Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My first official pair of Nike Runners

Finally got the Nike running shoes with the $200 voucher I received for the Nike Runhalolics run last November. After waiting in vain for the Katana Cage II, I settled on the Air Zoom Vomero, and topped up with $20....this has got to be the most expensive pair of runners I have had to date ($220)...haha.

My Maiden Nike Pair - Nike Air Max Vomero

Brought it out for its maiden run last evening at SAFRA MF. Decided to take a easy, flat 13km route along the Canterbury Estate/Labrador Park to try out the shoes. Started off the run with DO at a comfy pace. I was striding for the first part of the run in Canterbury Estate just to get a feel of the softness of the shoe, which DO had already complained that it could be too soft for a 'firm' toe-off. I did feel that I had to work harder when toeing off, but it more than compensated when it served as a good shock absorber for my legs....and especially good when going downhills because of its ample heel cushion.

I got out of Canterbury Estate feeling quite good, though my breathing wasn't too smooth as my nose was still a tad runny. I continued on to Labrador Park alone after DO wanted to do his own pace. It was thereupatic as I was trying to feel the softness in the cushion. I found that the Vomero was good for absorbing shocks from the hard pavements, and will be a good training pair for short distance runs. It felt stable and light too, but there is a requirement for the legs to lift higher and work harder. I finished the 13km run in 1hr10min, not fast, but at a nice easy pace in the sometimes cold, windy evening.

Distance: 13km__Time: 1hr10min__Pace: 5:23min/km

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

HK Marathon Prep: Sentosa Run

With barely 6 weeks to the HK Marathon, there was no break in the SAFRA MF Training Program. The plan for this Sunday was a 34km endurance run from MF Clubhouse -> Henderson Rd -> Harbourfront -> Sentosa Gateway -> (Sentosa Crove -> Tanjong Beach -> Siloso Beach -> Jungle Trail) x 2 -> Kampung Bahru -> MF hill -> MF loop (1 rd) -> Morse Rd -> Harbourfront -> Telok Blangah Hill -> MF Clubhouse. This was the first time I would be doing 2 loops of the Sentosa NB RealRun route.

I woke up to see that the grounds were wet. It rained in the night, and we were expecting good weather. There were about 10 runners at the clubhouse, very small turnout, maybe all wanting to sleep in in such nice weather :}. We started off at 7.30am, and I went at a steady pace of about 5:30min/km. Ricci, Ong, Jimmy Chow and DO were in front, with me and fennel tagging about 100m behind, while the rest of the group of Michael, Peter, Julie, Teck Hou, Wong, Phei San, Colleen, small Chua followed from behind.

We entered Sentosa together, and tackled the first NBRR loop, going by the Satellite station, and back along the long road along Artillery Drive. Saw some SAFRA TP runners like Eddie running on the other side of the road. They too were having their training @ Sentosa, what a coincidence. I was running with Do mostly as we turned into Tanjong Beach. On the way out, spotted hunky IMD who was cheering us on...hehe. He just went for a swim, likely doing his ironman training :). We moved on along Palawan stretch, and then to Jungle Trail. As I got out of Jungle Trail, I saw more TP runners....said hello and went ahead towards Visitor Centre. Then I heard DO shouting to me that I had taken the wrong turn. I turned back from about 300m away, and slowly caught up with DO again near the Satellite station for a second loop of the NBRR route.

The weather was still very cool as I ran alone into Tanjong Beach for a second time. Saw Ong and Jimmy coming out, and we acknowledged one another. The TP runners had just finished their workout, and were packing to go back. Spoke with Eddie, Rita and Shirlyn for a bit, before proceeding towards Palawan and Jungle Trail. My legs were still feeling ok at that point. I continued on at a steady pace, taking care not to push too hard, as there is still the slopes up Mt. Faber to contend with. As I exited Sentosa, I would have covered about 25km, and elapsed time was about 2hrs. Teck Hou caught up with me at the traffic junction, and we waited for quite a long time before proceeding on towards Kampong Bahru.

