Friday, December 31, 2010

Year End --- time runs faster than me...

Rather than an arid list of runs... here some random year end thoughts....

A) now almost every week I go running at SongShan Lake, which is in the souther outskirts of Dongguan.
It take me a 25' drive to go there, so not like running straight from home, but is the perfect place for long runs and in general running.
The whole loop is a kind of 8-shaped around the lake 22K+8K....they set up a great cycling track, far from any traffic and with the pleasant view of the lake.
Yesterday I had planned a hard long run, which is by nature a scaring combination of words...
So i felt hesitant at the beginning but the weather was so perfect that I could not miss the opportunity to do a similar workouts in the few occasions before the Standard Chartered Marathon...
The drawback of running there is that you must carry water because there are no water fountains or shops open on weekdays. So i had a water bottle with a gel taped on it...

The plan was a 5k warm-up, than doing at least 23k "tempo run", then 2k cool down to reach 30k.
For the tempo section, I was targeting a bit slower then my target marathon pace, so running at 4'00" would have been enough...
It might have been the perfect cool winter weather, or the setting, but I felt rather good and I was running faster than planned with the HR reasonably low...
In honesty, running fast makes the long run much less boring than slogging around at easy pace and I reached 5k, then 10k and 15k in a blip. From 15k the course is slightly hilly and some headwind was picking up, so I had to focus in keeping the pace...
I reached my 23K in 1h28' (3'52" pace !!) and still feeling very well, but I did not want to overdo it... so it was time for cool down...
Overall a great workout... 30k in less than 2 hours (including W/U and C/D)

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/61228251



Note: I am totally disappointed by using a Garmin with GPS only (no foot pod). The instant speed displayed is totally unreliable and quite disconcerting because you see your pace fluctuating from 4'30" to 3'40" without reason... New Year, back to Polar and food pod (or Garmin + foodpod)

2) time for year end balance:
compared to 2008, I can not dwell into elaborate charts because in the past couple of months I recorded my workouts only on SportTracks which does not have any way to export data to excel
Anyway some statistics for the year:

- Km run: 2393
- Workouts: 233
(Note: there were also 2700Km done on a bicycle in 83 workout)
83+233 = 316 workouts in a year...which is a good 6 workout/week in average (I think some double workout can affect the data)

SportTracks 3 gives anyway the opportunity to find other interesting statistics...

Did you usually train more on week ends ?? NOT ME....

The data says that I train more on mid week when I am stationed in Dongguan and make bachelor life....
or, to put in other words, I dedicate the week-ends to the family rather than running (I will print out this chart for my wife....)

Do you have a usual "rest" day ?
I have... and it seems monday

Both distance and pulse rate are at their lowest on Monday, so it was definitely my easy day...

After my long stop for injury I had to build up the volume gradually and it seems that I was able to progress the volume (apart from the drop caused by my son's birth)








Program for the new year:
After 11 years in South China/Hong Kong, it was time to make my debut at the local marathon, so in February I will take part in the Standard Chartered Marathon

April: dream of another marathon...

August: I already enrolled in Berlin, even if it will be a nightmare to train during the summer

December: dream of taking part in Fukuoka Marathon one more time...
Now, the issue is that the qualification standard is not sub 2h42' (!!), which is not a joke...
- Achieving it in Hong Kong: very tough, the course is hilly and the weather unpredictble (usually on the negative side)
- Berlin: another huge question mark because of the difficulty to train properly in summer tropical weather. And also the entry deadline for Fukuoka is 30/9, while Berlin is on 25/9, so I would have to run fast and than run even faster to a DHL store to post my entry (entry is only by mail....)
For that, I would really wish to run something in Spring, a flat course in Japan or Europe... ideally 5-6 weeks after SCM so that I can recover properly without losing endurance. There are some "candidate marathons", but is not really easy to leave Hong Kong for a long week-end and leave the troops behind... let's (I stop blogging and make the entry for Rotterdam... in the worst case I will lose the entry fee...)

Happy New Year to everybody and many PB to come !!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

globe-trotting : part 2

I forgot to mention in the previous post that right before leaving to Europe I did a detour at a Decathlon sport store in China (yes... there are also here..) and raided the running section of all the cold winter stuff I could find: winter gloves, cap, rain jacket, etc... (actually the choice was quite limited but the essential was there...but I could not expect more in a city where the minimum temperature rarely drops below 10C....).
So I was not totally unprepared to the cold wave which I met in Europe...

It was also funny to notice that basically 90% of the runners whom I met while running in the Park in Monza were all wearing decathlon stuff.... so I passed totally unnoticed, since everybody else was wearing my same outift (next time I will show up with a tracksuit from LiNing brand with China written on the back...).

Anyway the week went quite well, considering that I was in a whirlwind of meetings and moving around Europe.

Mon: DNR

TUE:  very nice run along the River Sile in Treviso (near Venice). It was TERRIBLY cold (-4.3C). I run 30' easy then I started to push the pace just to keep warm... total 13K

WED: Havant (Hampshire, UK). Not very familiar with the place, so I just run along the main road (also because it was with streetlights) for 30' and then return. The temperature was much better (around +1C).

THU:  also in Havant. I went further down the road and on the way back some strides and 1' hard effort. Temperature was quite enjoyable (5C)

SAT: near Piacenza (Italy). This was probably one of the "coldest" runs in my life.
I really wanted to make a long run all around the hills and flatland of the town, but when I woke up all the streets, trees, cars, whatever was covered by frost (locally called "galaverna").
At 9am, it was -6C !
By the way, there is a very nice plug-in of SportTracks (Weather plugin) which read the data from GPS track and match with weather data from the nearest weather station. So you can get exact weather profile during the workout.
(yes.... all the 2 hours at around -6C... not bad for a guy from Tropic)

At the beginning I was really struggling to warm-up. But the climb from 100m to 300m altitude in the first 5k did the trick and I was able to sweat a bit...
Honestly once you are dressed properly it is much better to run at -6C than at +30C so I did not felt any problem to keep a decent pace around 4'10"-15".
In good weather, I would have enjoyed a landscape like this:
but basically it was all in white 

Unfortunately even this time, my right hamstring started to seize once I passed 25k and I was really struggling. I really need to understand what is going on because the hamstring get tight once I hit a certain distance and is not painful at all after the run. There is some biomechanics wrong and I need to sort it out (also working with stretching and strengthening)

TOTAL WEEKLY: 75Km which is really not bad considering the schedule... now I am back to China and there are 20C+... so another week, another temperature....



