Sunday, April 30, 2006

The NTUC Duathlon 2006

Participated in my first ever duathlon event, The Young NTUC Dual-thlon that will take me on a swim across the Marina Bay and a run past major landmarks of Singapore's waterfront area and Central Business District. Each participant will swim a distance of 200m from One Fullerton to DXO. This is followed by a picturesque 3km run that will take you past the Esplanade Bridge, Raffles Quay Road, Shenton Way, the Singapore Conference Hall and back towards the Esplanade. As part of the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon training, we were sponsored for this event, and were encouraged to participate. I am no swimmer at all, but still I plucked up enough courage to give it a try.

DO and I arrived at about 8am to meet the rest of the team at Clifford Pier. We got our Mizuno running singlet from mida, and started to prepare ourselves like getting my arms marked, pinning the bib on, and placing my stuff at the 'Transition Area'. Divey was nice to come a give us support, after her 10km Sunday run. I also met the SAFRA MF team doing their Sunday LSD, and a few other familiar faces from Trifam. We walked to the start point about 300m away, collected our swim caps (mine was yellow, along with DO, Xavier, Yee Sheng, Sim and Kops). Most of the people were reasonable swimmers. I was one of those that could hardly swim, and that was my first experience doing a swim race, not to mention in sea water to boot....haha.

Soon, it was my wave to get into the waters. Because this event is really a fun one, we were dispatched one at a time. I took to the waters quite well initailly, doing my glides. As I looked up, I could see other swimmers moving way ahead. I could also hear swimmers coming from behind. I was tensed, and wanted to quicken my pace and swim faster. That resulted in me doing shorter strokes, and thrashing quite a lot...I got tired midway, and had to hold on to the guide ropes to regain my breath. DO was around just to ensure I was ok, and he told the boatman to allow me to take a rest....thanks DO. After the rest, I felt much better and was able to complete the swim quite ok. By then, many of the swimmers have gone ahead, including those from the wave behind. DO and I got up together, and we took our time to get a good rinse to wash off the salty water, and got changed into our running gear. Because I was wearing tights, I just had to put on my running singlet, running shoes and I was ready. My legs felt tired initially after that swim. I felt better as I ran, just following DO from about 25m. The run was releatively short, and I think we completed it in less than 10min....definitely shorter than 3km.

After competing the race, we gathered for some nice team photos, and proceeded to Marina Square for makan. The team then went to the WOS-Mizuno outlet to test our feet and get recommendations for running shoes. My feet measured US size 9, and was recommended by Tym (the Mizuno consultant) to wear size 10 Wave Rider 9. Overall, an interesting race of a different kind for me, and I will have to improve on my swimming by a lot to even consider doing a serious biathlon or triathlon event in future.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Met The Animiles Cheetah In 2:18

Another Animiles run for me this morning. This is the third one for the month of April. I have a fun NTUC Biathlon event on Sunday, and thats why I did my LSD on Saturday again. Divey, DO and myself arrived at LPR around 5:20am, and Brokie, Cokiee, Cosmic were already there. Yuli Piggy aka Babymon came soon after. Met up SC5, notme, Lieu, and the regular Animiles runners. I decided to do a 27km after comtemplating for a while, requiring me to reach the gates of the zoo and back. As I have a event the next day, I just wanted to do a reasonable paced run without taxing too much on my body.

After some chit chat, we started off at about 5:35am. Soon, the rest were in front. Divey and her 6:30min/km pace group of Nelly, Yvonne, and a few other gals were running behind. I started off easy as usual, and soon caught up with Brokie along OUTR. Brokie was also taking it easy this morning. I noticed that Brokie's sway to the sides was quite exaggerated....hmm, gotta to tell her as that will impact her running momentum forward, causing quite a bit of energy loss. We had a brief chat, and I was commenting that Cosmic's running form has improved from the first time I saw him running at ECP at SAFRA's location run. Along UPR, I moved up to join Cosmic, had a brief chat, and started to get into my 5min/km pace. I noticed that when I chat, I tend to run slower and breathe harder...hmm. From then on, I forcused on my form and breathing. Soon I turned into Mandai Rd, and as I moved up, I saw Cokiee and a few other runners. Said hello to them as I moved ahead, and soon saw the first of the 18km runners coming back....notme was running fast...he was rushing off to work, I heard...hehe... Then when I reached the vicinity of LP65, I saw bbmon and a few others turned back, all running very fast. After that point, I vaguely saw DO and a few runners in front. I kept at a distance of about 300m behind.

Ran past 1, 2 and then the third reservoir opening. The morning was quite humid, not as cool as previous mornings I've experienced. Finished almost a fuelbelt flask of water by the time I hit the entrance to the zoo. DO had just turned back for his 24km run. It seemed there were nobody else in front of him...the rest have all turned back earlier at the 18km turn. I checked time and it was 1hr2min. I told DO he was on track for a sub-2hr 24km. I turned into the zoo at 1hr2min...hmm, I turned back at 1hr1min when I did 24km....ok timing for now. The slopes along the road to the zoo seemed challenging as I was into an hour of running by then. Nevertheless I pushed on. I had my Snickers bar along the way in. Made a turn at the zoo entrance and headed out again. It was still very quiet along the road, though visibility was ok with the street lights. By the time I hit the road again, it was 1hr18min....hmm, I took 16min for that 3km in/out... 1 min outside of 5min/km pace. As I turned right back on to Mandai Road, it was a long gentle stretch of slope, nevertheless challenging at that stage. Someone on a bike shouted at me, and I waved back... understood from DO it was Gentle doing his ninja bike training...hello Gentle...hehe.

