Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 7 Days To Go

Week          25 February ~ 3 March

Runs           3

Distance     42km

Things improved a bit this week. Even though my HRV continued to decline, I did start to exercise again with 2 Bikram Yoga classes and 3 runs. What’s more, is that I got to watch the Tokyo Marathon go by at the 5km point. It is really fantastic to see the lead runners go through in 15 minutes, but it is also awe-inspiring to see the people who go by 1 hour later, some of who are walking and eating even though the race has just started. Everybody has their own story to tell. Everybody is focused on finishing, whatever it takes. I can learn something from all of them. If you would like to see my photos, please click here.

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HRV in decline – The Blue Line

Monday 25th February 2019

RHR               60

HRV               77

A slight improvement in my HRV but I decided to start the week at Bikram Yoga rather than running. I think that I made the right decision as I had not been for over 2 weeks and I was woeful. I still enjoyed it immensely. Daughter #2 was also travelling from Hamburg to Cork via Dublin by herself so I was a little worried about it. Especially as she had only left herself 1 hour to get off the flight, collect her bag and get the bus to Cork. I found myself awake from 2:30 to 3:30 texting her to make sure that everything was going OK and she had not been kidnapped or arrested. Fortunately, it all worked out.

Tuesday 26th February 2019

RHR               60

HRV               77

Run                12.4km

Avg Pace        4:44/km

Avg HR           164

Avg Cadence  184

I went out for a few beers on Tuesday right after work but we finished early and I was home before 8pm. I still had lots of time so quickly changed and headed out for my first run since the Ome 30km race. I was fairly relaxed and managed to up the pace fairly quickly and somehow managed to run the 12.4km in 58 minutes. I was really pleased although I was very sore at the end.

Wednesday 27th February 2019

RHR               67

HRV               72

Wednesday I was sore in the morning after Tuesday’s effort and my HRV was down. I was not going to run in the morning and I had a conference call in the evening so I was not going to run then as well. I made peace with the fact that I am no longer running every day and got on with my business.

Thursday 28th February 2019

RHR               58

HRV               77

Thursday and my HRV had started to return to normal again. I can’t remember why I did not run on Thursday night but I think that I had more calls until 7pm and I was fairly tired by the time that I got home.

Friday 1st March 2019

RHR               56

HRV               84

Another modest improvement in my HRV as I continue on the road to recovery. Again, I choose Bikram Yoga over running as I felt that I needed more practice. It was a better session that Monday and afterwards Bob, Naoko and myself headed to Devil Craft in Hamamatsucho for a few beers and a veggie pizza to celebrate the start of March.

Saturday 2nd March 2019

RHR               59

HRV               85

Run                20km

Avg Pace        4:48/km

Avg HR           163

Avg Cadence  183

Somehow my HRV stayed in a good place on Saturday morning despite the beers and the pizza. We had some beds arriving for daughters #1 and #2 so I could not run first thing in the morning. However, everything was in place by 11am and I hit the road just before noon. My plan for Koga is to run under 3:30 which means run at a 5 min / km pace. I thought that I would go out and try that pace out over a 20km course, up and down the Tamagawa River. It was warm and sunny and I was able to go out in just a T-Shirt. I quickly found myself running at 5 min pace and then faster. I initially tried to slow myself down, but after a while I gave into it and just ran to my heart’s content. After a while I was running at 4:45 / km  and it did not feel too bad. The challenge will be to not run at that pace next week as I know that I will crash and burn like I did in Ome and crawl home for the last 12km.

Sunday 3rd March 2019

RHR               70

HRV               68

Run                10.3km

Avg Pace        5:11/km

Avg HR           148

Avg Cadence  170

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Sunday morning and my HRV had dived 17 points. I am not sure if it was the hard 20km that I had run the day before, or the bottle of wine that I had drank with dinner. OK, it was probably the wine. Sunday was the day of the Tokyo Marathon and many members of my club, Nambam Rengo, were running and I was going out to support them. So, after resetting my alarm twice, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 and headed off to Iidabashi to cheer them on as they came through the 5km point. I have run the Tokyo Marathon before and always appreciated the support so I wanted to shout encouragement at my friends in return. It was a wet and cold day but I really enjoyed standing on the side of the road cheering people that I knew and those that I did not. Tokyo Marathon is a fantastic event and one in which everybody the city can get involved.

I left Iidabashi after an hour to meet Mrs. M in Shibuya to look for her dress for the Emerald Ball which will be held on 16th March, conveniently 6 days after my marathon. We went to half a dozen shops and had some success before heading home. As soon as I got home I downloaded the photos from the marathon and headed out the door to complete my week’s running. It was still raining and cold but I dressed well and qucikly dispatched a 10km run in 53 minutes. I don’t know how I will get on next Sunday, but I am in a good place as regards my running and hope to go out and enjoy it, like all those folks in the rain today.

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Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 21 Days To Go

Week          11 ~ 17 February

Runs           7

Distance     87km

This was a great week for running but a hard one. It started in Nagano and finished in Ome and I am truly wrecked. I have started to rethink this running everyday plan and will get more rest before my marathon on 10th March. The Ome 30km race on Sunday was very tough but I had had signals all week that I needed to rest and I did not take them. I have 3 weeks now to put things in order and I will continue to use HRV to monitor my progress.

Monday 11th February 2019

Run                    19km

Avg Pace            5:37/km

Avg HR               144

Avg Cadence      177

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Monday morning was a National Holiday in Japan and we were still in Nagano. I woke early and got out on the road before the others were awake. The plan was to run down to the Chikuma River which runs through Ueda, run along it for a few kilometres before hanging a right and start running uphill past the Shinshu International Music Village and the 3 ponds before cresting the hill and running back into Ueda and home.

It is a run that I discovered 2 years back when I was looking for somewhere other than the Shimin No Mori run which I did on Saturday. I love that run, but it is long and hard and sometimes I need something a little different. It was nice and cold when I left the house and there were not many people about. Just a few folks heading up to Sugadaira to go skiing. The run along the river was pleasant but it got really good once I turned off and started climbing. It was quiet and still and there were snow and ice on the road and the ponds. Going up was not as hard as I expected but the hill went on longer than I remembered and I was covered in sweat by the time I reach the top.

The downhill is great fun as it is far steeper than the uphill, reaching 10% in places. Every time I am running down it, hoping not to trip or slip on ices, I always tell myself that I should run up this way next time. The only problem is that it is a little difficult finding the point of entry and I am not sure that I can remember it. It was a wonderful final run in Nagano, rounding off the long weekend with 3 runs and a ski trip. You can hope for more than that.

Tuesday 12th February 2019

RHR               51

HRV               92

Run                    5.3km

Avg Pace            5:11/km

Avg HR               141

Avg Cadence      176

I woke up early enough on Tuesday morning to get my run in before heading to work. I had not taken my HRV and RHR while I was in Nagano and I was happy to see that it was still in a good place. Unfortunately, it was not to stay there for long. I didn’t take the HRV and RHR in Nagano because it was too darn cold. As soon as I woke up, I got up and could not hang around the futon for one minute. When it is -6 degrees C you need to keep moving until the heater starts up.

Wednesday 13th February 2019

RHR               56

HRV               79

Run                    17.1km

Avg Pace            5:31/km

Avg HR               150

Avg Cadence      175

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Wednesday morning was the first sign that things were not going great. My HRV dropped 12 points for no apparent reason and I was feeling very sluggish. Fortunately, I did not have to run in the morning as Wednesday night is Namban night. I met Bob J at the sento before we headed off for 10km running in Yoyogi Park including some of Mike Trees’ bounding exercises. I was not feeling great and took it very easy. I then headed over to the track to meet Jeffrey from our Get The Run Done running streak group. We are all trying to run at least a mile each day and Jeffrey has been a member since last year but I never had the pleasure of meeting him until Wednesday. After we greeted each other, Jeffrey went on to do the Namban intervals and I headed back to Yoyogi Park for a few more easy laps.

Thursday 14th February 2019

RHR               58

HRV               84

Run                  5.3km

Avg Pace          6:13/km

Avg HR             125

Avg Cadence     168

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Thursday was, of course, St. Valentines Day and in time-honoured Japanese tradition, Mrs. Mac Colgain presented me with a box of delicious chocolates first thing in the morning. I didn’t have any before my run. If I had I might have blamed my poor performance on them, but of course not directly to Mrs. M. Although my HRV had improved a bit on the day before, I was still not feeling great.

Friday 15th February 2019

RHR               57

HRV               81

Run                 5.3km

Avg Pace          5:59/km

Avg HR             131

Avg Cadence    171

I still was not feeling great as I plodded around my neighbourhood on Friday morning. I had no intention to do anything but the minimum with the race in 2 days.

Saturday 16th February 2019

RHR               58

HRV               87

Run                 5.3km

Avg Pace          5:38/km

Avg HR             134

Avg Cadence    174

Saturday morning saw a slight improvement in my HRV but the overall trend was still going down. I went out for the minimum again and spent the rest of the day indoors before having a race meal of vegetables and potatoes.

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Sunday 17th February 2019

RHR               60

HRV               74

Run                 30km Race (5km splits: 25:09/ 23:30/ 24:33/ 24:12/ 26:11/ 26:15)

Avg Pace          4:59/km

Avg HR             166

Avg Cadence    184

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I woke on Sunday morning to a further drop in my HRV and Simon telling me to take a break. Had it been any other day I would have stayed in bed and recovered. I was particularly disappointed because I had taken it so easy on Saturday. I just ran a slow 5km in the morning and hardly left the house for the rest of the day before going to bed before 10pm. This morning I had the Ome 30km Race so instead of staying in bed, I was on the platform of Musashi Mizonokuchi station waiting for the special train to Kabe that Hayakawa san had booked for me. Normally I have to change trains in Tachikawa, but there was a race express on this morning which went right to the start. Hayakawa san lives up the line from me and got on the train at Noborito.

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On the special Kabe Express with Hayakawa san.

Kabe station is tiny and was packed so we headed straight to the Race Reception to collect our T-Shirts and bibs before heading over to the place the Terry from Namban had picked out for us to set up camp in a park across the road from the hospital. It was a great location and Terry had driven up in the dark hours to make sure that we got it.

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Walking to the start line. Photo was taken by Seung Gi.

I was number 4408 in a crowd of 12,000 men and 3,000 women runners. The starting blocks were very strictly marshalled and I started in Block E. I could bearly see the sign above the start line from where I was and it took me almost 3 minutes of walking to get to it once the starter’s gun went. I assume that it was a gun as I could not hear a thing other than Sydney Olympics Marathon Gold Medalists, Naoko Takahashi, shouting “Gambare” to everyone.

The troubles did not end with getting to the start. The road was narrow and packed with runners. I spent the first 3km trying to find my stride and my pace. Eventually, things started to go OK and I tried to build up to my target pace of 4:40/km. I never really got there but I was around 4:50/km pace at the turn around point and I thought that I might have a chance to gain back some more seconds on the way back as it was downhill.

