Posted by: isshino | October 5, 2008

‘Racing’ Tomorrow

There’s this 10k race tomorrow called ‘Caracas Rock’. I didn’t sign up for it in time because I had the whole Hernia thing and I was waiting to see if I would end up going for surgery or not, and by the time I tried to sign up for the race it had sold out.  But as the good Alien that I am, I have good connections and know the right people, so I did some shady deals and got myself a number for the race!!!

The bad thing is that I knew I was going to race yesterday! So I didn’t have any time to train for the race. Of course, I’m still running it and going to finish it, it’s just that all my training lately has been around long slow runs, so I’m not going for a PR or anything like that. I’ll be happy if I finish under 60 minutes. I think I’ll just take it easy, try to look for the guys taking pictures and wave at them to see if I can FINALLY get a good pic in a race. Maybe I’ll just find a pretty lady and run next to her, they always seem to get a lot of pictures taken!!

That is if my competitive side doesn’t get the best of me and I try to go all out for a PR, but I don’t think that’s what will happen. After how bad I felt during the Human Race, I feel like taking it easy tomorrow and just having a good time.

Before I leave I want to wish Terri to have a great day tomorrow, she’s running her first marathon and I’m sure she is going to do great!! Check her blog on the next few days because Im sure she’ll post an awesome race report soon.

Good Running to you all!

Posted by: isshino | September 28, 2008

Back From Paradise

I’m finally back home after a few days of vacations. I managed to get a couple of runs while I was away, it was nice to get a chance to run on a completely different environment, to get a chance to see different things while you run and get used to different weather, although I’m not a fan of warmer weather, but still, a good experience.

I also got the chance to swim on open waters, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s harder to swim when there are currents and bigger waves than in a pool. Not to mention salty water!!! It might sound like something non-important, but when swimming for a long time on the sea the salty water taste can get really disgusting!

I leave you with a few pictures from Morrocoy (where I was), the Caribbean at it’s finest 😛

The first 2 are from one of the most famous beaches there, called ‘Cayo Sombrero’. which means ‘key hat’, and I think it has that name because it’s a small island shaped like a hat.

This one is from a ‘Bajo’. Which is were I went on Saturday. A ‘Bajo’ is a place where the water level is really low, so what we do is throw the anchor there and just pass the day swimming and on the boat. It doesn’t get more peaceful than that!

And this one is me sitting on the boat, the sky was beautiful that day!

Good run to everyone on this weekend! I’ll update later once I start training again next week.

Posted by: isshino | September 19, 2008

Approaching Paradise

I decided to spend my last few days of vacations away from home, so I came to Valencia, which is 2 hours away from where I live, to visit some family and friends. Tomorrow we are going to go to Morrocoy, about an hour away from here.

Morrocoy is a set of really small islands that you can only get if you have your own boat or rent one. And once you get there you are as close to paradise as you can get. Beautiful beaches, warm water, beautiful marine life. Surrounded by peace and friends, nothing to bother you… Oh, how I love the Caribbean!!! Jealous yet? you should be ( 😛 ) And if you’re not, i’ll leave you with a picture of where I’ll be:

I’ll probably be away for a few days. I’ll try to get a run in if possible and I’ll be back the next week with more updates and some pics of my new tan. Have fun and good luck to all of you that have big runs or races this weekend.

Posted by: isshino | September 18, 2008

Creating a habit

I have 2 more weeks before I start the university again, and with that comes a more busy schedule than what I have right now. So my plan for the last 2 weeks has been to create a different habit for training, to get the body and mind used to it so that when I start classes it doesn’t get so hard to get used to everything.

The plan is to train twice a day. An early morning session and a late afternoon/evening session. Usually the morning session consist of a short run or weight training and they take between 20 and 45 mins. The second session takes between 45 and 90 mins, and it’s the ‘strong’ session for the day, be it running, biking or swimming. But these sessions are not really that intense, I’m trying to get used to the high volume first, to get the body to the point where I can train twice a day without getting too tired, and once I accomplish this I can start thinking about increasing the intensity and making the evening sessions longer.

Since I don’t have any other ‘A’ races planned for the year (I might do a couple of 10k’s, but I’m not specially training for them), I’m thinking that creating the habit to train twice a day and to get used to high volume training is a good way to prepare for next year, for which I have a lot of plans and (ambitious) goals, but more from that on another post!.

I’m so jealous reading at everyone else’s blog! Most people are either tapering or just had their ‘Big Race of the Year’!! I’d like to be there right now, training for my big race!! I’m cheering to all of you from here! keep it up, keep up the training and you all will do great!