My attack on MF slopes today was a lot more gentle, as I strided very gingerly. When I reached the top, I was still breathing well...hmm, quite happy with the ascent effort. Teck Hou told me that we were supposed to do an additional small loop once we have reached the top. Midway through that small MF loop, my calves felt tight. With about 300m more to the top, I decided not to risk getting a pull. Since I have covered quite a distance already, I was contented to just go straight back to ClubHouse. On the way along Harborfront, Ong overtook me and from there, I kept within a 200m distance from Ong till the finish. Spotted Jimmy coming out from the drinks shop along Kampong Bahru. With his thumbs up, I opened up my strides and maintained my steady tempo to finish in 3hr4min.

I felt pretty good for today's run, very likely due to the steamboat carbo-load I had the previous night, plus the many goodies I had consumed over the past few days :). I did not take any powergels at all, but I did consume half a pack of Sports Beans during the run. I am finding out that having proper carbo-loading before a long run does give me sufficient energy to last the longer distance, without me feeling like hitting the wall...hmm. I will probably be doing about 3 more 30km+ runs over the next 4 weeks, and then tapering down.

Distance: 33km__Time: 3hr4min__Pace: 5:35min/km

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

NUS Hills again...

Went down to Kent Ridge for my 2nd NUS Hill Run with xdd, tktan, Ronnie, babumouse, meng, hohorunner, fennel and swoop. While driving down, I received a sms from xdd at informing of good weather. I was one of the first few to reach, and while warming up and waiting for the rest, we chatted about the Pacesetters 30km weekend.

There was a change of plan to just do the 12km Vigilante/PGP route. We started off at 7.30pm, and on the way, saw fennel and swoop rushing in to get ready. xdd was waiting for them. The pace in front as usual was fast, and as I needed more time to get warmed up, I lagged behind most of the way until we reached the Haw Par Villa area. Running up Vigilante Drive was pretty tough, especially for me coming from having done 3.5 loops of the Kent Ridge slopes the previous day. Still managed to make it, and proceeded with the long recovery down-slope. The nice thing about this route are the long downslopes for recovery, after having tackled the steep upslopes. We took a break at Science Park, and had xdd catch up with us.

From Science Park, I followed xdd all the way along the 99-winding road area, then cut through to NUS again, before ascending the PGP slopes. It was another long, strenuous climb for me, and I was sure glad when I finally made it to the top after what seemed like running on a never-ending stretch of slopes *shudder*. Before I could take a good breather, xdd came along and said 'lets carry on, tktan knows the way'...wah, following this gal is really no-nonsense... haha. As I was not that familiar with that stretch, I had to pick my heavy legs up and continued along. As my nose was still a little 'sniffy', I was breathing/panting a lot using my mouth, and that made me very thirsty.

xdd was really strong, keeping to a 5min/km pace, and even when running more upslopes, she was steady and never slowed down for me to catch up....haha. I managed to make it to the final stretch after some good chasing, and when xdd exclaimed 'the final slope', I was so happy. I increased my stride to match xdd's and we made it back in 1hr3min. Ronnie and babumouse were already back...wah, such speedsters. The rest came back shortly too. We had a good round of 100plus, thanks to tktan, chatted more about how the NUS Hills compared with those at Pacesetters. I did not join the group for dinner as I had to run off for another appointment. It was another good workout for me, and I sweated buckets.

Distance: 12km__Time: 1hr3min__Pace: 5:15min/km

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Pacesetters 30km 2007 Photos

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Kent Ridge Park

There was no recovery after the Pacesetters 30km weekend, as trainer Ong got down to starting the HK Marathon training. There will be about 1 month left for training, and we have to build up and maintain the weekly mileage, what with all the eating during the festive season and overseas trips :).

We went for a 12km run to Kent Ridge Park, and I did 3.5 loops of the slopes at Kent Ridge Park. I reverted back to some of my Chi Running techniques, to see if it will help me. I was careful on the downslopes as I did not want to have any problems to my knees, as many of my friends have started to experience after too many slope runs. Completed the slopes and had a satisfying workout, waited for the rest at the tank area, and proceeded on down Bukit Chandu when the winds started to blow strongly. The air was very cool, and just great for running. Fennel, Kumaran, DO and I ran together most of the way back along Pasir Panjang Road, and up the long, gentle slope of Henderson Road. Fennel, DO and I went for our favourite Red Rice Wine Chicken Soup/Mee Sua, while the rest of the gang went to the ABC market for the larger variety of food.

