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Monday, March 31, 2014

Now Show Me

31 Mar - 22K in 1:38:50 Avg pace 4:29 Avg speed 13.4Km/hr
1 Apr - Egerton Uni. Its cold as ef. I cant move. I abandon workout after a 7k in 33mins.
4 Apr - Egerton Uni. 22K in 1:39:50 4:32 avg. Pretty evenly paced run but there is a problem. I don't know what it is. Yesterday I took water for dinner, I didn't feel weak during the workout. I wore socks for gloves so I was warm. I can see that its 2250 feet here while Nairobi its 1720 feet but that looks negligible. I don't feel fluid. I don't know whether I OTd or whether its just a slow recovery process from the huge mileage...Or maybe I am just impatient. I am puzzled. I think I dug myself into a hole. How long before I get out?
6 Apr - 30K in 2:22 avg speed 4:44min/Km  12.7Km/hr. Moderate speed. Strong. Controlled.
8 Apr - 22k in 1:37:05 avg 4:25 min/Km 13.6 Km/hr  
10 Apr - 22K in 1:36:34 avg 4:23 min/Km 13.7Km/hr. 
13 Apr - go for 32K with Mark and die after 16K. I stop the clock at 29K at 2:18
15 Apr 21k. Time taken: 1:29:57 (PR) Avg pace 4:17 min/km Avg speed 14 km/hr

Very pleased with the PR. Several things happened. I posted in seeking advice on how to go sub 1:30 and I shared my recent times. Someone suggested that based on my times, maybe I just need to race harder. So I went and raced hard. Borura helped to push me to 14K. The sun also wasn't that hot yesterday. I decided to go hard and try and maintain the pace. I really pushed in the last 400m. Wa!  Now I seek a repeat and particularly a repeat on the roads.
17th - 13K with 5k in 19:55 a PR my first sub 20mins 5k. This I have sought for six years. I am very pleased.
The splits:

20th - 32K easy
22nd - Kigali evening 12k easy
23rd AM - Kigali 15k with 1km x 5. 4:02, 3:57, 3:56, 3:56, 4:00. PM 10k
24th AM 12K with short sprints. I am tired. Sorta.
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25th - Kigali. 4k shakeout with 3-4 short sprints and stretching. Total 85K for the week.
27th -  26K second Group Race.

If there is one thing I have learnt this year, its how to eat the day before a race. I learnt some of it from Mark.

One thing I have been struggling with is how to taper properly, especially after I had gone to join Mark for a 32K with absent legs two weeks ago. It was so disappointing - it was hell running without legs. Regardless, I did 85K last week so maybe I still have a lot to learn there as far as tapering but at least I ensured my legs were fresh.

So anyways, I learnt to stop taking solid foods at least (latest) by 6pm the previous day so that my stomach would be fine for the race the next morning.

So I did that on Sato and Sunday I was up at 5:10 am ready to battle.

Yes, I have also learnt the best time to wake up if I am to be ready to hit the tarmac at 5:50am. It takes several trials and error. Those who think its automatic are just not experienced (ask GK).

I took Ponstan Forte coz I expected my adductors to give me hell. And they did. And some little water. Hydration is for the previous evening and night, not in the morning. If you are gulping water in the morning you are already lost. Then I stretched a little - some routine stretching. Then I did some toilet work.

I wore tights without a truck and a jacket and a cap and sauntered into the cold dawn. I saw an overweight neighbour jogging in the driveway. Time, 5:35AM. Impressive. I was running late though.

I arrived in time - sorta - 5:55. GK had not arrived. I just removed my jacket and started warming up. My garmin was ready.

After stretching and warming up, and the time was 6:10AM, I decided if GK wasnt gonna show up in my next warm-up loop, I would proceed and run alone. I saw some car headlights heading my way.

He showed up. He was delayed by toilet work. See?

We were off at about 6:10 am. Almost 17 minutes later than earlier expected.

I was with GK for the first 200 or so metres. His feet sounded light and quick. His speed had improved.

I wanted to clear every KM in sub 4:20. Anything sub 4:20 would be good. That was my goal. I set it without thinking much. It just appeared from the sky like an alien craft and clamped on my head. It was both challenging and not unrealistic.

