Monday, February 28, 2005

Nutrition requirements for runners

-- From Runners World, Feb2005 --

So it isn't surprising that men and women have different nutritional needs as well. And when you add running to the mix, our nutritional requirements become even more distinct.

Thanks to recent research conducted by exercise physiologist Mark Tarnopolsky, Ph.D., of the McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario, we're gaining a better understanding of how male an
d female athletes should best fill their dinner plates.

Calorie Requirements
No big news flash here: Men eat more than women. And for good reason--men need, on average, 6 to 10 percent more calories per pound of body weight than women to keep their muscles and organs operating properly. During exercise, men also burn more calories than women. This is partly because men are typically larger than women. But also, pound for pound, men burn more calories during exercise because they generally have more muscle and less fat than women. This translates into greater calorie-burn.

For example, a 30-mile-per-week male runner needs about 20 to 22 calories per pound of body weight, or 3,200 calories per day for a 160-pound man. A woman running the same mileage needs only 18 to 20 calories per pound, or 2,400 calories a day for a 130-pound woman. Of course, your numbers may vary depending on such factors as mileage and genetics.

For women only: Since women must meet their vitamin, mineral, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber needs with fewer calories per day, they have less leeway for eating nutritionally "empty" foods such as soda or candy. Women need to eat a base of at least 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day from fruits, vegetables, grains, and quality protein sources such as soy foods, fish, beans, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Depending on how much you run, you may be able to include about 200 calories a day of extra foods such as cookies, ice cream, or chips.

For men only: Consuming enough calories may be a problem for some male runners. When you don't eat enough, you may lose weight unintentionally, or end up running on empty. To make sure you meet your calorie needs, don't skip meals, eat an evening snack on those days you fall behind in calories, and always follow your runs with a recovery meal that includes a hefty dose of carbohydrates along with protein. For example, a hearty tuna sandwich, fruit, some fig bars, and milk make up a great postrun meal.

Carbohydrate Counts
Research shows that men and women burn a different mix of fuels when they run, which means the genders should probably prepare differently for endurance performance. For instance, women, thanks to estrogen, burn fat better than men.
During a moderately paced run, women derive more than 40 percent of the energy needed to power their run from fat, which means precious muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) is spared. Men, on the other hand, get only 30 percent of the energy needed for running from fat. This means that men burn through their glycogen stores faster than women. Such fuel-burning efficiency helps explain why some women out-perform men during ultra-distance marathons. (Essentially, their carbohydrate stores can hold out longer.)

On a related note, Tarnopolsky's research group has also determined that when it comes to carbo-loading to boost glycogen stores, women must do more than just shift their food choices toward the usual pasta-and-bagels diet. To carbo-load fully, women should take in at least 450 grams of carbohydrates daily, or about 4 grams per pound of body weight, in order to boost glycogen stores. Most of this should come from quality carbohydrate sources such as grains, beans, and fruits.

For women only: To prepare yourself nutritionally for long runs, you need to be certain to eat enough. Aim for at least nine or more servings of grains daily (half a cup of pasta or other grains or one slice of bread per serving), choosing mostly whole grains. Also aim for seven or more fruit and vegetable servings daily.

For men only: Since your glycogen stores empty quickly during moderate to long training runs and races, make sure you eat enough carbohydrates on a daily basis. Aim for 12-plus servings of grain, and nine-plus servings of fruits and vegetables daily. For men running high mileage, a carbohydrate supplement drink, such as Gatorade Energy Drink, may help keep you fueled.

Protein Demands
It's a well-established fact that runners need more protein than the average sedentary Joe. But how much more? And is there a difference between male and female runners?

Research shows that male endurance athletes appear to break down more protein as fuel during strenuous workouts than women. This means that male endurance athletes need slightly more protein than female athletes.

Studies show that male runners need at least 50 percent more than the RDA for protein, or about 0.6 grams per pound of body weight. This is equivalent to 90 to 110 grams of protein daily for the average man. Women runners need at least 25 percent above the RDA, or about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight, which is equivalent to 65 to 75 grams daily for the average woman. Protein needs rise even more as mileage increases.

For women only: Try to eat quality protein sources at every meal, aiming for two to three 3-ounce servings of lean meats, soy foods, eggs, fish, or poultry along with beans and grains. And take in two to three servings of dairy products daily. Also include protein sources as snacks, such as soy nuts or yogurt.

For men only: You can easily meet your greater protein needs by eating quality sources such as fish, poultry, soy foods, lean meats, and eggs. (In other words, you don't need protein powders.) Aim for three to four protein servings daily, and include protein foods as snacks and during postworkout meals.

Iron Needs
All athletes, particularly runners, are at greater risk than sedentary people for anemia due to blood loss. For example, runners may experience some blood loss through gastrointestinal bleeding brought on by intense exercise. Or you can damage blood cells every time your feet hit the ground on a run, ultimately leading to some blood and iron loss.

But due to menstrual blood loss, women are at greater risk than men for iron-deficiency anemia, which boosts women's iron needs about 80 percent over those of men. What's more, many female athletes opt for a meatless diet, which exacerbates their risk of iron deficiency because meat contains the most usable form of iron. If you feel fatigued just doing daily activities, or find yourself particularly intolerant to cold temperatures, see your physician for a blood workup and an iron assessment. For women only: If you eat meat, include dark-meat poultry, fish, and lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Meat-eaters and vegetarians should also eat quality iron sources such as beans, lentils, iron-fortified cereals, wheat germ, grains, green leafy vegetables, figs, and raisins. Eat all these with vitamin C-rich foods (kiwis, oranges, berries, peppers), which help boost iron absorption.

For men only: You can easily meet your lower iron needs even if you're not a meat-eater. Just be sure to include regular servings of beans and fortified breakfast cereals in your weekly meal plan.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

18km X-Country MacRitchie To Bukit Timah

I met up with the SAFRA Running Group this morning for our usual sunday long run. Today we were going to run from MacRitchie through hilly terrain to Bukit Timah Hill and back. This loop is about 18km, but will feel more like 21km because of the x-country and numerous slopes.

Started at 7am. Brought the water pouch, and it was a lot more secure (without bounce) with a smaller bottle. We started off running towards the Northern Route. Thiam Huat was leading the way, and we did a relatively fast 21min when we came out to the road at SICC. My heart rate was a healthy 160bpm till this point. Waited at this point for the rest to come on, and then followed the new leader, Yong Hwa (from Toa Payoh). We went up the 2 steep slopes along the road, and did a turn left into the pipeline dirt road. I immediately recognized that this road will lead us to Bukit Timah. I continued along, and followed this road through some ups and downs, and had to cross some pipes walking at 2 points. We finally reached the end of the road at the 38min mark.

At this point, I took a sip of water, and followed Sok Hwa and Wong along asphalt road. After running for about 15min, we reached a station, where we turned down through a small crack and arrived at the pipelines again. This time, we went into the small road which I remember taking to the Bukit Timah Hill the last time I went trekking with Westly and gang. From here I took the lead and increased speed to reach the Bukit Timah visitor centre in 57min.

Took a 10min break with the rest. We took the same route where we came from, but entering just slightly ahead at the Kampong Trail. This time around, Ah Mun, a 50+ gentlemen took the lead, and from here me and Ah Mun headed all the way back to MacRitchie. It was a pretty humid morning, as we headed back to SICC and going back through 3 upslopes. Then entered the forest at 1hr35min mark, and Ah Mun took the lead from me after the first steep slope. I ran behind Ah Mun for another 3km or so, amidst the many walkers and trekkers crowding the tracks by then. With about 1km left, I overtook Ah Mun on a relatively long upslope, and reached back to the toilet point , and clocked in another satisfying run.

Distance Ran:18km XC___Time:1hr55min___Pace:6:21min/km
Average HR:1584bpm_____Max HR:166bpm_____KCal: 1465

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

MacRitchie 10km Northern Route

My plan this morning was to run and do a time trial of the hilly Northern Route, quite a challenging x-country route. The last I ran this route was in Jan 05, when I did 52min for the Swift-AGT race.

The MacRitchie 10km Northern Route (Marked In Red)

On this Saturday morning, after dropping off my son for his football match, I drove to MacRitchie Reservoir Park at about 6.30am. Did a slow jog and some stretches to warm up, while waiting for first light.

Pushed the start of the watch at 7.05am, barely first light, and still quite dim. Ran from the zig-zag bridge and straight into Lornie trail. As it was still dark, I ran cautiously, watching for my steps. I cannot afford any injury, especially with the Mar6 KL race coming up.

