Friday, June 29, 2007

Ipoh here I come...

Ipoh Town Centre

I will be setting off for my maiden trip to Ipoh, Malaysia tomorrow, driving up with with SAFRA MF gang...12 of us in all. Looking forward to the nice journey, idyllic setting, good local food like the 'Towgay Chicken', 'Ipoh Kway Teow'....also will relax and stay over at Strawberry Park in Cameron Highlands....another first for me... I am like a 'mountain tortoise' when it comes to visiting interesting places in Malaysia....running has allowed me to explore more of Malaysia these 2 years....I am all packed and ready to go....and oh yes, the Ipoh International Run on Sunday is just the reason for this trip, not the highlight :)

This has been an easy week for running. Did a 10km MF loop at tempo pace on Tuesday, finishing in 49min, in humid weather. Bev joined in for the Thursday run, which took us along the Clarke Quay and Esplanade area...lots of people strolling around the brightly-lit surroundings. Leh-lio joined us for both days of running, and she is really serious about the upcoming AHM...good. More runners will be appearing at MF as we kickstart the 2month training program for AHM, with 2 additional trainers Ricci and Jimmy Chow.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Flyer Handicap

A SAFRA MF runner pointed me to this interesting article - Flyer Handicap - , which I thought was very insightful and useful. It computes our run time assuming we are 25 yrs old and weigh 110lbs (women)/ 143lbs (men). You can then compare your timings vs someone who is of a different age & weight than yours....TRY IT!

What is the Flyer Handicap?
The Flyer Handicap is your 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon or Marathon race time adjusted by age and body weight. This adjusted run time is a precise computation of what your equivalent time would be if you were younger and lighter, specifically 25 years old and 110 lbs for women and 143 lbs for men. Your resulting score can then be compared to that of any other adult runner of different age. If you are younger or lighter than these figures, then for the purposes of computing your adjusted time, the baseline figures are entered for your age and/or body weight. Dr. Paul M. Vanderburgh and Dr. Lloyd L. Laubach developed it at the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Final weekend run before Ipoh

My new Pearl Izumi FLOAT2

Just a small group today at SAFRA MF, most of us preparing for upcoming runs on July 3...Gold Coast Marathon, Ipoh Half Marathon, MR25 25km Progressive Run. It was a hot and mental run which took us along Portsdown Road, Dover Road, the Canal... Since it was to be about 18km, I attempted to run a tempo pace and see how far I could keep at it.

By the time I finished the canal stretch (about 13km mark), my body felt heated up...I had to stop for a drink at Buona Vista MRT's toilet, and took some time to cool down. The remaining 5km along Commonwealth, Alexandra Road and back Depot Road was really mental. I could feel the tiredness in my legs, which apparently was affected in part by Thursday's hard trackout workout. I persevered till the end, in spite of the heat, and was glad to hit the ClubHouse in about 1hr30min. Saw Bug stretching down, and he too felt aches in his legs from Thurday's trackwork. The rest of the runners came back soon.

After a good rest, Bug, DO and I had a nice coffee and breakfast at Ah Kun, before proceeding to Uncle Chan's shop at Queensway Shopping Centre. I got my Pearl Izumi FLOAT2 (a cushioned shoe quite similar to ASICS Nimbus) using the running voucher which I won at the recent MF Challenge, to get about 50% discount. The shoes certainly look good, and I cannot wait to take it out for its maiden run.

Distance: 18km__Time: 1hr35min__Pace: 5:17min/km


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Friday, June 22, 2007

1.5 weeks to Ipoh

Its just 1.5weeks for my trip to Ipon to do the Half Marathon. It will be my first trip to Ipoh, and plans are for a nice relaxing time with lots of good food, and lazing at Cameron Highlands after the race. Training runs at SAFRA MF continue at lesser intensity as a number prepare for Gold Coast Marathon, Ipoh Half Marathon and MR25 Progressive Run, all on July 3.