Distance: 13km__Time: 1hr10min__Pace: 5:23min/km

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Monday, January 22, 2007

GE Pacesetters 30km Race

After having participated in the Pacesetters 15km race in 2006, and having enjoyed the good organization and the challenging but scenic route then, I had already planned to do the Pacesetters 30km race in 2007.

There were going to be a large contigent from Singapore, especially after hearing positive feedback about this race. A large group from SAFRA Running Club and SgRunners were known to have set off for the race on Friday and Saturday morning. I chose to drive up to KL this time, and had DO, Yean and Uncle Lim join me. We set off on Saturday 5am for the 4-5hour journey to the Coranade Hotel in KL. I was nursing a quite a bad case of COLD, and my nose was still blocked and uncomfortable. Otherwise, we had a pretty smooth journey along the North-South Highway.

Pre Race

We reached the hotel by 10am, very smooth, thanks to the earlier recce trips by Yean :). While waiting for check in, we got started quickly on our carbo-loading fiesta. First up was breakfast of nice wonton noodles at Lor Alor, a very 'happening' food street near to our hotel. We bumped into the SgRunner's group that went by train....a large group indeed. I was feeling quite sick and sleepy already, and since Alvin was also not feeling too well, we went for for some kuai lin kou at a nice Liong Char Poh. I even had a special concoction for my cold. The 4 of us then went for a sumptious lunch of Bak Koot Teh at Jln Imbi. That was another very nice place for food, esp. Bak Koot Teh. On the way back to the hotel, the SAFRA MF group arrived and they spotted us crossing the road. After check in, I was so tired I fell asleep....and only awoke to a call on my hp by Yean. Apparently, they were meeting for dinner. again...haha.

We met at the lobby, took a short walk to hotel malaya where the SAFRA gang was, and proceeded to Jln Alor for a very nice Tze Char dinner. There were about 26 of us, occupying 2 tables....the boss of the Tze Char stall was a happy man. Heavy rain came while we were waiting for our food...we were so fortunate to be seated in a nice place, just waiting for the food. We had so much to eat that my tummy was bursting. That topped the day's worth of feasting, and before heading straight back to the hotel, Brokie, Cokiee, DO and I decided we needed to 'walk off' some of the food.

Race Day

I awoke at 4am, took a slice of bread and coffee, got changed, and went down with DO to meet the rest for our bus journey to Lake Garden, the start point of the race. We met so many familiar faces on the way, and it felt like we were doing a local race in Singapore. We were warned by Alan Chao and Lai Chee of the many slopes to expect, especially the 2 loops of double-hill. We were flagged off at about 6am, and after some shuffling at the start, I was able to break free and run at a leisurely pace, taking time for my nose to clear and conserving energy for the hills. Many of the SAFRA runners have zoomed ahead. We came to double-hill and I tackled it very agression. I was still trying to find my comfort zone, while my mouth was dry due to the medication I took the previous night. I took sips of gatorade water from my water belt to ease the throat. The weather was very cool, after an evening of showers, and we were running in the dark most of the time. I was told later we actually ran the hill loop twice, but I certainly didn't feel it. There were a lot of downslopes that followed....arghh, I was so concerned that my knees would suffer from the jarring on the way down....

I passed quite a number of runners as the race progressed, and after I got warmed up. I always start a lot slower, and try to catch up as the race progresses and the crowd thins. There were no distance markers, and other than the ribbons given out to indicate us passing a certain point, I had no idea how much I had run at all. The elapsed time wasn't accurate as we were running to many slopes, both up and down. It was only when I entered the long road that I saw the front runners emerging on the other side...first the Kenyans, then tha very fast local runners. Up along the way, I spotted many SAFRA Runners like Ricci, Alan, Ronnie, small Chua, David. They were all doing very well. As I ran on, I realized there was a long distance in where they came out from...wah, they were wah ahead of me...I must have been to slack...haha. I picked up speed from that point on to catch up, stopping for the free Powergel. I paced the girl in chopchop who was running near me most of the way from the 5km mark. There were times she went ahead, and other times, I moved up.

