Friday, March 31, 2006

The Joy of Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving ended here last night, one of the quirks about the Friday Saturday weekend in the Holylands and given that Friday night is Shabat, religious people are not allowed to do anything that causes a reaction, thus turning a clock is an action and is not permitted so we turn our clocks back on Thursday night, all being said that meant that todays track session was in fact cooler as there was still shade on the back part of the track.

This morning's workout was a 1600 warm up, 8 x 400's (with 100m intervals) cool down 2400 m

Spilts were all were between 1:36 and 1:40 so happy with all splits, did not want to push to hard as right hamstring felt tight and having once pulled a hamstring was not going back down that path again. I rated today at around 80 - 85 % effort, normally like to push harder on track workouts, however since the Marine Corp and back to back with New York are my goals avoiding injury and building my base are the main goals.

Yesterday was a double workout , thirty minutes on the Eliptical and a Hash Run in the evening which is a good excuse to have a couple of cold beers with friends, will right more about the hash method of running, where beer and money meet

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You could of swum laps in my sweat pool

Now that is not a nice image to hold, the thought of swimming laps in the pool of sweat under my spin bike. But today was one of those workout where it seemed like I was managing to give myself a sweat shower. My heart rate maxed out at 157 which is almost my racing pace for a fast 10km , the average Heart Rate was 135 which again is extremely high for me. When last Saturday on my long run it was ticking along at a 100. When I run I normally hold my heart to approx 124 which is a good zone that I can run for a long time in.
This was a cross training session that kicked my butt

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rest Day & Hills

I have really been pushing of late and yesterday decided that the best thing yesterday morning was to take a REST DAY. There is no doubt that you have to rest to get better performances. When I woke up the legs just felt heavy so I using mental strength more than anything, I rested. Sometimes the frustration of not working out is worse than the aches and pains of pushing myself.

Today, was a new day after signing up at the Gym last night I bounded down there at 6am only to find that it was not open due to a Public Holiday for the Elections here. If I was blonde I would have an excuse. So back home and out onto the road.

I have had the feeling that in the last few months I had been doing junk km's , and so I have been refocusing on doing track, Hills and of course the weekly long. Thus I headed to the Hills Circuit which is a nice warm up of two km's, before turning onto the Hill , again I decided on only doing four repeats , the transition into this hill training has to be done gradually , not wanting to suffer any injuries

Today the efforts of shortening my pace seems to be working well, I felt really strong and the splits today reflected many things including the cross training regime

#1 - 1:45
#2 - 1:46
#3 - 1:43
#4 - 1:38

Heart Rates Average 119 Max 153

Good Session

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday Tri, well not Tri but three

Sunday is an easy day , nice spin class to start with, really enjoying the sweat and music in a spin class it manages to get my Heart Rate up and now I am starting to feel the benefits of my legs getting stronger, I am also hoping that this will improve my leg turnover cadeance. Which I need to improve my times and escape the stagnation of my running in the last few months.

Nothing happening in the evening, so back to the Gym for a session on the Eliptical trainer, which I enjoy as it is a great crosstraining option with no impact, something that I realise is an important factor for me, and yet a good cardio workout. Followed up by 600 m swim , so at the end of the day a poor mans Tri

Swim (yes) cycle (one hour spin class) run (eliptical 40 minutes)

Not bad for a quiet day

Long and then some more

Long & then some

Saturday is Long Day here, because of the weekend being Friday & Saturday, So Saturday is like Sunday and Sunday is like Monday. So on Saturday morning the roads are deserted and most Israeli athletes; Runners and Cyclists take the opportunity to avoid the Natural Enemy of the Sportsman here the Israeli Driver.

I could write a thesis on Israeli drivers but that is not the purpose of my blog and since you are not here it makes no sense to bore you with how bad it is to live in a country where the drivers can right fully claim to be the worst, most obnoxious, rude, and just plain bad drivers. Not all, but the other 90% are in the other category. If they ever add bad driving to the Olympics. Israel stands a chance to win a its second Gold Medal in its history.

