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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Count Down to D-Day

6 more days to go before my third and perhaps last (??) attempt at the full marathon. Why last? Cos I promised myself if I can do a ‘perfect’ marathon, I will retire on a high and henceforth, no waking up at 5 am to do silly shagged tiring hot want to die long runs

What is a “perfect” marathon? To me, it is not the time finish but more how I will feel after finishing (if I finish that is).

Flashback 2 Dec 2004 – my first marathon. Then with only 9 months of running behind me, I went for it without any expectation and also not realizing what was in store for me. I mentally targeted to finish 4:30 and was on target up to the 30km distance and than wham, the cramps set in and I had to walk the rest of the way back. Eventually, finished in 5:16 and even had the humiliation of having to get Sebas to come down and drive me home – so bad was the cramp and ache that I couldn’t even walk after crossing the finishing line!

4 Dec 2005 – 1 year later with 1 more year of running experience and tips, advices from friends, came back ready to give it another shot. This time, with hindsight and experience, decided to set a modest 5hours target. Sigh, this time round the cramps came in even earlier at 27km and with that hobbled back in 5:37.

So what’s going to happen this time round? Based on the various pace calculators and using my recent race times, I am supposed to be able to finish between 3:52 to 4:20. Ha I know myself – these sort of timing is not possible so I am contend if I can hopefully finish within 5 hours and thereafter able to go off on my holiday without any aches or pain.

Question is – can 1? 1st time round – target 4:30 finish 5:15 (45mins behind); 2nd time 4:45 finish 5:37 (57mins behind); this time target 5 hours will I finish 6:00 aargg! I having nightmares just thinking about it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Balance M1222WO

Rushed down to the New Balance Warehouse Sale and managed to grab a pair of NB M1222 for the grand price of $90.00. Couldn't believe my good fortune cos it was one of my shortlist to replace the PI. According to the New Balance website, this is a 2007 model and the retail price is just over $200.00 so paying $90.00 for it is really a steal.

According to the NB website, the M1222 is a high mileage trainer designed to provide maximum stability and cushioning for the moderate to severe overpronator.
Took it out for a short run this evening at the RL Thu Night run. First impression, it was quite comfortable and support well. Cushioning was pretty good. One annoying thing was it gave out loud squelching sound when landing - much like air being pressed out. I had to keep checking to make sure I was wearing a leaking Nike Air:)

The other thing was they only had it in wide size 4E so it was a tad too loose at the front and I had to stop thrice to tighten the shoe lace real tight.

Overall, it feels good although only ran about 5km in it. Quite happy with the purchase so far. Other than the price it also comes in my favourite colour! Ha Ha no prize for guessing which colour is it.

1 down, 3 more shoes to replace. All my shoes are dying. The 2 Asics have gone past the 500 km mark. For the GT2110, its last run will be the marathon. Most likely, will get another pair of Asics, maybe the 2120 to replace it. The M1222 is a more suitable replacement for the 2100. Will probably get the TNF Arnuva 50 to replace the NB 906 which means I still need to replace the PI - probably with a lightweight trainer.

NB 1220

Date of Purchase: 22 November 2007

Cost: $90.00

Purchased from: New Balance Warehouse Sale

Worn in Races: Nil

Retired: 3 July 2008 (trade in at RL Funan)

Total mileage on retirement: 340.4km

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ugly Shoes

I thought my MBT shoes are ugly.

This is worse.

According to its website, Z-CoiL® footwear is engineered specifically to relieve foot, leg, and back pain. Its patented, shock-absorbing design greatly reduces impact to the body and distributes pressure more evenly across the foot than conventional shoes do. And less impact means less pain.

Much as it tout fantastic benefits, I don't think I will be caught dead wearing a pair of such weird looking shoes. Machiam like those Manchurian shoes but with the innards exposed!

Hmm... wondering are there even uglier shoes out there?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Old Shoes don't go, New Shoes cannot buy

My PI Pace is dead - after a miserly 447.4km and just 6 months old. The black rubber sole has practically wear down until the next layer white plastic or rubber whatever is visible. So sad:( What a short life span.

Compare this to the oldest shoes in my current collection, the Asics GT 2110 (Feb 2006) with a mileage of 695km and still looking good and most importantly, feel good after more than a year of wear and tear.

Hmmm, now this leave me with a nice task - to get a brand new shoes - what should I consider - Adidas, NB, Asics or the North Face?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Running is Bad!

At the risk of opening another can of worms from my mysterious friend who claimed he has provided scientific data on why running is bad and I have not; here goes:

..... Dr Bonnie Bruce, the study author, followed more than 500 runners from a local club (called “ever runners” in the study) and 300 inactive people (“never runners”, but not necessarily sedentary) in their 50s and 60s for 14 years. When results from an annual health questionnaire were analysed, Bruce and her colleagues found that the “ever runners”, who ran at least six hours a week on average, experienced less joint pain by their 60s and 70s and only 35% of the joggers got arthritis (compared with 43% of non-runners)......Myth: Running is bad for your knees

....The belief that running is bad for your knees is a myth. In fact, the only runners who ever have bad knees are those who already had knee problems before they started running, have a knee condition they didn’t previously know about, or are using incorrect form when they run..... Why should you run?

.....This research also allows runners to be a little smug, because we now know that despite what scientists and the cynical suggest, running is far from bad for you. The only difference between what our ancestors did and modern man does is that most of us have become a little soft.....Running Evolution

...However, it is also worth noting that because running is a weight bearing exercise, it also stresses the bones of the lower body in a positive way. Weight bearing exercise causes the bones to retain minerals and thus supports the rebuilding/maintenance of strong bones....Running: Advantages & Disadvantages

......There are many factors that cause pain in the knees. The most common cause of knee pain is a muscle imbalance in the quadriceps. This imbalance causes the knee joint to be pulled in a direction in which it isn’t designed to be pulled.....Running is bad for your knees

And I can go on and on but I suspect somebody else will dig out even more anti-running stuff to support his case.

