Sunday, July 31, 2005

From MacRitchie To Bukit Panjang

I have missed 2 sunday long runs for tha past 2 weeks. There was no way I was going to miss this morning's run again. Woke up early, did a quick wash up, took a piece of banana (hmmm....that should give me the necessary fuel to last at least 21km)., and off I went to MacRitchie. We had a reasonable gathering this morning, with Chairman, Derrick, Eng Hwa, Adam, Colleen, Goola, Andre. Notably absent were Wong and Teen, who overslept and did not catch eh's car.

We started promptly at 7am, and ran towards the zig-zag bridge. This is the first time I have started with the group along this way. The weather was cool, after a bout of heavy rain yesterday. I felt good as I have not ran this way for some time now, and I was telling Derrick that this was part of the MR25 time trial route. We ran at quite a comfortable pace, and rached the exercise area at about 21min. From there, we turned right along the golf course, and moved along the undulating terrain, followed the wooden planked bridge, and then reaching Jelutong Tower. Instead of taking Sime Track, we took the Rifle Range trail and very soon reached the route towards Bukit Timah. Hmmm....this route seemed to be much better than the usual Northern Route we would take...but we shall see. We moved along the pipeline trails, and soon reached the first guard house along the main road. We continued on and reached the 2nd guard house, before moving in on the trail.

Goola, sh, Derrick, Yuen and myself wanted to run all the way to chestnut area, whilst the main group decided to go to the Visitor Centre. We parted ways, and planned to meet back at MacRitchie toilets. After what seemed like a 2-3km distance, we reached Bukit Panjang area. This area is familiar to me, and Goola mentioned that this way was also en-route to track 15, which they have covered 2 weeks ago. We ran further ahead passed the Petir Rd block of HDB flats, and then visiting the Bukit Panjang food centre to get some 100plus. After a quick drink, we decided to speed up and get back to MR along the same route we came from, since we were going to meet the rest for breakfast. I was still feeling good at this point, and decided to push the pace a little. Derrick and Yuen moved up, and we increased the pace all the way back. I estimated we covered a total distance of 25km in about 2hr18min of actual running time. Once again, I felt very good for the whole run, and I attribute that to the lone banana I took 1hr before the run. What a big difference one banana does for me….hehe

During the brunch session, we had a good discussion of how we would be training for the upcoming Army 21km as well as the StanChart 42km. We were trying to plan for some overseas runs next year to interesting places like Hong Kong, Thailand and even Indonesia. I now look forward to the next long run, possibly to woodcutter's trail and even a trial run of the Army 21km route along Esplanade.

Distance Ran:25km XC___Time:2hr18min____Pace:5:26min/km
Average HR:149bpm___Max HR:193bpm___KCal:1681KCal

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Ulu Pandan Canal Route

I had a big lunch followed by a huge dinner on Wed. I was so full, I could hardly walk. I think I put on an extra kg just from those food. So, this evening, I was prepared to run harder to sweat out the excesses. We were to tun the route to Portsdown, then along Dover Rd, to Clementi, then through the Ulu Pandan Canal, and all the way back along Queenstown Staudium way. The entire route was estimated to be 18km.

I wore my Polar HRM, and just before the run, Andre told me he just bought the Polar S610i at 40% discount - from a note I sent to him. What a great deal. I bought mine at only 30% discount. Francis then asked me how to set interval timings on the S610i. seems many more are interested to use a HRM to monitor and improve their runs.

The first part of the journey was smooth. We did a fast pace, mainly with trainer Ong, Akira, Yuen, hs and myself up front. Along Portsdown Road, I took over the lead and went all the way to Dover Rd. Akira followed closely behind. However when we reached the Ulu Pandan Canal, I felt tired. The problem was compounded with chaffing from my running shorts....shit, this pair of shorts is a little small, and will cause chaffing once I run past 10km. I slowed down a little along the canal, and have Akira run ahead a little. At the end of the canal, we were joined by Ong and Yuen. hs had by that time turned back.

The 4 of us ran to Buona Vista MRT and had a good toilet break. From there, we decided to take the shorter route along Queenway Stadium. I was really drained, and it was partly because I did not eat much during lunch, and also running at a fast pace at the first half of the route. Akira and Yuen proved to be very strong, and sped away with Ong. I trailed at about 25m behind, and dragged my tired legs along. When we reached Queensway Shopping Centre, I signalled for Ong and Yuen to move ahead, as I wanted to run at a slower pace to the finish. When I reached the ClubHouse after covering the final stretch of Depot Rd, it was already 8.55pm. Ong, Akira, Yuen has just reached too. I saw hs coming in from another direction. The rest of the runners were back about 30min earlier, and have just finished bathing. I was famished at dinner, and took a good piece of fruit cake made by 'Aunty' alonbg with my Mee Pok and Cheng Tng. Teen mentioned that I looked tired, and indeed, this was one of my most tiring runs. I must have lost back that 1kg that I gained a day earlier...haha.

Distance Ran:18km___Time:1hr40min___Pace:5:33min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1300 est.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

-- Extracted From Runners' World Magazine (July2005) --

Stretch it Out - The eight best stretches for runners by: Sharon Stocker

For many of you, stretching is like brushing your teeth. You know it's good for you and you do it regularly, but it's hard to get very excited about it. Most of the time, you just go through the motions. Which is a shame, because stretching-if you do it right-is not only good for your running, it's enjoyable, too. That's right, enjoyable. But only if you focus on the stretches while you're doing them. More on this in a minute.

