Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No limits, indeed!


A tribute to Rick of "Rick's Running No Limits Desperado" His recent 50 year old 1:17:00 half marathon was an impulsive act of character and guts. Here's hoping Rick doesn't "come to his senses!" anytime soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


All revved up and no place to go!

Well that's how I was feeling a few days ago with all the marathon cancellations but seeing how things are developing with the situation here it's given me an idea. And flexibility is the key!

I was listening to a podcast the other night by a MIT professor of economics talking about how natural disasters basically don't make a difference to advanced economies overall. That is, they hardly register on the GDP of a developed economy because things are just re-routed! After Kobe, Japans third biggest port city, was destroyed in 1995, it took about one month for other cities and other places to take up production capacity. Even though its industries accounted for about 12% of total output the year of the earthquake there is no discernible dip in GDP.

Us "advanced" runners are also the same. When it comes to problems such as cancelled races or injury we look for alternatives whether it be a new race or cross training. The important thing is we don't let any disruption derail our overall progress!

In this spirit I've cobbled together a handful of smaller races to take me to a fall marathon (See left hand column). I've downloaded a sub 10K 33min training plan and in my first race I'm looking to, if not go 33mins, to go way below my current 10K time of 35:35!

Reading "Beer Matts" blog I'm feeling more justified in my decision to focus on speed. He notes in a recent post what he believes were the main things that enabled him to go from a 3 hour marathon to sub 2:30:00 within five years! In his number two point he says:

"A big (read massive) turning point for me was starting to run track in 2007 - with the aim of improving speed through all the race distances (the quicker you can run a lap, the quicker you will run a marathon)."

Sounds like sound advice!

Some wild eyed efforts are called for!

If you haven't seen this quake map you should. Shows just how much things have been moving from the morning of the big one. Amazing!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Made official today the notice read:

"Considering the seriousness of this disaster, we, the Nagano Marathon Organizing Committee, have decided to cancel the 13th marathon race which was to be held on April 17. Many citizens from Nagano City as well as Nagano Prefecture are participating in the rescue activities in the disaster area. Thus we cannot secure enough people who are indispensable in supporting the operation of the race such as security, medical support, and volunteers. As the organizing committee, we decide that even if we held the race, we would not be able to carry out a safe and effortless operation."

So that's it! Sort of expected it but none the less I'm disappointed as I'd put a lot of training into this and was thinking they just might go ahead with it if only for the chance it would give them to raise some money. Anyway as they said they are going to donate the "total entry fee of 76,270,500 yen" (from 8,973 runners) so I'm sure that will go a long way to helping and maybe is more than they could have raised otherwise.

Whether or not it's the "right decision" is no longer worth the thought I'll just have to deal with it. Yes considering I'm alive, healthy and with family I really have nothing to complain about. I was in tears today after seeing a photo of a young boy distraught, crying in his mothers arms after finding the body of his older brother! I can't stand to see this kind of anguish but really even if they cancelled every sporting event for a year there is really nothing that is going to relieve this kids' pain but time.

Still, I often wondered as a young man myself when I lost people close to me, why the world didn't stop?! Of course life goes on, but it shows respect when we slow things down a bit and show these people that we at least understand this feeling! So overall I support the Nagano Marathon Organizing Committee's decision.

As for my running future it is bright! I'm going to take this fitness and get a few PBs in the "lesser" distances, 3K, 5K, (by myself in training) over the next 2 months. A 10K race PB on April 29th and a half marathon race PB in May. After that I'll not race until Early August in Australia, a half, and start my preparations for a marathon PB in the Japanese fall.

I'll cry a few more tears for the people of North East Japan before this is thing is all through but I've got a plan and the motivation to carry it out. I wish everyone the same.

Sub 2:30:00, here I come! (sooner or later) ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thanks, bullshit and hope!

March 2011


Wanted to thank you all again for your support and thoughts. I know that it's hard to focus on the negative, we all instinctively want to turn away so a special thanks to those that fight the urge and keep the Japanese victims in their thoughts!

A call out to Ewen, Rick and Ron (Punk Rock Runner), fantastic fellas. Each in their own way do more than they'll ever know! Regulars to this blog must know Rick and Ewen but maybe don't really know "Punk Rock Runner" Ron. But I can tell you he is one of the nicest guys you could have the pleasure to know. Read his blog, he is the real deal, and a funny bastard on top of it!


Another thing I wanted to say was that while I want everyone to keep us in their thoughts, please don't worry or at least don't take seriously the over-reactions of the foreign media. They are doing things like focusing in on mask wearing Tokyoites with dark foreboding music. But they are failing to mention that the only reason people are wearing them is because it's hay fever season here, pollen rates being much higher than the radioactive ones. They won't tell you either that the rate of radiation is higher in Rome than it is in Tokyo now! In most cases I wish they would try to get their facts right and focus on the people who need help instead of running back to Tokyo from the North East and playing up the fears from there. My advice to CNN in particular: Get back up to the affected areas or go back to Libya!! And start reporting the facts, if I want a story I'll read Dickens!

