Sunday, May 28, 2006

Phuket Marathon Prep: the final LSD

Its 3 weeks to Phuket Marathon. I had marked on my caldendar to do a 39km run to prepare myself. It was great that trainer Ong mapped a 36km route for today to prepare those going for Phuket and Pattaya Marathons in June and July respectively. I began carbo loading for this run 2 days back, and actually gained 1kg in weight...hee. Had my customary sweet potato soup for the whole of yesterday, then a heavy duck rice dinner at 99-winding road area; with this morning being cereal, banana n coffee. Whoa...loads of food...I felt I really needed to get out there to unload...couldn't wait much longer...haha

Reached the SAFRA MF ClubHouse and met RealRunner, who is joining us for this challenging route today. RR is preparing for the Phuket Marathon too. We had Craig, a new Aussie member to SgRunner and IronmanDreamer joined us as well. Bug, Runalone, DO, Jaime, Derrick, Wong, Colleen and a few other SAFRA runners started off together with us at about 7.20am, after a brief of the route by trainer Ong (Pre). We ran along through the initial traffic junctions down Tiong Bahru Park, and into Kim Seng/Zouk area. I was chatting with Craig, RR and IMD for a bit during this stretch. The weather was nice and cool. Once we got into the Esplanade area, I ran mostly with Craig at what seemed like a 5:45min/km pace. Craig is a strong 21km runner who is preparing for his maiden Gold Coast Marathon in July. We exchanged tips along the way as we ran through to Esplanade and then to Marina Promenade. By the time we reached the 2nd toilet, we saw the front group of DO, RR, Freddy, IMD, Wong, TLH, Derrick turning back. The others apparently turned back at the Esplanade area. We had covered about 8km by then.

Craig and I turned back towards Esplanade, and then up onto Shenton Way, and into Marina South. The sky was cloudy, and the sun barely reared its head. I told Craig he had brought nice weather...hehe. I took a mini Snickers bar atthis point. Craig took his special Pro-4 gel from NZ...more ex than Powergel...hmm, gotta be good. As we ran into Marina South, I was sharing with Craig the SCSM marathon route, and where the Kenyans would be running past us like! It was really cool and nice weather this morning as we ran along into Marina South. By the time I see the front group turn back, we had run about 2hours already. Craig joined them while I continued to run the extra 2km which they had covered before us. By the time I got to Victor Bowl for a water break, the rest had gone, with only Bug and DO waiting at the bus-stop...really nice of them to wait for me. I ushered them to go on, but they still waited. Thanks guys! That was approximately the mid-point. I ingested a packet of Powergel (Strawberry-Banana) and popped 2 salt tablets, downed with plain water. We wasted no time in catching up with the front group as we ran out of Marina South. Soon saw Craig and together we ran out into Keppel Road, and was great to see Ong waiting with 100plus for us. Really great to have trainer proving such nice support...only at SAFRA eh... We moved on quickly after the refreshing drink, and I picked up pace as we ran the uninspiring Keppel Road stretch and into Telok Blangah area. At the turn to Kampong Bahru, Bug and me continued on while DO waited for Craig. I felt good up to that point, and with a sip of drink from my fuel-belt, I began the ascent to Mt. Faber by this steep Kampong Bahru side. It took the pace slower, and finished up pretty strong at the top. Took a nice breather as I ran down the slopes, and was great to see Ong again for another 100plus drink. Bug was just behind with Uncle Lim. I continued on for a loop from the Morse Road side, and reached the top again feeling a tad tired, but good. As I ran down the slopes towards Morse Road, the rains came..arhh, just as well. I had already done more than 30km up to that stage. I made a hurried but careful run down the slopes, exited from Morse Road and then onto the final slopes along Henderson Road. The rains really belted down during this stretch. I was totally drenched. Even my Ironman socks could not contain the flood of water in my shoes...whoosh! At one point, I could hardly see clearly the road...haha. I felt strong still, and made a dash to the finish. My watch showed that I took approximately 3hr39min for this 36km (or slightly more)...good enough as a final long run for me. My legs felt like they just went for only a 15km, the nice weather really made a big difference... 2 weeks ago, I felt drained after only 15km in the heat and slopes at Sentosa.

Back at the ClubHouse, all had gathered. Everyone was happy with their runs today. All felt very good, and their legs were still strong for another 21km or more. Craig, RR, DO, Bug were all comparing notes about the hills of MF, and I agreed with them that this run was very nice and even with climbing the challenging slopes at the end of the run, it was still manageable for all. Wow...they must be experiencing some form of Runners' High..haha. The Adizero which I had on felt good, and I will probably wear it for the Phuket Marathon (I had originaly wanted to run in my Asics DS Trainer, which RR used for the run today). We will all be running next Sat at MacRitchie for 25km, as a tapering LSD. All cannot wait for that scenic trail run to come soon. After a nice wash-up, we went for nice coffee and makan at the nearby food centre, and discussed a lot about Japanese runners and marathons and MacRitchie.

Distance Ran: 36km ____Time:3hr39min_____Pace:6:05min/km

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back to back runs

I did a series of back-back runs this week, after taking a break on Monday due to work commitments. I had low mileage last week, and felt I needed to make up for the distance this week.

