The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Still no running

Until I can get a massage I'm not going to run. I can tell my patellar is maltracking badly, so every step I take under any sort of load will do damage to my knee tendons. I might be able to go to Route Vigor tonight, they open until 10pm. So no Wednesday night running at Oda Field for me. There's a 10km time trial on there tonight - I really wish I could have run it.

Tomorrow we're off for a little holiday. We're going to see Obachan - but not the parents or their yappy old beagle because they're on holiday overseas. I hate the yappy beagle.

The yappy old beagle. Don't let looks deceive you, this is one bad dog.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

This is our Christmas tree - with my shoes underneath, fresh out of the box. I carried this tree back to our place on my bicycle - it was folded up, but it was still very difficult to carry.

My nice new shoes.

Books my parents sent me. I think Peter Coe (author of the book on the right) was a genius. I was reading a book on Bill Bowerman, the athletics coach of the U.S. team at the Munich Olympics and he rated Peter Coe very highly, so I've been looking into Coe's training advice.

For all the ex-pat Brits out there who want to see the Queen's Christmas speech, you can watch online at:

I can't wait!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Breaking all the rules

Well, last night we had a party at our place. I drank a can of beer, then another, then another. Then we decided to crack open the Moet, and at the same time some friends opened a bottle of awful Asti spumante. So that was two more glasses. Then my better half decided to stop drinking, so I was left to finish off her big glass of red wine. Talk about mixing drinks!

I said I wouldn't drink until Feb 19 - well, maybe that starts now.

But the really bad news is my knee is getting much worse. Without massage I won't be able to run much. In fact I think I'll train on my bike tomorrow. I did an easy hour today, but my knee pain has gone from tightness to actual pain. I need to get back to a massuer quickly.

We had Xmas today because I'm working tomorrow, so I've got my hands on my new shoes.


Friday, December 22, 2006

93 minutes

I didn't do much running this week, so it was nice to get a reasonably long run under my belt. Perfect weather for running today. My left knee felt tight and I have a very tight small muscle just at the bottom of the quadricep (the bottom of the vastus lateralis).

New shoes for Xmas, but no pudding

Today, I went to Mizuno HQ in Kanda and bought a great pair of shoes. Limited edition, they are available at the HQ only. They weigh 170g. They have no name on them, so I can't say what they are - I guess they're a prototype. They are similar to the Wave Spacer at the front, but at the back they have a low heel cup and the innersole is slightly more forgiving than the Wave Spacer (not sure if that's a good thing).

I was really glad the limited edition shoes were in stock because the new for 2007 Wave Spacers are rubbish. There's four types, but they all have a really high and fitting heel cup (like Asics) which will probably give lots of runners Achilles tendonitis problems.

I also bought new socks and some gloves.

I went for an easy run today. My cold is lingering a bit and my left knee and hip hurt - and the back of my knee feels tight and a bit sore, but not when I run. I just did 33 minutes at a fairly relaxed pace. Tomorrow, I'll do a longer run.

I've been eating better but seeing no loss of weight. I'm hovering around the 60 kilogram mark. I really want to lose 4 kilograms. I think 56 kilograms would be the best weight for me to run the marathon at, but I don't want to lose weight near the marathon. So new shoes but no pudding for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No run today either

I have a mild cold, so I'm not going for a run tonight. Also, my legs feel tired, old and injured. Ever since I had my last massage I've been able to feel the pain in the back of my knee. My hip's also sore. Why does running have to be so hard on your body?

I've been teaching myself html codes, so now you can see my best times (scroll down and look right) and click on them to see which race I ran the time in.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No run today

What's the best thing to do when your legs are sore - a slow run or no run? On Tuesday I was sore from the 10km so I did 40mins slowly. But tonight I'm sore from the 2 hour run, so I thought I'd take the day off. Not sure what's best. I guess the thing that clinched it was I feel a cold coming on. So I'm staying warm and drinking orange juice.

