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 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 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"