I tried to pick up pace a bit on the way back. I could feel the wicking effects of my new Ironman socks, and could hear the squishing sounds, but without my feet feeling a bit wet...really good socks. As heat was generated, it cooled off just as fast. The skies were bright by then, and I was continuing still on my 5min pace. I was still feeling strong, though breathing was a little heavy. I checked my time and it was 1:38, and I still have not reached the turn back into UPR. Maindai Road seemed longer today...haha. The weather was getting warm, and I was feeling thirsty. I had half a flask of water left, and was reserving it for the last 5km. I started to feel weak and hungry, a sign of glycogen depletion. I slowed the pace a little, reduce the strides, to get some reprieve. Finally managed to get into UPR, and I had a chance to run on tarmac again. But not for long, and I had to get back to the concrete pavements. My breathing was getting heavier, and my legs were getting weaker. I plodded on and finally reached entrance to OUTR, time 1hr58min. I decided to do a power walk of 2min to regain my strength, and finished the last bit of water. The walk definitely helped recharge my tired and depleted body. With the remaining 4km, I managed to get a second wind and continued on a reasonable pace again.

There were lots of monkeys today on OUTR, and it was good they did not disturb me...hehe. As I ran, I felt stronger. Finally turned into Casuarina Road, and time was 2hr15min. With a good chance to complete the 27km in under 2hr20min, I gave a final push to the finish in 2hr18min. Happy to have completed, and met up with the rest of the SgRunners. Finally did a Cheetah Run (I have been jesting that for the Animiles run, whoever runs to the zoo gates and turns back will be a Cheetah... Those that run to the 24km mark and back will be Panthers, the the 21km mark will be Snakes, the 18km mark will be Squirrels, turning back from OUTR will be Monkeys, etc.....hehe). Divey came back with a packet of Daisy chocolate milk... it must have been one of the best after-run refreshments I have taken in a long time...could really feel my body regenerating...hehe...Divey said I was very exaggerating...haha. After a good wash up (finally used the hose today), and having DO and Babymon find their lost items, we went for makan at our usual hawker centre. Saw the PAP Ang Mo Kio team out there doing their elections walkabout, and shook hands with Lim Boon Heng. Anna came and say hello, and said she did a short 15km run this morning...she is still resting from her Nagano Marathon... good for her. My legs still felt strong after the run, and I hope I will be able to do the Dualthlon swim without much of a hitch on Sunday.

Distance Ran: 27km ____Time:2hr18min_____Pace:5:08min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:2,000KCal est.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Climbathon training

Monday 24/04: The rains were heavy and furious as I made my way to Bishan Stadium for the Climbathon training. It was still raining as I got changed, and we met up with Hamidah who brought some good news to the 7 of us there: David, Henry, Timothy, Sim, Yulan, Yi Sheng and myself. Yes, we will be having a full set of Mizuno running gear and shoes sponsored...hmm, I look forward to trying out Mizuno, since it is a brand I have not tried yet. As it was still raining, we decided to do stairs climb training instead, swapping with Wed evening's run program. I did 5 sets of 30floors at Roland's block in Bishan. I took the opportunity again to strengthen my quads, climbing 2 steps at a time. I did not really pause in between sets, and completed the 5 sets in a slow and steady build up. It was a good workout, and my calves were still a tad achy from last week's stairs Time Trial. Sim told us to be wary of climbing down stairs, as all the impact on landing can cause the calves to go bonkers.....scarryyyy... After the climb, we had a brief discussion on how we should tackle the downslopes of the actual Mt. Kinabalu Climb.

Tuesday 25/04: Actually found some time to sneak in a 10km MR Northern Route run, before rushing home for another appointment. The skies were dark and rainy, and the grounds at MR were still muddy. I did a quick change into my DS Trainer (trying this for the first time in that terrain), and started running off at the zig zag bridge. The DS didn't offer much support, and was a tad slippery, as I manouvre the rocky and sandy paths of Lornie Trail. Reached the exercise area in 12min...hmm, quite slow if this was a 5Km TT. Navigated carefully through the roots area...I have this portion most as its slippery and filled with lots of tree roots. Soon got onto the golf course area, headed to Jelutong Tower along the wooden bridge. Caught up with lost time, and hit the halfway mark in about 25min. Lots of time wasted in the front portion. Then along Sime Trail before hitting the landslide area. Noticed a group of army boys doing topo training, and they even tried to follow me to navigate around the tricky barriers...haha. The final portion into the reverse of the Northern Route was quite good. I normally feel tired at this final 4km stretch because of the numerous slopes. Because of the cool weather, and also 2 stops because of barriers, I ran this final stretch fast and smooth. Finally reached back to the carpark in 53min flat (accounting for stoppages at barriers). Its quite a good time considering I usually do 54min for this course. Maybe the lighter shoes do help.

Wednesday 26/04: Another rainy afternoon today. Finally got the room and transport for Pacesetters 15km Run in KL sorted out, thanks to DO, Divey and Freddy. This evening was also the annual JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (JPMCC) where many of my running friends were participating. From the windows of NTUC Centre overlooking Shenton Way, I could see it was raining cats and dogs. I went for my Climbathon training run at Bishan Stadium. The usual few of us were there, and this evening we had Carmen come to take attendance. The rains finally stopped at 7.15pm, and we started out training run to Bishan Park, then to LPR, OUTR before reaching the gates to UPR. Running with Sim, Tim and DO, the pace started off from 5:30, to 5:00 and finally to 4:30min/km along the OUTR stretch. It was a hard workout in the cool night, and I perspired profusely. Took a short breather, before running back at about 4:45min pace. On the way back, we saw YS and Roland approaching. We took a quick water break at LPR toilet, before running back to Bishan Stadium at about 5min pace. When we reached back, we saw Kops also have finished his own training run following his JPMCC run. We did an overall 13km approximately taking 1hr06min, averaging slightly over 5min/km pace.

Thursday 27/04: I did a short 10km run at MF, as we wanted to end early to celebrate cm's birthday. I went down earlier today, and discussed a bit about this weekend's potluck party at SAFRA TP. We started off along Henderson Road, and after slow jogging to warm up for aboout 500m, DO and I picked up pace and ran to join with the rest along Harbourfront and then make a climb from the Kampong Bahru side. As usual, this steep climb is always touch for all of us, with many runners stopping to walk for the initial few times. I felt a bit of tightness in my left upper calf (area just behind the knee) and it was causing a bit of strain to me. Finally completed the hard climb, and followed DO down along the side of Mt. Faber Loop, leading down to Morse Road. Jimmy Chow over took me once we ran to Harbourfront, and from there, I ran a constant, slower pace to reach the clubhouse in 49min+. Do was happy his ironman socks gave him no heat as all, and Do was really strong this evening. We went for a sumptious 7-course dinner to celebrate Chairman's birthday,,, Slurp!