For you trivia buffs, they other Gold Medal was in Wind Surfing at Athens in 2004.

Enough digression, Saturday is long day and the aim today was to run about 10 miles give or take. It was evident that after a couple of km’s that Judith was in trouble, the km splits were literally in the 7 minute a km pace, whilst long runs are meant to be slow this pace is very slow.

It is hard to train as a group, when two of us, Maureen & I are at a high social runner level capable of doing track speed sessions and hills as part of the schedule and longs can be pushed easily in the 5:40 to 6:00 range. Chaim has made leaps and bounds and is right on track doing everything right and building a solid base level from which to go into a formal marathon training program (at this stage we are going to look at an 18 week program) Judith is really trying but continues on this insane Chinese diet as prescribed by a Chinese Medical Doctor to rid her of parasites, yes you read correct parasites.

I am prepared to continue to train with here, but the diet has to change her running yesterday was slow and labored she had no strength and rather than seeing progress, her running is stagnating.

We got back to the cars and I then went on and did a few more km’s at pace to brush off the cobwebs of frustration, it actually started to rain, which was nice. Ended up doing 16 km or should I say 10 miles, remember miles Mal miles, American Marathons are only sign posted in Miles.

Now, the run had not been enough, I honestly felt frustrated after the run. Whilst the others may of felt that it had been a good training run, mentally once again I was down, So I headed to the Gym and took part in a killer Spin Class, sixty minutes later completely dripping in sweat and my legs burning in pain and exhaustion I staggered out my Heart rate had hit 156, so easy and hard a nice workout combination in reflection.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Hills are alive with the Sound of Footsteps

Training for my first marathon in Athens Nov 2004, the hills circuit was an intrical part of training for the killer hill on the Athens course , well it has been a long time since I turned the corner and hit the watch for my first set, the only difference is now I am trying to work on better form so whilst my times were slower than previous times from years past, I did feel better form wise , so I took so comfort from that.
For the record my splits were 1:52 , 1:48 , 1:48 , 1:46

Last couple of days have been mainly gym cross training managed to figure out how to read half of what is on the eliptical machine as it is in Hebrew , The Interval workout on the Eliptical is a good session if you push yourself

The last spin class was another killer , good thing I did not understand a word of what was being given in Instruction , when the rest of the class stands , so do I when they pedal harder I pedal harder , must work on my hebrew so at least I get some of the instructions

Tomorrow morning is long day , might aim for twenty but no doubt the rest of the group will want shorter and slower

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

228 Days 1 Hour 17 Minutes

Managed to get up before the alarm went off at 5:30 am, knowing that I wanted to get to the gym when it opened at 6am. Decided to just hit the treadmill and do a 40 minute treadmill (or DREADMILL) , first time I have used a treadmill for a while and the Gym I have joined has no shortage of machines from Treadmills to Elipticals to Streching Contraptions.
One thing I like about the Treadmill is that programming a speed in , enables you to have agood workout with no slacking and add a pre programmed course in add the hills. Today decided on a comfortable 10 kmh to start and everytime I get on the machine will just boost the speed up by a point or two and use this method to increase speed and more importantly my leg cadence.
The Countdown clock continues to countdown

