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http://www.simple-fitness.net/2013/09/17/uap-ndakaini-half-marathon-2013-report/

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Here is the video for this post

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I watched the unveiling of the Slimpossible Season 4 contestants. There were 10 men and 11 women. I commend the organisers for making the show livelier. This was one of the things I thought needed to be done. They used to be so serious! This time, the contestants had short video clips introducing themselves and in the unveiling show, they came onto the catwalk dancing  and generally making fun.
The contestants seem younger than in previous years, and quite heavy. One guy was even 176 kilos (388 pounds), but he seemed rather tall, so maybe he was not as far from his ideal weight as some of the others who weighed less.

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant los...

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant loses more than 50 pounds with help from friends Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny Carreras, Sgt. 1st Class Guillermo Santiago and Master Sgt. Orlando Negron of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 525th Military Police Battalion, walk as part of a daily exercise routine to promote health and lose weight. – JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. David McLean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the auditions, there was a lady of 20 who weighed 100 or 101 kilos. She was with her mother who weighed, 97 kilos. No, it’s not genetics, it’s bad eating habits taught by mother to daughter.

This season also had a Doctor who weighed 120kg (264 pounds). At 41, he was the oldest competitor. His wife won last season of Slimpossible. I did not watch the final episode of the last season, but I later saw or heard comments that the husband of the lady who had won was quite big himself. So he showed up this year and became one of the competitors. I felt this was inappropriate. After winning the competition last year, could the wife not simply apply the things she learnt during the competition in her own home and help the husband lose weight? And doesn’t a doctor know how to lose weight? But maybe he is not a medical doctor.

Also at the auditions, there was a guy in his thirties, I think, who weighed 127 kg. He said he had had three heart attacks due to his weight. He also said that ‘surprisingly’ his weight kept going up. Surprisingly? The show host, Lilian Muli-Kanene,  said the guy had not been cleared by the medical team to take part in Slimpossible 4.

Losing weight really is not a complex thing.  In fact, when you weigh 127 kg (and you are not commensurately tall or muscular) you only really need to do only one thing. Yes, ONE: change your eating habits. Eat less of certain things and replace them with better things.

If you are not grossly overweight, then you can add exercise to improve your fitness and health and also to lose weight faster. Now, of course there are those who say that there are psychological factors behind eating habits and so on. If that is so, then get the relevant help and start eating properly.

Anyway, I am happy that the Slimpossible has been made more lively.
I am happy that men have now been included in the competition, so that weight loss is not made to look like it’s something for women only.
I am happy that there is a Kenyan TV show encouraging weight loss.

Some stats:

Lightest female: 101.6 kg (224 lb)
Heaviest female: 158.2 kg (348 lb)
Average weight, females: 126.9 kg (279 lb)

Lightest male: 110.3 kg (243 lb)
Heaviest male: 176 kg (387 lb)
Average weight, males: 132.9 kg (292 lb)

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[This post is very Nairobi-centric]

1 US$ is about 85 Kenya Shillings (85 bob)

2 km  is about 1.2 miles

The Government of Kenya decided to do something about road accidents in the country. It basically increased the penalties applicable for various traffic offences, and introduced some new regulations – renewal of license every 3(?) years after an eye test, among others.

Matatu (privately-run public transport vehicles) operators went on strike, protesting these changes, and many withdrew their vehicles from the road. There were some reports of violence. The time to leave work and go home arrived. I did not have our car, and I did not want to ask my wife to come pick me.

Nairobi matatu

Nairobi matatu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got out of the company car just after it emerged from Karuna Close and joined Waiyaki Way. I crossed Waiyaki Way, saw the walking crowd and joined them. This was 6:25 p.m. I actually jogged a little bit but settled for a brisk walk instead. I encountered a man selling boiled eggs (and sausages too, I think) and bought one egg. I walked on.

There were some matatus that were calling for passengers to Sodom for 30bob. I did not know where Sodom was and I did not want to ask (yes, I am a man), so I walked on.

I turned into Muthangari Drive, there were quite a number of us walking. I was sweating by this time.

I emerged on James Gichuru Road at 6:50 p.m. That’s about 2.6 km in 25 minutes.
It turned out that many of those walking with me turned right at some point, leaving James Gichuru Road. They were probably going to Kawangware. Soon there were very few people walking near me, but plenty of vehicular traffic.