I will end with these posts from a forum (no offence but this is exactly how I feel most time with the 'expert' opinion:

"Exercise and nutrition seem to be two of those areas everyone has an opinion on. Who knows why... Some of the crappy advice never seems to die either. It just spreads like a disease or something... Blah. I always love the "running is bad for you (r knees)". WTF?"

"In every instance where someone has told me that running is bad for me-that person is on medication for at least one of the above mentioned issues. Go figure!!"

"Those who CAN'T (or won't) teach, those who can DO!

"I think they are just another case of people who think they are always right.
They don't it must be bad for you, right? Otherwise they'd be out there doing it too. Or feeling guilty that they're fat and lazy"

All quotes from Runner's World Forum

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last Long Run - ECP - Changi - ECP

Finally, after 2 unsuccessful attempts to do my 35km long run (both got canned by the rain), managed to complete it today.

Left the house at 5.30 am this morning but barely 20 minutes, lighting and thunders started flashing all over. Then the rain came but fortunately, it didn't poured and managed to carry on.

Ran till the lagoon at East Coast Park and uturn to Changi Beach until the toilet with the kiosk. Stopped to get a drink before turning back to carpark F2 at East Coast. Miscalculated the route distance and ran 38km instead of just 35km, the original target!
Along the way, bump into Gary; Ronnie and Bee and also chatted with 2 strangers running the same way. Also met Cosmic and finally at the end of the run, saw Tigger with his whole gang of disciples.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Run Route - Simei - ECP - Changi - Loyang - Tampines - Simei

Running in the evening always carries some risk - bad weather, last minute appointment, etc etc but wanted to sleep late so switch the morning run to evening. Crossed fingers and in the end everything turned out fine and managed to went for my run.

Decided to try a new route. From home ran the usual way via the Bedok Park Connector to East Coast Park and ran toward NSRCC. From there moved on to Changi Coastal Road running along the park connector. This is like the 6th times I ran there for the past 2 months? Changi Coastal Road is approximately 7km long from the start of the park connector next to the SAF Yacht Club till the Changi Ferry Terminal. Realised that the red brick shelters are spaced 1km apart. Useful as a distance indicator.

The stretch from the Changi Ferry Terminal starting from the park till Changi Beach is 3.3km (at least it said so on the distance indicators on the ground). Didn't run till the end though.

Turned off into Telok Paku Road after 2.7km. By than the sky had already turned dark as it was already past 7pm. Saw a runner dressed all in black and running on the road instead of using the footpath. Sigh. When will these people ever learn to run safely!

Hit into Loyang Ave. This was one of the most grueling stretch as it slopes gently upward all the way till Pasir Ris. Distance was approximately 4km but it sure seem much longer.

Finally, went into Tampines, popped into the Cheers supermart at the Esso petrol station for a drink before continuing home to Simei.

Total distance covered 26.5km or thereabout.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Addicted to Running?

Someone posed a interesting comment on my previous entry. Essentially, this person who chose to remain anonymous said that runners run due to addiction. I quote: "I am sure most people only keep running due to addiction. I hear so many that literally hate it yet keep on going. That's textbook addiction." unquote. He or she went on to say in a later comment: quote "I can't see that being anything besides addiction, especially when they acknowledge that they hate the way running makes them feel once the dndorphins(sic) wear off."

In a way I do agree with the comments. It is safe to say that once the runners' high kick in, nothing beats the joy and feeling of running - not swimming, not scoring a goal in a football game, not climbing the highest mountain in the world. Certainly, many runners seem to be addicted to running - they can't seem to talk about running, is always on the lookout for new routes and races to run, cannot pass by any sport shops without checking out and ultimately buying some running products and for many - die die must run through illness, injury and of course sometime run until drop dead. Runners are so passionate about running - they talk about it all the time unlike say swimmers or ball players.

Why do people run in the first place? I guess most people start running for 2 main reasons:

1. Health reasons - lose weight; fat; as a prevention against some illness
2. Forced to - by doctor; organisation (has to pass fitness test)

What mostly happen; if they don't drop out within the first 3 months; is that most will end up on a love/hate affair with running.

Why love? Love because you can't seem to get running out of your head. You think about where to run before you stop work for the day, you think about where to run for the weekends on Friday, you constantly think about which shoes, which attire to wear for the run and you make plans with running kakis to run all over - just like being in love and dating.

Why hate? Cos you hate dragging yourself up so damn early in the morning to go for the long run, you hate the oh so hot sun baking down on you, you hate it when your whole body tense up as if going to cramp, you hate it when the knees, the shin, the ITB gets sore and injured and you ache all over and cannot go for a run.

Some hard core runners I know cannot pass a day without running and will run through hell if required. They live and breath running and becomes irritated, bad tempered and frustrated when denied the opportunity to run. The feeling is worse especially if you have already penciled in the run and have to miss it. I am sure many of us is familiar with that sunken feeling when we are all ready to go for a run and somehow due to work, weather, whatever we are forced to cancel the run. Is these symptoms considered addition?

The Webster dictionary defines addiction as "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

Does that sum up a running addict? Let's replace: "compulsive need for running characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal from running...."

I am no master of words so I can't summarize well but at the end of the day - are runners mostly addicted to running? Indeed do I run because I am addicted to running? What about all my running friends out there? Your take?