Posted by: isshino | January 15, 2009

The Alien has moved!!

Hey everyone! First of all Happy New Year!! This is just a short announcement to let everyone know that I’m moving my blog to

….what ??

….you’re still here??

What are you doing?? go ahead and click on the link to check the new site!!

Stop wasting time reading this!!!! go now!! click it click it:

Posted by: isshino | December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! just a quic post to wish you all a happy holiday! Right now I’m making a list of all th things that I have to pack tomorrow. That’s right, I’m going on a family trip (13 of us, between cousins, aunts & uncles) tomorrow to Mont Tremblant, which is near Montreal. I am soooo scared of the weather there!! I’m going to freeze my everything there!! The coldest place that I’ve ever been was Orlando (16 years ago!), I went there to visit Mickey Mouse and one day it was 6 ºC… I remember it being sooo cold back then. And now where I’m going is going to be at -23 ºC!!!! That’s just too much for my warm caribbean ass!!!! On the other hand, I’m soooo excited that I’m going to see snow for the first time in my life! Not to mention that I’m going to go snowboarding!!!

On another news, I got myself a Garmin Forerunner 50! I ordered it on november 23th and it arrived yesterday morning (Yey! a xmas present from me to me!!). The batteries on the heart rate  strap of my polar watch died, and it was imposible to replace them (good one Polar!), so instead of ordering a strap I decided to get a watch that would also allow me to track my pace/distance so I can finally get rid of my nike+ (it was actually 2 xmas gifts in one!!!). I had thought on getting a garmin 405, but since Caracas (where I live) just got the ‘honor’ of being the murder capital of the world, the idea of running around with a 350$ watch don’t seem like the smartest thing to do, so I decided to get a cheaper one that still does most of the thigs I want it to do. I took it for a short test run today and so far I LOVE it, i’ll wait untill I’ve used a coupple of times before I make a more complete review.

BTW Terri, about the question you asked on my last post, ‘what’s it like living in what I consider paradise-weather’. Well, It’s awesome not knowing what hot or cold weather is, or heavy rains, or storms, or anything like that. Beaches here are incredibly beautiful (oh yeah, did I mention gas prices? it costs me less than 1 US$ to fill my tank). On that side this IS like living on paradise… on the other hand, things here are pretty different from the US (or any other first world country), I try to avoid going into local political stuff here (this is a training blog after all, who wants to hear me complaining about each time the national guard visits my university?), but you can read the link above to get an idea of why it’s easy to forget that we live in paradise around here.

Well, enough of that! It’s Christmas!! So Merry Christmas to all!! Have a happy holydays and a happy new year!!! I doubt I’ll be writting much from Canada, but I’ll be back here full speed once I get back next year!

Posted by: isshino | December 3, 2008

I’m still around!

I’m back!! I know that I’ve been a bad blogger and that I’ve been neglecting all your blogs lately. I know…. I know… Bad Alien!!! I was training for a 10k race, that was supposed to be the last race of the year, but it got postponed to next year. So with nothing to train for, and a bajillion of other things to do, I have not been training as much as I used to, and also stopped blogging. I guess that the off-season bug got to me…

But since It’s the off-season, I decided to start something new (besides yoga, which I’m LOVING btw!). So I joined a scuba diving course at the university. It’s a really cool class that gives me some extra credits and also at the end of the semester I’ll get my PADI Open Water Diver certificate. And the best thing of it, I get to travel to some exotic beaches to dive there and see all kinds of marine life! I’ve done 2 trips so far.

The first one was 3 weeks ago, to Mochima, which is 7 and a half hours away from where I live. Or to be more specific, the red dot on this map:

Mochima is a really small town in the coast, people there are really friendly and they live from fishing and tourism. We stayed there on a ‘posada’, which is a really simple/rustic hotel, no commodities, nothing fancy. My room consisted of a bed and a (at least 20 year old) small TV, I didn’t have light on the room, so I had to turn on the TV to change clothes.. it didn’t even had a closet or anything to put my stuff. But well, it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere, so I can’t ask for much, and I didn’t spend much time in the room anyways… The town also has a (1) restaurant , a lady that sells hot dogs and a lady that makes ‘empanadas‘, which is a local dish that EVERYONE should try at least once in their lives! Here’s a pic of Mochima from the road to get there, what you see is everything there is, it consists of 2 streets!!

