Monday, June 8, 2015
Sunday, October 12, 2014
So I’m happy to share with you that I’ve finally run a marathon, in contrast to that mess that was the Tokyo marathon.
I’ve since departed the concrete jungles of Tokyo for the green burbs of Chicago, and at the beginning of the year my firm offered to pay admission to the Chicago marathon for anyone who wanted to do it. Unable to say no to such a fine offer (including people to run with in the office), I signed right up.
Fast forward to when I actually needed to start training for the marathon. The first two weeks went just fine. I was following one of Hal Higdon’s training programs to a T. Then work intervened, and one week not running quickly became eight weeks. I didn’t pick up my shoes again until Labor Day weekend.
Now that I basically had about six weeks to train, I had to do the best I could with what little time I had. I decided to use one of Hal’s training schedules as a basis, but just ramp up mileage every weekend until two weeks before the marathon, at which point I’d just hop back onto Hal’s two taper weeks. The plan actually went surprisingly well for the most part. Sunday runs ramped up to as high as 22 miles (two weeks before the marathon) and midweek runs were generally about 60% of the distance of the Sunday run (I ran a half midweek the week I ran the 22 miles). I also decided that I’d try to push speed on the taper weeks, and I found myself knocking off four-mile runs at 7:15 to 7:30 mile pace.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Waking up after a long weekend of not running, I found myself, understandably, more than a bit eager to make the most of my Monday morning. The local meteorologists weren't brightening my day with anything they had to say: Monday = cold & rainy. Though the rain washed away some of the snowier spots on the sidewalk, it did me no favors in making the streets any easier to get around on by foot. My clothes, though their labels boasted of a resilient water resistance, were soaked within minutes. My shoes were even worse off. They felt like Sisyphisian bolders bolted to the bottoms of my feet with slender ice cycles.
I charted a course with five 4 mile loops for the day. Four miles into the 20, I ditched my ipod back at home, for fear it would float away in my pocket. I changed my socks and shoes, which I knew was futile, because that only kept my feet dry long enough to walk out the front door into the downpour. At least it provided me with the comforting memory of a dry footed 15 seconds that I held onto for much of the remainder of my run.
So it goes...more wet weather woes below.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Lately, I've picked up a bit of a rather bad gambling habit. It's probably not as sadly seedy, nor as gaily glamorous, as you might think. I'm not jamming every last yen I have down the jugular of a blinking machine that's gurgling hand over fistfuls of chump change, all while choking on the smoke filled air floating through those prevalent pachinko parlors, nor am I applying salve to the paper cuts received from wriggling out from under a massive Mount Fuji of unlucky lottery tickets. I suppose the truth, in a sense, is a bit less capricious (or maybe more so, depending on your particular stance on biomechanics): I've been trying a variety of new approaches to marathon training all at once; most of which, were probably attempted way too soon after completing my last marathon in Osaka.
Basically, if the schedule said rest, I ran. If I was supposed to run 4 miles, then I ran 8 instead; packing the extra workouts into pretty bowed boxes, and parcelling them out at either end of the day. Where I would usually stretch after a run, I made a new habit of lounging (and lounge indeed I did!). When I thought about needing new shoes, I grabbed a used pair from a friend—the very same footwear that forced him out of marathon training with a stress fracture: Vibram Five Fingers (more specifically, I believe they are the Treksport model). I've been rolling heavy-handed dice over rice paper thin ice for this entire third round of training. I haven't decided on one specific reason why I've been so restless with settling for the same routine that has successfully led me to the finish line of a marathon twice thus far, but this third round of training has just been a hodgepodge of mad experiments aimed at improving my running agility, though, in practice, most of them have been too Tanya Harding on my legs to be worth the gamble.
More about minimalism...