The question is, what does stretching do for you? It may enhance performance, though that's hard to prove. More importantly, stretching can decrease your injury risk. In a recent study of 200 college athletes from the Newark, New Jersey area, risk of injury dropped as flexibility increased.

"Basically all clinicians working with athletes believe that improving flexibility is a good step toward injury prevention," says Lisa Krivickas, M.D., a physiatrist who led the New Jersey study. "And that's particularly true for overuse injuries, which are the most common injuries among runners." Most experts also believe the best time to stretch is after your run, not before. Now, about this idea of focus. It could be time for an attitude adjustment, to actually think about your stretching routine while you're doing it. Rest assured, bringing mind and body to your stretching won't take any more time, yet it can dramatically enhance enjoyment and flexibility benefits. (As a result, you're more likely to stick with the program.) The key: Shift your state of mind so that you are fully aware of what you're doing while performing proper technique. The following eight exercises for runners are based on the Iyengar yoga method, which involves contracting and stretching the muscle simultaneously. Iyengar requires a combination of stretching, strength, balance and breathing that demands your full attention. With these exercises, you'll get a taste for the technique, but the best way to master it is to take classes (call your local Y) from an instructor who's been trained in the Iyengar method.

Do these stretches in the order they are presented. With each,
carry out the isometric actions described for the full length
of each stretch, breathing evenly through your nose. Hold each
stretch for at least 15 seconds (unless otherwise noted) and repeat all stretches at least two times if possible. If you do them outdoors, keep out of the midday sun. Most of all, let your brain "get quiet," and focus your attention on the place of maximum stretch sensation, using your breath to gently soften and relax any tension. With each stretch, find the optimal balance between effort and ease,just as you would on a run over your favorite course.

Upper calf: With your hands on a wall, slide your right leg back two or three feet and lean forward onto your left leg, knee bent. To stretch the right calf, straighten the right leg and firmly press the heel onto the floor or ground while letting the hip come forward. Point the toes of your right foot forward, not out to the side. Lower calf: Slide your right foot forward a foot and bend the knee as much as possible while keeping the heel pressed firmly down on the floor. Repeat both stretches with the left leg.

Runner's lunge, for hip flexors
After completing the last stretch, place feet shoulder-width apart, then bend your knees and bring your hands to the floor beside your feet. Take your left foot back until the leg is fully extended straight behind you (your right shin should form a right angle to the floor). Press back through the left heel to stretch the back of the knee. Push up from your fingertips to allow your chest to "open" and face forward. From this right-leg lunge, go to exercise#5, but be sure to come back to a left-leg lunge followed by a final minute or two in the "dog pose" before going on to exercise#6.

With one hand on the wall for support, use the other to grasp your foot behind you. Keep your standing leg firm (keep the quadriceps taut) and stand up tall. As you draw the heel toward your buttocks, press the bent knee forward without actually letting it move too far in front of the standing leg's knee. Gently tuck your tailbone forward at the same time, which will increase the sensation of lengthening in the quadriceps. Repeat with the other leg.

Knee / iliotibial band
Put your hands on your hips and cross one foot over the other. Tighten your quads, then inhale and stretch your torso up. On an exhalation, bend forward at the hips (not the waist), coming down as far as you can. Rest your hands on the floor or on a support for balance if needed. Once down, "pull" your feet toward each other without actually moving them, to engage the iliotibial band. When you come up, keep your back straight. Repeat with your legs crossed the other way. Lastly, uncross your legs and repeat the forward bend with your feet placed hip-width apart, quads taut. Again, pull feet toward each other without moving them.

Downward facing dog pose

From the lunge, go straight into this all-purpose stretch, which is great for the hamstrings, calves, shoulders and lower back. First, take your right foot back and place it next to your left foot. Place your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Bend your knees and lift your buttocks up high so that your pelvis tilts, making the lower-back arch.

Next, press down firmly with your hands (particularly the inner edges from the base of the index fingers to the thumbs) and visualize your spine and torso lengthening. Slowly straighten your legs, keeping the buttocks high while lowering your inner heels toward the ground (they don't have to touch the ground). Release your neck and let your head hang freely. Breathe evenly while keeping this pose for 1 to 2 minutes. Finish by lowering your knees to the floor and sitting back on your heels.

While lying on your back, draw your left knee into your chest. Clasp your hands around the back of your thigh and press your thigh into your hands. Keeping the thigh taut, slowly extend your left foot to the ceiling until your leg is straight. Press your heel to the ceiling (point with the heel, not the toes). Keep the right leg extended, with the right thigh pressing down and toes pointing up throughout the stretch. Switch legs and repeat. Variation: Do this stretch with a strap or jumprope around your raised foot, which makes it easier to keep the leg fully extended.

Thread the needle / the piriformis
For a great piriformis (outer hip) stretch, lie on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor near your buttocks. Place the outer edge of your left foot on your right thigh near the knee. (Let your foot cross beyond the thigh if you're tight.) Wrap your hands around the right thigh or shin and draw it toward your chest. Keep your head relaxed on the ground, or support it with a towel. For a deeper stretch, gently press your buttocks downward until your lower back arches slightly. Switch legs to stretch the right hip.