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Track , Eliptical & a Swim

Great Workout today , for to long now my running to an extent has contained to many junk miles , nothing to focus on in terms of a goal. The Three Boarders was a good run but I knew in advance that I was going to run with Chaim and that I was not going to be physically pushed , so my training reflected that , no hills or speed work and some half hearted attempts at tempo runs. The mistake for not specifically training for speed for the Kfar Sava 10 km still irks me beyond words, if I could of made more mistakes in 48 minutes I doubt it.
So this morning I had decided that I was just going to head to the Gym and try and catch a 8:45 class after dropping Brittany at school. Then I decided hell why not push go and do a solid track session and then go to the Gym.
So down to the National Track in Tel Aviv and after a warm up , I started on 400 splits, why 400's and not Yasso 800's , well I am going to program Yasso's later in my training schedule but in the meantime I want to work on speed and 400's will be a good base if I want to try and get another 10km in before the end of the season.
It was a great workout, my first 400 split was 1:37 and that was to be my slowest of the session, going into my sixth interval I really focused on shortening my stride and picking up turnover cadence and wham bam thank you maam a sweet 1:30:50 for 400. One more I decided and even that came in at 1:33 , cool down to follow . But what was best that for the first time in a long time I felt that I had really pushed and had a great running workout.
Into the car up to the Gym with the endorhins still pulsing I decided to try the Elipitical Machine having never used one before and for thirty minutes I enjoyed a non impact solid workout , onto the matts and machines for ab's and core then down into the pool for an easy 400m cool down for the day
Hey this Gym thing is not bad, when I join a Gym it is for keeps and not a one month joke
All in all , great workout today , still feel the endorphins

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spin Spin Spin

Have just joined the local gym here and this morning at seven am, there I was with the padded pants ready to start a spin class. I started spinning a few weeks ago to test whether it would be of any benefit to my running and since it has done no harm and I do feel stronger in the legs, have decided that for the next couple of months my XT days will include a spin class and swim, I do add that the Jacuzzi is also a bonus , now on my way home from long runs the lure of the Jacuzzi will be tempting.
Spinning is a great cardio workout and trust me you do sweat, below my bike it looks like the ice caps have melted, just wished I could follow the Instructors better since the whole class is in hebrew, but my basic knowledge seems to be getting me thru without to many distressed looks from the Instructors.
One thing about me, is that when I take a Gym membership on, it is full tilt or nothing. So expect my road runs to become less frequent and endless tales of the monotomy of the treadmill, but then again in summer the cool of the Gym is far better than the heat of the Middle East
Run Strong

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Saturday Long Feb 18

I look forward to our Saturday Long Runs, it is the chance to unwind and relax with friends, take it easy and cruise for an hour and half thru along the river at Park Yarkon in Tel Aviv. It is a great time of year to run here in Israel, the cold mornings (not that they get that cold in the Mid East) the weather is about 11 degrees Celsius.
We have all signed up for the New York Marathon in November, well apart from Judith who naturally has this or that reason and cannot figure out why we cannot answer questions on behalf of NYRRA and the Travel Operators but that will pass with time and she should have her answers, that way she will have more questions for us to answer.
It is too early to start an official training program, so we will just work on building a solid base over the next few weeks. The question facing me this year is whether to run for time or to run with the others. I do not want to commit to a time but I want the others to be prepared to push and go for a goal not just to finish. It is a hard personal decision, but sometimes I would like to be pushed and not be the Pusher.

Friday, March 17, 2006

232 Days

Have just signed up for the 2006 New York Marathon. A new commitment and goal to focus on, The countdown begins with a long run tomorrow morning of 15 km , before I change into miles for long runs , one thing I learnt from last years marathon was that with signs in miles and not km's by the time you get to 15 miles you actually do not know where you are in the scheme of things, I have many hopes and aspirations for this year over the next few months . My thoughts and ramblings will become part of life on the road to New York and the starting line

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Three Countries One Race

Three Borders Half Marathon
Jordan Israel & Egypt
March 10 2006

It is strange to say that you run your slowest half marathon and yet feel totally satisfied and happy with your performance. The reason was that I ran this race with a friend who having tried to run a half a few years ago, was determined that this time he was going to finish.

For the last few months, we have run as a group of four each Saturday morning just enjoying the time and the friendship that comes with those long slow Saturday morning runs you have in winter. Two of us have run marathons and the other two Chaim and Judith had never run anything further than a 10km.

You forget the nerves and the pre race jitters that first timers have when you enter your first real long run. You almost enjoy the fun of winding new half marathon runners up with advice and do’s and don’ts. From what did you eat for breakfast to what flavor gels work best and of course “You did put powder on your feet? Didn’t you”

But most of all you enjoy the friendship that only runners can experience on the starting line. The Three Borders Half Marathon is a new race here and this year was the second running of it. It is a cool thing to do, to say that you have raced in three countries in one race.