I was maintaining a good pace, and reached the usual slopes in regulation...9min+ at the 3rd slope along Lornie Trail. There were many runners running back along this same stretch, and I believe they started when it was dark. Phew...maybe they have better eyesight than me.

I reached the T-juction (3.5km marker) at 11:51min. Pressed the Lap Timer. OK, quite reasonable timing. Turned right into the golf course leading to TreeTop walk. Reached the 5km mark (6.6km marker) at 27:55. Must have taken slightly longer time due to the early darkness along the undulatingt slopes fringing the golf course. There were already 2 flights of golfers playing on the greens. I moved on, and soon passed Jelutong Tower, and finally into Sime Track.

The Sime Track is a difficult portion of this route; very rocky, upslope, and long....leading all the way to Terantang Trail, and further upslope to road fringing SICC. My legs were feeling weak this morning along the stretch. Could it be due to lack of sleep? Lack of carbo for energy? Not enough rest from the long run 2 days back? I still don't know why. I continued to push on, slowing my pace a little to adjust, and take in more air. The heart rate was hovering at 160 along this stretch.

After getting onto the road, I noted the reverse route, and realized that I missed that the last time...I should turn left into this road, should I come from the reverse direction. Anyway, from here, a good breather downhill, and going into the final stretches of upslopes back into the forest. There are something like 2 long upslopes here, and once we pass them, it will be the end of the difficulty portion of the course.

On the final 2km stretch, it was smooth, but I was watching out for the many walkers and trekkers coming in the opposite direction. They were bunching together, and I had to slow down to avoid colliding with some of them.

Finally reached the end of the forested area, coming out into the Little Sisters Of The Poor area, and did a final sprint to the end. Clocked in at 53:35. Not really fast, but I'll take it, considering my less-than-perfect condition this morning. There was already a buildup of students from a school - probably another x-country school competition. No wonder the carparks were jam packed this morning.

I did my warm-down stretch, and proceeded to the market to meet my wife for a hearty breakfast.

Distance Ran:10km XC___Time:53:39min___Pace:5:22min/km
Average HR:158bpm_____Max HR:166bpm_____KCal: 721

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

26km run along Yio Chu Kang Rd (24 Feb 2005)

'Honk...Hoooonk'. All of a sudden, I was awaken from my Runner's High, after running for about 1hr45min. I was really in the zone, with just 6km to home, after already 20km since 5.30am. I looked around, thinking it must be some irritable driver getting stuck in traffic. But wait...could it be my fairy-godfather, fulfilling my wish list this year for a spanking new Mercedes Benz? Dreams do come true sometimes, especially when one is in the zone...Naah, just jesting!

'Honk..Honk..Honk', I looked across the road, and there I saw someone in a nice Mercedes Benz waving at me, and shouting something. I could not make out who it was, since I was still in my zone. I waved back, knowing I'll find out later who that was. I was thinking of those people I know who drive Mercedes Benz of that size and colour, and who could be along that stretch of road at that hour...3 people came to mind. After another 50m or so, 'Honk...Honk' again. This time, I saw a guy dressed in nice business outfit waving at me from a petrol station across the main road...Ahhhh, it was Tony Koh, my friend and business associate in the healthcare business. Tony literally got out of his car, and I could see his beaming face. He must have been wondering 'What The Heck is this Anthony doing, running like crazy in the morning rush hour?"...HaHa, Tony, I will explain when we meet next.

After bumping into Tony and with his enthusiastic reception, I perked up for the next 3km.

The Yio Chu Kang Rd-Upper Thomson Rd Loop

The morning started at abt 5.15am. I decided to do the run in the morning, since I have some appointments in the day, stretching to the night. I will not be able to run with the SAFRA people tonight. I thought might as well put in some mileage. I felt like doing a longish one, and was deciding between the Yio Chu Kang (YCK) stretch, or the Ponggol end. I went with the YCK loop since it will have less traffic at that time. The route also passes many estates where my friends and associates live, my previous work places, as well as my previous home. This stretch does bring back good memories.

