Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two Kinds of Quiet and Other Random Thoughts

(From Random Thoughts About Change)
Since I call my blog "Random Thought While Running," I decided that, perhaps, today I should post some random thoughts. Some of these I had while running; some I had while eating lunch; some I just had.

  • The quiet when my wife is not here (she's currently in the US with her Mom) doesn't have the same quality as quiet when she's here. The latter is full of love and support and life. The former is just quiet.
  • SQUIRREL!
  • Reading a book in order to write a review of the book is quite different from reading a book for pleasure.
  • SQUIRREL!
  • Did you know that there are life lessons to be learned in the app, Bejeweled 2 (iPhone)? I'll write about those another day.
  • PIZZA! (Just arrived from Pizza Inn in 50 minutes rather than the 1 hour that I was told. Tikka Chicken and Hawaaian. Yum!)
  • When you're tired, molehills become mountains. True in life and just as true when running.
  • SQUIRREL!
  • Loquats are slippery when you run across them.
Now, it's time to eat that pizza and watch a movie.

Run well, y'all,
Bob
Nairobi, Kenya

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Confidence Builder Run

I've been really slack on running the last month or so. It's a combination of it being the rainy season here in Kenya and getting to bed way too late. So, when I have run, my mileage and endurance have been way down. Anyway, this morning I headed out for about 3.5 miles before going to church and planned to run a route that has a hill that I just don't like. I was determined to run the whole route, but I've been determined before and .... Well, it was short and it wasn't fast (9:40 mpm) but I beat the hill and ran the whole way. Huge boost to my confidence. Run well, y'all, Bob Nairobi, KE

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Could You Run With Ryan Hall?

Could you keep up with Ryan Hall for 60 feet? Can Ryan keep up with himself? ASICS challenged people to virtually race Ryan.

 

Run well, y'all,
Bob
Nairobi (315x560)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Great Fall Run

Since I started seriously running (don't confuse seriously running with anything remotely resembling elite running — LOL), I had been pleased to find that after running in Nairobi, Kenya (5700') for a while, then come back to close to sea level in the US, my pace would drop by about 30 seconds per mile. Then, in July of this year, when I came to the US for my parents' 60th anniversary, that just didn't happen. I was disappointed but I really think it was the heat and humidity.

This morning, I'm back in Richmond, VA, for a meeting — arrived last night. After 32.5 hours of traveling (house to house) and 6 hours of sleep, I would have been satisfied with something close to Nairobi pace. But, I was back to not only the faster pace — 8:57 mpm versus about 9:30 mpm in Nairobi — but I also found that I didn't feel nearly so wiped out by the distance (4.76 miles). It was the perfect temperature (for me) at 48°F — a lightweight long-sleeved running shirt was just right. And, my ankle felt great — I turned it pretty badly on Monday for the second time in a month and hadn't run since.

Plus, as I was running on Ridgefield Pkwy and crossed Gayton, I saw an eagle perched on the cross on top of the steeple at the Gayton Rd Christian Church. What a neat sight — I would love to have gotten a picture but my camera and phone are not waterproof. Not much colour on the trees, yet, but I did see a tree on Pleasant Run Rd that was showing definite hints of red.

I think I'm going to enjoy running during the next 10 days or so.

Run well, y'all,
Bob A

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fast-Paced Marathons

No, the title does not refer to me. I have not run, and do not have much desire at all to run, a marathon. But, I was curious about the make-up of the elite of the elite of men's marathoners. My source is Track and Field All-Time Performances.

The top 25 all-time fastest marathoners are:
  • 16 Kenyans
  • 8 Ethiopians
  • 1 American
Of those top 25 times:
  • 3 are less than 2:04
  • 12 are between 2:04 and 2:04:59
  • 10 are between 2:05 and 2:05:23
The top 2 times are world's best, not world records:
  • Geoffrey Mutai, Kenya, 2011 Boston, 2:03:02 (downhill and point-to-point)
  • Moses Mosop, Kenya, 2011 Boston, 2:03:06 (downhill and point-to-point)
  • Haile Gebreselassie, 2008 Berlin, Ethiopia, 2:03:59 — official World Record
The only American in the top 25 is Ryan Hall at #15: 2:04:58, 2011 Boston (downhill and point-to-point)

The runners who have been in the top 25 the longest are:
  • Paul Tergat, Kenya, 2003 Berlin, 2:04:55
  • Sammy Korir, Kenya, 2003 Berlin, 2:04:56
The youngest in the list (at the time he ran) is Lelisa Gemechu Feyisa, Ethiopia, #25, 2010 Rotterdam, 2:05:23 — he was 20 year, 2 months, 10 days.

The oldest in the list (at the time he ran) is Haile Gebreselassie, Ethiopia, #3 (WR), 2008 Berlin, 2:03:59 — he was 35 years, 5 months, 10 days.

Frequency on the list:
  • 3 times: Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), Haile Gebreselassie (Ethiopia), and Tsegay Kebede (Ethiopia)
  • 2 time: Patrick Makau (Kenya)
Gives us something to aim for, no? LOL!

Run well, y'all,
Bob A
Nairobi

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's All a Matter of Perspective


Kenya Airways Boeing 767-300, 196 economy seats, 20 premier seats, 86,880 KG load capacity, 90,770 litres of fuel, flies at Mach 0.80, 62,100 lbs of thrust, 47.6 metres wingspan, 54.9 metres in length, range of 11,306 KM. This is not a puddle-jumper of an airplane — it's pretty good sized.

PERSPECTIVE: Descending into Johannesburg on a Boeing 767-300, the plane banked and the wing covered several square miles of landscape, businesses, and homes. If I had been in the air above the plane, the plane and the wing would have seemed small compared to the earth. If I had been on the ground, looking up at the plane, it would have seemed barely larger than a speck. Problems look so big when they are close -- in our face. But, often, it's a matter of perspective. The problem I face today may be relatively small in the scheme of things. See Matthew 6:25-34 (especially verse 25 and verses 33-34) and Genesis 50:20 for some interesting Bible references to the idea of perspective.

I was thinking about my running this morning when I came across those notes (above) that I had made on that plane ride. I have been running regularly now for 8+ years. Up until about 2 1/2 years ago, I was reasonably fast for my age — not age group winning fast, but satisfyingly so. But since that time, I have often felt like the more I run, the worse shape I'm in. But, it is a matter of perspective. I am running and that's good for me — Fox News did a layman's piece about 50+ year olds running that cites the evidence for that. I can't find the percentage of 57 year olds who run, but I'm in a pretty small percentage of that age group. I'm not that slow, just slower than I was at 54. I can run 4+ miles without stopping on most days — and 4 miles is not a short distance. So, buck up, Bob, and quit complaining!

This morning in Nairobi it was 61.5° and 72% humidity. I ran 4.14 miles at a 9:43 mpm pace. I wanted to quit from almost the first step, but I didn't. I ran! It's a matter of perspective.

Run well, y'all,
Bob A
Nairobi, Kenya

"For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are." -- C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

Sunday, September 11, 2011

High Altitude Training Centre, Iten, Kenya

After I wrote my post yesterday about the secrets to the success of Kenyan runners, I came across this video on the blog, Sweat Science. Interesting look at the running culture of [some of] Kenya and how some of Kenya's best train.



Ankle sore but much better. Decided to run after the morning worship service and it felt good. The run was hard. My wife asked me why — "missed 5 days running, middle of the day versus early morning, mainly because I'm old and fat" — the last made her laugh! 4.04 miles at 9:28 mpm.

Run well, y'all,
Bob A, Nairobi

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kiplagat (r), Keptoo (l), and Cherop (c) after taking gold, silver, and bronze in women's marathon in Daegu (photo by China Daily)


Over the last few years, as East Africans, particularly Kenyans and Ethiopians, have absolutely dominated distance running, there have been many, many opinions about why. The opinions range for nature to nurture and humourous to serious — their genes are better, they run fast because they think that's how they should run, they ran to school as kids, they live and train at high altitude, lions. Even I've written about this before — see this post: East African Runners.

In the recently completed World Championships in Daegu, S Korea, Kenya once again dominated at many distances from 800m to marathon — 17 medals to end up 3rd in overall medals. And, they did not get any medals (may not have even had entrants) in field events. One European competitor was quoted as saying that it was impossible to beat the Kenyans. Upon their return to Kenya, the local national newspaper, The Daily Nation, did a 2-page spread on their success and included an article about why they are so successful. I could give you the link to the article but you'd have to subscribe to the online Daily Nation to read it. If you're interested in reading the whole article, you can download it from my personal Dropbox files: We Are So Good Because We Train A Lot.

The runners and coach stated several reasons for Kenyan success:

  • Vivian Cheruiyot, gold in the women's 10,000m race, leading a 1-2-3 finish by Kenyan women: ...the secret to our success is...teamwork.
  • Peter Mathu, Kenyan head coach: ...a range of factors...powerful work ethic...running from a young age...they train al lot, they are training from January up until December...competing all over the country...traditional method of training...high-altitude country...most athletes have come from a tough background...we have just been there...we also try hard, we work hard.
Well, as the British would say, Bob's your uncle! — in their own words.