So off we went, after 200m, I felt GK's foot steps fade away.

4:13, 4:19, 4:21, 4:17, 4:17, 4:18, 4:24, 4:18 - 5k in 21:29 7k in 30:12

4:33 - Muthurwa. I also get sandwitched between two mats which also block my path. But my climb up the hill goes well. Adductors and glutes painful.

4:17 - I have recovered. Next is the kick-ass hill. Brace your ass for the kick.

5:27 - Yes, ass-kicking delivered, right on schedule.

4:49, 4:21 - I am recovering...

4:01, 4:09 - Recovered. Now hunting for a negative split...14k in 1:02:03 - 1:56 is out of reach already.

4:23 - A matatu blocks my path and I collide with flesh and bones of people on a mat stage. I don’t turn to look back at the pained expressions and dirty looks burning into my back.

4:25, 4:32, 4:18, 4:30, 4:25, 4:18, 4:30, 4:35 (21K in 1:32:58), 4:29, 4:34. I am all over the place and slowing down. Adductors and glutes giving me hell.

I start really fading at the 23rd Km.

4:36, 4:49, 4:47

26K in 1:56:12 average 4:28 min/Km. Disappointed but pleased at the same time. I knew I gave it my best. That is what matters, even if your best is less than what you expected. Of course if Mark had turned up and we pushed each other, I would have done much better. GK came later and he said he cleared in 2:19.

It's a PR on this route. I missed the target by far but its alright. I have improved. I have learnt. I was faster and stronger even my fading was not so atrocious.

I am just so glad that I managed to taper properly to put myself in a position to race. I was in control of my legs and I was able to run well.

Now the major change I want to introduce in my training is hard racing for speed-work. I want to be intimate with 15Km/hour pace.

My hip flexors, especially the right ones, are giving me hell right now but I know they will be alright soon. I am working on my tight and weak hips. Every day.

Onwards fellas. Keep rolling.
28th - 12K. Pain - hip flexors, hammies, knee and shins.
29th - 13K. Really, really tired. Started with 4:00 then 4:04 on the second split and eased off, realizing I am not yet back.
30th - 15K. End of April. 
Mileage progression from Jan:
I noticed some veins in my quads. I love veins. I never imagined one day I would be fit enough or have (low) enough body fat for veins in my quads to be visible. Bodybuilders, I am aware, work so hard for this kind of thing.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

PUSH - Five Week 90K per week - No Excuses!

March 2014 - PUSH - Persist Until Something Happens
2nd - 26K group run. Treat it as a training run. 2:11. Mark goes for a 30K and returns 2:05 for 28K. GK pulls up behind.
3rd - 18k.
4th - 20K in 1:40. Borura pushes me. I am beginning to feel strength. That feeling of strength is so freaking powerful. When you are past 19K but instead of feeling tired, heavy legs, you feel alright and when you are through with your workout, your feet are springy, your gait athletic and you dont feel wasted. Its been a long time since I felt this way. Yesterday I was wasted by the 18K and couldn't find water after running in the sun.After the 20K I was alright.
5th - 16k. Some old guy says he admires my effort. There is some fattish chick who I see running in the estate when we are going to work. When I see her running, with all that weight, all excuses for not running vanish. You never know who you can inspire.
6th- 12K 24X200m Splits: 44:09, :43.1 , :42.1 , :45.9 , :45.3 , :41.8 , :41.7 , :41.8 , :41.9 , :42.9 , :44.7 , :47.3 , :44.4 , :43.7 , :42.9 , :44.9 , :46.5 , :43.0 , :45.1 , :44.8 , :45.9 , :41.9 , :40.3 , :39.9  