Tuesday 22/05: I did a 11km run in the evening prior to my meeting with some guests. Because I was running alone, I did a tempo run and covered the distance in 52min. I felt satisfied, and was about to wash up, when I received a call that my guests wanted to postpone the meeting. I then went down to SAFRA MF to join in a 12km run into Kent Ridge Hill. There was a large group of runners who had gathered. I just wanted to join in for a slow run, since I already did 11km just before. I took off slowly, and chatted with Adam about the Pacesetters 15km run. I enjoyed the Pacesetters run thoroughly, and was already planning to go for next Jan's Pacesetters 30km run. As I ran into Kent Ridge Park from Jln Hang Jebat, I could feel the heaviness of my legs. I guess my glycogen levels were quite low after my earlier 11km run. I continued to chug along the slopes, and fortunately, we just did 1 set. We gathered at the tank on top of the hill for a breather. I was sharing with Colleen, William and a few others about Pacesetters run...and they too were interested to join in their races the next time. I ran down the steep slopes of Bukit Chandu cautiously, and then along Pasir Panjang. On the final stretch on Henderson Road, I was totally drained. I chugged on slowly, and was glad to finally reach ClubHouse. It was a draining run for me. I must have burnt much calories...haha.
Distance Ran (1): 11km ____Time: 52min_____Pace:4:44min/km
Distance Ran (2): 12km ___Time: 1hr05min___Pace:5:25min/km

Wednesday 23/05: I missed Monday's Climbathon training session due to work. So I had to do this training, and was rewarded with a 16km run from Bishan Stadium through Bishan Park, then to LPR and turning into OUTR, and looping back at the end of OUTR. My legs still felt heavy, after last evenings 23km run. After a brief by Hamidah and Carmen, the team started off. IMD joined us for this evening's training...nice to have Ben join us. We started off at an easy pace, led by DO and Tim along Bishan Park. I was contented to run mid-pack, and chatted with IMD for a bit. Henry was lucky to have won the lucky draw to participate at the pretigious New York Marathon in November. As we ran through Bishan Park, we had a good chat about MK Climbathon and Monday's training. I left my fuel belt behind, and when we reached LPR, we took a drink at the toilets. From there DO, Tim and I ran a contant 5min/km pace along OUTR till the end, and turning back. We estimated that it was 1.5km from the Main Gate at UPR to the end of OUTR...which meant adding on 3km to our usual 13km route. On the return leg, Tim sped ahead with DO following from a distance. I lagged a little as I was feeling quite drained. At the toilets, I took another much-needed drink, and told DO to move ahead first. On the way back along Bishan Park, I followed DO from a distance, and after running what felt like a hard last 4km, we finally reached back to Bishan Stadium. My watch showed we took about 1hr28min, including some stops. I felt quite drained, but was satisfied with the hard workout.
Distance Ran: 16km ____Time: 1hr28min_____Pace:5:30min/km

Thursday 25/05: Did the Running Lab run with Beverly joining in for the first time. We ran about 8.3km along Fort Canning, then into the stretches leading to Clarke Quay, turning back at Kim Seng Bridge. Most of the RL runners started off quite fast...hmm, they have improved by quite a fair bit. IMD, Divey, Beverly and myself were running for the stretch up to Fort Canning, before Dino came and led us the way...It was a nice stretch, and Beverly thoroughly enjoyed the run. We did the usual nice stretch routine, led by Eddie, which all enjoyed. A nice recovery run...will rest and carbo load in preparation of my 36km LSD this Sunday.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

The New Balance Pacesetters 15km Race

Day 1: The Journey From SIN-KL

The group of us, mainly SgRunners and SAFRA MF runners have booked ourselves for this annual Pacesetters 15km race in KL. A total of 20+ of us went by coach to KL for this event, one which I heard would be well organized and have a good atmosphere. I woke up bright and early on Saturday to meet the group of SgRunners at the Waterfront Plaza to take our Aeroline coach into KL. DO and I shared a cab, and upon reaching Waterffront, we saw the Philippina runners Roda and Josie. They too were going on the same coach to KL, to meet their friends from the HomeTeam. We went into the lobby and met with Divey, Brokie, Vincent, Cokiee, Seal, Bug, Elaine, Eileen, Francis, SV. Bee and Kelly came to send us off after their movie marathon..we all had some group photos before boarding the bus. I brought along some ‘Ear Biscuits’ for all to try, and Bug brought a whole back of snacks for the 5-hour coach journey. We all set off feeling very happy as we chatted and makan-ed on board the coach. We spent time in the ‘meeting lounge’ discussing about the runs we will be organizing and joining. We planned to do New Bug Really Run (NBRR) which will cover the final half of the Army Half Marathon route in August, preparing SgRunners for a taste of some of the slopes of the new route.