From Mochima we took a ‘peñero’, which is a small boat made by the locals, here’s a pic I took of on of the ‘peñeros’ that we took:

The ‘peñero’ took us to this BEAUTIFUL beach (I forgot it’s name)

And from the beach we would get all our gear on and go diving, the experience of breathing underwater is Awesome! And all the things you can see there is breathtaking. All the underwater life is beautiful, and it’s incredible how much you can see in half an hour underwater, you could never see so many different things anywhere else!!

The second trip was this las weekend to Morrocoy, which is 3 hours from where I live (like 1cm west from where Mochima is on the map at the begining of the post). Morrocoy is a bit more civilized than Mochima, the ‘posada’ there had a pool, directv, and this time my room did have a light!!! From Morrocoy we also took a ‘peñero’ that took us to ‘cayo norte’ (pics below), a paradise-like beach with white sand and crystal clear warm water. And form there we went scuba diving.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, it’s not related to training, but more to scuba diving which is what I’ve been doing lately. My next trip is going to be next year to ‘Puerto la Cruz’, I’ll make sure to take some pics there too.

And about my training, well, I’m still working out, just not as much as before. I have planned most of my big races for next year, but I don’t want to say anything about it just yet. But make sure I got some BIG plans for next year!! Maybe I’ll even get to know some of my fellow bloggers on a race next year!!! We’ll see, I’ll say what the plans are when I’m sure I can make it.

Posted by: isshino | November 4, 2008

Nutrition nutrition nutrition

I used to think that My Nemesis was doing speedworks, but now I got used to them, and sometimes, somedays, I even enjoy them. But I’ve found a new Nemesis (and it’s not my Nike+… although I REALLY dislike the thing!), it’s one that has proven a lot harder to defeat!!!

I started this whole exercising thing a bit more than a year ago. One of the reasons at the beginning was to loose weight and look good and healthy. Back then it was really easy to find motivation to diet. I used Doctor Cox’s (from Scrubs) technic, I hated my body and worked really hard to change it. So when in need for motivation, I just had to look at the mirror. By now I’ve lost over 40 pounds, I’m in the best shape of my life and I’ve never looked better.

The mirror thing doesn’t seem to work anymore, I see my self in the mirror and I look better than ever. My body fat% is around 13% (it goes up and down from 12.5% to 13.5%), and it’s been like that for the last 6 months. But I want more!!! Not in an unhealthy kind of way, this doesn’t have to do with eating disorders, anorexia or anything like that. I just want to be a bit more lean and loose some more fat so I can be faster and finally find my ‘ideal running weight’.

The thing is that I’ve been unable to find motivation to diet. And when I found some and start to diet, I feel really weak when I exercise and if I do it early, then I’m really useless the whole day, so I loose the little motivation I had.  I’m sure that the main reason why I’m not loosing weight just with the high amount of exercise I do is bad nutrition. I think I eat healthy, and ‘good’ portion sizes, but I’m obviously not doing it right. What would you recommend me? Is there a good book about nutrition for endurance sports that you have read? Or a diet that you follow that works for you?? I’ve thought about going to a Nutritionist, but I think that finding a good sport nutrition doc around here might be hard.

I’d like to finish loosing all the weight that I want to loose before this year ends, I don’t want to make it a goal for next year to loose more weight, I want my goal to be to maintain the weight! After all, I think I just need to loose 4 or 5 more pounds. Don’t hessitate to write all your suggestions, I need them!!

Posted by: isshino | November 3, 2008

The Nike+ Strikes Back

Well, my little buddy did it again. Not the same error from last time, I’m used to that by now. This time, it was a different error, in a whole new level of annoying!!

I got ready to run today, set up the distance on the Nike+ to 9 miles and start running. Ten minutes later I hear the words ‘Workout Completed’… Dang I’m fast!!!!! No wait.. somethings wrong here, I’m not THAT fast…. I check the workout distance and it says I’ve run 1.2 miles. Ok, maybe I set the distance wrong. After all, it can’t be that the Nike+ went completely crazy on me like that!! right??  RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?

