Thursday, March 27, 2008

"private" track

Still not running. I am pretty depressed because the tibial pain is not even improving since last Sunday, regardless of my continuous attention (Ice + Voltaren / Celebrex ).
If the things do not turn around quickly, I will have to close the season early (races are only until end April, after that is too hot for any hard effort). A real pity.

to go back to giving more details about running in Dongguan, here a good view of the primary school track in Dongguan where I make my track workouts.

I like running there because it is quiet, sometimes a bit of breeze, secluded from the noise of the main roads. It is only a short jog from my home, so really a hidden "jewel" in this harsh environment.
Usually all the school track in China are closed to "externals" but this seems to follow a particular admission schemes: from sunrise to 7.15am, the security let in some "selected" guests.
Allowed: myself, some elders who use the track as walking path, some people living in the neighborhood.
Rejected at the gate: youngsters and anyone looking like a worker from the nearby factories.
call it discrimination ....
The catch is that the track is only 300m long, so a bit painful on the ankles for longer intervals.
Because of the curfew at 7.15am, the available time is not too much, from 20/30 minutes in winter to 60/70 in Summer, but I can not complain ... I would not have probably resumed running back in 2005 if I hadn't discovered this track to have at least a decent , safe place to run in Dongguan.

Lastly, like any track, the first lane is invariably taken by joggers, backwalkers, people chatting, etc, etc. It must be a worldwide habit ...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dongguan's training fields...

still in state "injured" ... but it is going much better. Maybe in 2 days I can start again gradually...

For a better view of how ugly is Dongguan, I post a good aerial view of my usual training loop.
Usual = the only place where I found possible to run without being chased by dogs, smashed by car and/or breath the exhaust fumes of trucks along major roads.
So I run around this kind of "bullet shaped" loop that runs for exactly 4k around some residential estate, hospital, town hall.
Do not be taken into error by the nice-looking green hills on the right. Basically there are no paths to go there and/or you risk to meet some straw dogs. As it often the case in China, if it looks a nice place, for sure it is not open/available for general public...
My record is to make a long run on this loop, a good 6 laps plus A/R from home.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

depressing .... shin splints hit

too bad !!
A acute bout of shin splints hit my left leg last Tuesday morning.
it is very strange because it hit very suddenly, not even during or after a hard workout.
The root cause maybe are a combination of factors: my shoes are almost at the end of their season (all of them covered around 500M/800km), I always run on concrete and/or asphalt (no other choice) and running early in the morning is not ideal on "cold" muscle. Last Tuesday I basically rolled out of bed and went to run...
The recommended therapy seems 2 weeks or more of rest (+icing, Ibuprufen, etc) ... a real disaster in this moment of the season.
In some moments I can barely walk ... really I am at loss because I was planning to run a marathon in may to close the season and take a deserved summer "rest" ...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Week 11/2008 Summary

A summary of last week:

total 133km in 9 runs (2 easy doubles on the treadmill).
The "monster" mileage went better than 2 weeks before. At the end of the week I was still reasonably fresh.
2 serious workout
- Thu 5.30AM 3x4km @AT pace (I went for a 3'30"/k pace). I was a bit tired and also it did start to rain , so the last rep was way "too slow" in 14'12", even if the HR was not over the limit

- Sun 5.30AM Long Run 35km(22Miles...) : I am really pushing the long runs in these days... Maybe even too much. First 15km at around 145/150bpm, pace 4'05", than 4k+4k+3k @MP around 3'40"-3'45"/k (slightly less than 6'/Mile), with 2km easy run as recovery. The MP sections felt very "easy", the HR was right in the mid 160s zone (my marathon HR should be around 167bpm), so I was quite comfortable.
At the end, I added also a KM fast on the local track, and I was still able to run in 3'18", so legs were still responding good.
These "monster" long runs are pretty demanding (I need 2/3 days recovery) but are really a big stimulus, very close to the real marathon. Once you run @MP even after 30k, well, it really gives you confidence about your endurance...

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Gebre does not want to run the Olympic Marathon because of pollution.
Maybe there is also something behind it (I guess running in Berlin again for a new WR and much $).
Anyway the air in many urban areas in China is really a crap and "my" Dongguan is maybe one of the worst, because of the large number of factories and too many trucks.

This morning, 7.45am from my window. Sunrise is about 6.20am, so the "morning mist" is already gone....
The thick layer of smog, mixed with the humidity of the air reduce the visibility to maybe less than 2km!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It must have been related to "middle age crisis" issue of trying to feel younger but yesterday I did make a purchase that would sound you really crazy ... I bought a pair of spikes (so it is not as silly as buying a yellow Porsche...)
Mizuno Tempo LD .