Clipping from The Daily Nation showing the Kenyan medal winners: The glorious men and women who did us proud in Daegu (PDF file).

Look out, world. Coach Mathu is predicting they will be even better in the Olympics next year and then in the 2013 Moscow World Championships!

As for my own running — well, I may live at high altitude in Kenya, but I sure don't run like them. Monday morning, I left at 5:30AM to run. Had to run early because of a meeting starting at 8:00. Well, I had a headlamp, reflective vest, knew the route like the back of my hand, etc. Still, I managed to step on the edge of the road or in a hole and turned my ankle pretty badly. After a couple of minutes of cautious testing, it didn't hurt badly. So, I finished the run and ran the 3.4 miles faster than I've done it in several weeks — 9:14 mpm. My wife said it was because every time I stepped on the injured foot, I got my weight off of it quickly. But, when I quit and got ready for the meeting, OUCH! I 'iced it: No 'R'est, but I Iced, Compressed, and Elevated before and after the meeting and for the next couple of days; I took Ibuprofen for 3 days. It's better. So, hoping to be back on the road tomorrow morning.

Run well, y'all,
Bob, Nairobi

Monday, July 25, 2011

TNRR (Totally Not Running Related): Personal Finance Software

OK, so as the title suggests, this is a totally non-running related post. But, as my blog is titled Random Thoughts While Running and I have thought about this while running (well, and it is my blog, so I can do whatever I want, right?), here 'tis.

My disclaimer is that I'm certainly no finance guru. My grasp on more than just the basics is slippery at best. I also haven't delved into the inner workings of any personal finance software package. I've used Quicken for Mac for years — my first entry was 31-Dec-1993, so almost 19 years now. I currently am at least 3 versions behind but couldn't justify the cost of upgrading since (1) Quicken 2004 was still working just fine for me and (2) none of the newer versions offered any reason for **me** to upgrade. Now, however, that's changing.

Apple has released the newest OS X operating system, Lion. It's affordable and I do see some intangible benefits of running the most current operating system. However, Quicken 2004 (and every other version through 2007, the latest) does not work under Lion. That left me with only 2 Intuit options — Quicken Essentials, which 90% or more of users who have written anything I've read say is a real dog, and Mint, an online money management tool that essentially shows whatever one's online bank site has in its history (i.e., there's no way to maintain my almost 20 year history) and which requires an internet connection to use (not a given for me in Nairobi). So, for the past 6 weeks or so, I've been looking for a Quicken replacement.

I've now boiled it down to 3 options — all 3 of which are supposed to work under Lion (OS 10.7.x):

  • Moneydance 2011: Retails for $49.99 but a 25% discount ($37.49) through MacUpdate Promo until about 3 August or with a 20% discount when you "Like" their page on Facebook. Interesting — Moneydance does not seem to be available through the Apple App store. Download a 30-day demo here: Moneydance 2011 demo
  • SEE Finance 0.9.13: Retails for $29.99. The trial software can be downloaded here: SEE Finance demo
  • iBank 4.2.4: Retails for $59.99 through Apple's App Store. You can download a 30-day trial here: iBank 4.2.4 demo
Last night, I downloaded the most recent version of each and installed them in order to start testing.

My first task was to export my Quicken data as a QIF file. To its credit, my prehistoric version of Quicken did that without a hitch. Then, I imported the data into each program. Basically, that also worked very well. SEE Finance actually handled it best. I haven't found any errors in the import in any of the 3 programs except for iBank. iBank does not show the balance for my EdwardJones investment accounts — not sure why that is nor what to do about it. Moneydance 2011 seems to have imported everything without errors but I can't figure out how to change the account type for any of the accounts — it imported my annuity accounts as bank accounts and I want to change them to investment accounts. SEE Finance also imported the annuity accounts as bank accounts but it was quite simple to change them to investment accounts.

I also like the look of iBank least of all three programs. There's nothing really wrong with the look, I just prefer the others. Moneydance has a nice Home page view that shows a great summary of one's financial position. I don't like large text on my computer screen, so the default font size is a bit in–you–face for me. I can reduce the font size for the main pane but not for the account list pane.

iBank's view is a check register type of view. There's no real summary page though you can choose to show a simple summary at the bottom of the account list (Money you have/Money you owe/Total).

I like the look of SEE Finance best. But, I really think that's because of the default font and size, which can probably be changed in Moneydance. From an information perspective, the Moneydance overview page wins hands-down.