As for my running it is in a shambles as only today my 10K set for this Sunday has been cancelled as the place where it's being held is next to a rescue pactice base and distribution area (Although it is far from the quake region). Again I can't complain but I'm looking to salvage my running somehow with Nagano looking more doubtful by the day. What do you reckon I should do in the short term and the long term if I can't run my full on April 17th and any shorter ones before that?


Recent events are of course over-shadowing running and you would think that for someone as obsessed with running as me this would be a bad thing but it is not really so cut and dried. While I want to get back to a "normal life" of running and racing asap, I can see the bigger picture of this situation being good for us all, in the long run (pun intended). I'm sensing a coming together and a new sense of purpose in the people living here. It is really fascinating to see and I'm sure that this tragedy will help all of us see the truth of what Roger Bannister once said..."What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?" Also read the below linked article written by Murakami Ryo for the New York Times, it too is spot on!


The chorus of the following song makes the statement that everyone is currently "walking about in the undulation," and that we should forget our tiredness, search for the meaning that will end this, and to start walking again.

Bugger it, let's run!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't want to close my eyes...

Just when you think things couldn't get worse after the earthquakes up north comes tsunamis, and possible nuclear meltdown scenarios! Now there is an earthquake directly under Mt Fuji and we all know what waking up that girl would do to Japan!!!

Look I'm really not the type to believe in Armageddon and I don't trust the media to give clear and balanced coverage but things are definitely getting a little pear shaped and I just want things to calm down a bit and get back to worrying about my running weight.

To speak of running, there is a real chance that my goal marathon, Nagano, may be cancelled and frankly after all that has gone on I'm OK with it. Still training hard, had a session of 20x1 minute efforts at full tilt with a 30 second recovery that had me almost as spent as the fuel rods from Fukushima Daiichi reactors, 1 thru 4!

I really shouldn't joke about this but it is better than those I've seen seriously saying that all this is "Gods retribution on Japan for Pearl Harbour!" To those people I say: What did your country do to deserve you!? Fucken fools are worse than natural disasters.

But to you good people, I have nothing but respect and love ;)

Thanks for all your kind words.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Quakes and Tsunamis

Hi all,

"Mother Nature" is doing what it always does, it really doesn't give a shit for our thoughts, dreams or what God we believe in. Having said that, I can't dwell on the risks of living I'm just glad we do on the whole give a shit about eachother. It really grabs ones attention. In times like these, peoples' common humanity is very much apparent. Seeing peoples' empathy play out and seeing the efforts they will go to, to help each other out really touches me. And every act of kindness matters so yes...

Thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch via email or blog to ask if everything is OK. It's nice to know we are in your thoughts. I also know why some people don't get in contact. Either they know that things are OK with us or simply don't want to make this about them which is totally understandable. Of course you simply may not consider me at all which is also understandable cause I do tend to get on some people's tit/goat/nerves ;)

Anyway, I'm also reluctant to write about this lest it be seen as me making it about myself but I thought that I'd better write something to put your minds at ease and thank you cause as I said it means a lot to us.

Please keep the people who have lost everything in your thoughts and understand the feelings of those, like us, scared by this force of nature. You'll forgive me a little rant. It sounds obvious and a bit crass to preach at this time but I will say something about the situation.

What we can/should do, at times like this, apart from physically helping, is to double the efforts in our own lives to live and inspire each other by our efforts small and large. Also please take care of yourselves too because you may not live in an earthquake zone but living well has its risks. Don't be complacent cause there are people who love/need you and getting hit by a truck or something like that is not the way you should be remembered.

Keep living, doing your thing, the thing only you do best!

And thanks again.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Capacity to Wait

"The Path"

Training experienced a bit of a hiccup over the last few weeks. I had two days off the week before last and 3 days off this week just gone, due to a combination of hamstring strains and sinus headaches.

I was able to get in my long runs though and don't think I've lost too much fitness. While it is frustrating for me not to run I know I shouldn't/can't push the training or the recovery as it simply isn't the way of things.

A quote from a book I'm reading now by Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita talks about this in relation to life but you can easily see how it relates to waiting out the "bad times" in our running life too.

"Bad times pass, invariably leading to good. People who achieve great feats know how to wait until the time is ripe......Told to be patient, people by nature tend to become all the more eager to move ahead. But nature is unmoved by selfish human sentiments. To human whim, nature is hard and cold; to those who wait, it endows them with warmth and light. We should cultivate the capacity for patience."