Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Perils of Poor Pacing

There was an interesting article on the Science of Sport site about Kayoko Fukushi's marathon debut in Osaka.

In case anyone wonders why endurance athletes are so caught up on pacing, the video clip of her last 300m of the race should be expanation enough in itself. This is what can happen when you get your pacing wrong.

I assume the woman in the crowd the the camaera keeps cutting to is Fukushi's mother (my Japanese is limitted to mispronouncing my sushi order). I can't imagine having to watch someone I care about be in such terrible condition and be unable to do anything but watch. I got a little teary, although almost all finish line footage gets me choked up.


My training hit a bit of a snag last weekend as I had a work function to attend in Ottawa (or YOW as we in the travel biz like to call it). Full days, cold weather, and a small gym, plus my desire to pack light, made getting in my workouts a bit of a challenge. On top of that, our return flight was full of delays, I've never before heard of a plane being delayed due to frostbitten baggage handlers (don't ever get an outdoor job in Calgary!), so being home has yet to turn into getting workouts done.

It was mostly work but while in the capital city I did manage to:

  • Tour the parliament buildings. I've done it before but a different tour guide gives you different insights so it was still interesting, plus the last time I didn't go up the Peace Tower so that was cool to do.
  • Walk around parts of downtown, including Byward (sp?) Market. The market didn't thrill me but it did allow for Beaver Tails (over-priced and definitely touristy but had to be done)
  • Skating on the Rideau - I didn't plan on doing this but got sucked in to go with a group then a supplier rep lent me his skates (he has small feet for a guy and I have big ones for a woman so it worked out) so there was no way out. It took a bit to remember how to skate, especially as it was my first time on hockey skates, but it was a lot of fun and I'm glad I let myself be talked into it.

While on the Rideau we also:

  • had Beaver Tails (I needed to see if they tasted different on the canal!)
  • got to be around drunk Carleton students - I'm sure that's listed as a "Must Do" in the Tourism Ottawa city highlights

The travel was tiring and I'm not keen on giving up my weekends but I'm lucky to work with a fun group of people so all in all it was a good time.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Perception vs. Reality

For our time trial last night the coaches brought out a video camera to the track so we could get an idea of what we look like when we run. In my mind, when I run I am a gazelle lightly skimming the earth. I now have video evidence to the contrary!

After I got over the realization that how I run is nothing like how I thought I ran ("lumbering" was the first word that came to mind) I looked at the video a bit more objectively and pulled apart some of the issues I saw, namely that I don't appear light on my feet, I lean forward a lot and my shoulders swing quite a bit.

It's definitely interesting, I'm hoping there will be more videotaping in the future as I'd like to watch myself improve (that IS what's going to happen)

The video is on the club blog. Look for me at the following times:

PS - The picture is a Thomson's Gazelle! Maybe my problem was that I was trying to run like a Thompson's Gazelle??

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Less Kvetching

Okay, first off let me say I really like the word “kvetch”, it’s just fun to say. I think I need to learn Yiddish as it would be a fun language.

“Kvetch” may sound cool but kvetching really isn’t something I want to be doing. I do do it though. A lot. In fact I frequently complain to myself (and probably others) about how much I complain.

This awareness and the, admittedly low level, desire to stop has been wafting around in the back of my head for a while but I’ve never actually done anything about it. Maybe I figured it would be easy to stop when I finally really decided to get around to it

Last Sunday I was watching CBC’s Sunday Report and they did a story on “A World Without Complaints”, a simple idea started by a US church. Itwas initially intended as a Sunday lecture for the congregation but has morphed into a world-wide phenomenon. The idea was to get people to stop complaining by wearing a bracelet (purple ones similar to the Livestrong bracelets) and switching it from wrist to wrist any time they catch themselves. The goal is to go 21 days straight without a complaint.

It’s a simple idea but, apparently, a hard thing to achieve.

I’m generally up for a challenge and this is something I do want to achieve so I figured I’d try this whole concept out. I picked up the book, grabbed a rubber band and decided to get going. The book isn’t that great (excuse me while I switch the rubber band from right to left) but elaborates on the news story to fill in the holes and to let me know I’m up for a big challenge. If it took a minister 4 months to do it this may take a heathen like me a while!

So far I’m on day two. Yesterday by this time I had switched the band about 20 times, then I stopped counting. I’ve done less today but I’ve also talked to less people. I think I’m going to aim low to start, one complaint free day before I gun for the whole 21.

I’ll keep you posted as to my progress.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back to the Grind (and loving it!)

After a frustrating start to January my lungs finally cleared up and I got out for some workouts this past weekend. On Saturday I wanted to take it easy so I rode on my own and only for about 40 minutes. I wheezed and coughed most of the way but still felt fantastic to be back on my bike.

I went to Sunday’s swim with the intention of taking things slow. In pretty quick order I went from that attitude to my usual “C’mon, c’mon – get it moving!” pool attitude. Patience in the pool is a work in progress for me!

By the time I got outside for the run the whole take it easy ideal had long gone out the window and I ran a tad longer than I was supposed to (I won’t say how much further in case my coach reads this, I don’t want to get in trouble my first week back!).

I was pooped at the end of it all but it feels sooooo good to be back!

A couple things I forgot about training:

  • Fatigue has emotional as well as physical effects (whoo boy did I get low yesterday afternoon)
  • Morning famishment – breakfast at home, workout, breakfast at work, starving again 45 minutes later. I'll get the hunger thing figured out eventually.
Things I just plain forgot:

  • Gatorade – I ran out in November and never got around to picking up more. Although now that I’m focusing on short course I’m not as dependent on what is served on course so I’m going to start experimenting with other drinks. Luckily I have gels, bars, etc. coming out the ying-yang so I’m set for solids at least.
  • Bike shorts – okay, I remembered at the last minute but I very nearly went out for my first ride in months with plain ol’ tights on (if ever there is a time I need padding, it’ll be now)
  • Quick and easy lunch for Sunday afternoon – I either need leftovers or something super easy to make when I get home from the swim/run.
  • Ice – last year I started freezing water in old (clean!) yogurt or margarine containers as my two ice cube trays were insufficient for getting my ice baths acceptably cold. This week I’ll stock the freezer and see if I can induce hypothermia on Sunday.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Haven't I done this already?

I'm sick. Again.

This is very frustrating, all my grand plans for starting up training in January are out the window. Okay, not out the window, just on hold, but I'm a highly impatient person so it feels like pretty much the same thing.

Not much else to report so I'm going back to my blanket and my Neocitron.