All 3 programs can be customized via the Preferences pane. The Preference pane for iBank is the simplest and offers the least control. It has 3 tabs: General, Appearance, Advanced. Each one has limited options and the Advance tab only offers a single option — how iBank's built-in browser identifies itself.

The Preference panel for SEE Finance operates in a manner similar to Apple's System Preferences. While it requires a bit more mouse and clicking than that of Moneydance, it seems to offer the most options for customization (that may well be an illusion). Like Apple's System Preferences, clicking on a category opens that category in the window — to get back to the category options, you have to click "Show All".

The Preference panel for Moneydance seems to cover all the bases. Because it is a true tab-based window, it reduces the clicking. And, it's the only one to offer control of printing preferences.

One thing that seems to be unique about Moneydance is its open-API programming. That allows third-party developers to write extensions that can be incorporated into Moneydance. That opens the potential for Moneydance capabilities to be expanded and there seem to be 15 extensions currently available, including one called "Credit Card Payoff Calculators" which, according to one reviewer, helps one figure out a plan to pay off debt — that reviewer said this extension alone was worth the price of the software.

One thing that does concern me a bit is that Moneydance is apparently written in Javascript. It is fast — much faster than I expected of a Javascript program. My concern is whether Apple will continue to support Java. In fact, I've read that Apple will no longer develop Java for the Mac but will leave that up to Sun.

SEE Finance seems to offer the most flexibility in exporting transactions — that would be important if one wanted to change to a different finance program later. Here is the list of export formats for each program:

Moneydance 2011

  • QIF
  • Tab-delineated
  • Moneydance XML
  • Moneydance 2008
iBank

  • QIF
  • TXF (tax export format)
SEE Finance

  • QIF with Category List
  • QIF
  • CSV (comma-separated values)
  • TXF

Moneydance does have a free iPhone/iPod/iPad app through the iTunes store. iBank has an iPhone/iPod/iPad app for $4.99. SEE Finance does not seem to have an app for iPhone.

At the moment, I haven't made a final decision. However, I'm pretty sure it's going to be between Moneydance 2011 and SEE Finance and I'm leaning toward Moneydance because of it's overview page, Preference pane, and the extension capability. However, the ability to change the type of accounts within SEE Finance and the price are compelling.

There is a good review of each package at these links:

Well, this turned out much longer than I expected. Writing has helped me sort through my own thoughts.

I'm in the US for a short while and this heat and humidity are killing me — hard to get out and run.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a Choice!

What a choice! Over the weekend, I was in Arua, Uganda (extreme NW Uganda, 15 minutes or so from the DR Congo border). I was conducting some training for language evaluators. Wherever I travel, I like to run and Arua was no exception. At 3950' above sea level, it's 1800' lower than Nairobi, so it should be easier, right? Well, that assumption turned out to be wrong. I don't know if I was tired or what it was, but I actually felt like I was 1800' higher.

Anyway, while there, I had the option of running two pretty nasty hills in both the first mile and the last mile of my run. Or, I could run under two huge trees in which resided thousands of giant fruit bats (seriously — 2'+/- wingspans — these things looked like medium-sized raptors, birds of prey, when they were flying) and risk being coated in bat guano.

So, one day I did the hills and the next I did the bats. At least in my limited experience, the hills were far worse. I couldn't do the final hill on the return route — it was probably mental, but I just didn't have it in me. On the second day, I braved the guano and made it out and back without the special sauce (or the 2 all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and sesame seed bun). But, it was quite freaky coming up on the trees. Thousands of winged creatures flying around and around making this weird, high-pitched sound.

I then planned to run out on the hills and back through the bats on the third day. Alas, the lack of sleep interfered and I didn't run anywhere. But, this link will show you what I had planned: Hills Out, Bats Back

I'm not quite sure what's going on with my running. This morning, back in Nairobi, I just couldn't get my 2nd wind and ended up running only 2.26 miles at a pace of 9:23 mpm. I just didn't have any more of anything. Oh for the days when knocking out 7 or 8 miles or more without thinking much about it. Ah, well.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back Home (Nairobi)

I'm back home in Nairobi after 3 weeks in Zambia helping with on-field orientation of new personnel. Had a blast. Two weeks of that were spent camping in rural Zambia. No man-made lights at night — I just love the African sky in the bush. It happened that our 2 weeks of camping coincided with the New-to-Full phase of the moon so I got to watch that transformation. We kept our tent window open and when I'd wake up (both middle of the night and at 4:45 to go run), I could look up and just praise God for his beautiful and incredible creation.

I ran most mornings on the dirt roads. It was pretty dark when I started but by the time I'd finished, the last stars and planets had disappeared. I had to dodge a few cow patties; scared a few kids — perhaps they just weren't quite sure what was chasing this old, white man; shared the road/path with a few cow carts. The roads were basically flat and mixed hard soil and fairly soft sand. It was good for the legs to be off the tarmac.

Now, however, I'm back to Nairobi for a few days. I ran after we got home from church this morning and it was tough — back to 5700' and the hills. Whew!

In a couple of days, I head to Guinea, West Africa for about a week. Hoping to run there and add another country to my life list.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hills, Speed, and Endurance (or the slow return of the last two)

Since my last post, I've had an interesting time running. I spent 4 days in a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. Johannesburg sits at roughly 5400' above sea level, about 300' lower than where I live (Nairobi, Kenya), a difference that is basically inconsequential as far as running goes. And, much of Jo'burg is hilly, so I really don't normally feel any difference. However, the venue of our meeting was in a relatively flat spot in Jo'burg. I ran 3 of the mornings and I don't think there was more than 40' difference between the lowest and highest point of my routes.

I also got to run with a friend from Madagascar. I warned him that I was slower than the last time we ran together, 2 years ago. He assured me that he was, too, because the heat and humidity of Madagascar takes it out of him. So, off we go the first morning — my Garmin's watch died, I kid you not, 33' into the run — it did tell me the battery was low before I headed out. Oh, well. Michael, though, had started his watch, so we had the time and Gmap-Pedometer provided the route distance. I knew we were pushing it just a bit but was surprised to find that we had run at a pace of 9:05 mpm — these days I'm doing more like 9:30 mpm or slower. I chalked it up to Michael being about 12 years younger. The next morning, we were a little slower at 9:12 mpm. Then, Saturday morning, Michael didn't run so I figured I'd be back to 9:30's — not so — I ran at 9:01 mpm. Couldn't blame Michael. So, the only thing I can figure is that the hills make a huge difference. I knew they were bad (for me) in Nairobi, just not how bad. That was actually a pretty comforting revelation — maybe I haven't slowed up quite as much as I thought.

Well, back to Nairobi last week and back to more normal pacing. But, it has been a little faster until today: 5.5 miles at 9:34, 4 miles at 9:23, 5.1 miles at 9:26, and 5.5 miles at 9:45 (today). Today's run was really hard. Part of it is that I've average over 5 miles per run this week (4 runs, 20.26 miles), about .75-1 mile longer than previously. Part of it may be that I changed my fueling.

I have been downing a Gu before any run of 4 miles or longer. However, I'm running low. Gu isn't sold (that I've found) in Kenya, so I can't get any more until late July. So, I have to conserve or figure something else out. So, this morning, I ate a banana about 45 minutes before heading out and then took a jug (22 oz bottle) of Gatoraide with me. The Gatoraide didn't seem to do anything except leave a sweet taste in my mouth and I felt like I was dragging. So, who knows.

I do know that my fitness is coming back, slowly. My average heartrate has dropped 2-4 bpm over the last couple of weeks and I don't think I've hit a peak of 164 bpm in a couple of weeks. My distance endurance is slow — it may be mental — but I did do 3 5+ miles runs this week and that's more what I consider normal. Oh, and while it was only a 1/2# change, the scales registered lower this morning than any time in the last 10-12 months.

At any rate, I'm more encouraged than discouraged. I would still like to run at least one more half marathon in under 2 hours (preferably under 1:50) and would like to set a 10K PR of sub-45:00. I turn 57 in less than a month — don't know if it's possible for me or not, but I'm not giving up just yet.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Monday, March 28, 2011

Crowded Streets

I'm not sure why, but there seemed to be more people out this morning (6:20AM) than normal. There were more people walking to and from work. There were more cars (and, thus, more pollution) on the main road through Nairobi. We live about 2 blocks south of this road and I normally run along it for a half mile or so — most of that on a frontage road. Rarely a dull moment in Nairobi.

Still can't figure why the Garmin 305 usually shows and average pace and an average moving pace that differ by 3-6 seconds per mile even though I don't stop. Funny, though, one day when I did have to stop to wait for a vehicle, they two paces were the same. Ah, well, I guess that's part of the margin of error. So, can I count the average moving pace as my pace? LOL!