We reached The Coronade Hotel at about 1pm. The place was really 'buzzing' and ‘happening’. Nestled in the heart of the central shopping district, next to Lot 10, and near to Sungei Wang and Chinatown. After check-in, the group of us went for lunch at the food court in the shopping malls, visiting a Nike shop and basically walked around soaking in the atmosphere….lots of sidewalk cafes, and its great to see the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan way of life. There was an incident of some of our belongings getting stolen, but we were not really sure when that happened...fortunately, it was not something very serious. We are still investigating. After some shopping, we proceeded to meet Lai Chee and Eddie in Chinatown for dinner. Lai Chee showed us to her ‘Ninja’ carbo-loading restaurant, and we had a sumptious meal of loh-shee fun, lemon chicken, ‘Black’ noodles, lots of vegetables, claypot tou fu, ampang yong tau foo, and a few other dishes. It was a nice dinner for the 13 of us, as we carbo-loaded more than we should for the run the next day…hehe. After dinner, we walked along the night market in the busy Chinatown area, and settled at a roadside coffee-shop for very nice coffee and drinks. It was fun chit-chatting with everyone, and Lai Chee was very happy sharing her experiences of her previous stays and runs in KL. We went back to the hotel at about 10pm, and DO, Brokie, Divey and myself continued chatting and yakking about the running posture of Brokie, the injury and insoles for Divey, the various happenings of the day and the people at SgRunners. It was really fun, and after all the excitement into the early morning hours, I could not really sleep…must be the coffee…hmmm, and before I knew it, it was 4.30am with DO waking up and getting ready for the run. I did not sleep at all, mostly resting in bed the whole night. However, I did not feel too tired and was quite fresh actually.

Day 2: Race Day

The group met at the Hotel lobby for the 5.30am bus transfer to the run site. Met up with the SAFRA Runners Alan Chao, Kumaran, Teck Hou, Uncle Lim, and there were a few other runners from other groups too. The SAFRA runners did a 3km run to the race site as warm up. The rest of us took the bus, and soon we arrived to the site with blaring music, and many signboards of New Balance, Milo, PowerBar, etc. There was a carnival atmosphere, and many runners were gathering along with the setup of many of the tents and stages. I visited the NB store a little, before proceeding to do a warm-up job around the area with DO and Eileen. It was quite a cool morning, and as we ran, I could see many cars parked along the sides of the quiet housing estate, and many runners lined along the roads changing into their running shoes and doing stretches, warm-up, or otherwise chit-chatting. We were informed that The Pacesetters Club in Malaysia was a large organization with more than a 1000 members, and they are actually a extension of the same club in Boston. This year, they will be celebrating the 100years of the founding of the original club in Boston. Met with with lots more SgRunners the the race site…IronmanDreamer and gf, Yulan, Igloo, Richy, Spyfish, gtow. I took a bit of a banana (earlier took a small loaf of raisin bread back at the hotel), gulped down some water, and proceeded to the start line. Took a few photos, chatted with many of the friends there, and was warned of the very hilly course we will be covering. Someone mentioned we will have lots of slopes just after the 4km mark.

The Race

We started off with a blast of the horn at 7am. A slow shuffle to allow the front runners to move off, pressed the start button of my watch, and off I went. I started off at quite a fast pace, and was trailing some of the familiar runners, as I negotiate around the bunch of runners. I settled into a steady pace after 1km and eased into what felt like a 4:45min/km pace. My mouth felt a little dry, as I continued into the nice housing estates. There were light traffic on the roads, and as I ran into the estates, it was a picture of serenity and coolness. I could see DO in front of me, and I decided to just follow his pace. We reached the first water point at the 4km mark, and I had a much-needed cup of water. Igloo was running quite near to me as well, as have a few other familiar runners from Singapore. After the drink, I noticed everyone slowing down, including DO, and soon I realized what had happened. There was a long slope in front of us, and that was the start of the climb of the series of slopes and rolling hills they all spoke about. As I ran up the slopes, many of the runners were dropping back, and by about the mid section, some were power-walking while others were huffing and puffing… however, there were many steep downslopes too, as I took them with care not to have too much jarring on my knees. Many of the runners whom I overtook on the upslopes, ran past me on the downslopes…and they really ran, very fast. I decided to just take it easy and not risk my legs, hoping to catch up with them later on. I passed the 5km mark at about 23min.

Just as I thought the series of slopes would never end, I finally reached the top of the last one....phew!, and began a smooth long descend to catch my breath. Collected a colored wrist-band from the officials, as indication I had passed that point. There would be a a total of 3 such bands we needed to collect, in exchange for the finisher’s medal. It was quite a hard ascend, and a few runners had fallen behind by then. I ran all the way to a large overhead bridge on the main highway, and recognized that portion to be part of the finish at the KL Marathon I did in March this year…hmm. On that gentle upslope after the bridge, the signboard said ‘4km To Go’, indicating we had 4km to the end of the first larger 10km loop. I increased pace at that portion to back in more miles in anticipation for another series of challenging slopes. I reached the 10km mark in about 47min. I had lost DO infront by the 8km mark, as he ‘chionged’ the downslopes. I ran up and saw Eddie at about 9km and decided tgo just tag along. Just after the 10km mark, IMD called out to me as he went ahead. I was surprised IMD was behind me all this while. IMD went further ahead and ran past Eddie and I decided to just run along their pace. Soon I saw the 10km mark, next to a nice white house. Time check showed I had taken 47min to reach the 10km mark....not too bad considering the slopes I faced. My legs had just recovered by that point, after the massive lactic build-up in the earlier slope run. Soon there was a slope again, as I ascended that with quite heavy legs. I overtook another bunch of 5 runners on that slope, including eddie, who was already suffering from his flu. I told Eddie to go steady as I moved on. I was running more conservative then, reserving my strength for the slopes that would appear. As I ran, those slopes did not come, and I moved on faster as I noticed the highway again. It was 3km more to the finish. I ramped up speed and by that time, I had collected all 3 colored-wrist bands. On the second time up the long gentle slope across the highway, those with the 3 bands were guided to turn right for a 2km finish. I was still quite wary of any steep slopes that would be coming up, as two Caucasian runners ran past me discussing about the km readings on signboards, and how they were a bit confused. I decided to trail them, and with a final 1km to go, I made a dash for it. The cheerleaders were lined up along that final 500m stretch, as I increased my speed, after seeing my time read 1hr7min. As I ran into the finish area, I could hear the announcer calling to attention of more finishers. I overtook a few more at the end, and at the finish, I made a dash hoping to make it to below 1hr10min.