The course is one I know well as I have run many training runs out there with my Namban teammates and I enjoyed running down the middle of the street instead of upon the narrow footpath. It was a glorious day and the sun was out in all its splendour. I felt I was running well up to the turn around point at 14.5km and was sure I could start to make up time.

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On the way out. Photo taken by Brett.

As you can see above, my pace held up OK to the 20km where I was still running at 4:50/km pace. At 21km there is a hill and here Naoko Takahashi appeared again giving high fives to everybody in the middle to the road. She appears in nearly every race I run these days. I put my head down and powered up the hill as best I could without losing too much time and telling myself that I only had 9km left. Unfortunately, my legs did not know it. Although we were running downhill, for the most part, my pace started dropping to an average of 5:15/km. With 7km to go, Hayakawa san came flying past me. A little later Mika san also passed me. Within the last 3km, Mark Feeley went by. All of them looking great.

I tried to react to each of them but I had nothing left. I kept wondering if I should stop and walk for a bit as my left leg was sore but I managed to convince myself to continue to the next KM marker each time. With 2km to go, I looked at my watched and saw 2:19:30 and realised that if I put my head down and pushed it, I could get in just under 2:30:00. I put everything I had in it and just managed to get across the line in time.

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1km to go! Photo was taken by Bob P.

I could barely move. I walked gingerly round to collect my medal, a bottle of Sports Drink and an Ume Onigiri before heading back to the park for some pizza that Seung Gi had generously ordered for us. Hayakawa san and Mika san were walking ahead of me and I still could not keep up with them. I got a protein drink from a Savaas lady and some Amazake from a local lady who had set up a stall outside her house. All along the course, local people were handing out food and drinks. I think that it was one of the best-supported races that I ever entered and I look forward to coming back next year.

Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 28 Days To Go

Week          4 ~ 10 February

Runs           7

Distance     81km

Another good week running. Even though my total distance was less than the last 2 weeks, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and got in some tough runs and some skiing too. Also, it was the week when two of my children had their birthdays and my father would have turned 85 had he lived. Quite a lot to take in but it all worked out well.

Monday 4th February 2019

RHR                  58

HRV                  89

Run                    5.3km

Avg Pace            6:18/km

Avg HR               129

Avg Cadence      166

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Monday was the birthday of daughter #1. I got up and out the door early as we were going out to dinner that night and I ran my 5.3 route through Mizonokuchi. I was very sore after Sunday’s relay race but it was a good pain. The type where you know that you have done a hard day’s work.

Tuesday 5th February 2019

RHR                  53

HRV                  92

Run                    5.3km

Avg Pace            5:17/km

Avg HR               141

Avg Cadence      178

On Tuesday my Resting Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability were back to normal and so was my pace as I ran through the neigbourhood again as soon as I got up.

Wednesday 6th February 2019

RHR                  53

HRV                  92

Run                   Namban Rengo Intervals 6 x 1km

Time                 3:55, 3:53, 3:53, 3:53, 3:53, 3:52

Wednesday I was back at the track with Namban Rengo running intervals at Oda Field track. It was over 2 months since I had done intervals and I was happy with the result getting each of the six 1kms under 4 minutes.

Thursday 7th February 2019

RHR                  56

HRV                  87

Run                    5.3km

Avg Pace            5:18/km

Avg HR               138

Avg Cadence      177

Thursday I was back running around the neighbourhood although I was a little sore from Wednesday night’s effort.

Friday 8th February 2019

RHR                  57

HRV                  83

Run                    8.4km

Avg Pace            6:06/km

Avg HR               129

Avg Cadence      169

Friday I got up early and ran a little more than usual for a Friday morning. We were headed that night to Nagano for the long weekend and I wanted to get the weekend off to the right start.

Saturday 9th February 2019

Run                    30km

Avg Pace            5:35/km

Avg HR               156

Avg Cadence      176

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Friday was my son’s birthday and we all woke up in Nagano. I woke before everyone and got out the door to do my long hilly run, 30km with a total elevation gain of 715m. I ran up to Shimin No Mori in Ueda and straight down again. It was a tough run where the downhills hurt as much as the uphills. I am hoping that it will have a positive effect on next week’s Ome 30km race.

Sunday 10th February 2019

Run                    8.3km

Avg Pace            5:56/km

Avg HR               141

Avg Cadence      170

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Sunday I was planning on going skiing so I needed to get up at 6am and get my run done before I headed out. I guess I could have done it when I came back but I did not know what condition I would be in. It was snowing and cold when I left at 6:30 but I had a nice run-up to the Joshinetsu motorway and back.

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I guess that I waited too long before leaving and by the time I got to Sugadaira all the parking spaces that I usually go to were taken and I had to head up to Davos. Yes, that is the name of the place in Nagano. Anyway, I soon got a place there and had a good 4 hours of skiing before heading down the mountain in daylight. I also met Tony from Namban Rengo in the restaurant having lunch proving that it really is a small world.

Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 42 Days To Go

Week          21 ~ 27 January

Runs           8

Distance     107km

It has been a good week and gearing up to be a good month, too. I am still running every day, not drinking alcohol and I have cut down on cakes and pastries. And as a direct result of my mileage and increased effort, I have started to see a little drop in my weight. I don’t want to get too hung up on that but it is a good indication that things are heading in the right direction. The only downside to the week was that I still had jetlag as of Friday, and did not manage to get up once to do a run before work. On the plus side, that meant my evening runs were longer, but I was getting to bed later and finding it hard to get up the next morning. A vicious cycle. As a result, my HRV has started to decline. Nothing to worry about at the moment, just something that I need to keep an eye on to ensure that I do not overdo it.

