Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Japan Third - After Kenya and Ethiopia

Here in Japan where almost everyone is lean, there must be something to the food which we can eat without limit and not gain an ounce. The Japanese cuisine and food culture is very rich and is based on centuries of experience. General meals are very diverse and contain a variety of minerals, vitamins and healthy calories. If we fry things it is just for a short wile and often vegetables and fish. The raw fish we eat as Sushi and Sashimi provide a perfect source of low fat protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Sometimes fish are served with soft bones which produce a source of calcium.

I came across a list of yearly rankings of marathons which shows the fastest time run in that year with the runner’s name, country, date and location. When you click on the year you can find a list of the 200 fastest marathon runs in that year. Obviously the list is topped by the Kenyans and Ethiopians but as a good third there are many Japanese runners with great elite level finish times.

I think that the slim bodies of Japanese runners combined with the samurai spirit make a fierce marathon competitor from which I hope to learn many things in the future.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Profile

As nobody knows who and where I am, it might be time to shine some light on that subject. I’m Dutch, yeah that’s right, Dutch courage, Dutch wife, Dutch oven, etc., I’ve heard it all before and it’s very funny. However, I’ve been living in Japan since 2001 and enjoying the food the people and the culture very much. After former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi left office , I’ve seen a bunch of prime-ministers come and pass and have become increasingly discontent with the Japanese leadership and have lost all interest in the current political agenda. In daily life we can see that the current youth has no sense of direction and has little willingness to improve the situation. But that isn’t really relevant talk on this “RUNNING BLOG” of mine, sorry.

I started running in 2008 after my asthma which I had from birth was cured with ten small pills of homeopathic medicine. My joy was great and naturally became interested in doing sports which I had never been able to do before. I was talked into running by a fellow colleague who had been running for some time. For the first time in my life physical activity didn’t hurt and I actually enjoyed it.

I started running 2 or 3 times a week and saw my stamina build up every week. Then I was encouraged to sign up for a marathon race here in Japan in my own prefecture (Ibaraki, which is about 100K north of Tokyo). From the time I began running to the day of the Kasumigaura marathon was about 7 months. Since the first few moths I didn’t have any kind of base, my training schedule was a little tight. I was able to survive the marathon just under 6 hours.

Now I’m working on building a solid base after injuring myself a couple of times… First I was blessed with a runners knee for which my physician prescribed me with TWO MONTHS of rest and rehabilitative exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee to give the joints more stability. Everything worked out very fine and I haven’t had any worries since. Another four months into seriously building up my base mileage again I bumped my toes against the door because I was in a hurry to get out and back before the typhoon come into town. My toes were seriously bruised and altogether I was on the sofa with my legs up for another month.

I’m very (overly) motivated to run more marathons and if I can avoid any major injuries I hope to run a 4:00 hour race and eventually a sub 3:30 marathon race. Currently I’m training at a 5:30 Kilometer (8:30 Mile) pace, which would finish me sub 4:00 hours.

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Re-thinking my Long runs

In preparation of my mid-April marathon I've been obsessed by regaining my running base which was around 40K a week with 10K and 12K long runs. So after taking the whole month of December off for a silly toe injury, I hoped to just jump back to the point where I left off at week 2 of my intermediate training schedule. However, the 12K long run on Sunday put too much stress on my calves. Aerobically there was no problem and there seemed to be enough stamina to do proper cool-down and take the dog out for a 40min walk later in the day. Taking Mondays off wasn't enough and Tuesdays I ran in pain. I continued repeating week 6 during the month of January and in February I got nervous about my long runs. So I decided to lower mid-week averages and take that as recovery and prepare for increased long runs. I thought that if I could get my long runs to around 30K by the end of March I'd be ready for enduring 42.195 on race day.

Ignoring the 10% rule which is to prevent injury I ran 15K on valentines-day... it still hurts my right calf after one week. I posted my philosophy on the running times forum and got great advice from many kind people. As most, if not all, wrote that it would be better to build a base and forget about marathon racing in April, it gave me courage to give up my strive for running through pain in order to get race-ready. I knew it was difficult, and almost impossible to get physically ready by race-day in April, mentally I was (am) feeling very strong and ready to run the full marathon at any time.

Thanks to all you kind people out there, I have received your kind advise and will turn training back one nudge and contact the April marathon race committee to change my full marathon to a half marathon.

Last 10 days of running:

3-Feb     4.3K      25:30

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting back in shape

After a troublesome winter I'm finally trying to get a steady weekly increase which doesn't injure my calf again. I started taking protein supplement after every run and before going to bed on a long run day. The protein helps a lot to repair damaged muscle tissue and ligaments. After long runs and hard runs I either put an ice pack on my knees and calves or while taking a shower I cool my lower legs with running water which is very cold this winter.
Hopefully I can pull out a 10 miler this afternoon. It's been a good four months since I injured my foot and then my calves which forced me to pause my marathon preparation training.
I am getting nervous already for my marathon race in April. I really want to get under 4 hours. My current runs are mostly around 5.30 per kilometer so if i can keep that pace throughout the race I'll be save...