Legs up the wall
Elevating your legs is one of the quickest ways to rid them of fatigue. To get into position, extend your legs up the wall and let the full weight of your back release down into the floor. Get your buttocks as close to the wall as possible, backing away until your lower back is fully supported on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe quietly for up to 5 minutes. This position will gently stretch the hamstrings and lower back, and it's a restful way to end your routine.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kent Ridge Park & Telok Blangah Hills

It was a good returning run of sorts for me this evening. The turnout was good with about 20 runners at SAFRA Mt. Faber. The members just had a good location run on Sunday at Tampines, which I missed becuase of my trip to Thailand.

We started off to Kent Ridge Park, going via Depot Rd, thru Queensway, Jln Hang Jebat, Portsoen Road, crossing the newly constructed flyover road which brought us directly into Kent Ridge, via the back at Maxwell building in Science Park. It was a cool evening, and as usual, Ong and Jumaran formed a mini group in front, whilst I followed Foo with Paul and Chin just behind me. Upon entering Kent Ridge Park, Foo and I went ahead up the relatively long and steep slopes, and when we reached the top, we saw Ong and Kumaran. We ran along with them, without stopping, all the way down the other side of the slope into Pasir Panjang Road.

At the junction of Alexandra Rd/Labroador, Foo told me that he will be covering Telok Blangah Hill too since it was still early. We ran a quick pace, and I checked that we have covered about 50min of running till then. I decided to follow Foo. I dropped the pace a little, knowing I have to cover the steep slopes of Telok Blangah Hill. By the time I reached the top of TB Hill, I was drained, and was fortunate to find that small drinking fountain. Took abt 5 refreshing gulps of water, went on to cover 1 loop of the small knoll. Bumped into Foo again, who ran the reverse direction. I figured that the rest probably went straight back to the Clubhouse. Foo gestured for us to go straight back. When I ran down the slopes, I saw the remaining group of runners with Chairman just coming back from the run. It was good that all came back together, and I was satisfied to have covered an extra hill during that time.

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I'm Back!

I went for a short weekend hiatus to the land of a thousand smiles, Thailand. Just did a lot of eating and shopping for 3 whole days. It was a good break, but I really missed my weekend run. I shall be going down to SAFRA for a run this evening to top my my empty tank.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

3 Loops around Bedok Reservoir Park

As I will be missing my Sunday long run because of my Thailand trip, I wasnted to do some kind of a make-up run, and Thiam Huat and Teen have kindly agreed to bring me for a nice run at Tampines SAFRA.

We started early at 6.45pm. We ran up a flight of stairs across the ClubHouse, that led us to a former detention centre of sorts. From there we through the camp, and finally came out, cross over the canal a bit, and entered into Bedok Reservoir Park. I have been wanting to run this Park, but this was the first time I have made it here. cm explained to me that this was to be the key route for our upcoming 10km Public Service Run. He also gave me some tips on how to conquer the mainly hard-sandy 4.3km loop.

As cm and Teen have to get back earlier for a meeting, I decided to run ahead and run a bit longer since it was my makeup run. I planned to do 2 loops making an estimated total of abt 10km. I ran at my 10km pace for the 2 loops, and along the way, met many joggers and runners. After the 2 loops, i decided to try to bump into Teen, and I ran in reverse, hoping to bump into them. When I finished the 3rd loop without seeing them, I realized that they would have left by then. I went to the nearby toilet for a refreshing drink of water, before making my way back to the ClubHouse.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

6 Fast Laps @ Labrador Park

Today was a dry day, compared with the past 2-3weeks of running days we had. In view of that, we were already anticipating speedwork from our very dear Chairman. By 6.45pm, a relatively small group of us were around, and off we did a slow run to Labrador Park as a warm up. I was running behind with Teen for a while, discussing our run at Tampines for friday. We had Jimmy Sim, Jaime, cm, Paul and a few others in front.

We reached Labrador Park leisurely. There were tentages set up at the Park, and we were wondering what event was going to be on. In recent times, Labroador Park has been gaining popularity as an area for sports and exercise, especially for the joggers and runners. It is also a nice park for gatherings and BBQ. cm assembled us for the first lap around the 800m loop. Hock Soon was tasked to be the 'rabbit' to set the lead pace for the rest of us. Upon the word 'go' the front group, led by hs sped off. The rest of us trailed behind, and soon I was overtaken by sock hwa and Paul. Another 50m, i overtook sh and Paul again, and ran all the way round the bend onto the straight, hitting the imaginary tape at 3min18s. Quite fast for a first lap, I thought. Next lap, again hs was the rabbit, and I did it in 3min25s. Ong, our trainer was the rabbit for the 3rd lap, and I did this in 3min33s.

I was then tasked to be the 'rabbit' for laps 4 and 5. We joked about the rest following my imaginary rabbit tail, and that I will not be too fast as a rabbit...everyone's mood was getting better after the grueling first 3 hard laps. I set the pace for lap 4, pretty steady, and Ong was running close all the way, until he ran ahead in the last 50m. I did this lap in 3m10s.m Wow, very fast. I did lap 5 in 3m33s. We were very tired by then, and when cm said 'one last lap', many of us pulled a very long face. Nonetheless, cm said Kumaran was to be the rabbit, and that perked up a few of us. Being very sporting, all went for the 6 lap, and Kumaran burst through that in record time. cm was pushing me all the way, and I did lap 6 in 3m30s. I did the 6 laps of 800m each at an average of 3min30s. cm said it was not too bad and quite consisitent for me. In summary:
Lap 1 : 3:18
Lap 2: 3:25
Lap 3: 3:33
Lap 4: 3:10
Lap 5: 3:33
Lap 6: 3:30

I took a refreshing drink at the toilet, before running up the slopes at Labrador back to clubhouse. Along the way, i caught up with hs and Jimmy, bith who were reduced to walking and slow jogging. I could feel that all gave their best, and were drained to the last ounce of whatever they had, just to make it back to clubhouse. Overall, a great workout, and definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Distance Ran:12km___Time:1hr____Pace:5min/km
Average HR: 1N/A____Max HR: N/A____KCal:1000 est

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Fast Run

This evening we were joined by 2 new runners, Leonard and Michelle. Both looked good and enthusiastic, and we were happy to have them. It rained heavily in the late afternoon, and when we started off, the ground was still wet.

