May 15, 2017

Feeling Better

Week of May 1 ~ 7
This was a recovery week from the 10K last Saturday. I have to take it easy for a week or even two after a race or else I get injured. Of course the race time was only 43, not 38, but still best to be cautious.

So...rest Monday and very easy the next three days.
Friday I did 100 mins., split into two runs with a gym workout in between.
Saturday was 80 mins, legs still feeling heavy.
Sunday 66 mins,  feeling a bit better.

The two highlights of the week were first, the Breaking2 run by Kipchoge, of which I watched the last half. Just mesmerizing. I was blown away not only by the final time, but by the fact that at 30k, he looked better than the pacers! Such wonderful running form.
And second, the Namban Rengo Beer Mile on Sunday, which I am not crazy enough to participate in, but had a lot of fun watching and timing. Check out the great article about it on our website at namban.org.

Week of May 8 ~ 14
Monday and Tuesday - 50 mins, easy runs with the HS track team.
Wednesday - intervals at the track, 800, 1000, 1200, 1200, 1000, 800.
Felt good, like I was actually running at a good pace, for the first time in a very long time. Warmed up the first 800, then did a 3:51 1000, 4:45 1200s (3:59 at the 1000), 3:49 1000 and 3:02 800. Not blazingly fast by any means, but nice to be down at 3:50/k again.
It was a coolish 17C, but about 80% humidity. No wind. Not a bad night for running.
Thursday was very easy, Friday was 50 mins, gym, 50 mins.
Saturday I took a rest day, as I had run 11 days in a row.
Sunday did 120 mins at 6:00/k pace (20km), which is actually a little faster than I have been running, but still keeping in my comfort zone (the Ed Whitlock philosophy).

So that was 68k for the week, not so bad. Aiming for 80 and eventually, 100.

May 2, 2017

10K — Perhaps Best Forgotten

So I ran the 10K race on Saturday the 29th and found out...I'm not in very good shape.
43:18 and the course was probably 150m short, although the last 4k was uphill (gradual, but still....)
Just did not feel capable of moving very fast at all.

Week of 4/17 ~23

67km, 6:12 running time
The week was marked by a decent 8k tempo run with the kids on Monday, an interval workout where I did not feel good (as in, able to run fast) on Wednesday, and a 2 hour run on Friday.

Week of 4/24 ~ 30

Did two easy days, then cruised the 5,000m time trial in 23:00 on wednesday. Took off thursday and friday, travelling up to the hot spring resort area of Nasu Shiobara on Friday. It's in the mountains, one hour north of Tokyo by shinkansen bullet train. Very nice area. Went up with the wife, and Padraig from the club was also there with his family, so it was a nice weekend.
Except for the race. The weather was good, so no excuses there. I had been running for 10 weeks since recovering from the cracked kneecap, but only 5 of those were decent training weeks. So I wasn't expecting too much, in fact, said that I would be happy with 44 minutes. But once the race comes around, you go into it with the same feeling as other races, namely, that you will go out at a good pace and hold it or pick it up. This was not to be, as I went out at about 4:15/k, did all right on the downhill section, but then got slower and slower. All kinds of old, feeble-looking dudes were passing me. At least that's how it seemed, although I suppose they were running fairly well.
Was only 14th in the 60s (out of 182), which is the lowest I ever finished a race.

Ok, so I'm not in great shape! I get it. I'll work on that over the next few months.

April 16, 2017

More Running, Less Eating!

That's my mantra these days, for getting into better shape and losing weight. Now to see if I can actually do it.

Week of April 3 ~ 9

This was pre-mantra, and I only ran 49k with two days off. Did a decent tempo run on monday and a good 1000m x 6 workout on wednesday night, averaging about 4:14 with the last one at 4:08. Not sure if the distance was exact, as we ran a slightly different loop due to many cherry blossom viewing revelers in the park, but it was pretty close.
Weight was around 61.5kg

Week of April 10 ~ 16

Once again, only ran 5 days due to cold rain on Tuesday and HS track meet on Saturday, but got up to 70k with two good workouts and three long runs.

Monday was a moderate tempo run with the kids, Wednesday was 1200 x 3, 800 x 2, 400 x1, as we were back on our track (!) after more than a year. That called for 12s and 8s rather than the 1000s we've been doing for so long.
Ran at about a 4:08/1000m pace, despite not feeling great, there being a strong wind on the homestretch and the track being absolutely packed with people (several hundreds). Seemed like all the clubs were happy to be back.

Thursday - 100 mins. although had two long rests as I ran to school then to the track (HS team practice), then home.

Friday - 50 mins and 70 mins, with a gym workout in between. Two-a-days seems like a good idea to save some wear and tear on the legs. I'll try to do more of these, especially when track season is over.

Sunday - 90 mins., after "exercising" for about two hours cleaning up leaves, weeds and so on around the house.

Weight down to around 60.5kg.

Nice to see the NY Times article, "To add years to your life, running is the best way." Results of a large study showed that "if every non-runner who had been part of the reviwwed studies took up the sport, there would have been 16 percent fewer deaths over all (sic), and 25 percent fewer heart attacks." And "The good news is that prolonged running does not seem to become counterproductive for longevity."

But we knew that, didn't we?

April 3, 2017

Making Progress

Over the past month, my knee has been fine - no pain at all - and I've been working myself back into shape. I'm getting there, but not really in good shape yet.

