Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving the blog...

I have decided to move my blog to the Runnerslife website so it can be more visible to those who are interested in my racing and training. You can find the website HERE

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cross training

Cross training has been ruling my life for the last 2 weeks now. My ankle tendon pain is still there so I have just stayed on the eliptical, pool, bike and anti gravity treadmill to make sure that it heals completely before I start the training for London in a few weeks time. I actually saw the most amount of progress with the tendon a few days ago when I went down to Phoenix to see Dr John Ball, a man who seems to be able to diagnose the source of every and any problem with your body. He found that although my right toe is flexible, when it is flexed it becomes less flexible so that it is creating a problem elsewhere on my leg. There is also a lot of tightness in my right psoas and hip capsule that is not allowing me to have full extension when I am toeing off also which exasperates the problem. I am still amazed at how quickly he has been able to help me with just a short session with him. He asks questions, tells you to do certain exercises and prods around to find what is tight or inflexible. It seems like the body is more like a math equation to him, here is the problem and this is the answer. He just gets it. Of course the treatment can be quite painful but very worth it as it means less pain in the long run. I was having a lot of tightness and pain when my foot would dorsiflex but by the end of the session with John I was able to do a full painless lunge and that is still the same today, 2 days later. He also got into my left knee that has been painful and inflexible since I was 14 when I developed Osgood Schlatters disease. After sticking his thumbs into it and breaking up some of the scar tissue that had formed over the years, I was able to kneel down far more than I have been able to in 12 years. Its not even sore when I do any kind of quad stretching which was a really tough stretch for me before. I'm going to go see him again next week for a couple of sessions so we can try knock this thing on the head so I can get back to some running. Boy am I thankful for having someone of John's skill level so close to us. If anyone has any problems and is in the Phoenix area, I would call John, he'll sort you out (

I have been working really hard in the gym so I know I am not losing much fitness. I am usually training 3 times a day which is tiring but I know it is worth getting in all this work now so once I start the marathon training I will be strong enough to handle it. On Friday I was on the bike for 3 hours and an hour on the eliptical to try and simulate a long run. The most worthwhile sessions I find are on the spinning bike. I usually go on the bike an hour before a class starts and do a workout of some sort and then I do the class. This is really tiring but I was supposed to be doing a lot of hill work right now so this helps to simulate the type of muscular activation I would be if I was running hills. The other thing I have been doing is core and hip/glute work which I know has been a weak area of my body for a long time. I have always done core work but when it comes to my hips and glutes I have almost unconsciously ignored working on them. I have been using a lot of Jay Johnson's drills ( to strengthen those areas that are weaker than they should be. The good thing about these drills is that right now I can do them everyday and it doesn't take away from the other training I am doing as I can recover from them quickly. Working on these weaknesses are going to be a big part of my training this year so that I can run pain free in the long run. Luckily I love cross training and don't get bored easily with the workouts so its definitely satisfying my need for endorphins all day long. Of course after all this time on the gym everyday I spend a lot of time doing dynamic stretching and a lot of work on the foam roller to help loosen off the muscles I have been using.

The other big thing that has happened in this last week was that Julie and I got a puppy. We were down in Phoenix last weekend for my uncles funeral so we decided to take a look at some dogs that we had seen in shelters on the internet. None of them were suitable unfortunately which we were sad about but on Sunday we decided to go by the pet store that had a rescue shelter bring a bunch of dogs to be adopted. There were a lot of cute dogs that we really liked but a little Jack Russell mix that we saw really stood out to us. He was so calm and just wanted to love us so we decided to adopt him. This of course meant a big shopping spree in the pet store to get everything he would need. Once we got him back to the house we realised what a good decision it was to get him. He was so well behaved and got on well with Julie's parents dog. He slept the whole way back up the mountain to Flagstaff and did well when I washed him in the shower. As the days have gone by we have fallen deeper in love with him as he is a very caring dog that is very attached to us. His training is going well and he learned his name, Finley, after the first day. I get to spend all day with him which is really nice and I now have a good napping partner in the afternoons.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


