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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dec 2013 - The stream is deep. But the swimmer is willing

Dec 1 - 26K Group race. Up at 5:20. Take Ponstan Forte to forestall any hip or psoas pains so that I can focus on running. Sikuku, GK, Jemmo, Yumbs, all don't show up. Lets not even get into the the-dog-ate-my-homework stories:

Oh well....Its just me and Mark. Which is perfectly fine. Of course we need to recruit some serious runners from Nairobi so that we can push each other and improve.  My diet plan didn't go very well on Sato so I had some stuff to clear from my bowels. My main objective was to improve on my PR on the route, which is 2:00:47. More desirable was to better the route record set by Mark of 1:57:xx.

We start at about 6:20am. Mark was setting the pace and doing an excellent job at it. I was much slower than I expected but it was not so bad since the first 5K was under 22K and we crossed 7K at about 30:32.
It rained the previous night. It was still drizzling slightly. It was wet and muddy all over.
The road was slippery and our times were slow but faster than last time. From the 3rd Km, tired of slipping and losing traction, I decided to challenge the vehicles for space. This is dangerous so you gotta do it while facing oncoming traffic. I was wearing luminous green so this high-visibility helped a lot and most of the drivers saw me and gave me spacewhile still far off. Those that didn't give way pushed me off the road and I jumped right back when they were gone. The traffic was kinda thin so it was doable.

Of course I had to deal with the air resistance. But I decided it was better than slipping.
My legs were fine, the speed was fine. Muthurwa was fine. Of course there were crowds of people and little space for running but that is what Muthurwa is. I knocked somebody at JIAM. I didn't look back. Most people I knock deserve it. They see me coming. They know I am moving faster than them. But they dont give way. I allow our shoulders to collide. Plain and simple. They want to test Newtons laws of motion? Who am I to stop them?

Those that don't see me come, I steer them out of the way with my hand. Many an old woman or absent-minded child has been steered to safety by these running hands. God and me are gonna have a conversation one day about what happened to that in case he decides to toss me to hell. Aaaanyways...

Its all smooth till the Uhuru highway crossing when I reach the road just when the lights have turned green for the cars and they come zooming with no care for this runner. I am forced to stop for some seconds to figure when to jump in and I somehow manage to cross the road with some risk. Damn.
I manage the upper hill ascent quite well (5:28 followed by a 4:44). At the stage approaching Kenyatta Hospital, two dudes alight from a mat while talking. I am running on the road, a matatu forces me into the pavement where they are walking and they are a few metres away. They can see me and I can see them, clear as daylight. We are on a collision course but they don't care, they keep walking toward me.
As I approach them, I look at them and spread my hands in a WTF-is-this-why-are-you-being-obtuse? gesture or ni-nini? in swahili. They ignore me and act like they don't see this coming projectile wearing high-visibility clothes and in human form. Their unreasonableness annoys me and I decide I won't give way either. You wanna know how it feels like to make contact with a runner? Huh? I will show you. I brace for impact. Muscles and bones at high speed meet flesh and bones at low speed. My left shoulder collides with the right shoulder of the guy on my side. I hit him pretty good and can feel the paralysis on his side as he staggers off. I hear his phone hitting the pavement as the impact loosens his nerves. I don't look back. My pace quickens. Adrenaline dump. Mark must have witnessed what unfolded as he was a few metres behind.  That adrenaline dump pushes me to the top of the hill and I miss the choice expletives that must have followed as he gathered the pieces of his phone off the pavement.

I follow the upper hill ascent with a 4:30, 3:59 and 4:11 for 13, 14 and 15 Kms. At this point I know I am in form and can break the CR. I slow down at 16K which I do in 4:35 to get my breath back then 17K in 4:28. Not good but not so bad. I Need to pace up. I try pushing harder and that is when I get a cramp on the right side of my stomach. Mark is right there about 80 metres behind. For someone with recent health challenges, he is doing extremely well. If he is 100%, he will be a beast.

Its not so bad but I slow down so that it can abate because I don't want to worsen it. Its a sharp pain. Like there is a pin stabbing my muscles. Painful as ef. The worst thing about it is that the pain pulsates with every step. Shorter steps, lesser pain. So I am forced to make short strides. I grimace and tough it out. It worsens but my resolve is stronger. No stopping. Mark is right there so he pushes me. I almost start walking at the 22nd Km but I decide not to. However painful, a cramp has never killed anyone, so I just grimace and pump my arms and legs. My teeth are out in pain in a snarl. I ignore the stares of pedestrians. At 22.5Km thereabout, it starts drizzling. I now don't see Mark.The back of my shoes and my calves are all covered in mud.
The rest of the race becomes a test of my ability to run through pain. But it slows me down considerably and I fall off pace and off target but I improve on my CPR (Course Personal record). My time is 1:58:37, average pace 4:34 min/km. First 13K in 58:37 and second 13K in 60minutes. Imagine that shit.

I decide I will give it another stab next week. I am curious about how it can be without the slipperiness and without a cramp. And with Mark being better.

Here are the splits.
Km Time
1    4:13.3
2    4:14.3
3    4:21.9
4    4:21.7
5    4:20.9
6    4:28.5
7    4:29.8
8    4:23.5
9    4:31.6____Muthurwa
10    4:28.9
11    5:28.2____Upper Hill
12    4:44.2
13    4:30.2 ______58:37
14    3:59.1
15    4:11.9
16    4:35.1
17    4:28.2
18    4:43.9
19    4:34.5
20    4:37.9
21    4:43.7______1:34:31
22    4:42.5
23    4:40.8
24    5:03.1
25    4:51.6
26    4:42.7 _____60:00 minutes.

Dec 2 - 20 pushups. Stretch hips, psoas, calves, quads, hammies plank 3:20.