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Globe-trotting - part 1

Crazy week and I incredibly managed to run 90km+ while hopping up and down from air planes..
I write these few notes from a Hotel room near Venice (Venice in Italy...not Venice CA..), but this is just the final step of a busy week

MON: we had a terrible night with the kids, I was totally done and missed the morning run.
To make up, I run in the evening on the treadmill in Dongguan. So 7k easy

TUE: now the weather in South China is perfect. In the morning 17C and dry, I started from home in Dongguan and come back 1:13' later with 17km of easy run

....Then rush to the airport and fly to Shanghai

Evening: my hotel was "middle of nowhere" by the sea and so I put the shoes on for an easy 9km run.
Needless to say that Shanghai is MUCH cooler than Guangdong...
With 3C, the 9k felt very easy even if it was the 2nd run of the day

WED: I stepped out of the hotel and felt really cold..only 2C and chilly breeze from the sea. I went easy for 8K until I felt like ready to freeze.. So I upped the pace and pushed back @ 3'45" pace. Total 13K...felt very easy.

....As usual the flight out of Shanghai was late (4 hours !!), so I arrived back Dongguan at midnight.

THU:  still exhausted from the trip and little sleep, I went for an easy run again on treadmill (where ? In Dongguan). Totale 6k

FRI: Hong Kong. Great workout ! Weather was perfect and I had a decent night sleep.
So 25' w/u than 3x10' at AT with 5' easy in between.
This is a great kind of workout and should be performed weekly or even more often!
Total 18K at 4'00" average pace !

SAT: not an easy night with the kids, plus bus with the family, plus packing the suitcase---> no running

Night flight from HK to Milan.

SUN: Monza, Italy.
This city boasts a huge park which is a running paradise.
I was just out of the plane, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to run where.
The place was full of runners of any age, gender, speed.
The only thing in common was that it seemed that everybody was wearing running apparel from Decathlon (their Kalenji running stuff brand).
I felt really weird that I was also wearing the same jackets and tights as anybody else even if my stuff was actually purchased in China...call it globalization.
I forgot to say that it was REALLY cold...around 0C. I felt really freezing even with my winter stuff.
Somehow I run 28K in 2h00'... But at the end I just craved a hot shower !

So weekly stats:

- run: 90K+
- miles flown: 14000km
- thermal shock: from 25C of monday to -1C of Sunday

And more to come...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Running Resurrection !

After weeks and weeks of hardship, eventually come the day when the stars aligned in the right way also for me....
Yesterday at the "Mizuno 10K race", I scored a 6th place overall (1st Master), and got back to a good timing and good racing: 34'05" !!
That is like 45" faster then 3 weeks ago, when I was really struggling at the Asics 10K... (in earnest, yesterday the weather was slightly better and less humid)

I could have titled the post "how to improve your 10K by 45" in 3 weeks" and get a huge traffic boost, but in reality the "How to" is very simple...

A) I was somehow able to sleep decently in the 4-5 days leading to the race. The baby still needs 3 night feeding, but we are getting more used to... (well... also being away in China for 3 straight sleepful nights did help...)
B) I really made it a point for the past 3 weeks to run anyway, even if I was dreadfully tired or at impossible times.... so once after a night feeding I simply laced up the shoes and went running at 4.30am.
So, it was not really following any training concepts, but I managed to run respectively
94 , 86 and 96km in the 3 weeks since my last post.
C) somehow I was able to run good long runs... I managed to run even a 31km at 4'06" pace, which made me feel really in good shape.

About Sunday's race:
It was a sunny and clear day with temperature around 22C and 63% Rh, the race is very popular with 1400 at the start and a really large bunch of good runners. I did not have any expectation about time or placement, but at least I hoped to do a better showing than in the past 2 races...

my 5k splits were 17'11" and 16'54" and I really judged my pace very well without being carried away at the start but clocking Km after Km near 3'24" pace... I picked up many runners how went out too hard and gained progressively from 15th to 10th to 7th place...
in the last Km I saw that the leading Master runner was somehow struggling and pushed a bit harder to get him with 300m to go and just sprint to the finish.
After 2K

At the 5K turn-around point
to complete the good day, we also scored the victory in the team competition.
A kind of pity that Stefano P. got 2nd place also today (3 times 2nd in a row !!), but he is getting into race shape so I foresee he can break the ice very soon...

Note: I know that I need an explanation on the uniform "Italia", etc... but maybe in a future post
Our team looks terrific !!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rollercoaster week and race report

Last week was really  too full of upsets... and end up with a much better then expected result...

Mon: I felt legs really sore from the race, so I did not feel like running
Tue (late evening): a good 15k at good pace, legs felt better
Wed: could not run
Thu: I woke up very early in Dongguan and went for a long run in the forest. It was a "chilly" morning and the air was very crispy, so it felt very easy. I went left, right, north and south for 1h30', and I was ready to run back home....      .....I was less than 3 meters from the end of the forest trail, when I stepped poorly on a root and felt the ankle twisting...  ... in a flash I saw myself in crutches for the next 2 month, but by a split second later I was already aware that it was a twisted ankle, but not a serious one...
Now the issue was that I was alone in a forest in China, 6km away from home, with a mild twisted ankle...
.... as a matter of fact, the only solution that I found was to run back home as fast as I could (3'45" pace...) before the ankle get cold and become swollen.
Once home, I started aggressive icing, because I really did not want to skip Sunday's race
All counted... I run 26km (in 1h56', including many trail section) and I was feeling really good.

Fri: not run, icing all day, I could not walk well
Sat: same as above

Sun: icing plus a couple of pills of Voltaren did the miracle and with Saturday's evening self assessment I gave myself the green light to race.

Mid november... is the day of the "10K HK championship": a massive event with 6000 runners at the start.
I like this race because everybody in town is there, there is a huge atmosphere and the course is quite fast (even if not flat)...
In my last attempt (2007.. time flies), I scored a 8th place overall with 34'00" time, but I am nowhere near to that levels...
I would have been happy to close below 35' and win the Master category.
I was also the debut of our gorgeous uniform (more on separate post), so I felt compelled to to well !

The start was as expected a crazy fast affair, especially if there are 6000 runners starting on top of a flyover....
I clocked the 1st Km in 3'05", which was barely the minimum to stay in the bunch...

just to give an idea of the crowd

So I settled into my own pace (around 3'25"-3'30") and especially took notice if anybody was wearing the bib for Masters....Compared to last week, It was a completely different story. I did not feel sharp, but at least with a good amount of energies and quite in control of my stride.
KMs passed by relatively quick and by 7K I was wondering if I still have forces to increase the speed a bit and catch the large group slightly ahead or just keep going and content myself with the win of the Master category...
Maybe the body still had something left, but my mind was refusing to suffer more to gain some unuseful positions... especially in the last 500m, when everybody else was charging for the uphill sprint to go back to the top of the flyover, I was really shutting down my "fatigue receptors" and cruising to the end...

