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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bedok Reservoir/Tampines MBT Park Run

Normally I don't like those what I call touristy photo taking run cause one short run can stretch into hours and the many stops for photo taking is so disruptive for running but today.......ha ha today not only did I join 1 such run but I was actually the cameraman.

Some newer sgrunners members running at Bedok Reservoir decided to meet up so AC Leong roped me in to run to the MBT park. Except for Bee and AC, the rest of the runners who turned up were totally new to me. And all are getting younger and younger. So AC and myself were probably the oldest guy there up until Seong350 decided to gatecrash so there were 3 old men with a group of youngsters young enough to be our children.
We started from Bedok Reservoir, ran via Tampines Ave 10, Ave 9 before reaching the Tampines MBT park, the highlight of the run. The place was a throwback to our army days with the hills in the background for us to conquer and winding muddy path - like going for topo! There was even a Jurassic like field!

Unfortunately, like all phototaking sightseeing run, this short run of just approximately 10km took almost 1hr 45mins with so many stops for phototaking.

Anyway, it was nice meeting all this new guys and hopefully we can redo this run but this time without the phototaking.

More photos here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming to an end?

My mother used to say that if got no problem, don’t go and see the doctor. If not, sure end up with problem. Sometime such old wives tales – it’s so laughable and yet ….. On Saturday went over to CGH for the Runners Seminar and met up with my doctor, Jason Chia and company. Now, just merely 4 days later, I think I have to go back and see him again – this time not for another seminar but for my knee. Old wives tale?

After almost 1 year and 9 months, the )&$*#* knee has flared up again. I knew I was in trouble when the knee sounded funny at the trail part during the AHM. It was making a sort of cracking rubbing sound every time I bent it. This went on until Monday night when I decided to go for a swim. Hey presto, after the swim no more sound. Good news? No because it was replaced by a swollen knee and a sharp acute pain whenever I straighten the leg as when getting up from a chair. This looks like 2006 all over again. I think something (the remaining meniscus perhaps?) have broken off and is now irritating the joint.

Again like the last time, I am able to run without any problem. I went for a short run with the I-Run people and it was okay. No pain, no nothing. So what the hell should I do now? Still without sufficient mileage and with the Borneo marathon coming up in just 5 weeks, how am I going to clock enough mileage for it? Should I just forget about it and leave M disappointed? Or just do it and bear the consequences later? And I still have the SCSM to come! Thank goodness I haven’t sign up for the Real Run.

Look like if really have to go for 1 more round of surgery, I might as well hang up the running shoes for good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2008

Should I try and aim for a sub 1:50 finish? Or just a PB? Or just go and enjoy the run? Based on current conditions and with the rest these 2 weeks, I felt the first 2 options were doable especially with all the inspirations from the Olympic:) But that was going to make the race very tough and not enjoyable in the process. Than a friend asked whether I can help pace him to a sub 2 finish. Ha – the perfect excuse to slack so I readily agreed.

Started a bit behind and of course as a result got stucked in the big crowd. Estimated we took slightly over 3 minutes to cross the start line. At the 1st Km mark, my watch showed 8 mins + and there was still a big crowd in front. The narrow 2 lanes along the ECP didn’t help. Told my friend at this rate, it will be tough to do below 2hrs but there was not much room to speed up. Also afraid if I start to go too fast to try to catch up for the lost time, he will not be able to cope later on. So we trudged along hoping to slowly make up for the lost time over the rest of the route. At the 5km mark, time was 28min+ which means if we don’t buckle up, there was no way to do sub 2 with another 16 km to go and to do a negative split in the process. Told my friend to aim to hit 10km by slowest 58km and thereafter to maintain about 5:30 pace.

With that, I proceed to move faster but unfortunately lost my friend somewhere along the way. Along the ECP while trying to squeeze past 2 army boys jogging(!) side by side, was so incensed when they put up their hand simultaneously to stop me from passing. I turned around after moving in front of them and gave them a ticking off. While I am not proud of my outburst, some people really simply have no race etiquette and it just makes me boil when I come across these people!

Reached the newly opened route after Fort Rd. When I first heard the Combat Engineers were repairing it, I was a bit apprehensive as I know the quality of their ‘repair’ being a former Heavy Plant Combat Engineer in my NS days. Yah, it really sucks! Fortunately the ground condition was better than I had expected even after the heavy rain the previous day. The condition I expected was more like the mud path that ran alongside the graveled path so luckily this time round the CE didn’t fail too badly.

Only thing was, the compacting wasn’t that good or the rain had loosened the soil so the path was uneven with part of it being pretty soft and thus absorbing the rebound so that it was quite difficult to run. It was here that my right knee started to give problem. No pain but it felt funny whenever I bent the leg like it was giving way. I was a bit worried. Had the injury finally caught up again? Nevertheless, stucked in the middle of nowhere, I had to continue and eventually reached the highlight of this race – the Marina Barrage! It turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. View inward of the skyline was nice but the structure itself was nothing to crow about. They could have built a more impressive bridge to match the skylight what with the IR and the new Botanic Garden coming up around it.

With the end in sight and having finally managed to catch up on my lost time, I ran slowly back even taking time for a final drink at the last drink station before finishing in a gun time of 1:59:27 just within the 2 hours time limit I set. With luck, the chip time should be around 1:56+.

Too bad my friend couldn’t maintain the pace and didn’t manage to finish under 2. May be next year can gather a bigger group of people who want to do sub 2 to run together and this time we will take our revenge and block everybody way. Ha ha ha!

26 Aug 2008:

Official results are out.
Time: Chip Time 1:57:22 Gun Time 1:59:48
M didn't too great. She got jammed at the back and did a slow run
Time: Chip Time 2:14:12 Gun Time 2:23:19

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Runners Forum @ CGH

Attended a Runners Forum conducted by Changi General Hospital. Goodnu me. Thought the thing starts at 2.30pm. 10 mins past 2 still happily eating lunch at home. 5 mins before 2.30pm took out the piece of admission ticket and realised start time was 2pm. What a bozo! Missed Dr Jason Chia's talk as a result!

The talk was very useful. A lot of useful tips but could be longer though. 2 hours definitely not enough. Found out contrary to what some websites said - forefoot is not the same as mid foot and of course me has been running on forefoot and not mid foot as I have thought! Time to readjust again:( Many other useful tips + food and all for $4.00. Possibly the cheapest and 'bestest' talk in town!

Also met many of the sgrunners there and of course the nice people from Changi Sports Medicine Centre, the people behind this talk. Quite surprised that a number of them remembered me - after more than a year and a half. Dr Chia remembered me by sight, David of course I bumped into quite often on the way to/from work and Darek, the physio who remembered me by name and even where I stayed! Considering that they see so many patients a day and after such a long lapse, really touched that they can remember me. Just show how much attention and care they pay to their patients!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nike Magic Ride

Was lucky enough to be invited to Nike Singapore to test run the new Nike Lunar an event which Nike called the Magic Ride Run. Among the invited people today were Roonz and Wendy also from sgrunners, Sumiko, others from the tri fam and a celebrity, Jessica Tan. After a short intro by Sacha, each of us were given a pair of socks, a pair of Lunar Trainer and a towel. Some lucky fellas who came without any running attire were also given t-shirt and shorts. A lucky lady got to test drive (wrong) run in the Racer simply because they didn't have the trainer in her size.

According to the Nike website, the Trainer and the Racer are both extremely lightweight cushioning shoes featuring the new Nike technology known as 'Lunarlite foam'. Apparently the people at Nike got their inspiration from the moon where everything was supposed to be lighter than air. The lunarlite foam is also supposed to spread the pressure evenly across the foot thus reducing the impact on the bones and joints. In addition, carbon rubber has been placed in strategic locations to increase the life span and durability of the shoes. The main differences between the 2 is that the Racer has flywire filament, the type of high tension wire that is used for suspension bridges whereas the trainer has the normal mesh. This made the Racer even more lighter without losing any of the cushioning.

