Monthly Archives: August 2008

Catherine Shocked! : Wasn’t Aware Tomescu was Ahead of her

My local daily has an interview with Catherine Ndereba after she won the silver medal at Beijing Women Olympics. Catherine confessed she wasn’t aware that the gold winner, Romanian Constatina Tomescu was ahead of her.

When she entered the stadium she thought the only marathoner ahead of her was the Chinese Zhou Chunxiu. But when she looked ahead she saw Constatina Tomescu crossing the finish line. She was surprised but it was already to late. How did that happen?

I watched the race on TV and I remember Ndereba ran behind the leading pack. When Tomescu sprinted ahead at around 25K mark Ndereba couldn’t see her run away because her vision was blocked by runners ahead of her.

She sweared if she had seen Tomescu sprint ahead she would have stepped her game.

When asked if she was disappointed  with her second Olympic silver she said “Not at all, there is nothing like disappointment in my vocabulary!”

At 36 has Ndereba best chance for Olympic gold passed her? I don’t think so. Tomescu 38 is now the oldest female Olympic marathon winner and she looks like the energizer bunny. Something else that might inspire Ndereba is to look at the large  number of  Old athletes  competing at this year’s Beijing Summer Olympics. Keep in mind Israel marathoner, Haile Satayin at 53 will be the oldest marathon runner at the start of the men Beijing Olympic marathon.

If she works hard and health permits, she will have a chance to fight another day in London Olympics 2012.

An Endurance Athlete Heart

As an endurace athlete, you will develop an athlete’s heart which is very different to the non athlete’s heart. You will have;

  • Low resting pulse rate of under 50 beats per minute – Scientifically referred to as Bradycardia.
  • Thickening of the heart muscle wall
  • X-ray reveals an enlarged heart
  • Blood tests shows raised muscle enzymes

The above for the average person (non-athlete) indicate a probable heart block, hypertension or heart failure.

Should you need to go into hospital or see your doctor, you should inform them you are an endurance athlete.

My Doctor told me, Athlete’s heart also known as athletic heart syndrome is a medical syndrome in which the human heart is enlarged due to excessive amounts of exercise. Common in athletes who exercise more than an hour almost every day and occasionally in heavy weight trainers, this syndrome is believed to be a benign condition.

How an Athlete Heart  Develops

During intensive, prolonged endurance- and strength-training, the body signals the heart to pump more blood through the body to counteract the oxygen deficit building in the skeletal muscles. Enlargement of the heart is a natural physical adaptation of the body to deal with the high pressures and large amounts of blood that can affect the heart during these periods of time. After time, these pressures cause the muscle mass, wall thickness, and chamber size of the left ventricle of the heart to increase.

America’s Shelane : Progression Running Strategy Lands Olympic Bronze

Yesterday’s Women Olympics 10,000 meters was a good example why its important to stick with your own pace and not to sprint with the herd. America’s Shelane Flanagan seems to have been the only athlete who followed that advice and was rewarded with a Bronze Medal.


Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s 10,000m in a new Olympic record by beating Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse in a thrilling battle in Beijing. The winning time was the second fastest ever!


The charge took off immediately they started, It was Lornah Kiplagat, formerly of Kenya, who took control early on dragging the runners through the first kilometre in astonishing three minutes. The majority of the runners paid the price of this high pace, the number of runners in contention was cut to just Abeylegesse and Dibaba with six laps left


British athlete Jo Pavey who slipped off the main group with 11 laps to go told BBC Sport “I’m disappointed, you feel like you’ve made a fool of yourself,” “It was such a blistering pace.”


Progression Running Tactic


America’s Shelane Flanagan did what her fellow county woman Deena Kostar did four years ago in Athens Olympic Marathon: Run a conservative race!


The advantage of starting slow is you save your energy for the last stage. As the bell rung for the final lap I saw only two strong athletes, Shelane and Dibaba. If there was an extra lap, Shelane might have caught up with Silver medal winner, Turkey’s Abeylegesse.

What Does Michael Phelps Eat?: A Champion Athlete diet

In an interview with NBC Michael Phelps confessed he consumes a staggering 12,000 calories a day.