Thanks to a couple of guys who gave me a solution to a couple of my issues with the Forerunner 305.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What I Wish for Garmin

I received a Garmin Forerunner 305 for Christmas and have really enjoyed using it. I like knowing all the stats — pace automatically calculated for each "lap", heart rate constantly calculated, showing the fastest pace for each lap and the run, and all the other data. However, there are some things that I would change. Given my druthers, I wish ...
  • ... that there was a simpler way to upload runs to the online Garmin Connect from the desktop "Garmin Training Center" software. Best I can tell, it's just like running the site from a browswer and manually uploading data.
  • ... that there was a way to record multiple runs or activities between syncs. I tried to record a road trip and wanted various segments but it only seemed capable of recording it all as a single activity.
  • ... that the "Garmin Training Center" software and/or "Garmin Connect" web site had some user-defined fields in its database. I would like to be able to track the mileage on my shoes, for instance. Being about to identify each pair and then connect the right pair to a given run would be very helpful.
  • ... that Garmin used Google Maps rather than Bing maps or at least that the user had a choice. Bing maps may be just fine for the US — I have no idea — but Google Maps are far, far superior for Kenya and South Africa.
  • ... that "Garmin Connect" could be set up to automatically post to Twitter and/or Facebook (or other social network) and to automatically post to or be embedded in a Blogspot or Word Press blog. Comments could be added to a run and posted with the run data.
  • ... that the icon for runs were more interesting. Does Garmin really think that the blue triangle is a good icon?
Reckon Garmin is listening? None of this requires doing anything to the watch software or firmware — it's all tweaks to the desktop software and the web site. And, if you are listening, Garmin, make the changes on both the Mac and Windows versions of the software — don't leave some of us hanging.

By the way (and I get nothing for this), Amazon currently has the Forerunner 305 for $127.99 — it's a great price for an excellent running/GPS watch.

This morning's run:
Run well, y'all,
Bob

Friday, March 25, 2011

Still Pushing On

Perfectly good Kenyan English phrase, still pushing on, meaning that one is enduring. I'm still running though I'm not blogging — just not much to say.

Last week, I decided to run a route that I had been dreading. It involves a long (almost 1.25 mile) uphill at the beginning, a steep downhill, and then a short but steep uphill. I did it and ran the whole thing. It was a real confidence builder. There's probably a life lesson there — something to the effect that meeting challenges head-on gets you past the fear to see what you can really do.


This morning must have been red shirt day. I wore a red shirt this morning. I saw 3 of my neighbours out running and walking and 2 of them also had worn red shirts — the third must have missed the memo.

This morning's run, if you're interested:



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Friday, February 18, 2011

Better

Woke up and still had the "don't wanna's" but headed out anyway. Much better run — 4.05 miles @ 9:30 mpm. Hit 7:07 mpm at one point — of course, that was on a downhill section but it still felt good.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Don't Wanna Go Somewhere...

In the 2002 song by Avalon, I Don't Want To Go, the chorus begins, I don't wanna go somewhere....*

Well, that's how I've felt about running recently. My wanna go has up and gone. There were some circumstances in the last 10 days that exacerbated that don't wanna, but basically, I just didn't want to run so the circumstances just made it easier to not head out the door. What circumstances, you ask? (OK, you probably weren't asking that....)

  • My boss scheduled a 6:15AM team building activity during a meeting last week — that would have meant heading out at 5:25AM and there is no ambient light there. I don't mean there isn't enough, I mean there is NONE, nada ... it's dark, dark, dark. Yeah, I had a clip-on light for my cap but, when I had done this 3 days earlier, I also found out that there are 3-4 dogs (who could count them in that absence of light?) who hang out at a particular corner at that time of darkness and they had barked. Just a bit farther on, there were 3 dogs inside a fence who had a secret escape route and they took great pleasure in escaping their confinement just after I passed and barking like crazy. I like dogs ... but not unknown dogs who bark at and threaten me while I'm running. (See Dog Runs post from October.) I could blame my boss. Or, sure, I could have gone a different way but that ruins a good story and ... basically, I just didn't wanna.
  • The next morning, I was at home after the meeting and didn't feel like running. Basically, I didn't wanna.
  • The next morning, I woke up way to early and had a headache. Perhaps (read probably) the run would have solved the headache problem, but I just didn't wanna.
  • The next morning, we attended the early worship service. Well, and I didn't wanna.
  • The next 2 mornings, it was raining — first time in several weeks, so I should have celebrated and run in the ran ... but ... I didn't wanna.
  • The next morning (yesterday), it was raining when I woke up, so I fixed a plate of fruit and a big cup of chai. Then it quit raining. Sure, I could have put the chai in a thermos and covered the fruit with plastic wrap and shoved it in the fridge. But, I can hardly resist the call of a big cup of fresh chai. Besides ... I just didn't wanna.
So, last night, I chanted, I wanna go. I wanna go. as I went to sleep. Didn't work ... when I woke up, I still didn't wanna ... but I went anyway. Headed out the gate at 5:56 and took off. Hmmm, OK, took off implies some speed and probably can't be applied to the snail-like pace that I set. The first 2 miles felt good ... probably because my legs were well rested ... could have had something to do with the Chocolate Outrage Gu that I ate before heading out (did you know that Chocolate Outrage has Belgian chocolate in it?). After that, it was just a slog. But, I did it in spite of the don't wanna's. (Even though it was a slow slog, my heartrate hit 171 bpm this morning — maybe my don't wanna actually had a physical basis.)