Dec 3 - weight is good: 72.8Kgs. Clams, bridges. 40 leg raises. Side crunches. Stretch hips, psoas, calves, quads, hammies do a 4:42 muthafuckin plank! Bloody hell.
Quads, hip flexors, glutes and hips kinda ache and it appears I am not so fast as a result - still recovering from the 26K. So instead of 1000m X 12 or 2000m X 5, I decide to do 400m repeats so that I can hit desired speeds. So I do 400m X 15 (1:31.7, 1:30.8, 1:30.8, 1:39.3, 1:33.0, 1:32.1, 1:28.0, 1:35.9, 1:28.5, 1:33.2, 1:32.5, 1:31.9, 1:33.5, 1:33.4, 1:33.7) 

Dec 4 - 73Kgs. Clams, bridges. 60 leg raises. Side crunches. Stretch hips, psoas, calves, quads, hammies do a 2:30 plank.Walk home. Legs and mid-section painful.

Dec 5: Clams, bridges. 40 leg raises. Side crunches. Stretch hips, psoas, calves, quads, hammies do a 5:12 plank. Can you believe that shit?

I did a 5:12 plank today. Now if you don't find this unbelievable, I do.
Last month, while struggling with 3 mins planks and collapsing on the floor in exertion and trying to understand how come planks are so difficult to hold, I made a mental note to make it a goal after Christmas to work hard and be able to hold a plank for 5 minutes by March 2014. I will just add 5 seconds every day until I reach 5 minutes, I told myself.

But I gritted my teeth on Monday and decided to do a 4:30 or die. I did a 4:42. And collapsed on the floor, happy and pumped up.
Yesterday I was rubbish and could barely do a 2 mins plank. But its because I had done speed runs the previous day and I was in pain all over. Today I woke up having decided its 5 mins plank or I die.

Now, for this kind of feat (5 mins plank), you must be mentally prepared and mentally tough. So I prepared myself mentally by sipping water and imagining I am a cat of some sort. After preparing yourself and bracing your body for war...

You go down and stretch out and hit the stop-watch as you stretch out your lean body.

You ensure your elbows are comfortable. You ignore the mosquito biting your calf.
Don't look at the watch because if you do and you see 1:15 and you have 3:45 minutes to go and the 1:15 is already kicking your ass, then you are fucked there and then. And your body will be happy to collapse to the floor to try again another day. And you will comfort yourself with one excuse or another and move onto easier things, like say, pushups or situps.

So you don't look at the watch. Under no circumstances...

Just concentrate on breathing well and you can stare at how your groin is inching toward the floor and how it goes back up when you pull it up. And how hard it is to hold your body like that. But tell yourself 'I am doing it comfortably...my abs are strong...I have a strong comfortable back...I am ok...I am not tired...I can do this forever...'

When the veins in your neck and arms are popping, and your shoulders are burning and your back feels like an anvil has been placed on it, or someone is hanging on it and pulling it down to the floor and your breathing is now becoming labored, and your hip flexors are screaming 'ef you!'...

Then you can look at your watch.

I mean, glance at your watch. Just a glance. If its more than a glance, you will notice how long a second is and it will kill your morale.

1:50?

Okay, 3:10 to go.

You hold again and avoid looking at the watch. Grit your damn teeth if you must.

Are you approaching failure again? Ok.
Glance at the watch.
2:40?
We are past halfway. 20 seconds and 2 mins to go...

Hold again. Look down at your feet as you push your groin up.
About to collapse again?
Glance the watch.

3:30?
Okay, ninety seconds to go. No, dont moan in exasperation.

I will do this.
Glance the watch again.
3:50.
70 seconds I can handle. Your body is shaking.
Grrrr....
4:10
By this time, your face is contorted into a mask of exertion.
The beads of sweat are now coalescing into rivulets of sweat.
Your popped eyes are glued on the watch.
4:40...
Twenty seconds....
Your shoulders are masked in a bead of sweat and your chest is wet with sweat.
4:50
You are now visibly shaking. Every cell in your body is screaming.
5:00!
Grrrr....Brrrr... I did it! Why not add another ten seconds?
Your eyes are shut in effort mixed with pain. Your breath is labored.
When you can no longer keep your eyes closed, they pop open, as if seeking air and you look at the watch.
5:12.
Your body collapses to the floor and you are elated.
Well, folks, that's how you do a 5:12 plank.
Otherwise, forget it.

Dec 6 - 72Kgs. 30 side planks, 3:20 plank, 60 leg raises, 30 twisted crunches, clams, 30 single leg bridges, psoas, hip flexor, quads, calves, ankles, hammies, back and hip stretches, 20 pushups.

Dec 8 - 26K in 2 hours with Mark. Poor performance. Poor nutrition. My body wasnt 'feeling it'. Time to take a break. Lessons learnt. Merry XMas guys!
Cheers guys.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov 2013 - Every Day is a Chance to Move Closer to Your Dreams.

Goals: Get back to fitness. Get loose, flexible hips. Cut to 71Kgs. Put some miles in them legs.

1 Nov - 1:20 mins run in Kampala without garmin. My hips are really, really tight and painful. Kampala streets are really, really squeezed. No pavements in some places. You have to fight for space with pedestrians and the cars and the bikes. Not cool. Not cool at all.
I decide to focus on loosening these hips.

4 Nov - Up at 5. Do pushups, bridges and planks and stretch hips and adductors. No food or water  allowed in the office. Ef that man. That messes my diet plans. No water. Can you believe that? Evening do 14K (1:15) on the field. I have really added weight. I weigh 74Kgs. A whole 2Kgs more in a week! My hips still tight.

5 Nov - Up at 5. Do pushups (12+12), bridges and planks (2:30+1min) and stretch hips and adductors.. Evening - in pain - hips and adductors giving me hell. Do 18K (1:45). Take it easy. Just want to put in the miles and shed some kilos. Design our groups logo.

6 Nov  - Up at 5. Do pushups (14), bridges and planks(2:00+1min) and stretch hips and adductors.Hips better. Legs ache. Mark says MSK may be willing to be our sponsor. Evening 22K (1:58). Much better.
7 Nov - Do pushups (16), bridges and planks(2:10+1:10 min) and stretch hips and adductors. Much, much better. I am beginning to feel like a somebody now. Some aches here and there but much better. 54K for this week. High week coming ahead. Walked home. Dropped a Kilo.

8 Nov - Do pushups (18), bridges and planks(2:20+1:20 min) and stretch hips and adductors. Better.

Since people I can only describe as, how do I put this nicely?.. fuckers... banned drinks and food into our office, I have to make changes. It means I have to step out for lunch. It means I can't sip water at my desk. It means I can't eat every three or four hours. It means I have to step out for lunch. Rather than complain, I have to adapt. So some of the changes:

1. Start drinking water as soon as I wake up. By breakfast time, I should have downed a liter. Seek and monopolize the hot water flask in the office.

2. At lunchtime, saunter out, buy fruit salad of 50 bob and 1 liter of water.

3. Keep cutting down dinner and increasing vegetable intake.

4. Carboloading my ass.

5. Alright. I have had my fun for two weeks past Stanchart. Enough of the monkey games. No more cakes, soda, sugar, white rice, processed bread and groundnuts. Along with that goes BB. I have reunited with My Calorie Counter. I am giving away the nuts I bought last week.

9 Nov - 24K- start too fast and stretch my hip/thigh muscle. I am forced to walk at some point when the pain becomes unbearable. But I finish kinda weak. See a dead squirrel. Almost step on a huge rat. Fat rat.

10 Nov -  start slowly and end up mixing it up and even enjoy the run. The 1Km on, 1Km off is interesting but I am too tired. Feels good to run without limping or wincing. Hips better. 24K

11 Nov - Hips and psoas doing much better. I can lift my left leg while wearing pants. Stretch back and hips. Do bridges and some situps. planks(2:30+1:30 min). My weight is actually bad. Bad bad. I am sabotaging myself. I make the decision to cut off cakes, soda, sugar, processed bread and groundnuts. COMPLETELY. No excuses. Its time to see and get results. Mealtime is just a few minutes so its about staying the course for a few minutes. If hungry, freaking drink water, gaddemit! Zero sugar day 1.
Evening 22K(1:48). I am much stronger and faster. First time speed is coming while in the trenches.

12 Nov -  planks(2:40+1:40 min), Side planks, bridges, clams. Stretch back, psoas and hip flexors. Zero sugar day 2. There is a niggle in my right knee. 18K. No legs completely.

13 Nov - planks(2:50+1:50 min), Side planks, bridges, clams. Stretch back, psoas and hip flexors. Zero sugar day 3. 16K in the morning. Legs not so bad. Travel to Arusha. Time to cut back the mileage and start piling intensity and speed. This is 104K already for the week. Kesho I rest then Friday we start speed and intensity.

14 Nov -  planks(3+2 min), Side planks, bridges, clams. Stretch back, psoas and hip flexors. Zero sugar day 4.

15 Nov - 26K in 2:12 in Arusha.Second toughest terrain I have ever run in but beautiful course. Nice pavements and not too crazy drivers. This wraps up this week at 130K.

16 Nov -  planks(3:15+2:15 min) Side planks, bridges, clams. Stretch back, psoas and hip flexors. Zero sugar day 4. Allowed myself two croissants though. And some dumbass juice.

18th-22th Nov I travelled to shaggs to complete building my mum a house. It was also a tapering week of some sorts. I ran on 17th and on 20th. Excercise regimen is in disarray but its time to lay back a little. Especially on the legs.


22nd. Travel back to Nai. Go out on 23rd night. Go back home at 5am. Do a 21K at about 9:45am - weather is good, fortunately. Legs shot. Time to get back to a sane life.

These legs deserve some more respectable speed.

26th - Staying loose, psoas stretches, hip flexor stretches, back, plank (3:32), leg raises, bridges, clam shells. Speed runs 4 x 1000m (3:54, 3:43, 3:41, 4:00) floats 12K total. Raw speed has gone down kinda.

27th - Side planks, clams, bridges, hip flexor and psoas stretches. Leg raises.

28th - Plank (4:12 - woohooo!), clams, bridges, hip flexor and psoas stretches. Leg raises.

 29th - Plank (4:32 - Ah tell ya!), clams, bridges, hip flexor stretches, situps and psoas stretches. Leg raises.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2014

5Km - 18:21

10Km - 38:07

1/2 Mar - 1:24:58

68Kgs


Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013 Stanchart Marathon Report

I had big dreams for this year's Stanchart Marathon. I had trained hard for it.
I had made sacrifices, taken some risks. Several risks, especially skiving work, and made adjustments in my diet that saw me shed 10Kgs.
So I had some great expectations.
I had changed my training and basically borrowed ideas from Mark's training. I mainly increased both the distance and intensity of my long runs and killed doubles and reduced speed runs.
Having Mark as a training partner to compare notes with and motivate myself helped a great deal and helped me through the low moments when I felt like slacking or giving up or just becoming one with the masses. That helped a lot. Thanks Mark. Running, distance running in particular, is a very solitary sport and every other day, one is confronted with the question, Why am I doing this again? And one will always want to quit. Or take an undeserved or unscheduled rest. But one needs eternal vigilance in order not to quit. A running partner can help in this. The reason I will not quit is because in running I have found myself. I have found strength. I have discovered who I am made of and it has enriched my life beyond my expectations. It has made me so strong and increased my self esteem and confidence and my happiness index has soared because of running so no way, no how, I am gonna hang my boots.