So I closed 1st Master, 19th overall in 34'53"...
The ankle was not 100% but I did not felt it too much...

For our "Team Italia" : congratulation to my buddy Stefano for arriving 2nd Overall and to Colin for an outstanding 7th overall.

Even today, 1000HK$+Asics shoes as price, so I did not end up empty handed...

Here some nice pics of the day
in action

Stefano on his way to 2nd place

Another "Team Italia" strong showing...

Kenyans wins everywhere... even in  HK...


more modestly....I get the prize for 1st old guy



Thursday, November 11, 2010

ITA: "Team Italia" vince...

Magari la nostra atletica e' in un momento di sofferenza, ma in Oriente cerchiamo di tenere alta la bandiera....

Domenica, alla "New Balance 15K race", abbiamo presentato un "Team ITALIA" che ha sbaragliato la concorrenza di "LWRC" "Team NewBalance", etc, etc...

Il nostro team: Stefano (maglia ASICS), Roberto (maglia Blu), Curtis (maglia NewBalance) , con supporto del nostro grandissimo Marcello (canotta Nike rossa).


Tra l'altro, ottimo risultato individuale di Stefano che si piazza secondo assoluto dietro ad un Kenyano (eh si... vincono dappertutto da Est a Ovest...)

Wk 44 - running asleep @ 15Km race

I am really struggling... the sleep deprivation and all the additional workload of the newborn is really taking a toll... but let's go in order

Monday: I reached the track at 21.40 (!)... after all the kids were in bed (I have 2 night owls).
a 2000m in 7'30" as "warm-up", then I did 5x1000m in 3'20" with 200m in 2' as recovery. The right leg was a total mess... It was always getting tight after 800m...even if I was really paying attention to avoid overstride, etc
I stopped at 5 basically because the track was closing at 22.30 and they kicked me out...

Tuesday: 8k recovery
Wednesday:15k off-road
Thursday: (night): 14k easy (after dinner I felt really heavy...)
Friday (night): 8k easy
Saturday: 10k easy
Sunday: 15k race + w/u - c/d
TOTAL: 87km

Now let's go with the race report...

Since it was my first ever 15k... it was a sure PB but I was targeting to do a decent race...
In reality, after a week of poor sleep I was totally sleepy and numb at the start line.
I felt completely devoid of energies during the warm-up and not even a good dose of caffeine did anything... basically I was ready for a nap even when we were counting down to the start...

Nice pic of the start line.... the sea at the back... the mountain in front!
The race has a crazy uphill start and I took it easy staying glued to the people who know are at my level. We hit the 1st Km in 4'55"... and then eventually hit the flat section.
I was trying to keep a 3'40" pace but I felt totally non reactive. So slowly but constantly I got dropped and run all by myself.
I could say that I was not even pushing hard, but simply I did not have it... I wanted to quit, but then I thought to our team classification, so just hang up there...
Luckily, albeit slow, nobody caught me and I basically kept my position from 5k to the finish.
At the end, a modest 12th place overall and 2nd Master...
Team classification award ceremony
There will come better days...

the positive note is that our team "Team Italia" (2 italians + an american) destroyed the competition in the team classification...

NOTE: I have a big surprise ready on this matter... once finalized, I will write everything...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 43

Sunday night, when I was stepping into the emergency room of the hospital with a abdominal colic, I was really wondering which spells of bad luck I was having in the past weeks... for one way or another, I am only in survival mode and no real progress on my training.

- 80km in 6 runs

Monday: I was able to sneak into a sport ground during lunchtime and do a very quick 3x1000m with w/u and c/d.
Tuesday: easy 13.4k
Wednesday: the temperature dropped from 30C to 15C in 24 hours because of a strong norther monsoon... it was gorgeous running weather even if very wind.
I planned a Tempo run of 10k and went on the outer ring in Dongguan because it is the only road with bitumen and not concrete...
I felt quite easy organically, but my right leg started to seize after 9k and I had to stop. 9k at 3'38" average, with quite many windy stretches. HR was around 87%max which was pretty good.
I really have to solve the issue on the leg or otherwise it is no point to train...
Thursday: quite tired and sore after yesterday's tempo run. I jogged around for 14k but running on concrete is very beating for the legs...
Friday: I headed for the forest and run around for 16k. It was a wonderful cool and dry morning and I could have run around forever.
Saturday: busy in the morning and in total pain the afternoon... DNR
Sunday: Buscopan can do miracles... and while I was a wreck in the morning, I was able to drag myself for a run in the late evening... it was cool, so 12k come out quite easy and I did the final 3k hard in 10'30".

a) I need to sort out the right leg... I got a good link from Rick  on a website with good trigger point release technique... video and good explanations....
I really need a lot of exercises and stretching, etc, etc....(if time allows)

b) sleep deprivation from baby feeding is really taking a toll... I am a kind of zombie and just crave to sleep more... in some days I almost felt asleep while running...

c) sunday I have the very big seasonal race...15k.
- being my first road 15k, it is going to be a sure PB...
- i think that organically I am quite good and can run around 3'38" pace if the weather keeps cool, but I can not predict if the right leg will not cramp/seize... so there is a big question mark... race report at the next post

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chinese paperwork

It is 19.37 (7.37pm).
I am still in office and I still have to sign on that mountain of papers...
...I suppose no evening workout tonight........

Week 42 - still unsatisfactory

73km in 5 workouts

Mon-Tue: I felt the vastus lateralis painful, so I opted for bike riding. God.... it was really hard after 3 months of no cycling.. the pedals felt like stones
I think that the pain was caused by the orthotics, which are tilting the foot "too much", so the tights must really do a lot of work...

