Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chocking Up Mileage...LSDs

Have begun to look at slowing increasing weekly mileage, albeit at a slower running pace. The objective is to spend time on the feet for conditioning of longer distances. Visited Edgedale Plains @ Ponggol, along Upper Serangoon and Sengkang, twice this week. I used to do this route in the wee hours of the morning...the traffic is high during the evening hours, though it gets a lot better once I get into the Sengkang stretch.

Monday: Did a 17km slow run from home to Sengkang/Ponggol area, via a rather heavy traffic area. Did not push hard....such runs are good for thinking and self reflection. However, with the many traffic junctions, I had to be alert throughout. Completed the run in 1.5hrs, excluding stops at traffic junctions. On the way back, bumped into Spinn3r...didn't realize he lives so close to me.

Tuesday: Went down to MF to do a easy route to The Esplanade. Its been quite time since we ran this. A smallish turnout..good to see long time kakis Cokiee and cfred...StarDust becoming a regular at MF, getting on well with the faster runners. Bev, myself, PS and Alber running for a fair stretch, at quite a respectable pace....hmm, need to slow down further for future training sessions if we are to make it through Sundown 84km. Went for Kway Chap @ ABC as just reward.

Wednesday: Because of dinner commitments on Thursday, and the lack of any organized run on Wed, I had to do another 17km to/fro Ponggol. The legs felt heavy for the 1st 5km, under the warm evening sun. Fortunately, put on a very light pair of Nike Katana...coupled with some slow-paced running, managed to get to the halfway point at Edgedale Plains feeling much better. The fuel belt of gatorade mix helped a fair bit. With the sun down, the return was much better and a second wind came at the 13km mark. Went back to some home-cooked chicken rice, with loads of chilli....yummy!

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sundown Familiarization Run #2

Managed to convince Bev to join me for the Sundown Familiarization Run at Bedok Reservoir this morning. She had signed up for the 42km distance, and is looking forward to getting some good training runs in preparation for her maiden Full Marathon.

We were there early at Bedok Reservoir with DO, and saw just a few had gathered. Soon, Bee, Ronnie, Sotong, Ripley and the rest of the SgRunners came in. Woodstock was still fresh from her jubilant marathon in Tokyo. TLR gave a quick brief, and we started promptly at 7am. Phei Sunn came trotting in, just in time to join in the rather large gathering of about 40 or more runners.

The familiarization run took us through many of the Park Connectors, which all seemed to be linked, with a few overhead bridges to cross along the way. It was rather cooling in the morning, and I was just enjoying my run at the rear with Bev, Grace and PS, whilst keeping an eye up front for FeetOfFury to lead us the way to ECP. The aim for me was to do a LSD pace, and just spend time on my feet. At ECP, we turned towards the direction of the Canoe Club, and I ran with FOF most of the way. I son't particularly enjoy such flat terrain, and often find it a strain on my calves and hamstrings.

We reached the Canoe Club area where Sotong and Taz had already prepared cold endurance drinks, sponsored by HiVelocity....thanks guys! We spent a fair amount of time resting and stretching. On the U-Turn, I ran a short stretch with Lai Chee, and then saw Rosemary and her friends actually snacking on the, fuelling on the go....good training...haha. Vincent and Jancy who caught up with the main group halfway, was just ahead, and I decided to run along with V for a short stretch. V shared a bit about his running and injury history....he is still a strong runner, in spite of his recent busy schedule which allows him only 1 run a week. Further up along the connector, Hophling was limping slightly...inflamed ITB...walk/run routine.

Into the final connector, I caught up with Yankee, Brokie, Vanda and two other runners. The sun was already up, and the heat was making me thirsty and a tad tired. I decided not to do another loop of 4.3km around Bedok Reservoir....will leave that for another time. Took lots of endurance drink at the, real thirsty. Chatted with some of the new people, and gathered for group photos when everyone returned. Bev did a good run. I think we all did 25km, spending about 3hr on our feet. A good workout.

We drove to SAFRA Tampines to wash-up, then proceeded to nearby Bedok Corner Food Centre for my favourite Pork Rib noodles and soya bean drinks. We discussed about the requirements for the Sundown 84km runners, and finally laid down the Progressive Run Plan to help prepare ourselves for the 84km challenge. Looking forward to the first of the series in the first friday of March, beginning with 35km.