Out on the other side of the long road, Cokiee shouted that there was about 10km to go...hmm. I waved to many others that were coming in from the other side, and along the various uphills, I overtook quite a number of tiring runners. The chopchop was still running strong, and I decided to maintain a gap of about 50m from behind. She must have been in the standings in for ladies category, as they maintained a good steady speed. With about 7km to go, she hasten the pace and moved further ahead to a 100m gap. I was still conserving my energy, waiting for the second double-hill (that never came). As I ran up the long slope, I was maintained pace, and still had reserves. Soon it was down to only about 2km, and I overheard someone mentioned we were at the end of the last slope. The marshall told me it was just 2km to go. When I realized there were no more double-hill, I decided to let it go. Time check was 2hr26min. As my muscles were tightening, I was careful not to overstrain less I get cramps of the final stretch. Maintaining a steady pace, I cruised home, making sure I get a nice clear-angled photo taken this time (for the cert)...:). The time on my watch showed 2hr39min....was glad to finish it below 2hr45min, and not suffering any symptoms of the flu nor having leg problems.

Post Race

Collected a nice finisher's medal, T-Shirt and goodie bag. I went straight for the Milo station and downed 4 cups of ice-cold milo. That was followed by 3 cups of Powerbar recovery drink. And then 4 pieces of, they were so good. I went around chatting with people, and finding out how everyone did. All those I knew finished strongly and enjoyed the run, pointing out that the challenging route and nice post-race makan were key positives. The SAFRA gang did extremely well. I was proud of the progress that they have all made. With our SAFRA Running tops, we did attract a lot of attention from other runners, and even the PaceSetters organizers. They spoke with us for quite a bit, and also gathered some feedback. Lots of group photos were taken, followed by more post-race food.

We went back to the hotel at 11am, and after wash-up, 9 of us SgRunners and Uncle Lim went for a well-deserving coca steamboat was yummilicious. 2 hours of good food, nice conversations and some gossip...hehe followed, all while being served protein-rich food, great for recovery. A few of us were seen visiting the toilets a few times...haha. The 4 of us who drove in, departed at 4pm and reached Singapore at 9pm...quite a smooth journey back as well. Those who travelled back by coach reached Singapore at about 10pm. The SAFRA gang stayed on for another day of revelry, and I heard they were to be taken to the largest disco in KL. It was a fruitful, enjoyable, and stomach-filling trip...hope to do this again next year!

After a good night's sleep, my flu has gotten better this morning. I have no aches whatsover...wah, I must have really been relaxed and enjoying the run....haha, what a slacker! I just love the feeling.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Bad case of flu

Started having flu on Wed...went to see the doc....skipped run on Thursday

Now flu is BAD :(

Will still drive up to KL (since I have a few going up with me)...but still not sure if I can run the Pacesetters 30km. Hope I can at least enjoy the goodie bag and food :)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Humid Evening...

It was a large turnout (close to 40) at SAFRA MF where we had gathered for a 14km in the evening. Could be because of the rain the past few days, many came anticipating a good workout. There was just a short drizzle before the run, and it soon cleared, leaving the air very humid. This evening we had nyquist2000 and swoop joined us for a second time.

We ran towards the Delta Canal, and I felt good. However, my socks were giving me some problems due to slippage...hmm...could be due to the smaller size I mistakenly took. I ran mostly alone in the midst of the gang, and was enjoying the evening scenes along the canal, and into Ripley Park area. Again, I concentrated on having higher leg lifts in my strides, as I found recently I was getting 'lazy' with lots of shuffling and chi running....hehe.

At the junction to Botanic Gardens, we were urshured to turn left towards Commonwealth/ Margaret Drive by trainer Ong. I was following Colleen and Teck Hou mostly, as I kept a steady, but not too fast pace. As we turned into the lond road along Margaret Drive, my left leg was getting 'numb' from my discounted Cumulus...hmm, not sure if it was the cushioning wearing off...must find some way to determine that. When I neared the traffic junction, trainer Ong overtook me. He was running real easy. I followed from a distance, all along into the Canal, and Ronnie together with Colleen ran ahead too. I followed Ronnie to the end of the canal, and I turned back towards the Tiong Bahru Park. On the way back along Henderson Road, it was Teck Hou again, as I finished about 13.5km in 1hr18min. Trainer Ong confirmed that the route was 14km. We had nice 100plus, and proceeded to ABC market for that delicious Fried Hokkien Mee...yum!

