"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Saturday 26 December 2009

Inspired By A Stranger

There’s this girl I see running often when I run in the morning. I’m always inspired by her guts as she runs with shoes closer to ballet shoes than running shoes and normal clothes…no running or gym type outfits. But she toughs out the road and hills and keep at it day after day.

This morning she was on her way back home so I passed her coming from the front. When I greeted her she actually stopped me saying she wanted to ask me something. Her question: how do I stay motivated and keep on running week after week? Losing weight alone was not motivation enough. She also said that I inspired her and always looked focused and motivated.

I was taken by surprise and didn’t have any great answer. I run because I love it. I suggested that she should by Runner’s World and look for a 5km race to train for. Get a goal to train for and read about running and others with goals and dreams.

I’m sure she’s the kind of girl that will do it. As for me…it’s great to know I inspire strangers just as I’m inspired by strangers all the time. Inspiring someone is one of the greatest gifts of life.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Happy Holidays!

So there I was out on my midweek long run (15.1km) at 05:30 this morning when I realized, hey, this is great! It’s the holiday season and I’m on leave, yet, here I am early in the morning doing what I love…run!

I got this feeling of achievement. It can be difficult to keep up the training during the holidays. Everyone and everything is in a festive mood and plenty of good food is everywhere! Being on leave doesn’t help as sleeping in can be an option every day. But I’ve been good and have been up early as required by my plan. Heck, I’ve even done a 25.5km training run on my own this past weekend and plan another for the holidays! Wow, I last felt this good when I didn’t miss any training through the winter earlier this year.

Yes, I’m enjoying the holidays and I owe a lot of it to running. I realized again this morning how great running makes me feel. Nothing beats starting the day with an early morning run. And what can be better than actually losing weight during the holidays? Well, I have to if I want to qualify and be ready for the 2010 Comrades marathon, but for now I’m just sucking up the joy of running. Happy holidays!

Me back home after my 25.5km run.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Runner's High

I don’t experience runner’s high very often. I have regular good runs, but a real runner’s high happens seldom. So I was very happy yesterday when I had a perfect run. I ran 7km and experienced a true runner’s high. I suppose everyone experience this differently, but for me it is a run where I feel great from the first stride to the last. I feel as if I can carry on forever, never tiring, gliding up the hills without any effort at all. Running has been rather difficult the past three weeks so this was a great relief. At last the hard work of regular training is paying off.

I go through these difficult periods from time to time when running always seems to require extra effort and my legs and body feels tired and the strain of training. I’ve learnt to tough it out and stick to my routine, running when I have to run and resting when I have to rest. Eventually the good run will come and at some stage a true runner’s high.

This morning I ran 14.1km. No, there was no runner’s high or even a comfortable run. It was a tough run, but I felt good and positive. That great run from yesterday did the trick and I feel ready to tough out the difficult runs ahead.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Carrying Water

I’ve always taken some water on my longer training runs. I don’t run more than 10km without taking water with me. I’ve done this for many years so I’m really used to carrying a bottle while I run. I have two bottles that I use. The one is a 350ml “running” bottle designed with a grip to hold the bottle while running. The other is an old mineral water bottle, 500ml, which I use when I run more than 15km. This at the moment is 18km or 21km and I’ll also do some 25km runs in the next few weeks. I’m not planning any training runs longer than 25km on my own at the moment.

I take one of these bottles with me and would not easily try to carry two (a bottle in each hand). This has been fine for training runs up to 18km, but for 21km and more during the summer it is not enough. Yep, I know I’m not in shape yet and all the things that go hand in hand with that, but if I want to do 25km runs on my own I need more than 500ml water with me.

I’ve been looking at various hydration packs for some time now and so far the price has been the only reason I haven’t bought one. Paying R400 to R600 to carry water is just too much for me. I think you pay a lot more for the names on these packs than for the pack itself. There are also some alternatives like carrying water on a belt around your waist and some pouches for water bottles that fit in your hands and make holding the bottles easier, but none of these really appeal to me to solve my long run water problem. Most of these also have some pricy label attached which I just won’t pay. That was until I visited the local Mr Price Sports store last week and came across their hydration packs for R70.00! This was on sale with the normal price around R130. Now that’s more like it for me. No fancy name, no fancy price…perfect! Seventy rand was worth spending to try the water on the back idea.

The packs sell with a 1 liter bladder and this is also available in 1.5, 2 and 2.5 liters. The bladders go for R65 each. Not bad at all. So I took my chances while stock lasts and bought a pack with an extra 1.5 liter bladder. I doubt I’ll ever carry 2 or 2.5 liter with me. After all, this is 2 or 2.5kg to run with!

I didn’t expect too much from the pack under test. With a R70 price tag I honestly expected some bad design flaw to hamper my running and explain the low price compared to the “designer” packs of R400 to R600. I was very surprised!

My plan was to do my 21km training run with the pack on Sunday. I took the pack for a short test on Saturday morning to make sure I can run with it at all. I ran 4.2km with the 1 liter filled. I didn’t even feel the pack! This was great and made me really happy. Maybe the fact that I carry a heavy back pack up 6 flights of stairs every morning and run down with it after work has something to do with it or maybe some army memory is still buried somewhere in my brain. Anyway, I did my 21km run on Sunday with 1 liter of water on my back and had no problems at all. Nothing irritating, no chafing, no bouncing around or anything. I did set it tighter on the left side once, but that was all. The rest was perfect.

I’m really happy about this as I will now be able to comfortably do my 25km runs on my own. One down point is that you don’t really know how much water is left. I had some of the 1 liter left after the 20km run. For the 25km I’ll take the 1.5 liter and that should be plenty. I’ll probably do away with the 500ml bottle and only use the 350ml one for runs from 12 to 18km. Anything longer and I’ll be carrying my water on my back. This was a really good buy!