Distance: 25km__Time: 2hr45min__Pace: 6:36min/km

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yuan Xiao Jie

Managed to find time to put in consecutive days of exercise this Yuan Xiao Week.

Sunday: Went to ECP for a short session of roller-bading...hmm, not really a workout...haha. Lots of nice 'scenery', but I was too focused on weaving the crowded lanes lah...haha.

Monday: 10km evening run around the estate. Don a heavy pair of Nike...really worked out my legs, and caused me to pant hard.

Tuesday: 13km run with the SAFRA MF Runners. A large turnout. StarDust and DeepCruiser joined us. Bev and I tried on the blink blink lights, and many

Wednesday: 10km run around the estate, this time donning a lighter pair of adizero. Someone honked at me midway, and was happy to see Kayano and his princess frantically waving. A big smile came to me as I waved back.

Thursday: Yuan Xiao Dinner with the family. No run! Lots of Makan! Happy RAT Year!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Back To The Zoo...

There were no runs at SAFRA MF for this decided to do the aniMILES route to the zoo. Wanted to do a LSD pace in preparation for Sundown in May. DO, StarDust, kk, Cheow12 was at the start point...waited 5min for DeepCruiser before starting off at 5:35am. The actual aniMILES group had started off just a while ago, running in a group at a steady pace...heard they were tapering for the upcoming ironman event.

We decided to take the Seletar Reservoir way after Cheow12 assured us the dogs there were tame...hehe. It was quite cool this morning, and as we passed along the recent fatal accident spot along OUTR, I could even feel a chill on my spine...I was the last man then, with the rest just slightly ahead...I was just hoping not to hear additional footsteps behind me *shudder*. Otherwise, I took it easy, and was conscious about running at a pace that might be sustainable for at least 50km. We lost StarDust, Cheow12 and kk as we moved along upper Thomson Road, then turning into Seletar Reservoir.

Took a quick break at the Reservoir toilet, before proceeding at a steady pace along Mandai Road. Met the aniMILES runners, notme, SC5, shin hwee, Anna et al on their return...exchanged morning greetings. Along Mandai Road, I heard some faint footsteps behind me...I thought it was just my imagination...When i looked back, I saw a white figure just behind me...yikes! He waved to me...aiya, it was DeepCruiser...I waved him on, and he happily overtook...I was awoken then...hehe. Reached the end of the road leading to the zoo in 1hr15min. It had been a while since I ran into the was an opportunity to remember Ah Meng and the other Orang Utan who had recently passed away as I reached the entrance of the Zoo. StarDust, Cheow12 and kk had earlier U-turned. DO and Deep went to the Zoo toilet, while I decided to proceed out.

From then, I was all alone running at my comfy pace. I soaked in the sights as dawn broke. I was thinking a lot about the boredom one had to endure for long runs...was thinking how to survive the 10-12hrs at Sundown 84km if I were to run mostly alone. Before long, I turned right from Mandai Road onto the Mandai Colabarium way heading back to Seletar Reservoir. Deep was not far behind me, also running his own pace. A few large groups of cyclists forced us onto the grass verge at various points. I was contemplating if I should try out the iShuffle or the Creative gadget....preferably, one with radio to keep me entertained during very long runs alone.

After about 21km, I was still feeling ok. I tried not to push the pace, and imagined I had to run for another 30km. I was soon back at Seletar reservoir toilet, and bumped into Kayano (in his very stylo 2XU skin suit)...he started his run at 6:30am, and was also heading to the zoo. Met a group of senior citizens who had gathered for morning exercises....many came in luxurious cars...hmm. The remaining 6km back was rather uneventful, with me trying to gauge my fuel tank. I had felt quite hungry earlier on...hmm, struck me that I might want to carbo-load for a few days at the next long run to see if the effects are better.

My legs were still feeling good....that was important, as I paced myself all the way to the finish, approx. 2hr50min total time-on-feet. Total distance should be 29km (using MapMyRun), since I ran both ways via Seletar Reservoir. The feeling was good, with reserves in me to continue for probably another 15-20km. StarDust, kk, Cheow12 and Deep were already back. Went to get some choco milk for recovery...yummy. DO came back soon, stopped for a hile to top-up his fuel tank, before continuing to run home. Deep too ran back home. They must have covered easily 35km.

Distance: 29km__Time: 2hr50min__Pace: 5:50min/km

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CNY Celebrations Week

Started the week with a series of short runs, getting warmed up after the CNY celebrations, and hoping to shed the excesses of the daily CNY intake of large meals, interspersed with lots of cookies and cakes.

Tuesday: The first run after CNY at SAFRA MF. Because of the upcoming HK Marathon, the training this week has been pared down to some lighter runs, albeit still with some hills. The menu this evening was to run the official MF 10km route, going up the Mt. Faber via the steeper side of Kampong Bahru. It had been some time since I went up those slopes...good for burning off the CNY excesses..:) The turnout was ok, many still not back from CNY, and some are already tapering for their upcoming marathons. After a round of exchanging festive greetings, we set off readily along Henderson Rd. The pace was quite fast...maybe most have rested well during the hols. My legs felt light, as I ran alone, leaving Bev to join cm, Adam and Rosemary. I felt ok as I chugged up the Kg. Bahru slopes....reached the top feeling quite good. Principal's sis was doing very well, running ahead of me. Took a quick water break at the top of MF, before descending and finishing up at the MF ClubHouse, via Telok Blangah Rise....elapsed time 53min....not fast, but ok for a training run.

Distance: 10km__Time: 53min

Wednesday: Had the good fortune to join the NUS Hill Runners for the Ren-Ri Run (R3) celebrate everybody's birthday! This evening saw the induction of 4 new members to the much-sought-after NUS Hill Runners Club, after they managed to complete the challenging official 12km NUS Hills Route, plus attending the awards dinner afterwards. Congratulations to Jodan, Rory, BioSynthesis and Hophling. Brokie, StarDust, dkw, xdd, tktan, wend88. Freddy and myself were the regulars who joined in the celebration run.

I had a nice run in cool weather, enjoying every bit of the challenging slopes of Haw Par Villa, Vigilante Drive and Prince George's Park. Ran with Rory for most of the first part till the PGP slopes, where I guided BioSynthesis to the end point from there. StarDust, Freddy, dkw, Brokie provided much of the leadership at the front. xdd and tktan played very good 'sweeping' roles. A very conditioned and gung-ho group of new runners, and the pace was not in the least bit slow...very good workout. Could not join the group for the Lao YuSheng dinner and Awards Ceremony as I had to 'scuttle' off for a dinner....shall wait for the photos :)

Distance: 12km__Time: 1hr14min

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GoNg Xi fA Cai...wAn sHi Ru yi

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

2008 Lunar New Year 5-Hills Run

The tank @ Kent Ridge Park

It was a large turnout at the NUS Guild House this morning, as I arrived for the Chinese New Year 5-Hills Run. Many came to have a good workout, some to experience the famed 5-hills region, while others had to 'burn' off their CNY excesses. There were many SgRunners, some MF Runners, and some overseas guests as well. There must have been about 40 runners. dkw who initiated and planned the run was not able to make it because of joyous occasion.

I conducted a quick brief of the various hills (Kent Ridge->Labrador->Mt. Faber->Telok Blangah->NUS Hill) we will be covering for the morning, and off we went towards Haw Par Villa and then up Kent Ridge via Vigilante Drive. There was a nice morning breeze as we moved along at quite a comfortable pace...5:30-5:45 or so. Good to see Ultra, Richy and shortlegs jon in the run, and get to meet many of the new runners. It was also nice to have Phei Sunn, Julie, Teck Hou and a few other SAFRA runners join in the fun.

Vigilante Drive woke all the runners up as we chugged up her steep was a strong bunch, all made it up without too much fuss. Some of us proceeded to complete a 1km loop of the Kent Ridge Park, soaking in the morning scenery. The group assembled at the top of Kent Ridge, and had a group photo at the tank...a feature of Kent Ridge runs...hehe. After some discussions, we crossed the Canopy Top and then found the stairway to the newly built Horticulture Park. We had fun snaking the mini Lombard way, and too bad we did not have a camera with us was a picturesque scene. Did a little bit of a 'low-wall' acrobatics, and we ran up the Hort Park, skirting Canterbury Estates, and proceeded towards Labrador Park.

All were glad to complete the first hill (Kent Ridge), and by then had sufficiently warmed up. We took Labrador Hill as we entered, and again, the runners had a nice climb. Rory and Tarepanda were happy to run through the shady tunnels area...Along with them, Mrs. Atomic, Colleen, Paulina and Swoop joined me for a 800km Labrador Park loop, before heading for the Dragon Tooth - a must visit place at our annual CNY Heng Heng Run. Fortunately, xdd's cam had sufficient batt just for a final group photo....for the memories! Without much stoppages, we headed for Mt. Faber Hill.

