November 16, 2014

Half Marathon - Made It!

Sunday, November 16

Today was the Toda Half Marathon in Saitama, the prefecture north of Tokyo. Fairly big race with 3,500 in the Half, 2,500 in the 10K and 2,000 in the 5K and 2k "family run."

The weather was close to ideal, cool and mostly sunny, with some wind but not too strong.

This is my favorite race and I always do quite well, 3rd or 4th in my age group. In fact, I have the second fastest time in the 30 years of the race in the 60s age group - 1:23:30.

But not this year. Due to the continuing glute/hamstring problem, I hadn't run hardly at all for 5 weeks...and the damn thing was still sore. But with rest, physio, acupuncture and kinesio tape I was hopeful that I could make it through. Optimum hoped-for time was 1:38:27 (4:40/k) but I thought that 5:00/k or even slower would be more likely. result was 1:39:22 (4:42/k), good for 16th in the age group out of 281, not that that means anything.

I went out a bit cautiously, then picked it up after 6k when it seemed like the glute would hold up. It was sore, but manageable. Still, I maintained a sensible pace (4:32ish). When I got to 10k I was pretty sure I would get home ok, but then I realized, whoops, I'm not in shape to run a half marathon!

In addition to not having run the past 5 weeks, I've only done 3 runs of 20k all year! So the last 4k was pretty tough, and I slowed quite a bit. Then I started cramping in my right calf the last 400m and barely made the finish line.

Anyway, I was quite happy that the glute/hammie held up, and all in all I enjoyed the race. Back next year with a vengeance!
Actually, I might even do the 10k next year. Age group was won in 39:53 and I can do that easily.
Today's age group half was won in 1:25, then 1:27, 1:30, 1:33, so would have been 3rd or 4th on a normal day.

Oh yeah, I was also way above Kenyan-thin weight, having gained 2.5kg the past 5 weeks.

Off to Bangkok on Thursday for 2-1/2 weeks to visit my daughter and her boyfriend, who will be doing the Phuket Half Tri on the 30th, which we will go to watch. So hopefully I'll feel ok after 4 days rest and will be able to run a bit with him. But slowly.....

November 4, 2014

Rest, Acupuncture and Oxygen

Week of 10/27 ~ 11/2

I did two easy runs Monday and Tuesday, then tested my sore glute/hamstring (pain seems to be right in the middle of the two) on Wednesday, which did not go well. Ran 3,000m of the 5,000m time trial, at about half marathon pace, steadily getting slower and more sore, so bagged it.

It seems that "active recovery" is not helping, so I am just going to rest until the 16th, and hope I can run a Half pain-free. Which I am beginning to doubt, since it is still sore today if I try to jog for a few steps.

I went to an acupuncture guy in my town, and he is quite good. It definitely felt better after both visits, although obviously not healed yet.

He also has a hyperbaric chamber, called "oxygen capsule" in Japanese which is much easier to understand, so I tried that for 30 minutes on Saturday (only 2,000yen/$20!). Can't say that it helped, but who knows? The literature on it is contradictory. Of course most of the stuff on the web is very positive, because it's put out by the companies selling these things, but even some of the objective articles indicate that hyperbaric therapy could possibly help reduce inflammation and promote healing (it does in fact seem to help heal wounds). Other pieces downplay any positive effects, and of course, the question is whether just 30 minutes or even an hour will do you any good.

It's like lying in an MRI thing...or like a coffin - appropriate since I did it on Halloween. The oxygen is under pressure (so it's forced into your blood and not only blood but tissues, hence the possible healing effect), so your ears get unpleasantly pressurized, in fact a bit painful for 6-8 minutes. I was almost ready to press the button to call the sensei, but then my ears normalized and I nodded off for the last 5 or 10 minutes. Anyway, interesting, and interesting that this guy would have one, it being just a small clinic out in the suburbs. He says rugby players come in to use it, so I guess the japanese sports world knows about this kind of therapy.

So I won't be running, may not post anything next week.
But I hope you are all healthy!