The highlight of the week was going out to Ome with Stan and running the course of the Ome 30km Race that I will participate in on 17th February. It is an iconic race that has been won by many of the greats, including Bill Rodgers, and I had hoped to run the 30km under 2:20. Now I am not so sure. I was happy to run 30km in under 2:30 for the first time in a long while. I am just not so sure that I will be able to take another 10 minutes off it in 3 weeks.

Monday 21st January 2019

RHR                  60

HRV                   77

Run                    11.5km

Avg Pace            4:34/km

Avg HR               164

Avg Cadence      188

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Full Moon Monday

I was totally wrecked on Monday morning after arriving back from Spain the day before.  I just couldn’t get up and my HRV and Resting Heart Rate told me to take it easy. I knew that I would not be able to even think about doing yoga that night. I went off to work and struggled through the morning and early afternoon. Around about 3pm things started to pick up and when I was on my way home, I noticed the full moon and started to feel quite good. I quickly changed and headed out the door. To my surprise, I was in remarkably good form and I was positively flying, by my standards, and ended up doing the fastest run this year.

Tuesday 22nd January 2019

RHR                63

HRV                68

Run                  12.4km

Avg Pace           6:10/km

Avg HR              126

Avg Cadence    165

Tuesday I was in bits. My HRV and my RHR were all over the place and I could not get out of bed. It was probably part the hard run that I did on Monday night and part the jetlag, but I was not in a good condition. I was not running in the morning and I had a couple of conference calls that night until about 7pm. After that, I suited up and went out for a very slow run down to Marukobashi. For the first time ever, my heart rate was under 130 for a run and my cadence was nothing more than a mere plod.

Wednesday 23rd January 2019

RHR                59

HRV                81

Run                  12.4km

Avg Pace           5:52/km

Avg HR              142

Avg Cadence    173

Wednesday things started to feel a bit better. I still was not up to running in the morning but my HRV and RHR had turned a corner and I was not feeling as sluggish as I had been earlier in the week. I had a couple conference calls until 8:30pm and then hit the street, back down to Marukobashi. I ran the course 4 minutes faster than I had run it on Tuesday and my heart rate was back in the 140s. I was beginning to feel good again.

Thursday 24th January 2019

RHR                58

HRV                74

Run                  5.3km

Avg Pace           5:16/km

Avg HR              139

Avg Cadence    176

On Thursday my calls did not finish again until after 8pm and as I was feeling tired, I decided to cut the run short with the hope of getting up early on Friday morning. I was pleased that my pace was improving and that my heart rate had not rocketed.

Friday 25th January 2019

RHR                55

HRV                81

Run                  16.1km

Avg Pace           4:42/km

Avg HR              162

Avg Cadence    185

On Friday evening I got out of work with no conference calls and headed straight for The Imperial Palace in Tokyo and ran 3 hard laps. I was very surprised that they went so well. My average pace for each of the laps was 4:42, 4:36 and 4:44. I am not used to running the palace that fast and normally my 3rd lap is much slower. After the run, I headed to Ginza for 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga. It was such a perfect evening.

Saturday 26th January 2019

RHR                56

HRV                78

Run #1            11km

Avg Pace          5:10/km

Avg HR             149

Avg Cadence    179

Run #2             Namban Rengo Hill Repeats

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Namban Rengo Hill Repeats Crew

I got myself up early on Saturday morning and made it to Aoyama an hour before the Hill Repeats were due to start in order to do a warm up. I ran 3 laps of the Akasaka Palace, each one faster than the one before, 17:26 (5:11/km), 17:03 (5:06/km) and 16:44 (5:01/km). I had just enough time when I finished to get a coffee in the station convenience store before the Namban crew showed up and we were off again. I found the Hill Repeats very hard and I got dropped time and again. However, it is good training to do that workout on tired legs and I felt that I had achieved my goal for the day as I sat back in Starbucks afterwards and shot the breeze with Ashley and Emma.

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Saturday Night Daal

On my way home, a bought a ton of vegetables and made a giant daal that is going to keep me going in veggie world.

Sunday 27th January 2019

RHR                47

HRV                101

Run                  31.1km

Avg Pace           4:59/km

Avg HR              155

Avg Cadence    181

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Simon Says

On Sunday morning I woke after a fitful night’s sleep with a bizarre reading on my ithlete app. My Resting Heart Rate was down 9 beats from my usual reading to 47  bpm while my Heart Rate Variability had shot up 23 points to 101. I didn’t know what to think. Simon from ithlete was recommending taking things easy but I had already arranged to meet Stan at Kabe station at 8:17 (yes it is precise in Japan) and run the course for the Ome 30km race that we were planning on running next month. I decided to give it a shot and headed off before 7am.

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At the Ome City Gym

The weather forecast had predicted sub-zero temperatures but it was not that bad as we left the Ome City gym at 8:40. Stan had run this route many times and I had run it two or three times so we knew where we were going. The only difference was that Stan was in great condition. I follow him on Strava and for the previous 8 weeks, he had been running 160km a week at a pace that was less than 4:50/km. I told him at the start that he was welcome to run ahead of me and I would see it when the run was over. However, that would not be much fun, so we decided that we would stay together until the turn-around point of the race and each of us would run at our own pace back to the start i.e. Stan would run way faster than me and arrive back 15 minutes sooner.

