Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vesak Day Run @ ECP

Woke up super early, at 4.30am, to join the AniMILES for a 20km run. Managed to get even a few SgRunners like Brokie, Vincent, Cosmic, Swoop and DO to stir from the comforts of their nests to make it for this holiday run. When I arrived at the B1 car-park, SC5 and Spiffy were already there. Spiffy just did a bike round, and she must have been out much earlier...gosh! notme/yew looked very alert, and lieu was raring to go.

We started off together, with Vivian leading the AniMILES on a fast start. The few of us trotted off on a warm-up jog. The morning air was still, adding to the high humidity....and I didn't feel at all comfortable with the pace. We chatted about lotsa stuff, and after about 5km, we wwnt quiet as most of us were just getting into the 'zone'. We had to take a water stop at the Sailing Centre, before moving on all the way to NSRCC u-turn point. Saw Lieu and Vivian turn back a while ago for their planned 18km dash.

We reached the flower-pots at NSRCC in about 58min, estimated to be 10km. On the return, our mini group got dispersed, as each of us settled into our own pace. The sky was getting brighter, and I could feel my body heating up. Even though I was not running a fast pace, I felt myself working pretty hard...well, good workout anyway. Cosmic was running with me all the way back to B1, total elapsed time 1:52min. The road back was real 'mental' as it was long and winding....'The Long & Winding Road...That Leads....To My Shore...'...haha...sure was glad when I finished.

I took a long while to cool down. and had to walk about to get some wind in my face...phew! Was most glad to get the run in, and thanked SC5 for making the arrangements. Our mini group got washed up in the nice facilities at B1 toilets, and proceeded on to Marine Parade Food Centre for delicious tim sum....century egg porridge, with chee cheong fun, 'phoenix claws', 'har kao', and such. Got a sms from Divey who was doing her 20km ninja run at ECP in prep for, this heat will be good conditioning for her.

Distance: 20km__Time: 1hr52min__Pace: 5:36min/km


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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The MF UltraMarathon Challenge

This was the first time MF Running Club has organized a UltraMarathon, and we have been getting many runners to train and run in the individual open and team events. The race was to run from 7am through 2pm, with runners completing as many laps of the 10km MF route as possible. In tie situations, actual run timings would be tabulated and counted for.

I was looking to participate in this MF Challenge with a minimum of 3 laps, which would be a good weekend workout for me. The weather forecast for today was late morning and afternoon showers. Many SgRunners have signed up with SAFRA Running Club just for this race...Brokie, SealBoon, Cosmic, Gentle, and more. When we arrived at the clubhouse at 6.30am, a large crowd had gathered by the registration tables, all neatly set-up and manned by many sweet ladies. Ultraman showed up to pace Ripley and Kayano.

The race started promptly at 7am with the sound of the horn by Ong. I took a leisurely pace, and was aiming to do the first 3 laps below 1hr for each lap. With the full dinner I had last evening, I could not wait to offload some of those carbo...:). We ran along Henderson Road, turn towards Harbourfront, and then ascend Mt. Faber by the steeper Kampng Bahru side. As I did not want to tire myself out too early, I walked the steep part of the slope, following quite a number of the runners. The official photographer was busy snapping our photos, and since we were all fresh, nice poses were displayed by all.

Once up to the Jewel Box, we would have the main support table, and we were supposed to collect the first wrist-band. On the way down to MF loop, I collected the second wrist-band from TLH. Out from Morse Road, we would once again run along Harbourfront and then towards Kampng Bahru. This part is pretty mental as there is very little shade, and the concrete pavement stresses the legs. In addition, we would have to pass this portion twice for each 10km lap....yucks! I collected the 3rd and final wrist-band along Telok Blangah Rise, and finished the lap in 57min...ok, I was still fresh. Took some bananas and 100plus, and off I went for the second lap.