We ran the Tiong Bahru area leading to canal, then Margaret Drive leading to the private estate, coming out of the Dempsey area, and finally back along Tanglin area to Telok Bangah clubhouse. The whole run would be about 13km. I started to run fast once we hit the canal, following first Ong, then Foo and finally Paul. When we reached Dempsey Road, I slowed down and ran at my own pace, as I was feeling a tad tired from the initial quick pace. After running a while, I recovered well to finish the whole run well.

Distance Ran:13km___Time:1hr13min___Pace:5:35min/km
Average HR: 157bpm____Max HR: 172bpm____KCal:990

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Monday, July 18, 2005

A 10km Personal Best for Beverly

This evening was my run with Beverly. We normally do 10km evry Monday around my estate. I take it as a recovery run, while it is her training run. She normally does 1hr7min for her 10km. The weather was very good this evening. It was real cool. The pace was slow at first, but Beverly soon picked up pace. This was despite us stopping on and off to avoid water puddles.

As I felt Beverly was able to keep to a good pace, I ran ahead to push her a little. Towards the last 2km, I sped up and Beverly was able to keep about 30s behind me. In the end, when I stopped my watch, it registered 1hr2.5min, definitely the best ever she had ran for 10km. She was very happy.

Distance Ran:1okm___Time:1hr2.5min___Pace:6:15min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:680 est.

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StanChart 42km - I've registered!

Yes, did an early bird registration for what will be my first Marathon ever. Received the confirmation, and a bib number of 481. Paid only $29.75 as returning participant (I did the 10km last year), as well as early bird. I registered the 10km run for my wifey too. She did not run last year, and regretted a lot when she saw the nice finishers' medals me and my 2 kids got. I have yet to register for Amanda and Sean (my kids), who ran the kids dash last year, since I need someone to look after them while I am in the midst o fmy 42km.

I now look forward to participate in the many activities, run-with-me sessions, briefings and the expo itself.

Must begin training too. Looking forward to those long runs at MacRitchie on Sundays to help prepare.

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Rainy Sunday Morning

I was prepared for my Sunday morning long 35km run to Track15, from MacRitchie, along with Goola and a few others from MF Runners. When I awoke at 5.45am, it was raining heavily. I thought, 'Shit..., probably the trails will be muddy, and it won't be fun to get all dirty...and the rest may not even turn up considering the heavy downpour'. I later found out that all did turn up, and I felt lousy haing missed my Sunday long run.

After reading the morning papers, i decided to go for a short run around my neighbourhood. The sun was not so strong, despite it being almost noon. I put on my HRM, wore my DS Trainers, and off I went. I ran into Lorong Ah Soo, and the timing was quite good for the first 3km. I decided to run to the end of Tampines Road, and back, since this is the route for the upcoming Mizuno Wave Run in October. Mistake...very hot, and not much shade. When I reached the end at Old Tampines Road, I was quite drained. I had already ran 40min, and my heart rate was high, considering the slower pace. It meant I was working a lot harder.

On the return leg, I was very thirsty, and I did not bring water for this run, thinking it was going to be short. Mistake no. 2. I was drained, and my pace got even slower. However, I did not walk, but continued to chug along. As I ran, I was thinking if the StanChart Marathon was this hot, it will be very draining, making it difficult for the last 15km in the sun. I thought I needed much more conditioning in the sun, and this type of run I did today is actually good for testing out such hot conditions. When I reached back to Lorong Ah Soo, I had to go into the coffee shop toilet for a good drink of water. I then continued to run the final 2.5km back home rather slowly. It was one of those tough runs for me, as I usually ran in the evenings or early mornings. This might be the kind of condition that Goola talked about in her desert route, which we will try one of these days.

Distance Ran:13km___Time:1hr17min___Pace:5:52min/km
Average HR:162bpm____Max HR:172bpm____KCal:1090

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Long shiok run to Esplanade & Marina Promenade

The rains had stopped in time yet again. I was in good mood, and felt that I want to run a little longer this evening. Met up with the gang, and off we went at 7pm. As usual, the first part prior to reaching the Jiak Kim Street area was punctuated with many traffic stops. This is always the part that I use o get warmed up, and work out a perspiration.

Once we get to the Singapore River area, we spreaded out quickly. I moved ahead, and Dennis was running just behind me. I already told Dennis that I might go further than the Esplanade itself, and he was game to follow. We reached the Esplanade soon enough, and I proceeded onwards towards Marina Promenade. This stretch will add another 2.5km-3km one way, 5km-6km both ways to our run. Dennis was still keeping up. I told him we will run a slower pace, and maintain that. We had a midway toilet stop at Marina Promenade, and I informed Dennis we had run 51min. That was estimated to be about 9km at our pace. We made another toilet stop at Esplanade, and it was at this point that I lost my timing. I must have pressed the timing button twice again....shucks.