7:11p.m. Lavington Green Shopping Centre. 5 km covered.
I paused to take a break and send some texts. Then onward Christian soldier!

7:40p.m. The Junction. 7.4 km walked.

I crossed the street and went to the bust stop.
A motorbike guy offered a ride to Karen for 100 bob. No thanks. The usual matatu fare is 30 bob.
A car stopped and someone said 100 bob to Karen. Some guys got in, Then the guy said 50 bob to Karen. I don’t know what cause the sudden price drop, but someone took the remaining seat. I wondered if the guys who had gotten in already would also pay 50 bob.

Then another vehicle came and said 50 bob to Karen, 100 to Rongai. I got in and sat at the front seat. I was pleased.

8:11p.m. Got off the vehicle at Karen roundabout.
I started the 2km walk home.
My right knee started paining somewhat. The road had very few pedestrians and little light, apart from that from passing vehicles. The bushes seemed more prominent in this darkness, than when I drive by during the day, but I was not scared.

Then I felt the first drops of rain! Oh dear. I started jogging, but that did not last long. Neither did the threat of a drizzle or a downpour.

8:33 Home

(Now you can figure out around where I live 🙂 )

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000071795&story_title=Kenya-Commuters-stranded-in-Nairobi

http://marcusolang.typepad.com/blog/2012/11/surviving-the-great-matatu-strike-of-2012.html

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A friend of mine, George, put up a picture on Facebook, showing the race number assigned to him for the Nairobi Marathon. From what I could gather from his statements elsewhere, he had not been practicing much. I decided to sign up for the half marathon as well, though I had not been practising as such. I signed up for three reasons:
One, I wanted to take on the challenge of covering 21km
Two, I wanted to evaluate how I would perform, seeing that sprint sessions are supposed to result in greater fitness than lower intensity, longer workouts.
Three, I wanted to (see if I could) beat my friend George.
I signed up on the last day of registration, and instead of the adult sized t-shirt that others got, I was given a green children’s t-shirt.

The run was set for Sunday. It was raining on Saturday night as I went to bed. I woke up at some point during the night and heard the rain. I thought of maybe just skipping the run.
I set my alarm for 5:40 a.m. I did not quite fall asleep. After a while, I thought surely 5:40 has passed. I got up and it was around 5:56. The phone was still on the Alarms screen, so I guess that is why the alarm did not go off.

Anyway, my wife woke up, made me breakfast, and we set off. She dropped me as near the stadium as she could and went to look for parking. There were quite a number of people walking about in and around the stadium compound. I made my way to a tent where they were giving out pins for pinning our race numbers to our t-shirts. I noticed that the vast majority of the runners had white t-shirts, meaning that my green one would stand out. It was also rather fitting, having been meant for a child. So I kept my jacket zipped for a while.

I kept trying to call George but his phone was unreachable or off. I also called another friend, Eve, who I knew was taking part in the run, and we tried to meet.

After a number of phone calls between my wife and myself, I found my wife, who had apparently crossed to an area meant for those running and officials. We took photos, together with my cousin, Tom. Tom said he hoped to complete the 21km in two hours.

The race started at 7:30a.m. I ran a while at a slow pace. The street was rather crowded. As I neared Uhuru Park, I called Eve, she said she was already in the Park. I said she should not let me slow her down.

The run was interesting. I was surprised that I could not run for very long at a time. So I alternated between walking and running briefly. I naturally looked around as I walked or jogged. I saw a lady who looked familiar. My mind took a few moments to place her. It was one of the ladies from Slimpossible.

There were some people on wheelchairs. At least one had the sort of three-wheeled wheelchair that you operate by using your hands to rotate some sort of pedals that are similar to those of a bicycle. These are part of a mechanism that rotates the front wheel. (Picture is here). I thought it was unfair to have these compete against those who propelled themselves by turning the actual wheels of their wheelchair using their hands, without any intervening mechanism. It was later that I realised that the race organisers made a distinction between tricycles and wheelchairs.

There were various water points along the way. I thought they were a bit far apart, but not too bad. Not quite surprisingly, many people simply threw their used plastic bottles on the ground, despite there being bins provided for this very purpose. That meant that the areas around the water points were like mini obstacle courses. There were people whose work was to pick up these bottles.

I saw a tall white guy and another guy running barefoot. My wife later told me there were a number of barefoot runners.

