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


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.

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.

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:





























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!

Rolling on...

3min, 3 min, 2:25
Speed runs scheduled for evening. Gotta maximize on weight loss today and tomorrow.