We're having a Christmas party at home for my wife's coworkers. I've been working on a playlist for the night. Here's the track listing:

Flim - Aphex Twin
Norwegian Wood - The Beatles
風をあつめて - はっぴいえんど
暗闇坂むささび変化 - はっぴいえんど
Wonderwall - Mike Flowers Pops
Welk Shake - Kelis
Holiday - Madonna
Daydream - Judy and Mary
Andando - Sidestepper
Work It - Missy Elliott
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake
Hey Ya! - Outcast
Let The Beat Hit 'Em - The Unabombers
Bonita Applebum - A Tribe Called Quest Mixed By DJ WATARAI
H to the Izzo - Jay-Z
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Rock With You - Michael Jackson
Touch the Sky - Kanye West & Lupe Fiasco
All N My Grill feat. MC Solaar - Missy Elliott
はいから・びゅーちふる- はっぴいえんど 風街ろまん
Keep Their Heads Ringin' - Dr Dre
Into The Groove - Madonna
Nothing In This World - Paris Hilton
エゴイスト…? - Judy and Mary
Valley of the Dolls - Mylo
Snowflake Music - Mark Mothersbaugh
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
クリスマス - Judy and Mary
White Christmas - Frank Sinatra
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby
あたしをみつけて - Judy and Mary
Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano? - Renato Carosone
Quizàs, Quizàs, Quizàs - Nat King Cole
White Christmas - Andy Williams
Muscle Cars - Mylo
Zenophile - Mylo
Intergalactic - The Beastie Boys
Insomnia - Pete Philly & Perquisite
DJ Cam Sound System - DJ Cam
Keep On Movin' - Soul II Soul
Pull Up To The Bumper - Grace Jones
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Snowflake Music - Mark Mothersbaugh
Let It Snow - Jamie Cullum
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Oceania - Björk
Hope (Dj Mitsu) - Pete Philly & Perquisite
Parrallel Lines - Kings Of Convenience
Sunworshipper - Mylo
Valley of the Dolls - Mylo
Just Can't Get Enough - Nouvelle Vague
小さな頃から - Judy and Mary
Misread - Kings Of Convenience
愛餓を - はっぴいえんど 風街ろまん
Lazy - Pete Philly & Perquisite
If the Pape Comes - Tribe Called Quest
Naughty Girl - Beyonce
Secret (Take You Home) - Kylie Minogue
In Your Eyes - Kylie Minogue
Hung Up - Madonna
Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue
Sorry - Madonna
Ray of Light - Madonna
What It Feels Like For A Girl - Madonna
Symphony No.9 'Ode to Joy' - Ludwig van Beethoven
mass.dstrction.1 - Sientific American

2 hour run

I did my usual 2 hour run today. I keep going further up the Sumida river but I've totally run out of path now. I got lost in backstreets somewhere kind of near the old rail yards and what looked like a concrete factory. I getting scared I'd be lost forever, maybe running around the streets of nearby Sanya. I found my way in the end and ran home fast. I did 2hr 06min.

Everything hurt and was tight today. Achilles pain, knee pain, hip pain, new pains in the quads. Nothing stopped me, but the knee pain was worrying me.

OH! I have an admission to make. My time for the 10km was 1 second slower than I thought! 36.41.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A real pain in the plantaris

I went out for a recovery run this morning. I've pulled up a bit sore after yesterday's run - especially in the my new pet area to worry about, my plantaris muscle. My hip is behaving itself, it gets a bit sore sometimes but it's definitely improving. My achilles, too, is behaving well.

Today is Christmas present shopping day. Guess what I'm getting? Running shoes of course. One pair for training and a pair for racing, which I'll start using in mid-January so they're just nicely worn in for the marathon in February. I still want to buy some spikes, but I don't think the budget will stretch to three pairs of shoes.

I watched a great video on Abebe Bikila last night, it shows in slow motion how he ran a marathon in barefeet - with good closeups of his action. The link is here:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Amway One by One 10km run

Today, I ran my first ever 10km run. Uncharted waters for me, but I figured I might as well go out fast and try to win. It turned into one of the hardest races I've done. Great course, great organisation, great runners. I'll definitely be back next year. I'm surprised more runners from Namban Rengo didn't go (there were only 4) because the organisation is the best of any run I've done in Japan.

Right from the gun the start (uphill and on grass and mud) felt weirdly fast, but I put it down to cold legs. My time split for 1km was meant to be 3.30 or lower. We went through 1km in 3.10.

At 3km I was 23 seconds under schedule.

At 5km I was bang on schedule - 17.59 (I had a little smile, 17.59 is the 5th fastest 5km I've ever run, and I had to do another 5km).

At 7km I was 25.30, still in my target zone, but then I lost it mentally, I started to run on autopilot - fast but not attacking. I finished in 36.41. A good time for a first run - something to aim at for the next one.

I think I finished about 20th, I should have run to my own schedule - my legs had blown after the first kilometre and I was never the same after that. I was first foreigner though. There were age group prizes for age 30-39, so I hung around in case I got third - but it turned out the first three in my age group came in at 31mins, 33mins and 33 mins. There are so many fast 'old' guys in this country.

