Tuesday, August 30, 2005

18km run round canal route

I did a recovery 13km run with Beverly Monday evening. It was supposed to be about 10km, but because the pace was good (Beverly wanted to practise the recommended 65-75% MaxHR at the StanChart talk), she decided to do longer. Well, we did get a reasonable 6:30min/km pace...not too bad.

This evening, I joined the SAFRA Running Club to do a 18km long run. This is more or less the final few longer runs prior to the Army Half-Marathon on Sep11. Though I started my HRM, it was hard to track the overall timing. I just wanted to keep to a 5min/km pace, which I felt was achieved for the 18km. We started to run at 7pm, and I finally reached the ClubHouse at 8.45pm. I reckoned stops at traffic lights, toilet took about 10-15min. An earlier group led by Derrick, Foo, Akira with Alan joining in arrived about 5min prior. Another group of Jaime, Wong, Melvin took the 13km route and probably arrived quite early....since they were resting already when I arrived. Jimmy Tan ran with me for most of the way, and I thought we ran a reasonable pace, probably sufficient to make a sub-2hr 21km AHM...hmm, lets hope the weather holds out on that day.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Balance Real Run 2005

It was a restless weekend for me. I didn't sleep well, due to quite a few late night activities I've had. This morning was the New Balance Real Run 2005. I was anticipating to do my first real run at sentosa, as well as to meet up with members of the SgRunners.com, a new running community that I am a part off. I woke up at about 3.30am, and for some strange reason could not get back to sleep. I logged on to read some email, as well as get the latest from the running forums. Had a good breakfast of cereal with coffee, and headed for sentosa.

Race Gear with bib MV0173

I reached the Visitor Arrival Carpark at about 7.10am and shortly bumped into TLR and the gang. There was Fd, philip, penguin, Alvo and Meteor. This was the first time I had met them, and it was refreshing for me to touch a very young group of runners. I had a banana in between, and soon more SgRunners came along, renohtaram, balasing, carine, BrokenRunner, taz, kay, all of whom I have had the chance to hear from in the SgRunners forum. I was happy to collect the homemade SgRunners car sticker from TLR. I will safe-keep and use it later as it is limited edition. At about 7.30am, we made our way to the start point near Cinemania, and over there was joined by DO, kops21, cyberkinetic, tiwazz, yankeeII, skyvers, menmoch, and quite a few more. I also had some time to talk to the SAFRA Runners Rita, TLH, etc. We then had our SgRunners tattoo from cyberkinetic, and took our much anticipated group photo with the new SgRunners banner....Cool! The weather was by no means cool, as it was already quite HOT by then.

The SgRunners.com running group @ NB Real Run 2005

We were flagged off at about 8.40am, slightly earlier. There was a bunch up at the front, and I probably took some time to get to the start point, cross the championchip mats, and started my stopwatch. I planned to run easy for the 1st 3km, then catch up a bit to hit about 23+min by the 5km mark, so I have some time to manouvre the 1.6km beach and sand portion which will certainly rob me of some time. The first 2km was bunched up, and I had problems manouvreing the crowd, most of which were running slower than expected (I guess they too were conserving for the sand portion). I found more space as we progressed, especially when slopes came up. At about the 5km mark, I had passed many runners, some of whom were familiar faces. I could see 1 or 2 SAFRA Runners (with their distinctive luminous green-yellow running gear) in front.

The sand portion was quite ok today, though the sand had been markedly disturbed by the time I got there. I slowed down, and took my time to manouvre through. I still managed to overtake quite a few people, including 2 ladies during the sand part....hmmm, I thought I was afraid of the sand, but I guess some were more affected by it. By the time I finished the sand portion, my legs felt a bit wobbly. Coming out of the sand, some were walking a bit, including familiar faces. I carried on slow-running to recover and catch my breath, and soon reached the 7.5km mark. With 2.5km to go, I picked up the pace a bit, and tried to catch up with some front runners. At about the 8.5km mark, I was overtaken momentarily by 2 lean runners. I continued to pace them, and along the way overtook other runners, some of whom were MR25 veterans....wow, these were the good runners from MR25. I decided to track them and overtook them at the 9km mark, and from there, increased my pace to finish the final km in 48min50sec according to the clock, and 48min20sec according to my stopwatch. I could see that Tay Lee Huat from SAFRA, a good friend, finished 25m ahead of me. It was a very hard run for me, and I had to take about 10min to recover, before going to collect my goodie bag.

Real Run 'lightning dry' T-Shirt after the race

After the run, I met up with Alan (new runner who just joined us at SAFRA). Alan did 48min, which I thought was a respectable time. I gathered with the SgRunners and got to meet more members like skyvvers who did a good 47min timing. TLR did 46min. Carine did 52min, which I thought would secure her a prize for the women's category. She subsequently did get 13th position, and a well deserved prize. We had some good candid shots, and also group photos again. While the rest of the group went for breakfast, I took early leave. I look forward to our next meeting at the Mizuno Wave Run 2005, just next Sunday.

Results are out
Full Results Of All Categories

More photos of the day's run here.

Distance Ran:10km __Clock Time:48:58min___Pace:4:53min/km
Chip Time: 48:23min

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Whoever said that history was boring??

Historical Facts

About the 1500s

Here are some facts about the 1500's:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
May and still smelled pretty good by June.
However, they were starting to smell again so brides
carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.
The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,
then all the other sons and men, then the women,
and finally the children, last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
Hence the saying, "
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm
so all the dogs and cats and other small creatures (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.
When it rained the straw became slippery
and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.
Hence the saying "
It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to keep things from falling into the house.
This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings
could really mess up your nice clean bed.
So a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.
That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
Hence the saying "
Dirt Poor".

