Sunday, March 27, 2011

Training Log # 15 - Coming into Terms with Strengths and Weaknesses

Within the three sports in triathlon I think it would be easy to say that running is my strength. Although in my journey to reaching better race times and in my overall dream to possibly win as an age grouper, I have come to terms that this will not be enough. 

I have been working both on swimming and cycling for past six months and I will have to say that I am terrible at swimming. For one reason or another I struggle and I have the hardest time during training in this sport. I'm not sure if its because I've only learned how to swim last year or maybe I'm just not for the water. What ever the case may be, I don't think that swimming will be my next strongest point.

Cycling on the other hand feels a lot more comfortable for me. I am not at all the fastest cyclist but I feel that I have an easier time pushing and digging deeper during training days for this sport.

I am not one to give up on a weakness, but I think at this early into the sport it would be best to help enhance another possible strength that I can hopefully have one day. So next up on my agenda is to try and become a better cyclist!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Training Log #14 - Brick Workouts, The Key to The Triathlon

A brick is a workout usually done by duathletes or triathletes where they do one sport after the other. Some people like to swim then bike or bike then run. Usually its in the same order as the sport will be on race day.

Now in the midst of my training I have began realizing that brick workouts are the mainstay or the very key component in triathlon. Kinda like how long runs are the lifeline of doing a successful half marathon or marathon, the same goes with brick and triathlons. For some time I have been neglecting this part of my training and only been doing it once every other week or so. Now though that I have finally finished marathon training, I'm coming around to doing a full time triathlete training once again. I have a hard time mixing the two, now I can finally focus on that one event.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Realization of a Dream - Running My First Marathon

The Bull Runner, Dream Marathon 2011 

Marathon Morning

Relaxed, this the only emotion I was allowing myself to feel once I arrived on race day. Apart from barely having two hours of sleep, I think everything else was finely tuned at that moment. I walked around to see a lot of my other friends ready to run and support us. This is what gave me a feeling of reassurance that we are finally taking this on.

Gun Start
I remember the very fast countdown which started from 10 seconds backwards. I felt like this was happening all so fast. Then out of no where, PANG! I found myself running.

The First Loop (21kms)

I was pacing with a friend Aileen Breen (who finished 1st in the womens category and 4th overall) for the first 5kms. We were doing good time, but I chose to go ahead after that. At this point it was still so dark and it was getting really lonely. I was at the lead pack and all I could see were the dark open roads.There weren't any cheerful cheerers and too early to be passing by other runners. So it was as if there was no race happening and just me running on my own.

A few kilometers later I noticed a head lamp's light frolicking from behind me, I was then joined by Francis Facultad, it was nice to have someone with me. We had a short chat. But after a while I bid goodbye to him and went on my way.

I reached the turn around point a few minutes later which signaled the first 10kms were done. I was feeling really good and these hills didn't even feel like they existed. (but this would be a different story the second time we meet)

As I started to make my way back to the starting point I was greeted by the other marathon dreamers and were being given words of encouragement. Sorry I wasn't able to reply to all of you, I was in the "zone" lol

Up to this point, my run has been flawless, I even got a boost as I passed by these fellas who looked really familiar as they cheered for the runners. haha

I clocked in at 1:50 in doing the first full  loop of the run. 

The Second Loop (21kms)

As I started with my second loop, it hit me. This is the start of the real race. I was telling myself its all heart from here. I know that I will bonk one way or another, it will now depend on how much I want this and how much am I willing to keep pushing.

Once I arrived at 23kms I stopped for a while at a med station to ask for some of omega pain ointment to help heat my legs and relax my muscles. I was not yet cramping at this point but  prevention is better than a cure right? I again want to say sorry to the medical teams who I may have seemed like an"ass hole" to. Every time I got them to put omega pain, I was always telling them to hurry up cause I was chasing a time after all. But as I left I always told them I'm sorry for being rude. So much love and thanks!

Now remember when I said that I felt like the hills did not exist during the first loop of the run? Coming back I felt each single one of them. I felt the pain of going up, but I still strive to keep an even pace and to not walk in any of the hills. I always kept telling myself that an uphill always has a downhill and we'll make up more time when we descend.

Up until the u turn point, this mantra seemed to keep working. I was also relieved that I was feeling quite alright with only 10kms to go. But this wouldn't be a dramatic story if we didn't have an antagonist right? So let me present to you my enemy during this race, CRAMPS.