Put on my heart rate monitor, set to 20kSet, did a few warm-up stretches, and I went. The morning at 5.30am was already coming alive, with the bus system starting to operate. There were people watching football (Chelsea, I heard) at the coffee shops along Upp Serangoon Road. After a while, I passed by Gerald Drive...wondering, Cartel, my friend must be still sleeping. Continued to move off, and passed the junction of Jalan Kayu after about 35min of running. I immediately thought of Jemme and Johnner, who lived a little deep inside this quiet and serene estate. Nice. Jemme might be awake watching football? Nah, better catch him next time. Don't want to scare his family in the early morning. His sister might think I was about to pull her along for a good run...Ha Ha, funny thoughts help to keep the spirit going...moving on...

Continued along the very long stretch of YCK Rd, and after a while, I neared Apple Computer office. Hah, I was working there for 7 years. Very fun and creative culture, and I had many a cool toy from Apple. Just ahead was the Castle Green condominium, where I lived for a while. The swimming pool here is large, and that was one reason I bought the place then. Checked my watch, 54min elapsed. I remembered I reached here abt 55min the last time. OK, similar pace. Then moved on passing Teachers Estate and finally reached Upper Thomson Rd. Made a turn right upwards for another few km, before turning back to the Casuarina estate, to get my refreshment.

Took a 5min break of 100plus. The heart rate in the chart indicated low pulse, rest. Hmmm, very refreshing. The coffee shop just opened, and the pratas were being readied. I had been running for about 1.5hrs already, and having a very steady heart rate of 140+...pretty ok for such long runs.

After the quick drink, continued the return journey back along YCK road on the reverse. I could see that traffic was starting to build up. I hastened my pace a little, and very soon reached Castle Green again. Pressed the Lap button on my watch, for the final lap timing back. I did 54min back, same as when I came. Very consistent pace...good. Ran past Jalan Kayu entry point, followed by Gerald Drive...and it was just ahead that Tony Koh horned (Tony, correct me if I am wrong).

Traffic really is heavy by now, 7.45am. Getting quite difficult crossing those traffic junctions. Finally finished the run at about 8.00am, taking me 2hr35min to cover 26km. I think this ranked as the longest solo run I had without any rest. Of course I did 40km in January 2005 to support The Lonely Runner's charity drive for tsunami victims, but that was for charity, and I had a rest break of 30min after 20km.

Anyhow, I will have to start even earlier next time, if I wish to run longer, and yet avoid bustling traffic on the way back.

Distance Ran:26km_____Time:2hr35min_____Pace:5:56min/km
Average HR:147bpm_____Max HR:159bpm_____KCal: 1820

Keep On Running, Don't Stop Running!

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10 more days to KL International Marathon 2005

My, I just realized that it is 10 days more to Kuala Lumpur (KL) International Marathon 2005.

This is my first overseas run, and also my first competitive 21km (Half Marathon). Beverly and Adrian are also entered in this competition for the 10km distance. We are all set to leave on Mar 5, reaching KL a day earlier to collect our race bibs and soak in the atmosphere at the race expo.

I have many more experienced runner friends going up as well; people like The Lonely Runner and his gang, the SAFRA Running Club members, friends from the MacRitchie Runners, and many more social runners like myself. We are anticipating to have a good run, as well as have a good time carbo-loading at the famous Yum Cha places and little food haunts in nearby Chinatown. Shopping at the 5-storey Bt Bintang Shopping Mall will be a must-do for us too.

As me and my gang are not really entered into the long race (aka Marathon), there is no need for us to go through tapering (runner' speak for slowing-down, relaxing before big race). I will continue to have my average speed runs, and will look forward to having a good experience in KL.

I will be putting up at Hotel Malaya near Chinatown. I know there are others staying in nearby hotels like the Swiss In Hotel. I heard that there is a sizeable contingent from Singapore, and I look forward to saying hello to all of you when we are in KL.

Keep On Running, Don't Stop Running!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bananas - A Runner's Best Friend


After Reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!
Bananas. Containing three natural sugars -- sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.

No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills -- eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

High Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine", eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

SAFRA Club Run On 22 Feb 2005

This evening I had my regular Tuesday run with the SAFRA Running Club. They normally have their runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, culminating in a long run on Sunday mornings at MacRitchie. I drove to Telok Blangah at 6.15pm, and did a little warm up. Met the usual runners, Thiam Huat (Chairman), Adam, Paul, Teen, Sam, Sok Hwa, etc. I think a group of about 15 eventually turned up.