Friday 28/04: Joined my colleagues for a 2.8km run in celebration of the National Health & Safety Act organized by MOM. Went down to the startpoint at Riverside Point area at around 3.30pm. Waited a bit for the minister Dr. ng Eng Hen to give an opening speech, before starting to do some warm up aerobics, led by 3 very fit Amore gals. Many groups were there including people from SNEF, Insititute of Engineers, Semcorp Industries, the various health agencies and engineering companies. By the time the aerobics ended, the rain had stopped, and we were ready to run. I was with the front group from the start, led mainly by 2 runners from Sembcorp Engineers. There were some water points along the way as we ran towards Kim Seng Bridge, and by the turn, I was 6min+ into the run. Most of the people were enjoying their jog around the scenic Riverside. With 1km to go, I overtook the frontrunners and led all the way to the finish, clocking 11min30sec for the 2.8km distance. The announcer said there were no prizes for finishing, just a warm round of applause...hehe. It felt good to finish first. After that, joined my colleages and friends for some light makan and drinks, and also took photos with the minister....hmmm, will put it up in the boardroom and annual report? hehe

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

2nd Animiles Run: 24km of Running High

I joined the Animiles group for their 5.30am Saturday run from Lower Pierce Reservoir. I did this run on April Fool's Day and enjoyed it thoroughly, and decided to do it again since my Sunday run at MF was cancelled. There was a relatively smaller group this morning, since a number of the Animiles members just came back from their respective marathons, and the triatheletes in the group are preparing for a long biking training on Sunday. Divey, Brokie, DO, bbmon and myself were the SgRunners reps who who went for this run. bbmon took a taxi all the way from Jurong West to the location...I'm impressed by her dedication. SC5 and Watergal were the first to arrive.

I had on my newly purchased Ultimax Ironman socks bought from RL on the advise of Divey. Also put on my AdiZero SN for another go. We started off promptly at 5.30am, and as usual, the Animiles runners shot ahead. Brokie and DO went ahead as well. I ran part of the start with Divey, before moving ahead and leaving her with 2 gals who were running her pace. Chatted a bit with bbmon along OUTR about her MF ninja trainings as well as the upcoming PaceSetters 15km run. This gal has potential and will surely do very well in the years to come; an unpolished diamond that just requires a bit of time to nurture. As I ran into Thomson Road from OUTR, I could smell the fresh morning air...hmm, so refreshing. I was warmed up sufficiently to move ahead to meet with Brokie and DO who were haveing a nice time chatting. I drafted off the 2 for a while...hehe...before moving ahead as we came to the turn into Mandai Road. There weren't many cyclists yet, but the cars were moving quite fast. I ran a bit on the road shoulder, before moving in onto the harder concrete surface. I was running alone then, and was enjoying the morning sounds and sights.

A bit further ahead, some of the early runners were running back. They were doing about 18km, and told me that the turn was right ahead at lampost LP65 near the crematorium. I acknowledged them and proceeded on. My plan was to run 24km, which meant turning back only when I reached the road entrance into Mandai zoo. Soon, I was running alone again, and there were no further Animiles runners in front. I came to the first opening to the revservoir view, and then the second. I ate my mini Snickers bar at that point, slowly muching away...hehe. Soon I saw a car with flashing lights at the bus-stop in front...gotta be watergirl, SC5's private water point...haha. Watergirl was kind enough to ask if I wanted a drink, but I didn't need it and said thanks. I finished my first mini flask of water from my fuel belt as I hit the mid point (road entrance to the zoo). The time showed I ran 1hr01min...hmm, I figured I would have to run a reverse split to finish the 24km below 2hrs. Could I do it? I wanted to try. I felt comfortable in my new Ironman socks, which really felt so snug and cooling, dissipating the heat. My AdiZero was feeling so light and comfy...I felt I could continue to run much longer at that 5min/km pace.

I increased the pace a little, as I ran on strongly on the reverse way. About 500m upfront, I saw a Animiles runner coming, and he was to be the only other person that did 24km. DO, Brokie, bbmon were all doing 22km, and probably would have turned back at the point where I saw watergirl earlier. I continued on, and soon I saw SC5 taking a rest at Watregirl's water point. I gestured to him that there was one more guy behind, before running on. As I ran past the second reservoir opening, I was just wondering when I would see Brokie, DO, bbmon & Divey. At about the first reservoir opening, I finally saw Brokie & DO...hmm, good, finally I have some target to move towards...hehe. I continued my constant pace, and soon caught up to the 2 who were having a leisurely run and chat. Not wanting to disturb the conversation, and because I was targeting to run sub-2hr this morning, I ran ahead of them. Finally reached the turn back Upper Thomson Road. Ran on this long stretch for a bit, avoiding the heavy buses and lorries whenever they came near the road shoulder. I was meandering around quite a bit...not too nice, this stretch. Finally came close to OUTR, and I spotted bbmon climbing up the initial slopes. I tailgated her for about 2km, before finally closing on her. She seemed to have slowed down, as she was not familiar with the road back. There were also many groups of cyclists coming down at fast speeds along OUTR which we had to be careful about. I tried to take the shorter bends of the road whenever possible. I ran up to bbmon, and told her that we were close to the finish. I pushed on faster as I checked I had about 10min left to 2hrs. bbmon picked up her speed and ran just slightly behind. As I turned into Lower Pierce Reservoir off Causuarina Road, I had 6min left. I kept on my constant pace, and with about a few hundred metres to go, bbmon sped up and we both finished together (aiya...forgot to hold her hands to finish...hahaha). I stopped my watch at 1hr59min running time....yippee, a sub-2hr for me on this 24km route....something I wanted to do since the April Fool Run. Divey was at the finish much earlier, and she cheered us on. She too enjoyed her run very much. DO and Brokie came back shortly to applause by the few of us, and they too did well, especially Brokie who ran much longer taking the same amount of time as she did during the April Fool Run.

