Day 117: Tired, sleepy, but still ran

No that isn't me, but I was already contemplating sleeping inside my car!

Yesterday marked the start of my 16-week training plan to the 2015 Tokyo Marathon. It was like the first day at work or even your first day in school – the day which would dictate and define your journey ahead. Kinda like “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” I knew that I would run later in the day and I swore to myself that I would get off work early, avoid any side trips or late night escapades, so I could get home and run and get to bed at a decent hour.

But for some reason I felt lethargic. Maybe it was because I woke up at 5 in the morning. Maybe because it was a slow and uneventful day at work. Maybe because I only had one cup of coffee the whole day. For whatever reason I was sleepy. On the way home I was yawning and my eyelids felt heavy. The thought of a 15-minute nap was extremely tempting but I knew that if I succumbed to that temptation I wouldn't be able to run. My head hurt and I was woozy. I felt clumsy and was becoming cranky. I was already playing around with the idea of postponing my run for Tuesday morning.

Still I ran. I didn't want any excuses for my first day of training. I also didn't want to get some nasty comments from my coach (I doubt it though – he doesn't seem the type but who knows?) So I forced myself to run. My training plan called for an easy 30-minute run followed by 10-minute strides so I told myself that all I had to do was run for half an hour. I was telling myself that if I was going to quit just because I was drowsy or lethargic then what more if when my legs are cramping after 30 kms? I was already compromising with myself and telling myself that I could postpone the 10-minute strides for another day. I struggled into my running clothes, strapped on my HR monitor, laced up my shoes, and stepped outside. Based on Sunday's 10k run, I figured I could take it easy with a 9 minute pace. After a few minutes things got easier and I was getting into the groove. I found that my HR was lower than usual, probably because of the cool evening weather, even if I was running at a relatively faster pace, roughly around 8:45 a kilometer. The sleepiness faded away and it became a normal run. I finished with plenty of energy and was able to do the 10-minute strides routine, which was fun.

In the end, whatever drowsiness or lethargy I felt was gone. I felt refreshed and rejuvenated. I was able to have a good dinner, able to read through some office emails, even finished watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead!

So, the lesson of the day is to do an easy run even if you feel lethargic. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it can be an energy-boost!

Run stats: covered 3.5 kilometers in 30 minutes, average HR was 128.



Running with a cold

The whole day yesterday I was sneezing and blowing snot out. The nasty thing about me having colds is that I get insanely hungry and I ended up devouring a heavy dinner capped with an unhealthy amount of ice cream. I went to bed early, having downed some antihistamine.

I woke up still with the sniffles, my head heavy. I felt lazy. I could've just flopped back to bed but forced myself to get out and run. I told myself that today's was just an easy 30-minute run. I told myself that the discomfort is all in my sinus and the medical experts claim that it's ok to run if the cold is above the neck. I told myself that all I had to do was slough through for half an hour and that the run would clear up my sinuses and make me feel better. As I ran, my body warmed up and indeed I felt much better. I was able to breathe easier and my nasal passages opened up. I expected my body to be heavy but pleasantly discovered that everything was going easier than planned. My HR was low and I was able to maintain a relaxed but faster-than-average pace.

My 30-minute run stats: 3.78 kms, ave HR 139, 30% in Z1, 70% in Z2, ave cadence 89.

Moral of the story: don't let the sniffles deter your running!

Slept late for two days and now I have a cold

I haven’t run for two days now.

I slept late, woke up late, leaving me with no time to run. Not even for 30 minutes.

And now that I have had something like 5 hours of sleep for two consecutive nights, I have a cold. That has often been the pattern. Lack of sleep leads to breakdown of resistance and then I get the sniffles.

I really should be more disciplined. I shouldn’t allow myself to get distracted and unnecessarily sleep late. If I can avoid going home late, I should avoid going home late. It’s not so much that I miss out on a training day. It’s that I end up getting a cold, which is irritating. A cold makes me lazy to run. I end up making excuses not to run. I could end up telling myself “I’ll run when I feel better.”

Let’s see how I fare tomorrow. It’s just a cold and running experts say that you can still run if you just have the sniffles.

Beijing Marathon

Image from @PDChina

Despite the smog – “hazardous” as described by the U.S. embassy – that hit the Chinese capital, the Beijing Marathon still pushed through. That runners still chose to run the marathon was no surprise to me. That pollution levels peaked at 400 micrograms per cubic metre, exceeding the WHO threshold of 25 micrograms per cubic metre, was no deterrent to the thousands of runners. A marathon after all is a test of willpower. It’s definitely no cake walk. Those who have experienced the “wall” know that it becomes a battle of mental fortitude. A marathoner has trained himself to disregard that voice in his head that tells him to stop.

It’s not easy training for a marathon. It would have been frustrating not to have run. Runners would have trained for months, a number of times probably under the hot morning sun. They would wake up early in the morning and run for hours and hours. Would they let some pollution stop them from running a race that they had trained long and hard for? Would they throw away months of training just because of smog?

I am not saying that I approve of the choice they made to run. I am just saying that I can understand why they chose to run rather than sit it out. After all, you have to be a little crazy to run a marathon.