Monthly Archives: April 2008

Catherine Ndereba : Colleagues Go on Strike

Kenya Prisons guards/correction officers have gone on strike demanding better pay from the government of Kenya. Catherine Ndereba, a world class Kenyan marathon runner is also a prison guard with Kenya Prisons Service.

While Catherine Ndereba has made millions from running and can afford to buy a house in Boston, America, other prison officers only know one thing, poverty!. One former prison guard told a local paper, “I lived in a hall that had been converted into a residential house and partitioned with curtains with each warder being allocated a single room”

The Kenya prison guards are some of the lowest paid government employees and people here in Kenya have been sympathetic and supportive for their strike action. I heard one young lady calling on a radio talk in show swear, “If a prison guard proposed to me I would say a big No!”

As the prison officers match along the roads around Kenya prison facilities, Catherine is busy hitting the roads preparing for Beijing Olympics. Another runners who serves as a prison officer is Lukas Kibet, winner of marathon Gold at last year’s IAAF world championship.

Meanwhile, the prisons officers at Naivasha Maximum Prison have threatened to release all prisoners. I wonder whether a Michael Scofield wannabe is planning a “PRISON BREAK” you know, guards are on strike, what a perfect time to escape!

Surfers Who Survived Shark Attack And How to Protect from Attack

I was listening to BBC sports last evening and one of the sportsmen interviewed on the show was George Bovell the third, a trinidad tobago swimmer who is training for Beijing Olympics. Bovell is a lucky man as he is one of the few men who have been attacked by sharks and lived to tell their story.

 

After the death of Dave Martin, a triathlete who was attacked and killed by a shark in Solana Beach California I decided to turn on the survivors to see whether they survived through sheer will power or was it a matter of luck.

For Bovell his encounter with the shark happened on the Florida Coastline. The shark swum close by a terrified Bovell. It never attacked him, it just swum away. I guess that was one shark that had eaten too many fish.

But South African shark attack survivor Kevin Dewey wasn’t so lucky. I first read his story long time ago in Readers Digest magazine. In 1997 he was out in the sea diving for cray fish at Saldanha bay when his left leg was severely mauled by a shark. For Kevin it was case of the hunter being the hunted.

He was saved by a friend who gave him first aid while he was still in water.

Australian JASON CULL Fights a White Shark : 10 May 2008

This Aussie escaped from the jaws of a great white shark by poking it in the eye as it dragged him under water. On his interview with Australian news,  he was swimming with dolphins when a white shark grabbed his leg and dragged him under water.

“I just remember being dragged backwards underwater. I felt along it, I found its eye and I poked it in the eye, and that’s when it let go.”

There is nothing more ferocious than a cornered animal, click to watch a you tube video of a whale attacking Japanese fishermen

How To Protect Yourself Against Shark Attack

According to dive south africa website, If you are going to dive, surf or swim in the sea use a shark repellant device. One is called Shark shield. The device is strapped to the legs and has a radius of six to eight metres. It creates an electrical field that causes discomfort to sharks, making them leave.

When To Stop Running With Worn Out Trainers

I have decided to stop my experiment of running on worn out trainers. I covered the experiment on my post on How to safely run on worn out trainers, risk and benefit.

Doing road Running on worn out trainers is painful to the feet and it increase the risk of suffering an injury. Despite knowing the risk involved I was trying to run in pain in attempt to build stronger legs. I thought the more I got used to the pain the stronger legs and better runner I would become.

My experiment was based on weight training principle, For a bodybuilder to build stronger and bigger muscles he has to shock his muscles with more pain.

After road running for three weeks in worn out trainers, my trainers have become so worn out such that I feel like am running barefoot. Although I posted how Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won 1960 Olympic Marathon running Barefoot, I don’t want to copy him.

Sign that you should buy new trainers

Yesterday morning I was forced to end my 10 K run midway. As soon as I started running my shoes felt light, a good sign that you should get a new pair of trainers, and after 2K of running I started feeling pain on my feet, I continued running I told myself the pain would go away. The pain kept increasing, starting on my feet, ankle and then my hip joints. By 5k my pace had slowed down and I just found myself walking.

