A life of mild pain?

My pain in the achilles just won’t go away.

Since beginning of summer I’ve had 3-5 different types of shoes which I alternate, but it shows no difference. I’ve also tried to use the same pair of shoes for a couple of weeks, but that doesn’t change anything neither.
It’s so strange, because I can’t see any swelling and no redness and most often I can’t make myself feel the pain. It comes and goes as it wishes. Every step can be a lottery.

But when I run I never feel it. Only when I walk, and most often when I’ve been still for a while (driving car, sitting, sleeping) And not every day. It’s all very strange. Only it gets a little, but just a little worse when I run more. But now when I’m at my most (70 km / week) I haven’t felt it for some days.

Yesterday’s values
The HR didn’t kick in in the beginning. Might need new battery.

26 Jan 2012 – easy run
1:00.16
11.31 km
5:20 min/km
1082 steps
155 hr
180 cadence

Closer to genuine China than this is hard to get

The village of Liuji, Fujian ChinaThis weekend I was invited to follow a coworker and his Chinese wife, Sunny,  to her home village. What an adventure! The village had 13 houses and all who lived there were rice farmers – her father as well. They live such a different life from the one we do. Before I came there I tried to imagine what it would be like – I was so wrong still. It showed that it wasn’t possible for me come close to reality.

They were very loving people, the food was fantastic and we sat the whole evenings eating, talking, drinking tea and rice wine – just having a wonderful time together!

Yesterday we also went to see the abandoned village where Sunny grew up. She was 15 when they built the newer village, which is situated 2 km closer to the closest town, Masha, and has roads going to it. The abandoned one lied up among the mountains with only narrow trails going to it. Most of the houses there were torn. We also took a trek up in the dense bamboo forest. Here mother, father and sister had found berries growing on a tree, and the next minute they were all up 5-10 meters in a tree shaking them down.

Later in the evening we went the closest small town and we also visited her old school. It was crazy! A huge amount of people gathered up around us in almost no time and followed us everywhere. Here in China you get used to people staring, but this was something completely different. Sunny said it was probably the first time they saw a Westerner ever. I hope I have a good picture of it. When we ate at a barbecue place in town some of her teachers joined us. Very warm and nice experience!

In the morning today I went for a run. It was so hot! It wasn’t when I started, but as time passed the sun became hotter and hotter in no time at all. But it was a nice run. I sweated liters afterwards though. Then they made me honeywater from her grandmothers homemade honey. I knew that I would be exhausted of the running, so I didn’t run neither by pace or heart rate – just after what I could handle. That was also because I wanted the run in the mountainous rice-field landscape to be a special experience rather than to run and look at the watch all the time

Another thing – no pain this time either.. I am really happy about the change 🙂

Sun 19 June – easy recovery run up in the mountains and rice fields of Masha area, China

11.09 km – 5:26 min/km – 162 in avg hr

Have to fill in here, since it took me some time to get the gallery set up I’ve done another run 🙂 This time back in Fuzhou. No niggles this time neither. Feels just great!

And please, excuse my nakedness in the pictures of the gallery. It was truly hot outside and I really needed it 🙂

Tue 21 June – In fuzhou

1:06 – 12.68 km – 5:15 min/km – 150 in avg hr

Two weeks have passed – still feeling the injury

Some Chinese beer snacks, Chicken feet, grilled tofu and roased peanuts.. Yummy!

Now the two weeks of prescribed “every other day” running has passed and I still feel the injury. It’s getting better and better for every day that goes, but it’s still not gone. I’ve consulted Coach in the forum to see what he says about it. Should I go for the build up or continue running every other day. It doesn’t feel good that I run so little… I can feel that my body needs more again.

Here everything is about making life work out. Even going to the store buying milk, egg and bananas is a challenge – but a very nice one though 😉

I also love to try new and exciting things, both in food and experience. Here I can have a lot of that. One little example is their snack to beer – cooked chicken feet which are very spicy to chew on. Not much to eat if you’re hungry.

