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Saturday, June 28, 2008

MR again

Since I started running, MacRitchie Reservoir has been one of my favourite place to run because of its shade and circular route. Unfortunately, it is also a sort of nemesis of a route for me. I have tripped, had branches crashed down on me and injured my knees there and the last fall I ended up with a broken specs and stitches on my face. Despite that, I was still determined not to allow the place to conquer me so I am back for another bash at it.

This time round, I brought along 3 young(??) ladies. As usual, I choose to start from Upp Pierce (park there more easy) and run to MR. Roo has never been there before and she sure kena caught by surprise by the number of slopes. But she gamely hung on and finished well in the end. This time round the run was unevent full although it took a tad too long with the toilet and many water breaks. I think overall for the 16 or so KM we took 2 hours plus although based on my Nike+ SportsBand, the running time taken was only 1:48:15. (I paused it everytime I stopped for water/toilet breaks).

Oh yah, the Nike+ (u think I forgot about that?), the hairdryer treatment doesn't work. Probably only for Alex Ferguson:) It still ticking though. Distance is still out by about 1km + and the Nathan Shoe Pouch is a breeze to use. Anybody know any other useful way to get rid of the water vapour from the glass surface?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Continuing the adventure of the Nike+ SportsBand

An anonymous tip off that the Epicenter@orchard carries the Marware pouch for the Nike+ sensor. Sianz that's not a place I frequent so thought I looked around in Funan. The Mac shop there also only carry the Switcheasy. Than after the run, while browsing in the shop - lo and behold - found this:
A Nathan shoe pouched specially for the Nike+ sensor and all the while I been looking high and low when it was just in front of me. And cost $15.00 only.

Unfortunately, now got new problem. After last weekend run, M took the SportsBand for a shower. The darned thing is supposed to be able to be submerged in 1m deep water for at east 30 minutes but 1 shower later, somehow the water vapour has managed to get in and the result is this:

Hopefully, with 1 hairdryer and silica treatment later, the water vapour will dry up otherwise got to send it back in for treatment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lost and Found

Was reading in the forum that the Switcheasy was not as good as the Marware pouch. Was surprised as I even had problem prising open the casing of the Switcheasy the other day to take out the sensor for M to use in her shoe.

Then it happened! This afternoon was at Bedok Reservoir with the Simei Constituency runners practising for the Inter Con Race next month. After about 2km, saw the runner in front glanced at his watch and subconsciously also followed. Then realised the Sportsband was registering only 0.01km. Glanced down and saw the top half of the Switcheasy was missing together with the Nike Sensor! My heart sunk. Turned back and hoped nobody had picked it up and pocketed it.(I can hear the Nike people reading this...tsk tsk wear Nike shoe lah than don't have this problem!)Luckily after a short search, M managed to find the sensor. Whew!

So look like probably got no choice but to get the Nike+ shoe? or can someone tell me where to get the Marware pouch?

Anyway, for the morning run at Bishan Park, the distance captured was 8km which was atrociously way too long. Total area for Bishan Park 1 & 2 should not be more than 7km but I think based on pace, we only did about 6.5km. So did letting M use the Nike+ really screwed up the reading?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Me and my Nike+ SportsBand

Warning: this is another one of the Nike+ SportsBand update so don't read on if you are sick of it already.

Anyway, after last week calibration, finally found time yesterday to go back to Tampines Stadium to do another run. The first round of 400m was super accurate. 400 exactly on the display. Thereafter, it started to falter. 820m and 1.24km before I gave up tracking. All together did 3x400 warm up, 10xinterval with another 10xrecovery in between and finally another 1.2km cool down. So total distance 10.4km but this was what was captured by the Nike+ Sportsband.

For tonight run, passed the whole thing to M who used it on her Nike+ Vomero shoes.
They ran from the usual start place to Marina South MRT and back with 1 loop round Esplanade Park. Total distance should not be more than 7km. This is what the display showed:
So maybe the Nike+ sensor got confused with the smaller pace?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mizuno Mt Faber Run 2008

2 races in consecutive weeks. This time it is the Mizuno Mt Faber race, a 10km race starting from Bukit Merah up to Mt Faber.