Here's the website for the run:

I Iearned something today - I can run uphill well, but I don't know how to run downhill. I made up a lot of ground running uphill only to lose ground on the other side of the climbs. I need to practice running downhill - although it is very bad for muscles, so maybe i shouldn't.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Shibuya Ekiden

The Shibuya Ekiden is still over a month away and I'm already excited about it. I'm learning about ekidens. The first one was run in 1917 and was sponsored by the newspaper I work for. The "eki" part of ekiden means station. Many people think the each leg of the first ekidens were therefore run from train station to train station, but they're wrong. The 'stations' refer to areas to rest for the night with stables for horses that formed a network known as the Tōkaidō (東海道). So 'eki' is simply the place where you stop and rest.

At the eki (which in our case will be the start/finish line) a tasuki (cloth sash) is passed from one runner to the next. The sash can be worn - but I'm worried about losing the sash - don't they slip off your shoulder?

Each leg of the Shibuya Ekiden is just 2.8km. I really enjoy this distance. I guess the top runners will do 2.8km in under 9 minutes. I will be happy to do over 9 minutes - that's around 5 minute per mile pace.

I've been chosen to run for my club's top team. The other three members of the team are all great runners. All can do a half marathon in under 1hr 15min and they can all run a sub 16.30 5km (actually the best runner goes under 15 min). So I feel like I have to train cleverly and eat well between now and then. I've already decided to cut out all junk food and alcohol between now and then (a big decision on the run up to xmas). I even said no to a drink with my boss at work, which has probably cost me a promotion!! (joking).

I want to run the ekiden course at some point soon. I find I can run much faster when I know where I'm going and how far I am from the finish.

Today, I just did an easy hour in the morning because I had a massage at 1pm, and it's not good to go to a massage with sore legs. During the massage my massuer found the cause of my pain behind the knee. He only knows muscle group names in Japanese, but it would seem to be a problem originating in the soleus and affecting the plantaris. The plantaris is where the pain is. I had thought the pain was a hamstring problem. I finally got the sensei to massage me today. As I thought, his extra years of experience really do show. He was able to fix a few of my problems in one session today, and I think he will be able to fix the plantaris problem. Strangely though, he seems disinterested in my tensor fascae lata pain. It's as if he doesn't know what to do with it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No run tonight - watched this Buster vid instead

It was cold and wet tonight - and I only had a recovery run planned. So I skipped it. Bad?

But I did use my time wisely to find this great video of Craig Mottram in the New York mile:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hip pain stopped! Why?

I went out tonight worried about my hip. It doesn't hurt when I walk, only when I run - and usually around the 25 minute mark onwards. So I was ready. But right from the off I felt good. In fact I immediately decided to get a lactate threshold run in. I did my usual 30-32min course in 27 minutes, then did an easy 30 minutes after that. And no pain. I've got a massage booked for Friday and I'm almost scared to have it now - what if the massage irritates the muscle and the pain comes back?

Yesterday I had a day off.

Oh, my weight is down further. I registered 58.8kg after my run today (I know what you're thinking - dehydrated, but I usually weigh myself after a run, so I'm comparing like with like). I want to get my weight down to 56. When I lived in London my weight climbed to 67kg. I thought I'd never weigh less than 60kg again. Now it looks possible that I might get back to the weight I was when I was a full time cyclist (56kg) although my weight once dropped to 49kg when I had glandular fever - now that's thin!

Monday, December 11, 2006

1hr 30min

My hip is worrying me now. I ran 1 hour yesterday and had to stop 6 times to stretch the hip. Today I ran 1hr 30min - a bit short of my usual 2hr run - because I was worried about the hip. The first 25 mins were terrible but then it loosened up. It twinged at 45 minutes (the turning point) which worried me a lot because if I had to walk back I'd have been late for work. Anyway, the hip came good - mainly due to a simple stretch, namely touching my toes with my left leg tucked behind my right. However, I must get more massage done.

On a positive note, I've been chosen to represent Namban in the A team for the Shibuya Ekiden. Our team is the defending champion.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bonenkai x 3

Carrying on from the last post I did, my answer to my running dilemma was to do a short run (50 min) but with some hill sprints (3 x 200m).

This is the season for bonenkai (end of year parties) and I managed to get to three this week. The European Union bash on Wednesday; a friend's one for work and friends on Friday and the Namban Rengo one on Saturday.

Namban Rengo's was held at a member's house who lives at an embassy compound, so the house was very big. Lots of good food, too much beer, and about 60 really nice people.