Bev joined us for a 12km run into Labrador Park on Tuesday. It had been some time since the SAFRA gang went into the nice route. Many of the new runners were impressed with the nice place... spotted some people running loops around the larger confines, carrying haversacks... reminded me of Climbathon training (minus the haversacks) last year... not sure if they belong to this year's cohort (understand there are many ghurkas in the team now). Bev ran a good, steady pace throughout, and some people were impressed with her pace in spite of being a newbie in choice, she has to ramp up for AHM in 2months lah.

Thursday's evenings track intervals at Queenstown saw about half of Tuesday's crowd. On the way to Queenstown Stadium, spotted Ultraman zipping by....managed to shout, and he acknowledged while continuing his QL4 pace...hehe. I did a slow 7:03min for the first 1.6km lap as a warm-up. Tried to maintain a sustainable pace for the next 5 laps of 800m, and completed in 3:12, 3:10, 3:08, 3:11, 3:06. Was pretty happy with the hard workout, but my calves were so 'sng' and tired that they almost gave way on the 4km recovery run back to clubhouse. Somebody asked if I run almost everyday....nope, I need recovery days in between, and I run an average of 3-4 times a week, with 2-3 tempo runs, and 1-2 recovery runs in between.... there will be the odd 5-day run in a week, but thats because the runs were shorter in distances, and I slot in an additional run...I want to remain a easy and carefree runner :)

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rain, Rain Is My Bane...

The few of us were assembled at SAFRA MF, waiting for the rain to abate before we could do our 20km run. When the rain did not show any sign of stopping, we set off at 8am, under a light drizzle. It has been some time since I ran in the rain, and the last few Sundays were so sunny and hot....what a contrast!

I did the first lap in 55min, after much treading through water puddles and trodding up the slopes at Kampong Bahru side. As usual, running past the Harbourfront stretch was mental, and the final portion had runalone and Trevor leading the way back to the clubhouse. There was a group of runners decked in black/orange, running in a group...bumped into them 3 times when they were running in the opposite direction. Other then that, very few 'xiao' people like me lah...haha.

The second lap had me following Trevor from 25m all the was really good to have someone to focus on, as the stretch of road was really 'boring' after some laps round it. We ran a lot more on the roadside to avoid the water puddles on the curbs. The second time up the Kampong Bahru slope was tough...I just chugged slowly up, and was glad to complete without stopping to walk. Trevor slowed a little towards the end, but when I felt me moving up, he perked up and picked up pace again...both of us kept each other moving on, and I was able to reverse-split the 2nd lap in complete the entire 20km in 1hr48min.

Teck Hou had earlier finished, and ran back to pace Julie. Trainer Ong went for his 3rd lap...impressive. Fennel, KK, PS and Alber did very well to finish strongly. Of course runalone was already resting. Bug was seen in Ya Kun Kopitiam enjoying his cuppa, while waiting to go to the gym. I was happy to have gotten my weekend run in...really needed to burn off those excesses at last night's Father's Day dinner...and as I was washing up, had 2 more calls arranging for dinner on Wed and Friday evening...wah, more lah?

Distance: 20km__Time: 1hr48min__Pace: 5:24min/km

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Telok Blangah Hill Reps

Bev joined me at SAFRA MF on Tuesday for a 14km run along the Depot Rd/Commonwealth/ Alexandra stretch. She signed up for Running Club membership and got her free SAFRA-Saucony running top. Quite a large turnout, with lots more lady runners. The route was pretty 'mental', and it was good that Bev had a bottle of water. She did well to complete the the 14km in 1hr29min, and was glad she had water with her in the rather warm and humid evening.

Joined a smaller SAFRA MF group on Thurs evening for hill intervals at Telok Blangah Hill. It has been eons since I went for one of these 'hard' hill intervals, especially running back at fast speeds down the slopes of the 1km loop. We did a 20min run to the carpark of Telok Blangah Hill, and started off the 1st 2 loops of the 6-lap intervals (with rest of about 5min in between) as warm-up. Trevor was close to me in most of the laps, and the runs got harder with each lap. Trainer Ong asked for a constant 5min/km lap for all the runners.

