If we really want to get rid of suffering, completely and totally, then clinging has to go. The spiritual path is never one of achievement; it is always one of letting go. The more we let go, the more there is empty and open space for us to see reality. Because what we let go of is no longer there, there is the possibility of just moving without clinging to the results of the movement. As long as we cling to the results of what we do, as long as we cling to the results of what we think, we are bound, we are hemmed in. Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk (Edited for Bodhi Leaves), by Sister Khema(1994)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Day After

I feel pretty good.  Of course I am tired.  However, there is no soreness in the legs, walking up and down stairs is no problem.  No leg issues, or feet issues.  All and all, very satisfying.  I got a good sleep last night and hope to do so again tonight.  I am not running today as I did 15k Saturday, 40 k Sunday, so will not risk it.  Still very cold here.

Blood sugar has stayed very sharp all day.  Tested regularly, the effects on the endocrine system are as expected. My system is processing everything quickly and with less insulin. Information that must be used throughout.  About 60 days to go before Connamarra.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Moving forward without dogs, just cars

I woke at 4:00 a.m. with high blood sugar, took 7 units.  I woke at 7:35 when the alarm went off and high blood sugar still, 7 more units.  Went back to bed, woke again at 9:15 and checked the weather.  -16 C, no wind, lots of sunshine.  Seemed like a good idea to run 40km.

I wore the same thing as yesterday. I wondered whether to wear the fluid belt that has 4 8 oz bottles but I decided if I did it would freeze and when I wanted water most it wouldn't be available and I might have a mental melt down.  So I didn't wear it.  I did pack in a Jansport fanny pack, money for water and possibly a taxi, insulin with needle, glucose tester and needles and 3 GUs.  Off you go boy, see what you can do!

The first part of the run was acclimation, required 5 miles out Permohy Prospekt and then a right turn on to Adkamestechka.  I ended up spending almost this entire run on the roads, not the sidewalks running with the traffic.  Being American I was always taught to run against the traffic.  One of the teachers at our school asked me why I run against the traffic in the office and I said that is how we are taught, interestingly she said that in Ukraine your taught to walk/run with the traffic.  So I tried it.

This is my first observation about this run.  Running with the traffic I got a lot more room from cars, buses, mashrutkas, trucks than I ever do when I run against the traffic.  Initially I was really nervous about it but then I saw that I was getting real space from drivers instead of what I usually deal with doing it the other way.  So, 4 hours of running with the traffic.

The run began with 232 Blood Sugar.  I stopped at about 9 km to check Blood Sugar and was at 115 so I took GU and had 500 ml of water and then got going again.  The next part of the run called for a long stretch (about 7 km) of rolling hills out into the forests.  I never really felt I had any sort of rhythm, much like yesterday, the ski mask was covered in ice by the time I got to the turn on to Velika Killseva.  This turned out to be an uphill for almost a km and then rolling hills for another 7km or so.  It ends with a long downhill which I felt I really needed.  I turned right back into the city and stopped for water and testing at 22 km.

I thought this would work out, turns out it was the beginning of the end for me.  Recall I have one 30km in the bank and 16 days of 15km a day and yesterday I ran 15km as well.  I tested, BS was 133, drank two bottles of water, 1 litre in total and got started again.  Tough lots of things tied up in that short period of time.  The lesson there is to walk and drink and test so that things don't tie up on me.  Mainly legs and hips.

I got back in a groove and stayed on Polyarna for about 1.3 miles and the turned on to Bohatyska where I was supposed to stay for 2.2 miles.  At this point I had rhythm, I think, but on retrospect what I had was good forward progress without many problems.  But,....

I made a wrong turn and ended up heading the wrong way toward Obolon.  When I discovered it I had to work hard to stay in the game and not call a taxi.  I stopped again for water and tested, BS was 100 so I figured I was about 30 km in so I took one more GU and one water and decided to carry another water with me.  This stop proved problematic as there was ice everywhere and I couldn't get going very well for about 200 meters.  But I did.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get back to where I am supposed to be and make some decisions about how the best way to get home is.  I entertained the notion that maybe I would run more than 40k and that thought actually excited me.  I found my way back to Moskovskiy and instead of taking a left and heading toward the river I went right and headed toward my part of the city.  Small detour though, I took another wrong turn and ended up in Petrivka which is like a massive area for selling whatever you can sell.  I ran down a street for a long time where people just laid out their belongings on blankets and tried to sell them to people.  This was, unfortunately, the worst part of the run, it was a back street, never cleared so it was a mixture of ice and snow/sand.  At this point I can feel the hurt coming on and there is one more rather big obstacle to come.

I got through this section, took a U-turn and ended up on Moskovski and knew this would turn in to Ohleny Telniy and that it would be a 2km uphill slog very soon.  At this point things were beginning to become very tired.  I continue to have good forward progress and felt like I could keep moving, I took some water, which was becoming ice in the bottle and put my head down and headed up the hill.  Very tough, but my thoughts were actually on the 3km climb in Connamara that come at the 58 km of that race.  I got up the hill and headed for Permohy for the run downhill home.

By now I'm starting to get some cramping in the upper inner right leg but nothing on the left, then one small cramp in left calf and I really don't have any stride or strength to speak of but I am still moving forward without difficulty.  I am also wondering how far I've run.  I end up back at the house and shut it down with the watch saying 4:00:41.  Okay, let's go find out how far I ran.

Turns out it was 40km this way also.  Not a fast run but a run that is done that also introduced some things to think about for longer runs.  Need to consider drinking more and drinking while walking (i've never been able to drink and run I just spill it and choke on the water).  The GU worked quite well, but my endocrine system was not happy when I got back, Blood Sugar was 263 and after 10 units and two hours it finally came down to 88.

About the clothes.  Everything was soaked, the clima cool was soaking wet which made the rain gear pants wet which made the clima cool jacket wet, the second jacket was covered in ice on the inside from the wet underneath.  The book socks worked incredibly well, never felt like I had cold feet.  I was concerned about my pinky finger on my right hand at one point, it really felt like it was in trouble but getting out the forest and back in to the city (out of the wind i think) seemed to solve the problem.  I was shocked how wet and covered in ice I was at the finish.  Everything on the radiator now :)

Fascinating about the running with the traffic, who would have thought.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rest, restart,

I took three days off from running.  The weather took no time off.  We are having a hard, hard freeze.  Last night went down to -19 C (that is about -3 F I think).  No wind though and that is a real positive.  This morning it was sunny and about - 15 C.  So, of course, seemed like as good as time as any to get back in the saddle.

I went 15k today and by the time the run was over it was about -12 C so it warmed right up!  It might have taken me longer to dress than to run, but I jest.  For clothes the following inventory:  thick socks plus winter boot socks plus the good ole Nike Lunar Glide +3, pair of compression shorts, with a pair of running tights over that, then a pair of adidas sport pants and then a pair of adidas rain gear pants; adidas cool max winter shirt, adidas mid weather jacket, adidas winter jacket, ski mask, three pairs of gloves, watch and we're off.  If a car had hit me I would have bounced down the road :)

Turns out I was about 80%r right on the layers, I did get a cold belly and found out afterward that the adidas coo max winter shirt was soaking wet and that doesn't usually happen with that shirt.  Before I go out tomorrow I need to think of what to change, maybe a cotton shirt under that shirt?

Two great moments, back to back, within one minute of each other.  There is a stretch that is a big downhill underneath some railroad tracks and back around to a road that is straight uphill, right near the US Embassy/Consulate.  I'm coming down this hill and I see a very large sunny area up ahead, usually this area is flooded with sewage because of a pipe problem, or it has been for the 3 years I've run there.  Today I figure it will be frozen.  It is.  However, with the sun the area has guests, 8 dogs.  They found the sun and are seriously taking advantage.  I am an afterthought to these guys.  We both enjoyed the sun.

I turn the corner and go up an incline that is half dirt half rock and right now all ice and come up on Kyiv's ubiquitous man, the drunk Ukrainian and his friends (of course its 11:00 a.m.).  Well these three have tight a childs sled (soviet kind, not safety first made for WalMart kind) to the back of a car with a rope.  They have two guys screaming at each other on this little sled, and their friend unsteadily walks t the drivers side of the car, gets in and they go for a ride on this sled.  Luckily for me I saw it from the back, I sure wouldn't want them coming back up on me. 

Pleasantly happy with the run.  The streets are in much better shape and running on them was actually not bad, they've knocked back most of the snow, the sidewalks are okay in places, but in the usual places what was once like sand, is now ice and looks like Monument National Park in Utah in some places.

The three days off allowed my body to rest and re energize I think and we'll see what happens tomorrow.  I wonder how those dogs are?  I wonder if those drunks broke anything?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

16 for 210, not cricket

My body and my mind finally cashed out with the weather and the conditions.  The temperature is -14 C, everything is ice that was slush yesterday.  I would say that it isn't safe, but a part of me thinks I am weak and undisciplined even though I don't have crampons to run in this stuff.  It is supposed to get even colder over the next few days.  With the kharma abuse I gave myself no option but to chance it, don't want to do that or to not run.