Besides runs where I have totally bombed to the extent of almost not being able to make it home by myself, I have dealt with injuries this year bro. Wa! Calf injuries (early in the year), shin splints (to a lesser degree - thanks to heel-toe walks), psoas injuries gave me total hell, my adductors literally killed me and made me pee in pain and cry like a baby. Well, almost. Then my hip flexor injuries made me feel like I was cut in half at the waist and I could feel like any moment, this body of flesh and bones could collapse into a senseless un-coordinated hip anytime and then early this week, a hamstring injury which I managed with RICE and painkillers - taking Ponstan Forte even became as common as taking lunch. We were on the brink of becoming junkies!

We even started peddling it: I told Mark about it - Mark had a psoas injury. Mark gave it to Jemmo (hip flexor injury) and Ochibo (twisted ankle) so it was passing around like cocaine.
Man, this sport!
So its been a tough year. I ran through the injuries. Several times, I alighted from a motorbike walking like a bugger with a grenade up his ass. Many times, I limped in the office - careful not to attract attention - and there is plenty of attention lying idle waiting to be attracted in the office. Often times, I alighted from the car and had to start by walking slowly lest I stretch something already stretched.

Let me not bore you with that. Lets get to the race, shall we?

Okey dokey.

One thing I have learnt this year is that carbo loading is crap. I don't know where people get that idea from.

Okay, lets get to the race.

I was up at 5:30am. Black coffee and two slices of white bread. Three cups of coffee. Took plenty of water when I started entertaining the fear that coffee may be a diuretic.

I left my car @ Boruras place and we walked to the venue. No signs of Ogutu, Mark or Abo. We took some photos with Borura then I left my stuff @ left Luggage area - most disorganized fellows ever!

So anyway, I pee and head to the startline.

Then I leave the startline and pee again in the Portaloos and I see Mark going to the start like and I shout three times calling him. He doesn't hear. I don't get to a good position. I get to see Ogutu and wish each other luck just before the gun goes off and we are off!

The start is crowded. Very crowded. So its all about elbowing for space, ignoring the irritated looks of strangers and rushing to every open space.
The first Km is very slow: 4:26. But I am not too worried. I feel great.
Okay. So whats the gameplan?
Game plan is to first mentally divide race into three segments.
Each 7K should be done in under 30mins coz we are aiming at sub 1:30.
I find the yoyo guy who kicked my butt in Ndakaini at the end of the 1st K and give him a thumbs up. He acknowledges. He has a lean guy jumping up and down next to him. This lean guy seems to be using him as a rabbit. I watch that leaping style of running and I note that this guy cant go far coz that style is simply unsustainable. Too much wasted energy.
I settle in next to him and we go for another 800m.
My presence seems to challenge him. He paces up. I glance at my garmin. I am within pace so I let him go. I stick about 50mins behind him.
Its on!
I look around. I cant see Mark, Ogutu, Borura, Abo, etc. There is plenty of energy around and in all shapes, sizes, genders and presentations. Some Gor Mahia junkies behind us are singing praise songs for Gor. I pass some lean lady. Several ladies. Several guys. Lean ones, fat ones. Some also pass me. The air is crisp. The weather is perfect. Perfect.
Now, I am also well hydrated. Well, rested and I have energy and I have trained and I have dressed well, I have got shoes to die for, my garmin is working like a state-of-the art garmin and I have room and the tarmacs grip is glorious. And I have settled into some decent pace. So all I have to do is stick to my target pace, dont fall asleep and dont do anything crazy either. Just go by feel and maintain the required speed. If by 16K you still feel strong, hammer the sucker!
The first 7K I am well under 30 mins so I am cool.
At about 8K, I see Mark ahead. This guy must have started fast! I ask him if he is ok and he says he is not doing too well and he tells me to roll on. I pass him and the yoyo guy at University way. Now my focus is on doing 14K in sub 1 hour.
The museum hill hill is challenging as expected but I recover and manage the 14K in under 60 mins.
Now I need to focus on the last 7k. I am impressed on forest road at how the local Indian community have come out to support the marathon.
The yoyo guy and some guy with a No pain No Gain TShirt pass me at the 16th Km. I keep them 50m ahead.
After Uhuru park, its kinda hilly but I give my very best and I push as hard as I can to keep up and to meet my target. I give everything I have. My garmin registers 21K just before we enter the stadium and I complete in 1:30:02. So I miss my target by about three seconds. I know Stanchart will probably give me a 1:32 but I am ok with that. Average pace, 4:17 min/Km.
I will take it coz this is a PR. The distance the organizers use is probably 21.4 from what it seems. We shall see. Here are my Splits:



1          4:26.9
2          4:04.3
3          4:07.4
4          4:09.8
5          4:15.3
6          4:17.0
7          4:01.8______29:22
8          4:09.8
9          4:12.8
10        4:34.6_______42:19
11        4:06.0
12        4:17.0
13        4:44.1
14        4:11.8_______59:38
15        4:17.2
16        4:19.2
17        4:27.6
18        4:20.3_______1:17:02
19        4:15.3
20        4:16.6
21        4:24.6


At any rate, I am happy with my performance. I had no stitch, no injury, no fall or anything that stopped me from giving 100%. I didn't hold back and so I don't have any "what ifs" and I am glad that I have finally reached 90mins. Now I have to go below it. That is next years goal when I will be targeting 1:25. My average pace in 2012 Stanchart was 4:39 (time was 1:37:49). This year its 4:17, an improvement of 22 seconds. I am aiming at 3:58 next year, an improvement of 19 seconds.

Onwards to 2014 Fellas! Keep rolling!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lessons Learnt in 2013

I did my last long run yesterday -  a 10K with strides. Now I wait and get fresh legs. Stanchart is two days away. We will see how that goes. But Stanchart results don't matter so much. I know where I am and I am already setting goals for for 2014. For 2014 I will be aiming for a 1:25 Half, Sub 1:35 Ndakaini and Sub 3hours Full .

LESSONS LEARNT

1. Be Consistent - Not more than five days should pass without going for a run. Don't think too much. Just go and run. Thats it. It doesnt have to be a perfect run. Remember, NOBODY ever regretted going for a run. Ever.

2. Keep weight Sub 70Kgs. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water. Reduce or cut out red meat. Watch what you eat. It matters. BE CONSISTENT with your diet too. There is no season for gluttony. Stay the course or pay the price.
3. Do more long runs. Use singles for trenches.
4. When outside the trenches, keep it intense. Keep the long runs intense.
5. Do more sprints for strength and speed and 3X1000 repeats for speed.
6. Have fun with the runs. Take risks. Go hard and let the chips fall where they will.

7. Stick to hilly or rolling routes where possible.
8. Invest in shoes and other gear. Be nice to yourself. Stay warm. Stay comfortable.
9. Keep positive and keep positive people around. Every step is a victory.
10. Take care of core strength and flexibility. Learn from every injury and take corrective action. Strengthen and improve technique and form as the case may be. Think. Don't stumble around the running experience. Learn.
11. Have more group runs - one every two months at least. Don't sweat their planning. Just do them. Go with one guy or ten guys. Doesn't matter.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Last Three weeks to Stanchart

It has been a busy three weeks! And buggers in the office behave as if I am the only person doing brain surgery and when I am on leave, everyone claims they are incompetent to handle my assignments! Damn annoying!
Last week in the trenches - Sep 29-Oct 5: 95Kms
26K in 2:00:46 - Group run with Mark and GK. I was sluggish already.
22k
22k
22k
25k Too sluggish. Decide to get out of the trenches pronto. I dont care. I need my legs back.
Total: 95Kms.
Week 1 outside the trenches 6th-13th Oct
I then traveled to shaggs with Mark to put up a house for my mum. We went for a 12K around Lake Simbi
12K in 58 mins - still no legs.
21K in 1:42 legs 80% back. Mark has a respiratory problem. We found a nice route with rolling hills from Osika to Kadel.
21K in 1:36 My legs are back. Time to step on the pedal. Invited Ochibo. He bombed after 8K. Asked Ochibo to invite all comers and there is a reward of 2K for anyone who can hang with us.
Week 2 Outside the trenches: 14-19th Oct
21k in 1:33:31.  Ochibo comes with Daddy, Drogba and Kelvin. Daddy does a good job with Ochibo. They bomb after 16K. But they do a helluva good run for newcomers! Drogba and Kelvin are destroyed with the blistering pace by 4K. Ochibo and Daddy survive up to 15K. Then they collapse. Man, it was a bloodbath. 21 in 1:34:36. Mark is recovering well.


Drogba and Daddy wondering WTF happened?

Stanchart week - 20th -27th

Monday 25k in 1:52:57 with 21K in 1:33:18. With Daddy and Ochibo. Ochibo steps on a stone and twists his ankle. Daddy does very, very well and completes just behind me with Mark. I really pushed hard. Used surges from 12K to try and shake off daddy. I finally did after 22K but man! Great dude!
I have a Hamstring injury though I ran with it. I hope I can handle it well so that it doesn't become a showstopper for Stanchart. I will use RICE.
Surprisingly, my weight is alright at 72K even though I misbehaved in shaggs!


Kelvin and Ochibo - and baby Hawi! Kelvin said later that what he saw on that day, he will never go to run with us again. He thought of removing his shoes at some point, when the going got tough and his legs were heavy as lead.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Out of the trenches - Shaggs!

I traveled to shaggs to build my mum a house. I ran round lake Simbi with Mark on Tuesday. My legs weren't back and we completed a 12K. Then we did a 21K to Adiedo which we completed in 1:42 and on Friday we invited Ochibo and ran with him and completed 21K in 1:36. Ochibo faded after 8K. For someone who doesn't run, he did very well  but he paid for underrating us town folks and we earned his respect. Mark is battling with a chest infection that messes up his breathing. Tough dude. I want to really push hard next week. Really hard. My weight is not bad. Not good but not bad either. My legs are back and its time to push freakin hard. I want to hit some sub 4:20s.

Next week we push hard one last time. The Osika Adiedo route has rolling hills and tarmac so its just the perfect route for Stanchart Prep.

Osika_Adiedo_Route


Distance:        21Kms
Time:         1:36:23
Avg Pace:     4:35 min/km
Elevation Gain:     112 m
Elevation Loss:     109 m
Min Elevation:     1,145 m
Max Elevation:     1,208 m

Splits:

1    4:20.5        
2    4:29.8        
3    4:29.3        
4    4:32.4        
5    4:36.4        
6    4:31.5        
7    4:29.1        
8    4:48.0        
9    4:55.3        
10    4:52.0        
11    4:50.5        
12    4:43.5        
13    4:31.9        
14    4:28.2        
15    4:48.9        
16    4:34.1        
17    4:29.9        
18    4:34.4        
19    4:29.2        
20    4:24.2        
21    4:21.0        

Friday, September 27, 2013

In Da Freakin Trenches, week 1

I have a 26K group run on Sunday organized by Mark. So I need to be ready for it. Ndakaini took me about nine days to recover. At any rate, I did 22+22+22 On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and today, in Bulogobi, Kampala, today I went for speed runs and maxed at 2:11min/Km pace which is 27.48Km/Hr. This is the fastest speed I have covered so far. I am happy about the improvement. No paved roads here so I did every thing on tarmac. I was careful and it went well though the fastest pace came in the last stride. Thats something to note going forward. I covered a total of 12K making this week 78K total for the week. Not bad considering the busy schedule. I have decided to mix it up with this race on Sunday and see how it goes.
Now I rest tomorrow.
I last did 3:30,3:30 and 3:40 planks on Tuesday. I haven't done planks since. I will resume the trenchwork next week. But the race is part of the trenchwork.

