The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Haile's record

Coming from a cycling background, and having ridden at a reasonably high level, I tend to look at world record breakers a little askance. For me it's show me you're clean of drugs. This can be by inviting journalists to follow you for a month (like cyclist Bradley McGee did), it can also be done by pushing for more drug testing, signing anti-doping statements, training at altitude and/or using an altitude tent, and most importantly, never associating with drug-linked coaches, althetes, teams, managers and management companies. It sounds like a tough call, but clean athletes manage to do it.

This time last year the German Athletics Federation filed a criminal complaint against high-profile Dutch agent Jos Hermens and Doctor Miguel Anguel Peraita, a Spanish doctor connected to doping allegations.

Hermens was Haile's manager. It was alleged that Hermens sent Haile and Kenenisa Bekele to Anguel Peraita. Hermens was also linked to Bekele's fiance, Alem Techale, who died mysteriously and was allegedly buried without an autopsy.

I've seen all this before in cycling. Riders drop dead at 18, 19, 20 far too often.

I obviously know far too little about this situation to make any comment on it except that personally, I'm not excited about this world record time. In fact, I feel a bit sad and scared - both for Haile and the athletes who are trying to beat him.

On a similar note, I see Dynepo was detected in cyclist Michael Rassmussen's blood in samples taken during the Tour de France - but Dynepo hasn't been banned yet because it's made of human EPO. Now there's a test for it, it must be banned. As it stands athletes can legally take this stuff to set world records.

I know this is a touchy subject, and I'm sorry if I've offended anyone. But these are my own personal feelings about the record.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fixed gear bikes in Tokyo

I went out looking for interesting buildings to photograph, but kept finding great bikes instead. The first of which, this Kalavinka, is one of the best I've seen. The same guy owns this one and the next one, a Makino. He's a true fixed wheel fetishist. The Kalavinka has a Zipp 404 rim painted white. The Makino has beautiful Velocity rims polished to a gleaming shine.


No running today

I'm taking a day off running today. Sipping a glass of Australian cabernet sauvignon from my home state of South Australia.

I enjoyed this ad that's doing the rounds of the emails at the moment...(replace bicycle for motorcycle and you get what it's like at our house).

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Friday, September 28, 2007

37 minutes. Mid pace.

I found a great grassy hill for bounding. Only did one rep, but I might try a few next time.

Left knee is tight.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

39 mins - pretty slow

I wish I could rid myself of my ITB problem on my left leg.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

35 minutes

Back from holiday in Kanazawa - lots of walking for two days, but no running.

We ran 36.40 today - at a fairly easy pace, although my legs were a bit stiff after the Terry Fox run on Sunday. I couldn't stretch after the Terry Fox because I had to race off to work and sit behind a desk all day.

Here's some photos from Kanazawa. The museum, the nearby park...and some bikes.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Terry Fox fun run 2007

I ran the first 5km of the 10km Terry Fox fun run today. I didn't take it too seriously. My watch didn't work, so I don't know what time I did - but it was about 19 minutes. Jay came through a bit after me in a bit over 19 minutes.

I had to go to work at 11am, so although I felt a bit bad having to tell the official who was leading me on a bicycle that I would be pulling out, I had to end it after 5km.

Then it was like a duathlon. I ran back to Hibya Park, got my bag, then had 7 minutes to cycle to work. I didn't quite make it on time (not very acceptable in Japan). But I was only 5 minutes late.

My ITB is tight on my left knee. I could really feel it, like a hard lump, when I was cycling after running. Feet were fine.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gotta love Italian commentators

  • Asafa Powell's world record

  • No running today. But tomorrow I'm going to line up for the Terry Fox run around the palace. There's a 5km event and a 10km event. I have to be at work at 11am, so if the 10km starts first, I might have to run just the first lap of that. If I'm lucky, my work will allow me to take 30 minutes off work - then I can do the whole of the 10km.