Alas, the runner in front slowed down, and as I finished, I was totally blocked by him….shucks. No photos for me crossing the finish. Even Divey’s photo of me showed I was obscured by him. I hope the organizers will be able to record my timing, since they do depend on the finish photos to confirm timings. Well, at least I know I made it in 1hr09min. A good run for me, and I was happy and satisfied. Collected my finisher medal and immediately dashed off to take lots of water-melon and iced milo. It was heavenly. Very nice food and drinks. I was feeling so thirsty. I congratulated the SAFRA Runners who did very well. Teck Hou (1:02), Alan (1:03), Kumaran (1:04), Bug (1:06), Claire (1:17), Eileen (1:07) and she won 4th prize in the Women’s category…great run. SgRunners did well too…DO (1:08), Richy (1:09), IMD Ben (1:09), Dream (1:09). After I had taken my 4th cup of milo, I went to cheer the incoming runners…Yulan (Sub 1:20) & Brokie (1:20) finished in fine form, Timothy (1:12), Igloo (1:12), and many others. Roda finished 1:09, and won 2nd in her category…Congrats. MR25 Yee Ah Seng also finished 1:09 and won 5th in his category. Cokiee (1:23), SV (1:29) and Seal (1:40) all came in feeling very satisfied and happy. We had lots of group photos. I ate soft bean-curd and they were lovely. Divey also had some fun and excitement being the group photographer, and she had photos taken of her by the Pacesetters photographers too….KC Leong of KC & The Sunshine Runners. We hung around to see the prize presentation, and had great fun cheering for the Singapore runners, especially our Eileen Babymon. Bug got lucky and won a nice camelback and yoga mat in the lucky draw. The atmosphere was good, and this must rank as one of the better organized races I have attended both in Singapore and Malaysia. I will be recommending more people to join Pacesetters runs when they do organize them.

Day 2: Post Race

We stayed till the end of the event at about 10am, and proceeded back to Hotel for a nice wash up. With out return coach at 6pm. We still had much time for some good carbo replenishment and some walkabout to remove lactic acid from our legs…hehe. The group of almost 20 of us went to the New Balance Shop to redeem the vouchers that Eileen had won. We also had 30% discount vouchers given by the organizers to shop at the NB shop. After shopping, we proceeded to Times Square for makan….Alan, Kumaran, Teck Hou and Uncle Lim left after lunch to catch their earlier coach back. Divey, Brokiee, Cokiee, SV Bug, Elaine and Claire went for more shopping in Times Square. DO, Seal and I visited the spa place recommended by Alan for a foot massage. It was really ‘shiok’ for me, as I was kneaded off the tiredness from my legs, with nice piped-in music and aromatherapy candle oils. The 3 of us went for more coffee and dessert, and had some intense discussions about SgRunners runs and upcoming activities. We met up with the rest to take the Aeroline coach at 6pm back to Singapore. I had a mild headache, probably from too much caffeine (according to DO, caffeine rush). Along the coach ride, I felt better. We had a not-bad tasting dinner on the coach, stopped for a 20-minute chit-chat break, and after some jam at the Tuas checkpoint, we finally made it back to Waterfront Plaza. It was a nice outing for all of us, nice company, nice run, nice makan, nice time…Thanks to all who made this possible.

Distance Ran: 15km ____Time:1hr09min_____Pace:4:39min/km

Other Runners' Accounts:
The Cokiee
Baby Monster
The Carbo Man

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Climbathon Time Trial: 10 sets of Labrador Slopes

We had the first Time Trial of the Labrador Loop on Thursday evening. The plan was to run 10 sets of the 1.2km loop going up the tunnel slopes from the Park side, then pass Olive Restaurant, down the Carpark area and the main road leading back to Labrador Park. David and I did a 3km warm up jog from MF ClubHouse to meet up with the team at Labrador Park. When Hamidah arrived with Yulan and Roland, we were able to start off at about 7.15pm.

I had placed a bottle of Gatorade at the start of the loop, for refuelling. I took the first 3 sets on a easy pace, choosing to go up the slopes slowly, and taking care when going downslopes. I averaged about 8min per loop, most of the time keeping in sight the front people of David, Xavier and Yu Sheng. I took my first drink at the finish of the 3rd set. The 4-6 sets had me overtaking Xavier, YS..and still trailing David. I saw Yulan around then, as David was maintaining pace. Henry, Roland, Ronnie were behind me. Sim over-lapped me near the end of the 6th, he sure is a speed demon. I took another drink of the placed Gatorade at the end of the 6th loop. My heart-rate was about 160bpm+ at the top of the slopes, and averaged 150bpm as I ran on the flatter road....not really pushing that hard, but could feel the tiredness in my legs as I tackle the steeper parts of the slopes.

Mida was ticking off the loops as we passed the start point. In the 7-8 sets, I was running closely behind David and Yulan. I could see both of them exchanging leads, with david overtaking Yulan on the upslopes, while Yulan regained back the lead on the downslopes. Yulan has grown a lot stronger since she started the Climbathon training. I think her run times now will be a lot better. I finally overtook Yulan on the 8th upslope, and continued on with just running an easy pace to trail David. I finished my remaining Gatorade after the 8th set, and ramped up speed a little for the final 2 sets. At the final 400m, DO and I were running together and we made a dash to the finish line. Finished quite strong in 1hr19min, just a whisker below 1hr20min.

There was a large group of Climbathon organizers by the time we finished. Hamidah, Wilna, Carmen were there. I downed a full bottle of Gatorade. Sim and Timothy had finished their sets, and just left the place. We continued to cheer those finishing, Yulan, Xavier, Henry, Yee Sheng, Roland, Rodney as they came in. DO and I make a early move at about 8:45pm to run back 3km more to the ClubHouse. I ran an estimated 3km warm-up, 12km Time Trial, 3Km recovery for a total 18km. We later joined cm and the SAFRA runners who had finished their 12km run much earlier for dinner.

Distance Ran: 18km ___Time:1hr50min est.___Pace:6:3omin/km est.
Average HR:150bpm____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,200KCal est.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

MK Climbathon Training Continues...

I will be doing mainly Climbathon Training at Labrador Park this week, and then going into KL this weekend for the PaceSetter's 15km race. Mileage for this week will be lower as I will be skipping my LSD (hope to make up for it somehow), instead, I will be doing a lot more shorter, intensive runs.

Monday 15/05:
After Sunday's 32km LSD, I did a 10km slow recovery run around my estate. Also took the opportunity to accompany Beverly on her weekly run, and score some brownie points...hehe. A very easy 6min/km pace, with me running ahead at 2-3km chunks, and then walking to wait for Beverly to catch up at traffic junctions. It helped to clear the accumulated lactic acid, as well as maintained my metabolism...still a useful workout as part of a Marathon training program :)

Tuesday 16/05: This evening was the Climbathon Training at Labrador Park, in a prelude to Thursday's Monthly Time Trial. I met up with David at MF ClubHouse, before slow jogging 3km down to Labrador Park to meet the team. The SAFRA Runners were to do their gruelling speedwork at Queenstown I won't be joining them then. Reached Labrador park at about 7pm, and most of the team were there with Mida taking attendance and chatting. IMD Ben joined us for this training, whilst BabyMon told us she will join next week. We started off promptly at 7pm to do 5 sets of slopes up the Tunnels area, starting from the side of the Park (which is the steeper end). We should see Olive Restaurant at the top before running down the steep slope at the Carpark and then along the road leading back to the Park...estimated about 1.2km loop. The first 2 sets were good, and I worked up a good sweat and heavy breathing. By the third time we hit the upslopes, my legs felt heavy, and thats when IMD ran past me and Dave. IMD was indeed strong. I just chugged along and I joined DO at the top for a much needed water break. We continued on to finish the last 2 sets. The sky was dark by then. As I ran the downslopes, I was very wary and took it slowly. Some of the guys were literally jumping and leaping, not very good to chiong down those downslopes.

I finished the final 5th set racing IMD (who came out to support us) to the finish...checked with Mida who reported I did 39min47sec for the whole 5 sets...estimated to be about 6km, with at least 1km of slopes. We had a nice chat with the guys after that. IMD liked the workout and would like to join us for more such Climbathon trainings. He recommended we do more stairs of 2 and 3-steps, since MK has lots of steps with different heights. We also discussed about giving Real Run a miss this year to avoid getting injured in the sand portion; I probably will join SgRunners for some trial runs in Sentosa to soak in the atmosphere instead. After our round of Gatorade, Dave and I jogged back another 3km to MF ClubHouse. This time we were early, and had to wait a good 30min before the rest of SAFRA Runners came back from their Speedwork. We later met up with Bug at the food centre, where Bug did a 30km run from West to ECP MacD and back.... whoa, he has finally conquered his mental demon...good for Bug.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Prep Phuket Marathon: A Hot & Sunny 32km LSD

Gathered at SAFRA MF this morning for what would be my second final LSD before tapering off for my Phuket Marathon in June. The weather forecast was for showers in the morning, and I was keeping my fingers crossed. The regular group of SAFRA runners were present; Ong, Jaime, wee san, Derrick, Wong, Adam, Colleen & William, Chin, Freddy, Jimmy Chow, TLH. Leng from SAFRA TP joined as a guest runner.

After a brief by Ong on the 2 routes, one 32km covering Sentosa NBRR and then extending to Marina South for the Marathon Route, and then back along Henderson Road; the other covering 25km, turning back at the B02 bus-stop along Marina South. san was still having tightness in her ITB, and I told her to start slowly. We started off at 7.15am, slightly late, but intention was probably to condition for running between the hours of 8am-11am. I went ahead along Henderson Road with Ong, Jimmy, Wong, Chin. We ran a steady pace towards Harbourfront and when all gathered at the crossing to Sentosa, we made a group move in. There was no need to show our Sentosa passes, since it was still quite early in the morning. I chatted with William about his posting to Australia for a year, and his plan to do the Sydney Marathon...lucky devil..hehe. I then moved along and ran along with Wong and Chin. We proceeded to Sentosa Cove and back, then turning off to Tanjong Beach before finally arriving at the toilet for our water break. Ong continued to run ahead without stopping for water. When most of the runners had gathered, I continued to run along to the Jungle Trail and saw Adam, Jaime, Colleen and William in there. After a short chat with them, I proceeded to exit Sentosa in the heat of the sun. The weather was hot this morning, and the sun was shining brightly after 8am. Exiting out of Sentosa, I would have covered 15km, as I turned right along Keppel Road towards the PSA and Railway station. The sun was getting to me as I tried to run in the shade when I could. There were some construction of the roads along the way as I weaved in and out. When I got to Shenton Way, I was feeling quite drained, and was looking forward to reach Victor Bowl in Marina South for more water. As I entered into Marina South, I spotted Ong and I ran up towards him.

Both of us ran along the Marathon Route, and when we reached Victor's Bowl, I stopped for water while Ong continued on. Ong was trying to condition himself to take less water stops. I was feeling thirsty, and I needed to slow down the pace as well. As I ran on for another 1km, Ong was on the return path. I continued on and was thinking why the route was so long...haha. I finally reached back to Victor's Bowl after what seemed to be a very long loop inside Marina South. I made a pit stop for Gatorade, and walked for about 200m. With my stomach full of water, I made my way out of Marina South and exiting into Prince Edward Road. I was stopped by a mother and son who were asking for directions...a good rest for me as well. I then moved on and soon hit the PSA area again. It was hot, and I was really feeling drained. I was thinking that the distance must have been more than anticipated by Ong. I slowed to a shuffle as I felt my legs getting heavy. I downed some Gatorade leftover from the bottle, and that gave me the boost to continue all the way to the crossing to Telok Blangah Rise. The sun was shining brightly as I crossed the road walking, and had to pick up my heavy legs to get out of the sun...phew! I walked a bit more before finally finishing off the run in the ClubHouse, I was really drained, and couldn't even find energy to do a customary sprint...just wanted to get out of the sun. I saw Ong at the ClubHouse, and he seemed to have reached shortly before me. The rest of the runners were already dressed, with Derrick, Ong and me doing cool downs.

I did some stretches, and drained my legs by lifting them up. It felt good. I downed a can of 100plus, walked around a bit to cool further, before taking my bath. The rest waited for Ong and myself, before we proceeded to Cafe Cartel in Orchard Cineleisure for a good carbo replenishment. Reflecting on the run, I feel that I need to be better conditioned for running in the sun. I was also tired out a bit by the initial 15km in Sentosa, with its ups and downs. My Adizero shoes felt good, with some heat generated (but well dissipated by the Ironman socks)...hmm, the shoes felt light, and did not weigh on my legs, but I am not too sure if the cushion is sufficient...I am satisfied for the moment... may wear the Adizero for my Phuket Marathon. I look forward to doing another hard LSD in hot sun 2 weeks from now. That will be my final long run, and I hope I will be conditioned enough for the heat and hills in Phuket.

Distance Ran: 32km ____Time:3hr30min_____Pace:6:34min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:2,300KCal est.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another long weekend ahead to celebrate Vesak Day, and my running plans this week look set to be disrupted with me looking likely to miss training runs on Tuesday and Thursday. It looked like my main running will be done on Sunday with the MF Runners for a 32km LSD in preparation for Phuket Marathon.

Monday 02/05:
Climbathon training this week is back to the Bishan/MacRitchie area. Did a short run to the nearby Bishan HDB blocks, and started off with 3 sets of 20 floors at one one the blocks. I climbed 2 steps at a time, giving my quads some good exercise. Thereafter, we did a short run to another block, and I did 3 sets of 25 floors before calling it a night. An easy training session of 130 floors with about 3km of running.

Tuesday 09/05:
It rained heavily in the evening, and the SAFRA Hills intervals were almost cancelled. Later it was changed to a 10km loop run. I was stuck in meetings and traffic, and by the time I got to SAFA MF, it was almost 8pm. Wee San and Eileen were kind enough to wait for me, and we took a leisure run around the Canterbury Estates and then returning via Henderson Road. The night was cool, and we had a nice time running and chatting while exploring Canterbury along dimly lit roads. We finished our run in 1hr5min, covering approximately 10km. As we approached the ClubHouse, we saw jaime and the earlier group of SAFRA Runners on their way to the food centre. We had a quick cool down, and joined the rest of the group for some cool, refreshing Cheng Tng.