It was dark in Nairobi this morning at 5:56. I had to really watch out for the bicyclists. Power was out in our neighbourhood (well, except for those of us lucky enough to be on the one phase (out of three) that was working) and even where power was on, it seemed extra dark. The 63° temperature was nice.

For the curious (I know you're all dying to see this), here are the route and details:


  • Have you ever had a don't wanna go period in your running? How did you get out of it?
Run well, y'all,
Bob

* Avalon's song, I Don't Want To Go only applies because the first five words of the chorus and the title fit what I felt. The rest of the chorus says:

I don't want to go somewhere
If I know that You're not there
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie
And I don't want to walk that road
Be a million miles from home
'Cause my heart needs to be where You are
So I don't want to go.
It reflects what Moses said to God in the wilderness as recorded in Exodus 33:12-18. In verse 15, Moses says to God, If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. Moses knew that he could not face the future depending only on his human abilities — he needed God's presence, God's wisdom, God's enabling, God's Spirit with him if he were going to succeed in what God had given him to do.

I don't want to run without God's Presence with me, but much more importantly, I don't want to face the tasks of each day without His Presence with me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where's the Oxygen?

I'm in a meeting at the Brackenhurst Conference Centre in Tigoni, Kenya - the altitude where my room is located is 7224' above sea level. We lived in this area for about 15 years. It's about 1800' higher than where we currently live, Nairobi.

This morning I headed out and ran 3.43 miles at a pace of 9:58 mpm. Where is the oxygen? I think someone just sucked it out of the air. And the hills are certainly worse than the ones I run in Nairobi.

But, let me tell you, this is a beautiful place to run! I could see the lights of Nairobi when I left. The sunrise was beautiful.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back-to-Back Fivers

Today is the first time I've run back-to-back 5 milers in a very long time. So, the fact that it was difficult was no surprise. Still, I did 5.31 miles with a pace of 9:45 mpm (Forerunner's reported moving pace). Pleasant weather: overcast, 63°, 70% humidity.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Tiny Bit Faster

Not a lot faster, but a bit. My weight seems stuck at around 193# and has been there since before Christmas. If I could get rid of 20#, I think I could get back to where I want to be with my running.

I did have to stop a couple of times to wait for school buses and other vehicles. I finished with a "moving pace" of 9:38 mpm.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Short Night = Short Run

Very short night. Wanted to go 4 but decided to stop at 3.4 miles. Not a bad pace considering current running history and a lack of sleep — 9:36 mpm (Forerunner's moving pace). Decided to fartlek to shake out the legs and hit 6:56 mpm briefly — felt good to push.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tired Legs

Like Mark, who blogs at Battlefield Running, I felt like a slug today. I think my legs were beat up from yesterday's 6.25 miles. Yes, I know, that's not a long run by normal standards — it's not even a long run by my standards, but at the moment, that's a long run for me.

Great morning for a run — 62°, 62% humidity, clear skies, moon still showing when I started — 4.02 miles at a pace of 9:38 mpm (Forerunner says moving pace was 9:34 mpm but I never stopped so I don't understand the difference).



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Good Start to a Saturday

Good way to start Saturday morning. While I really want to get my pace down, today's run felt better than any in a long time — 5:53AM, dark in Nairobi this morning, 61°F, 64% humidity, 6.25 miles at 9:49 mpm:



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Running Backwards

OK, not exactly backwards. I reversed my route in Jo'burg this morning. The advantage it gave me was a long (@ .7 mile) downhill before the last uphill (@ .6 mile). My overall time was faster than other runs this week -- 9:37 mpm. The Forerunner still showed a difference between the pace for total time (9:37 mpm) and for moving time (9:32 mpm). Not quite sure about that.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wednesday in Jo'burg

I don't get to Johannesburg, S Africa often, but when I do, I enjoy running this route. Not because it's fun, but it's quite satisfying to finish. There's a long (@.7 mile) uphill near the beginning. The next 1.75 miles are basically downhill with a few uphill segments. Then, miles 3-5 are all uphill with a **VERY** short downhill (maybe 0.1 mile) at about mile 4.25. And, this is at altitude -- 5300'-5500'.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Running in a Daze

Flew to Johannesburg, S Africa, last night for a training conference. The only flight I could get was one that left Nairobi at 8:40PM and arrived in Jo'burg at 11:50PM (an hour behind Nairobi time), though we actually landed at 11:25PM. So, knowing that I wouldn't get to the guest house until 12:30AM or so, I had not planned to run this morning. But, at 5:30AM, I was awake -- it gets light a lot earlier here than in Nairobi! I laid in bed for another hour or so, dozing occasionally and finally got up and out.