That was the end of my experiment and now its the time to buy a new pair of trainers. Next week I will see whether the experiment really worked.

Shark Make’s a Meal of 66 years Old Triathlete

Do athletes push their luck to far? That is the question I asked myself as I read the Killer Shark story on L.A Times onlines. The times reported that in Solana Beach California a deadly shark made a meal of Dave Martin, 66, a dedicated triathlete who swam every Friday with other fitness buffs.

Though sharks are known to roam the ocean off Southern California, and millions of people swim in the waters annually, this was the first death attributed to a shark attack in San Diego County since 1994.

If you thought the attack would deter surfers from the water you are wrong. Surfers got in the water as soon as Martin’s body was pulled out of the water. Was it Tupac Shakur who sung “LIFE GOES ON” ?

What Drives Triathletes To swim in an Ocean full of Sharks

“Open-water swimmers overcome their constant, if mild, fear of a shark attack because of the allure of the ocean. Unlike a swimming pool, the ocean has no black line along the bottom. In the Pacific, you are freed from boredom. It’s the difference between jogging in circles on a track and running on a trail through a forest.” Those are the thoughts of William Lobdell a triathlete. Running is too boring for ocean swimmers?????

From the comment I read by one reader, I think some people care for animals more than humans “Very good story. It didn’t demonize the shark.The shark has to eat. That man was honored by the attack. God has brought us to a place where he wants us and if that is the destiny this man faced then I am sure he is in a better place. This will happen a lot I believe as global warming gets worse. – commented Jenny G”

See more of the story on L. A. times online

Ethiopian Bikila Win’s Marathon Running Barefoot

After I wrote a post about the risk and benefit of running with worn out trainers, a reader alerted me to the inspiring story of Abebe Bikila who ran bare footed at 1960 Summer Olympics Marathon. The incredible thing about this barefooted Ethiopian runner was he also won the gold.

According to Bikila’s bio on wikipedia, Adidas, the shoe sponsor at the 1960 Summer Olympics, had few shoes left when Bikila went to try out shoes and he ended up with a pair that didn’t fit comfortably, so he couldn’t use them. A couple of hours before the race the decision was taken by Abebe to run barefoot, the way he’d trained for the race.

At the start of the race the Australian Ron Clarke made a comment to Bikila about running barefoot. I didn’t find what Clarke actually said but I guese he said something like “Mate, are you nuts!”

Bikila won in a then record time of 2:15:16.2, becoming the first African to win an Olympic gold medal. He finished 26 seconds ahead of Rhadi Ben Abdesselam of Morocco.

After the race, when Bikila was asked why he had run barefoot, he replied, “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”

Abebe Bikila’s Soles After the Olympic Marathon (1960) picture courtesy of www.runningbarefoot.org


Have an Inspiring Week

Story of a Runner Who Gate Crashed Boston Marathon

Many Boston Marathon stories have been narrated, an interesting Boston marathon story I read happened in 1984 Boston Marathon. It is how a”Bandit” runner gate crashed Boston Marathon, if you don’t know, a bandit runner, he is one of those people who is too cheap to enter a race and they run without paying and without a race number.

Unlike Rosie Ruiz (of the infamous 1980 Boston marathon scandal) who has refused to own up to cheating, the following is the full account as told by a guy who was willing to gate crash Boston Marathon;

” Running in a race without a number is frowned upon by other runners, because they paid and you didn’t. Running Boston in 1984 amongst less than 4,000 other runners meant that you had qualified with a pretty good time in the marathon and that is why you got to run the race. My thinking was that if I started in the back, then very few people would notice me and that when I stopped to get water, everyone else had already had a chance to get theirs (it is even worse if a bandit takes water at a water stop).

 

At the mile, which I passed through in 12:00 pace, my plan was working to perfection. I wasn’t being yanked off the course by an official (it used to happen) and with the rain and cold temperatures, no one seemed to notice me. I had told my friend that I would try to catch her by 10 miles (I don’t know what I was thinking that I was going to do after that, since it was still 16.2 miles back to Boston) and I just kept running and looking at people’s backs trying to find my friend.

