Friday, August 31, 2007

Cool recoveries

The official AHM results were released on chip/nett time was 1:42:33 and ranked 49th position in the Men's Veteran category....1min slower than last year's timing, but a couple of positions improvement. Some folks have said that the final 1km might be longer at 1.3km...haha, I really thought so too. The legs were feeling ok, with a very slight ache at the quads...probably from my late push at the final 2km.

Did 10km recovery runs on Tuesday and Thursday at MF, both times in rather cool weather, after the afternoon rains. The la nina phenomenon has brought much rainfall this far I have been lucky to be able to get my runs in. My mileage has averaged 55km/week, much lower than the same period last year, and although I have put on an excess of 1kg, I expect to lose that soon as I gear up for more LSDs going into the SCSM and Chiang Mai Marathon this December.

I am contemplating to be a SCSM full marathon pacer at 4hr-4:15hr, but will commit to running a even/steady pace to provide a good 'beat' to help those runners do their target timings in good form. Chiang Mai will be interesting for me to experience racing in slightly cooler weather, and if there are no hiccups to my schedule for year end, I should be going with the family and some of the running kakis.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Singapore Army Half Marathon 2007

Ths Army Half Marathon this year was to be held in conjunction with the Singapore Bay Run, and the finish point was to be the temporary Spectator Grandstand by the Marina Bay. The route this year was to be revised after last year's fiasco, and lots of runners were looking towards it. With my reduced training this year, I was just hoping to do 1hr45min....more important was Beverly's maiden AHM, and I was hoping she could go below 2hr10min.

DO, Bev and I arrived at Marina Square at 4.10am, and made our way to the Grandstand...the finish looked rather narrow, but the spectator gallery looked pretty majestic. As we walked towards the start point near the Esplanade, we met many SAFRA Runners, SgRunners and other running friends...Wong, Peter, Freddy, RealRunner, Ultraman, IMD, Yee Hua, Balasing, among others. I did a short warm-up, and light stretches, before proceeding to the start line. The start/finish this year for competive and non-competitive were segregated, allowing for a much more organized event.

The horn sounded at 5.30am sharp, and we went on a relatively fuss-free start. With the competitive runners lined up in front, there wasn't much of a 'jam' as we turned into Cross Street, and then Chinatown. There were pacers this year for 2hr, 2:15 and 2:30, but they did not seemed to be an organized bunch, with many of them running disparately and at different range of paces....there were some 2hr pacers running at a sub 5-min pace, which I thought were excessive. As we ran up the Sheares' Bridge, things became quite smooth as some of those that started too fast fell back. I was a little surprised to see MR25's Lim Lian Hock running at that pace...probably a Sunday stroll for him today, although he did move up after a while.

Down the Bridge and into Fort Road, I trailed JJ most of the way and was maintaining a 4:50min/km pace...hoped to maintain that pace for as long as I could. Into Fort Road and along ECP, the front-runners (Indian Army I heard) came zooming, very fast, much faster than our local runners...and they looked so nonchalant, running as a group of 5-6. I upped the pace slightly, and overtook a few runners, and crossed the 10km mark in 48min+...quite happy with that, as I sipped on my powergel mix. I was happy when we finallly turned around at C4 area, and I could see a stream on people coming in on the other side. It was hard for me to make out people in the darkness of dawn...I continued to move so as not to slow down too much.

Up to 15km, I still had a 2min buffer in the bank, and I knew I had to stretch that buffer further if I hoped to do my PB. I calculated that it would not be at this race, as I was barely maintaining a sub 5min/km pace. Many of the runners were starting to push, with some trailing off as their 'energy' levels tapered off. Roda and JJ were in front by about 100m, as we exited ECP onto Mountbatten Road. I could make out Anna from aniMILES, and I attempted to run abreast her for a bit. I then went forward as we ran into Nicholl Highway. With 4km to go, I was feeling a strain on my 'tank'....I wished I had more gels to provide extra 'power', but there was none already. I had to draw on my remaining reserves to pull me through the final 3km up and down Nicholl Highway.

