Archive for February, 2007

An exercise cocktail

February 28, 2007

    I did a “bikran“.

spinaltwist.jpgimg_09911.jpgIn affectionate reference to an exercise sequence that (as far as I know) is unique to me, the term bikran was coined.

Bikran is a blended word which I define as a combination of specific yoga postures, practiced in a simulated sauna — to wit Bikram Yoga — immediately following the completion of running exercise.

With a bikran, I worry less about lactic acid accumulating and lingering in my running muscles because I flush it out through 90 minutes of muscle contraction/lengthening in heat.

I have also developed a variation bikran. Between the two (2) segments of this combo, I sandwich in a 10-minute, leg-immursed ice bath. This reduces any inflammation caused by the run, before moving into the hot yoga. I call this exercise-cocktail “bikran on rocks” 😉

CAVEAT / DISCLAIMER:

    Do not attempt any of my personal exercise sequences; any attempts are done at one’s own risk.

Today: 9.01mi, 1:05:46 (av. 7:18/mi)

The footsteps of legends

February 27, 2007

I have decided that I want to be “running in the footsteps of legends“, selecting the inaugural Eugene marathon as the event to patronize this spring. The race will take place on April 29, 2007, exactly 60 days from today.
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Why Eugene? I’m a sucker for an eye-catching logo and I think this footstep imprint is a hip design that ties-in perfectly to the theme of “running in the footsteps of legends”.

More importantly though, I am drawn to this event because organizers are promoting the course as flat which is a pre-requisite for my discriminating tastes.

As a bonus, and as most running fans would know, Eugene is steeped in running folklore, being the place where legendary runner Steve Prefontaine et al ran many stellar performances and also where Pre met his demise in a single-vehicle crash.

images2.jpgEugene is also the location where Pre’s U of O coach Bill Bowerman invented the waffle sole which spawned into one of the all time classic running shoes, the Nike Waffle Trainer — I got my first pair about 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, today’s training was dampened by a bout of self-doubt. I had been building my weekly tempo runs, adding a mile each week. Today, I was scheduled to do nine (9) miles. I only got half way through when I let fatigue get to me, lost my focus and stopped. At least I completed the full distance but not until after indulging in a rest.

Note to self: Next time run through it; if necessary, reduce the pace/incline but complete the scheduled distance, without stopping.

Today: Tempo (TM) 1miwu; 4.5mi@9.3(6:27)w1%29:01[3:00]; 4.5mi@9.3(6:27)w.5%29:01

A “sincere” attempt

February 25, 2007

images1.jpg arts_visart2_2043.jpg In recognition of the legendary race between Roger Bannister and John Landy (1954, Vancouver), Jamie Hilder entitled his exhibition: The Miracle Mile (Charles H. Scott Gallery, Granville Island, until March 11, 2007)


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The exhibition is kind of performance art, documented over the period of one year, where Hilder meticulously logged his daily fitness/dietary regime, juxtaposed to photographs showing the daily transformations in his physique and plays video footage of the rigours his training — including ice baths and vomit sessions — all for the express purpose of making a “sincere” attempt to go from a complete non-runner to a sub-four minute miler.

The climax of the exhibition is a large wall-projection video of Hilder’s ultimate time trial, recorded by camera leading him around four (4) laps of the track. The footage is complete with a digital display of his elapsed time, building the suspense with each passing lap as he appears on pace… ultimately, crossing the finish line a fraction of a second under four (4) minutes… Wow, now that was astonishing !!

My own training today was a tough hill circuit. I pushed myself (without vomiting) and drew strength from the images of how Hilder had pushed his own limits.

Today: Hills 10.53mi, 1:18:43 (av. 7:29/mi) {incl. ascents 4×1.11mi (elev. 112′), 7:48, 7:49, 7:41, 7:31}

p.s. I noted Hilder’s utilization of artistic license: with each (real time) minute elapsed, only 48 seconds passed on the display clock !

Nike: the marketing master

February 24, 2007

Nike recently opened its (second) Vancouver Runner’s Lounge. This one is located on prime retail space, along Coal Harbour, overlooking Stanley Park. Yet, they offer nothing for sale.

Instead, runners (and non-runners alike) may visit and try out Nike shoes/apparel — outside or on their treadmill — surf the net with their large-screen iMacs, wear-test an iPod Nano, refuel with a cold Gatorade and top it off with a massage to boot. (I did it all)

nzme3-thumb.jpgAs I arrived in the cold rain, I thought this place was too good to pass by. I asked to try a light, neutral trainer and was given the Nike Air Zoom Elite 3. I took them out for ~8mi, which I sandwiched between the ~6.5mi to/from.

I must admit that for about 10 years I have had an aversion to Nike shoes, ever since those little air pockets in the soles kept popping like bubble wrap. But, I gotta say, these Zoom Elites were a smooth ride and I would consider them next time when doing the pre-purchase comparison routine.

Now that’s effective marketing: offering a trial run, literally, to convert (potentially, at least) a competitor’s brand-loyal consumer — good job Nike.

Today: 21.02mi, 2:53:30 (av. 8:15/mi)

Moving violation

February 23, 2007

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I have run Waterside Walk and all along False Creek hundreds of times, never paying attention to signage, preferring to soak in the stunning views.

During my interval session today, I noticed several of these signs, indicating that the speed limit for the entire pathway is max. 15 kph (confirmation here).

Good thing there were no radar traps… clearly, I was “speeding” !!

(slowest interval: 16.9 kph (10.5 mph); fastest: 17.5 kph (10.8 mph))

Today: Intervals (5×1), .5miwu, 1mi5:43[3:00], 1mi5:42[3:00], 1mi5:42[3:00], 1mi5:39[3:00], 1mi5:32[3:00], 1micd

Matcha run

February 21, 2007

I had matcha on my mind today.
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Since I was scheduled to do a short run anyway, I turned it into a matcha run, trotting down to Muzi, my local merchant, to pick up my supply.

As you may know, matcha is Japanese green tea. It is ground into a fine powder and ultimately dissolved into beverage form. Touted for its many health benefits, matcha green tea is simply my favourite post-run treat.

After picking up my stash, I prepared this splendid matcha latte, using ceremonial grade powder, 1% milk, slightly sweetened, extra hot — perfect!

Today: 5.26mi, 37:49 (av. 7:12/mi)

The irresistible urge (re)emerges

February 20, 2007

I was eager to lace up my sneakers today — yesterday having been a post-race, rest day — so I did an early run. It felt just about right both during and at completion but, as I would later come to realize, it hadn’t satiated the urge. So, I did what any rational runner would do — a double.

The comments of Avia’s roadkill bird are apropos:

    “… it’s all running…”

Today:

    (1) 9.03mi, 1:05:58 (av.7:36/mi); and
    (2) 8.00mi, 1:03:28 (av.8:14/mi)

Heavy breathing, a vigorous surge, and I’m spent

February 18, 2007

    but then there was a race to run !

That’s an old joke — actually, I ran the race utilizing what I had of aerobic power (heavy breathing), punctuated with an adrenalene kick to the finish line (vigorous surge) at which point I had nothing left (spent).

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This was my first visit to Fort Langley. It is a quaint town, chock full of heritage buildings and historic sites. The welcome sign reads, the “Birthplace of British Columbia” *. Today, it served as the host venue for a very hilly half-marathon.

The weather prognosticators were wrong forecasting showers. While the course was wet from rain the night before, not a drop fell during the race, and the temperature was a perfect six (6) degrees Celsius at gun time. The best part of the course was its scenery, much of the path we followed alternated along either plush meadows or forest edges. As a bonus though, we had to take a dirt trail through Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre. I noticed a flock of ostriches looking suitably unimpressed by our rather pedestrian paces.

I found the first couple of miles quite easy, and my splits reflect that I was cruising at a quicker pace than planned. After that, I tried wherever possible to draft off of runners but, because of the extreme disparity between my up-hill and down-hill capability right now, keeping with anyone consistently was impossible. Clearly I am not hill-fit, as I struggled on the ascents, helpless to the runners who often passed me on those sections. I then had to work extra hard down the backs to regain my place. However, I don’t think I really made up on the declines what I lost on the inclines — you never do!

I found this to be the most challenging half-marathon I’ve ever run because rarely were there any flat portions. Instead, at every corner (lots of those too) there was a hill to contend with, several steep others more gradual. The steepest incline was a real doozy, situated at about mile 11 and stetching a full mile!

Anyway, I did my best on the day, leaving all my effort on the road. As it turned out, I turned in a respectable 1:25:50. While I didn’t reach my goal of sub-1:25:00, for a hilly course, I have to be pleased.

Today: Race 13.1mi, 1:25:50 **; 2miwu

* Curiously, the moniker “Birthplace of British Columbia” is apparently also claimed, as its own, by Yuquot (Friendly Cove). This gives a whole new meaning to the term “sister cities” — separated at birth? 🙂

** Splits /mi:

    1. 6:07, felt easy, pulled myself back every time I checked my pace
    2. 6:22, still feeling good, perfect pace
    3. 6:24, settling into my pace
    4. 6:44, out through Mountain View, moderate incline
    5. 6:13, back through Mountain View, moderate decline
    6. 6:42, incl. a sharp up hill
    7. 7:10, long gradual inclines, for the first time, I notice my legs tightening up
    8. 6:43, hills still rolling up
    9. 6:10, finally, the down side payback
    10. 6:25, working hard to maintain a decent pace
    11. 7:34, encompasses part of the doozy up, I’ve got little power to get up
    12. 6:24, tail end of the doozy up (I’m shuffling) but beginning the glide down (see photo above)
    13. 6:17, tail end of the descent and a slight incline toward the finish line
    14. 0:35, final .1mi dash

Psych

February 17, 2007

Psych: to make (as oneself) psychologically ready especially for performance — often used with uppsyched herself up for the race”.