The day was picture perfect, a cool morning with bright sunshine and lining up on the Jordan Border, we started from the best position right at the very back, that’s right the last people to cross the start line, I have always been one of those runners who pushes his way thru the starting line masses to try and get a few extra seconds bonus, start out way to fast and inevitably fade badly in the second half, forgetting all race strategy tips and techniques.

It felt great to actually run at our pace and not foolishly chase everyone, and what amazed me was the fact that we ran a first great 5km just under thirty minutes, my heart rate was a nice steady 120 range and I was looking forward to the next sixteen km and not trying to count down the markers from a grimaced face.

The goal was to make sure that Chaim and Judith finished, Judith is slower and just wanted to run under three hours, we knew she would go faster and she slowed behind us, we made sure that she was ok and kept our pace moving forward km after km passed.

You run past warning signs not to leave the marked trail, as there are minefields on your left. Remember where we are and the fact that these neighbor’s have on many occasions not played nice together, looking down the fields the mountains of Jordan soared above us and the morning light was golden as we continued.

Maureen had a demon to beat; last year she ran this half and suffered badly from being over hydrated and had a horrible run that mentally cripples you for a year. As we approached a turn in the fields at 8 km, she indicated us that this was the spot where it all had gone wrong 12 months ago.

This time however it was different and it was like watching a demon being lifted, she took off and ran like the wind, she is such a beautiful runner to watch, with a swish of the ponytail she moved into the next gear and the demon was gone. We did not see here till nearly the 20 km mark, when she was walking back to us with water, having just run a PB she had grabbed a couple of bottles of water and had headed back down the course to support us, passing a bottle and smiling she kept walking back to find Judith behind us.

I had watched Chaim hit the highs and lows of this Half Marathon he had had black moments running up past the Port, you know that feeling when the Km signs seem to go backwards.

He kept running, past the point where he had dropped out years ago and his demon too was lifted. I cajoled him and pushed him, telling him to focus on one point and then the next.

The Egyptian Border Post was in sight when Maureen came back to us with water, we kept going as a team, past the finishers already waiting for the bus back, thru the Israeli Border and the Egypt Border was the finish, we crossed together and the smile on his face was magic.

I turned and ran back to try and find Judith and Maureen back down the course, in the distance around the corner they came together and I joined them, and like a Marine Drill Instructor I yelled with pride as we came to the finish line, Maureen and I pulled back at the end and waited as Judith crossed the line in 2 hours 23 Minutes.

Then the four of us got together and in a sweaty post race runners hug, we all embraced. Sometimes running is more than a stopwatch event, but a chance to celebrate the spirit of achievement together.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lesons Learned from Kfar Sava

Ok I ran a PB by a second or two , 48:06. However I made the mistake of getting into a race with my old running buddy Andy. Even though it was not meant to be, it was. I managed to ruin a a great effort by a running a PB because I did not run my run, but ran for every wrong reason and that is not want running is all about.
Hey I am 46 years old, I did not start running till a few years ago having never run a km before in my life. I thought about it for the next twenty four hours and have made a big mental break thru - run for the fun of running. Enjoy the pride of breaking your own records as they are the only ones that count and sometimes just run with friends for the freindship of running.
I get far more joy after helping a running friend better there times, the infection of happiness is best spread human to human.

Now rock on Three Borders Half Marathon this Friday , I want to run for fun

Friday, March 03, 2006

Day before the Kfar Sava 10km

Having not entered a 10 km race since October last year , looking forward to the Kfar Sava 10km run tomorrow morning. I ran this race a couple of years ago with Andy Fretwell when he was new to running and stayed with him for the run, now tomorrow I have the knowledge that he wants to race me to prove that he is a better runner than me. So I do not know if I want to race or run, it is the fear of failure and lack of faith in myself that is more worrying. Why should I worry about who beats who, like I am 46 and all I want to do is run for fun. So perhaps I will just run

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New York Marathon 2005

Run Mal Run – The New York Marathon 2005

Ok in one year I have run three marathons and for those of you who have never run the mystical 26.2 miles I apologise because you have not lived life till you have crossed that barrier of personal pain and belief in yourself

And this edition of the Unholyland blog is to salute all of us who in life have achieved what .1 of 1% of the world’s population has done and that is to have run a marathon.