Posted by: isshino | September 8, 2008

Active Recovery

After the bad race last Sunday I decided that I was going to attempt some active recovery. The plan was to keep up with the volume of training that I had before the race, but just lowering the intensity of each workout. And so far this has been working pretty well.

I started on Wednesday with a 5 mile run, I felt great, still had sore legs but besides that, everything was fine. Then on Thursday I did 3 miles and went swimming on Friday, still, everything feeling perfect, as if nothing happened last Sunday.

Then yesterday I decided to run 10k again, the distance that (quoting That brazilian newsletter) made me eat the bread that the devil made. I went to ‘El parque del Este’ (East Park). This is a really nice place to run here in Caracas, it’s a big park/zoo that has a lot of trails, semi-exotic-animals that you can see while running and even a small lake with a replica of the ship where Christopher Columbus came to discover America. The weather was perfect, I decided to do 2 laps to my favorite trail, which is almost 5k.

This park It’s the only place where you can go (safely) and run on trails in Caracas, and it’s really cool that you can run near the animals that are kept in the zoo part of the park. Well, as I was running there yesterday on what was my favorite trail I see THIS:

WTH?!?!? That fence is NOT supposed to be there!!! So I stopped the run for a moment and started talking to the people that where there to find out what was going on…

If there’s ONE thing that Venezuela is famous for right now (besides the gross amount of oil we have) is our… how should I say this… our swashbuckling president. Well, ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ decided that Christopher Columbus was an Imperialist, because he came from Spain to kill the Natives of the American continent, and because of this he decided to take out the replica of his ship and use one a HUGE part of the park to build a museum for some ‘True Revolutionary’ dude that died more than 500 years ago and that no one gives a crap about right now… So my trail is gone now, along with a few other cool routes in the park.

Ok, political rant over. I did managed to finish my 10k, but I had to go through a different/new route that was a lot more crowded. Today I went biking for 20 miles in the morning and then swimming in the afternoon. So far I’ve been feeling perfectly, so next week (tomorrow) I’m starting regular -more intense- training again.

Thanks for reading and happy running!

Posted by: isshino | September 5, 2008

What if…

Being the geek/gadget-lover that I am, I’ve been recovering a lot of data from the Human Race and trying to analyze it as much as possible. For starters I finally got the official results:

– I got to the 2.5k mark in 12:48 mins and I was in the 198th position at that point in my age group.

– I got to the 5k mark in 24:40 mins and I was in the 196th position at that point in my age group.

– I got to the 7.5k mark in 44:55 mins and was # 309 in my age group.

– Finished the race in 57:43 and was # 308 in my age group.

-Total # of people in my age group: 1563, which means I was in the top 20%, way above average!! And for the race totals, there were 9188 people participating in the race, and I finished as # 1604, meaning I am in the top 17.5%!!!

I finished the race happy, I had a really bad day and just being able to get to the finish line was big enough of an accomplishment for me, not at all how I had planned to finish, but I was not complaining. Now seeing those numbers, after such a bad race, I can say that I am really happy with the results.

But if I play a bit with the numbers for my first half, before I started walking, just so I can imagine what if… I was at that point #196, which means I was in the top 13%!! Also, 113 people from my category passed me on the second half of the race, this means that approximately 7% of the people on my category passed during this time, and taking this to everyone on the race means that (approximately) 643 people passed me on the second half because of my injury.

Since I usually do negative splits when racing (and training) I can be confident to say that my second half of the race could had been as good (or better) than my first half. So, what if I didn’t injury?? I could had ended in less than 50 minutes, in the top 1000 (out of over 9000 runners) and in the top 13% of runners in my age group!! Only if I didn’t had such a terrible second half.

And to make it all better, check this out:

That’s the top 10 runners in Venezuela for that day!! Do you see me there as #7??? It’s SO cool to be there! Of course, this only means that there aren’t many people that have a Nike+ system here (or that they aren’t really fast…come on #1 in 42 mins…), but still, #7!! WOHOOO!! by the way, I SO could had been #3 if I didn’t injured.. AARRRGGG!!!!!, THAT WOULD HAD BEEN SOOO COOL!!

And to finish my posts about The Human Race. I was SO jealous of Alissa’s AFC Half Marathon report. Did you see how many pictures of her she got from that race?? I was about to send her hate-mail asking if she was stalking the photographers, but I found this, the first picture of me during a race!!! (well, It was of some other guy in front of me, but after some time cleaning it up in photoshop, you can see me!! well, sorta…)

UPDATE: I cut out the guy that the picture was originally from, so I’m the one in the middle of the pic. If there’s still a doubt, I’m This One

Posted by: isshino | September 2, 2008

I’m Famous

First, I was featured on a podcast episode a month ago, and now a Newsletter from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is talking about my amazing running skills!!! Yeah, you read it right, a Brazilian newsletter. The Alien loving season has begun baby.