This Weeks Total: 92K

8th - 24K in 1:55 avg pace 4:49 Mombasa road
9th - 22K Upper hill route. Fat, er, First Ladys marathon. Mark passes me on Mbagathi way descent.
10th - AM 18K in 1:27 its so cold. I practically beg the sun to come out. Egerton University field. PM 7K easy.
11th - 19K in 1:27 avg 4:37. PM 7K easy.
12th- Moderate 19K in 1:31
13th - 10K. Garmin refuses to come on. So I download an Android app called MyTracks and go do speedwork.
14th - Rest n travel back to Nai.
Very great week - enjoyed the field and energy at Egerton uni. I pushed it mileage wise. I was able to make the easy runs easy and watch my diet despite the challenges of being away from home. Now next week I can reduce mileage and pile on intensity. Weight is dropping just fine. I note that I will need to do a 57mins 14K on the track if I am to go sub 1 hour 14K on Eastlands route. I will also need to do 26K in 1:50 on Mombasa road before I can hope to do sub 1:52 26K on Eastlands route.
Psyche is building among the group. Sikuku and Ogutu are back. Sikuku gets his ankle sprained.

This Weeks Total: 126K

15th - 25K Mombasa road in 1:55:16. Avg 4:37. Tremendous improvement from last Saturday. The last 5K kick my butt but my slowest split is 5:13 compared to last weeks 5:35 and avg of 4:49 in a 24K that took me 1:55:34. This is good. It rained the whole night. I started running from 9:04 after realizing the rain wont stop. I have really improved over the moderate hills. The two hills that kick my butt are now the Tmall/Winson hill and Uhuru Gardens hill. I will conquer them. Weight is 72Kgs. I will run it down to 68-69Kgs in two weeks. Injury is still giving me grief after the long hard runs. My next challenge/target is to run 26K in 1:55. If I succeed next Sunday, I will add more hills on the route then I assault the Eastlands route mid April.

16th -  20K on upper hill. Had about two hours sleep. Painful adductors. From uhuru highway to uhuru park junction - what I consider preparation for the main task - I had some annoying pain in my glutes. Then I decided I wont waste that hill. Glutes be damned. So I took off and tired in the next junction. I slowed down then glanced back. Thats when I saw Mark. I recovered instantly and accelerated and got my breath back again at national library. From there I sped up the Kenyatta hospital hill and then at the top, decided to punish mbagathi way the way G Mutai punishes the tarmac. Then my bloody shoe laces come off. I tied them as Mark passed and I decided to challenge myself to chase Mark and give him a push. It was tough coz he was also flying. I pull a 3:38 min/km. It was great. I need to cut weight.
5:34 - Glutes aching from Muthurwa
4:50 - Upper Hill and a bit of Kenyatta n tying shoe laces
4:24 - giving chase
3:38 - downhill
4:26  - taper off back to Langatta road. - 22:52

I will use this as a benchmark for Sundays
17th - 21K in 1:36 avg 4:35min/km. I felt pretty good and even considered doing a 26K but it leaves me feeling like a train-wreck.
18th - 17K easy. Painful hammies and upper back. I believe I discovered my efficient running style yesterday (17th) but we will wait and see. Weight at 71.5. 
19th - Go to the field undecided on what kind of workout to do. I dont feel particularly strong or ready to do speed work, which I have scheduled for kesho. Hmmmm...what do I do? I did an easy run yesterday. I cant do another easy today surely? I aint no pussy.
So I decide to do a tempo run. Maybe 7KX3? I decide to go hard and let the chips fall where they will. I start with a slow 4:39 but see what happens:
1.    4:39            
2.    4:26            
3.    4:22            
4.    4:13            
5.    4:08            
6.    4:11            
7.    4:13            
8.    4:15            
9.    4:15            
10.    4:08            
11.    4:10            
12.    4:11            
13.    4:16            
14.    4:12            
15.    4:14            
16.    4:22            
17.    4:13    

In this 17K I set PRs for 5k 20:56 (btwn Km 10 and Km 14), 7k 29:23 (btwn Km 5 and Km 11) and 10k 41:50 and 17K in 1:12:28. Average 4:16min/Km.
PRs are encouraging. My speed is intact. My endurance is improving. I have a left calf injury lets see what we can do about it.
20th - 12K moderate. Testing how bad the left calf is. I manage the 12K without it blowing up so I guess its not that bad. Will take NSAIDs for two days.
21st - Rest Day. Try some ART on the left calf. Visitors trooping into our house today for Deyas wedding kesho so running has to wait for two days, which is fine. I need some rest. This was a great week even though I didn't do speed-work.