I managed 16 straight days and 210 km I can take that for now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almost groundhog day...

I really thought today's run would be like yesterday's.  Snow everywhere, up to my ankles just being patient.  Turns out this was only partly true.  Patience was required but I spent a lot of timing running freely today.

In parts I felt very comfortable.  There is still a bit of an issue with a stone bruise on the ball of my right foot but massage might help that; giving it a try tonight.

Don't get me wrong, the city is still under a lot of snow, but the roads have gotten pretty clear and if you care to chance it you can run on them, you still can't really run on most of the sidewalks; again, like deep sand at the beach.

It was really interesting to be running at about 0 C with so much snow, it created a very heavy fog that was kind of cool to look at in combination with the trees having so much snow on them.  That is when I didn't have my eyes focused two feet down in front of me or on oncoming traffic.

Most traffic in Kyiv will make way for runners; there are three types who won't.  1.  Buses, they just don't care.  2.  Marshrutkas (these are like mini-buses) over crowded, driven by maniacs and always seem to be tilting to the left or the right; they are a real danger, when I see one coming, I find the nearest quickest escape route.  No. 3 is a little tougher to predict; this is the speeder.  Every country has them, they speed in dry weather, wet weather, snow, ice, it doesn't matter, they are just using the car as a weapon ( I admit to being guilty of this at a younger age ).  The only way to tell if they are coming is the roar of the engine. 

No groundhogs sighted.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A conversation from all over the world

Weather man:  this weekend should see light snow with about a total of 1 inch of accumulation.
Reality:  One foot of snow over a 48 hour period.

Happens everywhere.  Absolutely no reason we should have it in Ukraine.  Of course I think there were very few people running in it in the dark this evening.

A truly slow boat to China today for 15km.  Over 10 min a mile, just trying to slog through some foot high drifts in some places, and then cleared sidewalks in others.  This time, the ratio of plowed to unplowed snow on the sidewalks was about 20/80 with unplowed your big winner.

No crampons, just the Nike Lunar +3's so you can imagine what that was like.  Good exercise though.

A lot of patience, a lot of very small steps, a lot of concentration but also relaxed while doing so and really sort of enjoying the run as a whole. 

Weathermen, when they are off their game, they are really off their game.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unsuccessful, again

Woke to snow that had been falling all night.  About -1 C.  Early in the day.  I wanted to start early in hopes of not having too much traffic to worry about.  That part of the plan worked out fine.

The snow is still falling as I write this hours later.  The run was slow and deliberate, very slow, very deliberate.  The roads were slippery, the sidewalks were four inches deep in snow, in some places I came to dead stop just to navigate my way around areas that were a combination of ice/water/snow/mud/oil/etc.

My blood sugar at the start of the run was 142, nice I thought.  I packed a BS meter, three GUs mobile phone, keys, test strips and 20 UAH (Ukrainian money) to buy water in an intention to go the 35km today.

Unsuccessful.  Not because of desire but because of safety.  I couldn't run the sidewalks, and the streets were tough also and the traffic was starting to get a little crazy.  The first 15km was slower than I have run in years, just because of the footing, safety and keeping balanced.

I hope to do the 7 x 15km again this week and go from there.  I do have a little perseverance regarding the long run.  I take solace in the fact that I have this last week and hopefully this week of good base but I need to get back on track with the long run.  I hope next week I can come up with something a little more useful.

Perhaps I need just was one route for the distance?  The two loops lets me see the house, I've never liked that very much and always been a one loop guy.  My brother once did a 20 miler and past his house four times, I don't think I could do that.

Still snowing, not even pretty anymore.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Patience, Patience, Patience

Woke to some real snow coming down.  Interestingly my attitude to that was more of, it is what it is.  I have no treadmill to work with as an excuse so that set the tone for what turned in to a very good run.  Ran about 11:00 a.m.  By then it was above 0 C but still snow. 

My mind set was run slow, good foot work and keep moving forward.  However, the streets, while very wet, were in good shape and surprisingly several sidewalks had been cleared.  Still there were about 2 km of very bad footing.  I changed the steps to a more outward (like wearing snow shoes) step in one of them and started to laugh out loud while doing, I thought I might look like a gorilla running down the street to someone in a car.

In the second area of bad footing, I felt myself get very tight in the shoulders and I relaxed and really just went through things nicely.  That was a very enlightening 2 minutes; taught me a great deal. I hope I can manage to remember that experience in the coming months.

The running turned out to be quite good and I finished up nicely.  Again, showing the patience and positiveness keep things going nicely.