 

Ten miles passed, then 13.1 miles then Heartbreak Hill and 20 miles and all I kept thinking was that my friend was really having a great race because my time was pretty good and I had passed other people in our running club from New Jersey.

 

The lowest point for me in the race, besides not catching my friend, was that when I really wanted the finish line to finally be there, there was one more turn and a little ways to go. I did finish, however, ran 3:00:40, was wrapped in one of those shiny Tyvek blankets at the finish and ushered away from the finish area because, you know, I was a bandit.

 

And there I stood, elated but deflated, having been beaten by my friend and thinking that this was worse than the ride up when I was just a dry, warm “sweats holder”. But the worst was yet to come. Glancing around, I saw my friend hop over one of the yellow police tapes and I was then totally crushed. Not only had she beaten me, but she had the energy to hop over a police tape when I could hardly move.

 

The happy ending to my first (and only) Boston Marathon story is that my friend had actually dropped out at 10 miles and taken the bus back. In trying to keep my word and catch her, I had focused entirely on my commitment and the miles just breezed by making it by far the most enjoyable marathon that I have ever run!”

This story is a true as I picked it from the narrators blog . Read Coach Richard blog to know why he did it.

Some interesting post on his blog are

 

Risk and Benefit of Running on Worn Out Trainers

One way you can develop strong legs is to run with your worn out trainers. Worn out  trainers will make you feel pain  on the feet but  the pain will increase your pain tolerance.

Most runners discard their running shoes as soon as they feel they are worn out. When I started feeling pain on my feet during my Sunday morning 21K run I knew my Adidas Trainers were getting worn out. I had run on them  for 5 months, during that period I wore them to run last year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon.

Benefit of Running on Worn Out Trainers

Instead of buying a new pair of trainers I decided to keep running in them to find out whether running in pain will make me stronger. My idea was based on weight training principle, the way to build bigger and stronger muscles is to subject your muscles to more pain. Body builders build bigger and stronger muscles by lifting heavier weights. Once they get used to the pain of lifting a certain weight level they move up to a heavier weight.

Dangers of Running On Worn Out Trainers

Before you try running on worn out trainers be aware of the dangers. A worn out trainer can increase the risk of injury. Road running is an impact sport, your joints knees, ankles and hips are under great stress. A good running shoe helps to reduce the impact of tarmac on your joints.

The Safest Way to Run On your Worn Out Trainers 

1. Cut down on the mileage 

I couldnt stand the pain of running 21K on worn out trainers so I cut my run to 10K. The more you are on the road the higher the risk of suffering an injury.

2. Slow your pace.

Running at a slower pace will also reduce the risk of suffering an injury. Although the pain in your feet will automatically kill your pace.

3. Avoid Rocky Roads

A rocky road will cause you an injury even when wearing a good trainer. Avoid the rocks and run on smooth tarmac.

Safe Running 

Kenya, Beijing Olympic Marathon Team Announced

Despite all the domination in big marathons around the world, no Kenyan has won an Olympic marathon gold medal. The best performance remains Eric Wainaina’s silver in 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Kenya Athletics federation announced the Kenya Marathon team for  Olympics games to be held in Beijing, China in August.

KENYA MEN OLYMPIC  MARATHON TEAM

Martin Lel : He has got lots of pace. Winner in London in 2003, 2007 and 2008, New York 2003 and 2007

Samuel Wanjiru: At 21 he is the future of marathon but I have my fear he might suffer burn out for his early start. World Half marathon record holder (58:33) Fakuoka Marathon winner 2007 and London marathon runner-up 2008

Robert Cheruiyot : This former barber is my bet for the Olympic Gold. Four time Boston marathon winner (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008) Chicago marathon winner (2006 and 2007)

KENYA WOMEN  OLYMPIC MARATHON TEAM

Catherine Ndereba: Will it be second time lucky for the 2004 silver medalist, She has sacrificed everything for the Olympic, choosing not to run at any major marathon prior to Beijing Olympics. Will she emerge from the Shadow of Paula Radcliffe? She is a Four time winner in Boston world champion in 2003 and 2007

Selina Kosgei : Third in London marathon 2008

Martha Komu: 2008 Paris Marathon Winner

How the Selection for Kenya Olympic Team is Done

I have no idea how its done, The National Track Federation chooses the Olympic team based on an Amorphous criteria subject to all manner of interpretation and influence peddling. Critics of the federation have accused the federation of putting reputation, tribe, & friendship above individual form.