I went through the second lap in pretty cool wether taking also 57min. I was running most of the time alone, with one or two familiar faces in front. Took a powergel, more 100plus, and went off for the 3rd lap. Cosmic followed close behind me for the first 2 laps. The 3rd lap had the sun shining brightly, and it took its toll on many of the runners. I continued to maintain my pace, and finished in about 58min. With the 3 laps done under 3hr, I had 4hr to do another 3 laps. I was contemplating to do a 6th lap if the weather was kind. However, the 4th lap was a killer, with the sun burning my skin. I was feeling the strain as I moved up Kampong Bahru. I drank lots of isotonic drinks to keep myself hydrated.

After finishing the 4th lap in about 1hr10min, I decided to take a long break of 30min before going for the 5th. I changed into clean socks and shoes, but my feet still felt quite sore. Eric who was pacing me for the 2nd part of the 4th set decided to end the run, as he did not like the HOT weather. After chatting with many of the running kakis, I moved off for my 5th lap. My legs was starting to feel like lead, and with the mid-day sun blazing down, I decided to finish with 5 least that would be classed as a UltraMarathon (50km) for me.

Running by Harbourfront and towards Kampong Bahru was unbearable. I had to take lots of walk breaks up the slopes of Kampong Bahru, and my body was heating up. Nearthe Jewel Box, Shirlyn had moved forward to meet us...I was walking, and could not find energy to even jog. The second time along Harbourfront was terrible, and I had to stop to walk even on relatively flat surfaces. Colleen came by and egged me on. I picked up and followed her closely all the way to Ronnie/Thomas' water point. It was great relief, as I declared that I had 2km more to the finish. With words of encouragement from all, I slow jogged alll the way, collecting my final wrist-band to finish at the ClubHouse to rousing applause. Jaime mentioned that I was in the running for 5th position for Men's Open, which was good news for me :).

The women's race was very competitive; Lai Chee was doing her 6th lap; Sok Hwa, Helen, Jancy and PS were alogging it out in the 5th lap. For the men's open, Teck Hou, Melvin, Jimmy Chow did 6 laps, while Bug decided to stop at 5, getting 4th position. The top 2 teams did 7 laps, and Colleen/DO combination really sparked the competition in the end. With the final horn blown at 2pm sharp, the prize giving ceremony got underway. Lai Chee topped the women's cat. Brokie did a very respectable 4th position; I was impressed with her 50km distance, as she had not done much running recently. DO and Colleen did very well to clinch 2nd pos for the team competition, with medals, vouchers and cash prizes. Teck Hou took the top prize for men's open. Bug was 4th with 5-lap easy run. I was very fortunate to get 5th position, and was rewarded with a medal, $100 Pearl Izumi Voucher, a bag and water bottle. I was happy, as this was the fist time I have won anything at all in a running competition...haha. A well-organized race, with all enjoying it, including the marshalls and helpers. I guess there will be more participation and intense competition for MF Challenge 2008...cya all then!


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Friday, May 25, 2007

Variations & Tempos

Ahead of the MF Challenge this Sunday, I took it easy and did a series of short, tempo runs this week. Did the 10km circuit (48min) at my home on Monday evening; then went down to SAFRA MF on Tuesday for the 10km MF Challenge loop, which I finished in 51min. Running up Kampong Bahru side was challenging even for 1 loop....cannot imagine going for at least 3 loops this Sunday; will have to employ some tactics to last the journey :).

Went down to Running Lab on Thursday evening to join in their run. It had been some time since I last visited the bunch; I recalled being there with Bev the last time, and we bought socks with special pricing. Collected the PaceSetters 30km cert from was nice, but my name was misspelt in the middle...well, I guess we cannot have them all....haha. Tried out the Pearl Izumi Shine for size; seemed like I need to take size 10 (1 size larger than normal)...hmm, I guessed my feet had grown (or arches have collapsed?) since I started running with size 9 shoes.. On first wear, I found the forefoot a little firm...may want to try the 'Nimbus' equivalent the next time.

