Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sunday Long Run @ Yishun-Seletar Reservoir

This morning was the second time trial for the SAFRA Running Club. I already went for the first one, where the weather was rainy and windy. This morning presented very good weather to do well for the 10km Time Trial. Our group of SAFRA Mt. Faber Runners were there to do their trial, and all came away with much better times than their first run, and for the first-timers, it was very good timing for them as well.

Since Adam, Teen, Wong, myself and a few others already had our time trials, we had plan to do a 20km long, slow distance run. Adam, Teen, Jaime & Wong were going to take this as prepraatory training for their upcoming Ipoh half mary. As for me, I just wanted to put a long run in.

We set off from the same same starting point as the trial runners, starting 1 minute after they had left. We ran an easy 6min pace toward the long stretch leading to Lower Seletar Reservoir, passing the bridge where a group of people were buying crabs off fishing boats coming in. We stopped for a while to look, and soon, we saw the first runners of the trial coming back. An Ang Moh runner was leading the pack, with our own Derek and Jimmy Chow not too far off. We then saw the first of our ladies, Eng Hwa, followed by Sok Hwa and then Tong Ling. Hmmm....seems like our Mt. Faber Runners were all at the front of the race. Good and consistent training, maybe?

Soon, the five of us ran past the last person, and reached the 5km mark of the time trial. We took a quick sip of water from the marshal, and we ran up ahead, and then turned left into the scenic route, leading us all the way to Seletar Base/Jalan Kayu. I was amazed that there was such a nice, short, route from Yishun to Jalan Kayu. I understand from Wong that we no longer need a pass to go into Seletar Base camp, and we ran right on inside. From the point, we have roughly covered 9km. I have been to the camp previously to play golf, but this was the first time I ran inside. The roads were narrow, but it was a nice run of about 2-3km inside the camp. We soon exited, and reached back to the 5km mark where we got the drink earlier.

At this point, we realized that we were not going to cover 20km today, but will settle for a shorter 17km. Since there was only 5km to go, and everybody knew the route we came from, I decided to do a fast 5km just to push the perspiration and heart rate up. It was a great 5km, and midway I had Wong cut me, and from then on, I ran about 50m behind him, at what I considered to be sub-5min pace. The photographer for the time trial was still around to snap a photo of us running back, and I finally reached the finish, breathless. I even forgot to stop my HRM watch, and probably let the time run for about 8min before I realized. Anyway, I will take the average rate of 5.30min/km pace.

Distance Ran:17km___Time:1hr35min___Pace:5:38min/km
Average HR:152bpm____Max HR:175bpm____KCal:1100

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Friday, May 27, 2005

MacRitchie 10km Northern Route

It has been some time since I have run the MacRitchie Northern Route. I had some time to do it today, and made an attempt to run it slowly. I strapped on my Polar S610i HRM for good measure, did a very brisk warm-up, and started off slowly at the zig-zag bridge.

I covered the first 3km, up to the exercise area pretty slow, at least 2min slower than normal. The ground was soggy and uddy, after days of rain. I was running carefully, not wanting to twist anything. I reached the Golf Course feeling strong, ran Sime Track quite well too.

The return from SICC was tiring for me today. There were indeed countless slopes up that way towards the Little Sisters Of The Poor, and I felt breathless. Maybe it was due to my lack of warm-up, lack of fueling, as well as a lon layoff from trail running. In other words, my conditioning was not up to par. Anyway, I enjoyed the run, and was perpiring profusely at the end of the hard run.

Distance Ran:10km XC___Time:59min____Pace:5:53min/km
Average HR:161bpm___Max HR:174bpm___KCal:870KCal

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Weekly SAFRA Thursday Run

This evening was another great time for running. A large group gathered at the SAFRA Telok Blangah ClubHouse, and we welcomed back a few runners who have been noticeably absent of late. Chairman announced that we will go up Labrador Hill and then followed by Telok Blangah Hill. I was just telling Jimmy Chow earlier that we shouldn't be doing hills, since we did the Rolling Hills just on Tuesday.

