Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pleasant and Incredible discovery

Yesterday I tried a new route and did an incredible discovery ...
here, in Dongguan, the most industrial city in the world, where the common phrase is "Dongguan is the factory of China and China is the factory of the world", well, I found a forest ... with a network of forest trails ..

Just 3km from my new home, I left some industrial area at my back and found a small artificial lake with a small road around it. To my extreme surprise, the road soon departed from the lake and become unpaved, and got deeper into a "forest" of tropical trees.
I was amazed, the road went on and on for some km until I had to turn back. It was all shadowed by line of trees and seems very very promising ...
maybe after 9 years I found the "Running Heaven" ...
more exploration on the next long run... (sooner or later I will bring the camera because it is really nice place)

on a separate note, the weather is really crap:
- 20 days of torrential rain
- 5 days of extreme heat
- today is the first typhoon of the season and the wind is blowing ruthlessly. Last night we sealed all the windows, but still all the house was trembling ... hope to make a treadmill this evening

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Heat is coming

as usual, yesterday evening I go my daily sms from China Mobile with the weather forecast for today ... I sounded like (my translation from chinese...) : "Summer has arrived; the temperature will be very high, with clear skies. Temperature from 26 to 34C, Humidity from 70% to 90% ....."

I gasped ... the minimum temperature is usually around 4am and as soon as sunrise (5am), it rises very fast over 28/29C

So this morning I hit the road at 6am, but it was already a 26C, with 95%Rh ... I slogged an easy 10k.

Weekly balance: 84k (not bad and ahead of target), Unfortunately I sucked at the long run, otherwise 2 decent quality workout (quick farltek 10x1' + 10x30" and a MP run of 8k).
For sure I need more rest (usually I do not sleep more than 6 hours).

I like also to read how others cope with heat in another part of the world ..( I guess anyway that the desert of Arizona is a bit drier than here)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Long Run DNF

DNF a training run ??
This is what I did today...
During the week, I was able to gather some of the best runners in HK for a solid long run on this Saturday.
S.: a real rising star... Recent winner of Phuket International HM (1h13 in the Thailand heat ... Impressive)
E.: a accomplished Ironman with terrific running
K: top Master in HK and unvaluable resource for the running community

Being a solo runner 99.9% of the runs, I was pretty excited on the perspective of running in such a group...
Well, basically "my legs did not show up"

Maybe was due to the fast workout yesterday, coupled with a 6 hours drive during the day, maybe was the heat of the first real day of Summer (at 7am, 29C + 80%rh), but I struggled from the start, my HR was abnormally high, I was completely lacking energies and it was going worse and worse at every mile...
After 14km I simply bailed out and walked 2km back home....
Got headache until lunch...
Hopefully just a bad day
The boys went on and scored 27km as planned (I guess they lost 5lbs at least)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"secret" weapon

yes, time to show the secret weapon...

a wonderful treadmill Technogym Runrace (made in Italy), that has just landed in my new apartment.
It seems that it was originally installed in the Club House of an exclusive private club in Hong Kong. Later was owned by a friend of mine who changed job and was in need to get rid of it.
It is a professional model, 250kg of weight !!!. To fit it into that room, 8 people were needed to carry it on the stairs , plus partial disassembly to get into the door.

I plan to use it whenever I can not run outside in the morning...
unfortunately in Dongguan, either you run outside at 6am, either the traffic is too much until late in the evening, so indoor running is the only option in the evening.
Let's see if I can increase the mileage a bit...

Fluid loss #2

Another fluid loss "experiement" this morning:
- temperature maybe around 26/27C, RH >90%
- 1 hours "Easy" effort run
- weight loss : 1,4Kg !!.... (keeping into account also a bottle of water drunk during workout).

Wk24 summary

Skipped 2 days for work/family issues, but achieved anyway the target (slightly under 70km for the week).
- good long run (22k)
- in Sunday, I cohorted my friend E. in a medium effort run. Weather condition were prohibitive: just stopped raining, 26C, 97%Rh. After warm-up, we hit a 10k at "MP effort". I was able to keep a 3'50"/k pace with HR around 85%HRmax, but after 5k the HR started to drift closer to 87% and later 90% ... Overall we closed in 38'10" and it was much better than my expectations in terms of keeping a pace sub-4'/k. The main problem is that the humidity is so high that is impossible to have steady pace/steady effort ... after 20 minutes I either have to slow down or my HR starts to rise...

in Wk25 I try to climb a bit more the mileage

Friday, June 13, 2008

Heavy Rain + long run

The rain is falling for days and days. There are periods of clear skies, but sooner or later black clouds bring torrential downpours that last for hours.