I could hear Music blaring in the distance, and the cheer groups were out in force. First light had broken as we ran the seemingly endless final stretch. I wanted to push, but was just happy to maintain pace, as some stronger runners overtook me. I tried to maintain a reasonable distance as I continued to push on. IMD overtook me at the final 1.5km, and I gestured him to move up. From there, I just kept up the pace to the final km. My watch read 1hr38min. I just wanted to finish the run in good form, and steadied myself all the way, and slowed down at the finish with my hands raised for some good pictures. My watch time showed 1hr42min, the chip timing could at best be 1hr41min.

Realized only much later that many fellow runners were just behind me...cfred, SC5, notme, DO and whoever else that did not tell me...haha...real close, these speed animals. I was just expecting someone familiar to touch my back at the final 2km stretch...Downed 3 cans of 100plus, a banana, returned the Championchip and collected finisher's medal. I went back to the finish line to wait for Beverly...spoke with Tekko and Cheow12, who were also waiting for their ex-gf to return. Bev finally came in with a PB of 2hr4min...a very good timing, given that this was only her second half marathon. Well done.

After doing warm downs, and replenishing with 100plus, we joined the SAFRA Running Club and SgRunners for group photo sessions. It was a good time to catch up with some of the running kakis whom I have not met for some time. We basked a bit in the sun, chatting, taking photos, catching up. Went for makan at Marina Food Square, and will proceed to attend the Nike Running Fit talk, after washing up and having a short rest at home. With the AHM out of the run calendar, the next run will be next Sunday's MR25 30km Progressive Run, and then more training for SCSM07...looking forward to some long, slow and tempo runs. Will also take some time out to join in SCSM Pacer training as well as participate in more fun runs.

Distance: 21,1km__Time: 1hr42min__Pace: 4:50min/km

Photos courtesy of Dasher's camera.

Waiting for official results and more photos

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Putting on weight...

Cannot wait for AHM to be out of the way...have been doing a lot of short runs as part of tapering....need more long, slow runs to burn the fats and excesses of the carbo-loading and business meals...will start with the 30km Progressive run next weekend :)

Had 10km and 8km runs on Tue and Thurs at SAFRA MF...I was doing them mainly at tempo pace to get the engine sufficiently maintained, yet not stressing it out as to be too tired for Sunday's race. Had to skip a carbo-loading arrangement with SgRunners running kakis today due to some unexpected dinner arrangements made on my behalf.

I started to consume more carbohydrates as from today, and will not be stopping my junk snacks will see myself gaining even more by race day....hope it will not weigh me down too much. Just heard that Alan Chao pacing a MP for 1hr45min...I hope to be within sight of them throughout the race, and not slack too far behind. All the best to MF Runners, SgRunners, MR25 Runners and my running friends for the Singapore Bay Run *thumbs up*

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Recovery from cold...

Caught a cold over the weekend, and in spite of self-medicating, I woke up with a blocked nose. Decided to take a day off and went to the doctor's to get some mild medicine. Slept plenty, and by evening, I felt much better. Looking at the tapering week ahead, with the very low mileage planned at SAFRA MF, I decided to take my new Pearl Izumi SynchroFLOAT2 for her maiden run.

The shoes were cushy at the forefoot, and I was trying not to push off too much. Taking this as a 'recovery' run to sweat off any toxins from the body, I went at a slower pace, and letting my legs take a ride from the upper body. I could feel the calves more relaxed, and the cushion of the shoes provided good comfort. The sky looked gloomy, but the weather was so cool and refreshing... had one of the nicer runs in a while yet.

I hope my cold will recover fully by Thursday, before resting for AHM...not really aiming for any PB, just within a 5min/km pace for 1:45 will be alright for me this time. I have to practice running at a slightly slower pace consistently if I want to make the pacer team for SCSM....hope to pace for 4hr-4hr15min...anything out of the range will be testing my consistency and focus.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

SAFRA TP Location Run

It has been some time the SAFRA Runners gathered for a location run, and I was looking forward to enjoying a nice paced run and catching up with running kakis. I developed a cold and runny nose on Saturday, and I took quite a fair bit of cold medication, causing my sleep pattern to go haywire. I woke up at 3.30am with a blocked nose and couldn't get back to sleep...well, did a little work while waiting.