I was relish my weekday runs in the evening. It gives me a good workout, after a hard day's work. It also helps me burn calories, and maintain a fit posture and health. As usual, I was running on my own after anbout 2km. I then encountered Derek coming up from behind, asking me to increase my leg cadence. This was just before we entered Labrador Park. Upon crossing the road into Labrador Park, I increased my pace and rushed up the slope towards carpark A, with Derek overtaking me on the way up. We ran a hard pace, and I was panting as I reached the top. After having a good recovery on the down slope, I went on to run 3 laps of 800m around Labrador Park.

From there, I exited Labrador Park, and the skies were dark already. I ran past EH and Corrine on the way out, and then caught up with Chairman and Teen along the main road nearing Henderson Road. I asked Teen whether she was going up Telok Blangah Hill, and she said not for the night. She was quite drained as it was. I gave Ten a high-five, and ran towards Telok Blangah Hill. It was a struggle up the hill, as my legs were quite tired by then. On the long upslope, I overtook 2 other runners, and when I reached the top, I saw Wong and Yean. I then went on to do 2 rounds at the top of Telok Blangah Hill. I met the rest of the SAFRA runners like Adam, Paul and HS running in the reverse direction from me. I sped to a fast finish to the ClubHouse, very satisfied with the hard workout.

Distance Ran:12km___Time:1hr7min___Pace:5:36min/km
Average HR:159bpm____Max HR:173bpm____KCal:930

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Rollin Hills

Today was a dry day, finally, for our weekly Tue run at SAFRA. The group was relatively small, and we decided to do the famous hills around SAFRA Mt. Faber - Mt Faber and Telok Blangah Hills.

I had a discussion with Jamie along the way to Mt. Faber, and told her I saw her on television news. She was covered for her quest at the Olympics torch bearer competition, where she came in a close second, and got to go to Greece for free. I was suitably impressed with her perseverance and endurance, given her petite stature.

When we reached the bottom of Mt. Faber, it was all the way up for me. Ong took the lead from behind, and I followed closely behind. I then saw Akira ahead. He must have been there earlier, along with Foo. I reached the top feeling quite good, and proceeded to loop Mt. Faber for a second time. Ong and Akira went straight ahed to Telok Blangah Hill. From then on, it was me alone, and only when I exited Mt. Faber, and on the way up Telok Blangah, did I see the group again. I went up the steep first slope of Telok Blangah Hill, and this time, I was pumped. Nevertheless, I went to the top, did a small loop, and headed straight down to the ClubHouse. On the way down, I met Chairman coming up, who exclaimed that the night was still young, and that I could go another round. I felt I had a sufficiently good workout tonight, and I have had my 12km run at East Coast Park just yesterday. So, enough is enough. When we met up later, we planned for this Sunday's long 20km practice run at Yishun.

Distance Ran:9km___Time:51min___Pace:5:42min/km
Average HR:152bpm____Max HR:170bpm____KCal:660

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Training Tip of The Month: Run Like An Egyptian

--- Extracted From The Runners' World Magazine ---

Run Like an Egyptian

Use our training pyramid to create the perfect running schedule by: Ed Eyestone

Quality: It's the time you spend with your family, or the kind of engineering you want in a new car. It's also the type of running you have to do if you want to run and race well.

So what distinguishes quality running from plain old running? In a word: intensity. Quality running demands an increased effort above your daily, comfortable pace. Whether it be through speed work or hills, quality running increases your workload, and when done regularly, it boosts your performance. That said, there's a limit to how much quality you can safely and effectively pack into every week.

If we built a model representing the weekly mileage of most elite runners, it would resemble an Egyptian pyramid (talk about quality engineering). Successful runners build a solid aerobic base by running a large percentage of their weekly miles at a steady, comfortable pace. This "base mileage" should be the foundation of your own training pyramid. And the broader the base, the higher your pyramid can rise as you add quality running into the mix.

As your training pyramid ascends, each new level represents an increase in running intensity. The higher you go, the greater your perceived effort (which is just a fancy term for how hard it feels when you're running). And just as a pyramid tapers as it ascends, the amount you run at higher intensities is less than the level beneath it.

I once had a coach who would quiz me about my perceived effort during various workouts. Since I usually didn't have the breath or desire to describe in detail the particular circle of hell he was putting me through, we created a numbering system ranging from one to six to describe levels of running intensity. Here's a breakdown of these six levels, along with estimates of how much of your weekly mileage should be completed at each intensity level.

The Base

1. Very easy: 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate. You feel as if you can maintain this pace all day long. It's where you do your warmup and cooldown miles. It's also an excellent recovery pace when you're jogging between speed repeats.
2. Easy: 65 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Aerobic conditioning occurs at this pace. Do runs at this easy pace when you're recovering from a hard workout the previous day. Also, maintain this pace for the early miles of a long run.
3. Moderate: 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. The majority of your base mileage should be done at this solid training pace. Long runs should also finish in this zone. The base of your training pyramid is built with miles run at levels 1,

2, and 3, which, taken together, should account for about 80 to 85 percent of your overall mileage.

The Quality Zones

4. Hard: 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is the zone that improves your lactate threshold, or how fast you can run without accumulating a debilitating amount of lactic acid. Steady-state runs done at marathon race pace, tempo runs, and tempo-pace intervals are all examples of running in this quality zone. Workouts done at this pace should account for roughly 10 to 12 percent of your weekly mileage.
5. Very hard: 90 to 97 percent of your maximum heart rate. Long intervals, such as mile repeats, 1200s, 1000s, and 800s run at your 5-K or 10-K race pace will get you into this zone. Running at this intensity improves your max VO2 and should total 5 to 7 percent of your weekly mileage.
6. So hard you should get paid: 98 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate. Running 400-, 300-, or 200-meter repeats at anywhere from your 800-meter to mile race pace should get you into this zone. Workouts at this intensity improve neuromuscular coordination and accelerate leg turnover. Only 1 to 3 percent of your weekly mileage should be run at this level.

Always do one or two runs in zones 1, 2, or 3 after running in zones 4, 5, or 6. Stick to these guidelines, and you'll build a training pyramid that will take your running to new heights.

Ed Eyestone, a two-time Olympic marathoner and men's cross-country coach at Brigham Young University, has a master's degree in exercise physiology

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Holiday Run @ East Coast Parkway

The weather was great on this Vesak Holiday. I went with Beverly to the East Coast Parkway (ECP) for a slow and easy run, and also for her to recover from her walk yesterday. We arrived at ECP Big Splash section, did a short warm up, and started to jog slowly towards the MacDonald's direction.

There was a large holiday crowd of picnic goers, family and social gatherings, roller-bladers, walkers, joggers and cyclists. The weather was cloudy without any sun, and it was fun to run. This was the first time I have run the ECP in the day, and the last time I even ran there was when I did the tsunami run with The Lonely Runner in Jan05. I was enjoying the run, as well as the sights and smells of the BBQ meat. We could see the Soth-East Runners' route/distance markers along the way, and I knew they were left over from their weekly Saturday runs at the ECP, started recently.

We ran at a reasonably good pace, and we ran all the way along the lake, and towards the same route I did for tsunami run. It was full of people and bicycles along the way, and it was fun. Beverly remarked that some runners were really struggling and suffering. We reached the halfway mark, which is about 6km today in a good timing of about 36min. We did a quick toilet break and started our way back.

On the way back, it was the same good weather, and Beverly really enjoyed the run today. I normally run 10km with her on Monday nights, and normally she was panting after 6km. Today, we finished all of 12km at a good 6min pace. We even had time to stop at the jetty, and saw an impressive display of kite flying, 4 kites strung in a row. There was a huge crowd that gathered to watch too. We also saw many interesting dogs doing their walks. From the many joggers/runners/roller-bladers/cyclists we saw along the way, it was a good sign that Singaporeans are really adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Distance Ran:12km___Time:1hr14min___Pace:6:08min/km
Average HR:138bpm____Max HR:152bpm____KCal:850

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

The New Paper 10km Walk

My family have been talking about participating in the annual New Paper Walk for the past few years, but we have never got down to doing it. This year, I managed to sign up early along with some friends, and we were ready to walk the 10km non-competitively.

We woke up at 6am on this early Sunday morning. I will normally be going for my Sunday run with the SAFRA runners at MacRitchie, but today, I will be going for a walk instead. I have never really walked much, other than going for the trekking sessions with the gang. I am much more of a runner. We arrived at the National Stadium at 6.45am, only to be diverted away. We ended up parking at People's Association, about 1 km walk to the start point. I immediately sent out messages to my friends, and Lee Chean (Aki) responded soon enough. We met up at the nearby start point, where there was a large crowd of people, with loud music blaring away. It was really piercing to the ears.

Minister Raymond Lim flagged of the competitive walkers at 7.30am, followed soon by the huge bunch of fun walkers. There must have been at least a few thousand of us. It took us about 5min after flag-off to be able to walk slowly. The first 2km was about snaking through the sunday strollers, and social walkers. Once we penetarted through the crowd, we picked up the pace and very soon, my son, Sean was lagging. I dropped back to urge him on, whilst the rest move ahead. At the 4km mark, Beverly, Amanda and Aki moved ahead, and I was with Sean. I took some time near the mid-point to snap some photos with my camera-phone, and that was where I bumped into Adrian Chia.

The Esplanade, about the mid-point of The New Paper Walk

Adrian mentioned that he runs about once a week now, becaise of work schedules as well as him wanting to spend more time in the gym to beef up. After walking with Adrian for abour 1km, I asked him to move ahead with his friend, whilst I carried on with Sean. At about this time, I received a message from Westly that his family was not feeling well, and could not join us for the walk. No wonder. We were waiting to receive news from Westly when we did not see him at the start line. Westly had signed up for this walk much earlier than many of us, and he was looking forward to it. Well, such things do happen, sometimes.

One of the walkers, who later became too exhausted to move

The blazing sun came hard on us after about 1.5hrs of walking. Sean was getting tired legs, and I was feeling a bot from the sun too. We hurried along, and finally reached the finish line. I didn't check the time, but I estimate we took about 1hr45min to walk the 10km. We met up, and all went to queue up for some cool ice-cream, before we talk the 1km walk back to the car, and headed for home. Overall, it was a good sunday activity for the family and friends. Maybe next year, we should do the competitive walk instead, to avoid the large crowd of social walkers in the non-competitive section.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday Long Run To West Coast

Some of the SAFRA runners like Sok Hwa, Eng Hwa, Teen and Chairman do their long runs on Friday nights, when they cannot do so on Sundays. This evening, I was able to join them as my dinner appointment was cancelled.

I don on my new Nike outfit, Asics DS Trainer (finally got to run it on dry ground), met up with the the 3 of them and started out at about 6.50pm. We planed to run till 8.30pm at least, and decided to take the route as it came. We headed towards depot road, then to Queensway, Hang Jebat, Portsdown Road, exiting to wait for the 2 girls at the junction of Buona Vista Road. When we didn't see them, both Chairman and myself headed towards the Buona Vista MRT and took a water break at the toilet.

We moved on along commonwealth road, towards clementi, and then turning left towards West Coast Road. Chairman was strong tonight, and I was following behind, at a relatively fast pace. The stretch of West Coast was long, and brought us all the way to Pasir Panjang Road. We ran past Haw Par Villa, then along the full stretch of Pasir Panjang Road, passing Harbourfront, Comtech, and then straight on to Henderson Road, and all the way back to ClubHouse. I was drained at the final 1km of upslope, and finished at least a minute behind Chairman. It was a satisfying run. We later went for some carbo-loading, and tried one of aunty's home-baked cakes.

Distance Ran:20km___Time:1hr46min___Pace:5:18min/km
Average HR:153bpm____Max HR:177bpm____KCal:1380

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

3 Loops around Labrador Park

It was yet a very rainy day today. Phew! It has been like this for the past 2-3 weeks. It rainsed almost every tuesday or thursday, and even on sundays, when we have has SAFRA runs, and I was supposed to try my new DS Trainer.

I brought along my Nike Trail shoes today, just in case. True to my expectation, it rained very heavily at about 4pm. Fortunately it stopped to a drizzle by the time I reached SAFRA Clubhouse at Telok Blangah. We decided to run to Labrador Park, and then run 800m loops around it.

When we reached Labrador Park, I took the slopes up carpark A. Then I went on to do 3 loops of 800m each, and then back to the Clubhouse for an estimated 10km distance, I am reserving some for tomorrow's longer run. I hope it will be dry then.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:54.5min___Pace:5:26min/km
Average HR:152bpm____Max HR:173bpm____KCal:680

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

SAFRA Weekly Run To Botanic Gardens

Today was a very rainy day. It rained cats and dogs the whole day. Even as I was driving to SAFRA Mt. Faber, it was drizzling. However, by the time we started to run, the rain had stopped. The ground was still wet, and shit, I was wearing my new DS Trainers again. Seems like it is attracting wet grounds all the time.

I had an easy first half running with the rear group, and taking it real easy. I only sped away once I reached botanic gardens. Got back to Clubhouse at 8pm sharp, and waited for the rest to gather. Did a very quick cooling down.

Distance Ran:11km___Time:1hr03min___Pace:5:46min/km
Average HR:148bpm____Max HR:167bpm____KCal:740

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

SAFRA Mt. Faber Location Run

The SAFRA Mt Faber Running Club had its first location run this morning. There were a strong group of about 50 runners, both from Toa Payoh and Mt. Faber. The route was from the Telok Blangah clubhouse to Canterbury Estate, and then up to Mt. Faber (cable car towers), and then down back to the clubhouse.

It was supposed to be a casual run with no specific timing agenda. When we started at 7am, there was a light drizzle. We were having fun as we ran into Canterbury Estate. A good chance for me to catch up with the Toa Payoh runners like Donald, Eric, Tay...and also weekend regulars like Gula.

We took it quite easy, and until the slope up Mt. Faber, most were feeling easy on the run. Chairman gave a mini brief and the foot of the slope, and away we went...about 2km worth of it. This is the first time I ran this slope in the daytime. It was exhilirating, as I move past quite a number of runners. We took a short toilet break after reaching the cable car towers at the top.

A short toilet break before continuing

Chugging up the steep slope of Mt. Faber

From here, we stopped for a couple of group photos. It was the first time since joining the club in Dec 04, that I had a group photo with the SAFRA runners. I have to thank Chairman Thiam Huat for initiating that. After a short while, I sprinted all the way back to clubhouse as I had to get changed quick for my next appointment. I did not stay behind for the get-together, and I look forward to joining the group on our next location run.

Distance Ran:13km___Time:1hr10min___Pace:5:23min/km
Average HR:154bpm____Max HR:176bpm____KCal:930

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

14km Location Run Recce

We did a recce for the Location Run we are organizing for this Sunday at SAFRA Mt. Faber. We are expecting about 60 runners to come and join us to soak in the beautiful sights of the Mt. Faber area, where the SAFRA Club is sited.

The route is about 14km, and we will be taking it more slowly so that all can be well verse with the route to Canterbury Estate, and then to Mt. Faber, all the way up to Cable Car Towers, and then going back by the back way.

We started off at 6.50pm, with about 15 of us. I was again wearing my new DS Trainers, and again today was a very wet day. I was cautious along the way, as the sole of the new pair of shoes is still waxy. I enjoyed the smooth pace, estimated to be averaging 5:30min/km. I especially enjoyed the long slope up Mt. Faber from Morse Road. I accidentally stopped my HRM when we reached the Cable Car Towers, and though I recorded a second timing, I could only estimate the total time taken.

Distance Ran:14km___Time:1hr15min___Pace:5:30min/km
Average HR:149bpm____Max HR:168bpm____KCal:980

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Slow Recovery Run @ Home

The weather this evening was warm. However, I promised to run with my wife, Beverly, since she has not been running for the past 2 weeks. I was to take this as my slow, recovery run.

Rushed back home, and got ready by 7pm. Put on my HRM to measure my heart rate for a slow pace.

Beverly was really out of sorts, after the 2 week layoff. Though she continued with her aerobics and kick-boxing classes at Amore, they were in no way substitutes for a good, cardio, running workout. With nearly 3km to go, she wanted to give up. I reminded her that we have to maintain a steady running schedule if possible. We cannot skip, and attempt to do it all at once. It just doesn't work that way. Moreover, it was more important to run slow and long, than to attempt to run fast, but cannot keep pace, falling short. That is the way to build Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and increase calorie-burning efficiency. I pushed her, and in the end, she was glad to have finished. We had a hearty dinner when we got back, followed by a good dessert of sweet potato soup. We had burned sufficient calories to continue to snack on some nuts and chips later.

I noted that I burned 760KCal (recorded by HRM) as opposed to 710KCal for similar distance (10km) yesterday. Hoever, I stayed on the ground much longer this evening.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:1hr10min___Pace:7min/km
Average HR:132bpm____Max HR:154bpm____KCal:760

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

The SAFRA 10km Time Trial

This sunday morning at Yishun was the 10km time trial of the SAFRA Running Club, used in the pre-selection for their core running team (or elites). I was informed of this run about a week ago, and orginally did not plan to come, since I was way out of the qualifying time of sub 45min for 10km. My best timing for 10km was about 48min, and that was an unofficial recording of the 10km route around my house. However, Chairman Thiam Huat encouraged us to participate for the sheer experience, as well as try out the scenic Yishun route (along Seletar Reservoir).

I was jolted out of my sleep by my wife at 5.50am. I wanted to go a bit early for this 7am run, since I was not too familiar with the reporting place, Yishun Stadium. I had a piece of banana cake, a cup of coffee, put on my SAFRA Club yellow running gear, and off I went. I arrived at Yishun Stadium at 6.30am. A few people were coming in at this time, and I saw Derek arrive too. Met up with Adam, Teen, Thiam Huat, Wong a while later, and we were the minority from SAFRA Mt Faber. The rest, about 60 of them were from Toa Payoh. Their trainer was there too, and his SAFRA black dri-fit T-Shirt caught my eye. I later ordered some through Shirlyn, a Toa Payoh commitee member.

The run began at about 7.15am from the main road across the Yishun Stadium. We were given a brief of the route, which essentially runs all the way towards Orchid Country Club (OCC), past OCC to a scenic bridge flanked by a dam on one side, and the reservoir on the other. We will then do a right at the end, into a smaller road, and will hit the mid-point (5km) at the end of that small road. Then it was all the way back. I started off slowly and steadily, and immediately looked for some pacers.

A firm start

I was passed by about 5 runners who were running at a fast pace. I followed closely behind Supraman, Donald and a certain Eric (his name was printed on his running vest, and I thought his pace will be good for a 48min). I also remembered Donald mentioning to me his 10km timing nowadays were about 45min. As I was feeling quite comfortable, I continued to follow them on this pace. The rain had stopped but the ground was still a little slippery. I had on my new ASICS DS Trainer, and it was light.

Keeping Up The Pace

After about 3km, I overtook Supraman, and continued to run alongside Eric and another young guy. We entered the scenic bridge area, and at the turn to the small road, my timing was 20min. I was feeling OK. My heart rate of 168-172 was very steady, and it showed that I ran a very constant, hard pace. Into the small road, and nearing the mid-point, I saw the first few runners on the return. I clapped for them. Derek and Wong went past me, and I was not too far behind them. I felt good, since they were the faster runners I know - meaning I am still not too far away. I took a cup of isotonic drink at the mid point, and chekced that it was 23min. I felt good, and started increasing the pace. It was at this point that I overtook a few people, some of whom had overtaken me in the early part of the race.

As I was running out to the end of the small road, I began to see Adam, Eng Hwa, Thiam Huat and Teen coming in. I waved to them, and all were looking good. Once I hit the bridge area, I was running all the way with Eric. I was mostly running just behind him, and when I overtook him, he would always make it a point to come back in front. We ding-donged for about 3km, and then Eric upped the pace, drawing me closer to the rest of the pack at the front. We were just behind Donald. I felt good, but didn't want to push, since I was not too sure of how far more to go. I knew it must be quite near, but I was still cautious. A quick glance at my watch showed 40min. Then heavy rain came and soaked us for a bit, including the shoes. The winds were also gusty, and all these played a part in slowing us down.

A Reasonably Strong Finish

I suddenly could see more of the runners in front, and a lot were checking their watches for a last time, and then speeding up. I too upped the pace, and made a dash for the finish, when I finally saw the line about 300m away. I finished in 45min+ according to my HRM, making this a PB for me at 10km distance. I was happy with the run, despite the rainy weather. I had a banana to replenish. When all the runners finally came back, we washed up at Yishun Stadium, and a few of us went to have breakfast at the Prata Place (along Upper Thomson Road, near Ampang Yong Tau Hoo). We discussed the upcoming Location Run at Mt. Faber, as well as the Ipoh 21km. It was great food, and Wong was very kind to pay for this round of food. I certainly had a great time.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:45min40s___Pace:4:34min/km
Average HR:168bpm____Max HR:172bpm____KCal:710

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Other Running BLOGs In SIngapore & Malaysia

I haven't been to the other parts of my running BLOG for a while since I started this. The reason is that my running BLOG has been quite private, and I haven't really broadcasted it to many people. I had a pleasant surprise when I found a number of friendly messages left in my shoutbox, giving support. I recognized most of them to be fellow runners in Singapore and Malaysia, all with their own very respectable and interesting running BLOGs too.

I just want to say thanks to those who have left their mark here.
Sukaimi of MR25 fame - The Lonely Runner
David Ong of MR25 fame - DO Running Journal
Ronnie See of PaceSetters fame - The PaceMaker

I have been to all these websites and more for my early running inspirations. There are a lot more of such great running BLOGs, and I encourage you to go take a look.

Keep On Running, Don't Stop Running!

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Trial of new ASICS DS Trainers

New ASICS DS Trainer Shoes

Yippe. Got my new ASICS DS Trainer yesterday, but due to rain and prior appointments, I could not try it out.

Managed to take it out for a test drive, as well as a break-in session, running the Kelichap 10km loop around my house. Though the grounds were wet, the shoes held well, and I felt great in them. No after effects whatsoever, and in fact, I think I broke another personal best for this 10km route.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:46min50s___Pace:4:41min/km
Average HR:162bpm____Max HR:178bpm____KCal:700

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Weekly Slow Run To Esplanade Park

I was on the verge of recovery from my bout of flu. This evening's run would be a slow run for me, just to get some exercise in. We gathered at 7pm, and set off immediately to Esplanade Park, and back. The route would approximate 13-14km. Chairman was busy with work this evening, and was unaable to join in.

I ran an easy pace this evening, and was behind most of the time. The night was warm, and everyone was dripping wet with perspiration. I too was not spared, and was extremely sweaty, even with my slower pace. As I was wearing a new pair of ASICS shorts, it kept running up my thighs, causing minor chaffing. I finished the run, taking a total of 1hr20min, according to my HRM.

Distance Ran:13km___Time:1hr19min___Pace:6:06min/km
Average HR:144bpm____Max HR:169bpm____KCal:810

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day 20km Progressive Run with MR25

I was down with flu the past few days, and my last run was done with SAFRA on Thursday night. Up to this morning, I wasn't sure if I should push myself to go for the 20km Progressive run organized by the MR25 Running Club. I slept easrlier last night, and hopped out of bed when the alram rang at 6am this morning. I sensed my body, and felt OK, just my nose was blocked.

I had a quick change, had a pice of banana cake, downed with coffee; and away I went. I reached MacRitchie at 6.50am, and realized I was very late. I told myself that if I couldn't find the SAFRA Runners, I will join the MR25 run. I brought my fuel belt. If I joined the MR25 run, then I don't need the fuel belt as water points should be provided. I parked, and looked for the usual places. All I could see were a lot of MR runners already gathering at the Start Line. As a natural instinct, I walked close, and found myself signing up and getting a bib. I just managed to have some time to put on my HRM body belt, tightened my shoes, before I heard Adam Wong from SAFRA Runners called me. I went over, and he mentioned that there were only a small group of SAFRA Runners today. I encouraged him to join me for the Progressive Run, but I guess he was shy, and there weren't enough time for new registrations.

I went to the toilet for a quickie. As with all MR25 runs, it started promptly at 7am. I ran behind the bunch, and was blocked initially for a good 200m. I wasn't sure what the route today was, but figured that there will be marshals along the way, and I just needed to keep eye contact with some of the runners at my speed. The first 5km was through the usual reverse Northern Route (X-County Terrain), and when I checked my watch upon coming out of it into the SICC Golf Course main roda, I was surprised to see a reading of 19+min. That meant we were running quite fast (by my standards). I then moved up the series of upslopes along the main road, bypassing a few runners along the way. This is the part where I finally got to the middle of the pack, and found a person to pace. I followed this pacing runner for a good 10km. We ran through the usual fringe by the Golf Course, into the scenic road (with a series of slopes again). Upon crossing a bridge, I saw a photographer (got to be Teck Heng, the resident photographer of MR25). I put up a good front, waved my hands, and he took a good shot. he told me to look for him when I finished the run. I moved along and followed that same front runner (with a cap).