Heng Heng @ Dragon's Tooth

By the time we exited Labrador Park, a few of the runners had broken off to do their own run. The rest of us continued on and ascended MF via Morse Road....beginning of a long climb up our 3rd Hill objective. Some runners who were new to the route were smart to take mini walk breaks to conserve energy. It was satisfaction upon seeing the top of MF, and feeling the breeze. Had a longer toilet break, and all drank to their hearts' content. It was getting to be hot. When I asked if they were still keen on the 4th Hill, Telok Blangah Hill, most were game...hmm, they were beginning to enjoy thar hills lah...haha.

We descended MF through the steeper Kampong Bahru side, and was surprised to see Thomas running up ( training...and he was smiling...OMG!). I explained to some that we ran parts of the Mizuno MF 10km Route, and that going up MF via Kampong Bahru side is another hilly experience by itself....perhaps, some day, they would have a chance to try all these interesting hilly ascents...fastest way would be to run with the MF Runners...hehe. Rory, Tarepanda, Paulina, lionking, feetoffury, shortlegs, Richy, SlingRunner and many more who had not tried MF, were taking in all the slopes in their strides....very well conditioned runners indeed. They will be well conditioned when its time to do the Nanyang Dusty Run...Whoa!

We headed along Telok Blangah Rise towards SAFRA MF ClubHouse....more slopes. In fact, the NUS/MF area is known to be full of slopes, and many of the SAFRA Runners do their regular runs on such undulating terrain. The SgRunners were really doing well. My feet were getting tired with all the pounding, and coupled with the heat, was feeling a tad tired. Spotted Ya Kun at SAFRA MF...if there weren't a group that we had to lead, I would have gone in there for a nice cuppa..hehe. Brokie got excited at that stage, for she was to do her maiden trot up Telok Blangah Hill. A few of the young runners, stardust, Teck Hou, lionking, roadrunner, DeepCruiser chionged up the 500m slopes...I preferred to just jogged along. We made it up all the way, and we did a complete loop at the top of TB Hill.

4th Hill conquered...all were tired but looking strong. The gals were just so strong mentally...I secretly hoped they asked to cut short the distance. But none made any such requests...haha. Cham. Along with Mrs. Atomic, Brokie and Paulina, we played a little bit of catch-up to meet the front group at the end of the by-then-felt-very-long Depot Road. I figured we had covered about 21-22km by then. Without much time to discuss, we pushed on along Alexandra Rd towards Queensway, then into the Railway track, out along Jalan Hang Jebat....2 groups married at the junction, before moving up to Science Park. We made a much needed air-cond stop at the fitness gym....the air-cond and sofa seats were so comfy that we almost did not move from there...Phew!

DO and Freddy suggested a very nice option, to do the 5th Hill (Prince Geroge's Park) in going down-slope instead of up. Everybody had 2 hands up in, such unity...haha. Knowing that the end was near, we pushed our weary legs under the heat along Science Park Drive. 50m to the left, we turned down the slopes of, a was the way we would have to come up by if we went for this final uphill. Nobody complained. I waited a little for Brokie and her group to show up, before running all the way down....there were no shade from the blistering heat...heng we were running down man. Finally, I saw the Guild House at the turn...I signalled to the rest behind that we were near. Their faces lit up, their thumbs up, and their posture were good. The last chiong up the 50m slope was real 'mental', and if it was not for the 100plus held out by tktan, leh-lio, xdd...all would have just stopped below...hahaha.

We celebrated the worthy completion of the 27.5km (those that did the loops at Kent Ridge and Labrador Parks) and 26km routes with 100plus, ice-cold barley, red wine....Yum Seng! The time on our feet was 3.5hrs, very good conditioning no doubt. Had a good wash-up before assembling to Formosa Delights for thhe wonderful Taiwanese fare... Beef Noodles, Sweet-n-Sour Noodles, soya bean drink...some had Prata from next door Cheese Prata...many were famished, finishing the large servings. Lots of chit-chat, and discussions of the day's run, and how 'shiok' a workout it was...some even regretted not eating more at their Reunion dinners, for they would have surely been burnt away on those up, Yu Sheng Loh Hei Run, where we will tackle the famed 12km NUS Hill Run Route.

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Pu Pu Gao Sheng....Cheers!