I set up the distance again, 7.8 miles this time, and I make sure to check and re-check that I did it right this time!! I start running again… 5 minutes later I hear ‘Workout Completed’… You’ve got to be kidding me!!! I subtracted the traveled distance, again, and kept on running…

That happened 5 times during my 9 mile run. And I had to keep subtracting the distance because it was the only way for me to measure the distance where I was running.  I don’t know why it was doing it. Maybe it was trying to take care of me, maybe it thinks I’m training too much and it’s trying to keep me away from getting injured, or maybe it’s just trying to annoy me as much as possible!! Whatever the reason it’s doing it, I’ve already made up my mind, I’m getting a Garmin as soon as possible!

Posted by: isshino | October 28, 2008

Asics Piranha SP Review

A few weeks ago while checking the recommendations that Amazon had for me I saw these shoes with a 50% off. Seemed like a good offer so I went online to check for some reviews, I liked what I read so I ordered them. Three or so weeks later I got them and took them for a test ride today.

First thing I have to say about these shoes is that they are LIGHT! So light that when I got the box from amazon I thought they sent only one shoe on it. They weight only 4.8 ounces!!! Both shoes weight less than one of my old Asics!! Of course, this comes at the expense of some comfort. Don’t get me wrong, the shoes feel great, don’t bother me at all and are comfortable enough, but these are not the shoes I’d wear on a marathon.

These are racing shoes, I bought them specially for 10k or shorter distances, and they feel great for this. They are light, comfortable, adjust well to your feet and even look really nice (for running shoes standards!) and did I mention that they are reaaally light? Running with them feels as if you’re not wearing anything (in a good way), they also have really good ventilation to keep your feet cool (I’d stay away from them in cold weather).

As I said before, I took them for a run today. Of course this is not all because of the shoes, as I was going hard today. I did a 5k time trial. The results?? 2 new PR’s:
*5k on 23:35
*1 mile on 6:58
They felt great during that run, and helped me go faster than ever! If you are looking for an everyday training shoe or something to do long distances with, stay away from these bad boys. But if you want something light to do speedworks and short distance races, get ’em!!

I always say that for runners getting new shoes is like getting a new car for ‘regular’ people. Well, I feel like I got a convertible! I won’t use it everyday, just for special occasions, but when I use it I’m going to rock!

Posted by: isshino | October 22, 2008

Keep going!

I was writting a response to Terri’s post today that ended up being longer than I thought. Long enough to become it’s own blog post, so here I go:

I sometimes have confidence problems when running. I guess it’s a common issue with endurance sports because a big part of endurance is to have the willpower to keep going. To be able to achieve a state of mind and confidence that will make you go until you reach that day’s goal. I hate it when my mind plays little tricks on me and makes me cut a workout loose when my body is feeling great and can keep going.  If my body is fine I should keep going right??? Then why do I stop sometimes??

I’m no expert on this, and my strategies might work some days, and might not work on others. But these are things I (try to) do when my mind start playing dirty tricks on me:
*Focus on what I’m doing right now. Try to think about each step and achieving small goals in the moment. Like getting to where the next tree is, and then to the next one, and to the next one…

*If I think something (physically) is wrong, I slow down and think about the situation, calm down and take a deep breath. Usually that makes that panic feeling go away and I realize that nothings wrong.

*Sing out loud! Yes, the other runners/cyclists stare at me and think I’m crazy, but well, it helps me keep going and takes my mind from whatever reason it’s trying to convince me I should stop.

*Think about everything I’ve accomplished up until this day, and compared to that, that little workout it’s giving me trouble becomes insignificant

*Just finish the workout against my own will. I know my body is strong enough to do it. So why should I stop? If my mind is feeling weak that day, then make it shut up and keep going!

What other tricks do you have under your sleeve when your confidence starts going down? Or do you have a magick way of boosting up your confidence so you can keep going?

Posted by: isshino | October 18, 2008

Yoga and a couple of shouts!

I haven’t been doing much training lately, I decided to take some time to rest after the last 10k I ran, two weeks ago. I also started classes again and my schedule is worst than what I had hoped for, so I’m still getting used to it  and trying to figure out where I am going to take some time to train.

But one of the good things with this semester is that Im taking yoga. So far I’ve only had two classes but I’m loving it. It’s been a great and fun class, plus I can see how much core strength and balance I will gain by doing yoga. I had my second class yesterday and today my lower back hurts, not in a bad way, but in a ‘I’m getting stronger kinda way’, which is great!!