Went down to SAFRA Toa Payoh at 6.40am. A small group of runners had gathered, and the Nike trialing van was there. I was looking to trial the Nike Air Zoom Elite or Katana Cage 2, but they weren't available. Understand from Duane of Nike that there is a Air Zoom Skylon for neutral runners...hmm, hope to try that soon. It was good to see Shirlyn and the Tampines gang...hyperactive was a surprise guest. David Shum gave a brief of the route and away we went towards Lornie Road. We turned into Sime Road, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the lush surrounding neighbourhood in the midst of the city area. Caught up with hyper and learnt that she has been nursing a serious toe injury....advised her to take a good long rest, and join the SCSM Pacers group....hehe.

We reached NIE track, and after a quick break, ran towards Botanic Gardens. Could see the re-furbished Prata Cafe....brought back some memories of previous runs in the area, and having prata and teh-tarik at the cafe :). Chatted a little with Vincent about his busy travel schedule, and his determination to keep running in spite...*salute*. Brokie was just up ahead and was trialing the Nike Vomero. Turned into Tanglin Road, then Cluny Road, and all the way back to NIE. My nose have cleared halfway through the run, and I was perspiring well.... felt quite warm...hopefuly able to purge off the toxins from my body.

Without wasting much time, we ran back from NIE back through Sime Road and exited out to Lornie Road. By that time, the sun was out in force, but the slight breeze provided some comfort. We ran up the slope at SLF Building, took a toilet break, before running all the back to SAFRA Toa Payoh. Estimated I took 2hr to finish the 20km....was rewarded with very nice Shirlyn 'Sng Pao'. Spoke with the Nike folks about the Runaholics for this year, and about tying up with the SCSM Pacers. After a wash up, a few of us went for delicious and famous Nam Hoe Prawn Noodles near to Jason's market, along Macpherson Road...yummy!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

adiRUN...the spirit is alive!

Due to an unforseen twist of events, and suddenly receiving stazla's email about the adiRUN, I made my way to Suntec City to catch up with old running kakis. Met DO at the Nike shop, and we both beo-ed the shwe Nike Zoom shoes...alas, they are for short distances on the track.

The group this evening was small by past turnout standards, but with very fast runners...cfred, dasher, stazla, DO, fahmy, Martin, aerosolcan (met him for the first time). We made our way to Esplanade for a warm up, and went for a fast 7km to/fro Kim Seng Bridge at about 4:50min/km pace...wooh, exhilirating...lactic acid built up fast within the first 3km...the pace set by cfred and dasher was FAST, and everyone was breathing and running hard. Finished in about 38min, and we headed back for some good Gatorade and bananas. A wonderful mid-week fast-paced run :)

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KK Training revisited...

SAFRA MF training is getting interesting, now with 3 trainers adding on to the strategies and variety. Tue evening had us doing Labrador hill repeats for the first time....very refreshing...It reminded me of last year's Mt. Kinabalu training where a small group of us had to run those 1.4km loops 10 times, with time trials thrown in for good measure...hehe.

There was a good turnout, and I asked Bev to do this as it would be a hard enough workout for her, yet not damaging. We did a 3km run into Labrador park, assembled for a brief by trainer Ong, and off we went for the 4 scheduled repeats. I tried to do an even pace, without too much of a push. I completed 4 sets at an average of 7.5min per loop, and since I was feeling quite ok, went for a 5th loop and caught up with Bev. She completed her 4 loops in 38min+, very good for someone who had never done those repeats.

I enjoyed the whole workout, and the weather was not too bad. Many of those who have done that for the first time expressed that the workout was tough....but satisfying... thats the nice thing about training in a group with a regulated programme... it makes hard work and improvements seem so enjoyable, and not painful at all... makes us want to go for more :)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

East Coast Parkway delight

Went down with Bev to East Coast Parkway in the evening for her final long run before the AHM. She has been unable to do much long runs of 15km and above, so I suggested that we try ECP for a change. Reached carpark B2 at 5pm, and started off towards the direction of NSRCC. I told Bev to turn back after running for 55min to cover about 18km.

ECP was very 'happening' as usual with lots of bladers, cyclists, joggers, runners and campers. It was windy when we started, and we ran together for about 1km before I ran ahead, with Bev doing her own pace. Bumped into leh-lio and bf somewhere near the campsite, and looked like she had a ninja run too. Showers was blown in from the sea along the Yatch Club stretch, and by the time I reached the path towards NSRCC, the rain had stopped. The weather was great, and I was soaking in the sights. I reached NSRCC in 48min, and turned back by 50min.

Saw Bev along the way, and urged her to maintain her pace as I continued on. I reached back to B2 in 1hr38min for about 19km. Bev finished her 17km in about 1hr45min, with water breaks in between...I estimate she can sustain a 6min/km pace for about 18km, and should be able to complete 21km below 2hr10min quite comfortably. While cooling down, I spotted Eddie doing his ninja run....he seemed to have lost some weight, and his running form was looking very good. I plan to incorporate more ECP evening runs after AHM to prepare for SCSM.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cool Saturday morning

It looked like a humid Saturday as we gathered for the aniMILES 24km route starting from Lower Pierce Reservoir. The actual aniMILES group were doing their run from ECP this morning in preparation for AHM in 2 weeks time. RealRunner, Cheow12, Freddy, DO, Gentle and myself made the start....Bug and Fennel called in sick, and were unable to join us.

It was great to meet up with Cheow12 and Freddy after a long absence from them...both of them did very well for their respective activities. We went on a reasonable pace, possibly 5:15min/km. Gentle made his way to Seletar Reservoir stretch for a 18km. The rest of us just went on along Upper Thomson Road, turning onto Mandai Road all the way to the 12km U-turn point. The weather was cool but not much wind...the pace for the first half was a tad was comfortable as we bunched up. I reached the U-turn in 1:03...slightly slower than last week's 1:02, but was feeling a lot better today.

On the way back, I just trailed Freddy from about 200m who maintained a very steady pace. I felt quite good this morning with my Speedstar...up to the 15km mark...then my mind drifted away thinking about an incident at work....suddenly felt a pain in my inner right knee. I slowed for a 1km stretch....fortunately the pain went away. I continued on all the way back to OUTR, and was still feeling strong. It has been some time since I felt good at that 20km mark, up the OUTR gentle slope. With 4 km to finish, I just maintained a steady pace and manouvred those dreadful bends to finish the 24km run in 2hr4min+.

It was4min off last week's timing, but I felt pretty strong...probably didn't push very hard, but I was happy to just have maintained that tempo. Gentle was already at the finish all rested and fresh, cheering us on. RR and Freddy finished in 2:02 and 2:03, with Cheow coming back in a strong 2:08. DO came back shortly from his easy-paced run. A nice run for me, and we celebrated with cold choco milk, followed by ice-cold milo at our favourite stall...their iced-milo is really very thick and delicious...ahhhhh!

Distance: 24km__Time: 2hr4min__Pace: 5:10min/km

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

National Day activities

Did a short 8km run with the RL @ Velocity group on Tuesday, The route took us to the old SMU track where I did 4 laps and met many MR25 members doing their ninja track training. The Velocity group really live up to their name....high velocity....they always run very fast...phew. After the run, DO and I rushed down to meet the SAFRA MF gang to celebrate 4 persons birthday at the Bali Seafood Village in Gillman heights area...very good food...another cake...good to meet up with running friends whom we have not seen in a while :)

Did the NUS Hill Run 12km route with xdd, tktan, takashi, Brokie, DO, leh-lio...all very steady and able distance runners. It was a very enjoyable but by no means slacking run, what with the likes of Brokie and leh-lio keeping up the fast pace. Vigilante Drive and PGP slopes gave them a run for the money, and all came away very satisfied...we will consider having part of this route to be in Laksa Run 2. After the run, we had nice Malaysian fare at the Guild House Restaurant...very nice durian & green bean soup dessert...yummilicious....burp!

We almost had our Thursday Ubin outing cum recce spoilt by early rains, but patience prevailed, and we were rewarded with an excellent day of biking and visiting at 'happening' Ubin. Since no other runners joined in other then the Brokie family, we did not run but bike the relief of my dear trekking kakis and old friends...had a great time catching up with Chee Cheong, Stephen, Westly and family, Thomas and family, Brokie and family. The walk and exploration of Chek Jawa was interesting. We had a hilarious episode at the First Stop Restaurant, although we did not get to taste the highly recommended Mee Goreng and Chilli Crab. We visited many places, and I am sure Ubin offers at least a 20km concrete route, topped with another 20km of trail roads.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

There's no bad form, only weak minds?

I had one of the toughest runs at SAFRA MF today, although the rest of the runners RealRunner, Brokie, Vincent, DO, Fennel among many others ran strong and did very well...Brokie & Vincent did the 22km without drinking...oh my, unbelievable...I drank so much, I could hardly move... so Team Gentle gotta pay more attention to the good form of Team BroKiE's horse...hehe

I was just not myself today, and was feeling thirsty and groggy....probably mistake for me to follow RealRunner and Chin Whatt's fast pace initially...well, another lesson learnt, I gained lots from this training run. My Nike Air State Run shoes weighed heavily on my feet, and I felt the effects after about 10km. Running along the Keppel Road stretch, into Marina South was 'mental' although I felt ok with the average 5min/km pace up to the Marina Jetty for 11.6km....time check was 1hr5min. Since I brought my fuel belt, I decided to skip the water point at the Jetty.

By the time I reached the steamboat area, I lost steam, and had to let Ronnie and Chin Whatt go. I was desperate to look for some plain water to wash off the 'stickiness' of the gatorade drink. I was surprised to see Derrick, who was off form, and was very thirsty. We had our fill of water from a tap, and continued out from Marina South. It was not the same from then on...I stopped to walk a few times, as I was feeling tired...I followed Fennel from a distance, and she was running strong. Somehow Derrick was also very weak, and could not overtake me.

I decided to go via the Kampong Bahru way back for a 21km distance as I felt too drained to go for the original Henderson Road way back. Reached back the ClubHouse in 2hr and spotted DO who just came down from Mt. Faber hill....wah, his carbo loading the previous night left him with excess energy to burn off, and the 22km wasn;t quite sufficent...*salute*. I was just glad to reach back, and quickly downed lots of tummy was full of water, and I still felt thirsty...oh my! Its one of those days when I felt awful, even with a 21km distance...but, I am still happy to get the run in, and learn something more about my own thing's clear, the Air State Run can only be used up to 10km...most likely I will have to pass it on.

Distance: 21km__Time: 2hr__Pace: 5:43min/km

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Bev's first intervals

Bev managed to join the SAFRA gang for Queenstown interval training on Thursday 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.

Found some time this evening to take my new Nike Air Katana IV for a test run. The forefoot cushion was good, and the shoes felt light and airy....could do with more heel cushioning, but sufficient for 10-15km....quite happy with this pair of racer, my first Nike pair :)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Maiden Velocity Run

It was a fruitful Tuesday evening as I popped over for the Nike Sale (where I got another new pair of running shoe, Nike Air Zoom Katana IV), signed up for the New Balance 15km Run, collected my certificate from RL for the Saucony Passion Run, and of course, joined in the nice running group of RL@Velocity for my maiden Velocity Run.

Air Zoom Katana IV

There were about 20 runners...I heard the best turnout so far....and a lot of fast runners to boot. I had a good time running into Malcolm Road estate, along some rollling slopes, and keeping a watchful eye for the front runners of A-Yin, tktan. DO and Fennel were also around and enjoying the tempo pace. Once out of Malcolm area, and hitting Lornie Road, I was told to continue. Somewhere in front was an overhead bridge which we were supposed to take, and that was where I lost the front group for a bit, as I headed towards the nursery area along Thomson Road.

I turned back, waited for a bit, and then saw Fennel crossing the bridge. I signalled her to move on, while I waited for the rest. Along came Brokie and 2 other guys. Together we went over and took the slope up was rather short, more like the slope at Labrador Park...nevertheless, a nice run up and then down. These areas reminded me a little about NUS Hills area. As we moved on, I waited at a more secluded and confusing area, before joining up with Brokie and finishing the final 1km back to Velocity @ Novena Square.

It was a nice run for me, followed by nice makan and chit-chat about some of the fun and 'muddy' runs we have had....and that sortta led us to plan for a Ubin run/trek/makan on National Day...looking forward to the nature in Ubin...

Distance: 11km__Time: 55min__Pace: 5min/km

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