I completed the first 2 laps in 4:08min and 4:01min. My legs were still feeling a littl tired after the sunday's x-country marathon, and I was happy to just maintain that kind of pace. I did the next 2 laps in 4:09min and 4:15min. I was perspiring profusely by then, and my heart was working hard. My legs were still ok, and I didn't feel any quick lactate buildup as I started off slowly. I completed the 5th lap in 4:08min, and the final lap had me racing with Wong and Derrick to the finish for a 4min flat lap for me. Enjoyed the whole workout thoroughly, although I don't seem to be burning off much these days....probably due to the increased intake of 'junk' food...haha....need to work harder in that aspect of my health :)

4km run-to - 20min
Lap 1 - 4:08min
Lap 2 - 4:01min
Lap 3 - 4:09min
Lap 4 - 4:15min
Lap 5 - 4:08min
Lap 6 - 4:00min

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

MR25 X-Country Marathon

I have done many MR25 progressive runs and time-trials, but just could not find time to do their annual X-Country Marathon. This will be my first trail marathon, and I was looking forward to just complete this grueling race within the 5-hr time limit.

There was a sizeable turnout at MacRitchie, and there were many young school runners going for the team event as well. SgRunners and SAFRA Runners were well represented for this race too. TLR, Ultraman, Brokie, RealRunner and mrs., Bug, Teck Hou, Trevor Chua, KK Chin, Ronnie, Bill were just some of the familiar people we know. Lai Chee and Sok Hwa were there to defend their ladies titles, so was Tobias Franz. Spotted Dr. Ben Tan, Lim Lian Hock, Eric Wu, Wei Bin, and many of the regular MR25 runners.

It looked to be a HOT day as we started promptly at 7am, after a brief of the new route by Stephen Lee. Because of the OB areas at Ranger station, the route this time will take us through 4 laps of 10.5km, going via slopey Northern Route, turning into the trail after the pumphouse, making a loop out back to the Northern Route, and after passing the start point, proceed for another 1km loop to Lornie Road and back. My plan was to do 2 1hr laps, then a 1:10 lap, and finish off with a 1:20lap, trying to hit a target 4:30hr I secretly set for myself.

I was way back for most of the 1st lap, taking it easy, and finished in 58min. TLR, Bug and Teck Hou were the speed monsters for the men's open. The team event had a lot of the MR25 elite runners taking part, and they were just zooming away. The sun was already out in full force after the 1st lap. I had my fuel belt on with 3 powergel packs mixed to give me the energy I would require after 2 laps. I finished the 2nd lap in about 59min...hmm, ok, that left me with 2:30hr to finish the remaining 2 laps. I took very short water breaks, and went for for the 3rd lap without stopping for too long. The blazing sun was having its effects on me, and the run through the trails, though full of ups/downs was a welcome break from the sun's heat.

There were a number of younger trekkers and joggers in the trails this morning, and as I ran towards the pump house along the Northern Route, Tobias, TLR and many of the fast ones were already running back. I just maintained my pace and tried not to walk, even though going up the slopes were getting to be quite slow. My mind was drifting away as the run was getting lonely, and I was mostly by myself. Those that kept close to me in the first 2 laps were nowhere to be seen. Bug was onto his 4th lap, accompanied by DO, as I was running to the start point. DO offered water and honey, but I was too tired to stomach them. I was glad to finish the HOT third lap in 1hr8min. I was exhausted and took a 5min break. RR mentioned he was stopping, and I told him I would just complete the final lap after a good rest. I downed 4 cups of 100plus mix there. My powergel mix have kept my energy level up.

The 4th lap was most 'mental' for me, and I was trying not to take too many walk breaks. My calves were cramping a little, and I had to ease the pace to a slow jog whenever the seizures came. There were times I tripped and nearly fell, causing the cramps to erupt...I changed my strides a little to accomodate the seizures. I tried my best to slowly bounce up the slopes, using my arm swings to aid in the hard upward climbs. After a lot of water to quench my thirst, and going through the small loop of eternity near the pumphouse, I was finally going back to Northern Route, Trevor was stretching his cramps near the water point. As I chugged up the slopes of SICC, Ultraman just came running down. He was focused, and I was too tired to call out to him. Brokie was just 50m behind him...I was impressed that she was looking cool as a cucumber, and was running at a steady pace.

