Thursday, March 29, 2012

not everyday is Christmas....

for a series of reasons (and also because it was supposed to be my last race for the season), last night I ended up racing again in the 10000m for the Round 2 of the HK track league.
In this track meetings, usually very few people are brave to tackle the 25 laps of the track (understandable, since the track races are also in the peak of the summer and there are no prizes of any sort to justify the torture).
Well... last night basically anybody in town with a PB below 34'30" was there, which at least made the race very competitive.
On the very front, Gi K.M. run an amazing performance, to smash the HK record which was standing for 22 years.
For me... well, I was really feeling very tired after sunday's race. Totally missing a consistent base of training, the recovery is much slower than usual and I was knackered on Monday, very tired on Tuesday and simply very weak on Wednesday..
I set out at a reasonable pace, but I was feeling really tired and struggling a lot to tackle the turns. My right hamstring is not yet 100% and at every lap it got tighter and tighter over the turns.
To make it short, I passed the 5000m in around 17'10", but then I was really starting to struggle and the last 3k were really VEEERY LOOOONNNG...
I closed in around 35'10", which is obviously something considering that I resumed running 2 months ago, but a step back from sunday... after the race I was indeed as tired as after a full marathon.
Anyway it was good to be part of such a "historic race" (maybe this new record will stand for another 20 years ?)

After the race, we (our running club) all banded together for a dinner/party to make our best farewell to our runner C. who is leaving Hong Kong soon (anyway it celebrated in style winning on Sunday and placing 2nd yesterday).

Changing topic... I also have people wondering how I could resume so quickly...

1) I did a good dose of aerobic endurance with cycling.
2) as usual, I avoided to make any "fast" interval training, just giving a lot of emphasis to build up the lactate threshold. In this way I was able to make progression runs and "slow" tempo almost every day with a good boost of specific running endurance, without breaking me down with too much interval training, etc...
3) as demonstrated in several cases.... a good aerobic base gives the runner already a 95% "fitness" level...
probably running at good aerobic pace daily is enough to give a runner a very solid season made of several good races and some good PB... while adding the interval training in right amount can be a sort of icing of the cake for the peak form of the year...
(my personal opinion...I am sure that others might disagree)

what next ??
- april : I just want to focus on getting my right leg "right"... still the coordination is poor and today my hamstring is very sore... so strength work, stretching, glute activation exercises, muscle self-massage/roller/stick... Is no point to think to something if I can not even complete 10000m on a track without pain
- may/june: general base training running+cycling, plus more strength work

end of June I will decide if to tackle a marathon in the fall or just stick to lower-level local races.
(also this year I made my donation of 100EUR to the organizers of the Berlin marathon, hoping to attend...)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

By7 is back !

how sweet can be to lose a sprint !!!

I suppose very few people kept this blog in their RSS feeder... so I will hope someone will read these notes...

After my last post cum race, I simply did not run for 3 months.
My left foot was always numb and painful and I was really struggling with the tight right hamstring and glutes.

I went through the usual cycle of denial, depression , acceptance, etc but honestly speaking, I would not bet a dime that I could have resumed running.

Most of all, the left foot was really painful at times and nobody could figure out the right course of action (for sure not my orthopedist).

My physiotherapist assumed that it was a kind of compensating injury related to the poor working of the right butt, but this was also something not sure...
So little by little I got accustomed to the idea that my running career could be over and it was time to stick to cycling only.
For 3 months I cycled and took time to do glutes activation excercises .
It was true that I never realized that basically I was not using the right glute in a proper way. All the motion was coming from the hamstring with a swing back/forward of the leg without a proper knee lift.
Also the right hip/glutes were (and still are) much tighter than the right one and with poor range of motion...

Why ? since it has always been that way (right side tighter), I could not assume it was because of "sedentary life" or "accident" or  "too much time in front of PC", etc.
So I made X-rays plus leg length measurement and it come out something that I always suspected: because of the right left shorter by about 9-10mm, the right side was not really working in the right way.
There are many different opinions on if and how correct leg length discrepancy, but for me, it was a no-brainer that it might have been an important factor... also at the point where I was, it was worthy anyway to change something...

So I added a full-lenght 3mm lift on all right shoes and kept on pedaling and doing glute activation exercises.

By end January, the left foot was no more painful and I went for a couple of jogs...
Well, actually I was forced to run because we went on holidays, so I was without bicycle for  10 days, which left me with running as the only way to make some exercise.

Honestly speaking, from that moment, it went much faster than I suspected... I was not really struggling a lot to keep 4'20"-4'30" pace and I kept alternating cycling and running.
Now... to keep a good stride and activate the glutes properly, slugging around at 5'/k is as negative as running "too fast"... so I basically eliminated all the "easy runs", replacing them with solid bike rides.
Either I was running at solid pace (hi-aerobic effort) or nothing...
Hammering down on the bike gave me a solid aerobic boost even on those days when otherwise I would have been just jogging...
well... to make it short, I did a couple of tempo runs which gave me unexpected good responses.
Also I sometimes paced Michelle on her workouts and they felt relatively easy, while in late summer I was struggling to follow her.
So I entered in Sunday's race with good vibes, but also without any particular expectation. My hamstring/butt is still not 100% ok and it gets tight whenever I am tired or run "too fast".

I stuck to the lead group, but passing at the 2k mark in 6'46" was a bit scary, since I have not run faster than 3'30"/k pace for 6 months not even in 1 single interval... but I felt my body responding well, even if the stride was quite mechanical and far from fluid. We hit 6k together in 20'30", when my team mate Colin decided it was time to race for serious and hammered down, with immediate explosion of the pack.
I eshitated to push hard, so I was somehow down to 4th place together with a boy (less than half my age and size)... I could not chase hard on my tean mate just ahead, so we had a couple of "slow" kms, when I decided that the boy was hurting more than me... so it was time to make my move.
I might be running around 3'15" in the last k... anyway I caught up with Philippe with 300m to go and then we sprinted to the finish line for the 2nd place.. (and I lost..).
Once it was over, I realized that I had just run 34'25", which is almost incredible considering that I resumed running only 2 months ago.
Winning the Master category and also the Team classification was just a bonus, the real satisfaction was that I felt again a "runner"

more to come in the following days....

NOTE: follow the achievements of our running club on Facebook. I am amazed how we grew up as a club in only few months: