Sunday, January 24, 2010

5 weeks to HK Marathon

With barely 5 weeks to the Hong Kong Marathon, I picked up my resolve to join the SAFRA MF Runners for their weekend run at Mt. Faber to tune-up my slope-running form. There was quite a group at MF, and it was good to meet up with many of the MF Runners, as well as some new runners who have been training with Team FatBird.

I planned to do a straightforward 25km along the rather hilly NUS and MF slopes. Spencer, YN, Kok San and myself ran the first part together at about 5:30min/km pace. Beverly joined Michael, Shirley and a few others behind. I could feel tiredness in my legs, and the form was at best 80%. The 99-winding road stretch did sap some of our early reserves, and by the time we climbed the NUS slopes in sunny weather, I was feeling rather drained. We chugged ahead anyway, and met some of the gang at the Visitor's Centre for a nice toilet break and some hydration.

The route out of NUH took more out of the legs, and I felt some relief as we went back by the Buona Vista way in the down-slope direction. It offered a good breather, and I decided then that I would attempt to climb Morse Road to MF earlier as part of simulating the final up slopes at the HK Marathon. When I reached Morse Road, I was already dripping with perspiration, and had just a little bit of water left in my fuel belt. Tough was an understatement of the climb up MF. My legs felt like lead, and my quads were burning by the time I reached MF Loop. I told myself to just chug up without stopping.

It felt great at the top of MF when I finally had a chance to splash myself to cool down. Took a 5min breather, before proceeding down slope along Morse Road. Met Grace and a few other bikers on the way doing their climbs...they were working very hard to get their bikes up those slopes. Although I had only covered about 19km by then, I felt winded and rather worked out. I just wanted to maintain my form all the way back to ClubHouse and call it a morning. The final 4km was 'burning' at certain sections, and the final slope at Telok Blangah Way finishing up my 'reserves'. It sure was great to reach back to the MF ClubHouse, completing 24km at an average of 5:38min/km pace.

Had some nice guava and 100plus, courtesy Siew Lee & SAFRA MF Running. Lai Chee shared her trials and tribulations at the recent Pacesetters 30km, where she was denied a 3rd placing due to timing confusions. Heard that Zhi Lei was just next to Lai Chee when they crossed the, ZL is really getting very fast. HK Marathon, Run-Round-Singapore and the SAFRA MF Ultra-Marathon Challenge were some of the interesting topics we shared and discussed. I really enjoyed the warmth and the friendship offered by the SAFRA Runners. I hope to be there more often to join them for hills training and longer distance runs. Till the next one at MF, Cheers!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

aniMILES Reloaded!

To clock in some mileage, I joined the FatBird team this Sunday morning for a 24km LSD at the aniMILES route. I have not been to this route for more than 6 months, in fact, even longer than that. The last time we ran past was during Operation NightHawk 2008.

We kicked off the run at 6.50am, after waiting for 20min for any last-minute runners....just missed Eline. The morning air in that green-lung area was fresh and crisp. As we moved onto OUTR from Casuarina, we picked up the pace to about 5:15min/km. DO and I were showing the way to a few of the FatBird Runners, as we proceeded to assemble at Seletar Reservoir toilet. FJ turned back for a 15km, while we the rest moved on towards Mandai Road along the way to Crematorium. At the junction, Andy, YN and Spencer split to the right towards Thomsom Road for 18km.

Johnny, DO and I continued on to the end of the road leading to the Zoo. We were pleasantly surprised to see that stretch being nicely paved, and the bushes and shrubs removed. It made for a much smoother run, and the road no longer slippery as it was before. We met a few smallish running groups along the way, and a few packs of cyclists along the group shouted 'FATBIRD', but we couldn't make out who it was...hehe. A distance up, SC5 on his bike also called out to me. That Mandai Road stretch is still as interesting as before :)

On the U-turn, we took the straight and long road all the way to Upper Thomson Road. The sides were also paved, and made for some good running. We moved our pace to 4:50min/km - 5:00min/km. Along Upper Thomson Road, I bumped into Eline, who was running back home. With 6km to go, I slowed the pace a little to catch a breather. The sun was burning down on my back...fortunately there were shades along OUTR. Finished the 24km back at LPR in 2hr4min. Someone called out to me, and realized it was Loke with the Sgrunners MR group.

Familiar faces all round, they did about 12km in slopey terrain of SICC. YN, Spencer and Andy had a nice Prata brekky along Casuarina, before meeting us back at LPR. We had a good chat about stylo-mylo sun-shades as training for the upcoming Sundown Marathon in May. Our marathon conditioning for HK Marathon will continue next weekend at the slopes of Mt. Faber....6 weeks to the race :)

Distance: 24.2km__Time: 2hr4min__Pace: 5:10min/km

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Running Weekend

It was a weekend of back-back running to catch up with running kakis and friends whom I have not met for a while. With the busy schedule of group runs and marathon training in 2009, meeting and running with new runners and trainees were the order of the day, and I have not been able to go back to join the various running fraternities for runs.

I had a good catch-up with some of the marathon pacers @ the FatBird Nest on Saturday. We did a progressive 21km, moving from a 7min/km pace to 6min/km to 5:30min to 5:15 and eventually finishing in 4:45min/km pace for the final 2-3km. It was hard running to say the least...haha. There were evidently less runners at ECP, but that should change as we kick into the running season by March. I enjoyed the time spent with the FatBird and pacer friends, yakking about all things under the sun, but lots still about the running topic...haha.

On Sunday, I joined the SAFRA Runners for their quarterly location run, this time organized by SAFRA Yishun in the North. I always make it a point to return to SAFRA for the location runs to catch up with friends, runners whom I have not seen in a while, as well as meet the many new and enthusiastic runners that have joined the community. The SAFRA Runners are always a friendly bunch, and through such location runs, allow the meeting up and socializing among all of us with the common interest and passion...Running!

We did one of those progressive paced runs (slow to fast...haha) of about 13km...sufficient to burn some for a short weekend workout :). Other than chatting and yakking with the runners from SAFRA MF, Toa Payoh, Tampines, Yishun and now Jurong, I always enjoy the after-run Sng Pao and the breakfast. Lots more sharing about our upcoming races and training, as well as getting to know more running folks. Nice! I look forward to visiting more SAFRA Location Runs in 2010, whenever schedule permits.

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