Monday, January 2, 2012
Finishing the Osaka marathon at the end of October put me 2 weeks behind schedule in training for the Tokyo 2012 (coming up in February, for real!). In addition to a zero week for recovery—in which, despite the slight misnomer in its title, I was actually allowed to run three times—my first official week back on track for training was already one spent solemnly tapering my miles. So I felt like I was in a haze of half-assed-ness while being smacked on the cheek with the hand of undesired laziness in those initial training weeks. This was something I was aiming to change as I went all in and anted up with a handful of doubles.
I gave myself the self-proclaimed "all clear" to proceed with project Nothin' or Double when the last twinges of awkwardness dissipated from my legs as I confidently came to the end of a 6 mile run, only one week to the day from the event in that little race recap I wrote about in the Osaka Marathon post. So after spending the following day cross training like a fiend on a bicycle—thinking that I would compensate for lost running time by cross training harder—Tuesday's short 3 mile morning run felt, well...too short. Even though my thighs were a bit sore from the over cycling routine—accomplished in my basket & bell adorned bicycle!—the run went off without a hitch and I had a surplus of energy left to dispense like Pez at a candy convention.
A few hours passed, and the urge to run again shoved me out the door like a benevolent poltergeist that spent their past life as a motivational speaker & physical therapist who now just wanted a few hours of downtime for his or herself in the haunted house. I'm not accustomed to double workouts. Outside of running marathons, I'm an alarmingly lazy person, but I was too curious not to give this first attempt a solid go. Logic led me to believe I would be far too fatigued from earlier to meet any type of prolonged success, but I found once I got into the rhythm of running I actually had more energy to burn.
Monday, November 14, 2011
So after much not running, whatever injuries I've had seem to have disappeared. I've got no particular running goal in sight, so I've decided I'm just going to try to run 5K everyday, and take breaks only when work forces me too (which it will without fail do). I've tried this plan a few times over the past few months, but injuries kept rearing their head, work would smash down upon me, or I'd be lazy and it'd peter out.
Well here's to hoping it doesn't do that again.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Osaka was my second marathon. After completing the Tokyo marathon back in February, I had decided to make the marathon an annual event in my life, but I suppose something in me grew too fond of that great distance, and I was drawn right back in to participate once again, by the one race that rules them all, far sooner than I had anticipated allowing myself to do. So, 8 months after Tokyo, I found myself crammed into a 9 hour midnight bus ride to Osaka, on my way to meet the source of the sweet siren song sung by such a seductive serpentine beast, in order to see if I still had enough charm left in my legs to flee free from harm once again, in a race renowned for killing the messenger.
I suppose race day actually starts on the eve of the event. I was certainly sure that sticking to the pasta carb-loading tradition was the way to go, as it had helped me immensely last time around, but being on the road made things a bit tricky. The residence apartment I was staying at for the week did have a kitchen, at the foot of the bed, which, as you might imagine, wasn't the ideal stage to attempt a culinary magic show on, but I sloughed the straightjacket, and went to work with the space I had, sawing my nutritional assistants in half. The stove was little more than a single hotplate with 3 setting: 1) off 2) two people 3) three people. If you find it odd that the heat of the hotplate is measured in silhouettes of people, that's probably because it was odd. I thought at first they represented matchsticks, but upon closer inspection, I had a hard time refuting the very nature of their people-esque appearance. Maybe this stove was purchased at a clearance sale after the Soylent Green factory shut down, when the economy sank, as if tethered to a stone, at the end of the Salem witch trials? Anyway, I did my best juggling routine, working between the one source of heat and a variety of cookware, to keep an array of pasta, bread, & veggies swirling around my plate, while remaining ever cautious in leaving just enough pasta leftover for the all important predawn recharge.
Sleep came as a pleasant surprise. I really wasn't expecting to get a wink, but ended up with nearly 5 hours rest. I'd occasionally wake up in "pounce mode", expecting to get a jump on the alarm, but after a bleary inspection of the room, I realized I still had a few hours to go. When the alarm did sound for real, I lurched right into the leftovers as if I were answering the door at the Adams family estate, flinging open the refrigerator with a bellowing "you rang?".