This has been my best mileage week in years.  Very happy with 7 straight 15k days in this weather.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Well, never talk bad about your equipment.  We had a lot fo snow today and wind, etc. so I went for the treadmill again, watched a movie again.  This time I put in the first half of Apocalypse Now in and started running.  I started out very slowly today as I was definitely tired and had aches in pains in the upper left leg interior, a stone bruise that has been killing me in my right ball of my foot, the usual inability to get my body positioning right on the treadmill.  I eventually got things worked up to a point where I felt comfortable after about 7 kms.

Unfortunately, at about 9.2 km the machine exploded, not literally, but sparks flew and everything shut down.  This is the second time this machine has done this.  It looks like it may be fatal, don't particularly want to struggle through a language barrier getting it fixed or dealing with what is a unique maintenance experience here.  Maybe I get a new one, we'll see.

I decided to put clothes on and go outside and finish the rest of the run.  Very rough out there.  Ran up to the track, "the Match of Death" track, very famous from WW II.  But it was practically unrunnable so I went back on to the streets which were very messy so I was sprayed gratuitously by cars with snow and mud.  But I did get the rest of the run in.

Unfortunately, I felt very tired at the end.  I went back to work, suddenly I had difficulty focusing and my arms started to hurt.  I knew what this was, high blood sugar.  I took some insulin, about 10 units and still after about 30 minutes I didn't feel well at all.  I tested and my sugar was 446.  When I started the run, some two hours earlier it was 142.  This is not something that happens, it has only happened two or three times to me.  In thinking about it I think it had something to do with endocrine adjustment to mileage but they may just be bullshit and I just had high blood sugar from exercise and maybe didn't eat properly or hydrate properly.  Anyway, I took 12 more units and as I write I am 84 but very tired from the whole thing.

Never talk bad about the equipment.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Treadmill - ugh

Super cold today.  -10 C at mid afternoon and instead of dancing/skating on ice I went for the treadmill.  Let me just say I do not like my treadmill; I have tremendous mental block against my treadmill; I think it is not a very good treadmill; I think all kinds of things about my Ukrainian treadmill.  However, it is an absolute necessity if I want to run most of the time.  In fact I will have to use it a lot over the next 45-60 days.

Today was 15k on the treadmill and as usual it was extremely slow.  In the past I have listened to music, put a towel over the time/distance indicator and just tried to work on my posture and my foot work.  Today I tried something different.  I watched a movie. 

"Everything is Illuminated" is a movie directed by Lieb Schreiber based on a book written by the main character of the movie, Jonathan Safron-Foer.  I just finished reading the book so I wanted to watch the movie again anyway.  I have now seen the movie 4 times.  It was more interesting for me than the last two since I had just finished the book.  I now believe the book is more interesting.  But if you just watch the movie it too is quite good.  The story centers around a New Yorker who goes to Ukraine to find the village where his grandfather was born and moved away from during WWII.  It really is a good story, watch it if you get the chance.

Anyway, the movie itself is about 96 minutes.  The run itself was rough again, not ragged but mentally rough and I was pleased that I forgot about the time many times because I had a movie to watch.  I didn't run very quickly but that might be a good thing because I feel tired and at the same time pleased that I've done 5 15k's in a row now. 

I still don't like that treadmill.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ragged and progress, the dichotomy

Ran at mid afternoon today.  Snow still falling in lightly.  Just seems to get weirder and weirder.  The streets are in pretty good shape, but unfortunately the streets seem a little slimmer with the snow thrown to the side.  The sidewalks are 50/50 but that might have made the run quicker.

I felt ragged out there, the start was tough with a slow 3k uphill that the first half had snow on it so trying to find the small steps and good footing was not very successful.  Snow cleared off in a couple of places so it go better but I felt ragged the whole way everywhere I ran.  Just kept trying to stand up straight and use good foot work.

By the end it was 6 minutes quicker than the last two days.  But felt rough, probably a combination 4 straight 15k days and the roughness of the terrain at this point.  Positive sides were the good work up the hills and concentration.  I managed to get some good speed going toward the end and hit some snow patches that were like sand and noticed that if I have good rhythm going and hit a bad patch of snow that my steps are very efficient, quite small and really good.  Interesting that I can't do that at the beginning and it takes about 1/2 the run to get to that point.

Something to think about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to Back snow work

It snowed quite hard and now we have at least 7-8 cm of accumulation in some places and much more in low lying areas.  This has proved to make yesterday and today's runs very interesting.

