December 14, 2014

Howdy, how's it going?

That, believe it or not, is the name of a beauty salon in my town. You've got to love Japan.

Anyway, I hope you're all going ok. Just thought I would check in and let you know that I'm still resting. Hoping that six weeks of not running will heal my hamstring/glute problem and any other hidden niggles I may have. I have a race scheduled for March 29, so starting in January would give me three months to get in shape.
I hate running in the cold weather anyway. I shouldn't complain, as a friend in Maine was just telling me about their snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain and other horrors...but I love to complain about the cold.

Just returned from two and a half weeks in Thailand - Bangkok, where my daughter lives, and Phuket, where her new Aussie boyfriend did the Laguna Challenge Half Ironman. He did well and it was a lot of fun to watch. Big race with lots of pros.

So... I wish I was still in Thailand, but when life gives you ice, make ice cream, I suppose.

Since I'm eating a lot and putting on weight, I'll end this with

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!

October 26, 2014

Managed an Easy 10K

Week of Oct. 20 ~ 26

Rested Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as the hamstring was still sore. Then Harrisson, the Frenchman who knows everything about everything, or at least everything about everything that he is interested in (obsessive knowledge-gatherer, in a good way), told me I should be doing "active recovery," explaining to me how the muscle fibers in my leg work.

So I jogged a bit on Thursday, 6k on Friday, a bit on Saturday and then did 10k on today at the Namban Rengo 10K, Half and barbecue. Did it in 50:03, so 5:00 per k, which is better than a jog but certainly not a quick pace. It was a bit sore, but didn't get worse, so that was good.

I thought I should stretch it a bit at the halfway point, but that was a mistake - made it feel worse.

It did feel somewhat more sore afterwards, but not really in the hamstring - more like the lower butt/glute, which is where I originally thought it was. So I guess it's not actually a strained hamstring, which seems to be a good thing, but it doesn't really matter, I just need it to get better fairly soon, as I have a Half on Nov. 16th, which is my main Fall race. 3 weeks away, so hopefully it will be ok by then.

At any rate I was actively recovering today, I hope.

By the way, it was a beautiful day, about 26° - too hot for some, but I prefer the heat. We had 80 people out for the club event, held along the wide bank of the Tama river in the southern part of Tokyo. Both the races and BBQ were great fun, and I drank a lot of Australian wine and ate a huge amount of food (we even threw some shrimp on the barbie, mate, as Paul Hogan used to say).

October 20, 2014

Hammy Niggle

Week of Oct. 13 ~ 19

That's right, 13km. I rested for two days after Sunday's 10K race, then assuming all was fine, went out for the club interval workout Wednesday night. Ha ha, no, we do not do intervals as the first workout after a race! Said my hamstring to me, as it became painful on the second interval. Hey, I wasn't even going that fast, but...too fast, obviously. So I jogged a few 400s, which was also a mistake, should have just shut it down completely.

Anyway, rested Thursday and Friday, then ran an easy 8k on Saturday, but only because an old friend was visiting from the states and wanted to do a run and dinner. Fortunately, he's no gazelle and was content to jog around slowly. Hammy was slightly sore, but not bad and didn't get any worse.

Now I'm just resting until it gets completely better, another day or two or whatever.

Have a club 10K run next Sunday, so I hope to be ready for a good run there. Then my main race is a Half on Nov. 16th, which I WILL be ready for.

So kiddies, today's lesson is: always be even more cautious than you think is necessary.

Until next week....

October 12, 2014

10k Race - 38:51 - 3rd Age Group

Week of Oct. 6 ~ 12
44.5km / 27.6 mi.

No school due to typhoon in morning, but actually it was just a hard rain storm, and it cleared up at noon.
3:00 - 14k with 7 easy out, 7 hard in. 1:15:30, splits 45:38/31:51 @6:14/4:33/km.
Felt good coming back, helped by a (mostly) tailwind.
26C/79F, 45%

Weights and core at the gym.

7:30 club track workout. 12.5k with 1200, 1000 x 2, 800 x 3, 400.
4:54, 3:49, 49, 3:07, 10, 12, 85.
Felt ok. 1200 was warmup, Ran the 1000s well, eased up a bit on the 800s and 400.
Starting to taper for Sunday's race.
20C/68F, 65%

12:30 - 8k easy. Legs tired.
HS X-country meet. Before this year, no American School in Japan boy had ever broken 15:00 on the course (a hard, hilly 4.4km) - that's about 30 years. Today, we had 3 under 15:00 - quite amazing.

Rest. Gym workout.


Nagareyama 10K road race. 38:51, 3rd in 60s age group out of 368 men. Overall 157 out of about 3,600 total. It was in Chiba prefecture, 2 hours travel from home.
I felt good and ran well. Knew there were two 60s ahead of me, but couldn't catch them (they started further ahead). They ran 37:45 and 38:14, so were well ahead. Thought I was in 3rd, but wasn't really thinking about it, was just trying to run a good time. Held back a bit the first 7k, then went harder, but even so the first 5k was faster than the second.
Splits: 3:46/57/51/48/49/52/4:05/54/56/53. Not sure why the 7th was slow - there was a hill and I guess I slowed a bit. Worked hard the last 3k, mostly running alone.
My goal was to run in the 38s and win the age group or at least be in the top 3, so was happy to accomplish that.
Course was pretty flat, a few short hills, nothing difficult. Weather was perfect - 21C/70F, no wind.
This was a really good race from all viewpoints (except I only got a medal and a small towel), I wish I had known about it in previous years.
Next year I'll go back and run 38:00.
But in order to do that, I have to think about my training. The race effort was really much harder than anything I do in training. Of course, that will always be the case, should be "harder", not "MUCH harder." I need to do more to prepare for race efforts. Maybe I will take an extra day off - Friday - and go harder on Saturday. Instead of 3k intervals, do a hard 10k effort. Or a hard/long hill workout.
I have a half marathon next month (16th), which I think is going to be very tough.

October 5, 2014

From Good to Bad, Weather-wise

Week of Sept. 29 ~ Oct. 5
64.5km / 40 mi.
Would have been 78k with a 14k run on Sunday, but bagged it.

3:30 - 14k, 8k easy with the kids, 6k tempo alone at 4:43/4:30 (3k/3k).
Felt fine on the tempo run. A beautiful day for running!
26C/79F, 60%, sunny

Rest. No time to go to the gym.

7:30pm. 15.5km. 7.7k + 800m warmup. 1000m x 6.
3:57/49/47/50/47/38 (2:30~3:00 200m jog + walk)
Felt good, ran hard, pushed the last one.
20C/68F but very humid.

3:30 - 9.5k with 2 easy 300m hills.
26C/79F, sunny

3:30 - Team 5k time trial in the park (flat, w/ 5 small hills)
20:07 - Ran hard. First two miles 6:31, 6:47. Running alone after the first mile, trying to catch the boy ahead of me, who is our 10th boy (strong team). Didn't quite catch him. But beat the other 15 boys and of course all of the girls. Top girl ran 21:12, which is pretty good for a HS girl on a practice day, and a hot day to boot. (They don't have a meet tomorrow.)
27C/81F, sunny, felt a bit hot.

2:30 - 18K easy in 1:47:00. 6:12 out, 5:42 in.
25C/77F, 70% (rain coming).

Chilly with fairly hard rain, didn't feel like going out in it. Legs are tired, so a rest day, or probably two, since a big typhoon will hit tomorrow morning, is ok. The weather may clear by late afternoon, however.