Unfortunately there was no marinara sauce left; nor veggies or seasonings of any kind. So I sat, shoulders slouched, with my spindly legs dangling over the foot of the bed, as if it were the curb in front of an empty little league field where my absent-minded professor of a father, once again, had forgotten to pick me up after practice, shoveling cold forkfuls of plain, semi-crusty, capellini into my half awake face. This was a mechanized maneuver born from rote memory of simply intaking fuel, rather than anything resembling enjoyment of the meal itself. The carbs were a necessity, and I was determined to take them in, flavor be damned! I also had a spread of supplements ranging from ginseng to B-12 that I slowly began downing with glass after glass of tap water over the course of the next hour and a half. This copious quenching of thirst by the dawn's early light would play a Francis Scott Key role in complicating matters once I arrived at the castle gates ready to run the marathon.
It was time to head out the door, and even though I had written down very detailed directions on how to get from the apartment to the marathon check in area, I knew it was most likely an unnecessary step—other than satisfying my predilection for being obsessed with minutia—because: 1) the starting point was at Oskaka castle. This is probably the easiest place to get to from anywhere in Osaka. The subway map for the city itself carves out a rather unique negative space around the existence of the castle, so finding it wasn't even going to enter the spectrum of challenges that day. 2) when you're one of 30,000 runners heading to the same event, at the same time, chances are you just need to follow the influx of running shoes and plastic bags. This is one instance where the crowd knows best, so I didn't even doubt for a moment that I was heading in the right direction.
Starting the marathon around the outer moat of the Osaka castle was a flash of genius on the part of the race coordinators. Even though the area was packed with peoples, I never felt too boxed in (other than leaving the platform at the train station), because there was an abundance of open space surrounding the area. The only obstacles I did run into at that point were time constraints for the bag check coupled with the ill-fated bathroom situation. After leaving the station, we were collected like trading cards into an open baseball field. Along the way, I hopped in the first bathroom line I saw, and started changing my running gear while waiting in a near standstill line. This went on for several minutes without more than an awkward step or two forward. My anxiety grew like a fresh tilled garden of good grief while watching the clock click closer to check in time with no foreseeable end to my current circumstance in sight. I knew these races are run by sticklers for punctuality, so I was worried if I missed the bag check deadline, I'd be shouldered to the back pack of the starting line.
A small band of cantankerous old timers fomented a revolt from the back of the bathroom line. A chain, 5 links strong, pushed past the rest of us young whipper-snappers, murmuring something about this taking too long, and they shouldn't have to wait. While I agree, in general, with most of what they said, I found it in poor character that they leaned on their age crutches and hobbled to the front of the line. Nobody said a single word to them. I suppose it's understandable, if you consider Japanese society is influenced, at its core, by hints of Confucianism, in the sense that deference is due to the elderly—plus, with such a display of brazen lunacy, nobody probably wanted to deal with the potential backlash of craziness these coots were capable of—but that's when I decided to ditch out of the line.
My new plan was bag check first, then circle back around to find a whiz palace on the outskirts of the castle, while doing my best to resist the hypnotic shimmer of the surrounding moat. This new plan went smoothly up to a point. The check-in lines were nearly non-existent (probably because everyone was busy waiting in the bathroom lines). I threw the rest of my belongings into the sack and headed back to find a new relief area to a greater degree of success.
The starting blocks were set up as a siege surrounding the castle, after which we were meant to take the city by storm. I liked the way they had laid out the line up area. We wound in and around the smaller outside moat area, with the green & yellow canopy of ginko trees linning the streets, then went through a series of small bridges & fancy gates on the way to our designated start areas. All the while Osaka castle perched upon the hill, like one of the many tigers that adorn its upper level facade, watching over the proceedings with a keen cautious eye.