The Northern Route back provided some relief from the sun, and I managed to keep running most of the time, albeit at a very slow pace....could have been 6:30min/km or slower. Soon, I was back to the canoe area, and as I ran back to the start point, there were cheers for me to go on and finish. My spirits were lifted as DO paced me, and informed that I was in the running for 5th position...haha, quite surprising. With an opportunity to win something, I perked up, and went steadily up the carpark slopes and then all the way down Lornie Road for a finish with my arms met, and like what Vincent said 'You managed to squeeze into 5th position'...haha. Had a good stretch, and cheered for Brokie, Ultra, Sok Hwa, Trevor and the rest as they finish.

There was a prize-giving ceremony, and as I collected my 5th prize from Stephen Lee (MR25 President), he said 'Anthony, you finally won something...'...haha, so true...this was the first time I ever won something from a MR25 easy feat...I was happy, and I felt very lucky. There was a Nike shoe voucher, Nike dri-fit T, 2 pairs Nike socks, 1 Nike wrist-band...not bad. I was happy that Teck Hou, Bug, TLR, Brokie, Lai Chee, Sok Hwa all did well to win prizes, and Ultra and Trevor were awarded certifcates too. Tobias and Lai Chee retained their individual titles. A most memorable race, and as we settled down for the famous Adam Road Prawn Noodle and Cheng Tng/Ice Kacang, I could feel the tiredness in my legs, but a sense of satisfaction in having completed such a 'tough' race.

Distance: 42km__Time: 4hr20min__Pace: 6:11min/km


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Friday, June 08, 2007

Warm Humid Runs

Because of the upcoming MR25 X-Country Marathon this Sunday, this week's training at SAFRA MF was supposed to be light. I picked Bev along the way as she was joining us for the first time. A large turnout this evening, as all runners were enthusiastic at the smell-flower paced run.

Trainer Ong kindly allowed me to try the Pearl Izumi shoes. Ran along the many traffic-stops along Henderson Rd, Tiong Bahru Park, Lower Delta Rd, and finally reached Clarke Quay and headed up to Fort Canning. It was a warm and humid night, as all sweated buckets. The PI shoes were cushiony and felt good; just that I will need 1 size larger shoes when I buy them. We ran 2 large loops (2km) up in Fort Canning. Bev was able to keep up with the group's pace...well done. We finished with a long run all the way back, and everyone was complaining of the extra extra km...haha. I estimated we did 13km...well, it was a good workout anyway. We did a quick wash-up, and went for our favorite Red Rice Wine Chicken.

Did another flat distance run at SAFRA MF on Thursday. The group was smaller, and leh-lio gal was the surprise guest. There were also 2 other new lady runners that joined in. We did a easy-paced run in the relatively cooler evening compared with Tuesday. Botanic Gardens area was wet after a round of showers, as we ran towards Margaret Drive. I had a good chat with leh-lio (who might be gearing up for her maiden marathon in December) while running just behind Adam and Wong. Adam was in good form, what with wearing his new NB runners. We ended the 14km run feeling that the distance wasn't that long, but all wet with perspiration.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

The World Harmony Run 2007

The World Harmony Runners 2007 @ Merlion (End Point)

Jubilant World Harmony Runners 2007

SgRunners team making up a large group of this year's World Harmony Runners

This was my 3rd World Harmony Run, and this time a scenic route of about 25km starting from Gombak Stadium to National Stadium was planned [Catch a glimpse of 2006's WHR]. A record turnout of about 70 runners awaited us at the Gombak Stadium. Kayano kindly gave me a lift, and we took a MRT to Gombak Stadium...really interesting that the last time I took the Singapore MRT was more than 5 years ago...we fumbled a little because of that...haha.

As I had promised Thian Beng (whr) to be the pacer (cos I can run slow enough :)), he called out my name to start off from Gombak Stadium. We took a nice jog and I had a little trouble keeping to a 8min/km pace initially. I took it as a test of my endurance...hah! The sun was out in its full glory, and I slapped on lots of sun-block, and wore a cap for some protection. It was great to see so many new faces, many whom were SgRunners which I have not met face-face...ham, chuacat, akazee, runaholic.... Of course it was super to see familiar WHRunners like tooty, hyperactive, Seal, acleong, harmoni, FBB, Shut, Roonz, Bee, Ronnie. Many like Kayano, Nyquist, ST, Burnz, babumouse, Yap & colleagues were doing their first WHR.