We all chatted and did some cooling down stretches. I was telling Brokie and DO to get the Ironman socks as there were really value for money. I really think the socks helped me get rid of the heat which normally builds up if I run at about a 5min/km pace and below. My AdiZero was another plus factor...made my feet feel light, and even when I ran close to Brokie, DO and bbmon, they could hardly hear me...hahaha. As I was wearing my shoes, I saw DO, Divey and bbmon coming from the main road. Apparently some cleaning lady actually made off with Divey's running top... must be too sexy chopchop for her to resist...haha....maybe the thief intended to auction it off at eBay, without washing of course...hahaha. Good thing Mr. DO saved the day and helped retrieve back the top for Divey...she was so relieved. We went to the usual Food Centre, and saw Vivian Tang, Anna and the other Animiles all gathered for breakfast. We congratulated Vivian and Anna for their fine performance at the Nagano Marathon. Anna said she enjoyed the course, and though the weather was a tad chilly, she actually did a very good time close to her PB. Sc5 also gave us some insights into triathlon training, how to choose bikes, as well as how to 'free' and 'breast' forever...hehe. I enjoyed the run and the company. I look forward to doing this again soon, maybe in May.

Distance Ran: 24km ____Time:1hr59min_____Pace:4:58min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,800KCal est.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Road To Phuket Marathon: 8 weeks to go

Tuesday 18/4: It rained heavy inthe afternoon, just prior to my fortnightly intervals training with the MF team. Another good turnout for the evening's workout as we have the fast gals Eileen, Claire, Lai Chee coming back from their respective ninja training and overseas races. Alvin, Dennis and some new friends joined in too, including Sagolene's hubby. Ricci and Adam too came back from overseas biz trips.

We did a 4km jog as warm-up to Queenstown Stadium. I took the opportunity to chat a bit with Alan Chao, Claire, Lai Chee, Eileen, Foo as we ran a slightly faster pace. I planned to run at a comfortable pace, not wanting to overstrain myself ahead of my Climabathon stair-climb time trial on Wed. I did 4sets as follows:

1.6km - 6:52min
1.6km - 6:44min
800m - 3:07min
800m - 3:17min
400m - Skipped
400m - Skipped

I enjoyed the hard workout. I skipped the last 2 sets of 400m to play safe. I had a good 4km run back to ClubHouse with wee san, Jaime, Adam and yean. ws did a nice paced run back, and it seems that she is recovering from her injury very well. I was feeling good since I did not leave everything at the tracks, so the usually tiring first km back was ok. Heh, another great workout in nice cool weather.....I still think I should have longer interval sets instead of the 400m sets.... Heard from Sim (Climbathon team) that he does 4 sets of 4km intervals at 4min/km pace with a 1km recovery jog.... interesting..I think I should do a 3 sets of 3km intervals at 4:30min/km pace? Well...

Wednesday 18/4: It was fine weather as I went for the MK Climabathon stair-climb time trial at Toa Payoh 40-storey HDB Block. Most of us arrived before 7pm, along with Hamidah, Carmen and Lingam, the NTUC organizers. Without much ado, we started the 3 sets of 40 storey climb up and down. I started off slowly behind most of the team, with Xavier with me mostly. I climbed taking double-steps, and did that for the 40-floor first set in 6:40min. Took the adjoining flight of stairs down. I climbed down a lot slower as I was wary of my knees, and did about 5min. The second set up got tougher, and I went up with Xavier in about 6min, somewhat faster than the first set. Xavier commented the pace wast fast for training, as other training teams normally do that in about 7min. On the stairs down, my legs felt wobbly, and I asked Xavier to push ahead. The third and final set was tough, but I still managed to push on using double steps. Overtook Rolanad at about the 10th floor, and never quite looked back. Met Lingam at the top, after interspersing with single steps from 20-30floors. I went down a lot faster for the final set and finished the whole time trial in 35min50sec. Not fast, but I was glad I managed to maintain pace. There's another training session this Friday, and we will be trying out our sizes for the Climbathon gear...interesting to see how it looks like.

Thursday 19/4: Went down for the Nike Shoe Trialing at Running Lab. Tried on the new Nike Air Pegasus for good measure. There was a record turnout of runners, about 40 of us. Divey, Bee Leng, IMD, Dasher, Hedgehog, SV, VRP gals were amongst those that I am familiar with. We took off along the usual 10km Esplanade, Kallang River route. It was a nice night for running. My quads and calves were aching from the previous night's stairs climb. I was running slower, taking time to feel the new Nike Air Pegasus, and also catching up with my running friends. Finished the run in about an hour, and had a good cool-down stretching session led by Eddie. The Pegasus was the best Nike runners I have tried thus far, still it doesn't feel as snug as cushiony as my Cumulus and Adizero. Bought a pair of Ultimax Ironman socks as recommended by Divey...looking forward to try it for this Saturday's run. Had a nice dinner of sliced-fish hor fun with a group of 13, quite a number took the yummy sting-ray rice topped with an, I must try that the next time.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

10Km Time Trial @ ECP

Went down to the East Coast Parkway on Monday evening for a 10km time trial, part of the assessment program by the MK Climbathon team. It rained heavy in the afternoon and though the rain had stopped by 6pm, I was caught in traffic, and barely made it to ECP at 7pm. Met up with Hamidah, Yusof and Wilna, the organizers from NTUC along with the Climbmathon team-mates of David, Henry, Xavier, Timothy, Sim, Sabrina, Rodney, Roland, Zul and Yi Sheng.