Keep rolling.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Preparing for last Haul

My legs were rubbish on Friday and Sto so I decided to rest the whole weekend. This week, I start training for Stanchart. We were attacked by terrorists over the weekend and WestGate shopping center is still under siege. 69 dead, more than 150 injured. Holy crap (no pun intended).
I started this morning with 3:10, 3:10, 3:30 planks.
Keep rolling fellows!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Recovering...Planking...

My adductors have been giving me grief. Serious grief. On wednesday, I could not go beyond 400m and had to walk home dejected. I took some painkillers and was thinking I could be on the verge of a long layoff.
But yesterday, I managed a 16k. So I guess the adductor problem wont put me down.
From my energy levels, one would think I am coming back after a three week layoff so I think this is recovery mode.
I did planks 3:01, 3:00, 3:20 today. I am targeting 4mins by mid October.

Keep rolling fellas!

Monday, September 16, 2013

14 Lessons from 2013 Ndakaini


There is no failure. There is only the next race. Now that Ndakaini 2013 is in the rear-view mirror. A few lessons I learnt. Lest we forget.

1. Train hard for Ndakaini. Make the hilly route your friend. The more hills, the better. The steeper, the better.
2. Endurance. Be comfortable with 23Km plus runs to ensure your endurance is locked. Have a couple of 70K per week runs under your belt in the weeks leading to Ndakaini for strong legs. You will need all the endurance you have in order to make use of the last 4Km. In addition, practice and train to finish strong.
3. Speed. Do speed runs. Especially learn how to run fast downhill. They will help you capitalize on the first 4k, the 11th Km and the last 4K which have some downhills. Train to surge in the middle of your runs.
4. Have a strategy for the race, especially the hills. Both Uphill and downhill.
5. Master the course and have it locked in your mind. This will keep you mentally prepared. Every hill that was presented before me was presented when I expected it so I was ready for it.

Profile of Ndakaini Half Marathon
6. During the race, find a rabbit after 5K then chase it/her down. A rabbit will keep you motivated and focused. The 5K is a good filter for separating jokers from runners and for grouping runners to their abilities. If they are ahead of you, their fitness level is not very far from yours. If it is, they will leave you behind in a short while.
7. Arrive at the start point early. Seek to be at the venue by 7:30am. Being late can make you end up having to walk 4Kms to the start line.
8. Have a strong core. It will help you hold it together when the hills and downhills swarm you and test your legs and arms.
9. Be ready for any weather. Its normally cool or cold but the sun can decide to come out and bake you. Be ready to use water sponges and sip water and pour it on yourself.
10. Come well-hydrated. You can't rely on the organizers to hydrate you perfectly. Then use the hydration offered by the organizers to rehydrate.
11. Come well fueled and ready to refuel - have food you like waiting for you at the end of the race. It is like a rewarding arrangement after the hard work.
12. Share the experience and come with running partners. It adds an adventurous dimension to the experience.
13. Have fun. Slog the downhills, enjoy the barefooted little kids giggling at you or collecting sponges and scrambling for empty water bottles. Enjoy seeing the villagers in khamisis and funny skirts and shoes. Enjoy the fresh air. And the hills.
14. Come ready to give 100% because this opportunity wont be available for the next 12 months. Then give 100%. You want to walk away knowing you gave all you had. You dont want to ask yourself "What if I gave 100%? What would have happened?" To get my meaning, look a this video from 18:50 to 19:36.

Keep rolling.
Cheers



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ndakaini 2013 Race Report

Tomorrow I wont be running so, as my friend Rob would say, lets blog this sucker.

I didn't sleep much last night. But this is normal and does not affect performance so I just lingered in the wakeful dreamworld waiting for the God of sleep to lull me to sleep. He took his time but eventually got to work.
I fell asleep (real sleep) at about 3am and woke up at 5:17 am. I had set the alarm to wake me up at 5:25 am but I am glad I woke up at 5:17 am. Two and a half cups of Uji and three slices of bread and some water and that was it. Nothing too crazy.
I had got my running crew some bananas, oranges, Yogurt (vanilla), sodas, fruit buns, 1 litre sparkling Dasani, some bread and scones. Fuel and hydration after the Ndakaini run.
I steered clear from my weighing scale because I have been in Naivasha the whole week eating five star hotel food and I suspected myself of having misbehaved so I didn't want to go to the race having confirmed to myself that I had added weight.
Finally beginning to look like a runner, not a (kick)boxer

All my guys confirmed they would be coming and so I knew it would be fun. Mark, Jemmo and myself were nursing various injuries. With mine being the least painful. Some groin crap. Damn annoying. But I digress... I also needed to go attend a funeral of my wife's auntie and so on but first, the run. We got to meet Kay, Abo's beautiful wife, who told us to make sure Abo clinches the 2500/= and we promised we would and accepted her well wishes.
After everyone had settled in the car, with Mark sharing some Ponstan Forte with Jemmo, the question arose: Where in the hell is Ogutu?
The men in the car dialled his line and waited. Mteja, mteja, mteja. Had he been kidnapped? I realized that I didn't have his wifes number. How come? Yu Line? Mteja. Orange Line? Mteja. Safcom? mtejarest.
Sheeeit! I smsd him that we were leaving. Time? 6:40am.
Imagine that. 6:40am and the guy is mteja?!! He had some excuse later. Sijui he slept at three, Oooh, this, ooh that. Bla bla bla. The usual stuff. He should have read this poster:
Ogutu lost that race. A tragedy. Again.