My first marathon was an eye opener it was Athens in the Olympic year (November 2004) and there was “the hill” but to be honest the most exciting thing about running Athens was running up that hill, ok it was a big hill 10 km’s plus but that was the highlight running up a road. The crowd support was equal to that of a local under thirteen soccer game on a wet day in winter. But being your first marathon the sheer joy of completing the event overwhelms you and the sense of accomplishment cannot be understated. You have become the member of an exclusive club in that you are now a marathoner.

My second marathon was Paris in April, which I ran in under four hours. In Marathon circles saying sub 4 means you are in the club. Not totally in the club but you’re a player. And trust me it hurts to break four hours, you do not just jog around for four hours and watch the scenery.

Paris was big in the sense of running with close to thirty thousand other people makes anything big, but being French there always seemed to be that arrogance of other runners cutting you off and well just being French. The best part of running the Paris marathon was the start, running down the Champs Elysees is truly an awe inspiring thing to do, the problem then is that there is still another 25 miles to go. The last couple of miles are in a park and I was so mentally out of it that I do not remember much at all.

It seems silly to say that you are alive and conscious but at a state where you truly do not exist, that is what happens in a marathon. You can take your body and push it beyond the limits. The mystical wall does exist but only in ones mind, it is not rocket science to explain the “wall” in terms of simple glycogen deficit.

New York takes marathon to the next level, in that the complete city gets into this event, everyone you talk to salutes you, and its genuine they all know the course thru the five boroughs, it almost overwhelms you that the biggest city in the world actually enjoys being closed down effectively for twelve hours so that 35,000 people can run through the streets.

It still staggers me that I was actually running in the same race as the world record holder being clapped and cheered by the same crowd. He was running so fast that he probably did not get to hear the crowds clapping for as long as I did.

So there I am running with the World Record Holder in the same race (and yes I did see him, he is fast) how damm cool is that. Two years ago I could not run around the block and now here I am in a race with the World Record Holder. I figured out that in training for the marathon in New York I had run over 1100 kilometres in 190 days, I had woken up at three am on Saturday mornings to run for endless hours before the sun came up, endless loops of the sports academy track with my heart rate monitor going mad. The funny thing is that in 190 days of training it did not rain on me once.

Last Sunday I ran with my heart and soul, it wasn’t about time and personal bests. It was about being able to participate in one of the greatest sporting events in the world. I reflect on the fact that this race was broadcast live around the world and that my girls could actually watch it back home. Unlike Athens this was no wet soccer game in winter.

From the start to the finish I enjoyed every second of this run, 3 hours 59 minutes and 14 seconds. Coming off the bridge and onto 1st Avenue you are hit by a wall of noise that takes your senses apart. There are people ten deep on the footpath screaming and clapping, I had my name on the front of my running singlet and you hear “Go Mal Go” , Gospel Singers in Harlem , Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and small kids offering you chewing gum in the Bronx. You run down 5th Avenue towards Central Park and through the pain you soak up being part of the biggest marathon in the world.

It hurt and it hurt very badly for the last six miles (ten kilometres), you take your body and break it and then ask it to keep going. Pain will pass when you cross the line but pride will lasts a lifetime. In those last few miles in Central Park you cross a barrier of personal self and as a runner you look up and believe, you believe in yourself.

Left Right Repeat

Running is simply a matter of moving your feet , first the left then the right and repeating this as many times as you can for as long as you can till you get to where you want to get too.

Once you are there you are a runner, can anything be simpler in life. No matter how far we go or how fast we do it we are all runners.

Over time and (diistance) you will get to know me and how I became a runner, from the man who could not run around a flat suburban block in Sydney Australia to crossing the finishing line in Central Park in New York.

It is not rocket science , just left right repeat