Actually I had a Mizuno 100$ voucher, so it was not hitting directly the wallet and the shoes looked too tempting to resist, even if I was (and still wondering) what can I do with them ....
The wear like silk gloves and only the idea of running on a track wearing them send me back home feeling light and fast...
I accept suggestions about how to use them ... luckily I have a track close to home.
I can not wait to try them on the track !!
Now I can not miss anymore the track races organized by HK Athletic ...

Monday, March 10, 2008

a bittersweet 10k PB

I start straight from the end: in yesterday's "Shatin 10k Race" I "crushed my old 10K PB, improving 26 seconds from the last race to a whopping (for me) 33'36" ... all great
but it was at the same time also very sour to lose out for the victory for few steps after a breathless long sprint (see picture taken maybe 100m from the finish line).
A consolation was to win the "Masters" category and also the Team Race, but losing out for so little was pretty painful, especially on my "home course" (most of my runs in HK are done on the same cycle track used for the race).

Anyway ...

going back to start ...
For some unknown reason, the top 4 runners in Hk were absent from this classical race that attracts a large starting field and marks also the end of the "cooler" season (we raced anyway at 17C, 80% Rh). Their absence paved the way for a very close race among many "2nd tier" runners.
The race started out very fast, we passed the 1k in 3'15" and very soon we were a trio leading while the course contoured the ShingMun river on a mostly flat cycle path.
Unfortunately, in HK, 99% of the races are NOT on closed road, so you must always watch out for pedestrian, bikes or dogs. Luckily it was still pretty quiet in early morning, so we could run quite smooth and hit the turnaround point at 5k in 16'45".
Personally I did not feel very smooth right from the start. Either I was tired, either the loss of training during the holiday period, either the quick pace, but my stride was pretty heavy already from 3K...
The return route was with face wind, so we slowed down a bit and this gave me a 2k of "breath", and at the 8k mark, M.J. dropped out of the pace, so it was left to me and to my teammate M.K. to dispute the victory and we started a Km long sprint, but my legs were really heavy ... I was losing 2 meters and than sprint back to hang a little more... since my kick is better than his, I was trying to arrive at least at a 200m sprint together, but actually I was too optimistic... at 200m I was a "dead fish"... and not in condition to sprint further...

I do not know what to think about this dramatic improvement of PB in such a short time. I actually did some hill charges and also some faster pace workouts, but I think it is mainly due to dropping the Orthotics and having stronger feet, with a better push on the ground.
Now I must decide where to head from this improvement and how to base a further improvement (if possible)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

a post on letsrun

I posted a thread on the Letsrun forum about Naoko Takahashi running an incredible daily mileage in preparation for the Osaka Marathon ...
Well, I expected the usual flow of "nonsense" replies, that is so common over there ...
to my amazement, Renato Canova himself (the great Coach of many champions) posted his own reply, giving a very interesting opinion on the matter, plus other interesting reply by Nobby Nakasone, etc ... click HERE

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"weak" legs and a poor workout

This morning was supposed to be my "tune-up" workout before next Sunday's 10K race, but it did not go very well.
I am obviously still recovering from the "silly" Mileage of last week and the legs were heavy.
On the same track, one week ago I was running "easy" at 3'12"/k pace ... today was a bit different.

Planned: 3 x 1500m @LT effort (3'32"), with 2' recovery jog + 2x1000m @3'20" with 2' jog + 5x200m strides in 36', with 1' recovery jog.

Actual: the 1500s felt already very hard, I hit the pace, but it was unreasonably hard. The Polar HRM was not working well, so I do not know if the HR was also too high or what.
the 1000m were completely off-mark: I hit 3'22" and 3'24" but it was very tiring.
the 200m strides went better, but obviously running 200m is not a way to measure the fitness ...

Diagnosis: take it all easy until Sunday and refrain from heavy mileage. Sleep more (also tonight I maybe slept no more than 5 hours).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Unnoticed ....

I was given this pic only days ago, and it refers to the local Corporate Games Race of last December.

Just to remark that, running in China, I do not go unnoticed.... (luckily I also have black hairs...).

More seriously, last week log "scored" a 134 Km (84 Miles), that is my lifetime "PB" and basically a "times 3" compared to what I was usually running in the past... it was a quiet week for the work (too quiet), so I guess that I will very likely retrace back into the 100-110km very soon. I try to sustain a higher mileage for the 2 months left until the rest of the local season to see how my body reacts and if it can be sustainable also in my next marathon attempt.
(NOTE: in summer, the heat/humidity are simply unbearable, it will be a success to run 60km weekly and drag the feet until September...)

I closed the week with a Long Run of 28km at a real good pace.