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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Intermittent Sprinting- the Power of Peripheral Perception

The spirit of competition is intoxicating. I had always viewed myself as a solo runner, better able to keep my own pace, machinate my own thought patterns and generally steer clear of the rivalry that arises from competition.

I found out yesterday however that competition serves a great purpose, if not only to push one past their perceived limits.

The runners of the Nike Club gathered at the Mishref Walkway yesterday for a good old fashioned training session. The challenge? 9K or 50 minutes, whichever came first (note if you pulled back after 25 minutes without completing 9K, you did NOT finish properly) . We started off at the parking lot and were told to head down the winding path until we see Burger King, then head back.

With a heavy lunch laden in my stomach, and minimalist shoes that were not distance tested, I set out with the runners to complete the task at hand.

I had a vendetta against one runner (friendly vendetta! not like Joe99 [read about the rivalry here], THAT is personal!) who had previously beaten me at a 100M sprint. As the race started, I kept him in my sights (he was in the lead), gaining on him slowly, waiting for him to tire. Awaiting my moment to overtake him, which happened at the 2~3K marker. I waited until it was just dark enough on the path, and with no one around, I ran up behind and yelled out. He was not phased. I expected a startled jump at least, but apparently this man’s intestinal fortitude is beyond reproach. Having taken the lead, I made sure to distance myself from him, he succeeded in catching up once, and that is where the title of this post comes into play.

Intermittent Sprinting, the power of peripheral perception.

Always try to make it a habit to keep glancing sideways (NOT backwards) whilst running, to see who is coming up behind you; listen for foot beats or scan the ground for shadows of the approaching runners. Once you feel them on your tail,  speed up, a little speed sprint, just enough to maintain the distance between you, but not enough to tire yourself out. This is a very effective method in maintaining a lead. In a race it is always important to look ahead, glancing sideways is a cheat.

As we approached the halfway mark, the Ultra Runner Cristian (@Ccraitza), braving illness, came up beside me, and we ran till the halfway point together, at which point I also met Claus, the super runner.

Any race always starts after the half way point, testing who has enough in the tank to finish. Determination was at its highest. For the next 4.5K I kept glancing sideways to see Claus catching up, at which point I would sprint slightly (this game of Cat & Mouse was first heralded in the RunQ8 10K event [read my review here], where Claus alerted me to the fact that we were a mere 300M from the finish line, shifting me into overdrive).

There were two incidents that took place where I believed I had either seen the last of Claus, or that he would take the lead. The former being at an intersection with the road, I literally ran infront of a speeding vehicle, in hopes that like the movies, I would clear the other side before he would get a chance to cross, where he would look ahead and I would not be there. Didn’t happen. The latter was where I misjudged a driver’s intention, going farther to the right to move behind them when they had infact come to a complete stop to allow me to pass ahead of them. At this point he managed to overtake me. However we were far from done.

He never relented. Anxiously I kept looking down at the ground, counting the Meters till the finish line, 3K, 2K, 1K, 700M… It seemed to drag on forever, and every time he cinched closer, I would accelerate, at the final 200M stretch, reminiscent to our previous encounter, his words of encouragement fueled my final sprint tot he finish line.

I immediately sat down afterward, and only came to realize I hadn’t switched off my Tracker when it was too late!

Minimalist running shoe review:

achieved highest average speed as a result of minimal heel support and landing on the balls of my feet.

Today my calves are slightly sore, as is expected when traversing long(er) distances in new(ish) shoes.

Yes, competition is great (especially if it is within the confines of your own imagination!)

Always be aware of your surroundings as you run; there is no point looking behind you, as the real challenge lies ahead. Short bursts of speed aid in the burning of calories as it counts as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

 

Runners Affinity – The Pro’s of Running

I have to admit, I used to be very jealous of smokers.

Yes, you read that right, I was jealous of smokers. Not for the indulgence in the act of smoking, that is still something I vehemently oppose, but rather for the affinity that all smokers worldwide appeared to share with each other. A Secret Society of Smoke if you will.

No, they do not wear any special rings or have secret hand shakes; the tell tale signs of smoking are all but apparent to anyone, however they share an affinity with other smokers, a bond.

It was a sec that did not differentiate based on gender, age, job or language. Smoking seemed almost a universal language on its own!

When it came to smoking, smokers were a tight-knit pack that looked out for their own. It was not uncommon to find complete strangers conversing in the street asking for a light or a spare cig, all sharing the same habit of firing up. Despite not being a smoker, I was approached several times “for a light“, to the point of which I used to carry around my own fancy lighter, just to feel accepted by this posse of puffers.

It made me wonder why this same approach could not be used for example say with a beautiful woman chewing a stick of gum. You could not just walk up to her and say, “hey baby, do you chew my brand?” or “got a spare stick on you love?” that was a one way ticket to a slap on the face or kick in the crotch, or if she’s really feisty, both.

Take the same situation and insert a cigarette instead of chewing gum, and you have a warm smile and even friendly conversation. Smokers recognize other smokers destructive tendencies and fuel them.

I used to envy that bond, until I discovered a similar, albeit entirely different affinity.

Runner’s Affinity.

Runner's Club - Affinity at its Finest

More often than not, when partaking in the act of jogging, you come across other like minded, able bodied individuals. Your paths are destined to cross, and at times your eyes will meet, and a form of recognition shall pass. Here is someone exerting effort to remain healthy, or to lose weight, or to train for a race. No matter the justification, the realization of the similarities serves as an immediate ice-breaker. It is not uncommon to find complete strangers smiling at each other, gesturing encouragement or voicing it aloud to each other, motivating each other to go the distance.

The Runner's Club

A kind word or gesture from a stranger is often the fuel required to continue, as the prevailing thought in every runners mind is always “why am I doing this?”, or “maybe I should stop now, now, now”.

Now we have our own Secret Society… of Sweat.

I have had people clap for me, shoot me two thumbs up, pat me on the back, smile at me and even run along side me despite being non-runners! Yes indeed, one was a charming middle-aged man who asked to join me, his exact words were, “maybe my belly will reduce and my hair will grow back/black and I will be youthful again!”

Here is to being forever young.

Just as we predicted, the dust is here!

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Yes, it seems March madness is not over yet, visibility is down as opposed to 10 minutes ago in Kuwait.

The smell of dust is nauseating, like a silent spectre hanging in our midst.

Please drive safely.

The Makings of a Sandstorm Today in Kuwait – Take Caution

The weather outside is almost reminiscent of the times that Kuwait was engulfed in a sea of dark sand. Today could be that day, caution is suggested, lock up your houses well so as to avoid getting sand all over everything.

I can already smell the prevailing dust in the air.

March Madness at its finest.

I must commend the architects of Kuwait who built all these residential buildings, instead of helping keep the dust out, they let it pour in from every window! All in the effort to cut corners and save a few Dinars.

Stay Safe.

Once in a blue moon, Kuwait experiences freak Sandstorms like this one

And the Winner of Arab Idol 2012 is …

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your Winner of the 2012 Arab Idol Title is…

Carmen Suleiman from Egypt!

Shark Fin Run along the Beach of Salmiya

There is nothing like an impromptu run in the wee, early hours of the morning to get the adrenaline pumping and the ol’ ticker thumping.

Surprisingly, a lot of people in Kuwait are out at that early hour to get in a spot of exercise (and a bit of breakfast afterward) on a Friday morning.

Organised by the ubber-speedy @FayAlTherban, the run included MDS2012 participant @Makaveli566 and top 10 hopeful, we started off near Marina Hotel with a destination of Al-Bid’aa Roundabout and back.

Overall, timings are improving, apparently the 25KM run did wonders.

Next Friday?