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At the Ome 30km Stating Point

We started off slow and gradually hit our stride, running about 5:10/km with Stan in front. There were not that many runners out at that time and we felt that we had the road to ourselves. The course is undulating but gradually goes up. It was tough in places but I managed to hang on until we made it to the halfway point.

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At the Ome 30km Halfway Point. The sun was not cooperating with our photos.

After we turned around the road did, in fact, go downhill and although Stan took off at a fast clip, my own pace improved as well and I moved up to 4:49/km. Suddenly there were many people running against us and the road took on a bit of a Sunday run atmosphere. My left leg, which had been sore on the way out, was now feeling much better and I enjoyed the run back to Kabe saying Konichiwa about 100 times.

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Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 49 Days To Go

Week          14 ~ 20 January

Runs           9 

Distance     82km

Although I was travelling this week, I did manage to get in a few good runs. The time difference of travelling East To West worked in my favour as I found myself wide awake at 4am waiting for the appropriate time to go running. Of course, there was no appropriate time as it was dark until after 8am but I like to fool myself. Stella from Colt had suggested some great running routes for me and I was glad I followed them. I also kept my running streak going throughout the trip, although this did require going out for a 2km run at 00:02 on Saturday morning as I had to get up at 3:30 for the flight back to Japan. But more about that later. I arrived at Barcelona Airport around 7pm on Sunday night. Being a Sunday night, the city was very quiet and the taxi made good time getting to the hotel. I did not run that night but ran each day over the next 5 days to ensure that I did not lose any fitness and that I saw a bit of the city as well.

Monday 14th January 2019

RHR                  56

HRV                   90

Run                    11km

Avg Pace            5:28/km

Avg HR               141

Avg Cadence      172

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I was awake from 2am on Monday morning. As always there is nothing that can be done about jetlag unless you are prepared to take drugs. I just lay there waiting for the sun to come up. Around 5:30am I realized that the sun was not coming up and I went out for my run anyway. This involved a 2km run down to the beach and running back and forth for a bit. It was a mild morning and I saw several other people out running. They were all covered up with hats and scarfs so I guessed that they were locals not enjoying the mild Barcelona winter.

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66n7vostto2d5q+sn%k2kgAfter a couple of meetings in the morning, I slipped out in the afternoon to see Sagrada Familia. I had heard about it and seen some photos, but nothing prepared me for how great this cathedral is. If you ever get a chance to go, you must take it and also do the tour with the audio guide. The information you get is well worth the extra 12 bucks.

Tuesday 15th January 2019

RHR                53

HRV                90

Run                  13km

Avg Pace           4:52/km

Avg HR              158

Avg Cadence    188

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On Tuesday morning my RHR and HRV were still holding up. I had expected them to dive with the jetlag but were much better than last month when I went to Ireland. Maybe it was the lack of alcohol or maybe it was the fact that travelling without my family is much less stressful. Either way, I was up and out on the street at 5:30am and heading to the beach again. I had been awake for a couple of hours and I felt wide awake. That might have been why I was able to push the pace a bit and I was very pleased with my effort.

Wednesday 16th January 2019

RHR                58

HRV                 84

Run #1             6.2km

Avg Pace          4:31/km

Avg HR             157

Avg Cadence   190

Run #2              12km

Avg Pace          4:58/km

Avg HR             157

Avg Cadence    184

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On Tuesday night we had a company dinner and on the way back Romain, Matt and myself decided to meet at 6am the next morning to run together. The problem was that I was still waking up before 4am so at 5:20, I popped out and did a fast 6km run near the hotel before the appointed time. The boys were a little surprised when I showed up at 6 profusely sweating.

We then headed back for the beach and a fast run. Matt is a very fast runner but he kept the pace slow enough so that Romain and myself could keep up with him.

Thursday 17th January 2019

RHR                47

HRV                 96

Run                   10.4km

Avg Pace           5:44/km

Avg HR              147

Avg Cadence     176

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On Wednesday night we changed hotels and our new hotel was right beside Montjuic, one of Stella’s running recommendations. I was feeling rather tired in the morning and I was very surprised that my Resting Heart Rate dropped 10 beats down to 47. I knew that I had to proceed with caution as I headed up the hill for Montjuic. I had actually wanted to go to the top but I got a little lost and ran around by the Olympic Stadium for a bit before heading back. I saw no other runners until the end of the run. Although I did not make my intended route, I had gathered enough information to be able to complete it on Friday morning.

Friday 18th January 2019

RHR                 58

HRV                  91

Run #1              8km

Avg Pace          6:09/km

Avg HR             137

Avg Cadence    174

Run #2              12.1km

Avg Pace          5:21/km

Avg HR              159

Avg Cadence    181

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On Friday morning I met Romain again and we headed back up the hill. This time there was no losing my way and we made it all the way up to Montjuic Castle. It was still dark so we saw nothing but it was good to make it to the top.

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On Friday evening I had a free hour before the sun went down and I slipped out for a quick run before dinner. It was my first time running while it was light in Barcelona and I enjoyed it immensely. This time I ran up to the Olympic Stadium and completed 3 laps. There were a good few other people out running and lots of tourists. It was a great way to finish off the week.