There are various groups running at different paces and distances, and I always try to go for the longest (to maximize my time there). I decided to take the canal route, which runs from Telok Blangah into Depot Road, along Queensway, turning off into Jln Hang Jebat, crossing the railway tracks, into Portsdown Rd, all the way to Dover Road, then out into Clementi Rd, turning off into the Ulu Pandan Canal. After the stretch of the canal, it goes along Buona Vista Rd, back into Portsdown Rd on the return stretch, all the way back through Jln Hang Jebat, Queensway, Depot Rd and finally ending at Telok Blangah. It is estimated to be abt 20km loop.

Pushed start on my HRM at 6:45pm and started off slowly. My watch was beeping for a good 3km due to the slower pace (I selected the 10kSet). The first part of the run had me, Sok Hwa, Adam and Lee running as a group. At the start of Portsdown, we were joined by Hock Soon and Sam. I then went ahead following Sok Hwa (since she provides a very good pace). Sok Hwa is one of the top lady runners at the club and in Singapore.

After the Dover Road Stretch, I was just following Sok Hwa to the canal. The rest had turned for the shorter route. Reached the start of the canal and pressed the lap timer...had ran for 52min according to the watch. The stretch of the canal took a smooth 12min, estimated to be about 2.2km.

Once out from the canal, we went to the Buona Vista MRT toilets for a refreshing drink. I took many gulps of water from the tap, and took about 3min here. When I came out, Sok Hwa was already waiting. We continued on along Buona Vista Rd, then turning back towards Portsdown.

Once we came out of Jln Hang Jebat, I ran ahead of Sok Hwa...and ran all the way back on my own. When I reached back, most of the gang were already back. Took a quick bath, and went with the group for a well-deserved carbo-loading session at our usual hawker centre nearby.

Distance Ran:20km_____Time:1hr47min_____Pace:5:21min/km
Average HR:153bpm_____Max HR:187bpm_____KCal: 1362

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Monday, February 21, 2005

10km Recovery run on 21 Feb 2005

After the long run yesterday morning, I decided to go for a short recovery run tonight with my wife, Beverly. Beverly intended to use this opportunity to practise for her KL run, as well as to burn off her excesses from the recent CNY goodies.

We started off very slowly from my house at 10pm. This loop goes from Upper Paya Lebar Rd, turning into Braddel Rd, going on to Upper Serangoon Rd, onwards to Kovan Hub, then turning right towards Tampines Rd, moving along parts of Hougang estate, then finally going into Lorong Ah Soo, and back home. This is the regular 10km route I always run. Sometimes I run another round in reverse order to make it 20km.

The night was relatively serene, but the air was smelling burnt (from the fires caused by the dry spell we are experiencing in Singapore). We were running slowly, and chatting about the new food stalls coming up along the way. There looked to be a good western place selling fish, along the Upper Serabgoon stretch....hmmm, must go there one of these nights for supper.

We usually go for supper after one of these night runs. After expending 600-700 KCal, I reckon we need to reload with a good bowl of fresh fish porridge or famous prawn noodles at Joo Seng. Also will normally buy some fried Yu Tiao back for snacks.

My heart rate was averaging 121. Very low indeed. No wonder I just burnt 575 KCal, according to my HR monitor. Well, I guess its ok for a recovery run. Towards the last 1km, I could no longer tahan the slow pace, and sped off to bring the heart rate to a 155 average. Reached back home in 1hr6min. My wife came back just 1min later. Not bad, I think she improved on her timing again. Last week she ran 1hr8min for this 10km loop. The previous week was 1hr9min. If she improves by 1min a week, maybe she can run a sub 1hr 10km.

Well, took a quick bath, and we went to Joo Seng Food Centre and had noodles. The fish porridge owner told us 2 days back they would close for the next 15days.

Biting into my crispy yu tiao, and sipping my LingZhi coffee, as I am writing this....Yummy!

Distance Ran:10km_____Time:1hr6min_____Pace:6:36min/km
Average HR: 127bpm_____KCal: 575

Running Log

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Inaugural Sunday Run With SAFRA Runners Group @ MacRitchie

Yes, finally made it for my first long run with the SAFRA Runners Club members this sunday morning.

