Monday, 31 December 2012

New year, new plans, new challenges

There are some bold dates in everyone's calendar. Days that remind us of the tasks we have to do, to look at the past and aim for the future.
New year's day is certainly one of those dates. Although we use Persian calendar instead of Gregorian, I see no reasons not to use this occasion to push myself by reviewing my goals.
Wish you all a great year ahead. May 2013 be the year of achieving our resolutions.

Dubai Marathon, 25 days to go. In need of a kick up the arse

25 days to the start of my third marathon. Again I've missed some training sessions and not in the best shape. I was so busy sorting out different stuff and the worst was the fact that I didn't have enough time for my early morning runs. That's my favourite time of the day to head out for a run. There is just no better way for me to start a day. Whenever I missed my morning run I feel sluggish the whole day. Now I've got more than two weeks of intense training ahead. There is one thing that I am sure about. I do not want to face what I went through during Frankfurt Marathon. So I'd better get my arse in gear!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Off to Davos. This time for the big one!

Today Swissalpine launched the online registration for 2013. And I am already registered for K78. This is going to be my first ultra and I cannot be more excited about it.

Davos, view from a paraglider
I've got seven months to train for this and also planning to run three marathons in January, April and June. 2013 sounds promising!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Friday, 14 December 2012

Another marathon in six weeks

I am going to run Dubai marathon in late January. The training plan is written down and it starts from tomorrow morning. I've only got five weeks to train for Dubai marathon so it's going to be quite intense.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Running in early 30s

There are two or three different times each year that I spend a couple of hours and think about resolutions, usually write them down and get back to my notes every now and then. The main occasion is always my birthday.
As of two weeks ago, I stepped into my thirties. while I was looking at my last year's resolution I noticed that I am now in much better situation comparing to this time last year. A bold line on my resolution was about getting a better runner, but running a marathon was not something that I would plan last year.
This year as I started the fourth decade of my life, I decided to write down parts of my resolutions here. So I  will hardly forget these points and next year at this time, if I have missed any of these you can question me!

 Here they are in no particular order;

- Running my first Ultra.
- Running at least three marathons.
- Losing more weight.
- Strength workout, plyometrics, stretching and swimming more often.
- Adding Speedwork and hills sessions into my training.
- Hiking to the top of two major summits in Iran.
- Encouraging people to run.

P.S. Despite the fact that I am not in my late 20s any more, the blog name remains the same. Because as I noted in blog description late 20s is when I started running.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Here comes my favourite running season

Despite what it sounds, running in the cold feels great.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people" Bill Bowerman

Monday, 19 November 2012

Six months of blogging

It's now about six months that I have been writing here. As you might know by now, I started running two and a half years ago and it didn't take too long to become an obsession. Then I started posting about  my running experience and motivation.Now the blogger statistics shows that Running in late 20s has been viewed quite often and that is over my expectation. But what I would really like to know is if this page has ever inspired anyone? Has it encouraged someone to give running a go? It is always great to see your comments.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Crossing the finish line

You do struggle to get there. But the very moment  you cross the finish line is worth it all.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Frankfurt Marathon 2012 as it happened

Last Sunday I was one of almost 16000 runners who attended the Frankfurt Marathon. As you might know by now that was my second marathon and my first road marathon. Visiting the marathon expo on Friday, I received the race pack and some other stuff among which there was a wrist band called "Pace my race". Depending on your expected finish time they would print out your time splits and mount it on a wristband. My expecting finish time was 3:45 but that was before missing those training sessions and twisting my ankle.

Despite the freezing cold weather, the race started with a great vibe. I was starting in the second wave and our start time was at 10:10. Minutes after starting I found myself sticking to my pace and feeling quite all right. There was no sign of ankle pain and I was running almost effortlessly. There were live music playing in several spots along the course. Somewhere around 15km mark I was still running at five-minute kilometre pace. I thought it might be wise to slow down a bit and save some energy for the rest of the race. But it seemed that there were no need to do so as I was feeling great.

I passed the halfway point in 1:52:55. Only 25 seconds behind my target time printed on my wristband. Then it was somewhere along 25th km that for the first time ever I hit the wall. Suddenly my quads cramped and there were extremely painful. It was a very slight uphill (Frankfurt route is pretty flat. This bit was on an overhead bridge) And I though it will be all over after this ascent. But the pain just grew and I had no choice to stop and do some stretching, so I did and walked for a few meters and started running again. And then after 100 meters or so it came back.

In this kind of situation quitting is the very first thought that comes to your mind. It hits your mind on every single step. It was then that I decided no matter how but I will cross the finish line. I was certain that a DNF (Stands for Did Not Finish) is not what I want to see in front of my name. Not in my second marathon.  So I carried on, running, stretching, walking and then running again. 