After a brief about admin matters and the route, we started off from MacD. Hamidah and Wilna were on bikes to follow us through and wait and turning points, including timing the run. We ran towards Fort Road, and did a turn back at the lagoon area. My plan was to run a 5min/km pace, and run together as a team. We started off a tad fast, and Sim was wah ahead. Zul was running fast too. DO, Xavier, Timonthy and myself were running as a pack, with the rest following behind. We did a turn at the lagoon upon seeing hamidah, and ran towards Bedok Jetty direction. The night was cool after the rains. I could hear Tim breathing heavily after 3km. We still ran as a team at a steady sub-5min pace. After about 4km, before we reached the seafood centre, we overtook Zul as he slowed down. We continued to keep pace and ran past the Cable Ski area, the food centre and then along to Bedok Jetty. With about 400m to the turning point, we saw Sim running back very strongly. We kept up and saw Hamidah at the toilet after the Jetty, and she told us we had run 31min already and was heading for a 51min pace. My reaction was like 'Huh?' seemed we were either behind in pace, or the distance was longer than expected.

With 4km to go, I pushed the pace a little to try to get it down to sub-50min. Tim was complaining about his stitches and knee, but he kept on with his strong endurance...amazing; I would have slowed down. It was quite dark, and not that many people were around. We ran mainly on the bicycle paths which was better for the legs. With about 400m to finish, we saw Sim walking towards us and giving encouragement to finish it off. I ran ahead and finished ahead of Timothy and then DO. My time of 49:30min was ok, but I felt that I worked quite hard. Later it was confirmed the route was actually, really longer than thought. No wonder we all felt the route was long. Hamidah had actually waited a few hundred metres more in front of the lagoon...haha. Never mind, we had a good workout. We walked ahead to cheer the rest who were coming back. After the run, Hamidah gave a short brief about the stairs climb time trial for Wed. Future runs will be on more hilly grounds to simulate actual Climbathon race conditions...looking forward to some of those actually...hehe

Distance Ran:10.9km ____Time:49min30sec_____Pace:4:32min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:800KCal est.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Training LSD @ Mt. Faber

My scheduled LSD run this Sunday morning had me running at Mt. Faber with the SAFRA folks. The planned route was [Clubhouse -> Depot Rd -> Alexandra Rd -> Queensway -> Portsdown -> Dover Rd -> Clementi Rd -> Ulu Pandan Canal -> Queenstown -> IKEA -> Alexandra Rd -> Telok Blangah Way -> Harbourfront -> Kampung Bahru -> Mount Faber Hill (1 rd) -> Morse Rd -> Henderson Rd -> Clubhouse]. I was at the ClubHouse by 7am, and met up with quite a large group. We had Karen and Johnny join in the run this morning. Adam and Alan Yeo also came back after a short absence due to travel and work.

We started off at 7.30am with a nice pace along Depot Road. I chatted with Adam for a bit before making my way to the front to join up with Kumaran and Teck Hou. We made our way to Queensway and then through the railway area leading to Portsdown Road. The front group also had DO, Freddy, Chin running alongside. As we finished Portsdown and moved along Dover Road, I ran up front and was trailing Kumaran and Teck Hou. The weather was cool this morning. My adiZero running shoes really felt comfy and light as I got into a nice 5min/km pace. Along the canal, I saw many runners and walkers, and we bumped into Benson who was running fast from the reverse direction. I was feeling good as I came to Buona Vista MRT. Kumaran went ahead without a break. I took a wrong turn into a construction area, before finding my way to the MRt toilets...haha.

Soon DO, Freddy, Chin & Melvin joined me, and the five of us proceeded onto Commonwealth, Queenstown, IKEA and Alexandra Road. Freddy went off to Alexandra Village for a toilet break, while the rest of us continued on. From AV, I ran ahead with DO and Chin behind. Soon only DO was running just behind me. I was maintaining a 5min/km pace still, and as I ran into Harbourfront, I increased the pace a tad more. Soon I reached the base of the ascent to Mt. Faber from Kg. Bahru. This is the steeper ascent up to Mt. Faber, and is always a challenge for most of us. I slowed my pace as I chugged up. I also shortened my stride, and was taking my time to climb. As I got to the steep portions, 5 tourist buses came along. They were emitting thick fumes as the drivers pressed hard on the pedals. The smoke and fumes choked me, and I struggled to breathe. There were short intervals where the air would be clearer, before the next bus came along and emitted more smoke....waah, I never had to climb a slope with so much black smoke and fumes. I finally made it up to the top, and slow jogged the final part as even more tourist buses came by. I spotted Teck Hou finishing his first round at MF. I waited for a short while at the top, and seeing that no one else was coming up, I ran on down and decided not to do another loop.

As I exited Morse Road, I spotted Ong, Jaime and Johnny who were taking a break at the Petrol Station. I waved them on, as I ran up the final 2km along Henderson Rd. This is always one of the tougher portions for me, as the slope is long. As I finished my run at ClubHouse, I saw wee san and Alan just going back too. san had finished 15km despite her fever...hmm, hope she broke a good sweat and recover faster from that run. Alan suffered a small bout of cramps and he was stilll nursing an injury. As we stretched, and took our well deserved 100plus, the rest started streaming back. All had a good run, and Karen even had time to take breakfast before coming back...hehe. I estimated I did 24km in 2hr15min...quite a satisfying run for me. I felt good, and my free pair of Nike socks provided a comfy fit today. ws showed me her ex. ironman socks which she swore to be soooo comfy...hmm, I may get one of those to try soon enough :).

Distance Ran:24km ____Time:2hr15min_____Pace:5:38min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,800KCal est.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday Run

We shifted the original Friday Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon training to this Good Friday Morning. The plan was to do a 20km around MacRitchie (MR) along the Northern Route, into Upper Pierce Reservoir (UPR), air cond road, then to Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR) and back. It has been some time since I ran at MR trails and I was looking forward to this. The SgRunners also had their Good Friday run at MR, with the gals and guys starting separately, and then merging mid-point to finish a 11km-13km trail route.

I met the MK Climabathon training team of Rodney, Xavier, David, Timothy, Yi Sheng, Sabrina and Henry at the MR carpark area. Also saw renohtaram, bselby, Charlotte and many other Sgrunners. Johnny and Alvo wanted to join the Climbathon team for our slightly longer 20km menu. We started off at 7am and proceeded to run the Northern Route. I chatted with Johnny about MF and the Climbathon training activities. Johnny was strong and loved the scenic trails we ran. We exited the Notheren Route in about 23min....hmm, quite fast. I wore my non-trail Cumulus for this run, and it felt much better than my Nike Air Storm Moto trail runners. We met 2 gals of the Everest team who indicated they were keen to join some of the Climbathon activities in future.