Distance: 27.5km__Time: 3hr30min__Avg Pace: 6min/km

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

MF Training @ MR

It has been a long time since the MF Runners gather at MacRitchie for training runs. I used to join SAFRA MF for such runs 2 years ago, and had been introduced to many of the interesting trails and scenic routes within the Reservoir area that I know today. MacRitchie is the regular training ground for the MR25 Runners, and some of us are members and do participate regularly in MR25 Progressive Runs, X-Country Marathon and Ultra-Marathon. Thanks to trainer Bug, we might do more of such training runs at MR in future, starting with the 24km one this morning.

It was to be Beverly's longest distance run, and at slopey MR trails to boot. She was nervous ahead of the run, and I did my best to mentally prepare her. It has never been a stroll at the undulating MR course, and I too was looking forward to have a good workout. A sizeable group of MF Runners had gathered by 7.20am....Bug, DO, Bev, Phei Sunn, Alber, Siew Lee, Wayne, Peter, Kok Kong, Zhi Wei, Jancy, Vincent and a few others from SAFRA Tampines as well as friends of Mf Runners. Bug gave a brief of the route, and we started off towards Northern route at 7.30am.

The initial pace was rather quick, and before Bev could catch her breath, the group was mostly in front, tackling the gravel trails. It was undulating, and runners had to be extra careful with their footing, taking quite a fair bit of effort. I was telling Bev to keep the front runners in her view, and to take smaller steps up those initial slopes. We exited Northern Route in 25min...quite fast actually for a 24km trail run. Along chunky hill we all went, and as the runners gingerly tackled the steep slope along SICC Golf Course, I could only hear the sounds on footsteps and some heavy breathing. All did very well in the end, as we proceeded towards scenic Upper Pierce Reservoir.

Took a water stop at UPR toilets, and along with Bev, we headed into air-cond road. It was a nice 2.8km in and out, before we approached more slopes along UPR road till the Main Gate meeting Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR). The runners were chugging along rather well, and Bev was trying to recover with more steady breathing. We made a right turn along OUTR towards Casuarina Prata area. It became more familiar to Bev, as we used to visit the place for nice makan. I also explained that we had ran portions of the aniMILES and Prata routes...hehe. With 1km to go, we picked up speed and reached Lower Pierce Reservoir (LPR) toilet for a mid-point break.

All looked fresh to go, as we tackled the remaining half of the distance back. Along OUTR, we saw the 'Fatal Accident' sign of the recent fatal car crash of 2 poly students along the route. I shouted to the front to be more careful, as this stretch of OUTR often have cars speeding...lots of cyclists too. Bev was complaining of the toughness of the course....worse than GE20km slopes...haha...I know it is a mental challenge for most of us. More so, I asked her not to stop, but to proceed steadily. I ran ahead after the Main Gate, back along 2 more slopes, into the air-cond road once more. Siew Lee, Wayne, Bev and the rest all went for another loop too...well done.

The final 5.5km back along Golf Course, Chunky Hills and then Northern Route was the real test for most of the newer runners. It was here that many had to stop to walk up the slopes...but then it is understandable, as they would have been quite drained off glycogen by then. Still, all the mf runners, including Bev did very well by walking very little, and jogging through the tough portions. Once I saw them enter the Northern Route, I knew they would have no more problems completing. I made my own way back the remaining 4km, enjoying the cool weather and relatively 'tourist-free' pathway this morning. The only annoying thing was the sharp rocks which have made the trails a lot harder to run, and causing discomfort through my relatively thin DS Trainer.

Near the end, I could even feel a tightness in my not a terrain to play around...haha. We were rewarded with delicious 'Sng Muay' Sng Pow, cut fruits, and 100-plus...many thanks to Siew Lee, Wayne and Peter. I took 2 Sng Pows...Beverly too. It was heavenly, and made the hard work all well worth it. Lots of happy chatting, and some even asked for more hills...haha. Not to worry, there are always the Rifle Range and Bukit Timah ranges to go for...will let trainer Bug plan them in progressively. Overall, a good experience for all, and Bev was happy she completed the 25km run, taking 3hours. I think it was not an easy run at all, and all who finished it should be proud of themselves. After a quick wash-up, some of us went to the usual Adam Food Centre for Prawn Noodles and the yummiclious teh alia.

Distance: 25km XC__Time: 2hr30min__Pace: 6min/km

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