So, Thika road was smooth as velcro. While swapping stories, we flew and found ourselves there at about 7:50am. Changed. Toilet thingy. Sipped some water and warmed up.
Mark, Abo and Jemmo proceeded to the start while I insisted my bowels had to be empty. Not taking no damn chances.
And I did exactly that.
Then I warmed up by jogging to the beginning, almost a kilometre away. I stood at the front with the freaking leaders and eyeballed some askaris with sticks hollering at us to step back and we stood there and stared at him. After some senseless delay, with the sun coming up and baking us, some shoving, a false start, more shouting and shoving, the gun went off and we were off.
I started my garmin after all the strangers had stopped clutching at my arms to steady themselves and to push open paths for themselves. Okey dokey. Lets hammer this sucker.

Mark was good enough to spot me before the gun went off and had tried spotting GK without success. After running for about a kilometer, I looked around and did not see Mark but I felt confident I would see him at some point. I hope the painkillers work for him, I noted.

So I settled into a fast pace. I knew the first 4K would be fast so I wasn't worried when my times were fast. I even thought I could break my 5K PB at some point. Of course the hill at 4K crushed that fantasy but I still insist it can be a reality next year.

I passed the old man who always wears black and has some funny shuffling running style. As if he is undecided or running on hot coals. And then there was this guy with muscular legs who ran with his arms scattered at his sides, like a chicken trying to fly. We ran for a while before I dropped him at around the 6K mark. I kept looking back. No sign of Mark. Maybe he was up ahead. I need to work harder! I kept my head down and hammered the sucker.

My strategy for the hills was simple: hammer them. If they hammer back, as in, if they get steep, stop hammering and use short quick steps until they come to an end. And the downhills? Accelerate down them suckers bro. You are strong enough to recover. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I rolled.

Compared to 2012, I was faster in all splits except for the 4th, 8th Km and the 18th Km.

At about 8K, a mzungu lady with a guy passed me. This is new, I thought. They had some nice, sober, non-threatening pace you see with seasoned runners. Good form though the guy seemed to be hunching his shoulders. And playing mother hen to the mzungu. They chatted on and off. Showing the rest of us mortals that they were just on a casual stroll. Maybe they were talking about why Putin didn't want Obama touching Syria or why a man should get married at the age of 42 and not 25. I tried to hang on with them but they opened a gap. Buggers. I kept them within 80 metres range and just ran behind them. Watching them like a hawk. I couldn't quite close the gap at first. Try as I did.

Wait, even before the mzungu, some guy with shaggy hair who I had seen at the start passed me at about 6k. I had no respect for him and thought he was some Yoyo fellow. Yes, you should not judge a book by its cover unless you dont mind ending up with the egg on your face. For the un-initiated, a yoyo fellow is basically a hip hop junkie who goes around saying yo, yo in greeting to every Tom Dick and Harry. Typically, a yo yo fellow is lazy, lame, weak and half assed as in sagging their pants to cut their asses in half.  I made a mental note to pass him later coz the speed he passed me with was off my pace. I never saw him till the race was over. In fact, within 400 metres of passing me, he was gone. Back to him later. Sonofa beech!

At the 11th Km, there was an extended downhill and I decided to let my shins go to hell. I passed the mzungu and her compatriot and at the flat section at the bottom of the hill, I even opened a gap. Who is the chicken now bro? Do Sumn'! When I looked back at them on an uphill, I saw Mark. Good, he was alright after all. I clocked the fastest time at that split: 3:44.

In a short while, the mzungu came back and passed me. Her and her running partner. Yes they did. Crowds cheered and giggled every time they saw her and she took it in stride. They were cheering her for kicking our butts - all the gasping and grunting niggers struggling behind her as she strode gracefully in black shorts and golden red hair. Poetry in motion and shit. But I was gonna pass them, poetry in motion or no poetry in motion. Let me shift gears...

I caught up with them after about two minutes and I told them I love their pace. The guy with her told me I ran too fast downhill, as if to explain why they were now passing me. Were they passing me? Yes. And they did pass me.
I hung back and kept them within eyesight. Who the hell was the guy to tell me whats too fast for me? Does he know my training? I was confident of passing them.

I did not.

At the 15.5K first killer hill, I lost sight of them. And that was that.
After the 16K hill, I accelerated towards the finish and my finish was strong. But I never saw the mzungu again until after the race was done. Anyways, didn't I say that was that?

She was interviewed by Wahiga Mwaura of Citizen and she looked very happy during the interview. She ran well. We agreed with Mark that she did well and she is one person to (attempt to) beat next year, if she will be there. She cleared about 1:38-1:40. I think. We cleared in 1:42. She acknowledged my compliments and waved when she saw us.
Next year, we are targeting Sub 1:35. You casual strollers with wazungu companions better take note.

After the race, while standing at the sidelines watching guys finish as I waited to see if Abo would clear in Sub 2:25 to collect the cash Kay talked about, the guy with shaggy hair approached me and told me we have met at Public service and he is a squash coach. I vaguely remembered. Oh yeah.
Squash coach? I asked him, feeling dizzy. I put my hand out and sat on the nearest hard object before a catastrophy could unfold.
You started very fast, he told me. Yeah, I said. Duh.
I told him I needed to sit down coz I was feeling dizzy. And I did. He appeared amused by my dizzy state. He should have. If I was him, I would be amused at seeing this grown-ass man dealing with dizziness like a punk.

So I asked him about his training and he said he goes here and there in his coaching and runs the 15K Parklands Marathon once every two months and he runs during weekends and he said he sees me at public service and likes my pace. Here and there? I repeated. And he also spoke about the Mr. Chicken run guy and his powerful legs and how he liked the entertainment caused by Mr Chicken's running style.
You finished in what time? I asked him.
1:35 he said. 1:35? Wow. I said.
I told him I did in 1:42. I sized him up. No garmin, no watch, no nothing, just a body suit and some cheesy shorts.
1:35, huh? Off some scattered, undefined training just like that? Amazing shit. How does this kind of stuff happen? There is something he is not telling me.
Anyway, he is a cool and solid guy. No yoyo crap. He just has that cheesy hairstyle. That's a guy to watch and chase after in Stanchart. He said he will be there.
So him and the mzungu lady were inspiring figures today. They challenged and inspired me. And kicked my butt. Royally.
Back to me. I ran well. Despite the sun, I used the wet sponges well and sipped water at every opportunity and poured the rest on my body. So the sun was not a factor in my performance as far as I am concerned. This is just where I am at, fitnesswise.
We took some photos after the run: GK is in the middle, mark in the cap and Jemmo on the extreme right. The guy in a white TShirt is a guy we rescued from a dizzy spell. We gave him food and somewhere to lie and he eventually had enough energy to stand and take a photo with us.