There was a slight drizzle of droplets falling from the drab canopy of clouds lingering above, and with 20 minutes to kill until start time—which, from where I was, equates to at least 35 minutes of overall waiting to cross the starting line—I perused my ipod for something to settle my jittery nerves. I found the upbeat optimistic swing of Ella & Basie's On the Sunny Side of the Street was a fitting juxtaposition to the otherwise overwrought air of the pre-race atmosphere. The runners in my area (H) had space to spare, which was a luxury that afforded us some much welcomed last minute warm-up stretches to stay loose & limber for the task ahead. Right about then, it became clear that I was in need of another whiz break—damn that diuretic indulgence of caffeine!—but I bulldozed those thoughts to the back of my brainpan, because there wasn't enough time to risk getting to the lot & back again; I was stuck, unless I was ready to rekindle, and concede to, reconstructing the moat idea.
I was also getting hungry again. I guess I didn't recharge enough in the morning with those cold Capellini noodles. After all, breakfast was a dish best not served cold, but at 5am, all I had was the ever vengeful Wrath of Khan plate of refrigerated carbs to settle the score; now that it was 9am—and I had burnt up a lot of fuel walking to get here—I really wanted something more. I had meant to stop at a conbini to grab an onigiri (rice ball) and some orange juice along the way, but ended up with no time to spare, as I was Spirited Away in the migratory motion of the morning's marathon milieu. It was here that thoughts of bananas began prancing pirouettes in a perennial play throughout my head, and there they would stay, in a far off fantasy filled fog, for quite sometime.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
It's been a year since it all began, and though I didn't intentionally plan things to happen this way, it's as if I'm commemorating our humble beginnings as vegan marathon runners (in training) by running the Osaka marathon this Sunday.
If any of you folks out there care to shout a "hey ho, let's go!" from your corner of the world for me come Sunday morning 9am JST, I'll be listening on the streets of Osaka, and appreciating the support.
Friday, October 14, 2011
1) a container containing cut-up slices of apple (Ginger Gold), banana, and dates.
2) a vegan cliff bar & GU energy gel
3) raw almonds
4) a whole heck of a lot of water, and a few other liquid themed variations on it (i.e. coconut water with chia seeds).
Now, about that second 20 miles...
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Take a quick glance at Higdon's methods and you'll see, the 1st week tunes the strings, the 2nd week subtly amps up the volume, and then the 3rd week drops back to an acoustic rendition of your favorite Quiet Riot song** (repeat for 18 weeks). What starts to happen, especially in the latter weeks, is that the invisible miles—the Silent Running, if you will—hit you harder on that first week Back in Black. Then, come the second week, you ante up, and find it's not as big a bet as you once thought it was.
I won't lie to you. Running 18 miles is no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination. But, running 18 miles subsequent to charging through a 17 mile LSD the previous week makes it a whole hell of a lot easier to handle. The route I ran was a mixture of new and old. The way that the peak hills were laid out reminded me of a half pipe. I'd start out in one direction slowly heading uphill, just to roll back around to the flat center, before heading up and out in the opposite direction. Something about the mental simplicity of this image made the whole thing more easily digestible than a chewable Flinstones vitamin. If I have any advice worth giving at this point in my running career, it would be to break things down into the simplest accomplishments possible along the way. You will do yourself far better to see small victories in your runs, than to be consumed by a horde of ravenous zombies set to feast on your doubting mind while focusing on the enormity of the entire task ahead.
In other words, if you've never run a mile, then you focus on the stop sign at the end of the block, and high five yourself as you pass by it on your way to the next block. If you want to run a 5-K, then you focus on the half miles that get you there. If you want to run a marathon, you break it apart and put it back together like a 26.2 piece jigsaw puzzle depicting yourself crossing the finish line, because once you group the miles into nice little blocks, the long runs just become that much more fun to play with.
At times, your mind will tell you to stop. This is basic self-preservation. If there's pain, you have to quickly decide if the consequences are worth the risk. If it is fatigue, you just have to push through it. I know everyone is different, but I have found, time & time again, that when I hit a slump, as long as I persevere, I'll make it to another comfort zone that I never knew existed before. If I had to boil down long distance running to a single word, it would be perseverance. If you persevere then you will eventually get there. I believe that is a mantra you could do well with even outside of the context of running.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
There's not much to this dish, which, by no mere coincidence, makes it amazingly simple to throw together. I found myself with an abundance of kale chilling in the crisper, a fresh pack of Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers, and some frozen pineapple chunks all begging to be combined in some such fanciful way today. I felt the true gentlemanly thing to do was to oblige them.