The last time I wrote anything was after dropping out of the Fukuoka marathon at around the 33km mark. It was obviously a huge blow for me as I felt like I was really having a breakthrough day. I was felt like I was running easily I only had to run 69 minutes for the last half to run a pb. Obviously just getting a pb wasn’t what I was aiming for. I was aiming to break 2.10 and going through halfway in 64.28 set me up really nicely for that. Getting the stitch was a really tough thing for me. I used to get them a few years ago but the last time I got one when I was racing was back in 2008 during the world cross. They are really tough to get rid of if they are bad enough and the one I had just kept developing into more and more pain. Having to stop was gut wrenching for me. Once I got back to the hotel I talked to Julie and I could hardly say anything. It felt like the biggest disappointment of my career. After a few hours of relaxing and talking to Jurrie, I came to realise that I was having an amazing day and what happened was something that I couldn’t control. I got renewed faith in myself knowing that I can run at that pace and it made me anxious to race again soon.

That night there was a big banquet with some incredible food on offer to us. There was a huge hall with stations all around the room to go and chose your food from and I indulged quite a bit. I think I tasted everything. We headed out to an English pub that was close by but Fasil and I headed back to the hotel pretty early as we started to get really tired. Jurrie and I had an early morning flight the next day anyway so it was probably a good idea to turn in.

I met Jurrie and Taku (Mizuno representative) in the lobby of the hotel the next morning and we headed to the airport for our flight to Osaka. Mizuno had arranged for me to have a couple of days in Osaka to visit the headquarters and do some testing. Once we arrived in Osaka we got a taxi out to the Mizuno headquarters which was a massive building out by the docks. We had lunch on the 30th floor I think which showed you a panoramic view of the whole city. It was quite spectacular. We then headed over to the design team headquarters to get me geared up for some movement testing and foot analysis. This was very cool for me as this is an aspect of the industry that I am very interested in. They filmed me running from behind and captured my foot motion with a high speed camera so that they could slow the image down and see exactly how I strike the ground. It was very interesting to find that I heal strike with my left leg and midfoot strike and slightly pronate on my right. This made sense with areas that I find get tight often after hard runs. I was then suited up in some lycra and had reflective balls placed all over me so that they could capture my exact running motion. This was really cool as once we were finished I could watch a stick figure of me running on the screen. The last thing we did was get exact measurements of my feet by placing them in a box that reproduces a 3D picture of my foot. All the testing showed that I was wearing the right shoes which was good to know.

We then got dropped off in the middle of Osaka at the Hilton we were staying at and Jurrie and I headed out to find some food. We made our restaurant choice by walking down a random back alley, choosing a random restaurant and then pointing at a random item on the menu. This turned out to be great as what we ordered was really good. We had an early night that night and I passed out right away.

The next day, we had a Miznuo employee, Kumiko come meet us and take us to the nearby historic city of Kyoto. We were met at the station by a tour guide and she took us to all these amazing areas of the city that were incredibly interesting. Jurrie and I bought a bunch of souvenirs on the way out and after we had dropped off our stuff at the hotel back in Osaka, we headed into the main shopping area of Osaka with Kumiko and let her decide on where we were eating. I said I wanted to try all the Osaka specialties so we found a place that I had actually seen on the Anthony Bourdain travel show. We had a lot of food that was really tasty and then headed to an Irish bar that I had been to a few years ago when I was competing in the world champs. We had quite a late night so it was great to get back to bed and get some sleep before another long day the next day.

I was met at 8am the next morning by Michiyo, who is the head of running promotions for Mizuno. She wanted to do some filming with me running by Osaka castle and show me a bit more of the city. We spent some time at the castle and then got a water taxi down the river to the big Mizuno store downtown. She gave me a really nice down jacket from the store to keep me warm during the Flagstaff winter. She then walked me to the hotel and then I got ready to get the bus out to the airport for my flight back to the USA. The flight was quite painless as I slept for most of it. I never sleep on planes but I was so tired from only getting a few hours of sleep that it was no problem for me this time.