My shorts chafed my thighs but it was not such a big problem but thats something I need to figure out.
I absolutely gave my very best. And I was glad when I was dizzy after the run because it meant to me that I had cleaned my clock. And that is all every serious runner needs to do in a race: leave everything on the road. I cleared in 1:42:12 and Mark also finished shortly thereafter. We tried to go Sub 1:40 but we got what we got. I will take it. Thank you very much.

My weight is not bad, I am around 73Kgs so we are cool. Let me rest tomorrow and plan for Stanchart now. I rushed home, changed and rushed back to town to carch a shuttle to Kisumu. I got one by 3pm but my sweetheart felt it was too late plus, they wanted to leave for Nairobi at dawn tomorrow so really, it was pointless for me to travel that late. The upshot of it is that I missed the funeral and my wife is mad at me. She should see this guy:

Below is a comparison between my 2012 and 2013 run. I would say the improvement is huge and I am glad for that.
Km  2012       2013
1    04:36.7    04:00.7
2    04:23.3    03:54.1
3    04:12.3    03:58.5
4    04:23.4    04:31.3
5    06:07.8    05:33.8
6    05:28.9    05:08.2
7    05:10.7    04:45.3
8    05:06.1    05:14.9
9    04:32.5    04:12.8
10    06:45.0    05:55.6
11    04:20.8    03:44.0
12    06:06.4    05:33.6
13    05:27.2    04:58.8
14    05:03.7    04:48.9
15    05:02.1    04:50.5
16    06:35.1    05:57.3
17    07:08.8    06:40.6
18    04:07.5    04:11.2
19    05:03.3    04:52.1
20    04:42.1    04:32.8
21    05:15.6    04:39.0
Time 1:49:45  1:42:12 
Avg pace    5:13min/km 4:52min/km


Friday, September 6, 2013

Group course record broken 1:52:12

I was up early. Stretched and warmed up. Focused on breaking the group run record. I let the pace go by my feel for the first few Kms and I loosened up as I progressed but something in my stomach, pelvis-area, kept bothering me and ultimately held back from giving 100%. I could have been faster but I was afraid of blowing up or making whatever that thing was - I suspected a cramp. I was strong and the hills went well. I did not break the putative record of 1:50 but I am glad I broke the actual record with my 1:52:12. Now I can break that after Ndakaini.

Here are the splits
Marks splits my splits
1     4'41"/km4:44
2     4'34"/km4:29
3     4'11"/km4:13
4     4'03"/km4:07
5     4'24"/km4:20
6     4'25"/km4:24
7     4'21"/km4:23
8     4'26"/km4:26
9     4'27"/km4:37
10     4'32"/km4:35 - city
11     4'33"/km4:28
12     4'46"/km4:42-Muthurwa
13     4'40"/km4:34---58:08
14     4'55"/km5:10-upperhill
15     5'20"/km5:19-city mort
16     4'41"/km4:42
17     4'24"/km4:26
18     4'10"/km4:29
19     4'53"/km5:03
20     4'36"/km4:50
21     5'00"/km5:09----1:37:20
22     7'01"/km5:26
23     5'13"/km5:07
24     4'18"/km4:16      

Keep Rolling!



























































3min planks X 3 - 71.5Kgs

I finally broke 3min planks X 3. Weight is 71.5Kgs. 1.5Kgs to go. I will attack them from tomorrow.
Keep rolling fellas.
Cheers

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PRs set! 5K (21:01), 7K in 29:27, 10K in 42:14 and 14K in 59:32

Yesterday I was supposed to do 3k X 5 aiming at doing the 3ks in 12 mins thereabout. When I did the first 1k in 4:13, I decided it was too slow for a 3k repeat. So I decided, why not hold the pace and try to break the 30mins barrier for 7k? I reached 4k and decided, why not see if u can go under 22mins for 5k. I think I did. Ok, now hold it there for another 2 kays. I broke the 30mins for 7k. Ok, why not try and break 43mins for 10k? Its just another 3k. I hang on and hammered the next 3k in sub 4:16 paces. Ok tough guy, why not hammer the next 4k and crush the 1hour barrier for 14k? Don't be a pussy. Just grit your teeth and bust your guts. I did some three 4:20s and a last 4:15. The time was about 59:32. And that, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, is how I have crushed the 1hr barrier for 14k. I celebrated with one liter of sparkling water and an orange.

Maybe I could try a sub 1:13 17k next week. Here are the splits:

1



4:13.6


2



4:13.5


3



4:09.0


4



4:11.2


5



4:13.9


6



4:13.5


7



4:12.5


8



4:11.0


9



4:16.2


10



4:20.4


11



4:20.6


12



4:20.4


13



4:21.6


14



4:15.0

















Avg. Pace 4:15 Total Time (14K) : 59:32

PRs set:

5K in 21:01
7K in 29:27
9K in 37:58
10K in 42:14


I think for me to run well, my weight needs to be under 73Kgs. That is what I have come to conclude from all this. Now that I am below it, I am hanging onto it like dear life. The sub 1:20 half seems very achievable with sub 70Kgs weight, which is where I am headed. Now I am aiming at doing a sub 20 mins 5K and a sub 1:30 21K before Stanchart.
1:5kgs to go. Lets Keep rollin!