The beautiful thing about preparing for Olympic Games is you can enjoy dreaming. After announcing the team, the federation moved swiftly to dreamland ” We expect both marathon golds this year since we have picked the best runners we have. This year alone, Kenyans have won 25 marathon titles so selecting the team was not easy but we got the best,” The federation Chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat said.

 

Marathon Running and Low Risk of Heart Attack

 

Pheidippides, the Greek Soldier who is named after the marathon was the first recorded death of marathon. In the story, it is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the senate with the words “Masters! Victory is ours!” before collapsing and dying due to exhaustion.

What are the chances of you falling down with an heart attack? A study published in 1996, found that the risk of having a fatal heart attack during, or in the period 24 hours after, a marathon, was approximately 1 in 50,000 over an athlete’s racing career – which the authors characterised as an “extremely small” risk.

 

The paper went on to say that since the risk was so small, cardiac screening programs for marathons were not warranted.

 

In another study of 60 non elite runners in 2006, they tested the runners’ blood for proteins that signal heart muscle damage and heart dysfunction. It revealed that runners who had done less than 35 miles per week training before the race were most likely to show some heart damage or dysfunction, while runners who had done more than 45 miles per week training beforehand showed little or no heart problems.

 

Marathon running is a test of endurance, lets assume it stresses the heart more than shorter running activities, and this may be the reason why marathon runners who are at risk seem to drop down with heart attack.

Ryan Shay tragedy

Its important to note that majority of runners who have died of heart attack were people who had undiagnosed heart anomalies. Other casualties are runners who knew they were at risk but decided to ignore the threat of heart attack. I remember when Ryan Shay died at 2007 US Olympic Trials it was reported his Doctor had warned Shay to cut down on his running because his heart rate was too low and sooner or later he would need to use a pacemaker. If you look at it realistically, Ryan Shay was in the wrong career.

 

Sign of Risk of Heart Attack

The best way to avoid coming down with heart attack during running is take a heart check and see whether you are at risk. One sign of risk is a big heart. But endurance athletes have big hearts than normal so don’t get scared if the Doctor tells you, “you have a big heart.” The Doctor should consider all factors before making a final conclusion.

Safe Running

Lance Get’s Carried Away At Boston Marathon as Cheruiyot Wins

Robert Cheruiyot win at 2008 Boston Marathon means a Kenya runner has won 16 of the last 18 Boston Marathon.

 

Cheruiyot, 29, beat runner-up Abderrahime Bouramdane of Morocco by a wooping 1 minute 18 seconds. The gulf in time between the the winner and second place finisher is telling of what it takes to win what is arguably the toughest marathon.

Unlike 2008 London Marathon where we saw Martin Lel of Kenya sprint to the finish line, Cheruiyot slogged to the  finish. He reminded me how I finished my finished my first marathon, thirsty and breathless.

What makes boston marathon difficult is the four hills on the course. The last hill fittingly called “Heartbreak hill” is located at around 21 mile mark. This is the point where most athletes hit the wall. Just when your body is running out of glycogen you are faced with a hill!!!

This is a race that a runner needs a lots of stamina to do well. Ability to run fast won’t do here. The best way prepare for Boston is to do lots and lots of hill runs.

Lance Armstrong 2008 Boston Marathon

Lance Armstrong, finished the 112th Boston Marathon in 2:50:58, placing 488th out of more than 25,000 runners.  His  time was 5  minutes behind  his  2007 New York Marathon  time  2:45 . He blamed his inability to beat his time on getting carried away with excitement. According to bikerider.com “he pushed the pace a bit too hard in the middle of the Boston race, mostly due to the excitement of being there and ended up paying for it in the final four to five miles.”

Armstrong, running together with 50 Livestrong ‘teammates,’ was raising funds and awareness for his Lance Armstrong Foundation, known around the world as Livestrong.

Armstrong said he plans to run the New York City Marathon again this fall.