Some motorbikes and vehicles came from behind us. We were told to make way. The elite runners doing the full marathon were passing. Their route required repeating a section of the route, which is why they were passing us. They were running much faster than most of us. It was interesting to note that most of them were wearing vests and small shorts, as opposed to the more casual runners who were wearing more. One would get the impression that the more serious a runner you were, the less you wore. That may be true, considering that I was wearing a jacket.

There was also a bit of advertising going on. One runner had a vest written Team Kanu. (KANU is the oldest political party in Kenya). Others had matching t-shirts advertising this organisation or another. I remembered reading an article that said something like a group people were either barred from entering a stadium or thrown out, during the Olympics or maybe World Cup, because they had t-shirts that were advertising something. Sorry I can’t remember the details. (See related article here). Evidently, no such restrictions applied here.

I found my wife at Nyayo Stadium as she had said she would be. She was literally at the roundabout, having been assumed to be an official or part of the press. She took photos, and told me that a friend of hours, Sydney, had passed some minutes before. Passing opposite our church, I saw a guy I knew by face. I was walking at the time. Run, he urged, so I started running again. There were some boys in the Highway Secondary School compound cheering guys, cracking jokes and generally making noise. I went on. Tom called out to me from the side of the road that was heading to town. It was around 9:22a.m, so there was no way he was going to meet his 2-hour goal.

When I reached the turning point, I was told there were 5km to go. I felt hope rising. I could complete this race in under 3 hours. I saw the lady from Slimpossible still heading towards the turn. Passing our church again, I again saw the familiar guy, he again urged us to run. When I reached the Nyayo Stadium roundabout, I was a bit taken aback to realise that the route first led us a bit away from the stadium, to a roundabout then back to the stadium. That meant more minutes. I kept going. When I reached the final turn, there were many people walking. Some had finished their run, and others were walking to the finish. I saw Sydney. I urged him to run with me but he did not. I left him behind. I decided that the final stretch may actually make a difference, so I decided to run as much as I could. Nearing the actual stadium entrance, I saw a car with a huge timer, saying 2:47. I was delighted. I was going to manage less than 3 hours. I ran on. I reached a guy who was walking and urged him to run. He did. On the last bend, I saw my wife next to the track! (How did she get there?) She took pictures. The guy I had asked to run asked me to photograph him with his camera. I ran ahead, turned at snapped him. I had finished!

21km is actually tough. But I did it. It would probably have been significantly easier if I had trained for it. Now I understand why people get addicted to running. I want to do better next time.

My official time was 2:50:07. I beat George by about 4 minutes. Eve and Tom took about 2hrs 34 minutes.

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I got to watch another episode of Slimpossible Season 3, that I talked about here. There were a number of interesting things in this episode.

First, this time, there was no recorded weight gain. In fact, all the contestants lost weight. In the previous two episodes, there had been cases of no weight loss or even some of weight gain! A friend of mine had argued that the weight increase may have been due to muscle gain, but I really doubted that for three reasons:

  • First, gaining muscle is not something so simple, that an overweight person who has only recently started exercising can do. If it was, many more people would be muscular.
  • Secondly, from the exercises we are shown the contestants doing and from the diet tips we have been shown, muscle gain was highly unlikely, especially a lady gaining half a kilo of muscle in a week.
  • Third, one of the contestants said she got injured and had presumably slackened in their exercising, and had therefore gained weight.

This week, the ladies the ladies all lost weight, and the show host made mention of that. I think one of them had lost as much as 2.5 kilos in a week. I later wondered if the weighing scale at the studio had been tampered with, to save the image of the show.

Secondly, when this season started, the host had said the competition was to last 12 weeks. This is now the 13th week, and there was no mention of a finale. I wondered if the extension was done to allow the contestants to actually lose weight, this being a weight loss programme and all. Maybe the counting was interrupted by the London Olympics.

The third thing was that there were some ladies from previous seasons who were invited to Friday’s show. They weighed in as well, and one of them allegedly weighed 65 kilos. My wife and I really doubted this figure, based on our visual assessment of the lady in question and a comparison with people we know who weigh around 65 kilos.

Fourth, I noted that this time there were no diet tips for viewers at home. In at least one previous episode, they showed a sample allegedly healthy breakfast which included tea with added sugar. There was no mention of restricting the amount of added sugar. Maybe it should have been no surprise that the contestants were gaining weight.

Fifth, as the programme was ending on Friday, they listed what the competition winners would get. There was no mention of the prize money that had been publicised earlier on and that was there in at least the previous season.