Today I registered for the Historic Half Marathon (going tomorrow). banner_2ndannual2.jpg

I feel like I’m in decent shape right now and, best of all, injury-free.

Since December, the weather has not been pleasant (usually raining but some snow too) which has caused me to log more mileage on the treadmill than outdoors. As a result, I don’t have a feel for my race-readiness on the road. Tomorrow will be a good indicator of where I’m at.

I ran for only a few miles today and then topped it off with a set of striders. The theory behind this is, firstly, just to get the blood pumping through the leg muscles with the short, slow-pacer. After that, the striders act to remind the muscles of what very quick leg turnover feels like without accumulating any lactic acid, due to the short distances.

Lastly, I did some quasi-visualizations, burning into my brain two (2) important race strategies that I will try to employ. Start out conservatively. No matter how easy the first couple of miles may feel, aim for ~6:20/mi. Then, latch on to some pacers, work together and benefit from drafting.

As astutely observed by Avia’s roadkill bird:

    You gotta win the race between the ears first bunny“.

My goal is to go sub 1:25:00 (~6:28/mi), which should be a challenge — only managed to do that once before, more than five (5) years ago!

Today: 3.2mi, 27:30 plus 5×100

Eyeing Historic Half

February 15, 2007

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I am considering running a half-marathon this weekend. I don’t know much about this one except that it is in a rural area which is not without hills.
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Weather forecast is not enticing either: Cloudy with 70 percent chance of showers. Low 4. High 8.

Today: Intervals (TM) (4×200[400], 2×400[600], 1×800[800], 2×300[400]) 0:30, 0:30, 0:30, 0:31, 1:12, 1:12, 2:27, 0:51, 0:51; 1miwu, 1micd; tot ~5mi

Elbow room

February 14, 2007

The gym I use is packed with exercise equipment, leaving users little elbow room. The ramifications of these cramped quarters were never more obvious than today. I was well into my treadmill work out — a simulated hill fartlek — when I noticed a guy start using the rowing machine, situated about two (2) feet to my immediate left. stamina_ats_1410_air_rower_rowing_machine.jpg

He vigorously whirled that spin wheel but it only lasted for a few minutes before he switched and started doing light weights and stretches. My first thought was that rower-guy either went out too hard or he’s got little endurance.

It wasn’t until after I had completed my own milling, as I courteously wiped off the machine for the next user, that I was overcome with pangs of guilt and embarassment. All around the rowing machine was so much sweat-splatter that it looked like a rain cloud had just burst above it!

Just then it occurred to me why rower-guy had abandoned his workout. Sometimes, I disgust myself. Sorry rower-guy.

Today: Fartlek (TM) 4mi@7-9.5w1%-2.5%, 30:45; +core strength

Bionic… running tights?

February 13, 2007

Have you heard the buzz about these “bionic running tights”?
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Apparently, “these things are like [the] Breathe Right strip for your crotch.”

I kid you not, check it.

… okay, just so I understand, these Lycra® leotards have snore-relief attributes?

… but, I’m confused, are they intended for exercise or naps? … are we talk’n athletic apparel or pajamas?

And another thing, call me old-school but I believe that the term “bionic” should be used only in reference to mechanical bits and limbs, à la Steve Austin.

p.s. I love the jingle, performed by the late Dusty Spingfield.

Today: Tempo (TM) 8mi@9.3(6:27), 51:35; .5miwu, .5micd

“Just keep moving”

February 12, 2007

Season 2 of ChasingKIMBIA kicked-off today. It’s a peek inside the training routines of some phenomenal marathon runners.

The coach, with his German accent, is a very cool guy. On some long runs, I repeat his words like a mantra: “Just keep moving Sammy, just keep moving” (previous episode from Season 1):

Today: Rest

Slow feet

February 11, 2007

I ran today, literally with slow feet. But that’s okay, it was just a recovery run. I trotted down to the half-marathon event that ran today to do a little spectating as well.

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The winner displayed fast feet, completing the course in 1:04 ‘n change, which was superb considering this year’s modified course featured a 66 meter (210’) hill challenge.

Incidentally, I would have signed up for this one but, when registration opened back on Nov. 6, 2006, the event (capped at 2,000 entrants) was sold out within only an hour or so. Apparently, that was another day that I had moved with slow feet.

Today: 7.04mi, 55:05 (7:58/mi)

Just desserts

February 10, 2007

img_0167.JPGIt was a struggle today, bonking about two (2) hours in to my long run and then having to suck it up over the last few miles, just to make it back home. Such perserverance deserves a reward, therefore, I baked Bernard Callebaut milk-chocolate and oatmeal cookies from scratch — just desserts, indeed.
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Today: 17.02mi, 2:22:44 (8:23/mi)