So how did this mumbo jumbo performed on the road? We did a short 4km run round the Changi Business Park. Most of the runners were in common agreement that is has very good cushioning although there were some feedback that the side of the shoes could cause abrasions. According to Sacha, the design of the sole using the 'Free' technology will give a smoother run for heel strike runners.

So in my usual rough way, I test drive the shoe by running mid sole, heel strike and even bouncing up and down. Maybe it is the short run, or the slow pace of the run, but I couldn't really appreciate any remarkable technology leap that the Nike Lunar has over other shoes although it was certainly comfortable enough to run in even without my orthotics insole. One thing though is that the Nike Lunar as compared to the other stylo milo Nike shoes looks like a very poor cousin - just white with a rather luminous lime yellow sole - good for visibility but not terribly exciting. A quick check on the net though revealed that there are Red and Black version available in the US so hopefully when it is launch here in October, they will bring in the different colors. The other thing is that the design of the shoe especially around the nid foot caused the shoes to look very wide especially on my size 12 foot Apparently this is for stability control. Does it really work?

I shall reserve further review until another run.

Date of Purchase: 18 August 2008

Cost: FOC (trial shoe)

Purchased from: Complimentary from NIKE Sg

Worn in Races:

14 Sep 2008 KPE Swing 2008
28 Mar 2009 Head Over Heels Couple Run 2009

Retired: 15 May 2009

Total Mileage: 388.05km

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Weekend

This was supposed to be the week where I do my longest run for this year and chalk up the highest mileage for the week but what a sham it turned out to be.

Saturday was supposed to do a proper trail run on the MBT park at Tampines but the precious princess didn't want to go school so early and also didn't want to wait too long so in the end had to cancel the run at Tampines and did a short run at the boring East Coast Park.

Sunday was supposed to do a 25km run but the itch at the back of the throat for the past 2 days has now grew into a full blown cold or flu? So today is now rest day. Lots of sleep, vitamins and hopefully it will go away before this coming weekend's AHM and not a repeat of 2005!

Monday, August 11, 2008

To heel or not to heel

My lower calves are aching like hell. Probably due to delay onset as I have been trying to switch from heel strike to forefoot strike for the past week since attending a talk.

All along, most of us old fogey runs using heel strike and never knew it was wrong until some bright young guru decided that heel strike was passé and forefoot was in. Just like stretching before exercises but’s that another story.

Anyway, since reading Chi Running, have been trying to figure out how to do it properly but couldn’t grasp the logic and correct movement until Eugene (yes bright young guru) showed the way at a run clinic I attended a week ago. There was a short run after that and the first thing I noticed after the 12 mins run was the calves aches. Eugene said that was normal for those switching over and will soon get used to it.

The next run was on Tuesday when I goondu goondu followed a pack of Crazy Berserk Deranged Runners up Mt Faber. Thank goodness I was more sane and did 2 loops instead of 3. Real crazy people - some even went 4 loops.– who in the world run circle around Mt Faber in the middle of the night disturbing the lovebirds? Ha ha ha… don’t throw rock at me the next time I turn up okay? Anyway, for that run, ended up with 1 big blister on the ball of the feet (again something new) caused by the braking action as I went downhill and the ultra thin Nike socks that I worn that night. Interestingly, I could not run uphill on forefoot and had to switch to heel strike. Why?

Following that, on Friday evening did a slow 14km run at East Coast Park. This time on flat ground managed to do the entire distance using forefoot. M was able to observe whether I was doing it correctly. So far so good!

On Sunday, did the PI Pure Run series. Started off with forefoot. Went without problem until midway when the calves started screaming so no choice changed back to heel strike for the rest of the run. So look like I still have some time to go to brush up on forefoot strike.

Some interesting observation from my experiment.

1. I felt that I ran more easily when using forefoot. Maybe because using forefoot caused me to automatically lean forward a bit thus resulting in more revolution? Is that the right word?
2. Some how couldn’t quite made it uphill using forefoot. Why?
3. There is a lot more emphasis on the calves which is contrary to what I read in Chi Running where the running should be from the upper limbs and not the lower limbs.

Anyway, as in everything, there are always 2 schools of thoughts although the general trend seems to be for forefoot or some call it mid foot strike. There are detractors though – and one interesting view as espounded on this blog by 2 sport scientist.

So reading from this, there is a risk of getting Achilles tendon injuries in another week time if I continue with my forefoot running. But than again, reading the proponent for forefoot, I will not get plantar fasciitis, knee injuries, etc so the trade off might be worth it. Or is it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pearl Izumi Pure Run 2008 Series 2

Originally, didn't want to do this run so didn't sign up when the registration opened and didn't do the first 12km run in Bedok. But than hor somebody garang decided to sign up the whole gang and dragged me in as well. In the end, for our first run in this series, only 3 turned up. The rest went to fly aeroplane:)

There was a small crowd maybe around 300 to 400 runners only. This is what I call a no frill run. One small gazebo, 1 ending point and that was it at the start point at Kallang Riverside Park. The women was flagged off first followed around 10 minutes later by the men. Only 2 categories - Men and Ladies. No veteran:(.

I started off together with Sebas who had decided to come out of his self imposed retirement and doing his first 20km run in like 2 years? Also with us was Sleek00000. We were doing something like 6.30 pace but was shocked when we reached the 2km marker and my watch showed only 8+ minutes. Okay what else is new? Distance marker off the mark. That seems to be the common feature of all Singapore's organised race. Wondered whether it is the same overseas?

The route itself was rather unusual. We were running around in circle around the Kallang basin area and even have to cross the overhead bridge across Nicoll Highway twice. Fortunately, the weather was kind to us today and despite the very runner unfriendly route, everything went smoothly. The organisation was good. There was adequate water and road marshall and despite the complicated twist and turns of the route, nobody got lost.

I ran the first half in about 55 minutes which was rather surprising since I didn't think that I was going that fast. Jodan later informed that based on his Garmin 405, the distance was spot on at the 10km mark. I ended the race in a whooping almost PB time of 1:44:02, almost because it wasn't 20km. That I was quite sure. Don't need any Garmin or marker to tell me. Probably 18.5km at most. So no PB:( Another common feature of our local run - inaccurate distance!

Stayed back for the lucky draw. M and myself we had amassed almost 10 bibs from those who had left earlier but unfortunately not a single win. So sad. Nevertheless I enjoyed the race and kudos to the people at Key Power for their efficiency. Try to improve on the distance accuracy for the last run though.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Trail Route

Look at the pictures. Just discovered this wonderful place to run.

Shady trail
Wide Open in the sun trail
Soft ground
Ground with granite chips but still better than concrete
Of course also got the more difficult part very rocky + uphill too
Challenging course

River crossing!

Plenty of meadering up hill slopes
The rewards at the top of the knoll. (Wish Aram was here. He could have taken a mean 360 of the whole scenery and no trees to block the view!)
Nice view
Recognise the neighbourhood?
More pictures here


Really a challenging place to run - with plenty of upslopes and different type of terrain. Wide open area with very few runners unlike MR where it is overcrowded with runners and walkers.

Conveniently located 15 minutes walk from the nearest MRT station or 5 minutes by feeder bus

According to my 'tour guide', the route can amount up to 10km but with so many side trails, the distance can easily be doubled.


No toilet or changing room facilities
No water available.
No street lighting (it's a trail after all!)
Main part of trail park not sheltered. Can be very hot!

So where is this place? Unfortunately not supposed to tell (although I think it's probably an open secret) but anybody interested in running there can email me or pm me at sgrunners. We can do a nice run one of this weekend!