We still felt pretty good. On the way we met many young runners, and large gatherings of students in the night. It looked like they were preparing for National Day Celebrations. The run back was a tad slower, but we still maintained good pace. I could hear Dennis breathing a lot harder, but he was going well. On the return, we were pretty fortunate to get many green lights at the traffic junctions, making our run smoother. About 1km to the clubhouse, I opened up, and Dennis lagged a little. When I reached the clubhouse, all the people were back from their runs of varing distances liao. I joined them later for a good dinner at the hawker centre.

Distance Ran:18km___Time:1hr30min___Pace:5min/km
Average HR:155bpm____Max HR:168bpm____KCal:1300 est.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oouch! Stomach Cramps

It was raining heavily 2 hours prior to our weekly SAFRA run. As usual the rain stopped nicely 30min before the run. Given the weather, there was quite a large turnout this evening. I did a quick qorkout at the gym, and then met up with the runners to catch up. We were discussing the recent NKF news, and many had their views and thoughts to share. Akira and Foo were early this evening, and Akira was already talking about planning a carbo-loading session prior to the upcoming Sheares Bridge Run/Army Half-Marathon.

We set off with the grounds still wet. First stop to Canterbury Estate, and I was running along the front pack of Ong, Kumaran, Foo, Chin, Akira. Once we entered the estate, the group got strewn farther apart, and soon I was leading the second group with the front group 200m ahead. About halfway through Canterbury Estate, I got a bout of stomach cramps. It was not those that needed me to go to the toilet, but more of one that caused me my stomach to go into contractions (like labour pains...haha). I had to slow down, took deep breaths, and then the pain subsided. However, it did not go away completely.

I carried the stomach pains out of Canterbury Estate, along Alexandra Road, and all the way into Labrador Park. Because I have slowed down a bit, Chin, Akira and Hock Soon managed to join me at the Entrance. We ran as a group into Labrador, and as we were approaching the toilets, I sped up and ran ahead. Dashed into the toilets, and was happy to see it fully stocked with toilet rolls. After a quick one, took some water, and I continued running 2 loops round Labrador Park to the end where the Tower was. On the way back, I hit the slopes at the tunnels, and adopted a more sedated pace. When I reached the ClubHouse, I was almost the last person. everyone had to wait for me to go dinner, very pai seh. But then again, such stomach occurences rarely happens. In retrospect, it could have been due to a piece of banana I had taken during lunch. Then again, it was good simulation and training, since it might happen in a race. At least I will be prepared when it comes....hahaha

Distance Ran:13km___Time:1hr16min___Pace:5:51min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:950 est.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday LSD From MR To Seletar Reservoir

Today was another hot morning. It was fortunate I went for a hair-cut yesterday. The weather recently had been unberably warm, and my long hair was making me very uncomfortable. So I decided to give it a good snip snip.

Since we were running to Seletar Reservoir, I decided not to carry my fuel belt, as there will be a couple of water stops available along the way. There were about 10 of us today, including Rita from TP. Derrick was going to run 15km as he was tapering for the upcoming Malacca 42km. We did a relatively ok pace through the trail of Northern Route, exiting to the SICC road in about 23min. The first part of this journey led us through the slopes along SICC, skirting the golf course, then the OUTR stretch all the way to Seletar Reservoir.

On the return, we did the Ngee Soon Rifle Range stretch, through the air-cond road, back to OUTR and all the way back along Northern Route. It was a good run, and I had good conditioning for the hot sun. After the run, I went to meet my family, and I swam a few laps with my kids at OCC.

Distance Ran:23km XC___Time:2hr5min____Pace:5:26min/km
Average HR:1452bpm___Max HR:174bpm___KCal:1600KCal

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

2 By 2 Hills

This evening, I did a 2 x 2 hill run ie. 2 loops round Mt. Faber followed by 2 smaller loops around Telok Blangah Hill. This route is always a good hard run, if time is not on our side, but yet we need a reasonable workout.

For this workout, I decided to put a few new gear to test. First is my newly bought dri-fit underwear of a mid-range brand. I needed to see if it wore well, and if it flicks sweat away, so I won't end up with wet underwear that may cause chaffing sometimes. I also got to try out wearing my NB cap, since my hair is trending on th elong side already.

There was a large crowd this evening, sinca all had recovered from their weekend overseas runs. I was caught up in some traffic, and by the time I assembled with the group, they were ready to set off. I started off slowly, and chatted with Teen and Andre for a short while. We ran from the Telok Blangah side up to Mt. Faber, and on the ascent, I slowly moved up and very soon I was leading the way up the hill. I always pace myself, taking small steady steps when climbing hill, to ensure that I will reach the top without dying. Once up the top, I will take the opportunity to recover on the down-slope, and I really hate down-slopes. Recently I developed a pain in my heel, and I suspect it to be due to too much down-slope running with insufficient cushioning in my DS Trainer. I also tried out an cushion insole with my GT2090 this evening, to get the feel. Overall the results were very good. I had very little pain upon impact.

On the second loop of Mt. Faber, I was overtaken by Ong and Derrick. I carried on my own pace, and was following them from a distance. After 2 loops of Mt. Faber, we proceeded down along Morse Road, Henderson Road, and then up Telok Blangah Hill. After 2 hilly loops, running the long steep stretch up TB Hill is always a challenge. When I reached the top, I was always gasping for of the hardest workouts in my normal training runs. When I reached the top of TB Hill, I could see Chairman and the rest doing their second small loop. I ran behind them, and on my second small loop, I bumped in Colleen, Adam, Derrick. We waved, spoke a few words, and I was on my way back to ClubHouse. Again a big long down-slope, but this evening, I ran down it a lot slower. My archilles and heel probably don't like to be worked too hard.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:60min___Pace:6:00min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:700

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Hyponatremia - Over Hydration?

-- extracted from --

Some Do’s and Don’ts on Avoiding Hyponatremia:

October 8, 2003 - The more than 200,000 runners approaching the starting line of major marathoners this fall must be warned about a recently identified, potentially life-threatening hazard that may be caused by drinking too much water, hyponatremia.

"While the dangers of dehydration are common knowledge amongst amateur and experienced endurance athletes alike, there is something much more dangerous than not enough water: too much water," said Dr. Arthur Siegel, a physician at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and leading researcher on hyponatremia who has run 20 marathons. "We must educate runners to optimize rather than maximize fluid intake during extreme exercise to avoid water intoxication."

Exercise-related hyponatremia may occur during prolonged sports activity such as marathons, triathlons, long-distance hiking or bicycling when fluid intake, including water and sports drinks, exceeds fluid loss. When water dilutes the body's salts, the blood has too much water and too little sodium, causing brain cells to absorb too much water, swell and push against the skull. This can result in nausea, severe fatigue, disorientation, vomiting and, in the most severe cases, seizures, coma and even death.

All endurance athletes who over-drink are at risk for hyponatremia, but those most prone to the condition include females and people with slower marathon finishing times (more than 4 hours) who are hyper-vigilant about their water intake . A recent study conducted by Runner's World indicates that 74% of marathon runners take analgesics, and over 88% report use of NSAIDs. However, runners who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief in close proximity to race time may be at additional risk.

Katherine "KC" Guevara experienced the horrors of hyponatremia first hand at the Boston Marathon this past April, only one year after the condition caused the collapse and subsequent death of 28-year-old Cynthia Lucero after collapsing at the 22-mile mark.

Water Intoxication a Potentially Life-Threatening Medical Crisis

"Even though I increased my salt intake the week before the race, I also drank almost three liters of water beforehand and drank more throughout. I knew at mile seven that something was wrong and I was in trouble," said Guevara, a 27-year-old running enthusiast from Centerville, VA. "In the medical tent, I was woozy and slurring my speech and once someone took my sodium levels, they realized I had hyponatremia and gave me some hot, salty broth. The scary thing is, a few years ago, I may have been treated for dehydration - with more water."

Despite new hydration guidelines and educational materials developed by the USA Track & Field Association, the American Medical Athletic Association and marathon race directors, many runners have not gotten the word about hyponatremia.

Siegel said there are several simple steps runners can take to prevent hyponatremia.

"Runners should weigh themselves before and after their next long training run to determine if their body tends to retain fluid during endurance exercise," said Dr. Siegel. "If they gain weight, they are at risk for the condition and should take precautions during the marathon."

During a race, Dr. Siegel said it is vital that runners avoid over-drinking. Runners who develop progressive headache, nausea or vomiting should stop all fluid intake, including sports drinks, and seek medical assistance immediately. If a marathoner plans to take a pain reliever, take Tylenol® 8 Hour as a safe over-the-counter choice during endurance sports activity.

For more information about hyponatremia, please visit, a web site designed to educate runners of all ages and abilities on the crucial aspects of running a marathon, including nutrition, apparel, injury prevention and pain treatment.

McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., is headquartered in Ft. Washington, PA and markets products such as Tylenol®, Imodium®, St. Joseph®, and Motrin®.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Weekly Run To Canterbury & Labrador Park

This evening saw only a small group of runners, as many of them were still recovering or on their way back from Ipoh. We quickly gathered, and started off promptly at about 6.45pm. Immediately, I ran ahead and followed Jimmy Chow and Chin, till we reached the entrance to Canterbury Estate. From there, I ran with Chin for a while, before overtaking him, and from there I was on my own most of the way.

When I was exiting Canterbury Estate, I could see Foo coming from behind. From there, we ran together most of the way to Labrador Park, before taking a break at the toilet. After the break, I looped around the Park and ran towards the Tower and back for another loop. Foo probably ran a few of the smaller loops. When I reached back to the ClubHouse, I saw Chairman who had just came back from Ipoh, and we arranged to have dinner after a quick cooldown and bath.

Distance Ran:14km___Time:1hr19min___Pace:5:37min/km
Average HR:155bpm____Max HR:170bpm____KCal:1060

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Enduring Questions - Does Running Lower Your Risk Of Cancer?

-- Extracted From Runners World July2005 --

Enduring Questions - Does Running Lower Your Risk Of Cancer?

Regular exercise has many powerful, positive health benefits. But can it save your life?
by: Amby Burfoot

The day I got the call in my college dorm, I feared the news would be bad. I was a freshman, away from home for the first time in my life. Back in the town where I grew up, my mother was in the hospital with cancer. "Your dad's on the line," said my roommate. We had only one phone on the dorm floor, way down at the other end of the hallway. I remember that the walk felt long and lonely. "Mom didn't make it," my father said. "Come home as soon as you can."

That was 40 years ago, but I still get a chill whenever I hear the word "cancer." Given that cancer recently passed heart disease as the number one killer of Americans under 85, I know I'm not alone. Many runners are spooked, some directly affected. Over the last several decades, they have sought solace, hope, and courage from two running movements--the Race for the Cure series and the Team in Training programs.