We ran along the SICC slopes, and was showing the team the nice route along the Reservoir leading to the bridge towards UPR. We had our first water break at the nice toilets. We proceeded on to air-cond road. It was really nice and cool weather and the temperature in air-cond road felt like 22deg. The runners were enjoying the fresh breeze, with Xavier and us discussing some of the upcoming training plans for the Climbathon team. We ran more slopes along UPR all the way to the main gate leading into OUTR. We ran for about 1hr up to that point. We took a break waiting for the rest to join in, orientated the team about other possible running routes, before running back along UPR. This was really a nice day for running, and we joked and laughed while charging up slopes, and recovering on the down slopes. We took another break at the UPR toilets, before running all the way back to SICC slopes. We continued to enjoy the slopes, and decided to go back by a slightly longer way through the Ranger Station, Sime Trail, and then Lornie Trail.

The Goldies

After a final water break at the Ranger Station, we ran along Sime Trail, and took a little time to skirt around the 'blocked' land-slide area. After the land slide area, I picked up pace and ran most of the way with DO along Lornie Trail. As we reached the MR car park again, there was the large group of SgRunners cheering for us. I felt good and spoke with many friends at SgRunners, and also introduced myself to new ones like Roentgen, trackz and a few more. We then assembled and took the customary SgRunner's group photos. It was a nice atmosphere as we chatted about our respective runs. After we washed-up, I joined the SgRunners group to Adam Food Centre for their famous Nasi Lemak, Prawn Noodles (my staple fare..hehe), teh-tarik and Sour Plum drink. I enjoyed the run thoroughly, had a nice time with the Climbathon team and such a large turnout from SgRunners.

Distance Ran:20km ____Time:2hr_____Pace:6min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,400KCal est.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Stairs Climbing @ Bishan

Joined in the MK Climbathon team training on Wed evening. Rodney, Roland, Henry, David, Yulan and myself gathered at Bishan Stadium, and kicked off a 6km short warm-up run to Bishan Estates, where Roland lives. There we did sets of 30floors of stairs climb to build up our leg strength and climbing abilities. I had not done stairs climbing since the NTU VM, and was relishing to use this training climb to exercise my quad muscles.

I started off the first set with mainly double-steps to exercise the quad muscles. I was breathing quite heavily by the 18th floor. I switched to single-steps for the next 5 floors, before resuming double-steps to reach the remainder of the 30floors. The steps here are slightly higher than those at the Toa Payoh 40 storey flats (which we did for our Time Trials recently). There was a good breeze at the top of the flat, and a very nice night time scene. I took a short rest, before taking the lift down for the next set. The next set of 30floors had me doing about the same as the first set, mainly double-steps with a few single-steps for a few floors when I needed a breather. I could feel my quads working very hard, and I was perspiring heavily. Stairs Climbing is indeed a hard workout. Met Roland at the top of the second set, and he told me to switch to the right flight of stairs to get the breeze. I did the next 2 sets on the right side of the building. There was a better breeze along the climb, and it was a good change in direction. I was breathing hard and for each set, I got tired after about 15floors. I then switched to single-steps to get a breather. I did the remaining 7-8 floors using double-steps. I find that these double-step climbs help to strengthen my quads, which I exercise much less than my hamstrings and calves during my runs.

After 4 sets and 120 floors, I decided to call it a day. Took a 10min rest, before I saw DO and Kops. I went up for a final 18floors to get drinks from 100plus...refreshing, and good for carbo reload. In total, I climbed 138floors. I did not time the activity, just wanted to go through the exercise and sweat it out. We chatted a bit about the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon, as well as the increasing number of training days. When the rest gathered, we took a 800m walk back to the stadium where we met Evelyn, Hamidah and Carmen from the Organizers, NTUC. I handed in my Duathlon form, an event which is spondored by NTUC for the Climbathon team. I am still not sure if I can swim that 200m minimum requirement in the open sea....hmm, must go find some practise. After a brief by the NTUC team about the upcoming Time Trials and new training areas at MF, plus some sponsorship matters, I left with David for some nice Fish Porridge at Joo Seng Food Centre. I liked the evening's hard workout, and will look forward to the next stairs climb training.

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Tuesday 11/4: Found some time to finally join in the SgRunners CBD run. A group of 13 (Bee, Tiwazz, Kops21, Charlotte, cosmic, DO, sxuanjing, jamessoh, RealRunner, Meteor, Divey, Bee Leng, Dream) turned up for the run, with some coming later due to work commitment (SV, nemo) or down with flu (kickjazz). I could feel that these runners are dedicated and committed towards running as a healthy lifestyle. We ran from Tanjong Pagar MRT along Marina South, then into the Marina City Park. I brought along my adiZero for its second run, and it does get better and better. It was the first time I ran into this Park...hmm, seems quiet but nice. Charlotte and DO were leading the pack with me enjoying a nice pace behind them, and Divey, Bee Leng, and a few others behind. We took a break at the Sun Dial....nice view.

We then took a small trail out, crossed the road into The Esplanade area. Divey, Bee Leng and me decided to run a little more, and we turned left towards Kallang Sea Sports area and turned back at the 2nd toilet.
Some body sensing along the way told me the adiZero really provided good enough cushion without the weight. Bee Leng said that Adidas running shoes are actually not too bad. Hmm... I am beginning to like my adiZero more....hahaha. From there we took a nice scenic run along The Marina and Esplanade, before Bee Leng left us to do some! We continued on to meet the rest back at start point. SV, Charlotte, nemo, kickjazz were there providing good support with bananas, 100plus and yoghurt. Divey estimated we ran about 11km in 1hr20min. I took a cup of 100plus and joined the group for dinner at The MaxWell Market. Overall a nice relaxed, recovery run in cool weather, with great running company.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

My adiZero's virgin run

Finally had a chance to test out my new adiZero this morning at the SAFRA MF LSD into Sentosa and then Mt. Faber Hill. It rained cats and dogs from 5am, and by the time I awoke at 6am, it slowed to a drizzle. Took a cup of coffee and a small piece of banana, then put on my Cumulus. I brought along the adiZero just in case the rain stopped, and the grounds were ok to try it. Met the SAFRA TP bunch too, as they too were running MF hills in preparation for their upcoming NZ and Phuket Marathons.