I also want to wish the best of luck to Rachel, Alissa and Topher. They are all running marathons this weekend. I’ve been following their blogs for some time now and they have been training really hard for this day!! So if you haven’t already, go and bookmark their blogs because I’m sure some great and inspiring race reports are going to be up there in the next few days.

Posted by: isshino | October 10, 2008

Caracas Rock (10k) Race Report

I didn’t have any special plans for this race, I didn’t train well for it, I just wanted to have fun. But it ended up being a really good and special race for me.

I started the day with the same ‘race day routine’. Wake up early, eat something light, take a shower, I didn’t do a playlist for my iPod this time, I had left my iPod on the car and was too lazy to go and get it, I figured I would use the same one I made for for the Human Race.

I got there 30 minutes before the race was supposed to start and started taking everything that I needed. My number, Visor, the HRM strap, the iPod, the headphones… the headphones… THE HEADPHONES?!?!?!?!?! OH NOES, NOT THE HEADPHONES!!!!!!

I left them in my house, what was I going to do?? I’ve never ever ever run without my iPod. I know the day would come when I had to leave them behind because some races don’t allow using them, and honestly, I’ve always been afraid of that day, I depend too much on the music that I listen when I run! I wanted to train a couple of times without music to get used to it, I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY!!! Ok, let’s try not to panic here, what are my options? No time to go to my house and get them, and everyone is still sleeping there, so I can’t call and ask if someone can bring them to me. I could start asking random people if they have a spare set with them, no… that won’t work. I could take them from some old lady that looks slow and run for it!! That’d help me set a PR!!! no… that’s just not right…. No headphones it is….

So I went to get my chip, warmed up for 10 mins and got ready. I went close to the end of the crowd, thinking that if I had planned to take it easy and I didn’t even have my iPod, I had no business going where the fast people are.  I think this ended up being the best decision I made that day.

The race started and everyone around me was going really slow and was reaaaaally packed!! I hate going like that, I feel like I have no space to move. So I started passing people. Without headphones I didn’t have the Nike+ to set my pace or tell me when I reached each Km. The first time I saw a distance mark was at the third Km and my time was 16:31, not too bad I thought, faster than I had expected. By that point I checked my HRM and I was at 95%, that’s too much, I won’t be able to keep it up, so I tried to relax and slow down a bit to try and take my HR down.

When I got to the 5k mark and realized that my time was 26:36 something changed. I was feeling fine, I thought that I could easily do a negative split on the race and end with a PR. So I did a quick plan of my pace to accomplish this. My HR was at 85% at that moment, I would keep it like that until I get to the 6k mark, then not go over 90% until I reach the 8k mark, then not go over 95% before the 9k mark and then… well just go all out without passing out. This way I could maximize my efforts without getting too tired before the finish line.

For the next 5k I followed my plan and everything turned out for the best. The fact that I started near the end made me start faster than I had planned and also, I had been passing people the whole time! There’s something about not getting passed even once that makes you take it up a notch if someone tries to at this point.

Also, the fact that I didn’t have music made the whole experience better. I could concentrate better on my body, on how I was feeling. I was paying close attention to my HR and listening to my body, and by doing this I knew I was going fast, but not too fast until I had to. Not to mention that I was paying more attention to everyone around me, it was a totally different experience that turned out for the best.

In the end I followed my plan for the last 5k and finished in 51:02. A PR for me!! I finished a 10k in 53:33 back in april and did 57:43 in the Human Race. And so far, this has been the best 10k I’ve ever run, it’s not just because of the PR, it was… everything else, a great day, nice people, good organization, and well yes, the PR!It’s as Lisa said: “sometimes relaxing and going with the flow WORKS!”. It does, it really does. Thanks for the support!

The numbers from the race:

Finish Time: 51:02

5k split: 26:36

Place in category (Male 20-29): 256/1258

Place in general: 1256/10500

Kcal Burned: 687

Avg HR: 90% (182bpm)

Max GR: 100% (203 bpm)

Posted by: isshino | October 5, 2008

10k PR!

I’m going to take it easy…. I said…

I’m just going to go slow and enjoy the race… last night on my post…

I’ll be happy if I finish under 60 minutes…

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah….


I PR’d the darn thing!

Race report when I can breath…

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