Distance: 14km__Time: 1hr18min__Pace: 5:34min/km

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mental prep run for Pacesetters 30km

Because of the unpredictable rainy weather this week, I had to skip the Animiles run on Saturday, and joined in the SAFRA MF prep run for Pacesetters 30km next Sunday. When the route (Clubhouse -> Henderson Rd -> Harbourfront -> Kampung Bahru -> Mount Faber hill -> Morse Rd -> Harbourfront -> Telok Blangah Rise -> Clubhouse -> [Repeat x3] Distance: 30 km) came out early in the week, I was quite apprehensive about going up MF from the Kampong Bahru side 3 times...I have not done that before, and this route having to lap Harbourfront 6 times really's gonna take a mental toll on me...haha. I actually planned to do 2 loops and then probably run a little extra on a easier path.

And happened again...Urghh...I overslept. I actually set my alarm for 6am. Midway through the night, I woke up to do something on the comp, and when I went back to sleep, I forgot to re-activate the alarm. I awoke abruptly at 7.30am, and by the time I realised it, DO had already gone for his own run....sorry DO...I sent a message to ask if DO wants to go down despite us being late. When I got no reply, I decided to 'chiong' down without any breakfast...just a quick cup of kopi. Reached ClubHouse at 8.10am....did 5min of stretching, and away I went. I was still feeling sleepy as I jogged to awake my body, at the same time thinking I would run 2 loops, and then decide.

I reached Harbourfront and spotted the first signs of SAFRA was Eng Hwa. I ran up, and explained I was late. I would try to catch up a bit, and if I can make it before the last runner, I would do the 3rd lap. Further up, I saw Adam, and I told him the same story. As I approached Kg Bahru, I spotted HK Bill and Derrick, who seemed to be limping? Derrick later confessed that he had a muscle pull, his first injury in a long time. I told Derrick to take it easy. Soon I reached Kampong Bahru, and my strategy for this morning was to run up this steep part slowly. When I reached the Jewel Box, I was feeling ok...not panting very hard. I ran up just fast enough to maintain the momentum. 1 down...2 to go. I carried up to the cafe at the top, and then descended on the gentler side...not wanting to risk any impact to knees, I took it easy on the downslopes. Continued at a steady pace, and reached back at ClubHouse in 55min for the first 10km loop. Spotted Jaime, TLH waiting.

I continued on the second loop feeling warmed up, and perspiring....good...have been feeling COLD and DRY these few rainy days :(. I sucked on 2 Sports Beans to give me a steady stream of nutrition. I took my Powergel (Double Latte) to prepare for the 2nd ascent. The new Powergel is a lot more liquid, easier to ingest, and tasted saltier because of the 4x salt content, good for repleshing lost salts. When I reached Harbourfront, I saw Colleen, who was on her way to the finish...wah, she looked really relaxed, aided by her iPod Shuffle. She mentioned that the Shuffle really helps her get through such mentally-challenging routes...hmm, I might want to try one of those...maybe ask for it for my Birthday....haha.

I went on to ascend MF the second time, and again, I took it easy. Along the way, a ang mo cyclist came from behind and shouted words of encouragement...I was a little shocked, but recovered to give him a friendly I understand what Ultraman said about not shouting at runners when they are concentrating...hehe. When I was near to the ClubHouse for the second loop finish, Bug overtook me, as he completed his 3rd and final loop in 2hr20+min? I finished the 2nd loop in 1hr50min, a steady 55min lap time.

I was still feeling good for the 3rd lap, as I tried to maintain pace. As I reached Harbourfront for the 5th time, I saw Julie. She mentioned that she had yet to do the final acent. I cheered her on, and asked her to maintain a steady pace. When I did the final ascent to MF, I was feeling the strain...good that it was the final one. I chugged along, not wanting to stop, although there were 2 people walking up *tempting me to just stop and walk*...haha. I reached the top, and calculated that it took me 10min from the bottom to reach the restaurant right at the top of MF. From there, it was recovery all the way back, and I continued to think about my posture and form.