Wednesday 10/05: Joined the MK Team for a run from Bishan Stadium, through the winding paths of Bishan Park, to Lower Pierce Reservoir (LPR) and then along Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR), turning back along the Main Gates leading to Upper Pierce Reservoir (UPR). Hamidah and Carmen was at Bishan to flag as off, and we were supposed to run on our own as timing will be recorded. We started at about 7.10pm, and soon I was running along with Yulan. Sim and Tim were right ahead, while Kops, Yi Sheng were just behind. Roland and Ronnie were also running along. I roughly knew the route as I ran once with Sim, DO and Tim. Yulan was running alongside most of the way, and she was maintaining a good times moving ahead of me. I enjoyed the hard pace, and after about 5km, we had Hamidah at the junction of Casuarina Road shouting out the time..27min as we passed. I signalled Yulan to continue running as we turned into OUTR. It was real quiet, and I kept an eye on Yulan who was running about 100m behind. Soon I saw Sim returning, followed by Tim. Gave them a high-5 as we ran past. Soon I reached the UPR Main Gate, turned back, and signalled Yulan to do the same. I increased pace on the return, and Yulan kept up with me throught....hmm, she is quite a strong runner. Once into Bishan Park, I was quite lost as I could hardly make out the paths in the dark. Yulan mentioned she could see me snaking about in the front...haha... no pun intended, cos she really spotted a snake along the way....Yikes! Anyway, I made my way back to the Stadium feeling quite good. Found that Hamidah had left, and Sim and Tim were the only ones waiting. I took about 1hr6min, whilst Sim took 1hr1min. Sim mentioned my return leg was much faster, which is usual for me...I tend to start much slower to get warmed up. I enjoyed the workout and the individual hard run. Good to just run all the way without stopping and water for about 12-15km, as part of a running program.

Friday 12/05: Because of work commitments, and receiving some guests in Malaysia, I had to miss Thurday's 16km run at MF :(. Nevertheless, did a nice cool 10km on Vesak Day with Beverly, running after a heavy downpour around my our neighbourhood 10km route. I was running a easy pace to warm my engines ahead of Sunday's 32km LSD @ MF. I had not run with Beverly for 2 weeks, and it was a good time for her to get a hard run in. She did well to finish the run in 1hr1min, her fastest recorded time in this route, and to think I did not even stop the watch at the various traffic junctions. The pace must have been quite fast for her...mightjust as well, since she has to prepare for the SHAPE Run...:)

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The MR25 20km Progressive Run

I had just 2 relatively short runs this week, and I was looking forward to this 20km run organized by the MR25, in preparation of its runners for the year end Standard Chartered Marathon. I recalled having done this 20km progressive run last year, had to walk a bit on some of the slopes at the Golf Course, and returned with a reasonable time of 1hr58min. I am just looking to do a sub-2hr run this time, and better my 2005 timing.

I watched the elections results till 2am before waking up at 5:45am for the run. I felt ok as I downed a bowl of cereal and a banana to provide fuel for this would-be hard run. DO, Ultraman, Alvo, Bug and myself were at the starting line in MacRitchie lower carpark toilets by 6:45am. Registered for the race and got my bib no. 38...hmm nice no. The weather was cool, after some rains in the night. Some of the expected runners like Lai Chee, Brokie, bbmon, TLR did not turn up as they had prior appointments. Gentle arrived about 5min to race start. Zhiwei, a new SgRunner joined us for this run too. Saw the usual MR25 runners all raring to start. In a rush, I forgot to bring my watch and was quite apprehensive about not being able to track my timing. I decided then to track familiar runners for a sense of the pace. At the whistle, all the runners headed in the direction of the Northern Route. The pace was ok initially as there were some blockages by walkers. Once into the trails, the pace picked up and a large group ran forward. I was keeping a steady pace, not too fast, but I could still feel that it was quite hard. After getting warmed up, I increased pace a little, and soon saw DO, Ultra in front. As we exited from the Northern Route, we had taken, that was fast...normally I would come out from there in 22min...haha.

Down and then up the 2 steep slopes fringing the SICC Golf Course. Had a cup of water at the first water point. I decided to leave my fuel belt behind for this run as the weather was good. I overtook more runners on the upslopes as I chugged up steadily. Saw Zhiwei taking a break by the side because of stitches. By the time I turned into the Golf Course path leading to Upper Pierce Reservoir (UPR), I could see DO, Ultra, Bug all in front. I continued at a steady pace and as I ran towards air-cond road, I overtook Ang Lai Soon (this is an amazing 55-year old guy who can run a mean pace) and then DO. I could see the front runners on the return from touching the gates at PUB Pumphouse. I ran on, encouraging the fast runners as well...haha. Soon reaced the run, and saw Ultra turning. I turned after a short while, and could see DO just close behind. I picked up pace a little on this return, and along the way saw Alvo and Zhiwei running together, and later on saw Gentle coming into air-cond road as well. We exchanged some words of encouragement and pushed on. I was feeling good as I turned left towards the slopes up to the Main Gate to OUTR.

Conquered 3 more slopes along UPR, and could see the very fast front runners zooming past on their return. Many of them were young runners, and really had the power to drive home a pace that I can only dream about. Reached the mid-point at Main Gate, took a short break and drank 2 cups of water before moving on. A fellow runner told me it was 49min. Wow.. was that a fast pace for me or what? That was a marked improvement over what I did a year ago, and I was still feeling strong. I picked up pace again to clear the few slopes on the return of UPR. I could see Ultra about 100m in front, and I just told myself to follow him...hehe. Ran back past the Golf Course, and as we hit back to the steep slopes, I slowed down a little to regulate my breathing. There were some golfers on the course, and I was pretty wary of them tee-ing off. I remembered I was feeling very tired at that point last year. I felt much better this time despite the faster pace, and I overtook 2 more runners on the slopes. The MF trainings I have had was really helping me to take those slopes with relative ease. As I finished the final upslope, I saw Sotong and Cokiee who were doing their 15km LSD in the area. They shouted words of encouragement, and then I heard DO, who was just behind me...waah...

