Saturday, July 28, 2007

AniMILES 24km

After last Saturday's warm and not very enjoyable run, I was looking forward to this Saturday's aniMILES 24km run yet again. Fortunately, we were blessed with very cool weather, almost with a tinge of frostiness in the air :). DO, RealRunner, Bug, Fennel, Gentle, SealBoon, stazla and myself gathered to start off at 5.30am, while the group of SC5, notme and gang had started earlier at 5am.

It was some time since I last saw stazla, and she had kept up with her running pretty well. The group of us ran mostly together along OUTR in the crisp morning air. We probably maintained a steady pace of about 5:15min/km for that stretch. Once out onto UTR, RR took the lead, with me and stazla following closely. We increased the pace to 5min/km and moved steadily to close the gap with RR. Just before the turn into Mandai Rd, I decided to push the pace further as I was feeling good. It must have been the nice 'lobster porridge' dinner I had the previous night...hehe.

Along Maindai Rd, I started to count the bus-stops and reached the 3rd bus-stop in 55min. That must be the turning point for 22km? just before that, saw Bug zooming back. He was doing a 21km trial run. I moved on past a few more of 6, before hitting the zebra crossing (24km U-turn point) in 1hr2min...hmm, ok, that was the timing I did last year....last week, I was at this same point in 1hr7min...real slow then. On the U-turn, I saw RR coming up and waved to him. Further up, DO and Fennel came along, and then SealBoon. stazla and Gentle had turned earlier into Seletar Reservoir area.

I felt good at the 14km mark, and decided to keep up the pace to go for a reverse split. The pace would have been below 5min/km by then. The cool air really made me feel good, and not that tired. Finally turned back into UTR, and was still feeling strong. RR was creeping up from behind I reckoned. I continued on till the entrance to OUTR, with the pace dipping. RR passed me with 3km to go, and from there, I maintained a 100m gap from him. If he had not continued with his nice pace, I would have slowed down as I was feeling tired by then.

The sports beans had kept me up with good energy along the way. Finally reached the end point in close to 2hr1min....I'll just take 2hr...hehe. Body sensed and still felt ok, with reserves to go for more....definitely not as tired and drained as last week. The Asics Speedstar I wore felt cushiony and light throughout...may consider using it for AHM. Took nice HL choco milk and 100plus, coutesy of RR and Bug...everyone agreed it was a nice, cool run, and all were happy as we washed up, and proceeded to the Food Centre to have brekky and met up with the aniMILES gang as well.

Distance: 24km__Time: 2hr__Pace: 5min/km

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Tempo Intervals...

Had another interesting run at SAFRA MF on Thursday evening, led by trainer Jimmy Chow this time. Quite a sizeable turnout, not surprising, with the impending AHM. Bev went down too, not before carbo-loading with a heavy Indian lunch...hehe.

The 13km route was started with a 3km warm-up jog from ClubHouse along Depot Road and all the way to the entrance to Depot Road. Then it was a 3km tempo run at 10km race pace for 3km up to Buona Vista MRT. We waited for the whole group at the junction, before proceeding for a 3km slow run along Commonwealth Ave, then followed by a final 4km tempo run from IKEA all the way back to ClubHouse. Most the of the runners enjoyed this routine, as it enabled them to moderate and run at the respective desired paces as required. It also helps all to learn more about running at a certain defined speed, allowing them to hone their feeling for pace.

My second time using Air State Run shoes...feeling was not bad, and cushion was good. Heard something from cm about sponsorship from some key shoe manufacturer which I feel should be examined more closely, especially on the terms of sponsorship and requirements of the Running Club and her runners. With the SAFRA Running Club'e membership and programmes gaining momentum, it is only natural that more sponsors are coming forward to offer tie-ups and arrangements.

Distance: 13km__Time: 1hr20min__Pace: 5:45min/km avg

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

1200m intervals

Had a change of menu at the Queenstown Stadium for the MF interval training, organized by Ricci. This was the first time we were doing 4 x 1,200m track intervals, which I thought was more suitable for distance runners. As usual, we did 4km jog from ClubHouse to the stadium. There was a large turnout of SAFRA runners. The stadium track was also abuzz with many other runners doing their ninja training...a few nice legs with good strides boosted the enthusiam...hehe.

