The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

40 minutes - middling pace

I'm getting interesting new pains in my knees - at the top of the left, both sides of the right.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

35 minutes easy

Knees were screaming after yesterday's run then ride.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Running, riding, writing - and art

Quite a day today, rolled out of bed, into my shoes and ran for 50 minutes, lots of stretching after, then sent off the final proofs of a book I'm finishing up to 'my editor' (I love saying that - as if 'I' have an editor) in London (100 PDFs!) then headed off to the Imperial Palace by bicycle with my wife, did a few laps, then headed home, swapped bikes (good for cheaper) and went to the MOT gallery to see Space for Your Future - a bit dull in the main, but a great 4-storey silver baloon is floating around inside - worth the trip alone. Then back home, a bowl of tuna sashimi, raw egg and rice - then watched the film Basquiat. A sad film - and I've never seen what was good about him as an artist - Keith Haring was better and Lenny McGurr (Futura 2000) was far, far better. Basquiat and Cy Twombly seem to me all hype and no substance.

Futura 2000

Keith Haring

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wind and rain - not a day to train

Rest day today - and what a perfect day to rest - a typhoon blew in.

Still looking for those ekiden runners.

Also, I'm going to enter the One By One run on Dec 16. Entries close soon. 5km and 10km on offer, mail me for details.

We found out we can get Wolf Blass cab sav delivered to our door cheaper than it costs at the supermarket. I might never leave the house again!

I got in contact with an old pal from way back via Facebook yesterday. He won Olympic gold in 2000. I nicked a photo or two from his site (I hope you don't mind too much Scott) - because it shows the incredible atmosphere of 6-Day racing on the track and the steepness of the tracks.


A lot of people don't realise how steep these velodromes are - bloody steep. It's a two storey drop from top to bottom.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

...the ekiden call has not been answered (well, not by many)

I still need to hear from an ekiden runner - even if you're not a Namban member but would like to become one, we can sign you up. If you can run 5km in about 20 minutes you can run in the A team, if you can do 5km in 23 you can run for the B team. Perhaps you know someone at work who runs but hasn't had the courage to join a team before?

Today I did 35 minutes. Probably the perfect speed, just fast enough to have to focus on my style. Left knee feels a tiny bit better than usual, right knee is OKish.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


After letting the Okutama Ekiden A team down, I feel I should mention they are still looking for a runner.

Okutama is easy to get to, the team is strong, and the race is one of the best on the calender. So if you're feeling fast, please sign up for Namban's A team - or, if you want to take things a little easier, sign up for the B team and one of the B team runners can then move up into the A team.

I'd love to run it, but I have a Japanese exam on the same day.

Leave a message here or contact Namban Rengo via the website if you want to run.

Even if you're not currently a Namban member, we can sign you up to run.

Race fee is ¥2,000.


55 minutes easy to middling

Did the first 10 minutes with the wife today then headed off on my own. Took it pretty easy on he way out, but lifted it a bit on the way back.

Left knee was so-so. Right knee flared up a little, which worries me more - that's the one that put me out of action for weeks and weeks early this year.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

38 minutes - super easy, chatting all the way

The title says it all. The left knee was OKish.

OH! And Namban Rengo members - I have let my team down for the Okutama Ekiden. They currently do not have enough runners to make two teams - which means three runners wont get a run. If you can run 6km or 8km (your choice) on December 2 please let me know. There's a couple of good teams you can choose from. Okutama is within the Tokyo metro area - so it's easy to get to.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Swapped my shoes for wheels

Today I decided to go for a ride instead of running. I did about 90 minutes - and about 30 minutes of that was at a pretty good pace. My ITB is nasty when I'm going into a headwind and my cadence is high, but with a tailwind and a big gear my leg felt fine.

I'm doing a duathlon in February, so I need to do a ride now and then to get used to cycling again and to dial in the bike. At the moment the bike feels OK, but the Q-factor of the cranks and pedals is awful. I think I need new pedals to replace the very old Time pedals I've got. Also I'll need new tyres for the race - the ones I have at the moment are like tractor tyres. I'm also thinking of replacing the front spokes with some bladed spokes to improve the bike's aerodynamics.

The bike

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Monday, October 22, 2007

My time was OK wasn't it!

I've just been looking back at times I've set on the road for the 5km, and I just realised that my 17.56 compares very well. My fastest 5km time set in a road run is 17.55 - but that was on the Imperial Palace course, which we all know is not really 5km. I let myself keep that time because of the hill on the course - I figured it makes up for the lack of distance. But 17.56 on a flat, correctly measured course is perhaps a better run. I went through 3km at 12.37, but just after that my stomach started cramping (I spent the previous day suffering nausea and stomach cramps - something I ate I think).

Today I ran 35 minutes. Just a leg loosener. My knees felt excellent at the start, but after 20 minutes the ITB problems were back.