Saturday 19th January 2019

Run                  2.2km

Avg Pace          5:15/km

Avg HR             140

Avg Cadence    174

On Friday afternoon we heard that Taxi Drivers in Barcelona had started an indefinite strike. This would not have caused me much concern except for the fact that my flight was leaving at 6:55am and I needed to be at the airport before the subway and Airport Coach started. I thought about getting an Uber but the man at Reception at the hotel advised against it. He said that there had been cases reported of Taxis attacking Ubers near the airport. That was the last thing that I needed and I chose to leave the hotel at 3:45 and look for a regular bus. In order to continue my streak, I got up at midnight and ran up and down close to the hotel until I clocked up 2km and then went back to the hotel and to bed, before getting up again at 3:30 and finally leaving.

Fortunately, I caught a bus at 3:55 am which dropped me off at Terminal 1 at 4:40 am, after driving all over Barcelona. But it only cost 2 euros so it was worth it.

Sunday 20th January 2019

Run 7.1km

Avg Pace 5:52/km

Avg HR 134

Avg Cadence 171

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I arrived back at Haneda Airport at 6:30 am on Sunday and I was home within 2 hours. I did not sleep much on the plane so I was wrecked and headed to bed until almost 3:00 pm. This was reverse jetlag. Once you fixed your jetlag after travelling west, you have to do it all again after travelling east. After waking up in the afternoon I went out for a slow run to the Tamagawa River to keep my streak going and to try and feel better. I was more successful in the former than in the latter.

Koga Hanamomo Marathon – 91 days to go

Week           3 ~ 9 December 2018

Runs:           7

Distance:    80km

This week turned out well for running although I was doing a fair bit of travelling. I headed to Hong Kong on Sunday and then moved on to Singapore on Tuesday. On Thursday evening I was on the way back to Tokyo again via Hong Kong. It was a terrible flight and I arrived in Tokyo feeling awful at 5am on Friday morning. Fortunately, I was able to take Friday off work and catch up on some sleep but I was still battling sleeplessness for the next 2 days and my HRV and RHR took a beating. It gradually started to return to a normal number on Sunday morning and I was able to feel better. I just need to get to bed early tonight to continue the process. I am 71 days into my running streak and I don’t want to mess things up.

Monday 3rd December

Resting Heart Rate:          64

Heart Rate Variability:    81

Run:                                       4.2km

Avg Pace:                             6:13/km

Avg HR:                                130bpm

Avg Cadence:                     172

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I woke early in HK and headed straight out to Victoria Park for a quick run. It was not as busy as the night before and I enjoyed a good run. Then it was off to work to meet the team and enjoy some good veggie food.

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Tuesday 4th December

Resting Heart Rate:          68

Heart Rate Variability:    67

Run:                                       20.5km

Avg Pace:                             5:50/km

Avg HR:                                158bpm

Avg Cadence:                     173

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I left Hong Kong around lunchtime on Tuesday and headed to Singapore. My first stop was to meet James, a former colleague. We chatted for a while about old times and then it was good to catch up. I then took a taxi to the hotel and checked in and headed back out to do my run. I was enjoying running down the East Coast Park so much that I could not stop and I ended up doing 20km. I was actually feeling quite sore by the end. I put this down to the old shoes that I was wearing. I always bring old shoes on a business trip as I don’t mind throwing them away.

Wednesday 5th December

Resting Heart Rate:          84

Heart Rate Variability:    53

Run:                                       5.5km

Avg Pace:                             5:44/km

Avg HR:                                150bpm

Avg Cadence:                     169

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On Wednesday it was straight into work. We wrapped up about 8pm at night and I took a short rest before heading out again and getting my run done. It was only a short run but  as my HRV was getting worse by the day I did not want to do too much.

Thursday 4th December

Resting Heart Rate:          64

Heart Rate Variability:    78

Run:                                       10km

Avg Pace:                             5:41/km

Avg HR:                                152bpm

Avg Cadence:                     177

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Thursday saw a good increase in my HRV and I was out on the street again at 6am for the final run of my trip. I discovered a new route that I had not run before. It is called Gardens by The Bay East. It looks newly made and there is lots of space for running and cycling and great views. After catching up on some work in the hotel, I then headed to the office for a couple of more meetings before heading to the airport for the flight from hell. Singapore to Hong Kong was fine, but the follow up flight to Tokyo was terrible. The space between the seats was too small and I could not get any sleep at all.

Friday 7th December

Resting Heart Rate:          XX

Heart Rate Variability:    XX

Run:                                       12.4km

Avg Pace:                             5:46/km

Avg HR:                                140bpm

Avg Cadence:                     175

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I arrived in Tokyo at 5am and got home around 6:30am. I did not take my HRV but I know that it was really bad and headed straight to bed. I slept until about noon and then got up to do some work before heading out for a short run along my Tamagawa. It was a relief after running in Hong Kong and Singapore where my average heart rate was in the 150s. Now it was barely 140. I went to the team year-end party that evening and felt very sleepy throughout. It was a great event and I am glad that I got back to Tokyo in time to attend.

Saturday 8th December

Resting Heart Rate:          61

Heart Rate Variability:    79

Run:                                       17.2km

Avg Pace:                             5:18/km

Avg HR:                                147bpm

Avg Cadence:                     178

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I had hoped to be up in time to go to the Hill Repeats on Saturday but I was just too tired and slept in until 9:30am. After breakfast, I headed off to a Bikram Yoga class. As I will be going to Ireland in a week, I will not have time to go much this month so I am trying to get in a few classes on the weekend. After the yoga, I headed up to the palace for 3 laps. It was a good run but the place was crowded and I had to slow down to walking speed some of the time. The run went well and I enjoyed the late afternoon sun before heading off for a falafel and a drink with Bob and Naoko.