Week of Mar 6~12
6 runs of 50-60 mins., 50km, Wednesday night 1000s were about 4:25.

Week of Mar 13~19
5 runs with one 80 mins., 44km, wed 6 1000s aver abt. 4:20
Good 8k tempo run with HS team on Monday - 5 hilly loops, had to work to stay with top girls the last 2.

Week of Mar 20~26
6 runs of 60,70,80 mins., 60km, wed 1000s in 4:20
Another Monday tempo run, as above.

Week of Mar 27~Apr 2
6 runs of abt 60 and one 80 min, 64km, 5k time trial on wed. in 21:46.
Happy enough with the time trial, since I had been doing 4:20 1000s but averaged the 5k in 4:21.
Then did a 17k run on Sunday at about 5:50/k (usual pace is over 6:00), with no soreness or ill effects.

Hoping to be in good enough shape to run the 10k race on the 29th in a time that won't be embarrassing.

March 2, 2017

Running Again

Hi - it's been awhile. I took two months off - one month during which my cracked kneecap was still painful, and one more month for the healing process to hopefully complete.

It seems as though it did, as I began running almost two weeks ago, and have been pain-free. Started with just 30 very slow minutes a day, then tried two runs of 50 minutes and last night did an interval workout (!). The pace was still quite easy - 5 mins. per km - but was quite a bit faster than I had been running.

No pain at all, so I'll continue building up gradually and hope to be in some kind of shape two months from now. I entered a 10K race on April 29, so that's my target for being able to run 10K without embarrassing myself.

January 15, 2017

Cracked Kneecap

Great way to start the year!
I was in Singapore, visiting my daughter and loving the warm weather. She lives 2km from the Botanic Gardens, so did two runs there, which were very enjoyable.

Was planning to do the Park Run on Saturday Dec. 24, but on Thursday, disaster struck.
My daughter has two cats, which love to escape from the apartment and go one flight up to the roof, where it's difficult to catch them. So we're careful about the front door. I had it open to get the newspaper, having checked that the cat was across the room. Well, the cat was faster than I thought. It zoomed across the room and out the door. I lunged after it and went down hard. Hit my left knee, left hand and left big toe. The knee was intensely painful, I was almost in shock from the pain.

After a while it lessened, but it was still difficult to walk. And it stayed that way for the next three weeks, so I couldn't take advantage of the beautiful greenery and weather to run in Singapore. Very frustrating.

I bought a knee support and managed to walk around with only slight pain and taking stairs slowly. Went to Gardens By the Sea, Marina Bay Sands, the zoo, Sentosa Island and Jurong Bird Park (which we liked a lot - great bird show). And of course, lots of shopping and eating out. I love Singapore - really want to live there!

I thought it was quite possible that I had a small fracture, but didn't bother going to a doctor down there, since whether it was or not, there's nothing to do but rest until it gets better.

After arriving back home, I went to a hospital for an X-ray (last Thursday), which showed a crack right in the center of the knee. Not a large one, but clearly visible. And the doctor said...all you can do is wait until it heals, two or three months. My ring and middle fingers also still hurt, but the x-rays were negative.

Too bad, since I had been getting into good shape, but, them's the breaks (ha ha).
I'll let you know when I start up again. At least when I do, my hamstrings and everything else will be well rested.

December 9, 2016

Okutama Ekiden 7.4K

After the Half Marathon on the 20th, I experienced some soreness in my right hamstring on wednesday night, despite going at a pretty easy pace. Rested for 3 days, but it got sore again when running on Sunday.
So I rested all week, as I had to run a 7.4k anchor leg in the Okutama Ekiden (road relay). Now in its 78th year, this is a very enjoyable race that the club has been doing for 28 years. This year we had five teams of six men, plus three teams of three women - the most we've ever had. I was originally a reserve, but after several people dropped out, I had to run the anchor leg for the A team, which was the only fast team - the others I arranged with both fast and slow runners so they could compete against each other. Unfortunately, with me on the anchor and another replacement on the first leg, the A team wasn't as fast as originally envisioned.
In the end, we came in 43rd out of 115 teams, with four guys who run in the 17s/18s for 5k. The other teams, which were not THAT bad, were 70, 71, 75 and 89, so you can see that this is a pretty high level ekiden.

Anyway, I was worried about the hamstring, so started slowly, especially as the first 400m was downhill. I kept it relatively easy for 3k, with 3 or 4 fast guys passing me. Then another guy passed me who was only going slightly faster, so I caught up to him and we picked up the pace further and ran side by side for almost 4k. The hamstring was ok, until...500m from the finish, when it started to hurt. I had planned to outkick the guy, but had to slow down a bit, and fortunately made it to the finish without a severe problem.
Time was 31:10, so about 4:12 per km. Not fast, but good enough to keep us in the top half of the finishing teams.
With sushi and beer afterwards, it was a great day out in the countryside.

Now I rest until I'm sure the hamstring is healed.
Off to Singapore for 3 weeks on December 18, right after the club yearend party on the 17th, so looking forward to doing a lot of running in the Botanical Gardens. My daughter now lives in Singapore, that's why we're going there. She's the Asia/Pacific marketing director for BandaiNamco, a big Japanese toy/computer game company, if I may be allowed to brag a bit.