The Newsletter name is O Globo and you can find where they quote me here. The article is about the Human Race, and they talk about my race experience, of course the article is in Portuguese. Here’s what they say:

“Num blog chamado Alien on the Run, achei o relato de um cara chamado Isshino. Não consegui saber de onde ele escreve. Mas parece ser de uma cidade costeira dos EUA. O cara, que não começou ontem porque faz cinco minutos por quilômetro, comeu o pão que o diabo amassou por causa de uma hérnia. Mas correu. E andou. E chegou. E agradeceu os amigos corredores. “Tudo o que vocês conquistaram me ajudou a reunir forças para chegar lá. Então, eu também posso ser uma fonte de inspiração quando vocês estiverem num dia ruim de treino.”

Now, my attempt to translate that for all of you. This is going from Portuguese, which I don’t speak but looks a lot like spanish (my native language) to english, so let’s see if I can make sense.

“A blog called Alien on the Run Talks about a guy called Isshino (my wordpress user name). I couldn’t find out where he is writing from, but I think it’s from a US coast city (Actually, it’s from Venezuela, right next to Brazil). He started well at a 5min/km pace, but then he ate the bread that the devil made (crazy brazilian expresion uh?) because of a hernia. But he ran. He walked. He finished. He thanked his running friends: “All that you have managed to accomplish helped me gather the strength to get there, so that I can too, be a source of inspiration when you are having a bad training day.”

How cool is that?? Next thing you know Obama and McCain will be fighting over my support!! And That is what will decide the elections my friends!

Posted by: isshino | August 31, 2008

This one was for all of you! (10k Race Report)

Last night I was really anxious about today’s race, I watched the 2006 Ironman championship for some extra motivation and then I ‘extracted’ with Garage Band a part of a GYGO episode that I like to listen to for inspiration on difficult workouts, because it would be easier to have it as a 3 minute clip to listen to during the race, than to start searching through the whole podcast in the middle of the race.

I woke up today at 5am, drank a cup of coffee and ate a carb bar. After that I made the playlist I was going to listen, took a quick shower and off for the race. Got there early, got my chip and even had enough time to warm up and stretch before the race started.

The first Km was a bit slower than I had expected, I finished it in 5:30, but it was Ok, there were A LOT of people, and it was really packed. After the first Km everyone got their own pace and things were going better. My split at the 2.5K mark was 12:30, that’s exactly a 5 min/Km average pace, which is what I wanted, things were going great! Except for this small pain that I had on the right side of my core area, nothing to worry about, I thought, it will just go away after I pass the 3k mark and the course gets flatter.

I heard my Nike+ voice saying ‘half point reached’ just as I walked besides the 5k mark, even my drunk Nike+ was working correctly today!!! And my time was 24:40!! that’s 20 seconds faster than expected and a 5k PR for me. What else could I ask for??? Well, for starters, can this pain go away? it had started on the right side of my stomach, but now it had spread around all my core area and was becoming really hard to ignore.

By the 6k mark I had slowed down and was thinking that racing after I couldn’t sit a week ago and just had a hernia infiltrated maybe wasn’t such a good idea. Then I started walking, it wasn’t a decision I took, it was imposed to me, my body just decided to walk and there was no discussion about it. At first I thought I would walk for 20 seconds, recover and then keep going, I could walk for 20 seconds and still make it in under 50 minutes, it was still possible at that point.

I tried to start running again and couldn’t make it for more than 5 meters. Now I was just trying not to stop, getting to the finish line on my own had suddenly become my new goal for the day. This is when the clip of a GYGO episode I made last night started playing on my iPod (you can get it here. Right click and select ‘save as’ to download). It made me change my form, I held my head high and started to walk as fast as I could, I decided I was going to get to the finish line even if I had to crawl to get there.

Then I started thinking about all of you, who have inspired me and helped me get to this point. I remembered how The Running Chick said that “only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin”. So I started running again, slow, but at least I was running. I thought about Chris, a great runner that’s injured and can’t run right now, but would love to, and that if I can make it to the finish line, I have to get there for him and my other friends that can’t run today. I thought about Rachel, who is so stubborn that even if the doctor (and all her blog readers) tell her not to run because she’s injured, she WILL sneak some runs in, she even goes out and runs in the middle of a storm. I’m sure that if she were in my place she wouldn’t stop, so I was not going to stop either. I thought about how Terri finished that dreadful 25k trail race, how Jill was struggling to walk 2 miles in May and ran 11 miles a few weeks ago or how Topher just ran 16 miles.