    Friday, September 21, 2007

    40 minutes

    Another easy run tonight - 40 minutes. But I tried out a few of Arthur Lydiard's 'bounds' uphill. Only 3 sets, just to get the feel. The technique is quite difficult.

    The basics of the method can be found here: (thanks again, Steve).

    I think it's as much about landing as takeoff. Also, I found my body twisting - something that obviously needs to be ironed out.

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    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    40 minutes - easy

    Ran with my wife tonight. An easy 38 minutes.

    Foot hurt a tad.

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    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    The magical track

    What links Steve Ovett, Asafa Powell, Noureddine Morceli, Noah Ngeny and Daniel Komen? (Hands down you clever kids at the front). For those of you who don't know, the thing that links them is they all set world records at a small, out-of-the-way track in Rieti, Italy.

    Steve Cram wrote a fascinating article about the track and its amazing history,
  • here

  • Running
    I did 40 minutes today. Felt OK. Chest hurt a fair bit. Back still has a little pain.

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    Tuesday, September 18, 2007


    I took a day off running yesterday. I spent most of the day at the InterCommunication Center (ICC). Tokyo has some brilliant galleries and art spaces. The ICC is a great place to take kids. There's lots of games to play and interactive stuff.

    At the moment, though, there's also an installation by Ryuichi Sakamoto. It's impossible to explain, but using video projections, dry ice, water and sound he creates an amazing visual experience. Definitely worth seeing.

    Today, I went for a 40 minute run. No problem. My back's a bit tight, that's all. Knees and feet were and are fine. I just wonder if I'm going to get bored of doing the right thing all the time. I'm itching to throw in a few 1km reps, or do some hill sprints - but I know it's too early for that.

    Sunday saw the running of the City to Bay fun run in my hometown of Adelaide. 23,000 people ran this year, with the winner completing the 12km event in 34mins 24 seconds. A very good time. Some of you may have heard of the very good Australian marathoner Lee Troop. Well Lee went in the run a year or two back and could only manage 4th place, which shows how competitive it is.

    Anyway, I was checking the results for the different age groups and I noticed that the winner of the M37 age group last year ran the 12km in 41.12. And the winner of the M38s did it in 44 minutes. Now, I reckon with a year of solid training under my belt I could give 44 minutes a good shake, and 41 minutes would be a possibility. So I'm seriously considering flying out to Adelaide just to run it. Or at least I'm seriously dreaming of doing it. Let's see how the training goes.

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Pointing the finger

    I rarely talk about politics on this blog, but one thing has been winding me up lately. The finger point. Politician goes on stage and gets told to find someone they know (or don't know) in the audience, point and them and mouth something banal like "Wow! You're here!".

    With the U.S. and Australian elections on the way we'll be seeing a lot more of this fakery. I wish politicians could think of a way to get photographed without doing it.

    Did 40 minutes tonight. Left foot started hurting a bit, both knees feel iffy. Should be fine though.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    41 minutes

    Tonight I guess I did everything right. Ran at a fairly easy pace (I realised I have no idea what 4.30 pace feels like) and did an out and back course, turning around at 20 minutes (Steve's idea - to stop me 'racing' the course). Legs felt OK. But the bloody Starbucks keema curry pie I had for lunch came back to greet me a few times. Why do those things take 6 hours to digest?

    Foot pain was good while running, feels odd now.

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    Friday, September 14, 2007


    Didn't run tonight. Loads of work to do, and it's probably time for a break anyway.

    Rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly) I've never been one for running programs. But I think it's basically going to be 40min x 5 time a week for a few weeks, then a 5% to 10% increase in total mileage each week. I REALLY miss my 2 hour runs - and my fast hour runs. Turns out my fast hour runs weren't doing me much good - but because I run along the Sumidagawa I can go for half an hour without hitting a road - getting a good speed and holding it can feel easy some nights.