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh
until when they opened the door the straw would start slipping outside.
A piece of wood was placed across the entranceway.
Hence the term "
Thresh Hold".

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle
which was always hung over the fire.
Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat.
They would eat that stew for dinner leaving leftovers
in the pot to get cold overnight and start over again the next day.
Sometimes the stew had food in it which had
been there for quite a while.
Hence the rhyme, "
Peas porridge hot, peas
porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old

Sometimes they could obtain pork which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show it off.
It was a sign of wealth if a man could "
bring home the bacon."
Then they would cut off a little to share with
the guests and all would sit around and "
chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leech into the food
causing lead poisoning and even death.
This happened most often with tomatoes so for the next 400 years or so,
tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status.
Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf,
the family got the middle and guests got the top or "
upper crust".

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey.
The combination would sometimes knock fellows out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead
and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and
the family would gather around and eat and drink
and wait to see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of "
holding a wake".

England was old and small and the local folks
started running out of places to bury people.
So they would dig up coffins and take the bones
to a "
bone-house" and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have
scratch marks on the inside and they realized
they had been burying people alive.
So they thought they would tie a string to the wrist of the corpse,
lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
The Graveyard Shift) to listen for the bell:
thus someone could be "
saved by the bell" or
be considered a "
dead ringer".

And that's the truth!

Whoever said that history was boring??

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

AHM Training: Hillwork

This evening was the battle of the hills. We had more than 10 runners, and all were raring to get a good workout. I was changed early, and was looking to put in at least a 12km run, since I was going to rest till the NB Real Run this Sunday....hmmm, got to figure out how to get my long runs in, with the many 10km races over the next few weekends.

Got to Labrador Park relatively easy pace, climbed the first slope, ran a lap round the Park, and then climbed the slope back the reverse direction. Up there, saw TLH, Colleen and Eric also finishing up this portion. Proceeded on to Morse Rd and then up the long stretch of Mt. Faber. At this point, I only say Ong and Derrick ahead. At the top of the slope, Ong was waiting and he told me Derrick went for another round. Since the night was relatively young, and my inspiration from this running movie of Prefontaine (Without Limits) spurred me to run another round of Mt. Faber.

On the second round, I saw Francis and Lee. I ran on up to the top where the Cable Towers is, and then proceeded to take a drink from the public toilets, before hitting down the slopes at fast pace (since this was the 7th month, I didn't want to spend too much time around dark areas) and then back to ClubHouse. The rest were mostly back, except for Derrick, whom I was told did 3 rounds of Mt. Faber. Chairman confirmed that I did 2 rounds, as he had expected. Finally had my laksa at regular food centre, since I missed it on Tuesday.

Distance Ran:14km ___Time:1hr15min____Pace:5:23min/km
Average HR:160bpm___Max HR:175bpm___KCal:1048KCal

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bi-monthly Speedwork @ Queenstown Stadium

This evening was speedwork at Queenstown Stadium. There was a smaller crowd than usual, and we did have a new runner, Alan join us. As major running events are coming up, we find that more new runners do join the SAFRA Runners to get up to speed with their training, if they have yet to find a group to have regular training runs with.

We ran a 4km to the Queenstown Stadium as a warm-up. I had on my Asics DS Trainers, just what I will need for track-work. We were supposed to do 800m (2 laps around the 400m track), at a 5m/km pace...ie 4min for 800m, then jogging for another 400m lap to rest...before repeating. This evening, we had 2 groups, with one starting 30seconds ahead, so to have both groups roughly arriving on time, as well has having about the same resting time.

The first lap as usual was fast, and everybody was enthusiastic and getting their correct pace. I returned with a 3min20s. I felt relaxed and good. Jogged a slow lap to rest, and went on the second 800m cycle. I returned with 3min33s...hmmm, settling into my average pace of 3:30min for 800m lap. Did the next 2 laps also about 3:30min kind of timing. At that pace, I normally reach 400m in 1:45min. I try to maintain a consistent pace for such speedwork exercises. I did the last 2 laps faster, to finish off the tank, completing in 3:05 laps.

4km warm-up: 25min
1st 800m repeat: 3:20min
2nd 800m repeat: 3:33min
3rd 800m repeat: 3:32min
4th 800m repeat: 3:20min
5th 800m repeat: 3:06min
6th 800m repeat: 3:07min
4km cool-down: 25min

I had a quick rest and drink from the toilets, and ran back 4km to ClubHouse, taking that as a cooling down recovery leg. I felt good going back tonight, indicative that I had not fully expended my energy. I did not have bananas today, just a tau-sar pau as snack 2hrs prior to the run. Apparently, that helped too.

Distance Ran:13km ___Time:1hr8min____Pace:5:14min/km
Average HR:147bpm___Max HR:178bpm___KCal:885KCal

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Voices From Within....An Inspiration

Everyone has a unique story to tell. Some stories spread flames of heroic inspiration to others; some melt hearts in warmth, while some simply put smiles on our faces. Every month, SGRunner's staff writer Wai Kit will speak to such people - people who share their unique stories, and people whose stories are so powerful it defines who they are, and what they want in life.

View the Interview with Alex Leong

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday LSD - New Trail

I almost did not get out of bed for my Sunday run at MacRitchie. We had a lot to eat at last night's BBQ, and I drank at least 4 Singapore Slings, along with a glass of after-dinner red wine. I slept all of 1hr the whole night as I was awake with too much food? As I laid I bed, I remembered telling Corrine, Derrick, et. al that I will be at MR this morning, and I dragged myself up. Moreover, Chris, the new runner that joined us last week, was coming. My legs felt heavy and tired after yesterday's 10km race, and all that standing around the BBQ area and poolside.