I arrived early at carpark A, at aboute 6:40am. Did some warm-up stretches and soon met Thiam Huat, Foo, Wong, Philip Chua, Philip Tan, Adam, Tong Lin and the rest. Quite a big group today it seems, including 5-7 members from Toa Payoh side.

We started to run at about 7.15am from the start of the Northern Route from the pond side. Started my Polar HRM promptly selecting the 20k Exercise Set Program since I have been told we will cover about 21km today. The water bottle was not strapped on properly, and I had to carry the bottle in my hand for the entire duration of the run - really have to get one of these FuelBelts.

There were many runners starting off at about the same time, and soon I was slowly passing quite a number. After running for about 20min, exited the trails and ran along the road upwards the steep slopes around SICC. This is the part I know that will bring my heart rate very rapidly higher.

Heart Rate Chart For 1st Part Of Run

After about 2 steep slopes, we suddenly turn left towards a very scenic part of the golf course fringing the reservoir (not sure which hole of the SICC course this is). Met many runners coming back along this route.

After passing this scenic portion, we arrived at the first toilet/water point. This may have been the 35min point (based on HR readings). Did a quick pee, and proceeded on with Foo. Foo mentioned that there is some distance more to go from here, and to take it easy. From here, it was a series of up/down slopes...pretty challenging at times. It was around here where a series of steep slopes got my HR to a max of 182.

At about the 1hr mark, I exited to the main road. I ran an extra 1km here looking for people behind. Finally say Jimmy Tan and he showed me the way. From here it was to the Executive Golf Course (EGC) along Mandai Road where we have our second water point. Along the way, saw Foo and Jimmy Chua returning.

Jimmy Tan told me that very few runners, with the exceptions of those from SAFRA, MR25 and Red Hawke, that will run this route, since it is quite long for average runners.

We had a quick refill at the EGC water point, and as we were running out, we saw Adam trotting in. We returned to the same route, and along the serioes of slopes, my legs were feeling a little tired. I was quite well hydrated, since I was taking regular sips from the water bottle in my hand. By this time, we had been tunning for about 1.5hrs. Maybe a little strained from the 17km run I had the previous day.

We continued our way, and exited to Old Upper Thomson Road, then to Casuarina estate, along to Lower Pierce Reservoir before coming to the third water point. Lap time here showed 1:45min. We had run for about 18km, and Jimmy said it was just 4km more to go.

Heart Rate Chart For 2nd Part Of Run

Accidentally finished off the current exrecise set, and started a second set from here. Ran mainly along Upper Thosmson Road, to Thomson Road all the way to MacRitchie carpark A again. Took 22min to reach pack, at a faster pace.

Met up with the group, did some stretching, and I went for a hearty breakfast to re-fuel soon after. It was a good overall experience, and I look forward to the next run with the SAFRA group again.

Distance Ran:22km_____Time:2hr8min_____Pace:5:49min/km

Dream Runner

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Motivation: No Need For Speed- Running Forever

In his 100th column, the author remembers how his running life began, and why it'll never get old by: John Bingham

There was a time when becoming a runner was the farthest thing from my mind. Runners were, or so I thought, a lost group of tortured souls with tortured soles, achy muscles, and creaky knees. They were--as best I could tell from the safe distance I kept from all matters requiring movement--either pain addicts or fools. If they were the former they were to be pitied. If they were the latter, they were to be unmercifully mocked.

At the time, I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois and I knew only one runner. I listened to him describe his latest foray into marathon madness with equal measures of shock and amusement. And as he told in graphic detail the exact place and degree of chafing that occurred on his body, my amusement turned to horror. His stories of blisters were not for the faint of heart.

Somewhere between the black toenails and bleeding nipples I decided that he simply didn't have the courage to actually kill himself in one fatal act so he was going to accomplish it one mile at a time. Worse, to my way of thinking, he was actually proud of himself. Did he really think that a group of non-runners would applaud this lunacy? We didn't. We sat in silence. It was madness pure and simple.

In time graduate school, my runner friend, and his stories faded into the shadows of my memories, and I pursued employment and other endeavors. Thoughts of running disappeared for more than a decade. Then, at 43, when I was an associate dean at Oberlin College, I had one colleague who was becoming a runner and another who was an avid cyclist. They seemed to have something I didn't, although I didn't know what that was. I couldn't bring myself to run at first, so I bought a bike. Later, I decided to try to become a runner.

