Thursday, February 4, 2010

Speed Play and Washboard Abs

You meet a lot of runners when you run as well. It's all part and parcel of the sport - the social part of it that is equally satisfying as the run itself.

I know these 2 runners whom I consider to be awesome. Both of them happened to be ladies, and both of them are my friends. The first one was my running buddy when we were in high school. We played field hockey for the school, and our positions were either wingers or midfielders, therefore running is a complete must. Every evening we would walk to the lake, run endlessly until we were blue in the face, then walk back again. I was a runner before, she took up running because of field hockey. Nevertheless she was one fantastic runner. I remember thinking she must have had the lungs of a racehorse.

The second one I had the liberty of knowing when I couchsurfed (a term used for travellers to sleep at people's houses - for free) her house during the final leg of my backpacking trip. We started talking, and we were elated to discover that we both run. I had my running shoes with me, and she had hers, and the next thing we knew we were headed out to run at the Hyde park. Later, I would like to think that it was the cold weather, or the fact that I have been traveling for 44 days, or I haven't been eating well, but it didn't hide the fact that she smoked me like a BBQ machine. If my high school friend was a racehorse, this lady is one of the descendant of the Kalahari Bushmen. I gave up trying to catch her and walked in the park instead ogling the Brit men.

I was thinking about both of my friends one day and realized two things they have in common: their runs are mostly speed intervals and they have bad ass abs - both of them. Me being the type of a nerdy runner - good in theory but not in practice - know about the importance of speed intervals and how having a strong core helps your running, but haven't been able to achieve either both of them continuosly. I remember both my friends doing their ab workouts - my highschool friend doing crunches and leg lifts during hockey practice, the london friend doing abs exercises on the exercise ball after we finished running. This would be the reason why they are still in good form after 80 minutes of running. When I was trailing behind the londoner after an hour plus, she was still energetic, her form steady. No kidding, she has a ripped stomach. and the speed to match.

Also, their runs are 99% speed plays or fartleks or whatever you call it. Which explains why I couldn't catch up. The londoner would run at a fast pace for a while, then she would slow down or stop to jog up the stairs, then she would speed up again. Back then, I thought she was just undiscplined, or rather, wacky. I mean, she shot out and then jogged and would repeat it for many times. But her running style proved to be effective. She was one of my friends who have no training schedules at all for races, instead joining them because she likes running, and would clock in about 2:05, 1:58, 2:03 for her half-marathons. The last one she did, she clocked in 1:58 without any single training at all. She has yet to try a marathon although I would love to see her do it. All in her trusty Reeboks.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of my own running future, or lack of it. It seems like I have to give my knees more time to rest than I planned to, as they still hurt even after two months. I am none too pleased, but I would rather rest for a long time than not run at all. I hope to see the doctor after this to get his advice, so for now it's back to karate and other cardios for me.

Also, good luck to those of you who are running the PNM! I might be there to cheer on my cousins and also, my dad has decided to pirate the run since I was too late in registering him. Can you believe it? 58 years old and still want to be a badass? Haih.


  1. I love your dad's spirit to run! I think it's awesome when the activity becomes a family affair. That said, rest well until it's healed. Your runs will still be there waiting for you :)

  2. It want to meet your dad! :) So, Fartlek works huh? I do that all the time due to limited training time. So far, so good.

    Coming tomorrow for the POS? Just gimme a buzz at my hp and will explain to you the direction to the pool. so far, there are four other guys joining us.

  3. yimster: im actually quite surprised that he was really down when I didn't register him. We'll see if he's really running for PNM or not.

    Ian: yep, speed plays seem to work well for both my friends, and I believe that its because mentally we have already conditioned ourselves to last long since we have the runners' mindset, therefore we need only the speed play to condition our bodies to intercept.
    Yes I am coming tomorrow. it's at 8 am right? I need all the guidance i can get on my swimming.

  4. Know hat I think? When you have children, you'll have one hell of a story to tell them about what you did in your lifetime. You've been everywhere! Good on you for that.

  5. Your dad sounds like a fighter, I like him. Take care!

  6. julin julai: yes, i am grateful for the experiences I've had so far hehe

    kash & syah: i'll relay this to my dad so he would be empowered :)