Quite a large turnout...great to see the RL runners like tekko, his mrs, Michelle minus the VRP gals, cfred, fennel, SV, IMD and of course, Eddie. Eddie has improved so much in his running since I first knew him a year ago, and I heard his recent timing at the Duathlon for the first 10km was 42min....*kow tou*.... We had a fast tempo run, and I was working very hard and panting all the way, finishing in 52min...I think it might have been more than 10km. Good run once again, and with that, I now rest for this Sunday's challenge.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Seletar Reservoir & Sports Massage

I had to get my weekend run in before my sports 'maintenance' massage in the later part of Sat morning. I woke up at 4:30am to join the aniMILES for their 5am 24km run. It was quite a rush as I downed a piece of marble cake, and a banana, before dashing off to Lower Pierce Reservoir. I reached at 5am, and saw Desmond, Shin Hui, Anna, notme, and many other aniMILES...then met up with RealRunner, fennel and later chankw.

Vivian Tang ushered the start at 5:10am, and after the dust settled, it was just RR, fennel, chan and myself watching the backs of the aniMILES runners, fading into the darkness of the early morning. The air was cool, but humid. RR and I ran and chatted for most of the way along OUTR, and once along UTR, I tailed RR from about 50m. When he turned into Seletar Reservoir, I followed....I was a little concerned I would bump into the pack of dogs in that area. Fortunately, they were subdued and resting by the side this morning. RR waited for the toilet at the Reservoir Tower, while I proceeded on towards Mandai Crematorium. We had been running an average pace of about 5:30min/km.

Once out onto Mandai Road (covered about 9.5km), spotted some of the aniMILES running a shorter route coming back. I proceeded on to pass the reservoirs on the left, and by the 11km mark, Vivian, Desmond, Anna, notme and the rest were storming back. I was feeling thirsty and tired, and decided to just turn back at the entrance of the zoo (instead of going all the way in as earlier planned). I reached the U-turn point in 1hr4min, and after the turn back, saw RR, either he was fast or I was slow....he caught up by quite a lot. On the return journey back, I kept to a constant, albeit slower pace than normal. I was telling myself not to push too hard ahead of the massage session.

I felt so thirsty this morning...I had to stop for a drink of water at the Executive Golf Course spite having brought my fuel belt along. After the drink, I felt much better, and finished the remaining journey along UTR and OUTR back to LPR. SC5 and a few others who did 8km was just going to wash up. I had a good chat with Desmond, and later fennel, RR and chankw joined in. I was real sweaty this morning, with my left eye getting red from the perspiration. I went back to wash-up and proceeded for the sports, much of me were loosened....nice. Things were real tight at certain parts, especially the shoulder area...I was glad to get the massage done, and I can now look forward to a much 'loosened' me at next Sunday's MF Challenge :)

Distance: 25km__Time: 2hr10min__Pace: 5:12min/km

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Pearl Izumi Running Shoes...

About 25 people turned up for the Queenstown track interval training. I was planning to do a reasonable workout, without pushing too hard. The weather was good, after the early afternoon showers. Sam from SAFRA Tampines was there for a few runners to try Pearl Izumi shoes. They looked nice, wears well, and pricing (at the discount given) sounded attractive. There were equivalent models that suit ASICS wearers of DS Trainer, Cumulus and Nimbus.

Did a 4km warm up run to the Queenstown Stadium. After a quick brief by trainer Ong, off we went for our first lap of 1.6km. I took my time to get warmed up, and finished the lap in my slowest time of 7:11min. Those who tried the Pearl Izumi shoes gave good feedback of the cushioning, especially the ample forefoot cushion...I must really try them out. With 3min rest in between, I completed the remaining 5sets of 800m averaging 3:10min...again, not fast at all....but I was glad I felt strong throughout, and made sure I have reserves to finish all 5 sets. Ran 4km back to ClubHouse, did our own cool down, and went to ABC for the famous fried hokkien mee.