Sat: I joined K. for a long run. 25k of death march....
As soon as stepped out of the flat and looked at the Polar, I know it was not going to be my day. The HR was already 90bpm even before making the 1st step.
Because of the night feeds to the baby, I felt terribly tired, sleepy, lethargic.
The run itself was a sufferance: we were not going fast (around 4'20"/k), but my HR was regularly already at "marathon effort" ... so I do not know whether to classify it as "easy long run" based on the pace, or as 20k marathon effort workout....
Once back home, I felt like a dead weight, but my kids helped to keep me moving until the evening when I fainted in bed

Other days (Wed-Thu-Fri-Sun); basically I jogged around without any real training concept. The care of the newborn +1 toddler + 1 small child is extremely tiring and I really felt without too much energy

So end of October is arriving and I can summarize my workouts in the past months:
- 1 long run in the past 2 months
- a couple of progression run
- maybe 1 interval training session
- 0 (zero) tempo run
- 0 (zero) hill sprints/intervals
- 0 (zero) speed workouts

That leave me a bit skeptical about my chances in the coming major races....anyway

Finally, I made my entry for the Berlin Marathon 2011. I will turn 42 on 23/9, so nothing better than celebrate 42yo with 42km on 25/9/2010.
the prospect of going for long runs in Summer is really scaring, but I really wanted to do Berlin sooner or later

Friday, October 22, 2010

it is coming.....

this is in store for the week-end...Severe Typhoon Megi. Probably running might be slightly affected....
(let's hope not too much devastation. It will hit shores in the East Guangdong,  which is already a poor area...)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

WK 41 Summary

Apart from surviving to 3 small kids (my real running idol is this guy (Thomas) in Ireland.. he manages to train for Ultra with 4 kids...his wife is super-cool..), here the war bullettin:



A) I went down with a bad cold which lasts for 10 days, so I had to miss a run here and there and really struggled a lot to sleep in a proper way. Some days I went running but I felt incredibly weak so it was really a crawl...

B) I mentioned already that I was struggling with a tight hamstring in the past weeks and got a good comment that it might be caused by the posture, etc.
I was also noticing that in the most recent weeks I was really struggling to run properly and my feet were stomping into each other, plus lack of push from the right leg...
... so I booked the PhysioT and she confirmed my suspicion: my pelvis was twisted and the muscles of the right gluteus were so tight that the leg could not swing properly.
So all together the stride on the right side was shorter and the twisted pelvis caused the right leg swing to "cross" over the trajectory of the left leg...
She gave me some exercises, stretching and also worked out with manipulation and deep tissue massage to move back the system in the right place.
I am really very sensible to this kind of problem and my right leg is incredibly weaker than the left one.
So now I put myself to work more diligently on this problem because otherwise it does not make sense to run more.

C) as if not enough, during last saturday's run, my left "vastus lateralis" got into a kind of spasm and was strained.
So this week I gave up on a couple of days switching to cycling... and worked also to release this strained spot.
My suspicion is that the strain was caused by the excessive load on the vastus caused by the tild of the foot using these new orthotics. In a sense they are really "too much" corrective..
They align the lower leg, but then there is too much lateral load on the tights...now I will try to use my old orthotics for a while and see what happened (the old ones are much less tilted)

despite all... somehow I managed to run 70km in 8 runs, in 6 days... Total herratic training but I hope for better days. 
Did I make some workout ?? mmm... in some days I cranked up the pace, but nothing really structured


Now my focus is to pick up a nice marathon for next spring... 







Friday, October 15, 2010

let's go in order - part 4

this is the last post to catch up on the latest events.
On October 1st, my wife gave birth to our son.
Mom and baby are well. Now with 3 kids we have a even busier life... and I should try to catch up with sleep and training..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

let's go in order - part 3 - Dongguan Qx Games

On September 29th, I took part in the distance running race of "2nd Qingxi Games".
This is basically a series of sports events organized by the local  government, opened to people with local resident permit...
After the Beijing Olympics, now every town/city feels the need to host some kind of sports games.... so while Guangzhou is getting ready for the Asian Games in November and Shenzhen for the University Games next year... a small town like Qingxi must make herself happy with "Qingxi Games"...

The so called "around the city" long distance run was actually a 3.2km race around the town center...
being the one and only foreigner and kind of serious runner, I felt a bit of pressure...basically there were 500 people all staring to a gwailo trying to warm-up...losing out would have been a terrible loss of image...

For these kind of events in China, you really do not know what to expect from the other participants: there might be only "once a week" runners, but it might come out some young stud who was in a Sports School until the month before....
....Anyway for sure I knew that the start would have been crazy... crazy fast.. so I wore a Garmin to not let be carried away...

... all things put together, I really thought that an honest effort at 3'30" pace would have been good enough to win the race and avoid "loss of face" for my running reputation...

The start was fast indeed...very fast..it was like hundreds of hungry panthers let free... After 150m I gave a look at the watch and I realized I was running at 2'50"/km (!!!!!) while being overtaken by everybody!
totally insane... without losing my calm I set down to a more "modest" 3'05"-3'10" pace and start to pick-up those who went out too fast...
... the problem arose when after 1k, I got the autosplit at 3'08":  I was running fast like never before in any race and I was still far from the lead !! was going to be a defeat in front of the local TV ??

I reached the leaders around mid way and picked up the pace.... i was running sub 3'/k ! (give a look at the Garmin file if you do not believe it !)
Also the 2nd K passed by with a 3'08" split and I eventually got a margin...
In the last stretch I saw that I had a good margin and started to relax cruising to the finish line without appearing too spent on TV... my passage at 3k in 9'31" is easily a huge PB for me !!


So... all well what ends well, but this was a suffered one...
I spare you from the TV interview in Mandarin and a translation of the newspaper article, but for a bit of fun, give a look at the first minute of the video below (taken from local TV footage)... with the crazy start

Thursday, October 7, 2010

let's go in order (part 2)

I want to briefly comment on a comment left from Rick "you are going well on low mileage - high intensity training"...
in the past 3 months in average I run around 70k/week with very little speedwork/interval . I mainly run a good aerobic pace with some progression run and strides.

Now this raise 2 interesting (in my opinion) topics of discussion for a runner:

1) which are the effects of training in very hot weather.
I never found any serious article on the matter. The only research done indicated that training in hot weather increase the mass of blood because of the additional water needed, therefore it worked like a blood self-transfusion (hehe...without Clenbuterol...).
What I saw in these years is that 70k in tropical conditions could be much more demanding than 100-120k in ideal conditions: the HR during the workouts is always more elevated and therefore the "exertion" calculated with HR x duration reaches much higher values than a comparable workouts in ideal climate.
It is not uncommon to suffer from huge thermal HR drift during the workout, so after 40' the HR might climb to marathon effort even if you are just jogging.
So the issue is if this state of higher HR even at slow pace is really a more demanding workout or just the need of the body to dissipate the heat, without benefits at cellular level (eg: mytocondrial activity, etc).
Obviously I do not have a scientific answer, but from experience I would say that there is a factor of x1.5 o more on the mileage done in tropical weather versus temperate climate...
So even a meager 70k/wk would represent the same training effect of 100k+ in cool weather...

