Monthly Archives: October 2011

2011 Stanchart Nairobi Race Report

“Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.” – Hal Higdon

Another year and another StanChart Nairobi marathon gone! I arrived at 2011 Nairobi marathon with a goal of running a sub 3 hours marathon. I had previously done two sub 3 hours marathon, in 2008 (2.52) and 2009 (2.56) but in 2010 I had a real back sliding, and finished in 3.23. A very poor performance by my high standards. This year was all about getting my pride back.

The eve of the marathon was perfect. No anxiety, plenty of rest, plenty of food, plenty of hydration. I woke up at 5.00 am, took a very hot shower just to warm up my body. I made sure the hot water ran down the key running muscles: the hip and the calf. The hotel breakfast starts at 7.00am so I had made my own arrangements. My pre race breakfast consisted of half a litre yogurt and six slices of bread.

With roads closed, the only way to get to the starting line was by walking. Every one was walking from Nairobi City center to the start at Nyayo National Stadium. I think Nyayo stadium is almost 1.5Kms from Nairobi City center and that walk alone is enough warm up!

The full marathon started at exactly 7.00am. My routine is to avoid the crowd in front and start from behind. I started well and when I got to the 9 Km mark I started feeling my body was not responding well. I was pushing but I was lacking the endurance to maintain apace of 4 mins per Km. Thoughts of my body may have peaked and I might never run faster again started crossing my mind.

The White Knights

At 11Km mark a man and woman team caught up with me. They seemed to be working together and they looked good at what they were doing. The guy was pacing the lady. I asked the guy what was their target and he told me, sub 3 hours. I couldn’t believe my luck! My job now was to stick with them.

I stuck with my White Knights, shadowing their every move. We crossed the 15 Kms mark at exactly 1 hour. If I maintained that pace I knew I would be on target. Nairobi marathon is a real budget race, the runners are only given water. I was drinking water at every water station. As the day got older, the sun came out and the temperatures started creeping up. I started taking an extra bottle of water and poured water on my body to cool off.

At the 25 Km, my white knights started pulling back and I raced in front. I thought I was leaving them behind only for them to catch up with me at around 28 Kms mark. We crossed the 30 Kms mark at 2 hours 8 mins. It was clear to me if I was to hit my target of sub 3 hours I would need to do something special in the final 12 Kms.

I Hit The Wall

At the 35 Km mark, my white knights took their team effort to the next level. The lady asked the guy to hold his hand and they sprinted off. I tried to chase them but my body refused. I couldn’t flip my legs faster, I had peaked. I was still running but I was not racing. ( I caught up with my white knights after the race and they informed me they crossed the finish line at 2.59)

When I saw a sign showing 3 Kms to the finish line I looked at my watch: 2.50. There was no way I could do the last 3 Kms in 10 mins. My new target now was under 3.05. To cut a long race short, I did the final 1 Km in 5 mins and finished 2011 Stanchart Nairobi marathon in 3 hours 6 minutes. Very Satisfying!

I never hit my target but some how I was very satisfied with my performance. I live to fight another day. You win some, you lose some. That’s life!

 

 

Ryan Hall Chicago Marathon Training

Ryan Hall has been gearing up for 2011 Chicago marathon by tweaking his training plan. Having been out run by the Kenyans every time, Ryan Has been studying the Kenyans and he now feels he has the answer to beat them.

“I’m realizing more and more how important it is for me to maintain contact. That’s something I did well at Boston this year, where guys would get away from me,” he said in an interview this summer with a Stanford alumni magazine.

“That’s how I stay in the front, but how do I win the race? That’s a whole different question,” he added. “That’s what I’m starting to address now.”

 

 

2011 Stanchart Nairobi Marathon Training Week 7

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” Fred Lebow, New York Marathon founder.

After seven weeks on marathon training for 2011 Stanchart marathon, everything is going like clock. I have been very consistent with my training: 3 speed works in a week plus a long run on Sunday. Every day am feeling more confident of achieving a sub 3 hours marathon.

The last week consisted of intense speed works. I did Basso 800 on Wednesday, followed 10ks speed runs on Thursday and Friday. I feel am getting more benefits from this speed work because they are really challenging my body. During the runs I can feel the strain on my lungs and feet but at the finish I feel relaxed and satisfied.

I have been working on my feet movement, especially on my landing, to try and get the perfect foot strike. I have tried landing on my forefoot, mid foot, heel and I have found landing on my heel seems to work for me. There is no answer to the perfect foot strike, you have to experiment and see what works for you.

Another important area of focus is hydration. I have been seriously water loading. Drinking plenty of water is important to ensure quick recovery.

This week I will miss my Sunday long run because I will be traveling. The trip had been planned months in advance and there is no way I can cancel it. I don’t plan to try to recover it when I come back, I will just skip it and restart my training next week.

upward and forwards.

 

 

Stanchart Nairobi Marathon 2011 Training Week 6

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath”

After six weeks of mild training am now moving to the next stage of training. As part of my preparation for 2011 Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon, I have been doing slow weekly runs, once in a while I would do intense work outs and once in a week I did a long run at a slow pace.

The purpose of the slow run was to strengthen my legs without risking any serious injury. I now feel this has been achieved and the body is prepared to cope with intense work outs for the next three weeks.

Intense work outs and running faster

The intense work outs are speed works around a track plus a long run at a high pace. I also plan to include some serious hill running. The theory behind this high intensity work out is, in order to get stronger, the body needs to be challenged at a level above it’s ability. It works in muscle building whereby, to develop bigger and stronger muscle, the athlete needs to keep lifting heavier and heavier weights.

No Pain No gain

The next stage will involve some level of pain because I will be pushing my body beyond its’ limits and this will call for great mental strength. My mental trick is to see it all as necessary and not a bad thing. If you associate the intense running as a bad thing that is when you will feel the real pain. But if you see it all as a necessary evil you willl endure.

Upwards and forward!