Monday, May 28, 2012

The training is mostly done ... now it's time to run.

I have written this here before I think, but it is hard to gauge my fitness level while training for a marathon in Singapore. It is so humid and hot and there are hills. As I finish training for the 2012 edition of the Christchurch marathon I really do not know what to expect. I am confident I will finish it but I do not know how fast. I would love to break four hours because both of my other New Zealand marathons have been a bit over four.

Saturday I ran eight miles around MacRitchie. I wanted this last long run to be more than just a slow slog on flat ground so I tried to push myself. My goal was to run as close as I could to marathon pace but the hills and humidity made it almost impossible. I ran mile six 10 seconds per mile off of marathon pace as it is the only semi-flat mile on the MacRitchie trail. Based on that I think with a flat marathon course and a cold day I should be able to get close to breaking four.

The early weather forecast has Christchurch temperature at a low of 40 deg f and a high of 56 deg f and mostly sunny. Marathon weather for sure.

I have put in the training. All that is left is for me to get to Christchurch and execute. I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Taper sickness

Night before last I had a dream that I was running the marathon in New Zealand. The weather was perfect and I was running well. That’s all I remember. I woke up and had a horrible run. I ran a mile and then turned around and walked home. I told Andrea I must have run too hard in my sleep.

Last night as I was going to sleep my throat had that feeling I get right before I get sick. I rolled over and reset the alarm clock to let me sleep in this morning.

I don't know why but this almost always happens during the taper. It is frustrating since I have been tanking up on vitamin C and trying to get enough sleep and rest and eat well. I feel much better this morning. In eleven days I am running a marathon and I do not want to get sick now!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Music moves me

This is a running blog - I know - but I love music and it is an integral part of my life and my running. Music moves me.

There is an interview that Chris Thile and Noam Pikelny of the Punch Brothers did with The Wall Street Journal on youtube here ---> link

They talk about the complexity of their music and how they find it challenging. I like listening to music that has intricacy but there are times that after a while I get to the point where I say to myself, “Yes it is incredibly impressive that you can play that but after a couple of listens it is getting really old. “

But music that has complexity and yet communicates something well and has a soul – that is the most satisfying kind of music.

To kind of paraphrase Chris Thile: “If you are going to make an appeal to the head you must also appeal to the heart and the gut. You want music that dances as well as it thinks. It must be visceral and communal.”

And that is why the Punch Brothers new album is so good. It speaks to my intellect and my emotion. Few bands can do that well but the ones who do are the ones I enjoy listening to most.

The music I listen to may be different from what you like, but today listen to some music that moves you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Headlights - a useful accessory (& 22 miles)

This morning at 4:40 in the dark I ran down the park connector two and a half miles and then turned around and came back home. Along the way I have to cross six streets. On four of them there are no underpasses, overpasses or crosswalks. I just cross in the middle of the road.

As I approached Lower Delta I slowed a little as a taxi was coming from my right. After he passed I crossed the two lanes that head north and hit the median. I looked left and didn’t see anything coming. I took two steps into the road and a black car emerged from the shadows with his lights off. I turned hard to the right and headed back toward the median as the car swerved to miss me. I screamed at the top of my lungs “TURN YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON!” He drove off like he didn’t hear me although his window was down and there was no way the jerk did not get the message.

I don’t know what it is about people here in Singapore who like to drive in the dark with their lights off. Singapore is well lit and you can see where you are going without the lights on. But I cannot see you. And I don’t want to die. If you drive in the dark please turn your headlights on.

I ran 22 miles on Saturday. I got no gift of rain and it was hotter than Dante’s Inferno. The first half went great. At a little more than 7 miles I looked at my Garmin and I was running an 8:22 mile. That is way too fast as I only want to run around 4 hours at Christchurch. I paid for it in the last half. I was worn out and dehydrated and had to walk quite a bit. But I am done with the long stuff. I started tapering Sunday morning with an easy three miler.

Three weeks and then a marathon in the cold. Then two weeks traveling around the South Island with Andrea. I am excited!

“The first thirty minutes of my run is for my body, the second thirty minutes is for my soul.” - George Sheehan

Monday, May 07, 2012

Claypot Laksa – the best post long run fuel ever

This week was a cut back week so my long run was only 15 miles. Because the mileage was shorter I pushed it a bit and the run was over before I knew it.

After I got done with my run I showered and headed across the street to Alexandra Food Center for what has now become a post long run habit – claypot laksa. I first ate laksa right after we moved to Singapore. Jakeb ordered it and did not like it so we switched meals and I love it.

Laksa is a soup with a coconut based spicy curry sauce. It has noodles, fried tofu, fish cakes, shrimp, cockels (which remind me of the smoked oysters I ate as a kid even though they are small clams) and sometimes a boiled egg.

The claypot laksa from the Alexandra Food Center is the best I have ever had. I always have to stand in a long line (or que) because it is so popular. It is made in a claypot (obviously) and heated in the claypot over an open flame. The sauce is thick and rich. It is piping hot when you get it and spicy enough that it brings sweat to my forehead and tears to my eyes. I normally eat it with an ice cold Guiness or Beck’s beer.

My body is depleted from running and nutritionally I am not sure claypot laksa is good for me, but I can feel my muscles and weary body soaking in the spicy goodness. I am making myself hungry.

The claypot laksa stall is open at 9am. Laksa is a popular breakfast food. They only stay open until they run out of food. Often they are closed by early afternoon because laksa finished ready.

Next week is 22 miles and then comes the taper.