Game not on: running 10K on Sunday, not a half marathon

Nordea Riga Marathon 10K Registration

Nordea Riga Marathon 10K Registration

This Sunday, 20 May, the Riga Marathon will take place. My plan was to participate in the half marathon distance, and I’ve even been training for that. But, apparently, not enough. Wednesday I had my deciding test run, and I did not manage to qualify according to my own standards. Not sure if they mean anything, but for me it means I don’t feel ready to run 21 K on Sunday.

Now, I’ve had the idea to do this since last year. And I’ve been running quite a lot to get myself ready. But in the end, I did not manage to build up enough stamina. I’ve let minor obstacles (flu, projects, life, travel) get in the way of my training routine. This could be because of 1 of these two explanations: a) I’m lazy, unmotivated and undisciplined; b) running the half marathon this Sunday was not my real goal.

To be honest, I think it’s a tiny bit of explanation a) and mostly explanation b). I started running a few years ago, because I became too heavy and very unfit. Running is the easiest and most portable way of exercise I could find. The only thing I have to do is put on my running gear, go out the door and start. Now, I know I’m not overly disciplined and motivated in these things, so I need a target to keep running. Recovering from a knee surgery is one such target, but preparing for a race distance, that’s great motivation.

During the last few months, I’ve ran quite a bit, am a lot fitter and also a bit leaner. And that actually is my goal: staying fit and losing excess fat. So, now that my target of the half marathon on May 20 is slipping away, I need a new one. Any suggestions?

Pushing on

My 'Pushing on' run on 5 January 2012

My Pushing on run

Too much snacks, too much chocolate, too much cake.
Too much food in general, like that luscious lamb steak.
Too much cigarettes, maybe too much whisky and wine.

I’m not going to give up after 1K, not even after two.
My body hurts: my legs and spine.
My muscles, my bones. My fat.
But my head is strong, my mind is set.

So I struggle past three, like going through
thick mud getting my feet stuck in one place.
While wind blows a gentle drizzle in my face,
I push past four. And then five.

Can I even do six today?

No.

How do you keep up your training routine when traveling?

Are you one of those people that run, or do some other activity, to keep fit? I am. Especially now, because I’m training to run a half marathon. However, when I travel, my training routine is always impacted. Mostly in a negative way; meaning that I either do not train, or train less. Change of environment, the travel itself, time-zone differences, there are many reasons – or excuses – that make me work out less. Another thing is that I’m not always familiar with the running routes at my destination. The location, length, surface, all factors that I want to know.

Tel Aviv beach, a perfect scene for a run

Tel Aviv beach, a perfect scene for a run

Fortunately, there are several hotels offering gym facilities. But I’m a peculiar one: I love to run outside, preferably in parks. Two recent hotel stays made me happy in this respect. In both cases I found a booklet in my room about… fitness. One was divided in three sections, with advise on healthy food, exercise and mental fitness. This is how the Clarion hotels take care of their guests. Although the information was good, it was very general. Fortunately, it also explained that every Clarion hotel can inform you about running routes at the reception. In all honesty, I didn’t test it, because this particular trip was perfectly squeezed between two routine training sessions at home. But still, I kept it in mind for next time.

The other booklet was offered by the Best Western. It contained a running route description from each of the Best Western hotels in Germany. All starting from the hotel front door. On top of that, they have mapped the routes on a German, what I assume to be a popular, jogging route website. By simply searching for the hotel, you can see the route displayed on a map.

A run through the Stuttgarter Schlossgarten

A run through the Stuttgarter Schloßgarten

On another occasion, it was not so much the hotel service, as the location: right next to the Tel Aviv beach and boulevard. This is not only a place to relax in the sun, but also a busy exercise spot. I did a run to Jaffa, with the Mediterranean Sea constantly in sight. It was an amazing experience, and I almost considered moving there. If you have this as your daily exercise track, you will keep running.

For me, these services are great. I don’t think I’m obsessed, but keeping up with a training routine is hard enough, and especially when you’re traveling. If your hotel supports you in keeping fit, it can be of great value. How do you keep fit when you’re traveling? And where do you like to run?

Hurray! I ran a half marathon this week.

Okay, to be clear from the start: I did not run half a marathon in one session. It took me three runs. A 6.5K run on Monday, 7K on Wednesday and a bit over 8K today (Saturday). But, getting more than 20K in a week is a bit of an achievement for me. It helps me in my challenge to run a half marathon in one session in April next year.

Three runs, 22K in a week

Three runs for a total of 22K this week

Still (and sorry about that Frank), I’m not sure I will go to the Netherlands to do so, but the goal is set for the distance anyway. In any case, I’m going to run the half marathon distance during the Riga marathon in May, trying to raise some money for the RMHC Latvia charity in the mean time.

As for the running, this has been a good week. Good distances, good pace and a good mentality. I managed to get myself past the most difficult kilometers – for me somewhere between 2 and 5. That’s where I feel slow and struggling. And where I tended to give up not that long ago. This week I managed to push myself past that, and today I had even a bit left at the end. I was checking my distance because I thought I was close to the 8K mark I set as a goal for this run, and then noticed I had already passed it. Having a bit of a not so good feeling in one of my knees (the supposed good one, not the one I had surgery on last year), I decided it was enough for this week. Of course, I now aim to get at least another 22K done in the coming week.

A new running challenge

Recently, I fell for a pretty simple trick, played by my friend Frank H. Somehow he figured out that I’m a sucker for challenges, so he challenged me to run a half marathon together next year September April (I really initially thought he meant September, but, it turns out to be April!). As my current running distance varies between 3.5 K on a bad day and 8 K on a very good day, it seems quite challenging to go for a slightly over 21 K distance. But, I believe I can make it, because I have recently become re-addicted to running, after a bit of a lazy period and my injury last year. So, I’m getting out there about three times a week, to slowly build stamina, muscle and distance.

I’ve mostly been into sports in my life. I’ve played football and basketball when I was young, and spent many years playing squash with friends later in life. But moving to different cities, and later even different countries, makes it sometimes hard to engage in these type of sports. That’s one reason I like running: you only need some running clothes and shoes, and you can start. Wherever you are. An added benefit is that it is a great way to clear your mind. It’s just you and your route. Maybe a bit of music to keep you company. It’s even relatively easy to bring your exercise with you on business trip or holiday.

Anyway, I’m getting back out there now, and back in shape. And more and more addicted. Which is good, because this challenge I fell for is now set. I have to be able to run a half marathon by September April next year. Which means racking up some kilometers the coming months. As I said in a post about running last year, I need a challenge to be motivated. This is a good one. Thanks, Frank.

En Route To Recovery

For the first time in over 2 months I ran again today (see my Nike+ run). The last two months, I was kept quiet by a knee injury (still not 100% clear, but most probably torn ligaments). The resting period consisted of two weeks of walking in a knee-immobilizer and a slow recovery by just walking a lot until I didn’t limp anymore. And now, since some days, I felt good enough to run again, but was held back by the risk it concerns. Running might not be the best thing to do for recovery of a knee injury, but the doctor said it would be okay to do. That was before he got the results of the MRI scan of my knee, which I still have to discuss with him, by the way.

Anyway, today was the first test. I decided a 2 km run would be good enough, especially in the warm and oppressive weather of Riga. It went well. My knee kept itself fine, and did not complain. Now let’s see how it will act today and tomorrow. So I can start real training again.

Running Again…

When we decided to move to Riga, of course we had done some research on internet. One of the things I found, was the Riga Marathon. I was putting on kilo’s again, after I stopped running due to first an injury, and then sheer laziness. Next to that, I thought it was a nice way, as they advertise, to see the city from a different perspective. Once I am in the rhythm of running regularly, it becomes nearly addictive, but I need something to motivate me to start again. This was it. So, I registered. Not for the full marathon, that was too much of a challenge, but for half the distance.

As my twitter followers and facebook friends have noticed, I indeed started running again. Hesitantly at first, but more regularly now. And I need to. The marathon is in 7 weeks, and I am not trained enough to run that distance. Now I have a new inspiration in the form of a book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. It is a very personal collection of thoughts about running, but highly inspirational, emotional and hilarious at points.

So, if you are a runner, and have the same issues as I with getting started again: find a challenge, and read that book. You’ll be a happy runner again soon.

Snapshots of Lutetia – 10K for Naandi Challenge

On our way for 10K4N Challenge

On Sunday October 11, 2009, around 70 colleagues ran a 10K distance (some a bit more, some a bit less) for the 10K for Naandi Challenge, under the motto “Work OUt. Connect. Help.” The objective was to have a get-fit goal, connect with eachoter and most of all, raise money and awareness for the Nanhi Kali project. A joint project of the Naandi Foundation and the KC Mahindra Trust. The Nanhi Kali project ensures education for underprivileged girls in India, who would otherwise have to do household chores or other work. In total, so far, we have raised enough to ensure a year long education for 20 girls in the age group of 14 – 16 years old. They will learn 3 languages, mathematics, science and social sciences.
In the picture, it is me and colleague Kate. We did our 10K in Paris, in the Parc Monceau. Feel free to show your support for this, by making a donation on our sponsor page at http://www.firstgiving.com/10k4n.

There’s A Reason I Will Run 10K On October 11

As some of you may have noticed here last week, or quite constantly over at facebook and twitter, I am currently training for a 10 kilometer run challenge on October 11. Not only to keep myself a bit in shape (and lose some excess bits of me), but also to raise money and awareness for the Nanhi Kali project. This is a project that organises education for girl children in India, who would otherwise not have a chance on bettering their lives. The video below gives an excellent view on the importance of this project. Please consider helping me out to run faster and enable more girls to have an education, by sponsoring me and my fellow challengers on http://www.firstgiving.com/10k4n. For more information about project Nanhi Kali, visit their website at www.nanhikali.org.