MR's carpark was full again this morning...Ahhh, the SPCA 4.8km run was to be held today.....Hmmm, wondering which of my running kakis might be participating. Bumped into Ah Leng from Toa Payoh, and we discussed a bit about his brief apperance on TV at the National Day Run...hehe. Soon we were joined by Goola, Eng Hwa and then Chris. We waited for a while, and realized the rest were not coming. The 4 of us started our run at about 7.05am. Chris showed me his new toy, the Polar RS200sd, which could measure distances in trails even. Good! At least we can have estimation of our distances ran, especially through x-country and new routes. We ran from the Northern Route, and at the end of the 3.6km stretch, instead of turning left, Goola showed us a new trail by turning right...Interesting, we never tried this before. This trail was deserted, and at the end of about 2.5km, we reached the SICC car-park along Upper Thomson Road. It was a nice and interesting trail, and there were streams of clear water. We will have to spend some time coming back here next time. The SICC carpark was the other entrance recommended for those going to the TreeTop Walk.

We ran along Upper Pierce Reservoir, then to Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR), met a bunch of MR25 runners doing their training...Hit the end of OUTR onto UTR then onto the usual route to Seletar Reservoir toilets via the nice stretch of reservoir. When we reached the toilets, my HRM watch read 1hr32min. It seemed that we had run a bit further, maybe 3km more, for that first stretch...since normally we will reach there in about 1hr10min. Chris' Polar read 14.5km...the distance we had covered. We had a 10min break and stretch, before proceeding onto the Ngee Soon Range, Seletar aircon road. Chris was saoking all this in, and he remembered doing his own 'live firing' by urinating into the bushes along with his army mates during training sessions many years back....From there we took the muddy trail which led us back to Pierce Reservoir Rd, dotted with monkeys along the roads. When Chris emerged from the trails, he showed me his muddy shoes (which were orginally white). I told him he should wear trail runners when he runs at MR with us next time...hehe

Along Pierce, we met Lai Chee running from the other direction towards OUTR. She probably had finished her SPCA run, and was going for her extended training run afterwards. We assembled at the Pierce toilets for our final toilet break. Chris mentioned that his heart rate was surprisingly high, and we decided to jog slowly back along Northern Route. When we reached the car park toilets at MR, the time was 10.18pm. We had run for 3hrs, though with a slow pace through trails. A check with Chris' foot-pod reflected 24+km, but I reckon the distance to be more than 25km (since the Polar dstance measurement needed to be calibrated and used a few times to improve accuracy). My legs felt tired, and Eng Hwa too. I was soaking wet, and was squeezing water off my running shorts. We were all quite happy that the weather held out, and we could put in the mileage without too much trouble.

Distance Ran:25km ___Time:3hr est.____Pace:7:12min/km
Average HR:145bpm___Max HR:170bpm___KCal:2000KCal est.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Public Service Run @ Bedok Reservoir

The first series of shorter distance races from August onwards. After collecting my New Balance Race Pack from Toa Payoh Sports Hall, met up with Lee and Andre, I drove to Adam's condominium to park. From there we took a short walk to the start of the Public Service Run at Temasek Polytechnic. When we arrived, we saw Chairman, Ong, Jaime, Chua , eh, sh, etc and they had already collected our bibs. Cool...There were already a crowd gathered, and most of the runners were there representing their respective organizations in the civil service. The few of us were running for SAFRA Running Club, which was considered invitational.

I participated in the 10km Men's Open, and was supposed to start of from Temasek Poly, running to Bedok Resevoir for 2 loops, and then back for another 300m round the Poly technic track. The weather was cool, with the skies threatening to rain. A good day for a training run, which was what I was expecting myself to do at such races (where I am not in contention for the top standings competitively). The ladies went first, followed by the men's veteran and shorter races of 5.8km.

While waiting to start off with Ong, Kumaran, Lee, Andre, I met Sukaimi aka The Lonely Runner. We said hello. After a short while, the horns blew, and off we went. The initial 5km was quite congested with the previous groups running 5.8km running slowly along the tracks as well as fringes. I remembered cm telling me to run the fringe portions of Bedok Reservoir, to avoid the drag effect of the sandy track of the reservoir. I started easy, and after 3-4km, I begun to overtake quite a number of the frontrunners. After the 1st loop, it was good relief to have the bunch of 5.8km runners turn off for their way back to the stadium. That freed the tracks, and very soon, I upped my pace and begun to overtake the front runners, a number of representing organizations such as SAFSA, Ngee Ann, etc. With about 2km, I increased the speed further to overtake about 5 more runners, before hitting the final stretch to the stadium. There I was running head-head with 2 young runners, and as I entered the stadium, I heard people shouting ann cheering for me. Sounded like Colleen? Then I saw TLR on the grass patch cheering for me (he must have reached back quite early). Round the bend,I heard cm shouting for me, and I made a dash for the finish challenging 2 others. I entered the wrong finish hold, and was told to take the other. I clicked my watch after passing for a while, and recorded 46min+, nearly 47min. I estimated 46min+ to be the actual time I took.

Later, Ong and a few others mentioned that the total distance was a bit longer than 10km, more like 10.5km...hmmm, then my timing was pretty good for me then. Well, I hope the timings would be recorded by the organizers, even for non top finishers like myself. After the whole event, we went to Adam's place and had a most enjoyable night BBQing and drinking wine. A good carbo-reloading session for a good workout in the afternoon.