I'll keep doing the recovery program and hopefully my knees will adjust to regular running.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Takashimadaira Road Race 5/10/20km

Takashimadaira Road Race 5/10/20km

Takashimadaira 20km runners

Today I ran the 5km race in Takashimadaira in the northern suburbs of Tokyo. The race is excellently organised - timers, timing chips, police, closed roads, marshalls, drinks at the end - you couldn't ask for more.

I was happy enough with my run - 17.56 (or was I a second or three slower? I never saw my official time Edit: Looks like official time was 18.00). My stomach got me at 4km.

Namban Rengo had a good turn out - and some good results. Best was Yuri in the 20km. She finished third (I believe) after holding second place for over 15km.

In the 5km, Fabrizio came 6th in 17:46.

The other times were:
10k - Gerard: 35:15; Yoshida-san: 35:30; Juergen: 38:02; Anthony: 41:05; Jun: 41:30 and Jon Holmes and Tamami Koike: both 50.50.
20k - Brett: 1:11:17; Yuri: 1:15:40; Mika: 1:25:30 (1:25:10)

The lead pack - mainly Tokyo University runners

Brett catching Omar

Brett - seemed to run stronger as the race went on


Yuri-san - 5th

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

My fixed wheel bikes

It's a nice, sunny day today, so I thought I'd take the chance to take a proper photo of my fixed wheel bike. The bike gets used every day and gets bashed by mamchari users who don't realise it's an expensive bike (and still wouldn't care even if they did know I guess).

The frame is made by Bryan Hayes in Adelaide. He made all of the bikes for the Australian national team up to about 1993. After that, carbon fibre frames became the norm.

The cranks date back to 1983. Suntour made excellent parts, but they went broke in the 80s.

The frame's a bit scratched and battered but the Columbus tubing sticker remains.

Campagnolo Mirage brake caliper; Campagnolo Record steel pista headset; and a bright green Vittoria tubular that never seems to wear out.

The back wheel - with much lusted after Hoshi blade spokes. The hub is Campagnolo Record 28 hole. The rim a Swiss-mde Steiger - another company that has sadly gone out of business.

And I have another fixed wheel bike - but I used it for its intended purpose - track racing. No brakes, no gears, pure speed - well, if it was ridden by someone other than me.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Knees are getting worse

My ITB is inflamed again. I did 30 minutes easy tonight, but my left knee still got painful and my right isn't great. I'll take tomorrow off.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rest day

No running today. Left knee's a bugger, it's right on the verge of being a problem again. I'm thinking that when I was running every second day my knee was OK. So I'm wondering if I should up the length of each run but cut back on the frequency.

Yesterday I did 35 minutes and lots of stretching.

I'm running a 5km event at Takashimadaira on Sunday. It's a suburban area of Tokyo. I do one lap of a street circuit. Some very good runners are expected to run - especially in the 20km event later in the day.

I just hope I can find my way. I'm going alone and my sense of direction is terrible.

Also, today I entered the Calfman Duathlon in Showa Memorial Park (Kinen Koen) it's on the 4th of February.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Click, click, click

The ITB is snapping across my left knee again. It only happened for about 5 minutes of my run (from 20-25min mark) - and it had gone by the end of the run, but it's a worrying development.

I just did 35 minutes today, with three short hill bounding sessions. I think I've got a cold, but my breathing was OK.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

My training since my 8-week layoff

Run down of training since my 8 weeks off for chest pain. Compiling this list I was surprised to see how patchy my training has been. I really haven't put together even two weeks of solid 40 minutes a day, 2 rest days a week training. And the Oda Filed effort after 8 weeks off, and the Komozawa race after such a bad build up look laughable now. 13 days off in September - 5 more than planned, and 6 days off already in October. Looks like I need to work on consistency.

Date ------ Minutes run ------ Comments
22 - 30
23 - Ran at Oda Field - Tried too hard
24 - 30
25 - 30
26 - -
27 - 35
28 - -
29 - 35
30 - -
31 - 30

1 - -
2 - -
3 - -
4 - 35
5 - Oda Field - 4 x 1,000 ran with a cold
6 - 30
7 - 30
8 - -
9 - -
10 - -
11 - 40
12 - 40
13 - 32
14 - -
15 - 40
16 - 40
17 - -
18 - 40
19 - 40
20 - 40
21 - 40
22 - -
23 - Terry Fox 5km - Ran about 19.10.
24 - -
25 - -
26 - 37
27 - 39
28 - 37
29 - -
30 - -

1 - -
2 - 40
3 - -
4 - -
5 - 32
6 - Komozawa 5km - Ran hard 18.11. Felt awful.
7 - 35
8 - 38
9 - 50
10 - 45
11 - 37
12 - -
13 - -
14 - 90 LSD
15 - -

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

90 minutes (yes, I know I wasn't meant to)

I had a good LSD (long slow distance) run today.

I didn't run Friday, then last night we went to a special movie screening and ended up going for dinner with a young director (who has just made a series of films with a musical hero of mine Jim O'Rourke), a professor and one of the cinema managers - and it was an interesting night, so I had two beers and ate fried food.