 

 

First run in Fuzhou – China

Late evening view of the West Lake in Fuzhou from my apartment

Now I’m in China, Fuzhou. I arrived here two days ago, very tired from the almost 18 hours long trip. I had only managed to sleep three hours during the flight between Helsinki and Shanghai. When I arrived here in Fuzhou we went out to buy things for the appartment I will live in and immediately after that we went eating. By then we almost starved to death. We went to a Japanese chain called Ajisen Noodle which is very nice. I have eaten there many times before and it’s never a bad idea.

Then we went straight to work. We work during the night between 11 pm and 3.30 am. During the very bumpy cartrip home I slumbered a few times. I wasn’t up for it, but when I came to the apartment I changed clothes and went running.

It is a special thing to run around in over 30 degrees heat right at dawn in Fuzhou. There are not many cars on the roads, but a lot of people in the small parks are doing their morning exercises which by us westerners seem very peculiar. Some walk backwards and clap their hands in front and back of the body. Some play badminton without nets or nets just stretched between two trees. Some women are rolling their hips and making strange sounds. I also saw a few who did the Thai chi – An ancient Chinese movement therapy. It was very sweaty because of the tropical heat, but still nice..

Last week I’ve been running every other day and the day in between I’ve been doing some bodyweight workouts just to keep the body, especially the legs, on the edge.

I still get niggles in the heel, but I feel it less and less. I hope I will have no problem at all after the two prescribed weeks.

The running I do is very relaxed, however I noticed that here in this heat I can’t keep my heart rate down as much as I could back in Sweden. I guess it’s only normal – it sure is harder to breath here

Still on the move, it seems – New PB on 10k race Hälsoloppet in AlingsÃ¥s

Christian Schmeikal in 10k race Hälsoloppet 2011-05-14
At the final sprint of Hälsoloppet 2011

Yesterday’s race proved to be another PB. There were not many participators, I don’t know how many, but most were quite good runners so I felt I still had to fight for a good place. The track was a 5 km that we ran twice. It was on my usual running grounds, so I was familiar with the surroundings making it easy to anticipate what strength I had to put in for the inclines.

One thing I am very proud of is that I managed to sprint during almost the whole last km. Usually I do that at the last 300 meters only, but today I when I tried to push it at the last km during a small incline I got “blooded tooth” and went for it. It felt great!

I believe the track didn’t mesure exactly 10 km, but it was close. My finish time was exactly 38 minutes and I think I was at 3rd or 4th place. I still haven’t seen any results on the Internet and I don’t know if they will come. But I am very pleased with the results. This proves that consistency means everything, and the fact that when I went for 3:45-3:50 for the last session of 5 x 2km and managed to do it without complications showed that I was ready for the pace. 🙂

To get blooded tooth (blodad tand) is by the way a Swedish expression coming from bears being herbivores, but if they once eat an other animal they might become predators from that moment on. Strange, isn’t it? In English the expression is compared to getting taste for something.

Another race success, though not as big as I had hoped

Race profile Lerumsloppet 2011
Race profile Lerumsloppet 2011

It was great climate for running. Almost no wind at all and around 16-20 degrees warm. The sun was up and showing. The first two km’s were difficult. At the start line they didn’t have signs or anything to go after to place yourself after assumed finish-time. So lots of people were in the way during the first 2k. The track was narrow at many places too, so I was caught in a brake-accelerate situation to keep up the average pace. On top of that I had to zig zag. You all know how that is. Very energy consuming.

Christian Schmeikal running Lerumsloppet 2011
During the last 300 meters

I believe I did all I could. However my estimate of possible pace during the very long inclines was very wrong. It didn’t take long until the pace was much slower than expected. At the time of the last 3 km I started growing very numb. I went in at 33 place of 482 male participators and my finish time was 39:11 – A new PB again. But I had hoped for more. Still I’m quite satisfied because this race was much tougher than the last one. Lots of slopes and high inclines. Very energy consuming.

