Archive for training

semi de Boulogne [1:29:33, 1243/8134, M5M 6/206, 8⁰+rain]

Posted in pictures, Running with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2022 by xi'an

First time back to the Boulogne half-marathon since 2008! With clearly a much degraded time, albeit better than the previous race in Argentan. The route has changed, with a longer part in the Bois de Boulogne, sharing the road with the hordes of Sunday cyclists that pile up loops at high speed. But still a very fast one (with a record at 1:00:11 in 2013). The number has alas considerably increased since my last visit, with 9800 registrations, which makes running in the first kilometers a challenge with hidden sidewalks, parked cars and moppets, &tc. And a permanent difficulty in passing other runners, especially on a rainy day. (The only good side was being protected from headwinds.) Once on the road by the Seine River, I managed to pass a large group conglomerated around a (1:30) pace setter and moved at my own speed, till Km16 when I started to tire and realise I was alas missing some volume of training (as running in NYC was only a slow-paced jogging). Hence wasting about a minute on the final four kilometers… (Jogging back after the race to my car, parked 3km away, proved rather painful!) As the 1:30 time was my upper limit, I am still reasonably fine with the result (and the 4’14” per km) and hope I can train harder for the next race.

pool etiquette [and lane rage]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2019 by xi'an

A funny entry in The Guardian of today about what turns swimmers mad at the pool. A form (foam?) of road-rage in the water… Since I have started a daily swim since mid-December to compensate for my not-running for an indeterminate length of time, I can primarily if irrationally relate to the reactions reported in the article. About the pain of passing other swimmers and being brushed or kicked by faster runners oops swimmers trying to squeeze in the middle (of nowhere). Irrationally so because at  a rational level there is nowhere to go really, except the end of the lane and back, which means waiting or turning back earlier not much of an imposition. But still feeling a sort of “road rage” when I cannot turn back and start again without delay… I have been thinking for the past weeks (while going back and forth, back and forth, dozens of times) of ways to rationalize the whole operation but cannot see a way to make all swimmers go exactly the same speed in a given lane, if only because most swimmers switch stroke between lengths. Except me as I can only and barely handle the breast stroke, thanks to lessons from Nick!, stroke than many seem to resent. To the point of calling for breast-stroke free lanes… Rationally, I think the problem is the same with every activity involving moving at different relative speeds on a busy lane. Runners get annoyed at breaking their pace, cyclists at braking or worse!, touching ground. It is just more concentrated in a 25m swimming lane on a busy day. (Which is why I really try to optimise my visits to the pool to be in the early morning or in the mid-afternoon. And again and again promise myself to skip the dreadful Sunday morning session!) L’enfer, c’est les autres, especially when they swim at a different pace!

semi-marathon d’Argentan [1:27:27, 22/356, 2/65]

Posted in Kids, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2017 by xi'an

As a new anniversary of the beginning of this ‘og, here comes and goes my yearly half-marathon in Argentan, Normandy, which was the 33rd edition of the race and my 19th participation there…

“Ah, le fameux Robert de l’INSEE qui vient faire chier chaque année!”

This was not one of my best races, by far, and the [fake] news that this was going to be the last edition did not help. There were fewer runners than in the earlier races, meaning no protection on most of the route from what seemed like a constant headwind, as I ran by myself from the third kilometre. And I was tired from too much training (and not enough sleeping) the past week in Warwick. Or not enough training the previous week in Vienna. Anyway, this was not a great race and the local V2 [Grand Master] runner who greeted me with the above good-natured apostrophe when I passed him on the second km ended up one minute ahead of me. I could have even stopped at mid-race, were it not for a deficient watch operation, that kept me thinking I could keep with my earlier time [3:39 – 3:50 – 3:59 – 3:53 – 4:00 – 4:28 – 4:11 – 4:06 – 4:04 – 4:07 – 4:24 – 4:39 – 4:01 – 4:12 – 4:05 – 4:14 – 4:03 – 4:16 – 4:17 – 3:58 – 0:25] till the finish line when I found a 4mn difference with the official time! Despite the low participation of 356 runners, and with the support of runners from England, the town of Argentan has vowed to keep the race on for next years, calling for volunteers to man the route and the arrival hall. Till next time, then, hopefully!

走ることについて語るときに僕の語ること [book review]

Posted in Books, Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2014 by xi'an

The English title of this 2007 book of Murakami is “What I talk about when I talk about running”. Which is a parody of Raymond Carver’s collection of [superb] short stories, “What we talk about when we talk about love”. (Murakami translated the complete œuvres of Raymond Carver in Japanese.) It is a sort of diary about Murakami’s running practice and the reasons why he is running. It definitely is not a novel and the style is quite loose or lazy, but this is not a drawback as the way the book is written somehow translates the way thoughts drift away and suddenly switch topics when one is running. At least during low-intensity practice, when I often realise I have been running for minutes without paying any attention to my route. Or when I cannot recall what I was thinking about for the past minutes. During races, the mind concentration is at a different level, first focussing on keeping the right pace, refraining from the deadly rush during the first km, then trying to merge with the right batch of runners, then fighting wind, slope, and eventually fatigue. While the book includes more general autobiographical entries than those related with Murakami’s runner’s life, there are many points most long-distance runners would relate with. From the righteous  feeling of sticking to a strict training and diet, to the almost present depression catching us in the final kms of a race, to the very flimsy balance between under-training and over-training, to the strangely accurate control over one’s pace at the end of a training season, and, for us old runners, to the irremediable decline in one’s performances as years pass by… On a more personal basis, I also shared the pain of hitting one of the slopes in Central Park and the lack of nice long route along Boston’s Charles river. And shared the special pleasure of running near a river or seafront (which is completely uncorrelated with the fact it is flat, I believe!) Overall, what I think this book demonstrates is that there is no rational reason to run, which makes the title more than a parody, as fighting weight, age, health problems, depression, &tc. and seeking solitude, quiet, exhaustion, challenge, performances, zen, &tc. are only partial explanations. Maybe the reason stated in the book that I can relate the most with is this feeling of having an orderly structure one entirely controls (provided the body does not rebel!) at least once a day.  Thus, I am not certain the book appeals to non-runners. And contrary to some reviews of the book, it certainly is not a training manual for novice runners. (Murakami clearly is a strong runner so some of his training practice could be harmful to weaker runners…)

big bang/data/computers

Posted in Running, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2012 by xi'an

I missed this astrostatistics conference announcement (and the conference itself, obviously!), occurring next door… Actually, I would have had (wee) trouble getting there as I was (and am) mostly stuck at home with a bruised knee and a doctor ban on any exercise in the coming day, thanks to a bike fall last Monday! (One of my 1991 bike pedals broke as I was climbing a steep slope and I did not react fast enough… Just at the right time to ruin my training preparation of the Argentan half-marathon. Again.) Too bad because there was a lot of talks that were of interest to me!

%d bloggers like this: