31 October 2009

Longest Run in a While

On a misty, cloudy Halloween morning, I got to run with some of my Richmond running group. NICE! Turned out to be about 3 smaller groups -- one group running a quick 13 miles getting ready for a half marathon, another group running a slower 12 prepping for a marathon, and then a couple of us at my pace.

I seriously doubted my ability to do 12 miles -- I haven't run more than 6.5 miles since July. But I did end up doing 8.8 miles at an average pace of 8:32 mpm. It felt really good -- temperature was about 59° and it was misty, so the weather conditions were pretty pleasant.

I ate a banana about an hour before we ran and then a Gu (Chocolate Outrage -- my favourite) about 10 minutes before. I carried my 22 oz bottle with Gatorade and ate another Gu at about 6 miles. The fuel and hydration seemed to be just perfect. There was no point in the run when I felt like I needed to quit and it's possible that I could have done the full 12. A good start to a Saturday.

Run well, y'all,

30 October 2009

Where Did That Come From? :)

I didn't sleep really well last night and knew that I had a full day of meetings ahead, so I felt like I really needed to run to get my adrenaline going. But, I wanted to cut back my miles a bit. My plan was to do about 4 miles but to push the pace a bit just to see. I've been running at high altitude (5500') for the past 6 weeks and have been back at sea level this week.

So, off I went at 5:15 AM. I hadn't mapped the route first so could only guess at the 4 miles. I really didn't feel like I was running particularly fast (for me -- yeah, I know I'm not an elite runner -- GRIN), so when I finished at 39:34.74 minutes, I figured I had ended up doing about 4.5 miles. Well, I mapped it and it was just under 5.1 miles -- a pace of 7:47. I haven't run that fast since mid-June when I ran 5.7 miles at 7:56. I'm pumped!

Tomorrow, I'm running with my old running group (well, old as in the group I used to run with -- all but one or two of them are 20+ year younger than I am). They're all prepping for a marathon and doing 12 miles. We'll see what happens -- it's been a long time since I tried that distance.

Run well, y'all,

23 October 2009

Observations at JKI Airport (Nairobi)

I'm looking forward to getting in a couple of runs in Richmond with my old running group, the Posse. Having been at high altitude (1 mile+) for the last 6 weeks, sea level should be fun.

I started my trip last night and thought somebody might be interested in my observations.

Though I'm certainly not new to Kenya or Nairobi, since we have come back after a 4.5 year stint in the US I've made a conscious effort to pay attention to things. Having worked with new employees, trying to help them get ready to move overseas, we are much more aware of the things that new folks see and experience. So, here are some of them from last night.

Last night, it took only 45 minutes to get from Hampton House to the Jomo Kenyatta Int'l Airport -- traffic through Nairobi wasn't too bad at 7 pm. That trip can take 20 minutes at 4AM and 2-4 hours at 4:30PM. Consequently, I was there almost 30 minutes earlier than necessary. The good thing about that was the ability to check-in and get through immigrations in a relaxed, rather than frantic and push-shove manner.

First thing was to go through the first of 5 security checks -- yes, 5. So, as I handed my boarding pass to the guard at the door into the terminal, he noticed that I was traveling to the US. He asked me to greet Obama. :) Well, OK ... President Obama, if you become my friend on FB or you happen to see my blog (in which I'm sure you can find some sage advice on international relations or life or ... whatever) and see this note, Pokea salamu za huyo askari!

I don't meaning to be giving you TMI or WTMI, but when you're checked in for a flight 3 hours before takeoff, there are certain necessities that must be taken care of, so off I went. First thing ... who in the world designed these stalls?! It is impossible to get inside and close the door -- or open the door from the inside to come out -- without straddling the porcelain fixture. IMPOSSIBLE!

Graffiti artists, budding poets, and generally strange individuals seem to get some kind of kick out of writing on stall doors. A small selection of the available reading material:

God is a life
IMB Going (As best I could tell, it really said that. Why? How do I answer that?)
Chris was hia (This one you have to read outloud with an African accent, which mean the "i" in "hia" is a long-e and the "a" is pronounced "ah".)

Earlier, I mentioned 5 security checks. I am flying BA, so it's true:

• X-ray bags and go through metal detector to enter the departure terminal
• Immediately have at least one bag searched by security personnel
• X-ray carry-ons and go through metal detector at the gate
• Immediately go through another identical security X-ray of carry-ons (they wanted me to take off my belt for this one) and go through another metal detector between the entry to the gate area and the actual waiting area
• Immediately have carry-ons hand searched by security personnel

Now that I've arrived at Heathrow (London), I had to go through yet another security check between the arrival and departure areas and I expect I'll have to go through yet another at the gate itself. Then, after immigrations and customs in Chicago, there'll be another. After all that, I'm probably not a security threat to myself -- I will have been checked 7-8 times!

Oh, the joys of international travel!

Run -- and travel -- well, y'all,

19 October 2009

Extreme Motivation

While not a recommended reaction, it's certainly understandable why University of Anchorage cross-country runner, Auston Ellis, ran a bit faster than normal a couple of weeks ago. UAA runner races a grizzly and gets lucky | Northwest News - The News Tribune (Seattle-Tacoma News)

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My run this morning was a bit more prosaic. It was rainy, cool, and messy-muddy but I slogged through 5.5 miles at a pace of 8:40 mpm. I think messy-muddy is going to define most of my runs for the next few months as we're supposed to be having El Nino rains. The last time that happened in Kenya (1997-98), we had 72" of rain from October to March and 116" of rain in the year, October to October.

Run well, y'all,

17 October 2009

Noisy Neighbours

We are very fortunate in that we don't have noisy neighbours. In fact, the house next door to us is empty right now, so things are pretty quiet. However, we've lived in downstairs apartments and know what it's like to experience this: Things That Go Bump in the Night.

If you have -- or ever have had -- noisy neighbours, you'll appreciate that blog post. (I'm not responsible for any of the language in the comments.)

Run well, y'all,

Defense Against Rude Drivers

I'd say there's a fair chance that this is enhanced but it's still funny. Would this work for a rude driver who honks at you while you run? I have no idea and I take no responsibility if you choose to try this even though I'm not suggesting that you do. :)

Run well, y'all,

16 October 2009

Running on a Lavender Carpet

Jacaranda trees are not native to Kenya -- they originated in South America -- but this time of year they bloom all over Nairobi and their blooming signals the start of the short rainy season. They have been planted all over Nairobi and are beautiful. One of the unique things about the Jacarandas is that they flowers fall while still lavender-blue and gives the impression of a lavender carpet on roads and walkways. So, the last few days, my runs have been on lavender carpets. Cool!

I'm still getting used to the altitude and hills of Nairobi -- it's getting better. It was raining pretty hard this morning so I didn't run. Yesterday, though, I ran 5.2 miles at a pace of about 8:44 mpm.

Run well, y'all,

06 October 2009

Running the Mountain (Krugersdorp, So. Africa)

Tuesday morning's run included a hill that went from 5261' to 5537' above sea level in just shy of 0.7 miles, all uphill -- lungs were burning! That was some more hill! Total run of 2.53 miles at a pace of 9:28 mpm. Slow, but good considering the hills and elevation.

I'm staying at Achterbergh Conf. Center, near Krugersdorp, South Africa. You can see it on Google Earth at coordinates 26°03'59.19"S, 27°46'47.15"E. It is a beautiful place -- we're in the valley.

Run well, y'all,