27 November 2009

Exercise Prepares Our Bodies for Stressful Situations, Study Indicates - Mind Hacks - Lifehacker

Interesting. We runners knew this, naturally. After a long run, we're so stress-free that nothing fazes us except having to move out of the recliner.

Of course, one logical conclusion from this study would be that running only makes you calmer when you get dunked in cold water -- if, that is, you're a running rat.

Exercise Prepares Our Bodies for Stressful Situations, Study Indicates - Mind Hacks - Lifehacker

I'm taking a few days off from running -- 8-10 days. I have some fairly minor aches and pains and just don't have the want to that I've had. This will be the first planned break in 6.5 years.

Run well, y'all,

21 November 2009

Key Factors in My Running

I took off this morning intending to do 5.5+ miles. For some reason, I just couldn't do it and ended up cutting it short a bit. Lately, more often than not, my runs have just been hard. I think I have to face the facts.

OK, yes, I'm running at altitude (5500'+) and every run is hilly (there's just no flat run here). But, I'm also running more slowly than I did at sea level -- 8:00-8:30 at sea level, 8:30-9:05 at altitude -- so I shouldn't feel completely wiped out. Also, I'm bored with my routes -- without driving somewhere else in town (which I'm loathe to do), my options are limited. I'm used to the 300+ routes/variations I had access to in Richmond.

But, I think there are two factors that are probably more important than those -- weight and base mileage. Basically, I'm 12 pounds +/- heavier than when I was running my best. So, I just need to get rid of it. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, my mileage has slipped. Rather than running 30-35 miles per week (or even more when getting ready for a race), I'm running 15-20 miles per week. That means a 5 mile run is 25-33% of my weekly mileage now but was only 14-17% 6-12 months ago.

So, I think I have some work to do.

Run well, y'all,

19 November 2009

RW Daily: One Gift You Don't Want to Unwrap

For all of you runners who have wondered what to give your family and friends for Christmas, check out this Runner's World article. Somehow, I don't think my family or friends would have much appreciation for my race picture on a mug.

RW Daily: One Gift You Don't Want to Unwrap

I did 5.6 miles in the mud this morning at a slow pace of 8:54 mpm. One water puddle covered the whole road! And these are paved roads (in Nairobi)!

Run well, y'all,

15 November 2009

For the West End (Richmond) Runners

This post is dedicated to my friends and running pals who ran the Suntrust Richmond Marathon and the McDonalds Half Marathon yesterday. You are my heroes -- I saw some good times in the results. Maybe these thoughts from Meb will resonate with you:

(Stolen from Half Fast who stole it from Running is Funny who stole it from ...?)

The words for the week are: rest, recover, refuel. Then enjoy running.

I got in my longest run to date in Kenya -- headed out after our worship service for a slow (relative, I know) 6.38 miles in 58:21. With the altitude and the hills, I figure that ain't too bad.

Run well, y'all,
Bob A

08 November 2009

Our "Home" City, 2005-2009

This is a shout out to my homies in Richmond -- John Rolfe 10K Training Team, John Rolfe Patrick Henry Half Marathon Training Team, Posse running group -- many of whom are running either the Richmond Marathon, Half Marathon, or 8K next weekend. Good luck -- you all are so ready for this. (Don't worry -- that's the end of my attempts at urban language.)

From May 2008 until July 2009, we lived in Richmond, VA. While we would have preferred to have been overseas, Richmond was a good place to live and a great place to run. This video gives an overview of some of the reasons for that (we didn't do all that's rapped about in the video) -- and it's a fun look at the city.

Run well, y'all,

05 November 2009

It's No Wonder...

It's no wonder that weight has become such a problem in the US among most age groups -- 34% of US adults over age 20. (See state-by-state trends here.) Browse through this selection of tempting desserts offered at American restaurants. Who would think that one could consume such huge quantities of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in a single serving of anything!

Slideshow: 15 Worst Desserts | Eat This, Not That

(Note: This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an endorsement of Men's Health magazine.)