ClubHouse - QST (4km) : 23min
Lap 1 (1.6km) : 7min11sec
Lap 2 (800m) : 3min19sec
Lap 3 (800m) : 3min13sec
Lap 4 (800m) : 3min08sec
Lap 5 (800m) : 3min03sec
Lap 6 (800m) : 3min09sec
QST - ClubHouse (4km) : 23min


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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ninja 'PT' along Rifle Range?

Met with DO and Bug this morning to do a trail run from MR to Bukit Timah Visitor Centre. It has been some time I did this route, and I needed to get my weekend run done today before i go for my sports massage. Because of the Schools' X-Country season, many students were seen gathering with their coaches for training and time trials in the MacRitchie trails.

After waiting for a bit to see if anyone else would come, the 3 of us started off at 7.15am. The pace was nice, and by the time we exited Northern Route, Bug was way in front, and I was just behind DO. The sun was in full blaze this morning (despite the forecast for pre-dawn showers) as I ran up chunky hill, and then onto Rifle Range trails. Having not run this area for a few months, I almost tripped and twisted my ankles quite a few times. The trails though not that soggy, were pretty rocky and undulating.

Was glad to come to Rifle Range Road, and took in the slopes quite well. DO and I reached the Bukit Timah Visitor Centre, and saw Bug on his return. There were lots of folks and families out in the nature reserves trekking, jogging and just gathering around. We took a quick break, and headed back along the Kampong Trail and onto Rifle Range Road again. Met a SgRunners couple doing Ninja 'PT'....heard the gal telling me PT meant Pak Tor....hehe....well...

The sun was out in full force as DO and I took the Rifle Range trails and slopes in our strides...steady but surely, we negotiated the many slopes enjoying the workout. Back along Northern Route, there were lots of Raffles and MGS students 'chionging' up and down the narrow passages, 'clapping' their hands to signal their presence...I watched in awe of their lean legs with high lifts, running like small deer...Soon, I reached the canoe area, and bumped into Taz, who might have finished his training earlier. Met PS and Alvin, Fahmy and many more familiar faces back at the MR toilets. It was a nice run for me, and with the satisfied workout, we proceeded to reward ourselves with famous Adam Road prawn noodles and chin chow drink...The sun continued to blaze into the afternoon...

Distance: 22km XC__Time: 2hr2min__Pace: 5:33min/km

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Humid Evening @ Kent Ridge Park

Nope...not what you are thinking....just went for a easy run with the MF gang to Kent Ridge Park last evening. It has been some time since I last ran this route in the evening. It was nice running though the railway track, into Science Park, and I did 2.5 laps of the Kent Ridge slopes... Bug, DO and I were taking it real easy, to help Bug run slow enough to get into his 'fat burning' was really tough on poor Bug to run that slow.

Gathered at the tank area on top of Kent Ridge, and discussed about the Ipoh Marathon on July 1. Alan Chao has pulled out from the convoy, and we would have to make plans to re-arrange the people going up...I will be driving up and tagging along the experienced Adam, senior Chua....we will have good makan in Ipoh, and then moving up to Cameron Highlands (farm visit and makan) after the run on Sunday....looking forward to this trip :)

Completed the 14km run in easy pace, but sweating profusely. Did good stretching led by Julie, who incidentally will be making hotel arrangements for Ipoh. The MF Challenge has gotten fresh responses, and more people will be taking part. We went for favourite Red Rice Wine chicken and ice-cold Cheng Tng to top up the tanks. Will go for run at MR this Saturday, and then for a good sports massage to loosen all the tightness accumulated for the past 2 months.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hills & Stairs

It was a nice but rather humid evening, made more so by the afternoon rains that went away by 5pm. A large group of us had gathered, joined by a few more new members, all ready to tackle the weekly hill intervals + staircase training at SAFRA MF.

I always take these hill repeats as a 'fat-burning' exercise, rather than as part of training for a specific run.....inadvertently my endurance and conditioning have improved because of the hard workouts. We did a warm up run along Henderson Road and then went up Morse Road. Chatted with lcpsimon about the upcoming MF Challenge, the recent adiRUNs... good to have more running kakis join the MF family.