The first stop was at a Muslim Mosque, and as usual, a rousing welcome were given to the WHRunners. Welcome messages, prayers, and World Harmony songs were belted out with gusto, as all celebrated World Harmony & Peace through this run. The second stop at the Buddhist Temple was interesting, with the kids joining in the singing and celebrations. With the large group of runners this year, there was no problem with torch and flag-bearers, as all enjoyed taking turns to do the honours. I was enjoying myself chatting with the new runners, as well as catching up with running kakis.

The weather was really hot this morning, and soon gaps began to form in the running group, as we ran the 6km to our next destination. I ran up and down cheering the runners on, and with the support and cheers given by the yellow bus, it was real fun getting the group together, and motivating them to run together. I noticed we have fast runners in this year's cohort, with the likes of chuacat, Burnz, hyperactive, and many of the younger, lots of hidden dragons and phoenixes lah! However, they were good sport as they did their utmost to run a relatively steady 7-8min/km :). Along the way to the Hindu Temple, we were pleasantly surprised by the appearances of Brokie and renohtaram. Both had taken the time to support the runners, with Brokie even driving as escort for a good distance...haha.

As we neared the Hindu Temple, I checked for Chan Meng Hui (Uncle Chan) and was told he might still be behind. Uncle Chan was joining the run for the first time, and he was really smelling the flowers and taking photos. I ran back for him, and when I didn't find him after a while, I decided to run back to join the rest...and then I realized that I might have lost the group too...wah! siong leh! I don't have my handphone with me to call them. After running for a bit at the other fork road, I turned back and ran the other direction. I was so..oo happy to spot the Hindu Temple, and then the yellow bus in the distance...heng Ah! I quickly joined renoh and the rest for a very nice spread of, real thirst-quencher. My tummy was happy!

I took that incident as a sign that I had to finish in front for this WHR Run...haha. I took the torch again, and went forward to control the pace. Many of the runners were very tempted to run ahead, as it was not easy to run at 8min/km...but we had a job to do; keep the group running together. With chuacat and hyperactive being assigned to maintain the pace, the torch and flag bearers fell into position with the rest, and we had a very nice sustained run. The spirits of the runners were high, and most were enjoying the run and the experience very much. We took turns to snap photos of one another, on top of those shots provide by the professionals...the shwe ST journalist? and of course SgRunners' pro camera-woman Ripley.

We went on to the Sikh Temple, and I was impressed by the effort they put in to make a nice banner, and putting out a nice spread of food and hot milk-tea...arhh, I loved that tea...had 2 cups. I found time to chat with more runners, and it was good to see Brokie was still around, snapping photos from all 'difficult' positions...hehe. chuacat was looking really fresh...I think we have another good gal runner for Sg. Yap from SAFRA, and his colleagues were enjoying the event, and FBB was looking strong still. Harmoni requested that we maintain the good pace from there. We ran another 3-4km along the Shenton Way area, and since we were nearing the end, the runners' mood and spirits were high. Thian Beng and acleong were looking a lot more relaxed then.

With the heat not abating, and time running short, Thian Beng decided to call the run to an earlier finish at the Merlion Statue, which we had finished for the past 2 WHR Runs as well. The total distance covered according to Kayano's footpod was 22km. Group photos were taken, and we even had a tourist from India who enthusiastically joined in. We suggested to Thian Beng that we should take WHR to India next...heh! I really enjoyed this World Harmony Run despite the hot weather. The stops were not too long, and the run was mostly smooth-flowing at an easy pace. The company was great, and the fruits and drinks provided were just good for such a hot run. In the end, I could feel that all ran as a harmonious group, having the give-and-take attitude, and participating as a united group...

3 Cheers for World Harmony Run...Hip Hip Hooray!

(Photos courtesy Ripley aka Kelly Lim, Brokie aka Jancy Yap)

Straits Times article of the World Harmony Run 2007
(Courtesy Of Ms. Ng, The Straits Times)

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