Using a covered frying pan, I heated a splash of water (about a 1/4 cup, or so) until it was near boiling, all the while chopping the greens (kale, broccoli, & okra) in preparation for their sauna. The kale shrinks rapidly when it's steamed, so don't worry if it looks like a lot when you first toss it in. Once the greens go all in, drop the heat to a low temperature, and squeeze a bit of lemon juice to add a touch of tanginess. I like to balance the lid across the halfway point of the pan, so the steam isn't completely trapped inside; this way, there's some air flow. Once the kale wilts, toss in the pineapple and add in the spices & Bragg**. Waiting until this point makes it a lot easier to mix everything together, as opposed to doing it immediately, when things are crisp & bouncy. Since this is a simple steaming process of fresh vegetables, it really doesn't take long for things to be ready & edible. The veggie burger is microwaved for under 3 minutes, diced, and stirred in after the veggies are done steaming.
The bellow recipe ratios represent my individual appetite on this particular day, at that particular moment. So if you're feeding more than yourself, or you're just ravenous from running around, it's probably best to up the ante on the portions I've laid out. Also, this is a meal that, if you desire slightly more sustenance, could be accompanied by a base layer of any grain (or pseudo-grain) or pasta, from brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, to couscous (the usual suspects***). I opted for eating it as is, without any additional accouterment, and was fine with it. This recipe lets the natural flavors of all the ingredients sing a subtle song of sweetness, and I'm happy with the harmony in their tune. When all is said and done, this is a nice quick meal—though there are plenty of directions to go in with this all-terain vehicle, if you're feeling adventurous in the kitchen—that adds up to less than 200 calories. The kale & the pineapple combo is what really sells this dish (the okra isn't half bad either), beyond that, go nuts kids.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
More long slow distance shenanigans below...
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
But what's a running enthusiast to do during the autumnal equinox? Well...here on the horizon, coming to a Baltimore near you, we have Run For Your Lives, a fun looking 5-K race that embraces those basic survival instincts one might require during a zombie apocalypse. While I'm wearing my incredulous cap that the promo video might not be quite accurate to the actual event, I am intrigued that the event coordinators have seemingly found a way to blend the increasing popularity of mud running with the fantasy fulfilling horror thrills of a haunted hayride, but, presumably, without the tractor.
As I personally won't be able to participate in this run come October—I'll be half marathon & full marathoning my way through the streets of Tokyo & Osaka, respectively—I'm extremely interested in how they pull off this event. I'm hoping for its success to spread like the zombie plague, so that someday I'll have a chance to test my mettle against the pretend undead, you know, before the real thing is upon us. I am slightly reeling from sticker shock of the admittance fee on what is just a 5-K ($67!), but I also expect this to be one of the more unique running experiences of the year. It might be one of the few races that coming in last place, means you probably had the most fun, since, with multiple paths to choose from, you finish either as a survivor or a zombie**.
For more information go to the official site: here.
In the meantime, people looking to participate may want to brush up on their living dead knowledge by reading through Max Brook's The Zombie Survival Guide & World War Z. After that, maybe a viewing of The Adventures of Milo & Otis is mandatory. Not because it has anything to do with Zombies, but because after all this bleakness, what could be more appropriate to cleanse the palate than a quaint narrated tale of a puppy & kitten who fast become lifelong best friends?
*Except for Dead Man Walking; that movie was nothing like I thought it was going to be.