    So, to recap, a few weeks of 5 x 40min runs (Stephen's suggestion), then a slow build up.


    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    32 minutes... was meant to be 38, but I ran too fast. I was floating. (Sorry Mr. Lacey - I know I'm not meant to go fast - got a bit carried away). Foot was OK.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    40 minutes

    Did another 40 minutes today. It feels easy, but let's see if I'm still saying that in a week or two before I increase the miles. My foot soreness is odd. It's just behind the big toe on my right foot. Running on my toes helps. The heel strike and roll seems to be hurting the front of the arch. Knee's OK, but the ITB just over the knee is one solid hard lump.

    Oh, and no Oda Field. Being sensible.

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Ran 40 minutes

    Took it easy today. 40 minutes along the river. I changed my innersoles which is helping a bit with my foot pain. My left knee is so close to being injured. I must find ways to strengthen it.

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    Back from Seoul

    I spent the weekend in Seoul and had to do an interview and nightshift yesterday, so I'll get back to training today.

    Taking Stephen's advice, I've decided to focus on some basic training, building up the miles, before I get stuck into the Wednesday night sessions. So today and maybe tomorrow I'll do two 40 minute runs. I need to keep my weight down, too, so the longer runs will be helpful.

    Seoul was worth the trip. It's obviously poorer than Tokyo, but still a very safe, clean, friendly city. The traffic is mad - motorcyclists ride helmetless, without lights on at night, and don't stop for red lights. They even ride on the footpath. But the subway system is excellent. We went to the Leeum museum - and great gallery full of Korean historical pieces, modern art and modern Western art. We also went to W Hotel for a drink on the last night - the bar is designed by New York's Studio Gaia, a design firm run by Ilan Waisbrod, who works with a lot of 'cool' people in the states such as Michael Jordan and Jay-Z. Taxis are super cheap, so getting home after the trains stop running isn't a problem.

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    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Oda Field

    Tonight I dragged myself along to Oda Field. I nearly turned back twice on the way there, but I decided to ignore my cold and run.

    I think I psyched myself up too much listening to Public Enemy on my iPod on the way to the track. My first kilometer effort was 3.17. I paid for it in the next two with a 3.30 and a 3.43. I sat out the next one (it was kind of the plan) and then ran one more, posting a 3.24. I was meant to run two more, but the 3.24 had taken a bit out of me and I'm simply not doing enough mileage to do 6x1km.

    The pain in the back of my left knee is improving, as is my right foot. Chest is cool. ITB in my left knee is OK.

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    It's hard to get properly motivated again. I find it hard to take it easy, but I also find it hard to focus. On Friday I went for a run but then caught up with an old friend and drank beer; Saturday I went to work feeling a bit under the weather and sleep deprived, so no training Saturday. On Sunday we'd organised to meet friends for dinner. Again, drinks, late night. Again I felt tired Monday and skipped training. I ran 35 minutes Tuesday. Pretty bad effort.

    Now, to cap it all, I have a cold. I feel like I need to run tonight, but I also feel I need to ease my way back into running. And I'm getting fat. I'm up half a kilogram on my normal weight, and up 1.5 kilograms on my weight when I was training for the marathon. So it all feels wrong.

    But now is the time to get it together.

    Today, I entered two events. A 5,000 meter track race on the 6th of October and a 5km road race on the 21st of October. So I have a goal again. I want to go sub 17.45 on the 6th and sub 17.30 on the 21st. Must focus.

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Still taking it steady

    After Wednesday's effort I had a rest day Thursday, then did 40 minutes Friday.

    I'm covering Tokyo Fashion Week for the paper I work for, so evening runs will take a bit of organising over the next few days. And I have to make sure I don't drink too much - already been to one fashion party with free beer.

    The good news is a. the chest is improving, pain now and then but not as bad as before; b. my legs are OK - have hamstring pain and knee pain in the left leg but both improve with running; c. the weather is finally getting cooler.

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