I did the the following lap timings:
Lap 1 (1,200m) : 5min
Lap 2 (1,200m) : 4:55min
Lap 3 (1,200m) : 4:50min
Lap 4 (1,200m) : 4:50min

Wong, Trevor and myself were running most of the laps at around the same pace, with the two of them always finishing a few seconds in front of me. I tried to sustain a steady pace, and I think I met my objective in the end. I still had a little reserve in the end to bring me back along the 4km route back to the ClubHouse.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

New Broom Sweeps Clean?

Took the opportunity to take my new Nike Air State Run for my recovery, as well as to test the shoes out. The shoes felt cushiony, with ample forefoot and heel cushion...although the size 10 I got felt a tad loose, it felt quite good overall, not that heavy as it would look...pleasant surprise...a case of New Broom Sweeps Clean? I shall see, as I take it to the first 100km mark :)

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

A hard AniMILES run

It has been quite a while since I ran at the orginal base of the aniMILES route, starting from Lower Pierce Reservoir to Mandai Road and back. With AHM coming up, the few of us have started to go back to this training ground.

I went to see the doctor to get some medicine for my 'ticklish' throat. I felt much better this morning, but the effects of the medicine could have caused me to be 'extra' thirsty. The weather was humid, after an earlier bout of showers which seemed to have anti-climaxed....the air was heavy and humid, and that made for heavy breathing.

DO, RealRunner, half-timer, SealBoon and myself set off at 6.10am, after waiting for stazla who eventually didn't turn up. We had a nice chat along the OUTR stretch about all things running. Once we hit UTR, DO took over, and we just fell in line and followed. The ground was wet, especially along the pavements....with my DS Trainer, I had to be extra careful not to 'toe-off' too much, and had to land more gingerly to avoid any mishap. Half-timer was pacing along quite strongly with the rest of us. I took 1hr8min to reach the zebra crossing at the road leading to the zoo....normally I would reach that point in 1hr2min, so its a lot slower this morning.

I felt comfortable with the slower pace, although my throat was feeling so 'dry'. I had finished most of my gatorade mix by the time I had U-turned...something which does not happen to me that often. When I saw half-timer coming to the U-Turn, he gestured that he too was feeling thirsty, and looking for water. I had none to spare already, unfortunately. I had informed the runners to come prepared for this route with their own hydration and food, since there were hardly any refuel points along the way.

By the time I reached back to UTR, my breathing was getting heavier. My legs were still ok, as the turnover this morning was not that high. The air really made me breathe hard, or was it because of my irritable throat and slight blocked nose? Nonetheless, i continued to follow DO from about 50-100m, and use him as a pacer. RR and SealBoon was not too far behind me either. My mind was just thinking of reaching the end point and taking ice-cold chocolate milk...I would have stopped at the nearby coffee-shop for roti-prata if I had money with me then...haha. After some struggle, I was glad to complete the run in 2hr13min...way off the usual time of 2hr5min average I normally do for this 24km route. I have done a 2hr for this route if I am not wrong...but nvm, I was just glad to have completed the run.

DO treated us to nice ice-cold HL choco milk...yummy. That was the reward for a hard workout. We all discussed a bit about the reasons why we were that slow today...haha, all looking for excuses..slackers :). Half-timer was the exception. He came back shortly after us, looking very strong...and he even took a detour to get, he is getting real good. Well done! RealRunner was just doing his recovery run after a PB and BQ at the recent Gold Coast Marathon...congrats! SealBoon who trains mainly on his own, also ran a very steady and good pace...he will do well at AHM this time. We will be back for the aniMILES route in the next few weeks as we ramp up training for the AHM in August.

Distance: 24km__Time: 2hr13min__Pace: 5:33min/km

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Nike Air State Run?

Went to Nike at Tampines Junction to collect my Nike shoe prize won at the MR25 X-Country Marathon. Made arrangements with Brokie and Lai Chee to collect at the same time. The 2 gals were lucky and got Nike Pegasus road and trail, both looking nice. Bug had earlier collected his Nike Kutu trail shoes, which looks rather ok. I got Air State Run....never heard of it...I tried to google for it, but cannot find an exact match of the name...alamak!

Nike Air State Run

I tried it on and it felt rather cushiony...could be due to the dual-density cushion. The sole of the shoes really look ample, if anything, it will surely make me feel taller...haha. It felt like a cushion shoe for neutral runners. I will give it a test run to see if it is suitable for training runs. We went for a nice lunch and chit-chat at Han's Bakery. Lai Chee have not stepped into a Han's since her teen days *faint*...she heard so much about the kopi of Han's from me that she is looking forward to try it the next time :)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Its SCSM 2007 time...

Registration for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2007 has started. I have registered for the Full Marathon again this year (Bib 2544). I am contemplating to be a pacer this year, and will await to see if there are pace group opportunities this year.

The short video clip below has helped me relive some of the final moments as we cross the finish line of the long 42.195km distance. The feeling is not easy to explain. Watch the video for a taste of the finish, and see if you can spot familiar faces :)

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

NUS slopes revisited...

Finally got to do a 20km run, after the many short runs I have done recently. The weather was pretty sunny, as the group of about 15 of us started off along Depot Road. I put on my Nike Vomero for its final few runs, as its 600km+ mileage is taking a toll on its cushion.

When we reached Pasir Panjang Road, I ran ahead as Jimmy and Teck Hou stayed behind with the other group. All along the way along Buona Vista Road (99 winding road), I maintained a steady pace, and at the entrance of NUH, I stopped to take a breather, while waiting for the rest of the group. Then it was up the NUS slopes, hitting Clementi Road, and back the reverse way up more slopes. The sun was coming up, and I was happy I had my fuel belt of Gatorade mix with me.

Fennel and Trevor was running strong, with DO and KKChin up ahead. I was happy to follow from a distance, and regrouped with them back at the entrance of NUS again. After another short breather, we ran on to Kent Ridge Park, and then to the tank on the hilltop. Saw Akira, who was leading a group of trekkers on a hike for charity. Runalone came along, and after a short chat, Chin Whatt, Fennel, DO, KKChin and I decided we stopped too many times, and decided to move on for the final stretch home.

The trip along Pasir Panjang was a little mental with the sun and traffic smog, but was still bearable. Not wanting to stop anymore, I proceeded at a steady, albeit slower pace all the way back to ClubHouse, overcoming the final slope along Henderson Road. Had a good wash up, and was treated to some 'happening' photos of DO in his pre-running days, along with nice kopi and toast at Ya Kun. The previous SAFRA MF Chairman, Tony, shared a lot of stories of older batches of runners. Adam, who had a satisfying run, was talking about the possibility of tying up with some of the major sporting brandnames to sponsor and offer discounts for SAFRA Running Club events and members. It was a nice run overall, and I am contemplating to do AniMILES next Saturday for a change...well, I shall see what the menu will be :)

Distance: 20km__Time: 1hr50min__Pace: 5:30min/km

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Group Fartlek?

Trainer Bug took the SAFRA MF runners on an interesting 12km routine this evening. The plan was to run at varyring paces of 2km(E)asy + 4km(R)ace(P)ace + 2km(E) + 4km(RP)
E :SafraClub->DepotRd->RP:CanterburyEstate->E:AlexandraRd->
where Race Pace refers to the runner's 10km race pace

I ran what I thought was a rather fast 2km warm-up, mostly alongside leh-lio, who was taking this run as a recovery from her 'hard' Passion Run on Sunday. Once we hit Canterbury Estate, I ran at my 10km pace, and a tad harder, to keep up with the front group. TLH and Alber were mostly with me along this 4km stretch. It was a good sustained hard run till we ran back out to Alexandra Rd. We paused and waited for the rest to come in, before doing a OTOT slow jog along Alexandra Rd to junction of Henderson Rd.

From there, I waited for the rest of those from behind, before going for the final 4km tempo paced run. I was suitably worked out by the time we reached the ClubHouse, but still felt good. I liked this varied pace training, and hope to do more of this. According to Trainer Bug, such training can help foster group running at a steady pace, as well as improve sustained speeds for long distance runs. I tend to think there is sound logic to this. We shall see!

Distance: 12km__Time: 1hr10min__Pace: 5:50min/km

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Saucony 100Plus Passion Run

It was the inaugural Saucony Passion Run. I signed up pretty early on due to the publicity provided by poster boy SC5 and his AniMILES gang. Because of the early sign-up, I was rewarded with a bottle of Essence Of Chicken...hehe...but because of that, I did not know the different start times for the various age groups...if I knew, I would have signed up for the Men's Open which starts at 7.30am instead of the later 8.15am start for Veteran, and also having to contend with a large crowd of walkers and slow joggers in front...*bugger*

Right from the start, this run was slated for success...$20 registration fees that come with a nice Saucony running top, goody bags, championchip timing and photo-print finisher certificates...good value and organization! My only concern was the late start time for my wave, as well as the crowd of runners along the narrow pathways of ECP. DO and I were early to 'chopped' a nice carpark space at F2 carpark, and proceeded towards the start point. Met up with a number of runners, many SgRunners whom we just met the previous night at the Chalet for SgRunner's 2nd Anniversary celebrations. Also saw tekko and the VRP gals, who were looking cheery and good-to-run. Spotted Ultraman in his usual pensive mood, and managed to speak with him about his recent busy schedule.

There were many tentages, and SM Goh Chok Tong was to be a guest of honour. The poster boys SC5, Lieu, notme arrived shortly in their very shwe Saucony running top, and informed that they were to pace PM, happening sia! The 7.30am wave took off, with Bug, Kumaran, Cheow12, among the many we know. Then the 2nd wave of the Men's Open took off at 7.45am. I went for a final drink, and did some light warm-up and stretches. Met up with Tony from SAFRA MF, and a few others, who were doing their first 10km race for the year. Then the Women's Open started at 8.00am, and the rest of us then proceeded to the starting point. While waiting, we saw the winner of the Men's Open emerged...Lim Kien Mau of MR25, who did a 35min+. Then a few others in 36min, 37min... Then we saw Bug, 42min.. wowee ... Kumaran, 43min....hmm, a tad slow for their standard we felt, possibly a longer route?

Then it was our turn. The sun was out in force, although the first 2km stretch should see us in the shade. DO, Ultraman, Tekko were lining up nearby. With the sounding of the horn, away we went at 8.15am. There was a slight delay, but was clear after 300m. The usual people like Roda, DO, JJ, Melvin, Ultra could be seen in front. As usual I was taking a back-seat, but maintained contact of DO and Roda. Ultra and JJ had moved up quite a bit, and then I spotted Philip (Kumaran's boss) running pretty strong. I was breathing ok, and by the 4km mark, I did 18:30...ok, not fast, but I hope to maintain that for the rest of the journey. Skipped that water point, and went straight for the 5km U-turn point. Hit it in 24:10...hmm, slowed down? or that was longer than 1km?

Picked up a little speed, and very soon, spotted Ultra. Went past Philip, then Ultra, and moved ahead for my drink at the 6km mark. Ultra went on without stopping. I trailed closely from behind, and could see a ang moh runner running alongside Ultra. By then, we had hit the 'wall' big time...the human wall of walkers and joggers....we had to weave about, and at times I had to jam on my legs, causing my knees to take the strain....waah. Passed the 7km mark, and I closed in on Ultra. The sun was blazing down, and the human wall was thickening....arghh. Ultra finally shook off the ang-moh at the 7.5km mark, and I moved up to overtake the ang-moh by 8km. Then it was only Ultra and myself for Veterans. I reckoned DO and Philip shouldn't be that far back. I was feeling the strain with all the weaving, and running off-track...and a times entertained thoughts of taking a walk-break...hahaha....that bad you see!

Crossed Ultra at 8.5km mark, and we ran close for a while. I waved Ultra to move ahead as I was tiring fast at the Cable Ski area. With 1km to go, Ultra moved further ahead, and I kept up all the way to the end. Thanks to Ultra or I would have slowed down to rest. It is always good to have a pacer at the difficult parts of the race. Crossed the finish line in 47min+, and didn't see any familiar faces....not sure if any finishing photos were taken too. I was glad it was done, and proceeded to down half a bottle of and thirsty. Met leh-lio gal who did a very good 52min run...kudos! Fennel did a respectable 53min. Brokie (53min) and Vincent both looked so cool after strolling in, hand-holding in 55min :).

After a good rest, I went to join DO in the goody bag queue, followed by lots of chatting with fellow runners from SgRunners, MR25 and SAFRA MF. Didn't win anything at the lucky draw. I thoroughly enjoyed this whole event, and have heard many positive comments from the many runners too. Looking forward to have this Saucony race continue next year, and expanded if possible to include longer distances...all for the PASSION!

Distance: 10km__Time: 47min25sec__Pace: 4:45min/km

Official Results
All Results

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Ipoh International Run 2007

There we were, 3 cars and having groups of 4 each, taking a nice leisurely drive of about 8hrs up to Ipoh. Picked up my party of DO, Derrick and Karen by 6.30am, RV with Adam and Ironman Chua's cars, and we had such a great time along the way, and had so much nice food to eat in Ipoh that I'll just leave the pics (DO's Slideshow) to speak for themselves.

Race Day
We reported to the start area, and were tagged. Waited till 6.30am before we were let out to proceed to the start line. There were many Kenyans and good runners, presumably there for the rather attractive prize money. We were flagged off by 6.45am, along with the 10km runners, and immediately there was a mini jam of sorts. Took me a couple of minutes of slow running to get sorted, and soon I was running along some main road. After 2km, I was at 10min+...bad, over 5min/km pace. DO was running alongside, and there was a minor incident where a car came so close to DO that it almost hit him...what a near miss...phew!

At the 4km mark, I recovered a little to 19min+, back to just sub 5min/km pace. DO moved slightly ahead, and I was running together with a few veteran runners, as evident in their C bibs.
There were not many familiar faces along the way. Spotted Sumiko at about the 6km mark, and we ran at a pace quite close to hers. By the 8km mark, it was 39min flat, definitely out of the range of a 4:40min/km pace required for a sub 1:40 mark for my PB. The sun was rearing a little, and coupled with the increasing traffic, I was finding it quite difficult to go any faster. I moved up ahead of Sumiko, and told her to keep up the good pace. DO followed suit, and told Sumiko to run together at around the same pace. I hit the 10km mark in 49min+.

I maintained speed for the next 6-7km, and did overtake a few more people. By the 16km mark, I was getting tired. I was well aware I could not go any faster, and was content to maintain the 5min pace. I tagged along a young gal, and a more senior man, and tried as I could, i could not narrow the gap. There was a guy in white top who was keeping close to me from the 15km mark, and I could feel him wanting to overtake me. My legs got a little cramping sensation at the 17km mark....I slowed a little during the drink transitions to keep the legs in a 'cooler' state. The cramps came and went 2-3 times more, and with 3km to go, I made my move to close the gaps.
I increased pace slightly and depite feeling rather tired, I finally saw the 20km mark. My watch showed 1:38min. I pushed ahead, and closed to gap, before overtaking 3 runners at the final 500m stretch.

Finished with my arms raised in 1hr43min. I was glad to achieve that timing, although I did not better my PB. I felt it was a hard run for me. Received a nimber of 40position, and went on to collect a nice finisher's medal. As the 100plus queue was so long, I went for a cool-down walk, and did some stretches. DO came in just 50m behind me, got 43pos, and together we went ahead to chear for our SAFRA team-mates. Lai Chee, Sok Hwa and Julie did very well in the ladies open to get into prize standings. Derrick did a very good timing of 1hr37min, and he was beaming non stop. Uncle Lim, who just celebrated his 61st birthday, did his PB. Adam did very well to better his last year's timing. The rest of the team did good, and more importantly, everyone enjoyed the race thouroughly, in spite of a few small hiccups.

Distance: 21.1km__Time:1hr43min__Pace: 4:54min/km


The highlights of this entire trip were the pre and post-race makan, 'talk-kock' sessions, jokes and group bonding, that made this whole trip so enjoyable and 'happening' for all. The food sessions, everyone of them were simply memorable. We proceeded to drive up 'cool, temperate' Cameron Highlands, and had a wonderful night over at The Strawberry Park Resort. I slept like a baby that night, and had another 8hr drive back to Singapore the next day....and completed witha sumptious meal of seafood and durian at the popular Gelang Patah resaurant. A very nice trip for me...Ipoh and Cameron Highlands had definitely left a great impression in my mind....I will surely plan to visit them in the not too distant future.

Ipoh Trip Memories

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bev's maiden intervals

Bev managed to join the SAFRA gang for Queenstown interval training this evening. I thought the training would help her build up a little speed, and experience what formal training would be like. With the advent of AHM07, there were a few new runners joining in as well. We did an easy 4km jog from ClubHouse to Queenstown Stadium. Lots of runners were already on the tracks doing their own ninja runs...wah, all serious!

Led by trainer Bug, we were to do 4 x 1,200m laps, with 3min rest in between laps. The 4:30-5:30 group would start 30secs later than the 5:30-6:30 group. This evening's laps were more 'chuan' as I had less rest in between laps, because the trainer ensured each group took their 3min rest dutifully, not too long. I did an average of 5min for all 4laps, and Bev did a respectable 2laps of 6min pace, rested for a lap, and then took a remaining half lap....very good for a first timer to such training. Leh-lio was very fast, doing an average 5:15-5:30 3laps.

We discussed a little about marathon requirements on the way back, and I thought leh-lio had a good chance of achieving her 4:15-4:30 marathon target at SCSM07. Bev had such a hard workout that she was hit by 3 cramps after the training....haha....must be real tough training. She enjoyed it, but would need to take a good rest to recuperate.

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