Sunday 9th December

Resting Heart Rate:          58

Heart Rate Variability:    88

Run:                                       10.3km

Avg Pace:                             5:35/km

Avg HR:                                142bpm

Avg Cadence:                     175

 

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I was still tired on Sunday morning but my HRV was headed back in the right direction. I slept in again and then headed back to Bikram Yoga for another class. I felt slightly better than Saturday. Sometimes the second class is good even though you are feeling sore. I then went home for a nice easy 10km along the Tamagawa river again to wrap up the 7 days of running this week and 80km.

 

 

Ohtawara Marathon – 19 days to go!

Week           29 October ~ 4 November 2018

Runs:           8

Distance:    97km

October:      400km

I had another good week running. I ran 8 times and had 3 quality sessions. I also managed to make 400km for October by going out twice on Halloween. The highlight of the week was definitely the Namban Rengo race and BBQ on Sunday. For the last 8 years or so, Namban Rengo has held their own race on the first weekend in November. It started because it was so hard to enter races in Tokyo unless you did applied 6 months in advance. The event has grown and grown and become a highlight of our racing calendar. This was the 3rd time that I entered the half marathon and my time has gradually gotten slower: 2015 – 1:32:00, 2017 – 1:37:19, 2018 – 1:40:33. I am not too concerned with the drop in speed. Obviously, my advanced years has something to do with it, but also, I was at the end of a hard week and tough runs on Friday and Saturday. I am sure that if I had rested more before the race I may have done better but my goal is in 3 weeks time. I also managed to increase my running streak to 36 days thanks to my friends at Namban Rengo and I finally got to meet and talk to Maki san who is doing great running each day.

Monday 29th October

Resting Heart Rate:          51

Heart Rate Variability:    101

Run:                                       5.3km

Avg Pace:                             6:34/km

Avg HR:                                127 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     166

Monday morning and I was wrecked. The 42km that I had run on Sunday had really taken a lot out of me. I was happy that my resting heart rate and HRV were both in a good place but I really was too sore to run. This pain was reflected in my low heart rate and cadence as I plodded around Mizonokuchi for 5km. If I had not been trying to keep my streak going, I would have rolled over and gone back to sleep.

I had recovered enough by Monday night to make it to the Bikram Yoga class. I don’t know if I am getting any better but it is a good way to spend Monday night. I don’t lose any weight or get better at running, but there is a chance that I am improving my strength and balance. Only time will tell.

Tuesday 30th October

Resting Heart Rate:          58

Heart Rate Variability:    92

Run:                                       8.3km

Avg Pace:                             5:44/km

Avg HR:                                137 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     177

On Tuesday morning I knew that I was close to the 400km for October that I was after but that if I kept running my usual 5km per day, I would fall short. I upped it a little and ran down the Tamagawa River to Miyauchi and back. I was disappointed not to have my camera with me as it was a glorious day and I finished the run just 18km shy of my target.

Wednesday 31st October

Resting Heart Rate:          54

Heart Rate Variability:    91

Run #1:                                  10.3km

Avg Pace:                             5:30/km

Avg HR:                                140 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     181

Run #2:                                  8.3km

Avg Pace:                             5:33/km

Avg HR:                                139 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     177

I had wanted to go to the Namban Rengo 5km Time Trial on Wednesday night, but a real-life event had gotten in the way and I had to make other plans. The first of which was to get out early and run 10km down to Todoroki Stadium and back. This completed my 31st day of running in October and an achievement which I was very proud of. Before that, my longest streak was 15 days and to reach 31 days of one month was great.

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Every day in October

As it was Halloween, I legged it into the office and put up some decorations. There was an open day that evening for children of employees, and although it has been many a year since my kids have participated in such an event, I always want to make some effort for the kids that do show up.

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Happy Halloween (really?)

However, I was still 8km short of my goal for the month so once I got home at 8:30pm, I changed and was out the door again in 5 minutes to complete the missing km. This was only the second time that I managed 400km in a calendar month. The last was in 2013 when I got anemia. Oh, hang on!!! I am not sure if it will make any difference in Ohtawara in 3 weeks time, but it is nice to have that box ticked.

Thursday 1st November

Resting Heart Rate:          60

Heart Rate Variability:    88

Run:                                       5.3km

Avg Pace:                             6:04/km

Avg HR:                                130 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     170

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Waiting for Paul with Akiko and Michal

Thursday night we were going to see Paul McCartney so there would be no time to run in the evening. I got up and dragged myself around Mizonokuchi for a slow 5km with low heart rate and cadence. Again, if I was not trying to keep my streak going, I would not have bothered. Somehow, I managed to complete it and got to run another day.

The Paul McCartney concert was absolutely amazing. I don’t think I should comment on his age because a man in his 20s would have trouble performing a show that lasted 3-hours with such variety and energy. I think that it helps to have one of the best music catalogs in history. Paul played 37 songs from all over his career including my favorites – Hey Jude and Let It Be.  He could have played forever, but finishing with Golden Slumbers was outstanding.

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Paul on stage – sort of.