I had 2 more cups of water at this water point, walked as I drank, and the pushed off to join DO ahead. I ran ahead into Sime Trail, then saw a MR25 official directing us to do a mini-diversion round the land-slide area. I could not see any other runners in front at that point, and I knew that DO was just behind me. Sime Trail was rocky and a bit dangerous, and I nearly twisted my ankle twice today. I maintained a steady pace as I continued past Jelutong Tower, and then along the wooden bridges. When i finally reached the Golf Course area again, I could see Ultraman about 200m in front. He turned and saw me too, and seemed like he picked up pace again...hehe. Ultra really looked strong and steady today. He has really improved by leaps and bounds this year...good to stay close to him..hehe. When we ran to the 'tree roots' I took the opportunity to recuperate by walking through the many humps and bumps. Once the mini hurdles were over, it was just a straight trail run from the exercise area. I took a final cup of water, increased my pace, and gave a final 3km push. I overtook 2 or 3 more runners along this stretch, especially up the 2 steeper slopes. As I turned into Lornie Trail, I could see Ultraman again, still 100m in front. I didn't look back, but I knew DO was about 100m behind me as well. Finally hit the pavement and the zig-zag bridge, and a young runner ran up and told me to push for the last 1km...I picked up speed and made a dash for it. As I was dashing, I heard someone cheering for me...heh, it was Thiam Huat, MF Chairman... thanks cm...I sprinted the final 50m to finish feeling good. Offcial time recorded for me was, how come its so fast? I checked again, and saw that Ultraman did 1hr42min...hmm, then must be correct lah. DO came back shortly in 1hr44min. Meteor was at the finish after doing her 15km, and together we cheered for Alvo who did 1hr55min. Sumiko also came in about that time. Bug had lost his way, and finished much earlier....never mind, he did enjoy the run. He wants to do it again real soon. We congratulated one another for a nice run, cheered for Zhiwei, Sumiko, etc as they came in, and chatted about preparations for AHM. I had a good enjoyable run today, and have improved my timing by 15min... partly because of the nice weather, and partly because I was much stronger this time around. I look forward to the 25km Progressive Run next, in preparations for AHM in August.

Distance Ran: 20km XC ____Time:1hr43min_____Pace:5:10min/km
Average HR:N/A____Max HR:N/A____KCal:1,600KCal est.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Easy Week

This has been a pretty slack week for me, in terms of running mileage is concerned. Because the Climbathon runs have ben rescheduled to Tuesday and Thursday, and the number of running days cut short, the corresponding mileage has diminished too.

Tuesday 02/05:
It was May Day on Monday, and the Climbathon Training was scheduled for Tuesday, which clashes with MF Training. I decided to go for the Climbathon run training at Labrador Park, shuttling from MF ClubHouse. Met DO at 6.15am at ClubHouse, had brief chats with cm, ws, Jimmy before running off towards LP. I was nursing a sore throat and was taking it easy. Did a slow 3km jog to LP and met up with Mida, Wilna the team managers, and Sim, Tim, Roland, Yulan, Henry, Yee Sheng, the team members. Since the originally planned route of Kent Ridge Hill was wet and slippery, we ran loops around LP instead. We ran to various parts including the wooden bridge areas, Jetty as well as the tunnels, many of these I have not ran before, though I have joined the MF team to LP for training many times. We did about 8km at LP before calling it off, and I had Gatorade and H2O. We discussed a bit about our upcoming trainings at Mt. Faber and climbing up Morse Road. The team managers were going to do a recce at the Bukit Timah Reserves to identify suitable training areas for Climbathon training from July. DO and I bade farewell by 8.15pm and ran back to ClubHouse, and by 8.45pm all the SAFRA MF runners were back from their Queenstown speedwork. They all had a good workout. I joined the MF runners for dinner at the usual place.

Thursday 04/05: Had a second Climbathon run this week on Thursday at SAFRA MF. The plan was to run a similar route with the SAFRA Runners, and thereafter, meet together for makan. DO, Rolamd, Henry, Tim, Sabrina, Xavier and myself were present. There was a large turnout of SAFRA Runners, and I had a chi-chat with some of them. We started off our run along Henderson Road towards Harbourfront, and ascended Morse Road. Because this was the first time some of the members were running the route, DO and I ran slower to lead them on up to MF top. Once up, we saw Hamidah and Sabrina waiting for us. Mida had a brief talk with us, before we proceeded on our own to finish the rest of the 15km. I went ahead down the slopes of Morse Road, and once out Harbourfront again, I was running alone till I caught up with Divey. She was huffing quite a bit, and I ran alongside her for a while just to slack a little...hehe. Divey might have started out too fast, and was breathing short. I told her to slow her pace to take long breaths, and by the time we approached ClubHouse, she had recovered sufficiently for a second wind. From there, I moved ahead for the remaining 5km loop back along Henderson Road, Harbourfront and Telok Blangah Way. I increased pace to give a final hard workout. Once at the ClubHouse, gathered with the SAFRA Runners. Xavier joined us for dinner, and had a fine time mingling with some of the runners whom he knew back at Bukit Merah ClubHouse.

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