One of the interesting things about Kyiv is the lack of snow clearance.  Of course once people start to walk on snow, and it isn't cleared, it starts to react to pressure like beach sand.  This is dangerous for someone like me who can occasionally show a real lack of patience.
Both today and yesterday I got in 15k but it was not very quick that is for sure.  I spent a lot of time worrying about footing and trying to figure out how to run properly through long patches of sand like snow that has been beaten down (see above).  By the end of today's run I developed a nice small step rhythm that allowed me to step firmly into the snow and not slip and slide.  Yesterday I kept having to real myself back in as I would over step from what I would call impatience and start to slide around, a sure fire way to get hurt.

I estimate that at least 50 percent of both runs required this type of foot work.  Other times it was running on hard pack.  It is really unfortunate that the rule that people with sidewalks in front of their buildings need to clear the sidewalk is completely ignored here.  I seem to have found all the places in town where people don't do it; and, since there is no penalty for ignoring the law, it won't be cleared until it all melts away.

From a positive point, staying in the moment and focusing on posture and this foot work seems to be keeping me from getting frustrated. In addition, this route has a lot of hills and that is good and will come in very handy for Connamarra in April.

I was able to think about some of the frustrating things about running in Kyiv these last two days as well.  Not just the unplowed snow, that is what it is and has to be worked with or I will never develop any abilities in longer running.  On the other hand, I've been trying to order GU or any other type of gel for about the last month.  It is not available anywhere here.  I went online to try to order it and found an online site that said they had it.  I had to order it and then they would call and deliver and then I would pay for it.  Unfortunately, they didn't have anything like that even though they said they had it and it was in stock.  First the place said they didn't have it in Kyiv and they had it in another city in Ukraine.  Then they called yesterday and said they didn't have it at all anywhere and that they would not be delivering.  They didn't even bother to offer any other products that they sell.  Just "we don't have it", no customer service, no sales, just нет.  This is frustrating, the lack of sophistication in customer service can be very disappointing and it is something you meet with on a daily basis.

I'll try and get 15k in all week as I said before.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A setback?

Snow, lots of it, at least it felt like it.  Intended to go 30k, didn't happen.  We had a fair amount of snow over night.  Weather people said less than 2 cm would come down, looks like we got about 7 cm.  It was quite a slog in places.

I really struggled mentally today.  I wanted to do the 30, I worked through it several times, had myself convinced to turn and start the second loop.  For the last 3 miles of the run I was back and forth in my mind.  'this is how it is, good and bad, have to work through the bad, yes the sidewalks are horrible, the roads even worse, nothing plowed, lots of slipping very small steps.' Then go to where I would turn around , take some water and a GU and do the full 30. 

Turned around and low and behold my water place was closed and there was no water when I wanted there to be water.  I shut it down immediately. I am now surprised that I couldn't just slog on and find another water place.  At least I learned something about that.  There wasn't pain there wasn't anger, there was resignation of the conditions.

It is important to take many things from this to make sure that I continue to move forward with training.  I read a great deal last night of various training plans and I think that also affected me as many suggested a week of steady distance without the long run.  Hmm, mental, mental, mental.

I'll try 15k all week and see what that does.  I did 105k over the last 7 days and that would 105k also, then go for 35k next Sunday.

Lessons learned?  Many.  Try to take them with me on the next long run.  I did not show patience today, at all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Snow? Sort of

Ran about midday today.  Usual 12k outdoor route.  We had snow overnight, but nothing much, when I woke it was still on the ground, a light covering, but within 90 minutes it had melted off. Once I stepped out for my run the snow had begun again.  It started light but got heavy but only for about 5 minutes, while I was going up a hill.  I thought it was going to stick for a bit and began to think about how my long run tomorrow might be if it was snow covered.

By mid run it was clearly not going to stick around.  It turned out to be just snow but not anything that stuck on the ground.  I spent the run working on posture and small steps whenever I could.  The overall run seemed to be its usual speed but in fact it was quicker than usual.  I chalk that up to running in the day time.

Today's weird running adventure:  political protest.  Part of my loop for almost all my runs is on Dehtyariv'ska St. and is either up hill or downhill depending on which way I go.  This is near the end stop for bus 31 or the Lukyaniwska metro stop.  It also happens to be where the government kept former prime minster Yulia Tymoshenko for about 4 months.  In front of the jail were protesters of varying numbers for the whole time.

Well, today, it was snowing and there were police everywhere as I headed toward the prison so I was pretty sure someone was making some noise.  I began to hear loudspeaker "speak" as I went by.  I looked to my left by the jail and there was a man in front of a microphone doing his Hyde Park Speakers Corner gig with about 5 people watching, 4 of whom were photographers.  Unfortunately, to my right were three police officers screaming at me to run on the sidewalk not on the street, I think one might have been telling me to put some long pants on (I do get some strange looks from people in winter here).  I just kept running.