In two weeks I have Hälsoloppet – a 10 km race in AlingsÃ¥s, where I live. I hope that will be a little easier track so I can finish with a great time in my own home town. That might also be my last race before I go to China 7th June. Then I start with a build up to recover for the last races of the year in August to October.

Results of Lerumsloppet 2011

Lerumsloppet 2011 – 10k race

Lap Time (sec) Cadence
1 3:53 91
2 3:49 92
3 3:50 93
4 3:51 92
5 4:17 93
6 3:57 93
7 3:57 92
8 3:50 92
9 3:59 92
10 3:50 93
TOTAL 0:39.11 92

10k Race – SkärgÃ¥rdsmilen (New PB)

Going for the finish line

Around 8-10 degrees warm, a little windy and a lot of energy in the body

Since yesterday I had been loading up with water and lots of carbohydrates. I ate a big bowl of pasta right before I went to sleep. So today I only sipped on the water and ate two pieces of bread in the morning. I was very afraid of going to the dry-retchings and I had read that it could be cured by keeping up the blood volume – so drinking a little increased amount of water for a few days before is a good thing.

I know that I go to the dry-retchings after heavy load, like after a big slope in the end of the race and I knew this race had two. It was a high bridge which I had to pass twice, but it wasn’t in the end of the race. There were also a big chance of heavy winds on that one.

But today I was lucky – no dry-retchings and no heavy winds. There were winds, but no that annoying. Only thing I did wrong was dressing myself too warm and not increasing speed enough in the end 🙂 But doesn’t it always feel like you could’ve increased once you’ve crossed the finish line?

Anyway, this was my best 10k ever! I’m very proud. I finished at 39:19 (My watch showed that, but I have to see the results later). And out of more than 150 contestors I think I finished at top 10.

I missed one lap point, but here’s the data:

Detailed Garmin data

SkärgÃ¥rdsmilen – 10k race

Lap Distance Time (sec) AvgPace AvgHR MaxHR Cadence
1 0.99 3:50 3:52 66 76 90
2 1.02 4:04 3:59 175 181 91
3 1.01 4:04 4:01 180 185 92
4 0.98 3:48 3:54 181 186 92
5 2.00 7:52 3:56 184 190 93
6 1.16 4:38 3:59 186 189 93
7 0.82 3:19 4:02 186 190 93
8 0.99 3:52 3:55 187 191 93
9 1.01 3:50 3:48 189 192 94
TOTAL 10.0 0:39.19 3:56 182 192 92

And here’s some more photos from the race day 😀

First race of the year

Christian Schmeikal going for the finish line 2011-03-27
Going for the finish line 2011-03-27

It was not a success, but then again neither a failure. My plan was to go out at 3:50, keep that up and increase at the last 2k. It didn’t go exactly that way, but not bad anyway.

I went out at 3:50 and kept it up for most part of the race. Unfortunately I also noticed that my pod and the actual km signs didn’t sync – my pod was a little too cheerful 😉

The trail was on gravel and halfish trail-running-like. There were slopes but mostly big ones. After the sixth km there were a long long slope and

I started to increase in speed while going upwards. I succeeded very nicely. But almost at the top of the around 400 meter long slope I felt that I came closer

The finish line 2011-03-27
The finish line 2011-03-27

to a limit. I felt the retchings come sneaking, so I slowed down a little. After a little while it felt better, so I began increasing again, but then it happened – I started retching!

Usually when exercising I stop and go through with it at the side of the road. But now, during the race I didn’t want to spoil anything, so I went on running while in retchings. Of course I had to slow down a little while into it all, but as it calmed down I could continue at the same pace.. But.. Worst is that I weren’t able to increase like I planned.