I do not know if any reader from HK or Singapore has view on the subject...
(by the way in the past 2 days in HK the weather was extraordinary cool/dry for the season and I was running 15-20"/k faster at any given HR than usual...)

2) the usual topic of "the best way to train".
I sometimes receive questions from friends on how they should train to improve and if there is any special workout, etc...
Well... also this training cycle of mine convinces me even more in the resolution that a runner can be 90% ready for racing at any given distance with a very basic training:
- consistant runs of 45'-50' every single day of the week
- some strides here and there
- some progression 2-3 times a week

Basically speaking, running 10k/day at aerobic pace for 7 days for 3 months in a row is already good enough to achieve 90% of your potential in any given race distance...the key is consistency and overall volume.
the remaining 10% involves giving a specialized cut to the main workouts to peak for the chosen race and distance...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

let's go in order....

the last 7 days have been extraordinary amazing... there would be much to write about...
..... so I can start from the silliest part

In August a friend asked me to take part in a photo-shoot needed for the commercial launch of the Neil Pryde bikes lines.
Not many know that Neil Pryde is actually a HK based company. Recently they added a carbon bikes line to their mainstay surfing/windsurfing stuff (which does not need any presentation).

Well... so I ended up doing the "model" for them with a bunch of other guys and quite pleasantly they picked up a nice downhill shoot for their website homepage. So click on the LINK and let the flash animation plays... I am the guy in the downhill shot

NOTE: doing the "action model" is incredibly tiring... half a day under the baking sun, doing hundreds of passages in front of the photographer to get eventually a single "perfect shot"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

wk 38 - survival week

I do not have much to write...

because of the work/family stuff, I could barely train. I reached 55km for the whole week in 6 sessions.
The hamstring is still tight and the PT told me to avoid any "Fast" workout until gets better.

Obviously I did not follow his recommendation and entered a 5K race with many ups/down...

It was Race #3 of the AVOHK 5K series and the course is really tough... in 5K there are enough climbs, trail sections and downhill that it really feels like a longer race....

Basically I reached the start line almost exhausted from the week and I did not expect anything good. I just wanted to score points in the series and keep the lead in the M40 category.

So it did go maybe even better expected.
I was in the lead duo until we hit the final paved section after the trail but by then I was  done and also I can not really run downhill because the hamstring immediately gave me "warning".
When the eventual winner started pushing the pace, I know I was doomed to lose and let him go without any resistance. From 4k onwards I just cruised down to the finish line avoid too much damage in the downhill section.
So I ended up 2nd Overall (1st Master) in 18'09" (I lost 35" in 1.2k....). Full results HERE
At the end the comparison with previous seasons is not bad:

2007: 18'16" (with was a promising season debut and 3 months later I was going to score my Marathon PB of 2h38')
2008: 17'46" (yes... I was really in good shape..)
2009: no
2010: 18'09"

So the logical inference would be that I am in sub 2h40' marathon shape... but in reality I never run more than 20k.. so it would still need a lot of specific endurance training to reach that level.
Anyway I do not see myself taking the start line of a marathon this year since from next week we will have another member in the family, so for a while I will focus elsewhere from running...
...it will be also a good reason to get rest and nurse my hamstring...

Nice photo album from Ps Brown... the start (in steep uphill_



... here I am cruising to finish line
Thanks to PS Brown for the nice album

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wk 37 - tightness...

Not much to say apart that the tightness in my hamstring is definitely affecting my training... I just go ahead in maintenance mode and it is probably time to take care of this nagging injury in a more serious way...

MON: usually monday MOS loop (16k). I went easy until halfway and then I tried to push a bit more but the hamstring was tight so I went on easy to the end...

TUE: in Dongguan... 10k easy

WED: bloody hot and humid... I run around 14k which felt like 30k...

THU: Dongguan forest... also terribly hot... today all dogs were after me... I got chased several times even in spots where it was "dog less" before... total around 16k ... felt exhausted

FRI: HK very easy recovery run 11k... forced myself to run slowly

I also managed to book a visit with the PT, who confirmed that there is a point of tightness in the hamstring.
After a very painfull deep-tissue massage, it was also time for agopuncture...



NO COMMENT.....


SAT: despite the warning of the PT that I should have taken easy for a couple of days, I went for an already planned hard workout... supposed 5x2000m at HMP...
I hit the target of 7'10"-7'15" for the first 3, then the hamstring tightned up and I bagged the workout...
total 21k

SUN: 12km easy with progression... hamstring felt really better but I did not pushed too much

TOTAL : 83Km

Now i will try to take it easy until the hamstring is healed and hope to make another session of PT if the work schedule allows...
there are a bunch of short races in the next days and so it makes sense to be fresh...but more on that on the next post...

to close, I found a nice album from Peter on the last race.
nice sequence of shots on our sprint for the 3rd to 5th place...

here I am still in 4th with 100m to go...




sprint to death... and got overtook with 30m to go...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wk 36 - another good race and a tight sprint

I am start to feel more and more "stronger" by the day. Maybe is because the combo temperature+humidity is getting slightly better or maybe because of the cumulated training until now...

MON: usual "MaOnShan" loop.. it is becoming my monday's habit. It is a good 16km loop and there is a gorgeous chilled water fountain at mid-way... the last 7km are also well marked every 500m, so it makes the perfect setting for running easy for the first 8k, take a good drink and then crank up the speed in the way back...
around 4'20" for the first half, then I upped the pace to 4'00" flat for a good medium effort...
hamstring still slightly tight, so I started a combo of pills (mio-relaxant + ibuprufen)

TUE: felt well recovered from yesterday, so I went for a interval training session.
I left orthotics+trainers at home to give a try on what would have happened in racing flats ....
so 5x1000m with 1'30" standing recovery, along the river in Shatin
I felt much easier than expected and after setting a 3'25" for the 1st, I run by sensation without checking the splits...
3'25"
3'17"
3'17"
3'16"
3'20"
the recovery was very good with HR dropping back to "rest" state...
Excellent workout. Very likely I can target a 16'40" at Saturday's 5K race

WED: insanely hot and humid... I crawled around the streets of Dongguan. for 13k...
THU: weather much better after a thunderstorm. I got up late so I just went around the block in Dongguan for  another 13k.
some 6-7strides at the end... my personal observation is that my strides are around 2'45" pace and I almost feel like the legs are out of control... while a top runner can do 10k at that pace.....