This Weeks Total: 115K

23rd - 26k. Deya's wedding. Had a crazy day on Saturday. Was up at 5:30am. My house had about 8 excited girls and two women so Friday night slept a few winks. Took car for wedding deco at 6am. Drove around the matron n flower girls. Wedding. Dinner at 9:30pm. Went to a culture concert for house music at 11pm. Danced till 3:30am. I knew being on my feet would have its toll but then anyway slept at 4am. Alarm at 5:40am. I woke up. My head wooly. My world a mesh of cobwebs. I winced and readjusted the alarm to 6am and allowed the fog of sleep to swallow me. In exactly one second later, the alarm rangs. I blinked at the phone. It was 6am. I set the new alarm to 6:30am based on some sleepy logic. Two seconds later, just when I had snuggled comfortably in the warm bosom of the goddess of sleep, the alarm rang. I turned it off and contemplated my fate. Goosh man! I remembered Desiderata vaguely.
I hauled heavy feet onto the floor and plodded away from the bed. I shook my head to clear the fog. My brain crawled back to the present. How slow was my run going to be? Could I still expect to set PRs after such a crazy 48 hours? I figured that if sleep could make people fast then slow people could just sleep for long hours and wake up fast. But I knew deep inside that my legs were rubbish. But I had 100k to cover by Friday and I couldnt waste Sunday. So I stepped out of the house into the cold dawn and jogged to the gate. I stretched as I evaluated the status of my left calf injury. I set off repeating to my groggy mind again and again: I am well hydrated. I am strong and I am fast. I covered 7k in 30:03, 9k in 38:35, 14k in 1:01:11 which were decent and the fastest I have run on the roads this year. The punishment started at 15k. By 18k I gave up and jogged the rest of the distance. I banked 26k and burn 2000plus calories. I am glad. I can only hope that stressing my feet like that made them stronger and that it wasn't a waste.
Now that the injury seems to be out of the way, I want to hammer this week the fuck out.
Keep rolling.
24th - 18K. I am wasted. No energy.
25th - 17K with 37 X 200m. Pain in my left hip. I decide to do speed-work since I should now start moving towards speed and away from mileage. So to do proper speed-work, I decide to do it on Tuesday (Thursday is not guaranteed) and I settle on 200m repeats. 1000m would be better but I dont feel like 1000m repeats. I know of successful marathoners who have been fast on 200m repeats. I love them because they enable me to tap into my raw speed compared to 1000m or 2000m repeats. I have grown quite strong and faster but mostly stronger. In fact, past the 18th repeat, my body recovered faster and I shortened the rest periods (I rested by running slowly). I was happy with the workout. I am torn between moving to 300m/400m repeats or just sticking with 200m repeats. Why not do 50 of them next week with shorter intervals rather than move to 1000m? Hmmm....
The splits: 46, 46, 46, 44, 46, 42, 42, 44, 43, 43, 43, 41, 44, 43, 42, 42, 41, 42, 43, 43, 42, 41, 41, 41, 46, 44, 43, 40, 42, 43, 43, 42, 43, 43, 41, 40, 40. Keep rolling fellas!
26th - 10K easy. Had a late meeting. But I also needed easy.
27th - 20K in 1:40. Wanted it to be fast but after 2K, I realized it wasn't gonna happen. I need to rest. There is pain in my left hip. The recovery of my adductors seems to have halted before 100%.

This Weeks Total: 91K

29th - 28K. I decide to do an easy 28K - easy in the sense that I run purely by how my body feels. I wanted to go hard and fast but after 2K, I accept that my legs are stiff (ankles, calves) and not firing like I would want to. I haven't recovered from Tuesday's speed run! So I decide to go easy and long. This is fucking confusing. I thought my body had become the master of recovery but it seems the speed workouts recruited and exhausted muscles that are rarely utilized hence the long recovery. This also means that maybe I should repeat this workout again and give myself some weeks to recover. My adductors ache even though the left hip pain is gone. Strange pain in my left quads. I massage it and take a rest.
My motivation takes a slump and I kinda eat a lot.

Hmmmmm....I need encouragement now.