I'm heartened by these programs, and inspired by their tens of thousands of participants, but cancer still scares me. Things reached a particularly low point in the early 1990s, when a number of well-known runners developed cancer. Dr. George Sheehan had prostate cancer, followed the appropriate therapies, chronicled his slowing race times in Runner's World, and died just short of his 75th birthday in November 1993. Fred Lebow, the man behind the New York City Marathon, was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 1990, but bounced back two years later to complete the 1992 New York Marathon with Grete Waitz at his side. His brain cancer recurred, however, and Lebow died in 1994 at age 62.
That same year, the superfit Steve Scott developed testicular cancer at age 38. Scott was the American record holder in the mile (3:47.69, a record he still holds). More reason to worry.

But the worst blow came from aerobics guru Ken Cooper, M.D., who made a statement to the effect that anyone running more than 15 miles a week was pursuing something more than good health, and possibly harming his or her immune system. Subtext: Maybe runners were developing cancers because they exercised too much. I was running a lot more than 15 miles a week. The Cooper statement fanned my fears.

At about the same time, kinesiologist Kerry Courneya, Ph.D., was getting worried too. His dad had contracted colon cancer at age 54, and Courneya knew that this put him at increased risk. Courneya was in his early 30s and just beginning to review the research on exercise and cancer. He's been at it ever since. "The early studies were small but encouraging," he says. "The new studies keep getting bigger and better, and the results continue to be very promising."

I'll say. In late 2002, the Journal of Nutrition published a review of 170 epidemiological studies on the relationship between physical activity and cancer. Here is some of what the researchers found. Colon cancer: Forty-three of 51 studies produced positive results (more exercise was associated with fewer cancers), with an average risk reduction of 40 to 70 percent. Breast cancer: Thirty-two of 44 studies produced positive results, with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent. Prostate cancer: Fifteen of 30 studies produced a positive result, with an average risk reduction of 10 to 30 percent, particularly of the most aggressive forms. Endometrial cancer: Nine of 13 studies produced positive results, with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent. Lung cancer: Eight of 11 studies produced positive results with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent.

Now, I'm not a betting guy. And there are dozens of different kinds of cancers, which attack different body parts for different reasons. But these odds look pretty darn good to me. One more reason to lace up your running shoes today.

A Coping Mechanism
Even if exercise doesn't prevent cancer, it often helps people cope with the disease. Courneya has spent most of his career uncovering this relatively new perspective on cancer, and the results have been impressive. "The fact that cancer patients who exercise report less fatigue is probably the most counterintuitive and exciting part of our research," he says.

Since virtually all of us know someone who has had cancer, we all know how tough the treatments are, including pain, nausea, weakness, and depression. This doesn't sound like a good time to begin exercising, and yet studies clearly show that exercise can help. In a controlled, randomized study that appeared in a 2003 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Courneya found that breast-cancer survivors who exercised three times a week were able to raise their aerobic capacity by 17.4 percent, while nonexercisers lost 3.4 percent of theirs. More importantly, the exercisers reported more energy throughout the days, and this gave them a brighter outlook on life. In fact, according to Courneya, the exercisers had "an additional 19 hours of happiness per week, or about one additional day per week." Carpe diem.

In a study Courneya published three months ago in the Journal of Applied Physiology, he isolated a biological explanation for the success of exercise: It gives you more potent natural killer cells to fight the cancer. "Our breast cancer survivors who did moderate exercise produced the same number of natural killer cells as the nonexercisers," says Courneya, "but their killer cells had an enhanced ability to kill breast cancer cells."

It's findings like these that keep Jeff Berman exercising. Berman, featured in a Runner's World story three years ago, is the founder of FORCE (Focus on Rehabilitation and Cancer Education). Recently, he began undergoing cancer treatments for the fourth time in the last 15 years. "Cancer is a part of my life," he says. "It's with me every single day."

Berman admits that all cancer patients have bad days, himself included. "Cancer teaches you to accept life's up and downs, and to live with ambiguity," he says. "That said, one of the few constants in my life is that exercise really helps, both physically and emotionally."

Serious Thinking
Many serious runners still wonder about the effects of their 25 (and then some) miles a week. RW readers aside, runners like this are so rare, representing way less than one percent of the U.S. population, that they don't turn up in cancer studies. Still, two 2005 epidemiological studies--one with 22,000 Finnish men and 24,000 Finnish women; the other with 116,000 American nurses--found lower all-cause mortality rates, including cancer deaths, among more physically active participants. Similar studies have shown that cancer deaths generally decline as exercise levels increase.

Epidemiologist Steven Blair, the president and CEO of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, is one of the world-leading experts on exercise and longevity. While he notes that the book is still open on cancer rates among serious exercisers, he says, "In our most relevant work on this topic, we do not see any higher cancer risk in the most fit or most highly active individuals. In fact, the highest activity or fitness groups consistently had the lowest mortality rates."

Steve Scott certainly represents that pool of serious runners who are still going strong--in his case, more than 10 years after his cancer surgery. "My health is great," says Scott, now a coach at California State University, San Marcos. "I am basically cured. These days I run about 25 to 30 miles a week."

Kerry Courneya exercises every day, alternating between running and strength training. And, yes, he thinks his program will help him beat his father's colon cancer. "I absolutely believe it will reduce my risk," he says. "And that's important, because I'm in the risk group."