By comparison, the average man of the same age needs to ingest about 2,000 calories a day.

Why so much food?

Phelps has to keep his intake up in order to compensate for all the calories he burns during  training. He trains 30 hours per week. Assuming 5 days of training and two days of rest. Phelps spends at least 6 hours a day training hard. With his super size meals I assume he spends another 2 hours a day eating!

To maintain high levels of training you have to eat lots of calories.

What Michael Phelps eats for Breakfast:

3 fried egg sandwiches, 2 cups coffee, 5-egg omlette, bowl of grits, 3 pieces of french toast, 3 chocolate chip pancakes

What Michael Phelps eats for Lunch:

1 pound pasta, 2 ham and cheese sandwiches,

What Michael Phelps eats for Dinner:

1 pound pasta, 1 large pizza,

If you are training for a marathon or any other sport and you feel a decline in performance, it could be a sign you are not consuming enough calories to power your training.

Train hard eat hard!

Sailor, John Dane : Oldest American Athlete in Beijing Olympics

After 40 years of trying to make it in US Olympic team a 58 year old Athlete John Dane III is finally in Beijing Summer Olympic.

The inspiring story of John Dane was emailed to me by one of my readers from New Orleans. Thanks Harriet!

Never Give Up

Dane tried to make the Olympics in 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1984, coming close with a second-place finish, a third and two fourths at the trials. He also came up short in 1996 and 2004, when he figured his Olympic dream was done.

His big break came via his daughter. Dane’s daughter, Sally, married a top sailor in Austin Sperry, 30. Dane has teamed with his son-in-law to make the team in the Star event.

The US has some of the oldest athletes in Beijing games, five competitors are 50 or over and 17 competitors are over 40 including 41 year old swimming sensation, Dara Torres.

To all the dreamers out there, dream big, ITS FREE!

Nogushi, Radcliffe : Victims of Too Much Training

The news from the Japanese Olympic team is that the reigning Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi pulled out of Sunday’s marathon because of a lingering left thigh injury. Noguchi, the 2003 world championship silver medalist, was attempting to become the first woman to repeat as Olympic marathon champion.

Incidentally, Radcliffe, 34, She too has been bothered by a similar thigh injury.

Unlike Nogushi, Radcliffe has not yet given up on an Olympic medal especially after her major disappointment in Athens, when she collapsed because of dehydration after leading much of the race.

Dangers of over training

With elite runners doing weekly mileages of over 100 miles (160 kilometres) this carries a greater risk of running injury.

Overtraining is a condition that results from not getting enough rest to allow the body to recover from stressful training. It can result in lowered endurance and speed and place a runner at a greater risk of injury.

Some runners came out of the punishing training okay but for runners like Nogushi and Radcliffe they weren’t so lucky. Training is a lottery!

With Nogushi out of Sunday’s marathon and Radcliffe a wounded warrior, who is going to win the female marathon?  Catherine Ndereba maybe?

Fitness Test: 10 Test to Check How Fit You are

After a long summer break, teams playing in the English Soccer Premier league have been getting their players fit for the new season. Top teams such as Manchester united, Asernal F.C, Chelsea F.C and Liverpoool F.C have a strict fitness test to see whether a players’ off season involved too many pints or he is still a goal machine.

I was tidying up my bedroom when I came across a 2005 copy of Mens Health magazine which had the following fitness test by Dr. Charlotte Cowie, head of medical services at Tottenham Hotspsur FC.

1. Fitness of Your Knees  

Sore and painful knees are a bad sign. Swelling or wasting can indicate problems especially with cruciate ligaments of knee cartilage. Such problems require professional attention.

2. Ankle Fitness Test

Are they aching? Ankle wear and tear is inevitable in sports. But accelerated degeneration is a red light. Look for swelling or poor movement.

To restore strength stand on one leg, shut your eyes, and try to hold it. Do a minute on each leg.

3. Groin Muscle Fitness Test

Groin injuries result from over use of the adductor muscles. Recovery mainly requires rest. Beware sit-ups, which can exacerbate groin strain.

4. Do Sprints to Test your Fitness

A fit soccer player should be able to sprint 10m in under two seconds.

5. Vertical Jump Test  

How high you can jump is a sign of how fit you are. The higher the better.

6. A bleep Test

A bleep test basically measures aerobic capacity.

7. How easily can you stand on one leg

Good athletes need to have good balance. Improve yours by standing on one leg while you are brushing your teeth.

8. Your resting heart rate

As an endurance athlete you develop an athlete’s heart which is different to the non athletes heart. Athletes have a low resting pulse rate of under 50 beats per minute.

9. Blood Pressure Test

If you have a very high blood pressure, its worth investigating

10. Your Body Fat Test

The body fat of a top player is 9%. Being lighter saves a runner tons of energy. Lance Armstrong plans to show up at 2008 NYC marathon 4Kg lighter than last year. The lighter you are the faster you can run.

My Training Plan For 2008 StanChart Nairobi Marathon

My goal this year is to run 2008 Nairobi Full marathon in Under three hours. In 2006 my time was 3 hours 26 minutes and in 2007 my time was 3 hours 6 minutes. My target for 2008, 42K marathon is 2 hours 45 minutes. That will be a minute better than Lance Armstrong time of 2.46 (2007 New York marathon)

Statistics for 2007 marathon running in the USA indicated that, out of the 450,000 26mile marathon finishers only 6,000 were able to finish the marathon in under 3 hours. To join that exclusive group of under 3 hours finishers you need to punish your body hard enough!

3 Months Marathon Training Plan.

Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon is on the last weekend in October and for the next three months I will embark on intensive marathon training. For the last 6 months I have been running a 21K run every Sunday morning. Those runs have left me fine tuned for an intensive training before the day on the marathon.

Monday and Tueday

Rest Days


5K speed work on a running track.


7-8K road running at a high tempo


5K speed work


2K speed work at high tempo


21K slow Long run on a hilly route.  Long run may go up to 25 to 30Km

I have a full time day job, running a print shop, so my training will  have to be done early in the morning.

For my last two marathon I never incorporated speed work in my training but I have decided to incorporate the speed work in my program  after reading Lance  Armstrong training plan.

“If your goal is a fast race, do at least one, but ideally two, fast paced runs a week. These prolonged periods at a hard but sustainable intensity train your aerobic and muscular systems to run faster or longer before fatiguing.” Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong running coach.

Michael Phelp’s : Lactic Acid Advantage

American swimmer Michael Phelps is targeting to win a world record eight gold medals at Beijing Summer Olympics. To achieve his goal the 23 year old will have to recover quickly from one swimming event to the next.

Phelps body has a remarkable ability to recover quickly from intensive workouts. Hard working muscles release lactic acid, which causes soreness. But Phelps’ body can flush out lactic acid in minutes vs the hour or two it takes the bodies of most athletes.

How runners can help their body remove lactic acid

The same lactic acid production is what causes soreness during running.  You can help you body flush out lactic acid by doing the following

1) Stretching

2) Massaging

3) Soaking the lower half of the body for 20 minutes or so in cold or ice water may force blood through the leg muscles to speed recovery

Although lactic acid is bad for the body this fruit acid has its own benefits, such as treatment of skin acne. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk or bilberries.

Lactic acid acne : Lactic Acid Skin

Lactic acid is used in treatment of skin problem such as acne. Through a procedure known as lactic acid peel : This lactic acid face peel will remove dead skin cells, and promote healthier, softer and more radiant skin.

Olympics : History of Nude Athletes

During the ancient Olympics games normally only young men could participate. The sportsmen usually competed nude.

This was due in part to the weather and also because the festival was meant to be a celebration of the achievements of the human body.

Today try to run nude in public and you will get yourself behind bars!

If the IOC wanted a solution to the high temperatures in Beijing Games they might just look at ancient games for an answer!



Wrestlers at ancient games 

The practice of running nude ended when the Roman Empire gained power in Greece and introduced Christianity and it’s mannerism.

Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the religion of the Empire in AD 393 and banned pagan rites, the Olympic Games were outlawed as a pagan festival.