I arrived back in Phoenix around 3pm and headed straight up the mountain to Flagstaff. Julie and I were leaving for our honeymoon the next day so I had to dump all my clothes and then repack everything for our week in Cancun. I spent most of the next day catching up on work and then we headed down the mountain to spend the night in Phoenix before having to leave for the airport at 5 am. Of course at this point the jet lag kicked in and I fell asleep at around 4 am. I actually didn’t feel too bad off of one hour of sleep as I knew I didn’t have to worry about training for another week or so.

We arrived in Cancun, Mexico in the afternoon and getting to the hotel was amazing. We were greeted with champagne and a room upgrade which set the tone for the week. Our room was overlooking the ocean and there was a Jacuzzi right by the glass doors to the balcony. We had paid for all inclusive and it was a 5 star resort so I made it a mission of mine to get the most out of everything. That meant eating steak everyday, drinking in the afternoon and taking advantage of the room service. We spent most of the week at the hotel as there was plenty to do but we did get out and do a zip line and ATV tour one of the days. That was a lot of fun and we also got to finish off the day with a swim in a cenote, a cove type hole in the ground with warm water and a zip line leading into it. But alas, it had to end sometime and we were both sad to leave. We had to get back to the real world at some point so we arrived back in Phoenix a week after leaving and prepared ourselves for going back to work. The fun wasn’t over though. That night we went to a party at Julie’s brothers house and then the next night was Julie’s work party so that was a nice transition back to the cold weather of Flagstaff.

The next day for me meant the start of training which was a little tough after 2 weeks of doing nothing and doing my best to put on weight. At one point in Cancun I weighed myself and I was 161 pounds. This was quite a shock as I had arrived at my race weight of 143 pounds! I think my body needed it though as I hadn’t indulged like that for years.

The first week back running was fine and I even did a workout of 3*2 miles with Fasil and Scott that went really well. I still felt strong which was a good confidence booster. This last week was tough for me as I was going through some ups and downs with how I was feeling. Some days I was really tired and some days I was fine. It also snowed a lot so I was predominantly in the gym doing all my runs on the treadmill. Mid week, a tendon by my ankle started to get tight but I didn’t really worry about it until I started this weeks training and I could only warm up and had to stop as it was aching quite a lot. I have experienced this same thing last year when I was training for London so I knew what to do. I was still running a lot then as I didn’t want to stop running but this time I have a lot more time so I have just been in the gym working hard on the bike so that it gets 100% better before I start the marathon training in a months time. Julie has been treating my foot everyday and it has made a big difference. I am going to try and run on the anti gravity treadmill today to see how it feels. This way I’ll know if I can transition back into running or not. I actually haven’t minded being on the bike because I work really hard on my cross training so that I can be strong when I start back running. I spend 2 hours in the gym in the morning doing some cycling and circuits and then another 2 hours in the evening doing workouts on the spinning bikes. The one thing that is playing on my mind (although I know it shouldn’t) is losing the last 5 pounds to get back to normal body weight. When your training it’s very hard to eat a little less to lose some weight. I know once I get back to full training the weight will fall off but it is hard not to think about it. I think the key here is going to be not getting on the scales for a while so as not to worry about it.

A few hours later…

This morning I got onto the anti gravity treadmill for 10 miles working my way from 70% body weight up to 100% by the end. I spent most of the run at 90% and my leg felt fine. Once I got home and finished my circuits it started to ache so I am currently sitting with my leg in a bucket of hot water and Epsom salts before I ice it and then head to the Summit center so I can get some iontophoresis on it to reduce the swelling and help get rid of the pain. If it feels ok after tonight’s Alter G run then I will try and run the steady state run that I was supposed to do on Monday in the morning.

