Posts Tagged ‘running’

Shifting Goalposts

I jogged about 8.8 km on Saturday, including a 3.8 km non-stop stretch that took me about 23 minutes. Monday’s rain disrupted my schedule. On Tuesday, it looked like it was going to rain again and I decided to jog alongside my wife as she walked in the estate. Wednesday, I basically sat around the house and did other exercises. Thursday daytime, my leg muscles were feeling a bit tense. I feared that because of the two-day breaks between my jogs and the unstructured run on Tuesday, I was losing the gains I had made so far.
Time Limit
We had a group coming for Bible Study at my house on the said Thursday, so I had limited time to jog. I decided to run 5 kilometres, and if I would be able, to run 20 minutes non-stop like I had done last week. I was not sure I would manage this, though, and I was ready to try at least 11 minutes non-stop.
I usually warm up with a little jogging on the spot and brisk walking for 5 minutes or so. This usually means that the total distance I cover usually includes the 5-min walk distance. I wanted to actually measure my 5K time this time. So I did a brief warm-up within the compound and left the gate running. I felt ok. As I approached Mombasa Road, I started feeling a bit strained, so I figured that I was going a bit too fast. I slowed down. The footpath was rather crowded with people walking, but not too much.
Uphill Task
Ahead of me , on Mombasa Road, was the bridge that goes over the railway line. That meant a climb. That meant strain. I jogged on. The uphill jog wasn’t too difficult. I had decided not to check my stopwatch (Read: my wife’s phone) until I had crossed Enterprise Road. I would then have covered about 1.7 km and would have jogged about 10 minutes. (Wikimapia.org and Google Earth have been very useful in measuring distances.)
Target Ahead
I got over the hill okay, passing the working nation walking home. On my left were cars on the road. The descent was okay as well, and I was still in good shape. I crossed Enterprise Road, still feeling strong. The length of Sameer Business Park was next. My turning point lay just after, at Tulip House. I decided to try and at least reach Tulip House still jogging.
Right, left, right, left, I jogged on. An occasional sip of water.
Sipping water becomes quite a task when jogging and thus breathing more heavily than usual. You have to take a breath, take the sip and coordinate breathing through your nose while keeping your mouth shut and then swallowing.
Turning Point
Tulip House was here. 14 minutes and some seconds. I decided to jog till at least a round figure of 15 minutes. Left, right, left, right. I passed Tulip House a little and turned in a curve to avoid actually stopping. Not yet 15 minutes. Ok, let’s try go for 20 minutes then. That would be 60 X 5 which would be 300 seconds right? I started counting.
Passing Sameer again. Passing pedestrians again that I had passed while going the other direction. Right, left, right, left. 180, 179, 178, 177… Right, left, right, left.
I Know I Can
Did I start counting at 300 or 240? Doesn’t really matter, the counting is just to guide me, and also importantly, to distract me. Mind games.
I decided to continue jogging at least until I again reach Enterprise Road. Part of my concern was that I wanted to jog a distance that I would be able to measure easily. As I got nearer, I felt I could go on beyond the Road. But there was the hill again in front of me. Of course I can make it to the top of the hill, I told myself. Thank you Lord that I can make it. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 20 minutes had certainly passed, but now I had a new objective. Let me just jog till the top of the hill.
As I approached the main ascent, some guy joined the path from the left, jogging in a bouncy manner up the hill. Showing off, eh? You have just started jogging moments ago, so of course you can bounce along. He jogged away. I followed at a slow pace. I passed him and other pedestrians a few metres ahead. He was walking. Whassup homey! I said to him in my head.
I managed the climb and descended happily. Some guy had a jacket with a pocket that reminded me of a kangaroo’s pouch. His was on the back side of the jacket. In the pocket, he had one of those rectangular, transparent, plastic containers that you can buy some foodstuffs in. I passed him. Another guy seemed to be sagging his jeans, but he did not look the type to deliberately sag. I figured he was just shaped like that, with nothing much to hold up the jeans. I passed him too.
The End
At the bottom of the descent, I felt energised. Maybe it was excitement. I can actually push this till home! I thought. Let me at try at least till the gate. Left, right, left, right! Cars, pedestrians. Left, right, left, right! Look at the road behind, cross. I was now at the gate. I can actually do this! Guard at the gate waved hallo. I waved back. I jogged on. The straight stretch. Left, right, left, right! Excitement! Left turn. Reach for phone in pocket. Refrain from checking the time. Reached our gate. Stop the phone’s stopwatch. 5 Kilometres. 30 minutes, 01 seconds! Non-stop! Yesss!!!

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I have started running. Or jogging. I’m not sure how this came about. I think what finally set me into action was a video clip I saw about keeping your tummy flat. There was a comment that one needs to run or walk to shed the fat, in addition to doing the specific exercise shown.
Jogging is not new in our family. My dad has been a jogger since as far back as I can remember. I used to join him sometimes when I was a kid. My sister also took up running and says she is addicted. So here I am now.
Last year, a friend of mine send me a training program before the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. I looked at it but did not do anything with it.
When I decided to take up running, I searched my Inbox, found the training program, looked at it more closely, then decided to search the Web for more.
Not surprisingly, there is a world of information out there. I got a number of free training programs and selected two that seemed suitable for myself.
I researched some more and got more tips, learnt a bit about pronation, hydration before and after exercising, warm-up and stretching, Fartlek, shoes and so on.
Then I selected a start date – Monday 13th December 2010 (simply because it was a Monday), bought running shoes, updated my Facebook status, measured the distance of the route I intended to use and I was good to go. (I measured using our car’s odometer, in case you are wondering. And in case you are wondering what an odometer is, Google is your friend)
On Sunday, my wife, some friends and I went visiting. We were to spend the night. I was not sure what time we would get back home, so I carried my running gear just in case running time reached before we got back home. My intention was to jog in the evening.
On Monday morning, our hostess said she was going jogging. I was urged to join her, but I was reluctant, because I felt I would slow her down (or that she would rush me) since my training program said I should walk for some minutes, then jog for some minutes. I eventually decided to go, since she seemed keen on having company.
We set off on the road along which she normally jogged. She was jogging and I was walking, with my phone at hand to time my walk/jog intervals. I was able to keep up with her. It turned out that I could jog for 3 minutes (instead of the 1 minute suggested by the program) and still feel reasonably comfortable.
So we did 35 minutes. Our hostess jogged the whole way, while I walked and ran at intervals. I was quite impressed by her fitness.
I thought that onlookers may have thought I am a lazy guy. Or maybe that I was training her. I also thought that someone seeing me with her may get tempted to tell my wife that they saw saw me with a strange woman rather early in the morning, is she aware of my whereabouts? My wife would probably then laugh out loud, to the puzzlement and possible embarrassment of the reporter.
So we ran for about 35 minutes, which was close enough to my target 30 minutes. I hope to be able to estimate the distance, based on how long it will take me to cover the 4km or so that will be my regular route.
The program I am on should get me running for 30 minutes non-stop in 8 weeks.
So, there. Another member of my dad’s family joins the running world.

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