The crowd this year was noticeably smaller probably because it coincides with the Anlene 1 mile race at Orchard Road. Unlike last year, the race was more organized this year. They started off the race in 2 waves catching everyone by surprise as this was not announced prior to this. The Men’s Open was flagged off first but a fair bit of ladies and veterans runners went along. We, meaning the Ladies, Men and Ladies Veteran were flagged off 15 minutes later and it was good because it gave us more space to run unlike last year where we had to walk almost to Henderson Road before we could start running.

Our objective like last year was just to enjoy the race and not to go all out. Not that our ‘go all out’ is going to take us anywhere though even if we want to However, when I saw the small crowd, I told M I think she have a chance of getting a top 10 if she can do about 55 minutes. So we changed the game plan and she had to follow my pace. The first 5 km was fairly smooth and we took about 30minutes. I reckoned this was good enough as thereafter it was down slope and easier to run at a faster pace. However, like everything else, it didn’t go according to the script and M started complaining of ‘gastric’ at the top of Mt Faber and refused to go faster. Actually I think it is stitches but you don’t argue with a lady who is already feeling stressed. As all guys who have ran together with their spouses, girlfriends will testify, don’t say too much to them, not even words of encouragement especially when they are pushing hard cause you are likely to get your head chewed off. That is what I kena when I keep telling her to go faster, to keep up with me as I see the minutes ticking by. At the 7km marker, the time was 39mins so I figured we were still on target for a sub 60 finish but she got slower and slower or is it the distances became longer? Anyway, we crossed the finish line together in 1 hour 02min and 52 secs. A bit of a disappointment I thought as I was sure she could have done it within 1 hour especially with the good weather.

We had gathered with the rest of the sgrunners runners for photo-taking when out of the blue, heard the MC calling her bib number. Have the lucky draw started already? Instead, to our surprise, M had actually come in 9th position and managed to walk away with a medal, a Mizuno voucher for $150 and another Ice Power voucher of $50.00. Actually she and the 8th position winner was a bit embarrassed to win considering the sort of timing they had but hey the field was small – not their fault. So all well’s that end well. And hopefully this will serve as a encouragement for her to train to run faster.


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Nike+ SportsBand - The distance shown was 10.91km but me think it is just about 10.5km.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Run 14 June 2008

Eastpoint to Bedok Reservoir 2 round around it and back. Total distance according to MapMyRun is 15.2km.

Distance according to the Nike+ SportsBand is 16.25km.

Which one is more accurate?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Different Chart!

Now I really stumped and you will be too if you read the earlier post. Yes the chart came out as a series of hills and valleys like I expected. But this was what I saw on the Nikeplus. website:
Both are the same run. So how came the online (above) and the grab version look so different.

Last Night Run

Just when I thought I figured out the Nike+ Sportband's pace recording, it stumped me again. I had figured that the dip in the pace was due to it capturing my slowest pace (as in when I stopped for traffic or a breather). So I was expecting the chart to look like a series of hills and valleys as I was sweeping last night and stopping every so often for the last runner. But look what the chart come out with:

And the pace for that dip? 31.26/km? Who in the world walk 31mins for a km!

Other than this bummer, it was pretty spot on in term of distance. 7.92km - very close to the 8km that i think the route should be. So the calibration helps.. I think

PS: Those sick of my ravings on the Nike+, very paiseh. I sold my soul:) to the nice people from Nike so got no choice but to keep on writing about it:(

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eye Wear

2 years ago, wore a gold rim aviator sunglass for a run and somebody said very retro. That show how old me is. Recently got a new one. Was contemplating between going for lasik or getting new eye wear. In the end, went for the cheaper option and got a pair of Optic Nerve Falcon which can be fitted with a prescription len insert.

The sunglass itself cost less than a $100.00 but the prescription len that I made at my friendly neighbourhood shop cost doubled the price so in the end the whole thing wasn't so cheap after all.

The spec itself fit very snugly on the face and doesn't slip. No need for any spectacle band. However, the prescription lens insert sit a bit too close to the eyes and can be quite uncomfortable during hard movement. Overall, a value for money sunglass (without the prescription lens).

Calibrating Run

Finally, got the chance to go to Tampines Stadium to get the Nike+ Sportband calibrated. Kiasu a bit and split the run into 2. First one at around 6 min pace for 2.4km and the second slightly faster 3.6km at 5.00 pace. Without calibration, the Nike+ measured the distance as 2.52km and 3.66km respectively. Is that considered accurate or not? Came back upload the info and calibrate it. Now to wait for the next run to see whether it is now even more accurate!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Saucony Passion Run 2008

3rd race for this year. Signed up for the 10km instead of 15km. Sort of progressive race... ha ha JPMorgan Chase 5.6km, Couples Run 8km and now 10km.

