Friday, April 27, 2007

New On-line Running Log

I started using an on-line log called Breaking the Tape. It has the advantage of being able to generate scripts to show various kinds of summaries of your accumulated data. An example of which is shown over there in the side bar. Does multi-sport workouts too, so might interest the triathletes.

My one point of discontent is that I emailed the owners to find out if there was a way of importing all my old data from Excel, after appropriate layout formatting of course, and so far haven't heard anything.

Edit: I wasn't sure if it would work, but I dropped some of the script (a script for generating a summary of the last three workouts) directly into the body of a post. It didn't work in preview mode, but did work after publishing ... as you can see below. Nice.

Edit: But having trouble customising the script ... caveat emptor

A 5k time trial

Considering how little I have been running since Arakawa Marathon (March 18) I think I did alright to record a 18:43 for the 5k time trial on Wednesday evening. But then again, it is the first time trial I have done in a long time, so I can't really gauge how good or bad it was compared to recent performances. I guess the most telling thing is that it is a fair way off my low 18:00 best form. But I can't even regard myself as in training for anything at the moment, so it was really just a state of the nation assessment. The weather is about to start warming up, so soon all heart rate and pace assessments are going to be shot to pieces anyway.

Also ran about 10 km on Tuesday morning and 11.5 km yesterday afternoon, mostly slow, but 5k at upper aerobic pace. I'm resting today. We have a long weekend coming up with Inagi Ekiden, only 3-km legs, on Monday. More of a social day out with the Namban gang than anything else. Though I was in the winning masters team last year, for which we received a nice bright-red Saucony long-sleeve top. We do not have quite the same class of team this year, but we will give it a shot.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bass Instincts

After running yesterday, I did what my friend Gareth describes as a "Good Thing".

My son Kohta joined the (electric) guitar club at school some two or three months ago. He had to fight us a bit for the permission because he is already in the brass band club, and there is only so much a kid can fit into one life. One problem was he didn't have a guitar, nor any experience playing one, nor a parent that knows the first thing about it. The other kids in the club (all three of them) declared that what they really needed was a bass player. So Kohta was volunteered for that role. And he was keen. But unfortunately he didn't have a bass. Nor did he have especially sympathetic parents. We were a bit worried about several things: a) Would it just be a passing fancy? b) Would he be able to practice without disturbing the neighbours? c) Who would teach him? (the guitar club had no teacher) d) Wouldn't this cost us a fortune?

He located a second hand bass in a nearby trash and treasure. It was only 5000 yen (A$60?). Hmm, pretty cheap. But we were still not convinced due to reservations about quality of a 2nd hand machine and that he would still need an amp, strap, case, etc, none of which we knew much about. So we let it go, days went by, then weeks, and weeks turned into a couple of months. Still he kept raising the topic. I have been feeling symathetic to his cause for a few weeks, having been convinced of the strength of his motivation, and so we managed to convince the financial controller that we should invest a modest amount to give him the chance to try it. But still there were questions....

Then two things happened. Firstly, he told me a couple of days ago that the new headmaster has his own band and is going to teach the guitar club...AND, he can play/teach bass. That was one big obstacle out of the least he would have every opportunity to learn, and it would be entirely up to him. The one remaining obstacle was the complete state of ignorance on the part of his parents when it comes to all things musical. And that was where Gareth came to the rescue. He has been learning electric guitar for the past couple of years, his 50th birthday present to himself. To cut the story short, he emailed me after the run yesterday to point me towards Rock Inn, a guitar shop in Shinjuku that sold starter bass sets for 20,000 yen (a bit over A$200). He then very kindly met us there later in the afternoon. And to cut this rapidly lengthening story even shorter, we ended up getting a slightly more up-market starter set for 25,000 yen: an Ibanez GSR320. It is a pretty nice machine (picture shows actual colour), and since that price includes a 10 watt amp, bag, strap, leads, tuner and assorted other bits and pieces, it felt like a bargain. It was one of those shopping experiences that really made you feel good. It certainly made Kohta happy and it was fun watching him pop the study DVD he bought into the player and get stuck into the practice as soon as we got home.

Could this be the beginning of the career of the first musical Lacey in existence?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A low-key week

I had a very funny old week of running last week. Or more to the point, very little running. Only Wednesday night and Sunday (today). But I managed close on 25k today.The lack of running on other days was de to a combination of low motivation, yuck weather, and feeling a little bit off-colour, esecially on Friday. I also squeezed in a swim on Tuesday night. So I suppose it wasnt all sloth.

One bit of good news is that I was able to patch back together most of my missing running data from a couple of different sources. I've lost some of the details, like 1-km splits from Arakawa and Tokyo, but I have the total distances and times of all runs, so at least my monthly and annual tallies are still in-tact. No luck with the device though, so that's a few passwords down the drain.

I hope to run a bit more often this week, so we shall see.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Grumble bum

Starting with the most important thing first: Good luck to everybody running marathons this week!! Scott and Yoshida-san in Nagano; Don, Satohi, Leng Leng, and Aya and Keith in Boston; Tesso, P Allen and a swag of other Aussies in Canberra, and I think there may be a wee preggers Scottish lass running a 10k in Canberra as well. And what is that bloody Clairie doing? The other preggers runner? Is she running something in Canberra? Cheer-squading? I dunno what, but I'm sure she'll be putting a smile on somebody's face, just like she did the other day.

Things have been pretty busy for me of late. Had a fair bit of work on and been taking on too many extra-curricular activities, not necessarily running related. Hence the low activity on Bloggus variegatus, as a certain half-pint harrier decided to remind me last night.