The MF group was relatively small today, with Trainer Ong, Jaime, wee san, DO, Teck Hou, Derrick, Wong, Freddy/runalone, Jimmy, Chin, TLR, NewGalRunner and myself. Just before the run, I changed into my adiZero.. happy that the rain had stopped and the ground was not too wet. In the initial part of the run, I felt that the shoes sort of made me supinate a little more.. could be due to the slight lack of support for the arches...I felt it more on my left foot. As I ran on, it settled and became much better after about 2km. I ran with ws for the first 9km into Sentosa, giving her some encouragement and tips on breathing and running form. It was a good time for me to sense my own form, as well as how the shoes were behaving.. quite good I must say, for its virgin run with me. Though the two of us were doing small strides, our cadence were good enough to keep us within 200m-400m of the front runners. It was nice cool weather, after that heavy rain, and I was enjoying the cool fresh air. We ran along Sentosa Cove, then Tanjong Beach...essentially the NB Real Run (NBRR) route. The group had a break at the beach toilet after running for about 9-10km.

After the water break, I left ws and the gals in the good hands of Wong, and moved ahead with the rest of the front group. We ran on along Dolphin Bay, and then out along back to the Visitor Centre. We skipped the jungle trail and ran up the steeper section. The NBRR route is quite a challenging route, and I always relish the many slopes it offers. I took a final visit to the toilet at the Visitor's Centre, before catching up with the guys. We ran along Kampong Bahru, and then ascended Mt. Faber on the steep portion. I narrowed my strides, dropped my hands slightly, relaxed my shoulders, and began the slow and steep climb. I passsed Jim, then was following behind Fred and Derrick for most of the way. Teck Hou had stormed up the slopes quickly (hmm... must be his ninja training with Alan that is giving him all this power). There was a point that I found my new shoes to be lacking in cushion as I dug my feet in on the steep section. As I reached the top, I overtook Fred (who was recuperating from his ligament injury) and then followed Derrick onto the downslopes. Midway down, I felt a mild tension on my left leg, and I decided not to go for the planned second round. I headed all the way down Morse Road, took a left turn along Harbourfront, and ran alone all the way back to ClubHouse along Kampong Bahru way.

The rest of the people came back shortly. ws had a good run today, conquering Mt. Faber with no pain. DO was satisfied he did 2 loops of Mt. Faber, which is no easy feat at all. Derrick and Kumaran took it easy today, and enjoyed their slower paced run. Derrick and Jimmy were commenting that I was good with upslopes, and that I ran with ease....haha, it only looked like I ran with ease; I was actually huffing and puffing like crazy...but my small strides and easy posture did make it a tad easy. The adiZero performed well for me... will see if it continues to be good fitting as I get it run-in. I will continue to monitor the cushion support for the arches, and see if I can do something to improve that bit. I had a enjoyable run today, with a good nice 6:30min/km pace for 10km, and then averaging 5:45min/km pace for the remaining 12km.

Distance Ran:22km ___Time:2hr15min____Pace:6:08min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,500KCal est.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

My Adidas: The Adizero SN

My AdiZero SN

Bought my first pair of Adidas runners, the new model AdiZero SN, from The Running Lab today. Was convinced by the experienced staff, especially the one that had tried the shoes and found it to be very good. I was looking at other brands initially, but when I felt this pair, it was very light. And there is very good Adiprene forefoot cushion as well as heel cushion. I took it for a test run on the threadmill and found it to be very light and has good support for my forefoot landing. Now I cannot wait to actually bring it onto the road for its virgin run, and I hope I have good news to report soon. :)

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Recovery & Intervals

Sunday 2/4: I had planned to go for the MR25 Time Trial on Sunday. However heavy rains came about 2hrs before the run. I had to call of the run, since I did not want to risk any injury on the muddy trails. Heard from RealRunner that a lady did slip and twisted her ankle..ouch. RR himself, applying some techniques of Chi Running, did an outstanding 20:50min time...without any injury whatsoever. Whoa! I went for a 10km recovery run with Beverly instead. We enjoyed the cool weather after the rains, and did the loop in about 60min. Expanded some excess calories, so hmm, we could have curry fish head for dinner yet again...hehe

Monday 3/4: Another rainy evening on Monday. Just the 5 of us turned up for our inaugural Climbathon training run at Bishan Stadium. Xavier, Sim, Sabrina, Henry and myself did a 9km recce run to Bishan Stadium in cool after-rain weather. The Climbathon training organization is sponsoring us for the upcoming DXO Dual-thlon and possibly the registration fees and running gear at the NB Pacesetters 15Km run in KL. The training is now stretching to 3 times a week, which I think is difficult to schedule for me because of the tight commitments I have. I will have to play by ear as we move along.

Tuesday 4/4: It rained for the third consecutive day on Tuesday. I had my first interval training with the SAFRA MF team since January. There was a large turnout, and we almost occupied most of Queenstown Stadium. We did a slow 4km jog as warm-up to Queenstown Stadium. I did 5 sets as follows:
1.6km - 6:24min
800m - 3:00min
800m - 3:09min
400m - 1:29min
400m - 1:23min
The average pace worked out to be about 1:35min/400m which translates to a 3:58min/km pace. At least I know the effort needed to sustain a 4min/km pace; not easy for me at this moment. I enjoyed the hard workout. I would like to set a goal of maintaining a 4min/km pace for as long as 5km for future intervals...hmm, not sure if I can progress to that.
We ran back to Clubhouse for another 4km. The first km was a little tiring, as I was clearing lactic acide from my legs. As we ran into depot road, I felt much stronger and had a smooth run all the way back.