I've kept up the running. Yesterday, I did the Namban Rengo bonenkai race. A complicated event, it involved choosing a time to run 6.6km in, then running exactly that time without a watch. To make it even more difficult it was done in pairs, with slow runners setting off first and faster runners chasing. The aim being to cross the line as a team. I had a good fast run. I held a pace that was just over 3.35 per km for 6.6km.

Here's some photos of the 'event' (I forget who took them, sorry who ever it was for not crediting you, I'll have a look through my email account to find out).

My hip hurts from yesterday's run.

Friday, December 08, 2006

No running yesterday, what do I do today?

Yesterday, I was slack. I came home and dinner was ready. So I ate, a lot. Then I just couldn't be bothered hitting the streets for a run at 9pm. So I told myself I'd do a hard run today - but tomorrow is Namban Rengo's bonnenkai run, and for that run I will have to run a sub-18 min 5km, which will be hard to do if I do, say, a hard 2 hour run today. So I'm still sitting in the house at 12.55pm wondering how far to go.

Had an incredibly frustrating time talking on the phone to a compnay in New York, Educational Testing Service, which runs the TOEFL English tests. We believe they're lying to us about when they posted some TOEFL results. We need the results by the 13th, but to cover themselves ETS is saying a letter takes 6 weeks to travel from New York to Tokyo (Japan Post says it takes 7 days).

So, I think ETS has told us two lies - probably because they forgot to post the results on the right day (in fact the phone call last night made me think they had not posted the letter at all).

That'd be fine if they would do something to fix the problem, but they won't - in fact, they won't even allow me to organise a courier to pick up the letter from their offices and deliver it, at no cost to them. Incredible.

ETS has a monopoly on the TOEFL system. They know they don't need to be customer friendly. I wish another company would provide English test services, it wouldn't be hard to provide a better service.

By the way, if you have a complaint to make about a TOEFL test or ETS you can contact:

New Jersey Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 080
Trenton, NJ 08625-0080
Main number: 609-989-2190

Or visit this website for more information:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

1hr in the morning

Had to go to an EU christmas party tonight so I ran 1hr in the morning. That's the morning on Dec 6.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rest day

Had a bath tonight. Ahhhhhh.

Monday, December 04, 2006

2hrs 05min

Took it easy today - a leisurely run along the Sumidagawa. I found some more river path I didn't know about, which added about 10 minutes to my run. I was a bit late for work, so I couldn't stretch or ice my legs - I hope my legs will forgive me.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A good 5km training run

I only had time for a short workout today, so I headed for the Imperial Palace and did a couple of laps. I took the first lap easy then put in a quick lap. Finished the 5km in 18.15, the fastest time I've done for the lap without being in a race.
There was an ekiden on with lots of slow runners (a few were even walking), so it was nice to pick them off one by one.

Last night we went out to a bar in Roppongi, called Super Deluxe, probably the least Roppongi-ish bar you could imagine. It was full of interesting Yoko Ono types. There was a band playing called Kinky Muff Land - a wailing woman 'playing' a glass bowl and a guy twiddling with a guitar-and they were followed by a belly dancer. We'd had a few drinks, so somehow it all seemed to make sense - and its nice to see someone willing to break the rules a bit.

Anyway, parked outside when we came out of the club was a beaut Gan Well Pro track bike. Black with all black parts. Unfortunately, it was too dark to take a picture with my phone.

Friday, December 01, 2006

How do I get faster?

With my leg on the mend and my mileage up I thought I'd be running a lot faster. But while I breathe better and recover quicker, I still run 5km in about the same time I did back when I ran the Yokota Air Base 5km about 6 months ago.

Prior to the Yokota I had been taking about 15 seconds off my time every time I went for a competitive run. Now, I realise I've managed to take just 16 seconds off my 5km time in 6 months. I'm improving at less than 3 seconds a month!

I feel like I'm in a rut. I've got used to one speed - mentally and physically. Perhaps this is some kind of natural barrier. Perhaps this was the time my training had been preparing me for.

So something has to change.

Now, having said all that I have to prepare for the Tokyo marathon in February - which means mileage is more important than speed. So if my times come down it will have to be by virtue of increasing my VO2 level by running long distances. I think this is a very Japanese way of tackling the problem of running fast anyway. Traditionally, Japanese marathoners don't have high top speeds but they can run at a fast pace for the whole race.

So more miles, less weight = higher VO2 = faster 5km time and good training for the marathon.