Like most beginning runners, I ran too much too soon. I ran too fast and too far. I discovered almost immediately what I was running from. I was running from where I had been, where I was, and where I was headed. But like so many runners, no matter how far or how fast I ran, I always ended up right where I had started. With myself.

I got what help I could from this magazine. I took what I could understand from Hal Higdon, Joe Henderson, and the late, great running philosopher George Sheehan. I read their words but didn't really know their meaning. I knew what it was to run, but had no idea what it was to be a runner.

The only way I could make sense out of my running was to write about it. It started simply enough by keeping a logbook. That soon gave way to writing a running journal, and that eventually gave way to writing fervently about running. I discovered early on that it wasn't the sport of running that attracted me but the act of running. It was in the pounding of my own heart, in the rhythm of my own breathing that the answers began to come. The answers came if, and only if, I kept running.

I had written to a group of runners on the Internet. Runner's World editor Amby Burfoot called me and asked if I would write eight columns. That was the original agreement. One phone call, eight columns. And with that my life changed.

I wrote in one of those first columns that my running shoes had become giant erasers on my feet. Each footstrike wiped away the memory of some earlier indiscretion or failure. Each new pair of running shoes carried the potential of unlocking some secret place. Each pair of worn-out running shoes carried with them the scars of a healing soul.

One hundred columns later I am still here. More importantly you, the readers, are still here. You are, and have always been, the greatest gift that I have gotten from writing. We have dared to share our lives with one another. Together we have seen each other through 100 months of successes and failures.

I've seen life as a non-runner and as a runner. I can tell you with complete assurance that I've chosen, and will continue to choose, running. Without running there are no runners. And I've learned that a runner is everything I hope to be.

Waddle on, friends.

By John Bingham
Runners World Magazine

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Morning Run To Sengkang Rd East (Loop)

I decided to run the 17km loop from my home along Serangoon Road, all the way to SengKang Rd East end. I normally do a U-turn at the end with a sports-drink from the nearby Cheers shop at Ponggol Shopping Centre.

This morning, I tried to bring my own water. The strap could not keep the water bottle down, and I had to carry the water in my hand for the first 9km. However, with regular sips, I was pretty well hydrated and felt good during the run.

I must seriously look at trying out a FuelBelt, which should allow me to carry water for longer runs in a firm manner.

My Polar HR monitor measured a average heart rate of 150, hitting a max of 162.

Returned from my run early at 6am, bathed, and went to do marketing with my wife.

Distance Ran:17km_____Time:1hr32min_____Pace:5:22min/km

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Friday, February 18, 2005

A little diet humor for some motivation

Ahhh...just finished my saturday morning run....while waiting to go for breakfast,

A little diet humor for some motivation

Diet Excuses

  • But the doughnut was calling my name.
  • But it was my birthday, so I had to eat the whole cake.
  • I had to get the bitter taste out of my mouth from eating the so-called dish, so I had an ice cream.
  • If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
  • If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are canceled out by the diet soda.
  • If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
  • Cookie pieces contain no fat -- the process of breaking causes fat leakage.
  • Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon making a sundae.
  • Only eat things that have been broken into pieces; that way, all the calories fall out.
  • Chocolate is a vegetable. How, you ask? Chocolate is derived from cacao beans. Bean = vegetable. Sugar is derived from either sugar CANE or sugar BEETS. Both are plants, which places them in the vegetable category. Thus, chocolate is a vegetable.

Inside me there's a thin person struggling to get out, but I can usually sedate him/her with four or five char siew pau

I don't exercise at all. If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them up higher on my body.

Dream Runner

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A KL Marathon Joke

I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying: "HELLO, are you going for the KL Marathon?"

I'm not the type to start a conversation in the men's restroom but I don't know what got into me, so I answered, somewhat embarrassed, "Yes I am."

And the other guy says: "So would you like to pace with me during the KL marathon?"

What kind of question is that? At that point, I'm thinking this is too bizarre so I say: "Uhhh, No Thanks but I am straight and perfer girls!"

At this point I am just trying to get out as fast as I can when I hear another question. "Can I come over?"

Ok, this question is just too weird for me but I figured I could just be polite and end the conversation. I tell him, "No........I'm a little busy right now!!!"

Then I hear the guy say nervously...
"Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!!!"

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