Some photos from from the last few weeks

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Post Fukuoka

I am really disappointed right now so I will write a more in depth account of the race once I get back to the states and I can reflect on things a bit better. I dropped out somewhere between 33 and 34km today after running with a stitch from 29km. It was getting worse as I ran on and kept pulling hard on my urinary tract which was very sore. I don't know what happened. I was having one of the best days of running with everything feeling very comfortable. We went through half way in 64.28 and then slowed up over the next 10km as we ran into the wind towards the turn around point. This was great as I was getting ready for the 10km to go point to really make a push for home. THe stitch came as I hit one of the hills and I just couldn't shake it. I actually couldn't concentrate on anything else and the 2 guys I was running with broke away a little right before the turn around as I struggled to get rid of the stitch. The guy I was running with came in 3rd with a very strong last 10km. Every seemed to drop off the initial pace today as the temperatures rose.

I sat in a bus for an hour after the race beating myself up about having to drop out. I am finding it very tough but I spoke to Julie and she made me feel a little better as did Jurrie. I can't wait to start training for London now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A few photo's from the wedding

Fukuoka Marathon - Pre Race

It's been a very long time since I updated the blog so I am sorry about this. I have been busy with wedding/thanksgiving/family visits/bachelor party/travelling stuff so the updates had to take a back seat for a while.

The wedding was amazing. Easily the best day of my life. Everything went perfect and the only thing that threatened to ruin it for me was forgotten about. We really couldn't have asked for a better day from the photographs to the ceremony and then the reception. All our friends and family which really made it special for us. Julie and I also nailed the choreographed dance that we had been practising for our first dance. The only thing that was tough was trying to talk to everyone and be able to mingle a little more. We had to rush through that part as we had to get the dance done at a certain point of the night. We will see everyone soon enough though. We head off to our honeymoon once I get back from Japan. We will be going to Cancun, Mexico to an all-inclusive hotel so I will be doing a lot of eating and drinking while I am there. I think my body will need it!

I have been in Fukuoka since Monday and things have been going well. I haven't had that "feeling amazing everyday" feeling that I had before London but I know I just have to time it right to feel good on race day so i'm not worried about that. The last 2 weeks are usually pretty tough as you taper so much that you get crazy thoughts running through your head about having not trained enough or resting too much. I was lucky that I had my wedding and family visiting to take my mind off of the silly mental games that can be played on yourself. Saying that, I am now in Japan with nothing much else to do but think about the race and those thoughts have crept into my mind. The original goal of this race was to go out with the leaders as they were supposed to be going out at 64.00 to 64.30 pace through half way but now this has been increased to 63.30 so I'm having to modify the tactics a little. 64.30 through half way would be perfect but i'm not sure what the group will look like so I am just going to run as I feel on the morning of the race and try and forget about the watch. I am going race rather than time trial and this is one of the reasons I chose Fukuoka to run. I got frustrated running on my own for such a long time at London that I wanted to see how I would do when I am running amongst a lot of other runners. I realise that running solo is a big part of the marathon and I'm not perturbed by that but if I can get the opportunity to run with people for most of the race, then I will take it. I think I am 20th on the list of times of the runners in the race so I am really going to try and grasp this opportunity to run fast.

The weather has been great apart from a few days ago when a tornado came through and brought lots of rain. It was then very windy yesterday but this morning it was quite nice. I have been going to bed at 8.30pm/9pm and waking up at 5am every morning so it has been really nice to run around the lake while the sun is rising.

Jurrie (my agent) and I met up with Taku from Mizuno yesterday and we had a good talk and he gave me a bag load of new gear and shoes. On Monday, after the race, Jurrie, Taku and I will all head to Osaka to the Mizuno headquarters to do some work there. I will fill you all in afterwards what is entailed but I think they are keeping it a secret right now.

Ok…now its time to go get some lunch and relax for the rest of the day. I have got all my coaching work done so I can just put my feet up and watch some films.

Cheers for now. I will try and get some news to you tomorrow if I have time after the race.