I finished at the ClubHouse looking strong, in 2hr47min. Trainer Ong mentioned that my timing was not bad. I was just happy to run the whole 30km in a steady pace, without any threat of cramps. The last lap cost me 2min more, but I was content not to push it, and to reserve myself for race day. I had a good stretching down, and then makan at the Food Centre. When I was eating, the rains came...heng arhh! Looking back, I would attribute my feeling relatively strong to the cool weather and the steam-boat carbo-loading dinner I had last night. Somehow, steamboat dinners always gave me the 'power' for long runs the next day...hmmm!

Distance: 30km__Time: 2hr47min__Pace: 5:34min/km

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

NUS Hill Run

It was my first NUS Hill Run, held at the NUS Kent Ridge Guild House. This weekly wed run is co-organized by doraemon and tktan, and the run offered a finisher's membership card, signed and chopped with the avatars of both the organizers. I have heard quite a bit about the run, but only managed to find time to go down yesterday evening.

Gathering of The NUS Hill Runners

I was just on time, and after a bit of searching, managed to find xdd and DO, plus the rest of the gang. It was a record turnout I was told. Sotong, Ronnie, Fennel, Meng, cosmic were among those who were present. When we started at about 7.15pm, xdd immediately set a fast pace..I felt it was 5min/km and below. DO and Ronnie were hot on her heels. I was content to follow closely behind. We ran all along the winding South Buona Vista road, and then passing Haw Par Villa, and many nice restaurants and the famouse Duck Rice stall. After about 3km, we went up the steep slope of Vigilante Drive, one of the killer slopes that was the flavour of this NUS Hill Run. It was a challenging climb, and fortunately it was not too long. We waited at the car-park mid-way up for the rest, before setting off on a longish downslope, very good for recovery.

We finally reached Science Park, and took a quick water break there. It was fortunate we had that break, for when we ran out of Science Park towards Buona Vista Road, we chose the longer 12km route that had the very long series of upslopes along Prince George Park (PGP)....what xdd termed at the PGP slopes. Wow, that was indeed the highlight of the evening's run, as we went up slope after slope, and tktan was showing his slope prowess by powering ahead. I was just thinking when the series of slopes would end, and I held back some just in case. After what seemed like eternity, I saw tktan hit the top of the final slope and slow-jogged....wowee, we had finished the 'siong' final slope. Before we could take a quick breather, xdd had come up, and there we went again, running on. I figured we must have covered 10km by then, based on the effort I had put in.

The way back was long, and whenever I see some building in NUS, I thought we were near the end. Cosmic led the way after a while as we climbed some more slopes up. He led us to run around the NUS perimeter, and after a while, I thought we might be lost. However, with xdd closely behind and shouting directions to us, we were in good hands. I continued to chugged along, and felt pretty hungry and drained. We finally finished the run after what seemed like a very long while. I was surprised when xdd announced we took all of, it seemed a lot longer than that! The entire group came back within, that was fast timing for that 12km course.

Tai Pai Tong makan

We had nice 100plus (thanks to Meng) with ice, and then followed by presentation of goodie bags and membership card (Nus Hill Runners Club) to all who completed the, really motivating, glad I went down...hahaha. We joked a bit about having qualifying times of 1hr15min for the 12km route for membership. There were even talks of doing a finisher's T, and even a NUS Hill Runners Club! After a nice wash-up, we all shared a yummilicious 'Tai Pai Tong' meal of yummy Chinese dishes (which I will leave xdd to show and tell more). It was an enjoyable session for me....I look forward to doing more of the NUS Hill Run soon. This NUS Hill Route will certainly condition and prepare those who run it regularly for hilly races like the Pacesetters 30km run in 1.5weeks time.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Lactate Threshold Test

According to a description provided by DO, the anaerobic threshold (AT) is the exercise intensity at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood stream. This happens when it is produced faster than it can be removed (metabolized). This point is sometimes referred to as the lactate threshold, or the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA). When exercising below the AT intensity any lactate produced by the muscles is removed by the body without it building up.