**I am rather curious what the appetite of a vegan turned zombie would be. I posit that zombies crave brains because the human head is melon shaped, therefore a vegan zombie would raid the pumpkin patch—where Linus awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin—sinking his or her teeth deep into hordes of gourds found within.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
I woke up around 8am, to see there were still clear skies abound. So I went about my day humming I feel fine up until about 1pm, when the clouds closed in like a red velour curtain dropping after the final act of a play, met with thunderous applause, and soon began pouring rain on my parade. Checking with various weather sources, there was a predicted window of "less likely to rain" weather coming up between 3pm and 6pm, after which thunderstorms through the night was the general consensus. At 2:45pm things were looking brighter, and I headed out into a reasonably light mist, ready for some Singing in the Rain as I Ran for 11 miles.
The first 2 miles of the run were fine. I was taking it extremely slow, and although it was still blazing hot, what little rain there was, served as a refreshing buffer between me and the much harsher heat element. But the sun would not let the clouds linger for long, and soon was turning the wet pavement into a sauna of steam rising up and enveloping my every move with a cloud of uncomfortableness. Fortunately, I planned the course out as a 4x4x3 mile loop, so after my first 4 miles, I grabbed water and poured it over my head (not unlike the photo above, but less classy for sure), then guzzled a good amount of it down my gullet. I Immediately headed back out for the second 4 miles.
It was noticeably hotter now than when I started running. The rain was long gone, and there was nothing between me & the 93°F afternoon except a hat and a completely drenched shirt*. I made it past the halfway point, and with 2 miles left on the loop I was parched. It was here that a lady yelled to me from her front porch, "be careful of the heat!", as I waved and thanked her for her concern. This was the seed that started my unravelling. Physically, I was languishing, sure, but I still had enough energy to keep moving on. If there's one thing you learn while marathon training, it's persistence. Mentally, I began questioning my sanity for continuing this run in such unforgiving conditions. Was it worth jeopardizing my overall safety for sheer tenacity?
At the end of 8 miles I opted out of finishing the remaining 3 miles of the run. I came home defeated by the heat, but at least I came home safely. It's disappointing to leave a run incomplete, as it feels like each goal along the way is a small victory on the path to marathon, but what's important is not to focus on failure. Marathons are mental & physical challenges, and come Tuesday, I'll be eager to lace up my shoes and get back on track.
Going by this heat index chart, I made the right choice by cutting out early on the run. Yesterday's combination of 93°F with a 55% humidity put me at the apparent air temperature fulcrum of being anywhere between 98° to 110°F. Making anything from heat cramps, heat exhaustion, to heat stroke a potential threat. It's sad to say, but I miss the days when the streets were paved in snow, and my biggest threat was falling over into a nice fluffy mound of soft serenity. Ah, if only making snow angels could be considered cross training in July; I guess it will have to wait until January comes again.
*For the curious, yes, I was also wearing shorts...and sunblock.
Photo via Library of Congress
Friday, July 22, 2011
This being my second tango with marathon training, I'm somewhat familiar with what steps are expected of me out on the dance floor. The one and only problem that I've had this time around is combating the East Coast's excessive heat index, which has made the days hotter than a Haitian humidor*. I'm certainly not alone in suffering through the air akin to an inferno, but I may be the only person in good old O-town with a training schedules that requires dedicating so many egregious miles to the molten lava-like landscape. It's an old adage that, "if you can't stand the heat then get the hell out of the kitchen", but what if the kitchen is your entire neighborhood, and it stays open from dawn till dusk?
Of course the simplest answer is to embrace vampiric habits of nocturnal activity, thereby avoiding the taxing trauma of soaking in the direct rays of the sun at all costs, but this solution of late night/early morning running is not without its detractions. Mainly, if you adhere to a routine of running on the rim of darkness, I've found that either method tends to interfere with, among other things, basic recovery/fueling options.