I finished at 30:46, which is acceptable at a 7777 meter race. I had hoped for better, but at least it’s under 4:00 min/km 🙂

Today I feel quite fine in the legs. I did my 1 hour easy run in the slush that had come from a sudden snowing during the day. But it all feels very good and I hope for even better results in the time to come 😀

First race 2011
First race 2011 - me and the girls
Christian Schmeikal after the race 2011-03-27
Me after the race 2011-03-27

Supercompensation – it’s a give and take

Supercompensation
Supercompensation

No running today – it’s been resting day. Before I started on the running feedback program at time-to-run.com I ran 6 days a week – always resting the same day – always doing the same running exercises the same days of the week.. That was all I knew by then. I had read a lot about running, though. What makes you a faster runner? What gives endurance? Techique of running – biomechanics.. From all that I thought it was just to make a mix of everything and see where it went. Actually, I think it went pretty decent, looking at my performance back in Summer of 2009 and the Summer of 2010. I never thought I would come that far in only a year 🙂

But, but.. There was an awful lot of things I didn’t know too. I knew that I didn’t hold the key to success – that’s why I kept on searching… One day my path crossed time-to-run.com. I thought “Why not?”, started an account and began filling in my data. I haven’t regretted a single time I signed up there. The trainer there giving feedback “TheEd” holds a lot of secrets of successful running and he’s very keen on looking into every single unique individual case. One of the first things he opened my eyes for, which I didn’t know, was what hypercompensation is. Hypercompensation is the key to success when you want to improve as effectively as possible.

I’m neither a scientist nor an athletic expert, so please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in what I am to write 😉 I’d appreciate it.

To try to explain it shortly – when we workout, we brake down ourselves. This gives a signal to the body to get ready for some hard work. It starts to compensate the lack of ability by building itself up. When it reaches the peak where your ability was during the last workout it thinks “oh, no.. I won’t go there again – we need to bring some more juice this time!” and then builds up itself some more.. The peak reaches a little higher over the last peak – that’s supercompensation. If you are able to time each higher peak you will go on supercompensating higher and higher..

Supercompensation
An explaining picture of supercompensation

Of course, for our bodies to be able to do so, we need to give it proper rest in between – hence the easy runs and resting days :). And that is also why the programs at time-to-run.com isn’t symmetrical in exact weeks – it’s supposed to find those supercompensating peaks and give you a full load when you’re there.

If you want to dig a little deeper into the subject of supercompensation, do visit this Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercompensation

Tomorrow I’ll do the 5k paced run – hope I’m in the peak 😉 And also, I hope to find a nice place to do it, because I’m not really up for the treadmills I’ve been using earlier to be honest.

Take care y’all!!

Taking cover from the force of nature

Winter Running
Winter Running

Today I thought about running all day – until late in the evening. But.. I didn’t dare. Earlier during the day I had fallen on the solid ice that now covers most of the ground here in this part of Sweden. Not too speak of the 10-15 times I’ve almost fallen, but in the end managed to keep myself on two feet..

It’s really awful when it’s like this. I don’t mind if there are tons of snow – as long as it keeps that way. But when it thaws, becomes slush and then freezes to thick ice, it’s not as funny. And it seems it will be like this for a while. In the weather forecast they speak of just a couple of plus degrees for every day the coming week, meaning it will will take long, long time for the ice to melt.

Analyzing yesterdays performance I think I could’ve done better if I had started out at a lower pace. I recognize from before the fatigue that appears when going out too tough. I’ll try to follow my own advices the next time (which I managed to neglect in my blindness of greed for way too rapid progress).

Now I hope that the sub program approaches. I’ve asked TheEd (coach) about it and if he’s positive it will start tomorrow. The programs are best to start on at Tuesdays so that the tough runs comes during the weekend. He’s feedback on the 4k yesterday was that he didn’t seem to think that less than 4:00 min/km was that bad.. Well, I wish I could be as positive in this case..

Now I’ve got the new digital camera going also, so there will hopefully be more photos on the blog 😉

Looking forward to tomorrow and a fresh new start with boundaries to cross!!

Take care!