I was hit by a really bad case of cramps with 10kms to go into the race. This was the toughest thing to happen to me. It was also the first time I have ever experienced it this bad. My legs and calves were so tight they were locked in rock solid.

I told myself though, this cannot be it. I will not lose to this. So after a short stretch I tried to keep running onwards, again it kept coming back. Still, I did the same thing, stretch then slowly run again. This seemed to keep working but I was slowly losing both time and energy. Good thing at about 5kms left to go, I was greeted by a familiar face, Chang Hitalia and Craig Logan who was there to pace me and give me strength for the last few kms.

This was honestly the longest 5km of my life. It felt like it would never end. I am really thankful that they paced me, they kept giving me encouraging words and Craig's music was just so groovy!

The Finish Line

It was the most surreal experience I've ever had. Crossing that line made me really proud of myself, finishing something so tough that only 1% of the world would ever do it in their lifetime. This was my marathon finish and I loved each second of it!

Looking Back
After the race I still could not imagine what it is that we just did. It was one crazy experience that I would give anything to relieve again. The journey may have been painful but finishing it gives you all this positive energy of fulfillment and joy. 

They say runners have such a hard time explaining to non runners why they run. Well its cause, the journey is indescribable and words can not paint the feelings that come to us during the run. Its an expression of inner thoughts and emotions, and the only way you will understand it is by trying it out for yourself.

 A special thanks to the support team that helped us all through this, from the banners, the food, and the moral support. Each single deed will not be forgotten nor returned. Thank you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Year Goal #2 - The Failure that Made Me Smile

My New Year Goals

  1. Sub 1:50 21k
  2. Sub 4hr 42k
  3. Sub 6hr Half Iron Man
So just to recap, I set out three major goal for this year as you can see above. I hit goal #1 last February during the Condura Marathon with a time of 1:46. Last Sunday I went on to try and reach my goal #2.

Well, lets start out this entry by pointing out the elephant in the room, and this is that I failed to reach my goal #2. I clocked in officially at 4:05. This was 5 minutes away from a sub 4hr finish. But to be honest, I was targeting a time around 3:55, so I was really 10 minutes off from my target time. Now, I would be lying if I told you I wasn't dissapointed, I actually am and if the circumstance were better, I knew I could have nagged my target time or even better.

But then, the circumstances weren't there and things didn't go my way, and as bizarre as this may sound, this is actually what has made me smile. Failing is always connoted with getting depressed and disheartened, people seemingly give up after not getting what they worked so hard for. What I have learned though in my short time in this sport is that failure is just another step to your success. Each time I fail, it just makes me more hungry and lights up a fire inside of me to work that much harder to get it. Hey if its that hard than it must be that good right?

So this is a celebration of what we have learned during that marathon. 42 kilometers was a long way to go and I loved each single part of it. From the pain, excitement, and joy, this will always be a very memorable experience for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Triathlon Gear Wish List

All of us "eye" some sort of gear when it comes to our sport. For triathlon this is multiplied three folds because of the three sports we are doing. Here is a wishlist of things I hope to get one day:





Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training Log #13 - Mentally Ready, Physically Able

Coming into marathon week. I feel like it was a blessing of some sort that I am somehow almost fully recovered from what happen to me two weeks ago. It was a scary feeling of not being able to do things at the condition I have worked hard for.

Now barely 5 days away from the big day I have realized that I should have nothing to fear. I know the work I have put in for this, I know the long hours that I ran under the heat of the sun, I know the breathless sprints I did in each interval I ran. I did all this and I should remember that I deserve every bit of this marathon.

So on race day I won't think about PR's, racing or what not. I will run this race the way I should be doing it. I will do it with a smile on my face and a care free feeling regarding anything else. I have been putting too much pressure on myself the very day I started training for this. Now it's time to put that all behind and enjoy the run.

As the Kenyan way: "Train hard; Race easy!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Training Log #12 - Pluck Down to Zero

Last week I went through quite a scare when I fainted due to dehydration and fatigue. This all happen because of a bacteria infection which led me to bed rest for 5 days while having to endure diarrhea, fever, and head aches.

Coming back I was really scared of the conditioning I will be in. I have my marathon in ten days time and I am in the worst condition possible. I have a hard time doing any workouts and finishing them. I lack strength and power to reach the training speed I plan to do on race day. Basically I'm living on a prayer now, I hope things turn out better next week.