This morning I set the alarm clock at 5.00am and planned a long run. Actually I did sleep too little and very poorly, so I was really not motivated by the ring of the alarm clock.
Dragging out of bed, I eventually set out from home at 5.30am and decided to hit the streets of the town centre rather than always looping around the same industrial estate.
Well, very pleasant surprise: at that time, the roads were completely quiet and actually this town were I live now is quite pleasant for running. There are large boulevards lined with factories inside the town center itself and there are no sign of heavy traffic, trucks like it was in my previous place.
That town (the old one) was at a cross-road of important national roads and the local administration did not care about building some outer ring or drive through road. So all the traffic (trucks 24/7...) was obliged to pass in the town center and it has alwasy been a nightmare for me to find some quiet route. So for 3 years I had to stick to the same loop.

Overall I did 22km, without "looping" ... not bad. I even found a nice country road heading to a dam that deserves further exploration.

What did I forget ? it was raining, heavy rain (orange alert was issued). Road were flooded and it was like running under a shower of warm water. In some point I had to run with the water up to the ankles...
At least the rain was a good coolant...
total 22km in 1h37' (not bad being my first long run in 3 months).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

week 23/2008

weekly recap: only 60km because in the week-end we went with the family to a sea resort in USA (!!!)
Trivia for the American readers: guess which is the beach in USA closest to Hong Kong

All workout at steady pace (or better ... for the heat, the pace progressively fading, while the effort progressively rising...).
In the next post, for sure I will write more about my new secret weapon

Friday, June 6, 2008

fluid loss

in South China is raining continuously for the past 15 days. It seems that it will never stop ...
at least, it is good for running because the rain really chills down the body.

But yesterday early morning, there was a rare sunny clear sky and it was plainly hot. Maybe 28C with 85% RH. So it was ideal setting for a fluid loss experiment:
- weight before run: 69,7Kg
- weight after run: 68,3Kg (run 1hr steady pace, HR around 75%max)
- drunk a cup of water b4 the run: 0,2kg
==> total fluid loss: 1,6kg/3,5 pounds (in 1 hour!!!) : 2,1% of body weight ..
Unbelievable ... it is no surprise that after 40 minutes I started to crawl rather than run ...
for a long run I would need to carry not a bottle but a tank of water.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Moving #2

This is my personal tribute to the street where I was "born again" as runner.

In the fall of 2006 I was really underperforming and not improving.
At the time, I trained under the motto "run less, run fast"...
I also did not like at all to go running outside in Dongguan, more than happy with running on treadmill + track. Obviously it is impossible to make mileage on a 300m track ...

Somehow I understood my mistakes, changed my training habits and also did venture outside to find a quieter street to run. I started to run back and forth on the same street for a month every morning, forcing to win myself out of bed and run in a dark street (no street lightening...).

This is that street
(photo taken at 5.30am ... that's why is so quiet... after 7.00am it is so trafficked that you would not even dare to cross the road).
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June 1st marked 2 small "personal" events:
1) I set it as the start of the new running season 2008/2009. Reset all the mile counter and now planning what to do in the new year. Because of the summer heat, basically running life goes to "hybernation" (hahaha... the right word) until September. Now I have 3 months of only training to go back to the fitness before the injury.
I plan to run a Marathon in November/December targeting 2h35'.

2) I moved. After 4 years in my flat in one district of Dongguan, I decided that it was better to move closer to the factory to avoid the daily commute in the ever increasing traffic + perennial opening of new road contruction projects (in 20 years, China will be covered by highway... but now we are paying the price under the form of building sites everywhere).
The new flat is just 5 minutes drive from work, it is bigger and in a quieter area, so I guess it could be a better choice for running.
Thanks to a friend who want to dismiss his treadmill, I will also set up my own treadmill in one of the bedrooms !!! (picture later).

But before turning the page, some nostalgic pictures ...

a view from the balcony of my old flat. For what Dongguan can offer, it was really a decent unobstructed view. The new flat has a "factory dormitory" view ...

In my last run, I climbed at the top of a surrounding hill and take a picure of my usual running route. Basically it is around those buildings that you can barely see in the fog/pollution

another view from the hill top. I climbed this hill very seldom. It is very steep and obviously it is not lit, so not very convenient in winter when sunrise is so late

Something that I always hated of that town: it was maybe one of the dirtiest town in Dongguan. Many night food stalls and everyone is just throwing the stuff on the floor. In the morning, it is really smelling bad .

in the new town, I will not need to run through the town center, but I can go straight to some unfinished industrial area / countryside, so at least it will be free from rubbish (well ... more or less)
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