Day time runs are always much more fluid than the night time runs in Kyiv.  I think it is primarily because it is easier to see where you are going and steps are easier to take so therefore it is not as ragged.  I've read on many sites that night running is always slower for what would seem to be obvious reasons (steps, confidence).

As I've said Kyiv's roads and sidewalks are a lot like trail running except it is all concrete and pavement, still a positive would be that it does require that you always work on your foot work.  :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daytime treadmill but with positives

I managed to get 12k on the treadmill during the middle of the day.  That in itself is not particularly interesting.  More interesting was the handling of the various things that came up during the run.  I've mentioned in the past I like to listen to music during the treadmill runs and that I don't handle the machine well at all.

First and foremost, the music didn't work well at all; in the past I would have not handled this well and come up with some kind of reason to bale out on the run.  I worked through it and I think some of the work with following the breath and mindfulness were very useful for this. 

The other point is that I am not exactly running quickly, or what I used to call quick.  Part of my approach to this preparation is about patience and I was pleased that patience was more prevalent today given the "non-standard" way the run played out.  I like things to be without hiccups and this had hiccups and I worked through it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3 days post long run

Monday, as we all recall :) was my long run of 30k.  I've managed to run every day since then so that is a positive.  Tuesday was on the treadmill.  It got really cold very quickly that day so I went for 12k on the treadmill with the music off my Vkontake page.  Vkontakte is the Russian/Ukrainian version of Facebook without the ridiculous amount of people talking to me since I'm American and no body knows me but my students and my co-workers.  But you can download music and have a music page and that is what I use for the treadmill.

I have never had much success with a treadmill.  I always feel I'm having to work a lot harder at it than when I am outside on the roads.  I've read differing opinions on this on the web.  Some people think its easier, others think it isn't. For me there is a marked increase in effort to run on the treadmill.  As a result, I've managed to develop a dislike for those workouts.  However, in graceful fashion I rationalized that the treadmill would allow for consistent slow pace for recovery from Monday's long effort.  It did.  Of course the positive is that and the fact that I didn't have to run in the dark on the streets/sidewalks.

Ah, but I did Wednesday and Thursday.  Both 12k runs had all the fun and adventure of Kyiv that you can ask for.  Bad sidewalks, bad roads, wild dogs chasing you and lots of dark with no street lights working.  Actually the Wednesday run wasn't bad, but Thursday was a struggle and I really never felt comfortable on the entire run.

We still don't have any snow on the ground here, but now you see some patches of ice where there was rain and then it got cold.  Important to stay focused on those, last year I did a serious ice slam and cut my chin up real good on the pavement/concrete.

Along with wild dogs chasing me toward the end of the run I also saw a drunk guy get thrown out of a car by his friends on an extremely busy road near Shulavska Metro.  Incredibly dangerous because 1) they just stopped the car in traffic and threw him out; and 2) they threw him out in to the middle of the street, not the curb.  Unfortunately, I couldn't help much, I yelled to get out of the street, but my Russian is not great.  I stopped to make sure he made it to the side of the road then kept running.  Kyiv is a big city, there is not a lot of helping your fellow man here just like in most very large cities.

Anyway, Wednesday was weird and today I felt like I hit every pot hole, crack, bump, gash, uneven spot on the run.  Just one of those runs.  What is the title of that book from iRunFar?  "Relentless Forward Progress"  that is all I can work on with runs like that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Long Run Monday

It's Monday, flew back from London yesterday.  Did not get a run in yesterday, probably for the best, it may be that my legs needed a rest for a bit.  Though they did not get much help standing in line at Gatwick Airport.  For some reason Ukrainian International Airlines did not have a good week with my flights as regards ground service.  Both in Kyiv and in Gatwick the lines for check in were extremely long and extremely slow and as a result both flights left very late.  At least I got a break coming back in to Kyiv in the passport control.  I was third in line and he only asked in that unique way that Ukrainian passport control as "Why are you here."  I felt like saying for the great customer service, but I went for the truth (director of studies of language school)which really should have mean that they check my passport for VISAs stamps, etc.  Instead, he did nothing, he stamped it, didn't even ask me where I was staying.  I have never had any consistent set of questions (like the typical questions you receive going in and out of the EU) asked of me by Ukrainian passport control going in or out so don't think they you can guess what they are going to ask you when you come in, just answer the questions.  Don't think they are going to smile or be friendly or anything, unfortunately, passport control is not the best representative of Ukraine and of course, it is the first experience you have with the country if your are flying in.  Its too bad really.

