A Full Circle of Guilt & Pleasure

Thank god, I feel much better than expected after finishing the 21k, I followed the same routine of recovery: Immediate stretching, good hydration, cold water immersion, adequate healthy food, compression stock, adequate sleeping.

I did not get the back pain this time, but I did get some quadriceps pain specially at the insertion, but it’s bearable. I can’t run, but can walk comfortably.

When I woke up in the morning and thought about running, I said to myself: “Not Again”, it’s like the body feels the pain and saying “Why did you do this to me ?”, it felt like the guilt in the morning that follows sometime a forbidden pleasure.

Although the guilt is only a message from the body to the brain, but at the same time it still feels the pleasure, and you know it’s only hours and you will feel the need to get the dose before the pleasure fades.

I guess I will need to get used to these “Guilt & Pleasure” cycles.

My First 21k Half Marathon

At night I had the same feelings that I had when I did my first 10k one month before, restless and woke up at 4am drank water and slept again and woke up at 6am.

It is quiet amazing how a passion or strong will makes you change your lifestyle without having a second thought.

When I called the elevator to go downstairs, I wished it did not come so fast, because I knew what’s waiting for me, a couple of hours of work.

I started a good start, was well prepared mentally and took 8 dates in small pack inside my pocket as advised by Salah. He also told me to make pit stops for water at any drinking fountains found in front of many buildings, so not to carry any water bottles.

At the 3k I was already warmed up and needed to take of one of the extra layers I was wearing and tied it around my waste.

I met Salah at 4 mark he ran with me for a couple of minutes and said he will meet me again on the way back.

At the 5k mark I stopped for 5 seconds to take a sip of water and continued, I made another 2 stops at the 13 and 18k. I tried to distribute the dates evenly every 5k.

Again I met Salah at the 16k and for the next 3k I made an extra effort and raised my pace which was very useful. It improved my total time and gave me more trust in my body and not to be afraid later on to raise the heart rate a little bit, as I noticed after a few minutes of the “high heart rate” alarm, it drops again in more comfortable zone.

We did saparate at the 19k mark and I continued the next 2 alone, arrived home at the 20k and needed to do extra 0.5 back and forth to complete the 21k. Need to mention that it was Salah who told me to try the 21k before El Gouna to be more comfortable on the race day, thank you Salah.

Well, here it is “I finished my first 21k, I am a half marathon finisher”, yes it needs dedication,work and perseverance, but it all lies in the head. Anything is possible, I feel “unstoppable today” like Sia says and unbeatable. Thank God “الحمد لله”.

 

 

A Better Recovery

This is what happened after the 16K trail run. In comparison to the week before 14.5k, I finished this run stronger. I relate this to better eating the night before. Many athletes talked about Carb Loading, which is basically eating a lot of carbs the week or at least the night before your long run, mainly pasta. Other athletes revoked such an idea and talked about just having their regular healthy dinner and avoiding and spices or extra fibers.

I chose to eat a lot of pasta the night before the long runs, and to hydrate good while running and to be mentally prepared for the run, and the latter from my point of view is more important than sleeping well, as one night restless sleep will not ruin your run.

After finishing the run and driving back home I immersed my legs into cold water for 5 minutes, again there are different opinions regarding this technique of recovery, some say drinking and eating right and wearing compression stockings is just enough. I did all of this.

The next day, I felt pain in the upper back, maybe due to bad running form or weak muscles or maybe I am not yet accustomed to such long runs, anyways it just felt better than the week before. Which means your body can get accustomed to anything with training and following the proper techniques.

The following day I did a nice 5k recovery run, which also went better than the previous recovery runs of the past weeks, and it felt good.

Today I took a rest, ate good and preparing for my next challenge tomorrow isa, 21k as advised by my friend Salah. Pray for me.

 

 

Trail Running

One great thing about being and newbie runner is that many experiences are a first timer. Yesterday was my first trail running.

The plan was to meet my friend Hesham and run 16k in Wadi Degla, I woke up 6:30 am on Friday, which is by it self a great achievement. There was a light rain while driving and I discovered that I got 25% only of my phone battery left. No problem, I’ll put it into airplane mode to save battery and be able to listen to music while running.

Hesham invited his freind Salah an ultramarathoner to join the run. We started around 8am.

I ran beside Salah who kept nicely giving me instructions on running form,tip and tricks and I kept asking and listening like a sponge.

The trail had many uphills and downhills and I even fell while going down one but thank god I did not hit a stone of which the ground is full off.

Hesham gave me a nutrition gel to try while running, I think it gave me a nice placebo energy boost.

There is a nice scenery while running, it’s basically a desert for people who like to mediate while running or even walking. I met one of my relatives on a bike in the middle of the trail.

Last 4k I started to gain pace and thank god I finished strong better that the 14.5k of the last week.

We made some stretches, took a selfie and that’s it, another day on my way to El Gouna half marathon.

 

A Week of Recovery

Last Friday I ran 14.5k, well as I said before it was tough, espeially if you are doing it for the first time.

After running I felt sleepy and tired, the next two days I sometimes felt a strange feeling in my head “lightness” some sort of headache can’t explain, wasn’t bad but strange, at night I felt that my head was cold so I wore my beanie at home.

After 72h I felt normal again, I guess it was the asphalt pounding through the spine into the head that made me feel this way the days before.

The 4th day I ran 6k which consisted of 2k warm up and 4 x 800 short tempo and 200 walking.

On the 5th day I ran and walked with my kids for 4-5 k, and it was a very nice experience, I wish they start to love running like I do.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to hit a new mark in Wadi Degla, pray for me.

It’s Tough

Although I woke up a little bit late I had to do what I had to do and run 14-15k. Wore my compression stocks, took for the first time a bottle of water in my hand and a small pack of nuts in my pocket.

After 3 k entered downtown Cairo and as usual was ecstatic gazing at the buildings while listening to music.

I needed to finish at least 8k inside downtown to head back home for another 3k, I followed more or less a random route guided by the random pedestrians  green traffic lights and it went fine.

Every one kilometer I took a small sip of water and at 5 and 10 k I ate my nuts bar. Eating and drinking during running went just fine and I guess its better in recovery.

The last 4 k were really difficult, heart rate kept in oscillating to zone 5 although I took notice and kept my pace much slower.

Finally, I finished my first 14.5k at my home.

Classically you shouldn’t add more than 10% of mileage per week, I have to admit I really did over do it in the last couple of weeks to enter the half marathon held in El Gouna next February, well don’t do this to yourself. This run was tough and afterwards I felt “I don’t recommend J”.

Downtown Here I Come Again

A couple of weeks ago I ran my first 10k and accomplished one of my dreams by running downtown Cairo, I went through Tahrir Sqaure passing through Talaat Harb Street than the 26 of July Street turning right into Mohamed Farid and out through Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

Last week I made my first 12k and instead of getting back through Mohamed Farid, I extended to Opera Square and back through El Sheikh Rihan Street. Actually I was planing 11k but while I am preparing to go down and run my wife told me didn’t you say you should do 12k today ? I said, well I didn’t say this but will see and I did finish the 12k.

Downtown Cairo early morning is one of the most beautiful places to run in Egypt, as it’s one of the fewest neighborhoods in Cairo that actually has pavements for pedestrians. Listening to Bob Marley, Nirvana and all your nostalgic songs gives the run a great mood and a very different perspective on the old streets names background, which are full of historic events and stories.

Tomorrow is another big day for me inshallah, I need to make  14 or 15k, as I am training for my first half marathon in El Gouna on the 10th of February.

I will need to make a 9k spin in downtown and 3k back and forth in and out of tahrir.

Honey Should I bring a Lubricant?

Yes, dear you should. You will read about it in running magazines and wonder, what are they talking about? Why should I buy a “Vaseline” box for lubrication ?

If you have a high BMI or when you start to increase your mileage you will definitely need one. You will start to feel burning sensation in areas where frictions is at most and you might get some foot blisters as well. It’s different from person to person and from foot to foot, I usually get in my right foot, probably because its larger than the left so its fits the shoe in a more or less tight way.

So, when you feel the burn, next time know the areas that hurt most and lubricate before you go for the run, it’s going to hit you in the perineum, feet and the nipples, yes you read it right, its nipples, and god know where else. Enjoy the ride.

Oh, Dear God Give Me that Drug IV

2 weeks ago, I took a life course changing decision, I attended one of those last meetings where you want to finish it and just go. Wasn’t quite an easy decision, wasn’t the end I expected, I guess it happens many times that you take unexpected turn into a path that your never thought you have taken. To be honest to yourself too, most of the times it is those unexplained decisions that turns out to be right at the end. When you follow your gut, it is usually based on days or even months of brain calculations that happens without you even noticing.

At this moment of my life critical path I felt I just wanted to run and celebrate, run and feel sorrow, run and think ahead and run from the past to the future. There is nothing on earth that stays still, everything is moving, people, money, emotions etc. and you shouldn’t also stand still for too long, move forward.

I sought therapy in running, running as a drug for hope and despair, drug for stress and weeping a drug that gives joy, pleasure, and hope.