Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Race... old winner...

Zhuhai (a coastal city in Guangdong, nearby Macao) launched a new Half Marathon.
When I heard about the new race, I was a bit wary, because organization of events in China can be either perfect with a huge deployment of resources or a total disaster, without too much of a middle way.
It turned out that, because of the support of the local government and the savy involvement of an experienced race organizer, it was a huge success.

Even more pleasant was that my fellow Stefano did win the race, in a relaxed (for him) 1h11' (it was only 2 weeks after the marathon, I recommended him to take it easy).
2nd place for an Australian, just moved in the area and then a score of runners from HK.

Some good pictures of the event, so you may have an half idea to come for a race to China...

(fast and flat course, running along the sea promenade of Zhuhai, it was a misty day)
(some familiar faces in the lead group... hope we could train again together, guys...)
(it is not the usual post race entertainment....)
(the setting for the finish lines looks really world class !!)
(race announcer, chinese way...)
(the winner mobbed by local press... funny to have 5 policemen and 5 security guards on the background, but is China..)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

HK rank

the local HK Ahtletics published the 2008 athletes ranking.

unfortunately it is full of mistakes (for road races..) and some mis-spelling of the name of the athletes are "tragic"...
they (the HKA) attracts a huge dose of criticism for their management of the sport, so also this rank is in line with usual quality of their operations...

Personally I am glad to see that I am ranked (under 2 different spellings, sic):
5000m track: never run in 2008... not ranked
10000m track: 3rd (accurate)
10k road: 8th (maybe accurate)
15k road: not run any
Half Marathon: 10th (using a wrong timing, I should be 8th...)
Marathon: did I run any marathon in 2008?...(I want to forget)

Good to see that I can make the Top10 even in a season that was quite unfortunate...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New PB... (as blogger)

last week signed a "PB" for this blog
usually this blog has around 15 visits daily, but last Friday they skyrocketed to 87.
The reason is that my post on the Polar Running Index (which was really a good study..) got mentioned also in the website of the well-know running author Matt Fitzgerald, attracting a large numbers of click...
By the way, his website is a good read and his books are interesting.
Personally I have read by him: 
which is really a great book (a must read!!). I reccomend it to everybody and it also goes along very well with my own training philosophy.
Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, andResults (Paperback): I honestly did not die for it... some good concepts but other parts of the book are quite reduntant (if you have read already many other running book)

Monday, February 16, 2009


this morning in Hong Kong I went out for a bike ride and, while almost reaching home, a car did not respect a "Stop" sign and hit me. I almost avoided the crash but it was unavoidable to hit the car and fell on the asphalt.
Scratches and a contusion on hip and elbows, pain...

but you know what was the most amazing: I was laying on the road and the female driver who hit me come out from the car and almost insulted me: "why did not you let me go ? I was already coming out and you come very fast... you were going too fast... it was your fault"
Well, my immediate idea was to smash the pump on her face, but I refrained myself thinking that I would have done the things wrong... so I had to explain her that "if there is a STOP sign, she must stop and let me pass, regardless on her opinions on who was first... and about going too fast, the speed limit in the area is 50kmh so it was unlikely that I was going faster then that..."

worthless to dispute with such an asshole... we called the Police 999. Later she did change approach once she got her driving lesson from the Policemen....

I wonder why car driver can be so assholes... they do not realize that jumping a STOP could kill a cyclist, regardless of their ideas on the occupation of the road.

Friday, February 13, 2009

pacesetters can be expensive...

I already reported on the Marathon in HK...
but there is an incredible development.
One runner (running for the HK national team !!) gave his spare #4 bib to his coach, so that he could jump into the course to pacesetting another female runner, who was also running for the HK Team in the GROE challenge.

the female runner was bonking hard in the last miles and the coach run with her up to the finish line!!!

The end result is that the public outcry to such a "foolish" behavior led the organizer to disqualify both runners !! I say foolish because the "trio" did not respect the rules, but also managed the action in a silly way (using an elite bib, running with the girl until the finish line under the photographers, etc). Really a poor judgment and too much passion in his duty from the coach.

The collateral makes the story much more interesting:
- the coach is well know locally because he is the HK Marathon record holder (set in 1992 !!), and also in the ranks of HKA
- before pacing the girl for the last 10k, the coach also did take part in the 10k race (collateral to the marathon), in a very respectable time of 37'55" (well... he is 49 ). So a very good workout (10k at 3'50" + 10k at 4'15")
- sadly: the disqualification of one runner in the series of 4 races also cause the HK team to lose all their rankings in the race series. So the effort done by other runners in tough marathons like Singapore and Mumbai goes lost..
- the woman team loses also 30,000USD of prize money for series (aka 7,500$ per head). That is really a great buch of money for those amateur runners.

the morale of the story:

- A. do not give your own bib to anyone...
- B. this pacesetter was more expensive those deployed to beat the world record by Gebre... (the counts stands at 3000$/km..)
- C. the red singlet with the "Hong Kong China" mark is really cute, I am very proud to have mine in the closet as lifetime achievement.
- D. it is further confirmation that the number 4 brings bad luck (according to the local folklore, 4 sounds like "death", so it avoided in all ways)

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

A positive spin to Insanity

I did a very insane activity last evening: took my road bicycle for a ride in Dongguan, after dark...