Note that the better recommendations in the slideshow are not particularly healthy, but they are less bad than the worst offenders.

Those of us who run or engage in other types of strenuous exercise must be very careful to avoid the fallacious thinking that because I run, I can eat whatever I want. If I'm maintaining my weight with my normal amount of eating and current level of running miles, it would take an additional half marathon -- actually 13.28 miles to counter the calories contained in Romano’s Macaroni Grill New York Cheesecake with Caramel Fudge Sauce (1660 calories -- more than 3 Big Macs -- and the saturated fat equivalent of 57 strips of bacon).

A huge part of who you are physically (pun intended) is what you eat.

Off to run 5 miles or so.

Run well, y'all,

Kenyans in America and an American in Kenya

I've swapped places with Kenyan runners, Robert Cheruiyot and James Kwambai. Well, OK, that's a bit of hyperbole but they were in the US for the NYC Marathon and I've returned to Kenya, though certainly not to run a marathon.

The following is an interesting article on the final week of preparation by Cheruiyot and Kwambai for the NYC Marathon:

How the Kenyans Take On New York

It's interesting from a runner's perspective but also because of some of the cultural tidbits like this:
Later, at a buffet breakfast at the hotel...both drank hot tea with milk, and Kwambai poured in packet after packet of sugar, as if building a sand castle in his cup.
Chai -- hot tea, usually cooked in half mile and half water and with lots of sugar, is the national drink of Kenya. Every Kenyan I know, except those who are battling diabetes, puts tons and tons of sugar in their chai. Yet, most Kenyans don't like desserts because they are too sweet. Go figure. Those kinds of anomalies always make me wonder what kind of quirks we Americans have in our culture -- I'm absolutely sure there are many.

Enjoy the article.

I'm back in Kenya after a couple of weeks in Richmond for meetings. I enjoyed the boost of going from high altitude to sea level but now am back at 5700' above sea level and having to readjust. It's tough for an old guy! :) Did 5.2 miles this morning in 46:51. Not too bad especially considering that I woke up at 1:30 after only 3 hours of sleep -- thanks to jetlag.

Run well, y'all,

02 November 2009

Running Styles

For the last 2+ years, before we moved back overseas, I ran regularly with a great group of runners in the far West End of Richmond, VA (Short Pump) -- we called ourselves The Posse. Our twice-a-week group runs -- early Wednesday morning and longer runs on Saturday -- provided some needed variety to my running.

An interesting outcome of all those miles together was that I got to where I could recognize people by the way they ran, even in the dark.

I came back to the US last week for a meeting. On my first Saturday back (24-Oct), I didn't get up in time to run with the group but still ran fairly early. Sure enough, even though I couldn't see their faces (we were on opposite sides of a 4-lane street and my glasses were sweat-covered), I recognized several folks I know just by the way they ran. I wondered at the time if my running style was distinctive enough to identify me -- Naw, probably not -- I just run "normal".

This past Saturday, I did make the group run and really enjoyed catching up with family news on this group of friends. After I finished running, I was stretching and one of the ladies finished her run. We were chatting a bit and she mentioned that the previous Saturday, while she was running with some folks, she did a double-take when she saw me. Then the clincher: I recognized you by the way you ran -- you have a unique running style.

Well, there you have it. Now, I wonder, when Mary Beth said I have a unique running style, is that good-unique or strange-unique? I was so surprised by her comment that I didn't think to ask until later. I'm thinking, old-guy shuffle or you look like you're dying out there, about to keel over style of running. So, Mary Beth, if you're reading this, which is it? (Or, maybe I don't want to know! GRIN)

Run well, y'all,

Can Climbing Steps Be Fun?

This is certainly a good attempt to make climbing steps more fun and, thus, more appealing than using an escalator. Maybe this should be part of President Obama's health care initiative -- preventive care by enticing people to choose heart healthy alternatives.

Run well, y'all,