Interesting.

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The Olympic games are on! My wife and I have been watching some of the broadcasts on good old KBC. (I wanted to make that a link but apparently their web site has been compromised and currently poses a security risk to visitors).

It seems Proctor and Gamble and Ecobank are the (only) ones sponsoring the broadcasts. So we are shown the same adverts over and over, and sometimes they just show a screen telling us what’s coming next. This screen stays on for minutes at a time. Wasted advertising opportunity if you ask me.

So yesterday we watched as once again Kenya failed to clinch a gold medal in a distance-running event. From reactions on Facebook, many Kenyans shared our disappointment.

Comments were many and varied:

Joy:  yaani…..even the Kenyans who defected aren’t winning..!!! Not even the Ugandans?? Kuna kitu for sho!!!!!

Ones: Ati world champion! World champion frm behind.

Ann: For a moment there I wished Kenya Power had not restored elec in our estate…. ningelala mapema! What!!

Amondi: Thank You Lord for Kemboi and his scrawny self!

(Kemboi is a Kenyan runner who won a gold medal in the 3,000m steeplechase. Kenya’s only gold medal so far)

Gichiah: Yani guyz went for holiday na sisi tujiambiage tuko na team London!!!

Millie: I think this time we sent over Harambee stars not the Kenyan olympic team to the Olympics…wah!

Ndungu: Ni vile wakimbiaji wetu wako busy Somali.

James: Where are the medals?

Johnstone: R we serious?

(I assumed he was talking about the Olympics. maybe he was talking about something else)

Abraham: tumeshindwa. Ptooo!

Some even suggested that these non-wins could be deliberate.

It is bad enough being beaten by the usual suspects – Ethiopians and North Africans, but I was taken aback that the Kenyans were beaten by a guy with a Latino name! One Leonel Manzano, running for the USA, came in second after the Algerian middle distance runner Taoufik Makhloufi.

Similarly, in the men’s 10,000m, the American Galen Rupp, came in second, beating the Kenyans in the race. Rupp is white.

Kenya’s hope now rests on 800m world record holder, David Rudisha, among others.

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I was pleased to catch the unveiling of the final seventeen contestants of Season 3 of Citizen TV’s Slimpossible. Not surprisingly, the ladies were weighty! Sadly, a few were quite young – one was even 18! There was a 120kg mother of two and another mother of six who said she had been told that unless she lost weight, she would not live more than two years more. She weighed 142kg.

At some point, I wanted to know approximately how much weight was being borne by whatever the ladies were siting on. I had been writing down their weights as they stepped on the weighing scale on the studio. So I calculated their average weight, and it came to 108kg. Let’s contemplate that for a few moments. 108kg. Per person. And this was an average, meaning that for the one who weighed 90.5 kilos, others had to carry her share of the 17 or so kilos between her and the average. At the point I finished my initial calculation, there were 14 ladies who had weighed in. Two more came in, weighing 105 and 111 kilos respectively, so the average weight stayed neatly the same.

Then came Naomi. You could see that she was too wide for her height. I actually thought, these are the people who change survey results. The figures were going to be altered. Mathematical figures, that is. Well, hopefully the bodies of the contestants as well, but not right away. Naomi said she had been trying to lose weight because of various problems. She was asked, like the ladies before her, to step on the weighing scale. The figures on the screen counted. 96, 99, 103, 107… It finally stopped at a whopping 158 kilos. Let us put that in some perspective. The sixteen ladies before, averaged 108kilos. Sixteen ladies, remember. Naomi came in, and, mathematically speaking, it is like she gave 3 kilos to each of the sixteen ladies  before her, telling them “Here, 108 kilos is not enough, take 3 more,” and then remained with 3 kilos for herself. She single-handedly changed the average weight of the group of seventeen to 111kilos. Good thing she was here to lose weight. I expect to see more of her around. Well, less and less of her. Ok, both more and less of her.