Anybody who knows the condition of traffic in China (crazy drivers, pedestrial trying in any way to be smashed, undisciplined cyclists) may correctly believe that the abstinence from sport
 drove me insane.
But all together it went very very smooth: I have this outer ring of the town where I work that is still not yet fully connected to the highway, etc. It is therefore very quiet, well lit and especially far from any factory (as to avoid the workers strolling around the streets).
Hopefully the road contruction would not be completed too soon otherwise it will become the usual mess of trucks, car and motorcycle (with no lights...).
I was wearing a reflective jacket +lamps. The bicycle itself had not been touched for years, so I must need some tuning in near future.

All said, it was a very balmy weather, 22C and I managed 34km (2 loops) at 30kmh average.
Overall not bad for my first bike ride in centuries, but at every small hill I was "boucing back"... from 42/17 gear, I had desperately to reach the shift lever to go up to 42/21...

So, a good ride and an I will stick to this routine until I am back to running.
(a pic taken end workout, full moon in the sky...)
(map of the ride with my Garmin... the town "below" the course is where I stay and work during the week, 350.000 residents of which 90% are occupied in factories)

Monday, February 9, 2009

well done, Stefano

well, suppose that 18 months ago you were only a beginner "alsorun"... suppose that you choose to debut in the marathon in one of the most demanding courses around, and the temperature at the start is already 19C...
so it is an outstanding "Dream comes true"... that my fellow italian Stefano P did make his marathon debut with a time of 2h28'12" !!
An amazing achievement for an amateur runner who picked-up running only at adult age!!

Fantastico debutto in Maratona per il nostro Stefano, che conclude la Maratona di Hong Kong al 18 posto assoluto (primo dei corridori "locali"), con un tempo fantastico: 2h28'12".
Il tutto considerando che 18 mesi fa era un totale debuttante alla corsa... (e anche, crepi l'invidia, facilmente battibile da me anche solo 12 mesi orsono...)...

The course is really tough, see the declaration of the woman winner:

""It wasn't easy out there," Nyansikera said. "This is my first time in Hong Kong and I found the conditions not so comfortable. I struggled as I have never run a hilly course like this."

She was echoing the views of the majority. All the overseas runners in the showpiece men's and women's marathons said the course was among the most difficult they had faced.

Russia's Leonid Shvetsov believed that if Hong Kong had a flatter course, timings would improve.

"You could lop off at least three to four minutes if the course was flat. I'm not complaining, but this is not easy, especially with the weather conditions," Shvetsov said."

So I expect that Stefano could even get close to 2h21-23' in his next attempt on a easier course (and cooler weather)

See a good pic of him in action !!

Friday, February 6, 2009


A) I want to thank those who wrote comments and mails to support me during this injury time
I am not a depressive guy, but this time I feel really at loss

I begun competitive sports in 1982 and got through many injuries, accidents, downtime and so on...
but this time I feel very vulnerable because I am not only losing the fitness, but also the mental "grip" on making sacrifices, train, wake-up early and so on..  I do not feel even motivation or spirit to make some cross-training when it is possible.

My plan was to run competively for other 2/3 years and no more, but is it maybe the time to call it quit in advance ?

B) Sunday is big time in Hong Kong.... it is the day of the local marathon.
An "awful" total of 55000 people will take part in different events (from 10K, Half, Full Marathon) and overall I think it is the worst possible marathon on earth (course, weather, runner-friendliness, etc).
It will mark the marathon debut of my running "pupil" Stefano.
If everything goes well, he can make a big hit... and especially be the first local runner (behind the usual score of Kenyan and Japanese Professionals)
A running web-site also published his profile
Vai Stefano !!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


in some moments I wonder whether I will run again.
Or better, if I will have the motivation to start again from zero after several months of stop.
I do not see myself going out of the door for the first time in April/May, with already 30C outside and completely out of shape.
It is really like sliding at the rock bottom of a hill that you had previously conquered.
This adds up to the care fo the newborn, advancing age and always increasing responsability at the work.

I really hope to find the strenght to fight back and be competitive again (I am of pure "competitive animal" breed: if not for competition, I might not even run at all...).

On a separate note, a local running website did consider interesting to have an interview with myself... the interview is HERE.
For even more uncomprehensible reasons, someone found interesting to translate the interview in Chinese to be published on another local website.