FRI: tought night with the kids... got up late so I clocked only 7k easy

SAT: RACE DAY
2nd leg of the Avohk 5k series... I felt very motivated because this course has always been very "friendly"
2006: 5th place, but I was not yet the same runner I am now...
2007: 1st place... I will never forget the kick I did in the last 400m and the awkward sensation of winning a race for the 1st time...
2008: 2nd place... run a fantastic race with a monster 5k PB of 15'51". I was really at my peak back then...
2009: not run :-((

for this time, I did not have any winning ambitions, but I really wanted to run well and see if my progression is going on....

luckily, it was still drizzling after a major thunderstorm so the temperature was more reasonable (27C...99%Rh), but that made the course quite slippery.

We started fast and a new face (for me) disappeared immediately from sight at an astonishing speed. The guy went on to win in 14'22" which is an amazing time for that course....
I come to know later that he is  former Australian national with PB of 3'45" on 1500m....
Anyway I touched first hand what a real runner is...

back to us (normal humans...) ... we run in a pack of 4. The road was quite slippery and on a couple of case I felt my feet was ready to slip away....
running that fast on that slippery and twisting road, avoiding at the very last moment a collision with the occasional dog-walkers, joggers and so on I felt like I was trying to ride a bike at full speed into a Mongkok street on Sunday afternoon......

The first 2k were blazing fast, then we settled into a more "comfortable" pace until the last km where one of us  did charge away with a good progression while we were left in 3 fighting for a sprint finish...

Honestly speaking I did feel still something left in the tank, but simply my legs could not go faster than that... obviously I am not used to faster paces and I was simply hanging there already in my 5th gear...

We were really fighting stride for stride and with 200m to go I did kick, but then I got overtook again at 100m to go and I was done...
5th Overall, 1st Master ... great fight until the last meter with my neighbour and sometimes-running partner E.
time: 16'35"... which is satisfactory and in line with my expectations...
(OMG... how could I have run 15'51" here in 2008... that is a 10"/k faster)
Nice pic of the final sprint...



SUN: after a hard night with the kids waking up one after another, I simply slept...

TOTAL: 70k in 6 workouts..(a bit on the low side but the quality was good)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wk 35 Summary - unremarkable

93 Km in 8 workouts. I was able to sneak out for a second evening easy workout on a evening and all added up it come a decent mileage, considering that I am not running any longer than 16-17km at most every time.

Since the hamstring was still tied up, I did not want to risk with any fast workout, so I just run around at easy/moderate pace for the whole week with some progression.

I start to be suspicious of my orthotics... they really affect the stride somehow and especially once they get full of sweat they feel awkard (like stomping in a puddle at every step...).

Next Saturday I have the 2nd leg of the 5K series. I hope to feel decently ok since the race is on my "lucky course" (2 voctories, 1 time 2nd...)

to close... the summer issue of the HK Runner Magazine carried a good race report on the race I did last May and it was pleasant to be portrayed again in action
(Note: I have the leg like those of a Rugby player... I definitely need to thin up... with cycling I added 2kg of muscles in the legs...)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Week 34/2010 Summary and (nice) 5K race report

I do not know exactly why, but last week marked a turning point in my training.

Maybe because  of the weather or maybe I started to "absorb" the workload, but for the first time I felt I was RUNNING and not crawling.
If I would have to re-conduct everything into figures, I would rely on the "Training Load" plug-in of SportTrack : when I raced on 15/8, the TTSB (Training Stress Balance) was on the severe overtraining territory, becuase I was ramping up the load quite quickly. A couple of days rest, some easy runs plus the smoothing of the training load had brought back the TSS into the right zone... therefore with a decent level of freshness.

MONDAY: 13.5Km all easy effort, but end up at 4'20" average pace
TUESDAY: 14.5Km start easy with 5km progression run at medium effort... felt excellent, another 4'20" average pace with very low bpm
WEDNESDAY: 15.5Km very easy in the wild in Dongguan...struggled because of the heat
THURSDAY: I was in Shanghai (Fengxian District) for work and managed a 11km easy run under a baking sun.   It was a crappy road along the sea with no shadow at all and warm breeze... I was just hoping to getting done

FRIDAY: the return from Shanghai was a classical "airport horror story"

- 15.45 (on thursday): boarding for 16.15 take-off, flight CZ to Shenzhen
- 16.15: announcement that take off will be delayed because a passenger is missing so they must download his checked baggage
- 16.30: thunder and lighting on the horizon
- 16.45: announcement that take off will be delayed because of the thunderstorm (it did not help that on the day before there was an air crash in Heilongjiang because of bad weather... so obviously now they are taking a no-risks approach)
- 20.00: after 4 hours sitting on the plane, we are disembarked and told to wait until further notice. Rain is pouring down in droves.... the airport is a mess because all flight were suspended, so it was a fight just to find an empty seat to camp
- 00.00: boarding again. Rain stopped. We should be #2 at take off, so should be over soon...
- 01.00: we are not moving.... passengers are getting very angry and insulting openly the crew and ground staff.... seems they were is a mismatch between the passengers on board and the boarding list. The crew is totally INCAPABLE to manage such a simple issue...they do recount but with all the passangers going around the plane (!!). they do not sit down to match the boarding lists with the seats, etc... real crap
- 02.30: after the discovery that they did not recount an infant (who was in the passenger list), the arcane is solved and we take off...
- 04.30: land in Shenzhen... total delay 10 hours...
- 05.30: arrive home... I did not sleep a minute and the sun is already rising...
take shower and get ready for work...

So you can expect that I did not feel too much like going for a run with 30C outside...

SATURDAY: 5K race in TaiTam...

Actually some of you might remember that 2 years ago I won this race...but the situation was totally different.. I was really well trained then while now I would have already been happy to take the Master victory and score points in the "Adidas 5K series".

Well, it did went much better then expected...the course is a tough beast with 1.2k flat, 1k on a very hard climb, small loop at the top and then come back...
Praise to the organizer for including also a Junior category, to give some deserved space to the next generation of runners....

(Thanks to Victor Lee for these nice pics !!)



After the flat start (I am #126) we tackle the climb in a large group and little by little we lose pieces until I realize that we are only 2 at the front .
I was labouring VERY HARD, but I could not expect differently since the climb is really steep (many runners slowed down to a walk).
While tackling the downhill I felt already a bit doomed because the hamstring was still tight so I could not risk to dive into the downhill at full speed... I tried to work on the cadence, but I was losing ground and by the bottom I was already 50m behind.
Well... I hoped to be able to make up some ground, but I simply "bombed",...I was totally done and closed the last Km in damage control, scoring 2nd OA and 1st Master.

this is the face of someone hurting badly...
Nice Album from Victor Lee



The disappointment of losing out, was mitigated by 2 facts:

1) In 2008 I won in 18'05" and the 2nd come into 18'25". This time the winning time was also 18'05" and I closed in 18'25" as well... (nice coincidence...).
So I am closer to my 2008 levels much more than I expected.