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About five weeks ago, I started the Recon Ron pull-up program. I had considered at least five (probably around eight) other programs, including the Armstrong pull-up program. I chose the Recon Ron program for its simplicity. You just read the number of pull-ups to be done per set and do them. The other programs require you to do things like determining the maximum pull-ups you can currently do or determining how many sets you are going to do in a day, or keeping track of when to increase the number of pull-ups and so on. The Recon Ron program simply has five sets of pull-ups to be done in each day’s workout, with the number of pull-ups in each set already specified for you. So you simply read and do. And of course remember where you are on the program. Ideally, each step is to be done for one week, then you go to the next step, that has a slight increase in the number of pull-ups. (more…)

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Start Exercising – 004

Exercise protects you from disease. Exercise makes you stronger. Exercise helps you do things more easily – lift luggage, walk up stairs to an office, run after your child. Exercise relieves stress. So, knowing all this, why do you not exercise? You may say that you cannot afford gym membership or afford the equipment you think you need for exercise. Or you may say that you do not have the time to exercise. Or you may say that exercise is difficult.
Let us address these concerns one by one:
1) Cost: Well, the truth is, you can exercise without expensive equipment or without joining a gym or aerobics class. You can perform bodyweight exercises or use minimal equipment like a skipping rope, items found in your house or running shoes. That means that as long as you are able-bodied, you can take up exercise inexpensively. Today.

2) Time: We all make time for the things we find important. Or things we find pleasant. We tend to put off things we find difficult, or unpleasant or unnecessary. The same applies to exercise. We may agree that it is important, but we think it is difficult or too demanding, and hence unpleasant. The good news is, you can spare as little as 30 minutes or less a day, 3 days a week and get reasonable exercise, right in the convenience of your home. Chances are, you will later want to increase this time all by yourself, because you will find that exercise actually need not be unpleasant. That *you* can actually enjoy it.

3) Difficulty: We may think exercise is difficult, because we think of doing too much or doing things that are currently too far beyond our ability. So we may start, strain for a short while and lose momentum or give up. Again, the good news is that you need not do anything that is very difficult. Start where you are, and grow in exercise. Just like anything we learn properly, we start where we are, and we increase our ability slowly over time. The problems usually arise when we do not want to learn during the course, then we want to try master things the night before the exam.

One problem is, the longer you stay without exercising and while not taking care of your nutrition, the bigger the problem gets. It will take more effort or time to undo the effects of such a lifestyle, than if you start making changes sooner. So the sooner you start, the better.

What are some exercises you can do? There are all sorts of exercise out there. A simple Internet search will give you more than you need, and several videos exist showing how to do the exercises properly. Examples are walking, jogging, skipping, stair running, star-jumps (also known as jumping jacks), press-ups, squats, and so on. All these require little or no equipment. Many of them can be done in or around your home.

So where do we start?
Set a written, easy, specific, measurable goal and write or find a plan to achieve it.
For example, you could set a goal that a month from now, you will be walking a total of 1 hour a week. (Remember we are starting with something easy).
You could then break down that goal to walking 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
You could then start with 5 minutes a day for the first week, then 10 minutes a day, the next week, then 15 minutes a day, then finally 20 minutes a day.
Just like that, you will have a goal and a plan to reach it.

The Internet also has several workout plans for various goals. These plans tell you what to do each day for a number of weeks. You can find one that is easy enough for you and follow it. If you feel you have enough knowledge about yourself and exercise, then you can write your own plan.
A written plan simplifies your work. You simply need to read what to do each day and do it.
A written plan helps you monitor and see the progress you are making.
A written plan motivates you to exercise, even if just so that you can mark off one day as done.

Start with something that you can actually do. For example, if you want to take up running and you have not been running at all, you can start with a walk/run plan, where you walk a number of minutes, then jog for a short time, then walk some more. Don’t plan to start jogging 30 minutes straight when your body and mind are simply not prepared for it. You will get to your 30 minute goal if you work towards it properly.

The plan should be specific. e.g. walk for 5 minutes, then jog for one minute. Or skip 200 times. Or walk up 3 floors and back to ground floor, 2 times.
Similarly, it should be measurable. You should be able to know whether you did as planned or not. Did you skip 200 times or 180? Did you jog 1 minute or 45 seconds?

The plan should also include rest days, to allow you to, well, rest, so that your body has time to recover. Rest days also cater for times when realities of life prevent you from exercising.

Record progress. This can be done by simply ticking against your written programme above or writing the date, the activity, and the number of repetitions done, such as “Skipped 500 times.” Seeing your progress will help motivate you to keep going.

You may want to share your plan with others who can keep you accountable and encourage you to maintain the habit. Better still, if you can find someone to join you in the exercising, that would help. A partner can help you stick to your exercise appointments.

http://exercise.about.com

http://zenhabits.net/4-simple-steps-to-start-the-exercise-habit/

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