Distance Ran:10km ___Time:46min55sec____Pace:4:42min/km
Average HR:149bpm___Max HR:175bpm___KCal:700KCal

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Midweek mid distance run to Botanic Gardens

This evening was the secong mid distance run for the week, part of building up mileage for the upcoming Army Half Marathon. The route was already laid by Trainer Ong, and we had not bad a turnout.

In view of the 16km we have to cover, we started off early at 6.50pm. The pace this evening was fast, as we had an enthusiastic bunch of Ong, Derrick, Paul, Wong, Chua, sh in front. I sort of enjoyed the pace, and covered the run without much stoppage in good time. The weather was cool, after rains in the afternoon. Again, I ran the 16km in my NB754, which attracted quite a fair bit of interest from fellow runners. I felt good in that pair of shoes so far, and it seemed like it is really working well. After the run, we had a good dinner discussion for this Saturday's Public Service Quarter Marathon, as well as the carbo-reload BBQ at Adam's condominium. Looking forward to a nice dip in his pool.

Distance Ran:16km ___Time:1hr14min____Pace:4:38min/km
Average HR:149bpm___Max HR:175bpm___KCal:903KCal

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Weekday long run to Marina Promenade

This week is the start of long distance runs during SAFRA weekday runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is in preparation for the upcoming AHM (21km) as well as the SCSM (km). This evening was supposed to have us run to Esplanade and back, covering a distance of 13km. Before we started, Paul who did not come for a few runs now, wanted to do longer, and chairman suggested that I might want to do. I was prepared to do 13km, and not really wanting to do longer than that. We agreed that we decide when we reach Esplanade later.

I wore my newly purchased NB754 for a second run, and this was to be a good break-in and trial of the shoes over longer distances. We started earlier at about 6.50pm. Initially, the shoes felt a little firm, and my legs were still finding their fit into the shoes. After about 3km, I was in the rush. The pace was smooth, not too fast, and very soon we reached the Esplanade. I went to the toilets for a quick break, came out, and signaled to Wong that I will go the Marina Promenade way, following Paul and Kumaran, who had made their way there already. Along the way, Wee How followed me. After about 2km, I met Foo, and then near the halfway point at the toilets, we saw Paul and Kumaran on the return. We signalled to them to go ahead, and I took a second break at the toilets. I ran ahead, with Wee How just following behind. Along the relatively busy track, I overtook a few runners in front.

The night was humid and without much wind. I was perspiring like mad, but I decided to run ahead without a stop at the Esplanade again. I then ran all the way quite strongly, and with about 1km to the ClubHouse, I caught up with Paul, and we sort of ran back to the ClubHouse together. A very satisfying run for me, since I got to do an additional 4km at a pace which was good for me. And looking back, the NB shoes really felt light, and I did not get any feeling of heavy nor tired legs. And I did not even have my customary banana for long runs, and yet I felt good.

Distance Ran:17km ___Time:1hr39min____Pace:5:50min/km
Average HR:153bpm___Max HR:187bpm___KCal:1,275KCal

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Test-driving new running shoes: NB754

My 2 pairs of favourite running shoes, mainly ASICS GT2090 for road running, Nike Air Storm Moto for off-road running are almost a year old. According to my Cool Running Log, which keeps track of my running shoe usage, amongst many other things, indicates that the ASICS shoe has crossed 1000km and I have used the Nike pair for almost 800km. I recently got a pair of ASICS DS Trainer for shorter distances, and possibly 10km races. And so, I have been looking to get another pair of cushioned shoes for my longer distances. With the recent big discount from New Balance offered to my running club, I decided to give New Balance (NB) a try.

I had a little time today, and visited the NB Technical Centre @ Comtech off Alexandra Rd. Went straight for the shoes display, and immediately the NB754 caught my eyes with its striking colours, and display of 'Runners' World Editor's Choice' award. The shoe expert gave a quick look at my legs, and correctly identified them as normal-arch, with my right foot slightly high-arch. She explained that the NB M754WG will fit me well, despite me having tried the NB766 (for over-pronators) at the NB trial run. I tried on a size 10, which surprisingly fit me to a T. I normally wear size 9 shoes. The shoe-laces were technically twisted to prevent loosening on the run, and I find the heel's buffer generous. The front of the shoe has an extra tilted angle to it. Hmmm...the great thing is the shoe feels a lot lighter than most of the shoes I've had. I decide to get it, and there was really nothing to loose since the price was so good.

I brought it for a test-drive during my 10km slow run with Beverly. The first few steps with it felt a little firm, and the cushion didn't feel so thick after all. After about 2km, I sort of didn;t feel the shoe at all. It felt so good, and it seemed the shoe was part of my feet. After the 10km run, my legs still felt fresh. My initial feel for this shoe is great, and I hope this continues for my longer runs over the next few weeks. It it proves to be good, I will use it for my Army 21km as well as StanChart Marathon at year end. For a shoe at that price, and performance, I guess I have nothing to complain so far, despite the fact that it is made-in-Vietnam, as opposed to the more famous made-in-China brands like ASICS, Nike.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

30km LSD To West Coast & Kent Ridge Parks

Today was our long Sunday Run from SAFRA MF, and we had a new person joined us. He came after I posted an invitation to the sgRunners group. I was glad to see renohtaram aka Chris. He came looking for Dreamer, and was promptly welcomed by cm and the rest of the SAFRA runners. We had a smaller group this morning, about 10 of us.

We started off at 7am as planned, and proceeded to run along Depot Rd, then out along Alexandra Rd, Queensway, and then into Jln Hang Jebat. I ran at a pace more like the desired start I am looking in my marathon pace, and my plan was to keep that for as long as I can. Chris was enjoying his run, and adopting a reasonable pace in front led by hock soon. Aha..hock soon normally likes to start out fast, and that seemed to go down well with our young runner, Chris.

We reached the Buona Vista MRT station for a refill of our water bottles at the toilets. I was telling Colleen and Chris that the Soloman water bottle was indeed good, wit hits ergonomics, and good capacity too. At that point, cm came and told us that Andre had turned back. We continued on, and soon ran along the West Coast Road, and finally made it to West Coast Park. At that point, we were joined by Wong, Jimmy, Adam and a few others too. They mentioned that cm and Jaime had also taken another route back. We took a short break, and contionued on to loop around the Park. We must have covered about 15km by the time we finished the loop. Chris mentioned that he was feeling a tad tired, and I asked him to join Wong and the other group back to Clubhouse, whilst Goola, eh, hs, Yuen and myself went on to run the Kent Ridge Park. Once into Science Park, hs brought us for a loop and slope tour of the campus. The sun was beating on us, and the heat really drained us. We had to make another stop midway at a canteen and toop toilet breaks and some bought 100plus to do carbo reload.

From the canteen in Science Park, we ran up and down, and finally to the entrance to Kent Ridge Park. Yuen decided to take another route back on his own, and it was down to the four of us, running through the scenic ponds, slopes, jungle vegetation, and suspension bridge. It looked great in the day, but the slopes up were taunting our tired legs. We finally made it to the top, where we say hs emerge to join us from a short-cut he took? From there, we made our way down along the road to Bukit Chandu, and into Pasir Panjang Rd. I told the rest that we were about 5km away from ClubHouse if we were to take the Telok Blangah/Henderson way.

When we hit Pasir Panjang Rd, I took the lead and increased my speed to get out of the hot sun soonest. I ran all the way to the ClubHouse in what seemed to be about 6.5min/km pace. When I reached ClubHouse, it was 10.20am and cm and the group was about to washup, after their cool down. My use of the HRM today was erractic, and I only started to time at the Buona Vista MRT stretch, and even then, there were many times I paused the watch, but did not get it re-started. Maybe I was having a good time talking with the various running kakis, that I did not focus on pressing the buttons. I estimated I covered a total distance of 30km in 3hrs. I felt good during the whole run, and it could be due to the fact I had 2 small bananas before the run. I also had good water refuelling all along the whole run, which helped me maintain good body temperature and heart rate.

Distance Ran:30km ___Time:3hrs____Pace:6:00min/km
Average HR:154bpm___Max HR:172bpm___KCal:2,100KCal est.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Develop CORE Strength For Running

From The Atheletic Advisor

The cornerstone of all athletic movements is the abdominal or core muscles. An athlete can train to increase strength, power, speed, agility, and quickness but if the core muscles are weak the athlete will not reap the full benefits of this hard work.

The core muscles serve as a force couple to transfer the power developed in the hips and legs into the arms and vice versa. A strong core will also help to protect the back from potential injuries associated with sport participation.

Not only is overall core strength important, just as valuable is core muscle coordination. Exercises that place the body in an unbalanced position help to develop the needed strength and coordination needed for the core muscles to function properly. These exercises must also be performed properly: the spine must be held in a neutral position with appropriate pelvic tilt.

Not Just Crunches

Crunches or sit-ups have been used for years to strengthen the abdominal muscles but, they have inherent limitations. Examples of these limitations are: the body position that crunches are performed in can not be found in sports, they move the body through a very limited range of motion, and they do not take into account upper body or lower body motions during the exercise.

Exercises using a fitness ball, stability ball, or SwissBall® can help to solve some of these problems. Each of these exercises is performed with a 5 to 10 second hold. Begin by performing 3 sets of 10 repetitions and increase numbers as strength, technique, and endurance improve, working towards completing 3 sets of 20. Choose the correct ball size based on height: 55 cm for 5’3” and under, 65 cm for 5’4” - 6’2”, and 75 cm for 6’3” and taller.

Exercise Suggestions

Body Weight Squats: Using the ball against a wall, tighten the abdominal muscles while maintaining a pelvic tilt, slowly bend the knees into a squatting position, hold for 5 to 10 seconds and return to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions (3x20).

1 Leg Squats: Use the same technique described in 2 leg squats. Perform 3 x 20.

Prone Superman: Lay on ball at waist level, tighten back to raise chest parallel to legs with arms straight out in front. The goal is to look like superman flying. Be sure to keep the head in line with the spine, do not look up.

Prone Arm/Leg Superman: Same position as prone superman. Lift one arm and one leg so that they are parallel to the back. For a variation and a more difficult exercise lift the left arm and right leg.

Prone Row: Lay on ball at chest level. Keep back in straight line. Raise arms in a rowing fashion. Use weight (5 to 10 pounds) as needed for added resistance.

Prone Arm Walk: Begin laying on the ball at chest level. Using the arms walk forward, rolling the ball towards the feet. Return to start position. Be sure to keep the back and neck in proper alignment.

For added difficulty, once the ball is rolled to the lower shins, perform 5 - 10 push-ups while maintaining proper spinal alignment.

Supine Bridging: Lay on back with ball between shoulder blades. First, raise buttocks off of ground until neck, back, and thighs are parallel. Slowly extend one knee then raise that leg until parallel to opposite thigh. Place hands on stomach as a reminder to tighten abdominal muscles. Repeat with other leg.

Supine Bridge with Arm: Same position as previous exercise. While extending and raising left leg, slowly raise right arm over head until parallel with body. Try and perform both motions simultaneously while maintaining balance on the ball. Repeat with the other arm and leg.

Supine Torso Lift: Lay on back with knees bent over ball. Slowly lift torso until back is a straight line with legs. Use arms on floor to assist with balance. As balance improves, place hands on stomach.

These are some examples of advanced stability exercises. Performance of these exercises just one day per week will help to improve overall athletic performance by strengthening and coordinating one of the most neglected muscle groups: THE CORE!

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Friday, August 12, 2005

A revisit to Northern Route

Wow, the haze is really affecting our neighbour, Malaysia, big time. All the runners have been banished indoors, and even those in air conditioned environments felt choked. Malaysia had declared a state of emergency in various key states. We in Singapore just has to be thankful, and I hope we won't get the haze this time.

As I thought about it, I decided to make hay while the sun shone. I made my way to MacRitchie, and decided to do the 10km Northern Rosute. It has been a few months since I did this route, and I wanted to avoid the sun. so I chose to do trail running. Strapped on my HRM, and also tried out the Salamon water bottle which I got for Beverly. I wanted to see if it is good, and whether I should get more of it at the next sale.

Started off at the zig-zag bridge with the sun shining. I ran at a moderate pace to the exercise area, and then through what I call the tree-trunk area (lots of roots, and undulating terrain). Came out of it in 15:30min....not bad, since I normally exit in 16min+. Through the golf course area, the sun was up, but bearable. Went through Sime Track still feeling good. I took 2 sips of water, and that helped a lot in keeping my heart rate down.

I re-entered the trail from SICC road feeling good. This last 3km stretch is always a drain, since there are numerous slopes on undulating terrain to navigate. It is always this portion that I feel tired, since it is the final stretch too. I finally made it back to the end point at the car-park toilets, in 55min+....that is much slower to the normal times that I have done for this route...53min-54min. Maybe I was running at a slower pace, and also because of the hard speedwork I did just last evening. Took a H20 lime to carbo-reload, and made my way home for my next appointment.

Distance Ran:10km ___Time:5mi5:15min____Pace:5:31min/km
Average HR:158bpm___Max HR:172bpm___KCal:746KCal

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

6x800s Speedwork @ Queenstown Stadium

I had my first initiation of speedwork on a track at Queenstown Stadium this evening. SAFRA MF trainer Ong had planned this, and I was sort of looking forward to try interval repeats on a track. Moreover, I heard that the Stadium was just recently refurnished. When we started off from the ClubHouse at about 7pm, there were less than 10 of us....hmmm, maybe the rest are not too sure about doing speedwork, after last Thurday's hill repeats.

We ran a 4km to the Queenstown Stadium as a warm-up. I don my HRM and set to the Intervals program. This is the first time I am using the Intervals program, and this was a good time to try it out. The track was gorgeous, and the feeling was great. I had on my Asics DS Trainers, just what I will need for track-work. We were supposed to do 800m (2 laps around the 400m track), at a 5m/km pace...ie 4min for 800m, then taking a 5min rest...before repeating. If we could maintain this pace, then we should be doing a sub 4hr marathon.

The first lap was fast, and everybody was enthusiastic and getting their correct pace. I returned with a 3min40s. We took a 5min rest, and went on the second 800m cycle. I returned with 3min30s...hmmm, a bit too fast perhaps. But because I know it is only for 6x800m, I was spreading out my energy resources to try to finish the 6x800m repeats in about equal timing. For me that would be about 3:30min per 800m. I did the next 2 in about 3:25min. For the last 2 repeats, chairmain was saying that we could go all out and try to maximize our timings, although that would not be the marathon pace. I did the 5th repeat in also about 3:25min. For the last and 6th 800m, I gave it a good go, overtook the frontrunners after 200m, and then it was all the way trailing behind trainer Ong. I finished this last 800m in 3:01min....not bad an effort.

4km warm-up: 24min
1st 800m repeat: 3:40min
2nd 800m repeat: 3:30min
3rd 800m repeat: 3:25min
4th 800m repeat: 3:25min
5th 800m repeat: 3:26min
6th 800m repeat: 3:01min
4km cool-down: 26min

I had a quick rest and drink from the toilets, and ran back 4km to ClubHouse, taking that as a cooling down recovery leg. Overall, the distance covered would be approx. 13km, in a total running time of about 1:08hr. I enjoyed the workout, and look forward to having this sort of speed training about twice a month. This will help most of us preparing for our upcoming long races prepare for the gruelling last kms, as well as helping to get good timings.

Distance Ran:13km ___Time:1hr8min____Pace:5:14min/km
Average HR:154bpm___Max HR:169bpm___KCal:885KCal

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Monday, August 08, 2005

The Short & Long Of It

Found some time today to do a deliberate 5km practise run at the MR25 route at MacRitchie. I have missed the past 2 time trials, and its been some time since I ran this route as well. The route was slightly damp with some puddles of water after rain in the morning. Portions of the route seemed to have been man-filled with gravel and small stones. This makes the surface a little like that at Bedok Reservoir...hmmm, not very good grip. I tried to run on the sandy portions of the trail where possible. As with running this route, it is always punishing, and I hit the halfway mark at about 12min. Pretty slow compared with previous times. I tried to pick up speed a little on the way back, and managed to clock in at 23:45min, much slower than my previous time trial timing of 23:08min. Well, as least it got me started to train on this surface again for the next time trial in October.

Distance Ran:5km XC ___Time:23:45min____Pace:4:45min/km

Went back home to meet my wife for a recovery run of 10km around my estate. My wife tried the new Saloman water belt, but did not get used to the bounce. I took over the belt from her after 1km, and it fit me snugly to a T. We ran slightly slower this evening, and returned home with a time of 1hr7min. At least the missus got a pre National Day workout, which should put her in good holiday mood.

Distance Ran:10km ___Time:1hr7min____Pace:6:42min/km

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I am all signed up

Dear Friends & Kakis,
I am signed up for the following Singapore races/events for this H2 2005:
Aug 9 - National Day Run (Jurong East)
Aug 20 - Public Service Run (10km - Bedok Reservoir)
Aug 28 - New Balance Real Run (10km - Sentosa)
Sep 4 - Mizuno Wave Run (10km - Kovan/Tampines Road)
Sep 11 - Sheares Bridge Run (21km - Esplanade area)
Sep 18 - Terry Fox Run (7.5km - Sentosa)
Nov 6 - MR25 Progressive Run (35km - MacRitchie)
Dec 4 - Standard Chartered Marathon (42km - Esplanade/ECP area)
Dec 25 - MR25 Ultra Marathon (>50km - MacRitchie)

Seems like Aug and September are almost full on most weekends.

Do let me know if you are joining in some of these events, and we can arrange to meet up/catch up.

Warm Regards,
Anthony Sum

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

The New Balance Real Run Trial @ Sentosa

Today was the 4th trial run for the NB Real Run. There is a series of 5 trial runs, and I have only been able to make it for this, before the actual race day on Aug28. I have been wanting to try the route, since this one involves a stretch of sand, which according to many runners who did last year's real run was treacherous. The sand was also a major reason why many of the past runners are not running in this year's Real Run, for fear of sustaining injuries.

I met the MF Runners at SAFRA Clubhouse, and we did a jog to Sentosa at 7.15am, as part of our warm up. We had Lai Chee join us today, as she was keen to participate in the Real Run trial too. We reached Sentosa at about 7.40am, and paid $2 each at the entrance. We proceeded straight to the Visitor Arrival Centre, and already quite a crowd were getting ready for the NB trials. I immediately walked to the queue for shoes, and got myself a NB766 to try. This is the first time I am wearing a NB shoe, and I was looking forward to see how it fits and runs. The initial feel was good, a bit firm, but very light. The color and looks wasn't as good as the NB574 (for wide feet). A few of us, Jaime, Ong, Andre, Colleen, Hock Soon, Lai Chee and myself stayed for the NB trial, whilst Chairman led the rest for a scenic run round the island. Later we heard from Chairman, Jimmy, Goola and Adam that they had a wonderful run, with an undexpected sighting of a veteran man in G-Strings. Goola said she will write a report on that.

The NB Trial Run started promptly at 8am, with a brief by the organizer. I followed the crowd of mainly young fellas, and initially, there were a few nice ladies in front too. As we progressed, I moved up along, increasing the pace to about 5min/km. After about 2km, met Chairman leading his group of SAFRA Runners from the opposite side of the road. They shouted my name and cheered for me. I gave them a wave of acknowledgement and moved ahead. The SAFRA TP group were also sighted on the opposite side of the road, and it seemed they had a big bunch there on Sentosa Island for their Sunday run.

Along the way, it was touch-and-go for me and a few male runners, overtaking one another, while I was anticipating the arrival of the beach. This NB route was surprisingly not flat, and was quite interesting and challenging for the first 5km of road. At the 5.5km mark, we hit the beach. My initial steps were wobbly, and I was sinking into the sand of the sloping beach for the first 500m. I slowed down to a jog, and tried to steady myself. I then used my leg as anchor to prevent my slipping and sinking into the soft sand. I also tried running on the slight wetter but firmer portions of the beach. I soon got out of the first stretch of sand, and got some relief with running on road again. After another 200m or so, we hit the second stretch of beach. This was to be a longer stretch than the first, and when I finally climbed out of it, I was drained. My breathing was quite hard, and my legs felt soft. All these were compounded by the hot sunny weather we were facing. My NB cap actually helped to defend some of the rays, but my head was suffering from poor ventilation.

When the sand portion was done, we were left with 3km of the final stretch to go. This was mainly on tarmac road through a jungle terrain. I took the opportunity to recover for about 1.5km. I was feeling drained, but still managed to keep myself moving. No one overtook me all this while, and with 1.5km to go, I trailed a group of 3 young runners, overtaking a few people along the way. Finally reached the end point after going through a series of small trails and bends. With about 50m to go, I saw my time at 49min15sec. I rushed all the way to the end point and had to be satisfied with my 49min50sec timing. Ice cold 100Plus were provided by the organizers, and I had at least 3 full cups of it. One of the best post-run drinks I have had.

After a while, I returned the NB766 trial shoes, and met up with the rest of the group - Andre, Colleen, Jaime, Ong, Jaime....Derrick and some TP runners were there too. We discussed a bit about the run, and how it was compared with last year's Nike Real Run. We then met up with Chairman and the rest of the gang, and proceeded to slow jog back to the ClubHouse. Apparently 1-2 of the runners took a bus from Sentosa to the ClubHouse. We had a good wash up and proceeded for carbo-reloading at IKEA.

Distance Ran:10km XC ___Time:49:50min____Pace:4:59min/km
Average HR:169bpm___Max HR:175bpm___KCal:771KCal

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

StanChart Marathon 2005: Hills Training

This evening marked the first weekly series of training concocted by our trainer, Ong, and we were briefed that we would cover Labrador Park Hill (to & fro) and then to Mt Faber. The entire route will be 12.5km, as marked out by Ong.

There was less than 10 of us this evening. Somehow, a lot of the runners were busy. We started off promptly at 7pm, and immediately I moved close to Ong and Paul just so that we can pace one another. We were joined by Wong nearing Labrador, and there was another group led by Jimmy Sim behind. We ran up the slopes of Labrador Park, and when we reached the top, Paul mentioned that one of the runners vomitted, as he was not used to the slope running. I had a banana at about 6pm, and Yean brought a whole bunch for the rest of the crew too. Paul consumed 2 bananas, and I joked that he had used 1/2banana to climb that slope, and that he still has 1.5banana to last the later hills.

I felt good, and continued to loop Labrador Park, and ran back up the slopes in reverse, keeping just behind Ong. At the top where the restaurant was, I went for a quick drink at the toilets, and then was joined by Paul. Together, the 3 of us ran towards Mt. Faber, and climbed the steep slopes at Morse Rd. Midway, Paul dropped a bit behind. Ong and me carried on up towards Cable Car Towers, and then ran speedily down the slopes and back to ClubHouse, taking a total of 1hr6min. I felt strong throughout, and even made a dash at the last 200m.

Distance Ran:12.5km ___Time:1hr6min____Pace:5:17min/km
Average HR:154bpm___Max HR:175bpm___KCal:732KCal

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

2.4km Polar Conconi Test

I registered for the Conconi test organized by SAAA and Polar HRM. We were supposed to run 2.4km around the tracks at Bukit Gombak Stadium, and thereafter, have an analysis of our anaerobic/lactate threshold measured. A few of us from SAFRA MF have signed up, and we arranged to meet at the stadium at 6.30pm.

As this was the first time for me to Bukit Gombak, I arrived earlier to have a look at the place. As I drove into the carpark at about 6.15pm, I met Jimmy Tan driving in too. We went into the stadium and did a 4 lap warm up while waiting for the rest. Soon we saw Ong and Jaime coming in, and followed later by Melvin. The Bukit Gombak stadium seemed to be a hive of activity, and there were lots of runners and athletes using the track and field. National runners like Elangovan and Vivian Tang were doing their trackwork there too. I later found out from Jaime that this was the homeground of the SAAA….hmmm, no wonder so many good runners around. At about 7pm, we met up with the SAAA official, and we were given a brief by Adrian Mok, GM of Polar, and an avid runner himself. Other than the SAFRA group, we were joined by a few more runners from the public. Adrian explained that we could not do a real CONCONI test, as that will be best done on a threadmill. Instead, we would do a 2.4km time-trial running 6 laps, and having lap timings to check consistency of pace. Adrian then offered each a Polar S610i HRM to put on, and taught its basic functions. As I already was an owner of that model, I just used my own.

After some adjustments, playing around with the gadgets, we started off from the tracks at about 7.30pm. Ong raced ahead, and I paced along. In front were about 2 others who in my opinion were running too fast for their start. On the first lap, I clicked, and did 1:39, and thereafter, I average about 1:41 laps. Very consistent for me. I overtook most of them after the third lap, and of course Ong was already way ahead. Behind me were Melvin, Jimmy and of course, Jaime was close too. This was the first time in a long while since I timed my 2.4km. In addition, I have never run 6laps in that manner. As I ran around, I looked back at my previous 2.4km times, and I remembered my best time ever was achieved once in my OCS days, about 10:15. So anything below 11min was ok for me.

In the last 2 laps, I still felt very strong. I pushed a little harder, but still kept something in reserve as I do not yet have a good feel of how much to reserve for remaining 800m. The track was full of people, and I had to weave in and out a bit too. The lighting was good at certain parts, while not so bright at others. It really felt good to run on bitumen track, as it is soft and easy on the feet. Soon, I was into the last lap, and I sped up to finish in 9:57min. Very soon, Melvin finished too followed by Jimmy and then Jaime, who did a respectable 11:44min. Very good timing for a lady. Our trainer, Ong, of course already finished ahead of me by about 100m.

Overall, a very good experience for us, and also a good way to establish base timing for our 2.4km. For those who were looking to cash in at their upcoming IPPT, this will serve as a nice warm-up trial run. I rushed off after the run, but the rest stayed behind to find out more about the readings and the analysis.

Distance Ran:2.4km ___Time:9min57sec____Pace:4:10min/km
Average HR:163bpm___Max HR:174bpm___KCal:145KCal

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

14km new route

We did quite a different route this evening, and thanks to good planning by our trainer, we would be covering MF clubhouse - Henderson Rd - Tiong Bahru Park - Delta Canal - Tanglin Rd - Holland Rd - Farrer Rd - Margaret Rd - Delta Canal - Tiong Bahru Park - Henderson Rd - MF clubhouse. A few of the regular runners were absent, and trainer Ong planned and briefed us on the route. It was a 14km loop and I covered it in 1hr5min. It was mainly on road running, and it was a good workout for me nonetheless.

I took an early banana at about 4pm, and that caused me to have stomach cramps during the run. I was running fast to get back to the Club fast to visit the toilet. I also took the pain as a simulation of something that may happen during races, and I actually contained the pain quite well.

During the run, we also discussed our Sunday's planned run from SAFRA MF to Sentosa, joining in the NB Real Run trial, and then running back to Clubhouse for washup and makan. We also invited the other runners to join us for this Sunday run, as a change from the usual MacRitchie location.

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