Friday 2nd November

Resting Heart Rate:          54

Heart Rate Variability:    94

Run:                                       12.1km (1.325m – 5:46, 5:44, 5:44, 7:50, 5:42, 6:01, 5:50) 

Avg Pace:                             4:53/km

Avg HR:                                159 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     183

After work on Friday, I met Sarah to run her training session around the Gaien Loop in Tokyo. The loop is 1,325 meters long and the plan was to run 3 laps hard, 1 lap easy and then 3 laps hard. It is rather difficult to say what hard is but we were running about 4:20/km for the first 3 laps. I was glad when they were over and I had a chance to catch my breath. It was very pleasing that the times for the 3 laps were all very consistent. We then started up the second set at about the same pace. Unfortunately, I got a call from the Real World and had to stop and take it at 500m in. It turned out to be an automated voice message. I started up again but Sarah was gone and I was not to see her again until the end. The lap finished well but I slowed down again on the second to last. My left leg was sore and I could not maintain the pace. On the final lap, another automated voice message decided to call me and I had to stop again. It was annoying but you have to accept this if you choose to run with your phone (note to self – leave the phone in locker). It was a good hard session and I am glad that I completed it on a Friday night.

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Gaein Loop

Saturday 3rd November

Resting Heart Rate:          58

Heart Rate Variability:    84

Run #1:                                  16:00

Avg Pace:                             5:05/km

Avg HR:                                147 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     180

Run #2:                                  Namban Hill Repeats

                                                8 x 200m hills

Saturday morning I was due to do another double session. However, ithletePro was telling me that my HRV was suppressed and that I should reduce training intensity. I decided that I would try to push on and do my best and see how it went. I was less than 3 weeks out from my race and this was to be my hardest week.

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First off I met Nick in Aoyama Itchome. We had no real plan except to run around 90 mins at 5:00 ~ 5:10 pace. It was a beautiful morning but I was sore after Friday night’s tempo run as we headed off. Fortunately, Nick had been at a Halloween Party the night before and was not in great shape, to begin with. That soon changed. We left Aoyama and headed for the Imperial Palace. I was really feeling it and pleaded with Nick to leave me if he wanted to run faster. But he wouldn’t. He stayed beside me, dragging me along and finally we round up back in Starbucks in Aoyama after 16km and 81 mins where we had been 2 weeks previous.

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Running with NIck

It was a grand run and would have been enough on any other day except that we had the Namban Rengo Hill Repeats ahead of us. I love the Hill Repeats because it brings lots of people together, and there is always a stop at Starbucks afterward. This week was very tough with all the extra km in my legs and I finished well down the rankings on each hill. I just hope that it is doing me some long-term good.

As we had a BBQ and run on Sunday, that really meant one thing and one thing only. Shopping on Saturday afternoon. I met up with Rui, Takeo #2 and Yuki in Kawasaki and headed off to Costco where we filled 2 trolleys before we headed off to OK Store to get the stuff that Costco did not have i.e. azuki beans and mochi (Seriously, who eats this stuff? Well, my children do, but who else?). Rui had done a great job preparing a list of the items and we were in and out in no time.

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Sunday 4th November

Resting Heart Rate:          57

Heart Rate Variability:    87

Run:                                      Namban Half Marathon

Avg Pace:                             4:46/km

Avg HR:                                163 bpm

Avg Cadence:                     185

I started off the day by dropping off our shopping to the BBQ area at the Tamagawa river and then heading back home to return the car. I did not want to miss out on the fine craft beer that Glenn had promised us after the run. Namban Rengo organizes a 10km race and half marathon and I chose the half as I had in previous years. Unfortunately, both start together and I always get my pacing messed up from the start. Today was no different. Even though I had hoped to complete the half in just under 1:40, about 4:44/km pace, I ran the first 1km in 4:21. There was a great feeling of fun and camaraderie as we headed down the river and I think that it is fair to say that I got a little carried away. The course is basically a 5km out and back done twice with a little bit extra in the middle. As always on the Tamagawa, there was a wind blowing. I did not notice it for the first 5km as it was at my back, but once we turned around at the first switchback it was straight in my face. I did not lose too much time for the first 10km but I had expended quite a bit of energy.  I was dropped by Hang and Paul just before the 5km point and as we reached 8km, some of the 10km runners started to overtake me, including Bob Poulson who really should know better. I was holding on for dear life when Terri came storming past in the 10th km. I completed the 10km in 46:02 which is a 4:35 pace.

I went through the second switchback and started calculating how far ahead I was of the others who were just behind me. Rie and Tony were at 400m, Yasuo and Will at 500m and Emma at 600m. Fortunately, the wind was at my back again and I was able to restore my pace to 4:45.  I struggled on and graciously took my third drink from Chika san. She had been out on the course all day giving water and encouragement to the runners. At the final switchback at 16.1km, Tony and Rie caught and quickly passed me. I thought that the writing was on the wall and I would soon be passed by all the other runners as I headed into the wind. However, Will, Yasuo, and Emma had not made much ground in the last 5km and I plowed on into the wind. I knew that if I could maintain a 5:00/km pace I would be able to squeeze in just under 1:40. However, it gradually started to slip away as my pace dropped to 5:10 and then 5:15. I can only guess that if I had started at an easier pace I might have been able to maintain a 4:45 pace for longer.

I was happy to finish in 1:40:33 and then headed to the BBQ and craft beers. The other highlight of the day was to meet up with the members of the Get The Run Done Crew. Not everyone is in Tokyo at the minute, and not everyone was at the BBQ, but it was nice to catch up and talk with Maki, Francesco, and Glenn about how we were managing to run each day. I was particularly interested in how Francesco was using HRV. While I only use it in the morning to judge how recovered I am, he uses it after runs to gauge his effort. He said that we will soon use it during runs as well. I hope that he writes something about his experience so that I can see how it goes for him.

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With the Get The Run Done crew.