It was intentionally short but turned out to be a faster pace than anything last week. Johannesburg is at a very slightly lower elevation than Nairobi but, at least where the guest is, there are these long hills. They are steep, just long, and they are killers. And, the guest house is at almost the highest point of the routes I run and definitely at the highest point in the neighbourhood where it's located. So, there is no way to avoid ending a run going up one of those long hills. It's a killer! But, hills are my friend, right?!



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Early Saturday Morning

Decent enough run this morning -- 61°F, 61% humidity. My legs didn't feel as tired as earlier in the week. Still slow -- I can't seem to lose the weight I need to lose. I'll just keep plugging away.

An interesting observation about the FR305 -- for some reason, there's about a 14 second difference in elapsed time and moving time even though I don't stop at all. There are a couple of places where I turn around, but I don't actually stop. So, perhaps that confuses the Forerunner.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Run -- 4th Consecutive Day

My original plan for the week was to run Mon-Wed, rest today, then run Fri-Sat. Then, I found out that we have to meet someone at the airport for a 9:30PM arrival -- that means we won't likely get home until 11:00Pm and I'm unlikely to get to bed before midnight. That made a 6:00AM run on Friday less than optimal. So, I ran this morning.

I wasn't a really good run. It seemed harder even than other runs this week. However, at the end, my pace was faster and heartrate lower than yesterday. Of course, it was also a mile shorter than yesterday. :-D

Because of guests, I've given up the bathroom that I normally use so haven't had access to my scales for almost a week. I finally remembered to move them. Stepped on the scales this morning with great expectations that I would see some progress. Well, if moving higher is progress, then I made progress -- it's just not in the direction I'd hoped. I've never had particular trouble losing weight until the past 6 months. I'm beginning to wonder if it's an unexpected result of a medication I'm taking -- and the stubborn extra pounds could well be the reason my pace has been so disappointing. We'll see.

If you're interested, here's the Forerunner report for today:



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow It Down

I don't have any idea why running this week has been so hard. During all 3 runs, I've felt like I'm running the day after a long run. Just one of those weeks, I guess.

At any rate, when I headed out this morning, I decided to slow down a bit. My original goal was to keep my heartrate below 150. I actually managed that until about mile 3.25 or so. That was about when I started the final, long, uphill section. My heart rate did peak at about 161 bpm but my average for the whole run was 148 bpm. I did feel better but that meant a slow run -- better that, though, than an injury.

This was my 9th run with the Garmin FR305. I really like it but really have to be careful not to spend too much time watching it.



Run well, y'all,
Bob

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday, 3 January 2011

Not a bad run this morning except that my body didn't want to go out the door. But, once I got my shorts and shirt on, the body submitted to the mind and got in gear. I pushed the pace slightly this morning, though it felt like more than slightly. Mile #2 was good at 8:54 mpm -- of course, it was mostly downhill.



Temperature: 61°
Humidity: 68%

My scales decided to work today -- first time in almost 3 weeks. The 196.5# was not a pretty sight -- too much divinity, too many sugared peanuts, not enough running around Christmas. I want to lose 25# this year, would love to lose that by my birthday in May.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sunday Morning, 2 January

Temperature: 60°
Humidity: 72%, patchy fog
Garmin data:


Run well, y'all,
Bob

CHARGED Marathon champion in the dock

I like interesting number sequences, so today is right up my alley -- January 1, 2011 or 1-1-11.

Not sure why this posted 50 times this morning. The originating site said it didn't post at all. Oh well.

This is a major blow -- Wanjiru had been phenomenal over the last couple of years. A later FB post from the Daily Nation said that Wanjiru and his wife have reconciled after the death threat. We'll see.

CHARGED Marathon champion in the dock


Olympic marathon gold medallisread more...


Wanjiru and wife reconcile after death threat charge


First run of 2011 — 6.39 miles at a slow pace of 9:42 mpm:

I would love to run 1000+ miles this year. It will take some doing to get there. Hang around and let's see how it goes.

  • How has has 2011 started for you?
Run well, y'all,
Bob