2) I chatted with the winner, who was a total unknown. I found out that he is a new comer to HK and we both run the Fukuoka Marathon 2007, but his time was 2h25' (!!!!). He was still not fully trained yet, but all the same I felt like losing to someone of real good caliber

Race results are HERE

As last race here, I wore the Polar HR right to see what is my maximum HR right now and calibrate the training...


quite interesting is the comparison with 2 years ago in terms of HR levels during the race.

Average HR: 188 (2008) vs 185 (2010)
% of time HR over 190: 50% (2008) vs 25% (2010).

So in such a short race the training allows the body to push more and sustain a higher level of fatigues without the shut down effect of the central governor. Even if my 2008 training was mainly geared to marathon, I was still more conditioned to work near my maximum.

SUNDAY: rest , which was a mistake because the legs would have needed a slow jog to toss out the soreness due to the downhill... by the end of the day I felt the quadriceps like stones...

So a good week and definitely a step in the right direction. I need now to get more focused on my training and dedicate more time to increase the lactate threshold.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 33/2010 Summary

I must thank everybody for the kind words on my Sunday's race.
It was cool to be back to a real race after almost 2 years...

But in reality, looking at the race with a more detached analysis, I really sucked...

End of May, I run that 5KRace and ended up in 16'59" only based on a good cycling training and some easy runs. That time equates to a 35'20" on 10k using the McMillan calculator.
(I would say the weather was slightly better in May, but only a couple of degrees lower)
So running 36'50" is really slow in comparison .... especially after 6 weeks of training based on only running
I can not say that I "underperformed" the race because also all the training leading to last Sunday was pointing to a 36'xx" performance...
The issue was that I was sucking in training and the race went along the same lines.

I still need to figure out the reason because it is pointless to train in the wrong direction. I might be that I had problems to absorb the workload (running 80km weekly after months of no running...), but suggestions are welcome...

Weekly Summary:

MON: 6km on tradmill
TUE: no running, unplanned
WED: I ended up at the Sport Ground  in the early evening and went for 800m intervals at 10k pace, with 400m recovery jog.
I was clocking around 2'50"-2'55" with moderate to hard effort and that was exactly what I was looking for,,,
unfortunately in my 6th interval I slightly pulled my hamstring in a kind of sprint...
THU: jogged 10k harmstring was tight
FRI: rest (my daughter's first day of school ... took time to get her ready)
SAT: I planned a longer tempo run, but ended up miserably...
I was shooting for 9km @3'50" pace but started maybe a bit too fast and after 4k I felt the hamstring tight plus i was already cooked, so i aborted the workout...
no point to push when the body is not there...
I am a little concerned about the hamstring because is not easy to treat
SUN: best run in ages... I just wanted to go steady and easy with some kind of progression in the pace and for the first time in months I was able to keep 4'20"/k with very low bpm until I started to push a bit harder @4'05" which still felt reasonably easy. Total 16km

TOTAL: only 60km for the week, with 1 poor workout and 1 decent steady run...

NOTE: I throw my old light weight trainers in the garbage and switched to a pair of Mizuno Elixir 4 (which I won at a race 2 years ago...., no I think the current model is Elixir 5).
These shoes are simply great, they feel the right amount of cushioning but very responsive.
....as I mentioned time ago, I stopped using heavy trainers like Asics Kayano because together with orthotics was like running in boots and I think was a major reason of heel striking.
With lightweight trainers or even better racing flats, the stride is more natural and more "mid foot landing".
I do not buy into the barefoot running fashion because the foot was yes done to run barefoot, but on unpaved roads... probably the Lord did not plan the foot to run on concrete all the time...
so some cushioning and protection is needed, but as less as possible... when I run in flats or lightweight trainers, I feel the stride much more efficient and mid-foot landing

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chung Hing Cup Race Report


Yesterday I had the pleasure to be back to real racing in occasion of the 10th Chung Hing Cup Race.

A mid-August race in HK means only a sure thing: extremely hot and humid.... yesterday was no exception with a light rain before the start which stops right in time for a strong sum to create a "steamer" effect on the ground....
in 2008 I had a strong showing in this race finishing 4th overall in a very good 34'57"... but that was 2 years, 2 kids, a tendinitis and many miles ago...

For this time, I was already happy to be at the start and to use the race as gauge of my training progress.
For the occasion, I wore the uniform of a Charity club based in Italy "Andrea e i Corsari della Maratona" from Piacenza: it was set-up in memory of Andrea, a young child dead of the age of 15 for a rare disease. They collect funds for the cure of tumors in children and youth, so it was really a good cause and they deserve all the support.

The race was perfectly organized as usual by Mr Li of HKMP and 1100 brave souls took the start line.
In absence of our own local Kenyan, a sudanese-canadian in visit ripped us (local runners) and won the race in a modest 35'04" (well... it was like running in a steam cooker...).

my race.... well... I was more or less aware that my training has just started and I could not expect to be nowhere near the level of 2 years ago.
I would have been already happy to score something like 36'xx" and have a decent placement in the Master cat.

Since running is a very predictable equation between training, talent and final result... I ended up in 36'50", 3rd Master and 10th Overall.
So no particular regrets and no particular over-achievement....
Full results are HERE

A photo of the start


I had to shove to find my pace because I did not start with the elite runners but quite soon I found the right position and got into the right gear.
The first 5K were a decent 18', but the way back to the finish line was long... very long and not only for me....

I can not avoid noticing that my legs are quite bulky, probably still the effect of the cycling training.

For the Master category, we end up very close for 2nd and 3rd place but I was really out of ammunition for the long sprint...

The price presentation was "lavish" with hundreds of prizes offered by the title sponsor (which is a sport goods shop which is almost impossible to find...but a real hard core runners place...)

Lastly... we (with my neighbour E. and another runner) won the team race which was for a 150USD voucher...





Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dongguan running route - the forest

I mentioned about this route before, but today I grabbed the Garmin on purpose to share the actual route with whom might be interested.

As the "world's factory city" Dongguan is not particularly famous for her green areas... but in reality there are some, just that nobody comes here if not for business...

