate, I was in the middle of Reading John Loftus' The End of Christianity when this writer was kind enough to lend me the book.
Unbowed is a hardcover book and its going for 790/=. I think that is quite a steep price but oh well, maybe it has got something to do with the hardcover and it was published by RandomHouse. 
It is a memoir. Very well-written and the contents are well ordered with an index at the back. It enables one to know who the real Wangari Maathi was and what is amazing is how much the Moi regime succeeded in painting her as a difficult, stubborn, quarrelsome divorcee because this memoir literally peels away that unpleasant mask plastered on her by the Moi regime and enables us to see her as a beautiful, sensitive and caring woman who was brave and who displayed courage when almost everyone was cowering in the face of a powerful but irresponsible government.
The book narrates her childhood experiences, from her formative years to the times she went to study in the US under the Kennedy airlift programs until she graduated and was admitted in the University of Pittsburg. I found it interesting that her master’s thesis was on the development of the pineal gland in quails. Think about that for a minute. As a student, she was reserved and buried herself in her books and ended up being the first Kenyan woman to earn a PhD. It was a PhD in gonads so animal anatomy was her forte. The book traces her ascent from a small rural family in Nyeri to being a recipient of the Nobel Peace price and a Member of Parliament for Tetu.
The reader gets to appreciate how the world looked like through her eyes, from her early childhood, schooldays, during the state of emergency in Kenya and during Kenya's turbulent times when Tom Mboya and JM Kariuki were murdered, her falling in love with her husband, having children, and the divorce that devastated her and how she rose up from the ashes of those difficult years and became a strong woman who the Kenyan society unwittingly tried to snuff out because it was afraid to confront an abusive and destructive regime. She reminds us in the book that fear cannot provide one with security.
Almost accidentally, her life was full of struggle. She never sought trouble but her success itself, created tensions that would rip apart her family. Her passion for environment conservation placed her on a collision course with a regime that wanted to exploit the environment without a care about tomorrow. Her steadfast belief in what was right isolated her from friends and colleagues who were afraid of being compromising their comforts. Her resoluteness in the face impending death and persecution made it easy for the government to paint her as an unpleasant, loony woman out to make trouble.
She fought stigma from being an educated woman, stigma from being a divorcee, stigma from being anti-government and this stigma altered her life in many ways than one, she was repeatedly sent to jail, she was separated from family and friends, and was made to lack employment and money through systematic government smear campaigns and intimidation.
Wangari was a very educated woman, very astute, very exposed, very independent-minded, very adaptive, very passionate about trees and the environment and was a strong leader who severally engaged in selfless quests while risking her life. Indeed, the GreenBelt Movement was lucky to have this woman at its helm because her passion alone could take the movement to the greatest heights and it did. She succeeded tremendously against major odds.
She is open about her weaknesses in a manner that makes her endearing to her readers. One actually gets to behold the sensitive, tender woman that lay beneath that resolute, versatile mask that she wore as the leader of GreenBelt movement. It is also amazing how much she had "foreign" friends compared to Kenyan friends and it appears that her pillars, her support system both financially, morally and even intellectually was mainly non-Kenyan save for a handful of her Kenyan friends. Mostly educated women. No wonder she never blended seamlessly into the Kenyan political fold.
The only weakness I find in this autobiography is that whereas she freely reveals her weaknesses and vulnerabilities, she doesn’t admit her faults in the book and when faced with painful outcomes like her divorce. As such, one may think she is impervious to her own failings as a human being when she ends up presenting herself as an innocent victim who was never at fault in the difficult circumstances that confronted her. One may think that Wangari’s introspection probably didn’t have the depth that would give her the uncompromising perspective that admits responsibility for unpleasant outcomes in her journey. But this minor criticism does nothing to take away the richness of her personal story and the lessons from a life well lived.
When I reflect on her journeys, her pains and her fears. Her successes and her failures, her possessions and her needs, her passion and her aspirations. Her perspective and her vision for Kenya and for the environment, the narrative of her struggle and the way the Moi government paraded a slanted portrait of her in the media that lacked independence, and when one considers how she was admonished as a trouble-making divorcee in the Kenyan Parliament, how we watched as she was mocked and humiliated, I can only conclude one thing:
We didn't know this woman at all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10K in 48:20:74

I went yesterday to the field and did a 10k. I didn't eat lunch and thought my breakfast would take care of it so after 5K, my energy was gone! and at 7K I had a stitch and the grounds lacked traction in several places but this result is not bad. I can probably return a 47K. Maybe I should try that next week?
Today I rest.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

13K easy 4:13 per Km

I went for a 13K run. I am out pf sorts from the run yesterday so I took it very easy. I also realized that I have discovered another barrier that I will need to be chipping away at: my fastest 1K. It stood at 4:21 yesterday. Today I have reduced it to 4:13. I know that in the recent Chicago Marathon, Mosop et al could throw in a 2:45min/K paces which destroyed Ryan Hall et al.
So there, I am starting from 4:13 and I will keep attacking it whenever I can. Hopefully, I can reach 3:20. Wow. That would be something.
Tomorrow I am back to work and that will present all sorts of problems to my running schedule but we will see.