Weather was good. Cloudy in fact which means I look silly in the sunglass. But no choice blind as a bat without the eyewear so got to keep wearing it.

Our wave (10km Men & Women Veteran & Junior) started off together at 8am. Initial target for this race was to attempt under 50mins. Have been feeling good and concentrating on short run so felt target was achievable. However, spirit is willing, body is weak (or is it the other way round?) couldn't find the energy to chiong all out so ran at a steady 5+min pace instead. At the 5km distance marker, time was 27:06min so the sub 50min was out. But decided a PB was still achievable so pick up the speed a bit. At 9km, the watch showed 50:35. Awww shucks there goes the PB. Saw the tents coming up, ran faster a bit and realised it was still not the end. Have to run some more up the road towards direction of Bedok Jetty. But hey, behind me, all the runners were turning. Stopped and listened to an angmoh argued with the marshall that it was the end. The marshall was insisting 10km u-turn in front. My watch already showed 55+ so I knew I had definitely covered 10km and the distance was wrong. How far was the u-turn? Should I continue to run or turn back? What if there is another checkpoint in front?

Really didn't know what to do. Everybody was turning into the finishing bay. Heck, if I continue, I will be slower than those people behind me. In the end, decided to turn back and finish in 56:39. I reckoned I ran about 10.5km. Wished I had my Nike+ SportsBand with me. Found out there is no checkpoint in front so my time will be official. No DNQ. but what a screw up way to end what was otherwise a very well organised race!

M came back in 1:02m which by her standard was pretty slow. She had ran until the u-turn nearer to Bedok Jetty. Based on that, the distance should be around 11km.

The race is getting too big to be accommodated at East Coast Park. It was difficult running with so many people. Had to continuously weave in and out to overtake the 10km runners in the earlier wave and than on the way back, the 5km fun runners. Was forced to run on the grass verge many times.. On top of that, the cyclists, bladers were also all over the place. Maybe the organiser can consider moving it somewhere else. Overall other than the hiccup at the end for the 10km (understand the 15km distance was in fact slightly shorter), the organisation like last year was impeccable.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

East Coast Run

East Coast Park from Car park F2 to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal road (traffic light) and back. Distance according to the markings on the floor is about 4.9km. Distance according to the Nike+ SportBand is 5.1km. Overall plus the return leg, the distance as measured by the SportBand is 10.1km so I guess it is more or less accurate.

So those of you out there still looking for a cheap and effective distance measuring tool and a stylo watch, don't wait anymore. Go get the Nike+ sportband. (Hello Nike people out there - like that got plug enough or not?)

However, again the downloaded info showed a dip in the pace from average of 5+min/km to a 7.40min/pace at the 5km mark. Just wondering, is it showing the pace over the last km or the slowest movement (as in 5km was the u-turn point and I had paused to wait for the Mrs to catch a breather before moving on?)

Sundown Caps

Each one of us got a beautiful cap personalised with our nicks from the wonderful people at sgrunners. The caps presented to the few of us who helped out at the support table during last week Sundown Marathon are a token of the runners' appreciation to the supporter. Thank you very much guys. There really isn't any need not when we were all having a good time as well. I am sure all of us at the support table even though we did not run, enjoyed the time together and watching you guys suffer. Ha ha.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday Night Run

Another Thursday night, another RL run. Time flies. It has been more than 2 years since I started running at RL as a volunteer runner. Many people have come and gone and I am still there. Most time being the slowest of the 4 volunteers, I am the sweeper but tonight there was no newcomer and no real slow runner so I was able to run at a slightly faster pace. The route was to Marina South Pier. Based on MayMyRun, the distance is 9.72km.
Wearing the Nike+ Sportband, this time using my NB 1222, the distance on it was 9.9km so I guess even without calibration, the Nike+ Sportband is pretty accurate.

Tonight the downloading on the notebook was trouble free. Figured out what I think was wrong with the previous time uploading. I had tried to connect but the notebook was logged on in my daughter's ID so it probably couldn't find the Nike+ program which was installed using my Window's ID. This time round, I installed the Nike+ program again on her Window's profile and it worked smoothly. Didn't even have to log in to the Nike+ website.