We are off today, Monday, so I got the long run in today.  Two loops of the 15km course.  A good time as well.  Clearly the hill work I did in London was useful as this loop has two significant hills, though much longer than in London, but they were not particularly tough having worked hard on how the form should be and I think I am making real progress with the smaller steps and posture.

Not too many dogs today.  The weather was 0 C. It was supposed to snow, but it never did.  BS was 223, I took 1 unit before I left, I took water and GU at 15km and at the end of the run the BS was 210.  I did sense some right leg tightness toward the end.  I also put the orthotics in today to replace the form fitting product that Nike provides in the Lunarglide 3+ product.  Useful.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


No route, no stretching, run for time, base on that call it mileage.  A sightseeing run, the kind where your chances of tripping and falling because your looking at a 200 year old building are quite good.  Geographically speaking, if you are in Greenwich Park in London and don't want to run the hills, go the opposite direction and head for the Thames.  The only hills today were the curbs on the side of the street.

Relating back to thinking about hills, yesterday I worked on form and decided to look like a dork and pump my arms like a mad man as I went up the steep climb twice.  It worked.  Need to keep that in mind.

One more day in London, then back to Kyiv.  I hope to get an early morning run in tomorrow before the commute to Gatwick and the plane back.  We'll see.  I enjoy running in London.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thoughts on hill running - or all that arises ceases

Got in another nice run in and around Greenwich Park today.  Googled out another run that was two laps of 6km each.  Still parts of it were in the park itself, about 3 km total of the run, but the remainder was in and around the Greenwich area which meant I still had to work with the same hill with the same drastic incline over .3 miles.  I ran that hill twice. 

As I was running it was so focused on getting up that I really didn't have time to think about my technique going up the hill.  Having reflected, it got me thinking about how some ultra enthusiasts feel you should walk all the uphills if you are just in it for the hobby of the sport.  I considered this at length and think my ego might not be able to hack it.  Today, both times up, I worked very hard on forward progress, not speed and tried to think about small steps and moving forward and controlling breathing without having completely dead legs afterward.  This is something I will need to continue to work on in preparation for Ireland as it does have a drastic 1.5 mile hill at about mile 35 of that run.

The run itself was very nice.  Another good view of the city across the Thames today.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dusk in London

Arrived in London yesterday.  Managed to get in 12k in Greenwich Park starting around 4:30 p.m.  This was a really neat run.  I quick review of Google Maps got me a route that allowed for three laps of the park plus some additional diagonals that allowed for four serious hill workouts over the course of the run.  Also, a light rain falling the entire run.  No moon to speak of.

Even in the dark the flowers and the buildings were great to look at.  Two memorable moments.  First, Greenwich Park is the home of the Prime Meridian.  The observatory is also there, hence the hill workouts, the observatory at night shoots out a green laser beam across the prime meridian and it is wonderful to watch your progress around the park using the line as reference.  Second was reaching the high point of the part three times and looking out across the Thames across to the financial areas of the London all lit up.

Greenwich is the second major park I would recommend running in in London.  Hyde Park is a wonderful loop that if you did it right you can get a lot of miles in.  On the other hand, Greenwich is the kind of park that gives you 100 ft of elevation gain over .3 miles, and I got that in 4 times.  Nice preparation for Connemarra.

The run itself was just a good way to clear the cobwebs from flying and standing in line all day. 

Hope to run a different route today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

No snow, plenty of rain

Ran as it was getting dark.  Always difficult, but done most of the time.  Roads in Kyiv are sometimes not the best and you definitely have to keep a look out.  Also, at night you have to keep a look out for those dogs referred to above.  For some reason at night they are much bigger pain in the ass.  It was definitely wet out there today. There is one road I run on that is so bad that for about 300 meters any car in the inside lane will spray the entire sidewalk up to the buildings there is so much standing water.  People at Mashrutka stops know to stand well back of the road while they wait.  I of course get wet.

Today was the 12k loop day after 25k, started very tight, just trying to keep one foot going after the other, but eventually started to loosen up and toward the middle I started taking about 180 steps per minute. 

This is also a planning day, I am headed to London tomorrow for four days so have to get with the weather (nice supposedly) pack the right clothes (long sleeve, compression shorts, shorts, footy socks, hat gloves and a brand name jacket and the lunarglides).  The other thing is planning a trip to a running store as shoes here are usually 3 x's the price as in western Europe.  My current pair were purchased in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The run itself will be a repeat.  I've stayed at the hotel in the past (last year, same time) and it is on Greenwich Park ( the prime meridian line, GMT)  the park has a major hill which is good but if done right you can work out 12 to 15km with only two loops of it and the cricket/football fields next to it.