The anaerobic threshold is a useful measure for deciding exercise intensity for training and racing in endurance sports (e.g. distance running, cycling, rowing, swimming and cross country skiing), and can be increased greatly with training.

More... here

Richy, a fast runner who does lots of interval training, has this to say: "Neuromuscular endurance relates to our mental capacity to stand muscle pain during tough workouts or races. Large amount of lactate acid is produced during heavy workouts (eg. races). Lactate acid in your blood causes pain & makes you feel tired. So think neuromuscular enduranceof it as "software", or one's will power - because a lot of it is mental.

More often than not, for most runners - the "hardware" (body) is already there, but the "software" (will) is lacking. Which is why you often hear of runners being able to run a 2.4km in 9mins++, but unable to run a Half Mara within 1hr45mins. It is easier to take pain over a short period of time, than it is over a long period.

Therefore the most common way of improving one's lactate threshold (ie. how much pain you can take), is to do interval training."

To help us establish a base Lactate Threshold, SAFRA MF conducted a Lactate Threshold test for all the runnersthis evening. It was my first time doing such a test, and this being a simple one, involved running 3.2km at the stadium track at a sustained 'oxygen-debt' speed. There were close to 30 of us, as we did a warm-up jog from ClubHouse to the Queenstown Track 4km away. I had on my Gel Forrester Tri, which was good for trackwork and short distances because of its lighter weight. Chatted with Ronnie most of the way, and enjoyed the nice warm-up.

After Trainer Ong gave a brief, the group of us were away to do 8 laps of the 400m track. I did not have my watch on, and was having difficulty targeting a 1hr40min lap. I took it easy for the first 4 laps, being careful not to get into my lactate threshold zone...haha, basically not wanting to struggle the last 4 laps. I maintained a short distance from DO, Ronnie and small Chua. I orginally wanted to pace Lai Chee, but she was taking bit easy from behind. Ong shouted 7min+ at the 5th lap...hmm, I was a bit behind my planned timing. I picked up speed a little, and closed the gap with small Chua. The weather was and windy just after the afternoon rainfall. I felt OK after the sixth lap, and was ready to move up to finish strong. I lapped a few of the runners, and near the end of the 7th lap, I passed DO and begun to chase after small Chua. Time shouted was 12min. Ronnie was further ahead. I opened up my strides for the last lap, and breathed steadily. Crossed the finish in 13min41sec feeling pretty good, and happy there were no more laps to go, unlike doing intervals.

Ran the 4km back to ClubHouse feeling quite strong, probably still had some reserves in me :). Chairman conducted a good round of stretching for was some time we had him doing stretching with us...I needed more stretching as my body has become 'tight' with all the running over the year. After a 8 week absence, I got to taste the yummilicious Red Rice Wine Chicken Mee Sua at the Henderson Food was GOOD!

Warm-Up/Cool-Down Jog: 8km
Lactate Threshold Run: 3.2km__Time: 13m41s__Pace: 4:17min/km

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

3 Hills Run

This was a training run specially concocted at SAFRA MF to prepare us for the upcoming 30km Pacesetters run in KL, known for its double-hill slopes on both sides of the highway. After much rain this week, it was clear skies this morning, as a group of 30+ of us gathered at MF ClubHouse. SAFRA Tampines was also at the MF ClubHouse, and they planned to do 16km.

Quite a number of SgRunners showed up...doraemon, cosmic, Brokie & Vincent.....and of course the SAFRA members of Fennel, Bee, sxuanjing, Bug, DO and myself were present too. The plan was for a 32km hill to hill run along the following route of advance -> Clubhouse -> Depot Rd -> Queenway -> Portsdown railway -> Science Park 1 -> Kent Ridge Park -> Kent Ridge hill (2.5 rds) -> Pasir Panjang -> Labrador hill -> Labrador Park (2 rds) -> Labrador hill -> Telok Blangah Way -> Harbourfront -> Kampung Bahru -> MF hill -> MF loop (2 rds) -> Morse Rd -> Harbourfront -> Telok Blangah Rise -> Clubhouse.