See you there. 6:30am sharp.

March Madness is Right – Weather in Kuwait

Garfield knows what we are going through, in a single month we got to experience everything from clear, blue to skies to hot summer nights, cold winter evenings and thick, yellow clouds of billowing dust.

as described by our orange weather-cat, Garfield!

Poetic Impulses – Happy Mother’s Day

When the situation requires it, the poet in me rises.

A short, poetic dedication to all mothers out there, and especially to mine.

~~~~~~*~~~~~~

My mother’s eyes are just like the sun,

Warm, ever glowing and strong; like her there is no one,

You were my friend when friends were few,

Everything that’s good in me I owe to you,

You taught me how to stand on my own two,

How to do for others and continue to do,

You taught me to give and expect nothing in return,

Your precious smile and laughter is a gift for which I always yearn,

You sacrificed a lot to ensure,

That we were raised properly, and had a lot to endure,

When we were young,

You taught us to distinguish right from wrong,

But most importantly,

You taught us how to depend on we,

I pray when the day comes for me to start my family,

That I can show a mere fraction of the love you showed for me,

Through it all, a single fact we know is true,

One day a year is not enough to celebrate the joy of YOU

You are the light of our lives,

Words are not enough to say,

How much we love you each and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Propositioned by a Stranger- Not Your Average Run in Kuwait!

Running is therapeutic, if more people chose to run every now and then when faced with complex conundrums that boggle the mind and deaden the senses, the world would be a much better place.

I have taken up the call to arms of Q8FootSoldiers with the hope of inspiring others to find the motivation and drive to run. However, much to my chagrin, people are unable to motivate themselves and instead require an external motivating factor (an EMF). I tried to play the role of EMF and failed miserably. Timings did not suit people.

To me, running is a pleasure, when it is constricted to guidelines of timetables it becomes a chore, and chores are boring. Yesterday I decided on the spur of the moment to go for a run, no plans, no preparation, just slapped my jogging outfit on and hit the streets running.

A nearby walkway is roughly 1K per turn, I decided to run up and down the track 21 times, in preparation for RAK 2013 and my face-off with my arch-nemesis Joe99.

So I’m on the streets running, completely drained and exhausted at 24.13km, its 11:30pm, the streets are barren, not a single soul was within my vicinity, I’m keeping a lackadaisical pace to prevent further muscle cramps from attacking my calves when all the sudden a van pulls up next to me, slowing down, the driver beckoning towards me as if to request an audience.

I looked around to ensure I was not running by a street light, thereby giving some mixed signal as to the reason behind my being there at such an hour. There were none around me.

I assumed the driver wanted directions (never mind the fact that I was running), however I was mistaken. It turns out he was asking how long had I been running for, I answered almost 3 hours in hopes to deter any further questioning and to let him allow me to complete my run. He surprises me completely by asking if he can join! As I was reeling from that statement, he says get in so we can talk, at which point I informed him i had 1Km left so i gave him honest directions to my house so we could talk.  In all honesty, I was intending to inform him of the Nike Club (meets every sunday and tuesday in Mishref, 6:30~8pm), but he never showed up!

And to top it all off, my GPS phone went haywire refusing to allow me to see the screen. Soon as I got home I pulled out the battery and luckily enough, it saved what distance it had clocked till that time. However, I undershot my intended 25KM run by… 10Meters!!!!!!

Kuwait. Never a dull moment!

Egypt’s Coptic Christian patriarch dies at the age of 88

August 3rd, 1923 – March 17th, 2012

The Coptic patriarch suffered from back and kidney problems for years and repeatedly travelled to the United States for medical treatment.

“We lost today a great icon. His presence was crucial in repelling many threats against the country,” Amin Eskandar, a member in the People’s Assembly (parliament’s lower house), said in a phone call with state television channel Nile News.

“His patriotism and wise approaches to any issue were very helpful. May God compensate us for the loss of that great man.”

link

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