Hopefully, will be running in London by 4:30 GMT tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A 24 Dog Day

Got the longer run in today that I wanted to do yesterday.  2:21 on my feet good.

It is still holiday time here in Kyiv so it the streets were very quiet.  I started about 9:00 a.m. and my first dog of the day was my neighbors, at least it was on a leash, in fact the first three dogs I saw today were on leashes.  The final 21 were not.  Kyiv is a city that has a very large dog population, not dogs that are domestic, dogs that have no owners and just hang out all over the city.

Most of today was one foot after the other and watching for babushkas and dogs.  However, as always happens on the long day I wished I had had a camera at least twice today.  The first time I had just stopped for water and some GU and was feeling much better when I cam upon a religious ceremony around a tree.  Kyiv is Russian or Ukrainian Orthodox primarily  and there by the side of the road were about 20 people, two priests, an alter boy several icons and a podium pointed at a tree.  These situations are always dangerous for me because I end up taking my eyes of what is in front of me in order to take in all that is going on around me.  It seemed a very solemn event, there was the priest speaking  as I drew nearer, the alter boy turned his head and looked at me; as I drew even they broke in to song, I didn't know there was singing in this brand, but I guess there is.  I tried to see if there was a picture of someone who maybe had run a car in to this particular tree, but there was not. 

The second event was Santa Clause and SpongeBob Squarepants.  After going up a brutal hill at about 18-19 km I end up on the city centre on Kryshchatyk St. and run pas Maidan Nezalezhnosti.  This is the site of the Orange revolution oh those many years ago.  Kryshchatyk is usually closed on Sundays so it is a nice area to run through and as luck would have it it was closed today also, it being a holiday.  Off to my left, as I was running up I saw what looked like 500 people (of course it was more like 200) queuing.  Keep in mind, Kyivites don't really que much, they   tend to barge, not que.  As I got closer I began to make out Santa, or should I say Santas.  Basically there were literally 10 santas on Maidan offering their photographic opportunities.  The santas came in various options, young santa (thin), old santa (fatter), santa with his granddaughter (here in Ukraine santa is actually grandfather frost and his helper is his granddaughter) santa with a beard, santa without, santa sitting, santa standing; however you wanted santa, you could get it and have the picture developed in 5 minutes.

Interesting run, continuing to approach this with small steps and the "Born to Run" theory of Caballo Blanco, "why take two steps when you can take three".  I started the morning with high blood sugar and took 1/2 of the insulin I would normally take, that proved to be fine for the first 45 minutes but I felt a bonk coming on so I stopped at 52 minutes took some water and GU and moved on.  It really did make a difference.  Felt very good until the last 2 km probably.  Two major hills on this route and managed them fine.  Had to continually get myself back into posture and footwork however. 

Temp:  -2 C, no wind to speak of.  The LunarGlide 3+ continue to be a good purchase.

And yes, I did see 21 more dogs, but 8 of them were in a pack together at about mile 10, they just looked at me like I was an alien.  At least I'm a legal alien.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Dead City

Didn't wake up until 2. That pretty much ended the 25km run, I try not to do those in the dark very often.  It got dark today at 4:02 p.m.  I ran 12km around 3:15 p.m.  I don't think I saw more than 15 people outside.  Kyiv has a population of approximately 4.5 million.  This is a city that takes New Year's Day very seriously.  Do nothing, relax.  Needless to say, like most days, I was the only person out running. 

Even though the city has a lot of people walking to and from their destinations, you don't often see people running just to run.  Interestingly, you know you are seeing a foreigner running if you wave and they wave back.  If you wave to a Ukrainian runner, chances are they will not wave back.

Like all my runs this one is on the streets/sidewalks of Kyiv.  There aren't a lot of trails to run here, and when there are, without a car they are very hard to get to.  Also, like all my runs, this one has the benefit of google earth to tell me about the distance. 

As I see it we all have a few options when it comes to a run.  Just run and try to end up back somewhere near where you started.  Run and time it, see final portion of previous for getting home.  Run, time it, measure it, admit it, you love this version.  Run, measure it, don't time it.  Or endless permutations thereof.  I personally am a run, time it, measure it kind of kind and before google earth I used cars (very unreliable) and maps to tell me how far a route was.  I personally hope Google Earth is correct when it tells me the route I assiduously picked out is 12km.  It probably doesn't really matter does it.