Ann Trason once said "It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." but on that very situation I would say "It hurts up to a point and then it gets worse and worse." I tried to split the distance by forgetting how far I am from the finish line and only thinking of the next half a kilometre, the next overhead bridge, next lamp post and even just thinking of taking the next step. As Dean Karnazes suggests just putting one foot in front of the other until you cross the finish line. 

Every time that I passed a cheering group, no matter how bad I felt I tried not to walk. After all they were not standing there to see someone walking. When I got to 31st Kilometre there were loud music playing. This was the part that you could vote for your popular track on Frankfurt Marathon website before the race.  It was Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive". And I found myself with all the pain I was dealing with shouting I Will Survive. 

After passing 33km Mark, once again I could not resist the urge to walk. Another runner just started walking beside me. First marathon? he asked. 
-It's my second one.
-This is my first marathon and I don't think I will never do this again.
-Don't you ever think of giving up. You are gonna make it. I said and as I started running shouted "See you at the finish line" he started running moments later. 

It was only four kilometres left when running sounded impossible again. I stopped, bent over for a few seconds. Started limping and then stopped and bent over again. There were a few people standing a couple of metres from me. After seeing this scene, they shouted my name and said some encouraging words in German. (Well I supposed they were cheering as I didn't understand a word) I stood up tall and started running and didn't stop again until I reached the finish line in 4:09. 

Frankfurt Marathon was not an easy one. I am writing these lines the day after and my legs are still aching. There are some questions in my mind. Is it really worth all the pain? Will I ever run a marathon again? Well, I am pretty sure about the answer. Frankfurt marathon just made me stronger. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Frankfurt marathon; I hit the wall. And what a wall!

Well I am going to write in full details in a few days. (Hopefully I can include a few race photos too). Frankfurt Marathon is just done. It nearly killed me and I am more than happy that I crossed the finish line. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

No more excuses. Time for a great run.

Had a good sleep (with one extra hour added due to daylight saving time change) and a full breakfast with several other runners. The second marathon starts in two and a half hours and unlike the last couple of weeks, I actually feel quite ready for the challenge.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Frankfurt, before the marathon

1. I arrived in Frankfurt this afternoon. Woke up at 4 to catch a bus and an "express" train to get to Stockholm Airport in time for my early morning flight to Frankfurt. The "express" train stalled in the middle of the way and it took about 50 minutes for another train to arrive and pick us up. I missed my flight and had to take another ticket to get to here.

2. Had a taper run on Wednesday  morning in Stockholm. It was freezing cold and windy and I found a nice path along the river. During this forty-minute run at half past six in the morning I spotted more runners than I would see in a month in Tehran. I had the same impression in Oslo and Copenhagen. Can we consider Scandinavians as running nations?

3. My ankle still hurts. It was all right for two or three days, but it got worse this afternoon after carying my stuff from one train  to another and to every single terminal in the airport. I was feeling quite down before arriving in Frankfurt. Visiting the marathon expo helped a lot though. I always enjoy the expo atmosphere with all the runners hanging around,  reduced price running gear, and pre-marathon food.

4. My ankle might cause me trouble this Sunday. The weather is not going to be so pleasing either. But I will run with all the power I have left. And as far as it doesnt cause a long-term harm I will not stop.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The mind's made up. Second marathon on Sunday

Ankle is pretty much fixed and I decided to go for Frankfurt Marathon. I might not be in the best shape, but whatever happens I am going to give it my best on Sunday.

Stay tuned guys.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Ankle sprain and Frankfurt Marathon in a week

Sitting on a chair, resting my left foot on a stool with a pack of ice over my recently twisted ankle, I am contemplating whether or not to run this marathon.

After icing the sprained ankle several times and taking some anti-inflammatory pills it is almost fixed now. But how about running a marathon on it in a week time?

It might not be a wise idea to run this marathon. But this is not the first time that I twisted my ankle. It happened a few times in the past and every time I came back to my running routine in a few days. The last time I did twist my ankle was actually during the Swissalpine marathon. Somewhere around 28k I landed badly on the outer edge of my foot and my ankle rolled inward. I stopped, walked for a few meters and started running again, limping for a kilometre and when I passed the 30k mark the pain was completely forgotten.

I am quite sure even if I don't attend this marathon. I cannot put my feet up for the whole week. At some point after a couple of days I will get bored (Not saying that I am not already) and will go for a long run. So why not challenging myself with this marathon? After all I might need to take it easy. But this is much better than giving up.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Another great day on trail and a short note on running injuries

A fun trail run and a slightly twisted ankle. Tapering is no longer and option, it's a must!

Running injuries happen every now and then. You can decrease the risk of injury by cross training, proper running from, choosing the right shoes and "quite ironically" trail running.

If an injury happens, remember RICE! Rest, Ice, Compress and elevate. I usually find the first part the hardest.

A twisted ankle is not what you wish for nine days before a marathon. This marathon is just getting harder. But I will still be there and give it my best.

Less is more!

You often find similarities between your job and your passion. There should be something in common that suits you. Architecture and running are not exceptional. They are both challenging and require dedication and commitment.  
While Frankfurt marathon is getting closer. I actually got the same feeling as approaching a deadline in architectural design process. In architecture, you do most of the work in the last few days before a deadline. On running you cannot afford to do that. You need to taper before your marathon, meaning whether or not your training has gone well up to this point, there is not too much you can do about it a week before a marathon. When it comes to tapering "less is more"

On the other hand when you are used to running and training, tapering is not what you are looking forward to. Although you are excited about your coming marathon, you might feel sluggish and find the whole taper thing boring. That's when "Less is a bore"

PS. "Less is More" and "Less is a bore" are art and architectural mottoes from modern and post-modern eras. As an architect I rather agree with the first motto. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

It's not about the bike. That's for sure!

There have been only a few athletes that are so dominant in their sports that you cannot think of that particular sport without those names coming across your mind. Think of Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali.

You cannot think of cycling without acknowledging Lance Armstrong, an inspiring figure who survived the cancer, got back to cycling and won seven Tour de France titles and helped fighting cancer through his organization "Live Strong".  But after several years there are now more words that remind us Lance Armstrong. Say doping, EPO and testosterone. He will no longer be remembered as Tour de France winner, but as someone who destroyed cycling for almost a decade.

I used to be a big fan of Lance. His autobiography is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. He has inspired millions for sure. Thank you lance for inspiring me, but I would rather seek motivation somewhere else.

Here are a couple of quotes I cannot figure out:

"I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart." Lance's response to USADA.

"The truth is, if you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a husband, a son, and a father." Lance Armstrong, It's not about the bike, My journey back to life

This remains one of my favourite books. I might keep it in another shelf though. It is no longer considered autobiography. It's better kept in fiction shelf, somewhere close to Aldus Huxley's "Brave new world."

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Thursday, 11 October 2012

New look

Once again I changed the look of this page. The reason is while I still believe it was looking pretty neat, it is more functional now. It's much easier to navigate and  you can find the most popular posts of mine and also all the labels. And there is also a link to my latest workouts on Movescount (Suunto's official training log website) So you can track my training and hopefully give me some feedback on that.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Turn around and say "Watch me"

I could not agree more.

“There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to do is turn around and say, ‘watch me’.”  Layne Beachley

That was a great day.

Today started by trail running on one of my favourite routes. A quick 5K in the evening followed by an intense plyometric workout.
Eighteen days to Frankfurt marathon. Missed quite a few workouts while training for this marathon. It's not gonna be easy this time. But wait a minute! It has never been easy. This is the essence of running.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Second marathon in less than four weeks. Not in the best shape!

I am planning to run Frankfurt marathon late this month and I am not in the best shape! I admit that I have missed quite few training sessions due to different reasons (Or shall I say excuses?). Three weeks of intense training ahead. This is not going to be easy and for that very reason I am going enjoy it. Again I am going to give it my best. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Strength training

After being away from running for a couple of weeks finally managed to come back to my running routine. A bit behind my marathon training plan at the moment, but it's time to push it harder and catch up. Last week I added some plyometric exercises to my training and after quite a while finally found a gym that holds a set of kettlebells. Kettlebell training is very intense and dynamic, and you don't need to spend hours in the gym.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

When failure motivates you. A note on the Great North Run

Great North Run was the first running event I ever watched. It was 2007 when I first saw thousands of people running in the streets and that was long before I gave running a go. At that time running 13.1 miles sounded impossible to me.

When I started running, Great North Run was the first event I wanted to participate. It was in February that I registered and got a confirmed place in 2012 GNR. Then after a few months I found that I am not gonna make it this year due to some travel issues.

And this failure led me to a greater choice. I did register for Swissalpine marathon. Running a marathon was something that I was not even dreaming of. And I did it three months before my first planned half-marathon!

Today 55000 runners competed in GNR and I was not one of them. But what I did instead was running a half-marathon on my own this morning.

Do embrace your failure. It might bring you new opportunities.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

More than a sport

"He doesn't run to live, he lives to run" Kilian Jornet says about Anton Kurpica.

Training time

With my second marathon planned in late October I wrote down a six-week training plan. That consists of easy runs, tempo runs, Intervals, fartleks, hill trainings and of course weekly long runs. Let's get this started!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A reminder to myself!

You could either start your day by running, sweating, struggling and feeling alive afterwards or you could hit the snooze button and feel sluggish the whole day. The choice is clearly yours!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Bad weather, sore muscles and all other excuses

"You're not disabled by your disabilities, but abled by your abilities."  Oscar Pistorius

Next time you find yourself making excuses for not running (We all sometimes do) Think of these guys!

Kenya's Samwell Mushai Kimani,  men's 1500m T11 final at the 2012 Paralympics
 Oscar Pistorius aka The Blade Runner, The first athlete who competes in both Olympic and Paralympic games. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

It's not easy anymore, but it's manageable!

I shot a few movies while running the Swissalpine marathon. Stitched them together and came up with this. Sorry for poor quality and shaking images. It was my first time ever using a camera while running.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Got a headache? Go for a run!

I was suffering from a severe headache for last few days. It just faded away after this run. 17km trail run (and walk)  ascending and descending more than 900 meters. Training in high altitude!

 The route
A view of Tehran
  The trail 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Post-marathon recovery matters

In last few weeks before my first marathon, I hardly missed any training sessions. I did all the right things I knew during my tapering period. And give it my best on the race day.

What I really ignored was post-marathon recovery. I was on holiday and visiting different places. The day after the marathon I was suffering from runner's knee which required some rest. But I decided to give paragliding a try! In the fourth day I went for a 5 km run and ran another 8km the day after. What I ended up was a sore knee which I could not run on for a week or so (That doesn't mean that I didn't try.)

Now the pain is over and the new training is due to start tomorrow. Stay tuned.  

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Vibram FiveFingers, First run

went for a 5k run in Vibram FiveFingers this evening. The experience is different from any other shoes (well, if you could call them shoes).

Vibram Bikila LS 

I have been working on forefoot strike for a few months. And when you wear a pair of these you have to run with a correct form; Landing close under the body, landing on your forefoot, gently touching the ground and lean slightly forward.But the most enjoyable part of wearing these "shoes" is the feeling you get from touching the ground.  As you run, you receive different signals from surfaces you touch such as rocks, grass and asphalt in the most natural way. 

I am definitely going to wear these guys every now and then to correct my running form and experience the pure joy of barefoot running. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Excited, nervous?

I was looking for Swissalpine marathon report on their facebook page and I came across a report in German by Sven Bladt. Surprisingly I spotted myself in one of his photos.

And the caption was "Excited, Nervous?" 

This is taken in the first few minutes of the race. I remember being really excited at that point, but looking at this photo it seems that I was also concerned about something. This is pretty much what happens during a marathon (Well, at least it did happen during my first marathon). Distance running is a physical activity that is often driven by mind. You need to be focused to be able to carry on. 

Jacqueline Gareau once said  "The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Swissalpine impression

This might give you an impression of Swissalpine 2012. Do yourself a favour and run the Swissalpine next year.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

One night, two great races!

What a night it was for athletics.
First, Mo Farah of Great Britain won the gold medal in 5k.

And then in the most spectacular event of 2012 Olympics, Jamaican Team of Usain Bolt,Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater smashed the world record by 0.2 seconds and won the gold medal in 4x100 meter relay. 
All photos taken from official Olympic website :

These are kind of stuff everyone wants to see. Absolutely inspiring. Men's marathon in a few hours.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

What happened in Davos - Swissalpine C42 marathon, 28 July 2012

"If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon." Emil Zatopek

As many of you know by now, after almost two years of running, I went all the way to Davos, Switzerland to run my first marathon in late July. 

Davos is the highest city of Europe. The population is just around 13000. It is among the most popular destinations for skiing  in winters. Swissalpine consisting of several different races is a major event gathering some 5000 runners from all around the world in late July.

K78, C42 and K30 races start at Davos Stadium at 7am. I arrived there at 6:30, run for a few minutes to warm up and made my way to the starting line a few minutes before 7. Standing at the start line of my first marathon with almost 1500 other runners was a unique experience.

The race started at precise 0700 hrs. The first 5 kilometers was a loop through Davos. People were standing on pavement and cheering for runners by ringing bells and shouting Hopp Hopp! Everyone was cheering, from people who were watching the race from their balcony to Davos hospital staff and a few patients who were standing in front of the hospital.

 Looking fresh at the beginning
 An artwork along the way

After passing the 10km mark there was an uphill road that was almost the steepest part of the race. And soon after that the asphalt bit of the course finished and we ran the most of the remaining distance on trail.

Stunning landscape 
 Quite dark tunnels
At some points we had to walk
Still enjoying the run
 Close to 30km mark

After passing the 30km mark. The K30 race finished and almost one kilometer after that K78 and C42 routes devided and the last 11km of the race was very quite. And I have to tell you it was not easy anymore. 

And finally crossing the finish line in Tiefencastel in 4:08.

When I started running, I didn't even dream of running a marathon. But here I am, standing at the finish line. Absolutely chuffed!

It was not easy I have to admit. I found the last 3-5km really tough and painful. I had sore muscles and joints for a few days after. But now I am planning my next marathon. Yes, already!