Me? I'm still afraid of cancer. I just had a small basal skin cancer removed from my nose. It wasn't dangerous, but it got my attention. So I'm learning to use sunscreen, and hoping that those exercise-prevents-cancer studies continue to accumulate.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Milk Run 2005

The M.I.L.K. (Mainly I Love Kids) is a community project run, to help kids stay off the streets and engage in healthy lifestyles. It is a sort of Charity event, and I will be running the 10km stretch along Singapore River/Esplanade in about 2 hours time. I have collected the goodie bag, which comprised of a too-small t-shirt, and a hanky.

I hope to meet some of my running kakis and friends who will be taking part as well. Quite a number of events today, with the Ipoh Run, the Osim Trialthlon and the MR25 Progressive Run happening this morning. I targeted to do the run in under 48min, if the route is relatively flat and well guided. However, since it is a 3pm run, and if the sun is hot, timings may suffer. Well, lets see what happens.

I reached the Zouk start point at about 2.15pm, after having had some problems looking for the place and for a parking lot at Great World City. A large crowd of prople, including many students were already basking in the festivities. Beverly and I quickly checked in our bags, and went for a light warm up. We subsequently met Colleen and Andre, who were already there.

Milk Run 2005: Andre, Ronald & Anthony

The competitive 10km race started at 3.30pm. The route was narrow, and for the first 2-3 minutes, I was jogging slowly, and trying to get ahead of those who were taking their time, especially the students. When I finally got through, I realized that I haven't started my Polar stop watch. That was already about 4min into the run. I then started to time from there, and moved ahead. I met up with Goola on the run, and also ran alongside David Ong (MR25 friend) for a while. About 3km into the race, I ran past a TP runner, Yen San. I was not surprised to see her in front of such races. She is a very strong runner. All this time, I was looking out for another lady runner, the Filipina, her name is something like Rhoda. I recognize that her pace is always very good, and I decided to try to follow her. We ran along the Singapore River, and then into Esplanade. I felt good, though the sun was very hot. I was wearing the cap provided by the organizers, and I planned to throw it away if it gets too warm for me.

With 500m to the mid-point, I saw the lead runner running towards me. As usual, it was Elangovan. As we moved nearer the mid point, there were more runners running back. And then I met Sukaimi aka TLR. TLR shouted my name, and I waved back. I stopped for 30sec near the mid-point to drink, and then on the return, I could see Colleen, then Andre, and finally my dear wife, Beverly. Beverly looked OK, and exclaimed that she could do with some rain. From then on, I upped the pace and overtook a few of the guys in front, as I could see Rhoda drawing further away. As we run back past Esplanade, a huge crowd had gathered to watch the Dragon Boat competition by the Singapore River, and they choked up all the walking spaces. I had to squeeze past many of them, interspersed by screams by the organizers of 'Runners Coming, Keep Clear!'. It was great to pass this point, and as we moved on, an official mentioned that 'Only 2km to go'. At this point, we faced a bunch of 5km runners walking and blocking the route, and matters were made worse with the wet ground. I was wearing my Asics DS Trainer, and it felt slippery. I had to run slower to avoid slipping, for about 200m. Then I could see the marker for 500m only. I was pretty drained by then, and I could see Rhoda upped her pace. She is really one strong cookie. I could hear screams in the distance, welcoming the returning runners. I overtook about another 8 runners on the way, and was a bit amused to see some people actually walking (when they were so close to the finish?). I crossed the finish line, and immediately grabbed a 100plus and some bananas. Great stuff, and good replenishments. I overheard people say the weather was terrible.

Milk Run 2005: Beverly & Anthony after the 10km Competitive Race

I walked around a bit, and then met Sukaimi and his friends. We took a quick photo. I later found that TLR came back in 44min, and I estimated myself to have done 46min. After a while, I bumped into Ronald (The SAFRA TP Runner). Ronald had done the Osim Triathlon in the morning, and was there to cheer his friends. He told me my timing was about 45min+, since he was timing for Rhoda as well. She was ahead of me by maybe 30sec. I probably will take 46min, until the official timing is given by the organizers. Yikes! Official Results released 2 days later showed I clocked 48min15sec...Well...Beverly actually did not bad - 1hr 08min 14sec. I grabbed a few bananas, and later met up with Beverly, Andre, Ronald, Goola. Goola mentioned that she had won a prize for the the Corporate Race she was representing. Well done, Goola. We had a few group photos, checked the lucky draw results, took more fruits, and headed for home.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:48min___Pace:4:50min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:700 est.

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Friday, July 01, 2005

A 10km Time Trial @ Home

My next run was supposed to be Sunday's Milk Run at 3pm. That would mean a rest of 3 days before that run. I decided to do a quick 10km time trial on my own, since I had some time to spare.

I did a quick change into my New Balance gear n cap, which I just got at the NB store. I wanted to try with a cap on, and also run-in the new gear a bit. I did the usual 10km loop, wearing my Asics DS Trainers, the same pair I will wear for the MILK run. The first 4km was speedy, and I was ahead of my usual timings. But when I hit the main Upper Serangoon Road, I was overwhelmed by the smog of the peak traffic, as well as the no of traffic light stops. I slowed a bit here, but picked up pace again when I hit the Braddel Road stretch.

I finished the 10km with energy to spare. The timing of about 47min wasn't that bad either. I had a good starfruit juice drink which my dear Beverly bought for me.

Distance Ran:10km___Time:46min55s___Pace:4:41min/km
Average HR:160bpm____Max HR:170bpm____KCal:700

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