So this morning, 5.40am, temperature 27C, slightly overcast I ventured for a long run all the way from Dongguan to Shenzhen Longgang through this forest road. I have not done this route since my injury, so I was also curious to see what had happened... (China changes every day...)

well... until now the run was in totally unspoilt area, green fields, lakes, small hills... no human presence apart from farmers...
So I had to swallow a tear when after 5k I saw construction equipments and the banner of "Guangdong Highway Contruction Co"..... it goes without say that in 1 year probably there will be an highway passing in the area...

Start point is at the QiYeShi Reservoir, in the eastern side of Qingxi Town (which is where I actually work/live...)
The course is partially dirt and partially concrete road and enjoys a good shadow in early morning because of the hills.
Not any tough climb, but many small hills makes for a good workout... the full return way to Longgang is 21km, but can be increased further doing a detour in a branch road in direction of Fenggang.
No 7-Eleven, Starbucks or Mama/Papa shop along the course so must carry his own water (I run with a Nathan Quickdraw handheld bottle in one hand and another normal water bottle in another....).


so enjoy the course until possible...it is still unspoilt and quiet ...



for details oriented readers, a link to the Garmin data

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 31/2010 Summary

MONDAY: crawling jogging 11km. The heat was oppressing...

TUESDAY: hit the track... I was planning to do 10x800m but in the warm-up I felt my hamstring getting tight (a lunge badly executed...), so I after 5 intervals in around 2'45" I thought it was better to jog home

WEDNESDAY: in Dongguan, run 11km on trail.. very easy pace even if the ups/downs make for some work anyway
THURSDAY: unplanned rest, due to poor planning...
FRIDAY:  it was right after an heavy storm, so the air was much better and slightly cooler (26C). Better workout in ages... 25' w/u + 10 x 1'on/1'off at strong pace, jong 6' then 10x30"on/30"off.
Total distance 18k... a real big workout and felt quite strong
SATURDAY: easy 11k
SUNDAY: 21k with some hills. It was super-hot and I lost 3-4kg of sweat during the run... a real torture...I was glad that I could still keep a decent pace even after 1hr...

Total 80km. Not a perfect week, but at least I kept a decent mileage.

Monday, August 9, 2010

in a Magazine

the local sports magazine Sport Soho features a profile article on myself....

a) I would have never expected to end up profiled in any sport magazine....
b) I would have never expected to end up in any kind of press in Chinese...

so being profiled in a Chinese Sport Magazine is really a double "Wow"...

(NOTE: the magazine itself is really interesting, full of interesting local contents (local athletes profiles, local hiking or running routes description, local sport medicine advices...) really well done.
Sometime many "regional" sport magazine are either only a reprint of articles from major magazines or a sterile collection of race results... while this Sport Soho has real content ...)

NOTE 2: I am having the article translated.... later post it here...



Thursday, August 5, 2010

behind schedule... (and Polar SW Exertion agrees)

Last night I was browsing my 2008 training  log and I could avoid noticing the huge difference in volume/intensity compared to my recent days.
I really need to crank up my training...

In early August 2008 I was already cranking 100km a week with really big workouts and long runs. Now I am still just jogging around and with only shorter workout....

A good comparison is given using the "Exertion" function in the Polar PT5 SW.
It is probably one of the most useful function of the Polar SW.

at first, it is very important to set-up the function correctly.
There are pre-set parameters, but I think it is worthy to change them.
Personally I followed the "Intensity factor" listed by Jack Daniels in his book at page 39.
I divided my HR training range in bands associated with standard training effort
(Recovery / Easy / Marathon Effort / LT / Vo2 ) and give them a intensity score according to the mentioned page (well, Daniels' table gives point by 1 bpm division, so I took a mid level for each effort band).

In the Polar PPT5 menu, you search for OPTION/ PERSON PROPERTIES / SPORT ZONES / EDIT and set-up the parameters.
Then it becomes a breeze to monitor the training load and also the breakdown of the training into different effort level...
It is much more effective as the pure check of mileage because you have a clear measure of the internal load on the body.

In June 2008, I was doing a consistent 400 points per week and reaching 600 points in August.
Now in 2010 I just barely touched 400 points for a single week...
So huge work ahead...I really need to build up momentum and motivation...


It does not help that the temperature/humidity outside is simply awful...  28C with 85/90% Rh in the early morning and then 34C-35C with 70%Rh on daytime...

From Run back by 7

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 30/2010 Summary

81 km for the week. (week before was 60k).
I  still do not capacitate myself on how I could reach 80km in a week, but since I went jogging around 45-50 minutes daily the total makes sense....


a) I feel very crappy... it might be the heat, but I feel like crawling rather than running...
early morning is already 29C and baking sun... after 20 minutes I feel already exhausted. Sunday I had to stop and squeeze the socks (advertised as quick-dry) because they are swollen with sweat...


During the longish run on Sunday, I was dreaming to be still on holiday in the Bieszczady  mountains at the border between Poland and Ukraine where we spend wonderful holidays a couple of years ago: in the early morning the temperature was around 10C at the most and running never felt easier (especially because of the great forests trails there...)


b) 80k seems a decent level for now. No need to increase mileage further until the temperature cools down a bit. Now the target is reaching a decent weekly pattern:
- Tue: AT Intervals
- Thur: sprints/strides
- Fri: 20' of hard effort (hill or flat)
- Sun: reach gradually 1h45 long run
 all other days, jogging/crawling...


If I can keep this cycle for a month, I should be back to decent form...

Friday, July 30, 2010

30-7-2010

3 workouts this week in Dongguan.
Weather was very rainy but always when I was NOT running... so hot and humid as usual...

28/7: could not go out at morning... so I managed to do 9 km around my residential area in the evening...

29/7: 13km around the industrial area (well.. all the town is industrial area...) felt VERY awful.. maybe because of the humidity but after 30 minutes I was crawling. It is also true that all the road are paved in concrete which is really hard on legs... I felt the calves like stones afterwards...

30/7: for the first time ever I run in the 清溪森林公园 (forest park). I have been here already several times by bike but never running. I headed for a smaller road hoping to make some hill intervals.
As soon as I start the hill road .. a sign warns against snakes, bugs, spiders, etc...
10 meters later I see that a huge web basically is in my way with a huge spider right in the middle... I really did it in my pants because the idea of getting stung in the middle of nowhere was not in my agenda...
It looked like the one here... (next time I will bring a camera)..
... I was freaked out for the rest of the run and managed 11k but aborted any idea to running fast... I just kept my eyes straight ahead to look for webs/spider and friends on the path...


NOTE: slacking a lot on core strengthening and stretching... I really need motivation.