Trainer Ong was down with the flu, and so we had Trainer Wong lead the run. I enjoyed the first stretch up to Kent Ridge Park, running alongside with Fennel and KKChin. Did 2.5 loops of the Kent Ridge slopes, and went up to the first water point near the tank. Took about 45min to do what I estimated to be about 8km. We ran on to Bukit Chandu Reflections, and bumped into Sam, Eric Koa, and the Tampines gang. We wished one another a Happy New Year, and was looking forward to getting one of those Pearl Izumi running tights that Sam wore....he mentioned more colours available in about 2 months.

We ran the next leg down Bukit Chandu, Pasir Panjang Road and into Labrador Park. I was still feeling good with the higher leg-lift that I was consiously doing. It did make me breathe harder....hmm, maybe I was working harder too :). Did 2 loops of Labrador Park with Ronnie after going up the slope, and returned the reverse way up the slope. My legs were getting a tad tired on the return slope, as I saw Brokie and Vincent running in....they looked fresh and were taking it quite easy. I ran on out just following Ronnie from behind, and when I reached the junction, I went ahead towards Mt. Faber and Harbourfront for the final leg. I might have covered 1.5hrs of running by then.

The heat from the sun was beating down on me along the Harbourfront stretch, and that really weakened my resolve a little. I slowed down as I approached the steep ascent up MF Hill from the Kampong Bahru side. This will be the final hill of the 3-hills run. I chugged along steadily, and passed small chua alond the steeper portions of the upslope. I felt very tired on the final upslope, especially with the 'killer fumes' emitted by a bus that dragged itself past us. When I finally neared the top, I decided to walk and catch my breath. Ronnie and small chua overtook me at the top, as I experienced the onset of cramps at my, I must have worked them hard, and my conditioning recently wasn't that great for this kind of terrain. As I ran downslope, my calves threatened to seize up, as I could feel them palpitating and pulling. I slowed to a walk to give the legs some respite, and I decided to skip the additional MF loops. I was feeling very hungry by fuel tank was running low as I didn't refuel at all. I did a slow job all the way back to the ClubHouse, and I felt real exhausted. Finished the whole run in about 2.5hrs. Adam said that I put on weight, and my shoulders looked a little bulkier...haha... good problem to have for me. I had to agree with him as these few weeks really had me infusing sinful amounts of holiday goodies....more to come :).

Doraemon's goodies from Hokkaido tasted yummilicious and had a special flavour to them. Fennel's ITB was still giving her some problems, and she was advised to take it easy and wear a Patt Strap for Pacesetters. I took my time to stretch, sampled the goodies, while waiting for the rest to be back. It was great catching up with the SAFRA and SgRunners ganag after the holidays, and there were lots of stories and food to sample. Colleen even had very nice pineapple tarts for us to try. We occupied about 4 tables at the food centre. I had a good reload of Yong Tau Foo with loads of chilli, as we went through Brokie's scenic photos of their recent Angkor Wat run trip. I am hoping to do the Angkor Wat run, plus a 'Tomb Raiders' style tour in December 2007, best with the experienced group that went in 2006...yeah!

Distance: 29km__Time: 2hr40min__Pace: 5:31min/km

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Random thoughts in 2007

Begun the New Year with lots of rain, and everything going pretty well...rather uneventful if I want to add :). I managed to squeeze in two very short evening runs (about 10km each) this legs seemed much better with all the rest. Lots of food during this period, which I hope will not make me too lethargic for the upcoming PaceSetters 30km in KL. I haven't really been preparing for it, just doing runs as part of my 'healthy lifestyle' regime.

Have been getting a little more busy with work and family, and my house does need a good white-wash ala Tom Sawyer style...hehe. Will be looking forward to HK Marathon in March, and AngKor Wat 21km at the end of the year. Not sure if I might go do Penang mid of the year...I hope to do either one of the following...Malacca, Ipoh or even Langkawi if they are available, and fit my schedule.

For 2007, I hope to generally maintain my weekly mileage of 50km, and do more fun runs...possibly getting invoved with new run groups as they are formed. I like meeting new runners and watch them progress along from doing 5km, 10km, 21km, marathons and Ultra-Marathons. I enjoy running with them to show them new and interesting routes, as well as hear their running trials and and have fun together, thats what I like so much about running long distances :).

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