Across the Bridge

We moved along the series of slopes, and then turned left into road (entrance with a dropdown barricade). I have been on this road once before with the SAFRA Runners. Anyway, I continued along, and started to see the front runners running back already. Sukaimi, The Lonely Runner, was one of them. I said hello, and he gestured. I guessed he might be too focused to speak.

Upon reaching the end of the road where there was some kind of Power Station, we turned back. At this point, I could see the runner in front of me I was following, and realized that it was Lai Chee (a very good female runner). I asked here whether that was the mid point, and she mentioned that we have to turn another road. I then saw some familiar faces coming up, runners like David and Aik Hock. I asked David for the mid point, and he mentioned we would have to turn left when we reached the end. I followed Lai Chee from behind, and we turned left up towards the end of the major road. I know that would have led us to the main gate that leads to Pierce Resservoir on the right, and Old Upper Thomson Road on the left. There was another water point here. I stopped to have 2 cups of cold water, rested for like 2min, and proceeded on back. I checked the time and it was about 52min+.

On the way back, we ran the same road, but this time, the sun was up fiercely. It was really getting to me, and my breathing was really strained with my blocked nose. The sun made me feel even worse. I was feeling the heat of the dry spell too. I continued up and down the slopes, and my legs were getting really tired. On the reverse of the large bridge, I was really feeling it. Out from the golf course fringe, I saw Teck Heng again. This time I posed with a thumbs up. He confirmed with me that there were a couple more runners behind me.

On the return, along the golf course

After this portion, I ran to the SICC main road, and upon looking up the series of steep slopes (where we earlier came from), I nearly wanted to quit there and then. This is where Lai Chee went way ahead, and I was reduced to crawling pace. I braved the slopes, and chugged slowly upwards. I finally completed it, and was glad to see a water point at the turn. I gulped down 2 large cups of water, and took an even longer rest of 3min.

I recognized this to be the other part of the Northern Route, Though this part is less hilly compared with the earlier part, I know this leads to Sime Track, as well as the open Glof Course area (very sunny). I followed another person along the whole of Sime Track, and onto the wooden bridge at Jelutong Tower. At this point, quite a number of runners overtook me, but they were not those in the run. They sounded chirpy, feeling good about overtaking us. I chugged along, and when I saw the open space after the wooden bridge, again my mind was telling me to stop and walk. I told myself I had to finish the run, and get a firm timing, no mater what. DNF will not be part of my run. I really slowed down to snail's pace, and in what seemed like eternity, I finally reached the X-Country portion. This is the part where all the deep roots of the trees feature, and it was here that I stopped and started to walk. I walked for most part up the slopes, and it was at this point, I saw many of the front runners in the progressive run, walking and they actually have removed their bibs. I really wanted to join them, but again, I persisted. I started to run a little, after conquering all those roots. Cramps were hitting my stomach big time, and I really had to slow down. I continued very slowly, and stopoped to walk 2 more times.

At the finish, looking quite OK

This was the first time in my many runs, that I had to stop and walk. I don't like to practise gallo-walking, but I guess today I was really feeling very sick. I was using only my mouth to breathe, and my heart rate was hovering in the low 160s, but my pace was more matching a heart rate of 140s. With 1km to go, I was overtaken by someone with long, golden hair. I saw this guy earlier, and he was behind me for at least 300m. I knew he was an experienced MR25 runner, and was not surprised that he maintained a very consistent pace to overtake me. I looked at my watch, and it was nearing 2hrs. I told myself I had to do it sub-2hrs, way back with 5km to go. I factored in all those walking as well. I chased this golden-haired guy, and finally reached the end point (same as where we started, bridge near the toilets) in 1hr58min. I wasn't sure whether anyone was still timing. I later realized they too recorded my timing at 1hr58min. I drank like 5cups of 100plus mixed with water, before my thirst was quenched. I felt very weak and wobbly, and didn't really felt like Sukaimi and the rest, in case you though what happened, and you are reading this, I was really drained.

I rested for 30min, and decided not to wait for the SAFRA Running kakis for breakfast (I didn't see them along the race, and when I got back too).

Overall, I was happy to have joined in this MR25 Progressive Run. It was my first, and I have never joined in their Progressive Runs. I look forward to the next one of 25km, and I hope to be better prepared for the next one. Cheers!

Distance Ran:20km___Time:1hr58min___Pace:5:55min/km
Average HR:164bpm____Max HR:175bpm____KCal:1650

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