Anyway, 1 curious thing. Looking at the splits, (unfortunately it doesn't come with split time, only split based on per km), the timing is very inconsistent. I knew I ran slower for the 1st 2 km, was faster thereafter until the 7th km before I slow down a wee bit but I was pretty sure based on my pace, my slowest was not slower than 6min/km pace but the analysis of the splits show that during the 9th Km, I actually ran a 10.13m/km pace (even my grandmother, God bless her soul, if she is alive can walk faster than that!) and I wasn't even walking! Same thing with the first run. The 2nd last km showed my pace as 7.38m/km whilst I was pretty sure I ran a very consistent pace throughout for that run. And why only the final 2nd last km?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

1st Tryout Nike+ Sportband

Finally got a chance to try out the Nike+ sportband. For this inaugural run, I choose a flat route, one that I had ran often. Starting from my place to the underpass along the ECP just before going over to East Coast Park. The distance as measured on Mapmyrun is 10.24km (+ return) but somehow I always felt that it was slightly longer more like 11km.

As I was wearing my regular watch on my left hand, I had to wear the sportband on the right. Being right handed, it was a bit difficult to get it to fit just right. It was either too loose or too tight. It would have been better if it had come with normal watch strap.

Using the sportband was a breeze. Just press and hold the button and go when the display start flashing. The Nike manual said it was 95% accurate out of the box and 98% with calibration but only if worn with Nike+ shoe. As I still do not have a Nike shoe, I wore my Ascis 2110 and attached the sensor with the Switch Easy Runaway which means that I expected it to be slightly off.

At the u-turn point at the entrance to the underpass, which I usually take as 5km, the distance shown was 5.47km. The total distance was 10.97km which was pretty close both way and I think more reflective of the actual distance.

So far so good. The only grouse I have with the sportband was it small display area and lack of light. As I was running at night and being shortsighted, I had to stopped under the road light to peer into the display to check the distance which means I had to make several stops.

Back home, the initial uploading was a pain and nearly caused me to threw the darn thing away. Firstly, for some reasons, my notebook could not read it and I had to use my desktop to upload the run record.

Unfortunately, even though it keep saying uploaded, when I logged into Nike+ using my existing Nike+ ID, it failed to record the run. Finally, I had to create a new ID before the uploaded run could be captured. Hopefully, this is a one off thing. So here is the initial run details.

One thing though the Nike+ website is notoriously slow to load. So maybe for uploading, to save my time and lower my blood pressure, I shall only upload every few runs.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sundown Marathon

Yesterday was the night of the first night race in Singapore and I was there - to take in the sights and sound and kaypoh a bit but not run. The Sundown Marathon comprise a 84km Ultra marathon or a 42km marathon ran along the Eastern Park Connector. It is a tough route to run - mainly on roads and hard pavement with long stretches of boring roads. I can imagine how mentally tough it will be to run along these roads especially in the wake of the night with nobody to cheer you on and nothing to hear or see except your imagination. So anyway, to all my friends who have completed the Sundown, well done and have a good rest before signing up for another long race. Give the body some time to recover.

I have been having a certain thought the past few days and what I saw at the Sundown Marathon certainly reinforce it.

Common sense and conventional wisdom dictate that a person need to train for a marathon. What does this 'training' entails? Countless grueling hours of toil, sweat and pain in sweltering hot weather over period of at least 3 months. Not counting the opportunity cost - time which could have been better utilised to sleep in, go out and 'partall', etc etc And than what happen on race day? You still end up with pain and fatigue. No training can ever fully prepare one for a marathon.

So why train when end of the day you still have to suffer? Why suffer so many days of training? Just go and run. After all, you still end up with pain on race day. At most you suffer for a few days after but it still is better than the countless hours of training? No? At least I can see many people who believe in this strategy looking at the hordes of people who were walking when they reached our support table at the 27km mark. These people obviously believe that there is no need for training and are prepared to suffer later for it. and further looking at my friends doing the Sundown, most of them have trained long hours for it yet look at how they suffer Seeing the agony on their face, their shacked look, how they limped and dragged themselves, and knowing that they have trained so hard for it, it really makes me wonder........ Did they got it all wrong?

Disclaimer: Take my above advice at your own risk? Me - I think I will still stick to the countless hours of training:)

Photos of the sundown here.