The conundrum: when to run & what to eat?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I didn't run this one. Every time I was asked to join in all the reindeer games, I sorta shrugged my shoulders and simply stated "eh, I'd rather not.", which was met with a disappointed look of bemused frustration. "You're a runner, right?" I could almost hear echoing through a megaphone of sheer telepathy that nearly had me recoiling in shame. I am a runner, but a 5k or 10k race with obstacles including mud, walls, pits, & potentially fire seems to invoke the flight instinct, on the fight or flight spectrum, whenever the idea tickled my medulla oblongata. Honestly though, besides the fact I don't enjoy getting dirty, I had one specific reason why I didn't want to run through a Double Dare-esque obstacle course, and it wasn't Marc Summers, it was the fact that I was worried about the risk of a game ending injury 3 weeks into my marathon training schedule. If not for my training mode mentality, I may very well have been more malleable in forming a participatory shape.
Unlike me, my friend Pete was more than eager to take on the mud run. I tagged along as a supportive force, even though that that meant forcing myself out of bed at 5:30am on Sunday morning. We arrived at Fairmount Park in good time, even including the quickie stop to grab coffee along the way. Though it was a sold out event, the registration line was basically non-existent. Pete had his packet of race supplies in his hand and ready to go in a measly matter of minutes. There was nothing left to do but wait...
Onto the race...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The plan was to wake up at 6am to sip some coffee and eat bananas, blueberries, and maybe an apple. The plan changed when I woke up at 7am instead. Luckily, I had leftover green smoothie from the day before in the fridge. There was just enough for a full pint glass. Pete & his Pop came by to pick me up at 7:30am, for a race that was 40 minutes away and starting in about an hour.
Onto the race...
Today was my long run. Seeing as I hadn't gotten as much running as I had hoped over the week, I considered cutting it back. But then my earlier attitude resurged, and I said, "Screw it, I'm doing the whole thing."
That was the plan, but since I didn't really map out a route beforehand, and I still haven't calibrated my Nike+ with my Vibrams, I was sort of winging it on the distance. I figured my pace would be about 9:30/mile, and with a target distance of 9 miles, I figured I'd just turn around when I hit 42:30.
But what really made today's run fun was that I ran nearly all of it along the route of the Tokyo marathon.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I decided to flip weekend cross training and the long weekend run so I did my cross training on Saturday. I stationary biked through two episodes of Mad Men. An hour and a half of that bike and it still doesn't feel like I did all that much.
Today I ran the 8 miles on Hal's Novice 2 training guide, "a slight step upwards in difficulty from Novice 1". I thought Novice 1's never-ending 3-mile runs at the outset were a bit to short for me, but Novice 2 seems to be a bit better fit. That said, I got injured on Novice 1 so perhaps that was even too hard. I'll just sweep that argument under the rug for now.
I decided to run today's 8-miler in normal running shoes. Since I haven't ran in Vibrams since last Tuesday, and took a break from them after that because my feet were kind of sore, I didn't think it'd be a stellar plan to jump back into them with an 8-miler. I'll be back to Virbam's for Tuesday's 3-miler.
I clocked in today's 8-miler at 9:18 per mile. As usual, that was not counting water breaks and stopping at lights and other times when I lazied out, as I pause Nike+ whenever I'm stopped or walking. I ran up to and around Yoyogi Park (which is about 3 miles from my apartment). There were two water fountains in Yoyogi Park that I hit coming in and going back, and another near Arisagawa Park, closing to my apartment, all of which were long break point to drench myself and drink.
I can't say today's run was too challenging, but I was definitely hoping to hit red lights towards the end to get those sweet forced breaks. Because I thought I had copped too many breaks during the run, I decided to tough it out on this hill towards the ends that I often take a walking break on. From that point on, it was basically sweet cruising home.
As an aside, one of the major downers of running in Tokyo at night is the smokers. Running next to cars, I can rarely smell their exhaust, but a single smoker will give me 10-20 meters of oxygen-depriving tobacco smoke. The worst today was at the water fountain near Arisagawa Park; a smoker was sitting right next to it puffing away and the wind was pushing it right to the fountain. At that point I was dying for a drink (it'd been more than 2 miles in Yoyogi Park since my last drink), so I just had to bear it. I wonder if I can come up with a route that lets me avoid smokers...
Thursday, June 16, 2011