So today I did a little more than I should. But I felt good, went slow, and I'll take it easy tomorrow. Although, I've got my eye on a decent time on Sunday for a 5km road race, so I'm thinking of doing a hard run on Tuesday night, then a mini taper to the Sunday run.

Knees were so so. Not bad.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Kisho Kurokawa - April 8, 1934 - October 12, 2007

A bloody good architect died today. Kisho Kurokawa designed buildings all over the world - from Melbourne to Malaysia, Berlin to Beijing. The guy was a genius, but maybe a bit mad - he claimed to go for a run in his hakama complete with a sword every day.

Kurokawa had the unusual distiction of designing a whole city - Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, and he stood for election in the recent Tokyo mayoral elections - what a pity we didn't get a true internationalist in office (instead of the ultranationalist we got stuck with again).

Here's a look at his National Art Center building in Roppongi, Tokyo...

No running today.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Medium pace 37 mins

Took it easy tonight - although halfway around I thought - "I'm only meant to run 5 days a week." It's been about 6 days in a row. Knee wasn't as good as yesterday. Hmmmm.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

45 minutes

Had a bit of fun today. The knee felt good, so I picked up the pace a bit. Did 5 minutes warm up, then 15 minutes hard, then 25 minutes medium pace.

I think the stretch I do after each run might be having some effect. I stretch my hip for 100 seconds both sides. It's unusual to hold a stretch for such a long time, but through trial and error I found it works best for my hip (where the ITB attaches). The right knee has felt good since I started doing this stretch, now the left might be loosening. Too early to know for sure.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Running update

Ran 38 minutes yesterday - super easy.

Today, I did 50 minutes. Perhaps a tad too fast. Knees feel OK. They wouldn't stand up to marathon training though.

Now, something for triathletes and cyclists out there - crank length. I read the first version of this report long ago, and I've been trying to track it down. It's fascinating in that it reports on a test that found that 90 percent of cyclists are riding the worst length crank for power output - 170mm.

The follow-up test makes interesting reading. I've been using 165mm cranks for four years and have found them to be an improvement. But I do wonder whether 150mm cranks are the way to go for flat events and track racing.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

35 mins + cycling at Imperial Palace

Did a pretty easy 35 minutes today. The left leg felt good - why is it that after a hard run my sore left knee often feels good? Perhaps I'm tightening the inside of my knee which balances the strain on the outer side?

We went to Imperial Palace earlier today by bicycle. The road at the front of the palace is closed to traffic on Sundays, giving cyclists freedom of the road.

Some riders parade around on the most amazing bicycles. Two Colnago F50s, a Look 595 Ultra, plenty of De Rosas, a Pinarello - and all kitted out with the latest stuff - Rotor chainrings, Nokon brake cables, Tune skewers, etc. (For those who aren't so cycling savvy - it's like turning up to your local park in a McLaren F1 car). The riders don't seem to be training - they just roll around showing off. I guess it's better than sitting indoors.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

5,000m at Komazawa

I ran at the Shibuya Track & Field day today. It was a very well organised event (made a little less organised by Fabrizio and me not knowing we had to register and holding up our race) and the weather was perfect.

My legs, however, were far from perfect. I had a shocker. Right from the gun I felt rough. Actually I felt hungry, thirsty, sick, undertrained, tired, old and slow. 'Tired, old and slow' sums up how I usually feel, but all seven maladies occuring at the same time saw me struggle from lap 1. That said, I went through lap 4 about 20 seconds up on my 17.30 schedule. Then I quickly began falling apart. Fab became a yellow Namban spec in the distance, while I worried about coming dead last.

For the first time ever I got lapped. And by three people. I struggled to finish, crossing in 18.11.

Fabrizio won his category I believe - assisted a little by the dramatic collapse of one of his rivals right in front of him. Another Nambanner Jo made the 200m final. And we had other people in the 1,500.

It's not much fun running with insufficient training, but I entered this event a long time ago - before embarking on my Steve-inspired Slow and Steady Wins the Day program (which was never intended to win this day).

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Work, drink, work, drink

I'm running in a 5,000m track race tomorrow, and I've never felt so underprepared. This week's training has consisted of three runs. The rest of the week has been spent drinking beer with friends visiting Tokyo from London, drinking champagne to celebrate our wedding anniversary (four years) and not sleeping enough. My days have been spent drinking too much coffee and not enough water.

Ran 32 minutes tonight. Knee didn't feel good. I need massage on my ITB - it's stuck to my quad up near my hip.

Congratulations to everyone who got into the marathon (that's the easy bit done) and commiserations to those who didn't.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Work, work, work

I'm a bit snowed under with work at the moment, so I couldn't run yesterday (at a computer from 9.30am to 1am - that must be bad for you).

But missing a day is not too much of a problem. I did an hour on Sunday at a middling pace (I know I said I wouldn't run an hour, on Steve's instructions, for a few weeks but I like running too much) and I should be able to do 40 minutes today.