Monday, October 10, 2011

14K Suicide Run

I was supposed to go for a 12K suicide run today but the weather was fair and I decided to go for 15K.
Shock on me.
In the first Km, I realized this was not gonna work out how I expected. I expected that I would be bursting with energy and would be controlling myself from going too fast.
Instead, I felt as if I was running in waist-deep mud. My legs couldnt move! And a glance at my heart rate showed me the problem: my HR was high even though I wasnt doing much. I had no energy. Instead of firing on all cylinders, I was shutting down!
That was overtraining looking right at me.
And I thought, damn! WTF? And I decided that since I was out to make myself uncomfortable, taking an overtrained me through a fast 15K would truly make me uncomfortable. And thats what I needed. Discomfort. Pressure. Tension.
I attacked the hills and held nothing back. The route ascends up to about 7K and so I returned slow times. But I resolved mentally to revenge on my way back. At 7Km mark, the sun came out and I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about getting baked in the 1pm sun, so I turned back.
And so 14K it was.
In the spirit or not giving myself room for comfort, I clenched my jaws and surged and struggled. And I started cutting down the times to sub 5min kays. I even decided to see how low I can go. After all, I should be targeting 3:50min per Km next year.
And I did! I even ended the last frame with a blistering (per my slow standards) 4:21! Amazing shit!
My average speed? 12.1Km per hour. Time 1:09:34.
I am scheduled to go back to work on Wednesday. I don't know what that means as far as my training but we will see.
This table shows how shit went down in the 14K. My target/ ideal heart rate seems to be 168-168bpm.
Stay active guys!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

100km/ week Done! 49:40 10k on hills

I think I am a little insane.
Today was a busy day. First of all, we didnt sleep until 4am and even then it was only for 1hr 45 mins. Our baby Trevor didnt want to sleep and suckled the whole night.
So I was tired and groggy when morning came. I was so starved of sleep my body was literally aching.
I got some fundis to grind away the metal grill on my balcony and I fixed a water pump and a 920 litre water tank to make water problems history in my house.
So back to the insanity. Recall that I have repeatedly said this should be a slow but huge mileage week only to go into speed sessions. Each time. Again and again. And yesterday I said I can toss my mileage in and comfort myself with the knowledge that I did a mileage equivalent to 100k.
So 6pm arrives and I decide, why not go for a 10K? These legs feel strong. Cant let that bad stomach that screwed me yesterday to get away with it now, can we? No we cant, my inner voice answers placidly.
I decided to go for a 10K. So I changed, stretched a little and left.
I decided I wanted to make myself uncomfortable today. Fast guys force themselves to go through uncomfortable training sessions and then they race easy.
Speed doesnt come to people. You cant raise your VO2 Max or Lactate Threshold without getting flooded with Lactic Acid and your body learning to wash away the lactic acid and deal with the oxygen debt and all sorts of problems you experience when you are moving fast. You slog in long slow miles, your fast twitch muscles remain inactive.

So I set off and as I did, I remembered when we used to play Basketball in high school, there were what we used to call suicide laps. I decided since I was going all out, I will be calling my ten Kays suicide 10Kays. The basic idea is to put my body in trouble and force it to learn to handle that trouble, that is to run in such a way that lactic acid is getting generated almost faster than it can be rid of.
So I was running hard, my teeth were out. I just wanted to get the mental toughness of being able to handle that discomfort. I gritted my teeth and clenched my jaws for 49 minutes and I am very pleased with my performance.
As much as it became dark when I was on the 6th frame, I managed to return sub 5min 1kays until I completed. This is excellent considering this is a hilly route (I decided to attack all hills. My heart rate be damned), considering I didnt have anything I can call fresh legs, considering it was dark and I had to slow down in several places to ensure I dont step in a hole or on a stone, consideriong some buggers blocked my path and I had to navigate round them etc.
So it is good. I believe under a different set of circumstances, I can do a 45mins 10K. I probably will on Tuesday when I try another suicide 12K. Tomorrow I rest and enjoy my baby, wife and visitors. I sympathize with the 12K on Monday. The ferocity burning in me, and having nothing to lose, means the 12K will be in trouble.
It is interesting to note that my average heart rate was 166. My current speed runs are kinda "safe" compared to 200M or 100m repeats I think that is why I have pulled this off without an injury. There is only that fast you can run 3k or 5k. Those are the intervals we are looking at.

Friday, October 7, 2011

10K 11K to go - what a run!

Had a busy day today so I went to run at 6pm. Speedophilia prevailed as you can see from the first 6K. Then my stomach decided I had to Go. It was so bad I had to start walking. I had passed Galleria meaning there would be no toilets within the next 4K. I ended up in the bush! Damn!
Anyways, 11K to go but I dont have to. I feel satisfied that I covered enough peaking mileage this week (89K is as good as any). I can start tapering next week with speed runs.
Man! today was horrible! Bad bad stomach!
The Luos say there is nobody as shameless as one under a bout of diarrhea!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

22K in 2:08 - 21K to go. Yes we can. Er, Yes I can

I hardly slept last night. That means I couldn't go out to run early. My legs weren't fresh as such since I didn't sleep and my left knee felt spindly.But I trust my quads to protect my knee.
Nonetheless, I set off at 10am and off I went. I warmed up then cranked up a little. The first 8K went like this: 6:02, 5:03, 5:15, 5:13, 5:14, 5:22, 5:27, 5:32 then the sun was literally baking me.That is 43:08 for the first 8k.
At any rate, I reckon that my target heart rate is 170-172.
The next 7 Kms returned 6:34, 7:07, 5:03, 6:05,5:07, 5:50, 4:58 which is 40:44
So at 15K I had done 83:53, which is, 1:23. Then it was simply so hot. It didn't make sense to continue being greedy. This week should be about distance, not speed.
At any rate, I plodded on and finished 22K in 2:08.
One major thing I learnt today is that this marathon business is not about your heart or lungs or mind: its all about your legs. If your legs aren't strong enough to ask for more oxygen, they wont get none and your heart rate will drop. So one must have fresh, fast legs.
I have 21K left to total 100K this week. No more speed for me until next week. Am tired as hell.
From next week, I taper for Stanchart.
Meanwhile, I digest what happened today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do I have the Mitochondria for the required LT?

Today I have taken a break. I was so delighted to know that today is Wednesday. I thought it is Thursday. This means I can rest today and I have two days to clear the remaining 43K. And I will have covered 100K in one week for the first time since I was born.
So I have been reading up on how to improve my performance and I came across Hadd's training method and I think I have sorta followed it because I have striven to run a lot (i.e. daily and therefore slowly) as much as possible even as I have regulated between hard/slow. I have sorta tried to do LSRs every Sunday for the last two or three months. And I have improved speedwise and I have avoided tarmac and my splintered shins have got better or healed. I successfully run three successive Kms in under 5 minutes two days ago. That means to me that maybe I have capacity waiting to be used. And that sub 5 mins 1K, ladies and gentlemen, is my HMarathon race pace.
So, is it too far-fetched for a guy who has been slogging 6:20min/Km runs to aim at sub 5min/Km?
Maybe. Maybe not. What I do know is that I have 2 and a half weeks to verify this so that I dont go and burn myself out at the marathon.
What does Hadd say?
Hadd says "the more mitochondria, the less lactate; the less lactate, the faster the racing pace and the more economical you are at any pace, meaning you can keep that pace up for longer."
I have tested myself to keep the pace for about 15minutes. And I succeeded. Now tomorrow, I want to test whether I can keep the pace for 30 or 35minutes. My legs will be fresher tomorrow. The plan is to warm up in the first 1K then adopt the race pace for the next six or seven KMs and see what happens.
I can't wait to see me either succeed or fall apart. If I succeed tomorrow, I will test whether I can keep the pace for an hour next. Then 1:20 should be the last test.
I think I have done quite a load of aerobic training to test myself this way. This is Sally Kipyego. I like her gait and cadence.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Easy 16K - 43Kms to go

I did an easy 16K today. It was made kinda hard by the blazing sun - I went at about 1pm. So I did sweat and got dehydrated. But it went well. I knew I was treading on very thin ice so I took it easy. Very easy. My legs don't feel very sturdy right now. Right now, this great-looking guy ensures I practically dont sleep night after night. Nobody said fatherhood entails sleepless nights.


Monday, October 3, 2011

15K - with Intervals - 59Kms to go out of 100K

I went for my run today at 2pm, when the sun was blazing. Amazing shit. I didn't mind because I was donning a cape and was well hydrated and was to go for a 14K easy run. So off I went. But after a K, I felt good so I decided to try a sub 5mins 1K. I succeeded and decided why not try another one? I did and succeeded. I developed a stitch after about 7K. That is why I decided to do 15K because I ran further to give the stitch time to ease away. After it did, I decided to dip under 5mins for the next 3K. I succeeded. But it wasn't easy. Then I did another sub 5mins at the 14th frame. I am so excited. I need a coach to tell me what this means!
It means that out of the 15K, I covered 7K in 33mins.
It also means my next challenge is to see whether I can sustain this speed for 4 continuous Kms. I have done it for three, one and two. Next I can test myself against 5, 6 and 7. And if I can do it for 7K, I believe I should be able to do it for 10K. 4:45 for 10K yields a 45mins 10K and a 55mins 12K. With good mileage, I should be able to do 21K in under 100mins!
This garmin is a real motivator! Better than a coach!
Here is a table of the breakdown:

Great going! Now I rest.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

26K - 100Km week challenge?

I decided to try a 26K today and managed it in 2:31. It was muddy because it rained last evening and because I set off at 9am, there were times when the sunlight did a number on me.
So there was the mud, the fact that this was supposed to be a LSR and the sun. But I gave it a shot. It turns out that doing a 5mins 5K wont be a walk in the park. But I gave it a shot at the 21 and 22nd K and managed and I can see my heart rate was just at 162. So its doable. The outcome is as per the table below. Interesting that my best time was at the 22nd K mark.
I am contemplating challenging myself to do 100k this week. Or will I be inviting injuries? Hmmmm....