In the end, I was inspired by all of you, including all the ones that I didn’t mention, but whose blogs I follow. I couldn’t run all the way to the finish line, I had to stop and walk a lot and by the time I got to the 7.5K mark my time was 48 minutes, it took me almost the same time to do the last 2.5k as it took me to do the first 5k. I made my best efforts to not walk during the last Km, I wanted to feel that I was finishing strong. I got to the finish line with tears in my eyes and feeling a lot of pain, but I got there, and in great part, thanks to all of you. All that you have managed to accomplish helped me gather the strength to get there, so that I can too, be a source of inspiration when you are having a bad training day.

Posted by: isshino | August 30, 2008

Ready for the Human Race!!

Finally I’m going to race again!! It’s been a while since the last time I did. I don’t know if I will be able to perform as good as I wanted to when I started training for this, because I had to cut short my training the last 2 weeks because of the hernia I had, but that’s part of the past now. I’ve only run once this week, I ran 5k on 26 minutes. I wanted to do this 10k in under 50 minutes, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to, however I am still going for a PR, I have to finish in under 53:33 to accomplish that.

I checked the route today and it looks doable, only one uphill part that can slow me down and it’s before the 3k mark. So my plan is to start ‘slow’, around a 5:20 min/km pace for the first 3k, then try to be under 5 min/km for the next 5k, and go all out the last 2k. If all goes well I should finish in a good time!! So let’s pray to the Running Gods that i don’t run into any side stitches or extreme sudden muscle pains or anything like that!

I decided to wake up early today to pick up my shirt and number. The shirt is Ok, I really like the material and design, but it’s a bit big for me, even though I got the size ‘M’ one. There were no ‘S’ shirts for men, I aswked for a ‘L’ woman shirt, but the guy gave me a strange look and called for the next person in line… So I’ll have to go with what I have, it’s not THAT unconfortable, but I’m picky with these things and I like to be confortable with what I’m wearing when I run. Anyways, my shirt # is 300.943, that has to be the global number because the limit for Venezuela was 9.000 runners. It sucks that they don’t let more people do this race, it’s like the biggest running event around here.

Good luck to all the other runners that are joining me tomorrow in The Human Race, no matter where you are, have fun and a Great Race!! If you wanna come and say Hi!, I’ll be the guy with the white shirt!!

Posted by: isshino | August 26, 2008

I’m Alive!! Well, sorta…

I know it’s been a long time since I write, but I have my reasons!! I started having pain around my belly button a few weeks ago, and after checking myself I found that I had a bulge there. At first I decided to take a break from training to see if maybe it would just go away, but it didn’t.

I ended up going to the doctor yesterday (I postponed it as much as I could, I hate going there!), and he confirmed my fears, I have an umbilical hernia. The doc decided to Infiltrate it (which by the way, HURTS LIKE HELL!!) to try to avoid removing it with surgery. It seems that it’s a small hernia, but it’s strangulating some fat tissues around my navel that have a lot of nerves on them (or something like that, my ‘medical’ english is not that good :p ) and that is what was causing so much pain. So by infiltrating the hernia it should stop estrangulating these fat tissues and stop causing me so much pain, avoiging surgery.

But not everything is bad, if this works,  I should be able to start training again in 48 hours, and the doctor even encouraged me to run the Human Race this Sunday, to test myself for pain and check if the infiltration worked. I probably won’t do as good as I wanted because I haven’t trained for some time, but I’m sure that I’ll finish, and the idea of running again is… well I can’t wait!!!

The doc also told me that I was the 3rd patient that he has seen that has such a low heart rate frequency without being medicated. He said that the other 2 were a professional swimmer and a spinning instructor, and that I have the cardiovascular system of an athlete!! not bad for someone that smoked for 11 years and lost 40 pounds over the last year… but maybe that’s where I got the hernia from, too much too soon??

Well, now it’s time for me to catch up on everyone’s blog, 94 posts according to google reader (now I have something to do on my last 48 hours of recovery, although it probably will take me a bit more than that). I didn’t want to read anyone’s blog while I was feeling injured… It felt like when you are a little kid and you go to the candy store but your parents wont buy you anything!!! But now it’s time to catch up so that I’m all psyched and hyper by the time I can start training again.

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