As usual, I started up the MF loop cautiously, not wanting to expend myself too early. Did the first loop in about 8:30min. Did the next 3 loops at around 8:15min, and took a quick drink on top of the 4th loop. The night was warm, and I perspired profusely. After the 5th loop, we exited to the staircase by the side of the hill, and proceeded to do 3 sets of stairs climb. The faster ones were jogging up the stairs...but me, I was just taking 'baby' steps, walking up and down, with pauses in between sets to take a breather. Such stairs exercises are good for building up cardiac strength, in addition to strengthening the quads and calves. By the third set, I could feel my calves trembling...not with excitement of course...haha.

Did a slow job back to the ClubHouse, and my claves almost got cramped up....showed that it was a hard workout for me....I was satisfied. Handed in my MF Challenge (May 27) forms to Peter, and passed Hoho his Mizuno T-Shirt. Received my 'chio' SAFRA Running Club singlet...courtesy of Saucony...nice. Went to ABC for makan, and was disappointed that the famous fried hokkien mee was closed....had $4 'boat' porridge which came with very little ingredients....not good value at all...should have gone for 'Hong Zhao Chi' mee sua instead....haha

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

MR25 Progressive Run 2007

The MR25 Progressive Runs this year will take the form of a series, with runners doing at least 4 events, and scoring points to get freebies and prizes to the top 5 runners. Quite an interesting format, and should be good for regular runners who participate in the MR25 progressive runs, Marathon and Ultra-Marathon.

I got down to MR at 6.45am for my first progressive run (20km) of the year. It had been some time since I ran at MacRitchie, and this morning promised to be one of fine weather and dry grounds. Met many familiar faces at MR, a number of SgRunners doing this run for the first time…Brokie, Vincent, SealBoon, Kayano, half-timer, kellylim….and then the regulars like Ultraman, DO, TLR, Alvo, Meteor, Gentle, Bug, myself….along with friends from MR25. Goola and Sok Hwa were spotted doing their ninja run to Bukit Timah….such dedication lah…

MR25 Vincent gave a brief of the new route (because of the landslide near the Ranger Station, we would skip that path back; instead doing twice air-cond road, and finishing by the Northern Route), and started us off at 7am sharp. I took it leisurely for a start, with the rest of the speedsters having zoomed by. I was a little surprised to see some of the faster runners along with me…hmm, good….it seemed that at least some wanted to do a steady-paced run. I exited Northern Route in 20min…ok, quite normal. Went on up chunky hill, and was trading places with 2 young chaps (looked like schoolboys to me)….they was fast on the downslopes, but was a little weak on the upslopes.

Went into air-cond road, and saw the front-runners, Eric Wu, etc zooming out…as I neared the pump-house, saw Bug, TLR, Ultra all running strongly. Knowing there were many slopes ahead, I conserved my energy by maintaining about a 5:15min/km pace. Turned around at the pump house, and saw DO, SealBoon, and soon Brokie and hubby Vincent running in as a team…nice. Out onto UPR road, I was overtaken by the young runners…they were strong on such stretches…, I ran along the longer left side to follow them. Reached the main gate to OUTR at 50min….took 2 cups of drink, and paused for a breather. JJ came along with her running partner, and for me, it was all the way back up 2 slopes and into air-cond road for a second time. On the way out, JJ overtook me, and I decided to just trail her from a distance.

Compared with last year, I felt better this time round…maybe I was not pushing too hard, and was just enjoying the pace. As we approached the bridge back to MR from UPR, the sun was up and shining brightly. There were not much shade…but I didn’t let it get to me. I maintained a steady pace and overtook a few runners. All the way back along chunky hill, the slopes got tougher and energy reserves were running low. Took a drink of 100plus at the final water point, and I was ready to finish off the remaining 4km of Northern Route. Knowing that there were quite a few slopes near the end of the Northern Route, I conserved and steadied myself to finish in 1hr45min…felt good after the run, and was not too drained.