Running itself has been bumping along. I have not been forcing my training at all. I had a 17 km week followed by a 60 km week followed by a 49 km runs longer than 10 to 12 km until last Sunday, when I ran 22 km with Satohi and Rie as Satohi's last major run before Boston. Wednesday week ago I ran a 6 x 1000 m interval workout with the Horde. Coughed and spluttered to a 3:49 on the first rep, then settled into a more business-like set ranging from 3:39 for no. 2 down to 3:31 for no. 6, but the rest around 3:35 to 3:36. I was pretty happy with that actually. Then last night we did the Namban mile (5:52 min for me) followed by a couple of 800s (2:52 and 2:49). After a little break we then (and this was my idea) ran four laps by jogging the curves and sprinting the straights. It was a good workout and quite a few people enjoyed the variation.

The grumble-bum title refers to two things mainly. 1) I have been hoping that the lower key approach to running would see the niggles in my left leg clear up. They haven't. I guess they are not as bad as they were, but it appears that nothing short of complete rest for God knows how long would fix them up. And since they don't really bother me that much, other than to act as a throttle on how hard I can train, I really don't want to stop cold turkey. So then it becomes a mental battle between just carrying on at a low-key level (and hoping they continue to improve) and actually ramping up a bit with a view to a couple of upcoming shorter races. Maybe I just have to push aside silly human pride and maintain the low-volume, low-intensity training and take poorer results in the races. But I certainly wasn't thinking that when I went out and ran 12 km at around 4:15-4:20/km pace tonight. Which brings me to grumble bum reason number 2) paragraph needed...

Yesterday afternoon just before I went to the track I finished editing a 20-page scientific paper. I'd been working on it on my Creative MuVo TX FM, using it as a thumb drive. Not backing it up of course, I'm f$%%ing hopeless like that. When will I learn? Oh, I am foreshadowing what happened next. Yes, when I went to do a final read-through and send it to the client this morning, bloody device would not connect. The computer was saying "Device not formatted, shall we format it now?" NO!! Bastard, don't do that! Tried another computer, same. Checked the mfr forum on the Internet ... oh crap, there is no way around it except to re-format the device and reload firmware, which wipes all the data. So I spent the day completely re-editing the paper (and a shit of a paper it was, too). I finally made a slightly extended deadline. Now, you can shrug your shoulders and accept that, but then I remembered that I had been operating my running log off this device for the last couple of months. So I am going to lose a lot of data from that. I have a backup of it from a couple of months ago, but this is still going to muck up all my monthly and yearly tallies and so on. You'd think I'd learn because I lost quite a big chunk of the log when a hard disk crashed 18 months or so ago. Grrr...there were a couple of other things I lost, including a few important Internet banking passwords in my Password manager application. Dumbkopf, dumbkopf! So, that's why I am a grumble bum tonight and had to go for a hard run to try and work out a bit of aggro. Not sure if it worked. The several glasses of amber lager have helped a little though...oh well, life goes on I suppose. But if anybody has any clues as to things I might try to get at the data in my device, please let me know. I have not re-formatted it yet.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The chronicler of the seasons

I have linked to Shoji-san's blog before when he had a set of neat photos up. Well, it's cherry blossom time here, so I guess he must have taken some good pics. Oh yes, so he has! A number of them in our Yoyogi Park.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Wow, this is one lazy, unmotivated runner's blog you are looking at right now. I ran a whopping 17 km the week after Arakawa. Somehow I racked up 60 km last week. But none of it had much quality or enthusiasm about it. Just a couple of commutes to and from work, bit of this, bit of that. No long run. And quite a bit of beer drinking in between. Generally I am happy as long as my weight is under 74 kg. This morning I jumped on the scales and it was ...76!! So I am definitely having a bit of a down period. I probably need it. Or that's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Today is Tuesday. I was quite prepared to do my regular early Tuesday run this morning, but a damn deadline got in the way, keeping up until 1:30 in the morning and then had to get up at 7:30 and get straight back on the job to get it done by 10:00. Grrr...

So tonight I went to the gym. My company bought some tickets and I use one every now and then. Having both swim-wear and gym-wear on board I decided as I was walking over there that I would do a "triathlon". So I swam a kilometer in 19 minutes (first time I've swum proper laps in several years, so I was reasonably pleased with that) and then had a slow transition to the "bike" upstairs in the studio. I did 15 km on the spinnie thingie in about 25 minutes. Does that sound right? I think there might have been a bit of extra time and distance cooling down a bit. Then I jumped on a treadmill and did 6 km. Man, those treadmills are weird things. Five minutes per km (12 km/h) feels like some kind of crazy, dangerous speed freak thing ... gunna get thrown off any minute ... but then you realize that the breathing is very comfortable, so, oh yeah, I guess it isn't so fast after all. I ended up getting the thing up to 14 km/h for five or ten minutes and finally 14.5 km/h for the last half a k and then a bit of a cool down. I definitely need to learn how to use the dang things properly.

So, that's my first, and maybe last, triathlon.

I have also been getting a bit behind with blog reading. Generally I am reading, but not finding much time to comment. So apologies me hearties. Bloody Pharyngula keeps backing up ... I can't believe he can churn out 6 to 10 blog posts a day as well as be a high-powered uni professor fighting the good fight. The Chimpanzee Refuge gets the better of me at times too. Bloody Kevin Beck .. should stop haranguing fundies and get out running more ;-) ... plus I've added to me burden by subscribing to half a dozen beer blogs (as well as starting my own, which is stuttering like this one just now). But certainly life is not what I would call empty...