Thursday 6/4: Went for a 13km run with The Running Lab around Fort Canning Park/ Esplanade area. It rained again, and stopped just before the run...haha. There was supposed to be a Nike Trial, but it didn't happen. Those who went for the run got a pair of Nike socks instead...hmm, not bad at all. Teen and her friend Jas joined in the run yesterday. Great to see Teen again, and it seemed that she has maintained her running all this while. She will join us at SAFRA MF at least once a week again....good for her. Divey, DO, IMD, Dasher, the VRP gals were all there. Eddie led a good run through nice cool weather. Because there were no shoes for me, I had to put on my retired Asics GT2090 (already 1200km)...haiz. I did have a new piece of sof sole to help cushion off the mileage. DO and I went an extra 4km to/fro the second bridge after The Esplanade, and according to DO's HRM, we were doing an average 5:30min/km pace. It felt quite hard for that last 5km...a good workout. Had a fun time at the dinner table talking shop, discussing the PaceSetter's 15km run, and trying out some nice 'beauty' drinks...hehe.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Very Early Morning April Fool Run

I did a very enjoyable run this saturday morning with the animiles group, comprising mainly triatheletes from the triathlon family and also elite and very fast runners like Vivian Tang, Anna, Pauline, Lua Choon Huat. At the invitation of Steven Chan (SC5), me and the group of SgRunners joined this run which starts every Saturday at 5.30am. It is definitely one of the earliest weekend training runs I've done...haha. Woke up at 4.15am, picked DO up at 4.50am, and both of us arrived at 5.05am to the start point at Lower Pierce Reservoir. We were almost the earliest to arrive, with Cokiee just behind. Soon the rest of the cars came streaming in, and it didn't seem like it was so early anymore, as we were such a big group. Brokie, Kelly, Bee, Cosmic, run3, Ken, choonwei (cw), Gentle, RealRunner (RR) arrived soon. We had some nice introductions by SC5 to the animiles runners, notably notme (yew), Arlene (a 68yo gal who is so trim and fit...whoa), anna, bleudauphin, Vivian, Alan, and many more.

SC5 gave a brief of the 24km route (Lower Peirce->Upper Peirce->Old Upper Thomson Rd->Upper Thomson Road->Sembawang Rd->Mandai Ave->Mandai Rd->junction to the zoo->U-turn and back the same way) before calling for a start to the run at 5.30am sharp. Before we even could get our engines cranked up, the animiles burst to the front...whoa...very fast pace they ran. Brokie and Gentle had started off 5min earlier. The group of SgRunners run3, Bee, DO, RR, Kelly, bleu, Cokiee and myself were getting warmed up at the back. I had a nice chat with RR and we talked a bit about the Sunday's MR25 TT and the upcoming Phuket Marathon where we will be going in June. The morning air was cool and fresh as we headed into OUTR. Once out of OUTR, we ran mostly on the fringe of the road along UTR. After about 5km when our engines were warmed up, RR and DO pushed ahead, and I followed suit. The pace was comfortable, maybe 5:30min/km. We bumped into Brokie & Gentle along the way. As we ran along Sembawang Road (we did not turn into Mandai Rd, which I used to do with SAFRA MF), there was a slight smooth slope where we could see many runners ahead. The morning was still very quiet and cool, though more vehicles were beginning to zoom by.

Soon it was just RR, DO, Cosmic and myself running as a group as we approached Mandai Rd. RR was maintaining a nice pace. When I saw RR taking his breakfast on the run, I took out my mini Snickers bar. It was the first solid food I had since I woke up. Took some water from my fuel belt (there were no water points along this whole route at all) to flush it down...ahhh, could feel the energy getting to my body...hehe. Soon we saw the frontrunners coming back on the return; VT, LCH leading (heard they ran all the way to the zoo and!) then SC5, cw, yew, and a few others. I finally reached the junction to to zoo, and turned back along with RR, DO and cosmic. We ran the return leg a tad faster, with RR setting a good pace. I just followed from about 25-50m of RR and started to look around at the emerging sunrise around. It was serene and calm, and I could almost feel like I was getting into the 'zone'...haha. When I recovered from those mini trances, I would find RR further ahead. I would then play catch up to close the gap. I was feeling great, breathing smooth, not feeling any tiredness in the legs. I could see more runners from the animiles running past us, in the direction of the zoo. RR's pace increased a little as we ran back onto UTR. After passing a few runners, I soon saw the behind of yew, who was running strong and looking very much like the ironman he is. RR's pace was increasing slowly, and soon he passed yew. I followed suit, and yew informed that we had about 5km+ to go. I was feeling good on what was a 5min/km pace to me. The last part of the run was nice as we ran back onto OUTR. There were many groups of cyclists who were just starting their regular long saturday rides. As I neared Causuarina area, I passed Brokie and after a small exchange, I made my way to the finish point. I checked my watch and found that I could still make a sub-2hr I increased pace to catch RR. The stretch was longer than I thought...haha...and finally reached the end point to a welcome by Bee, Kelly and the rest who had finished their runs earlier. Checked my time and it was 2hr2min...just outside of 2hr...good, will set a sub-2hr goal for this route the next time...hehe.

As Brokie, DO, run3, cosmic and the rest came in, we welcomed them with some fun applause and cheers. Took some nice photos with our new friends from animiles, and had good conversations with many of them. After our wash-up, some of us (including James and SV which did their own ninja runs from home) joined the animiles group at Sembawang Hawker Centre for some good brekky and kopi. I thoroughly enjoyed the run, the nice weather and the friendliness of the company. I did not feel a tinge of tiredness in my legs, and I was joking with DO that we could go for another long run the next day. It could be due to the nice pace we ran without any stoppages. SC5 shared with us the benefits of using Endurox for recovery after long runs. I am keen to get the product and try that for my future long runs. I look forward to another occasion where I could do another run with this group, maybe goining all the way into the zoo and back. Thanks to SC5 and his animiles friends for making this a nice run for all of us.

Distance Ran:24km ___Time:2hr02min____Pace:5:05min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,500KCal est.

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