We gathered and cheered for the rest coming back, while having sips of Brokie’s barley and 100plus in between. Bug and TLR did very well, and the few Golden Boys did respectably good. Brokie, Gentle and Vincent came back together below 2hr…well done. SealBoon, half-timer and kellylim all completed their first progressive run in style. While my timing was not that great, and was slightly off last year’s, I did enjoy this run more…maybe because I took it quite easy, and was not even having any slight ache at all. The gang went to Adam Road for famous prawn noodle and nasi lemak. Ron Sim of Osim fame (who was there with his family for makan) triggered a conversation amongst ourselves of the nice pampering products like iSqueeze, uZap, uPapa…haha…life does not get better than that yah? Hmm…

Distance: 20km XC__Time: 1hr45min__Pace: 5:15min/km


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day Run @ Ponggol

As I was about to step out the door at 6.10am, the rains came....Oops. Immediately informed the rest, and waited till 7.30am when I changed into my T-Shirt and put on a cap, and ran to meet up with DO at Lor Ah Soo junction. Together we ran for another km to pick up Kayano, and the merry 3 ran in a very light drizzle along the Canal off Tampines Road, and then out onto Ponggol Park to meet the rest of the HSP gang.

Doraemon, tktan, RealRunner, teelee, Brokie, sealboon and taz were already waiting and warmed up. The HSP 10 started off on our interesting journey through wooded parts of the canal towards Ponggol Jetty. The rain had stopped by 8am, and we ran and chatted merrily along Sengkang East Rd, recalling the 168km waiting point where we picked up the respective ultra-men whom we were supposed to escort. I remembered Ultra, Alvo, Karen and myself picked up Lim Nghee Huat from that point last year, and Lim went on to become champion NTU 168km-er for that race.

We could see Edgefield Plains on the left as we moved closer to Ponggol end. We stopped occasionally for some nice panoramic photos (courtesy of taz's good photography skills). Finally ran along the road towards Ponggol Jetty. Some of us recalled with fond memories the holiday chalets along Seventeenth Ave we used to camp in, the seafood and famous Ponggol Mee Goreng at the end of the road. We spent some time at the Jetty soaking in the sights, took nice photos, and ventured off-road towards the Marina.

The bits of trail were pleasantly smooth. We ran along the coast, and could see a few cars and vans parked by the side, with a number of people doing leisure fishing. We had a nice break by the Marina, and took photos with the many boats berthed. Nice kopi-si, juices, drinks and half-boiled eggs soon got our energy levels up. With 'egg' and 'wings' in their tank, Kayano and Brokie took the lead out of the Marina, and all of us followed the strong pace. We ran along the unused Ponggol LRT, and took a short cut by running below the LRT line. Although we were getting tired, and the sun was coming out, we were having fun and enjoying the rather scenic route.

We went back by the busier side of the Sengkang Road, and because of the sun and many traffic junctions, it wore our legs down. The thought of ice-cold Soya Bean waiting for us at Ponggol Park kept our spirits high, and minds strong...hehe. Taz departed midway as we neared his home. The 9 of us braved on, with the 2 ladies leading the pack strongly. After what seemed like eternity, we finally made it to Ponggol Park, after being on the road for 3.5hrs. We were elated when we saw Kayano's bro-in-law waiting for us, with all the ice-cold soya bean was heavenly. Brokie took out her still-cold cut apple slices, and that really revived my energy level.

After a short rest, I continued towards home, while the rest washed up and headed to Kovan Food Centre. I ran for about 3km, and decided to walk the remaining 1.5km home to cool down. I felt like I ran a lot, maybe because of the 4hr+ I was on my feet. Sensing that I would be quite late, I decided not to join the rest of the gang for their laksa and fish-ball noodles. It was an enjoyable run for me through new places, and we were very lucky to have had the bout of good weather...I was glad we waited for that 1hr....and all the while, we encouraged one another by the maxim 'there are no bad weather, only weak minds...'...hmm, somehow that sounds so familiar....haha

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