Click here for the latest on RunEatGossip »

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Newton Gravity

Key Power International came to Running Lab this evening with their Newton running shoes for trailing. Fortunately for me, they brought along only 1 pair of size 12 and I managed to get it first.

"It" is the Newton Gravity cushion trainer. Now I am rather surprised that Newton still has its shoes designed as cushioned or stability shoes. According to its website, Newton shoes are designed for forefoot running. Based on the literature I have read previously, if a person is running using forefoot, there is really no need for stability or cushioning shoes as the gait and impact point is different and there is no need to stabilise the foot etc

Anyway, back to the shoes. "Whether training or racing, Newton Active Membrane Technology™ provides greater shock absorption, greater energy return while promoting the natural and more efficient forefoot strike of barefoot running". With this in mind, I put it on and instantly felt the different. There was actually 4 piece of protruding foam known as actuator lug right in the middle of the shoes. This raised foam force the wearer to land on the forefoot first and these together with the hollow chamber is supposed to reduce the shock to the legs. So is it really true?First impression - although it comes in my fave colour, the color combination of orange and yellow was actually quite a turn off. Made it looked rather 'cartoon'. Another runner commented that it reminded her of the shoes in the '80s.

However, it was light - in fact very light. When running, there was a bounce to it - much better than my Spira. Cushioning was good and I felt that I could run much faster in it without much impact on the legs. Ran about 6km up and down Fort Canning at varying speed and the shoes felt very comfortable. It really absorb the impact well much better than my Nike Lunar.

As I have been adjusting to forefoot running for the past few months, I had no problem getting used to this shoe and I think I will be wiling to give it a longer tryout. But alas, the trial is only for tonight and I am too lazy to go for other trials. Now if it wasn't so ex!

GE Women 10K Video

GE Women 10k Run. All the actions. Including the top 5 finishers and members of SGRunners. See if you catch the bandit runners or any familiar faces.

The Making of the Group Photo. Damm jialat. Ladies.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Eastern Women 10k

The Great Eastern Women 10K. This year was lucky enough to get an invitation from ESG, the event organiser so was able to go to the Hospitality Tent and get breakfast. Thanks guys. So while the ladies were sweating it out in the queue under the sun, we were having breakfast inside the Hospitality Tent together with the VIP and the race winners!. Hmm life is great!

M didn't do too well this time round coming back in a much slower time of 58:06 compared to her last few races. The race was won by a Kenyan (they seem to be popping up everywhere) and Singapore's favourite Vivian Tang was beaten to 7th place.

Met a few of the new sgrunners ladies. Don't know many of them. The regulars have mostly disappeared or are not supporting this race. Probably too ex which is a waste as I thought this is one of the most well organised race.

Photos and videos coming up soon.. just so soon as I can find time to do some tweaking!

Okay all photos finally up here

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Borneo Marathon

After some searching finally managed to get a video of the start of the marathon on You Tube.

As there were only 170 runners in the full marathon, scanned through slowly and can see us.

Still can't find any photos yet:(

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Borneo Marathon Race Day

The day of the marathon. Should I run or not? Actually I had more or less made up my mind to run - bad knee or ankle be dammed. There was never a question of not starting although that was in my mind the last 2 weeks leading to this day. At most, I reasoned, if I cannot do it, I will DNF.

Arranged with the race organizer for a shuttle bus pickup from our hotel to Likas Stadium. Cost RM35 per person for a return trip. We were to regret paying for this later.

Reached the stadium in good time and was surprised to see the organizer still setting up the start point. There was a lot of Safra runners around. Met IMD and Jennifry(?) at the start. Also saw Alber, Jeffrey(?). Seemed like there were more Singaporeans than the other nationalities. IMD told M not to run too fast ahead of me and leave me behind. How prophetic his words were to become later on.

The race started slightly after 4.30am. We had to run 200m round the stadium before going out onto the road. Stepped on a plastic cup and and then another. Wondering why there were so many cups on the road so early in the race. An angmoh runner told me these were the route divider! So creative. Using plastic cup filled with sand for road divider. Later on the plastic cups became plastic bags.

From the stadium, we ran north in the direction of Mt Kinabalu. It was still dark and there were no street lights along part of the route so for the first half hour or so, we ran in darkness.

M and myself ran at a slow 7min pace. I had decided to adopt the same strategy that I adopted at last year SCSM and run 7min pace throughout and hopefully complete the race in 1 piece - just under 5hours. That should suffice for M's first marathon and for a crippled me. At around the 3km mark, I estimated there were only around 20 or so runners behind us. Was wondering to myself whether both of us will finish last since the field of 250 runners or so all looked so 'pro'.

We ran north, passing the majestic City mosque, 1Borneo hypermall, the Sabah University, past a row of durian stalls (hmm the smell was heavenly); and all the while facing the magnificent Mt Kinabalu. How I wish I had my camera with me. We did a u-turn at the 12km mark. At this point, we were still on target with our pacing and were running very comfortably. It got bright very early in KK and by 6am, it was totally bright. The sun came out in full force around 7am and when we passed the stadium, we ran into the 10km runners streaming out of it. As there were only around 1000 runners, we had no problems with the crowd and continued our run smoothly.
At 25km, I started to slow down or did M started to run faster because she was pulling ahead. Soon, we reached the city passing the Observatory, the Waterfront where the whiff of fish was so strong, passed our hotel and continued southward towards the direction of the airport.

Around the 28km mark saw Yee Hua who was doing the half running strongly. Strange - didn't see IMD. Then saw him some distance behind. He complained of stomach pain and was walking. By now, M was a full 50 metres in front of me and I was tiring fast. At one of the water point, I asked the lady where the u-turn was and she very discouraging told me it was still very far. We turned right into the Sutera Harbour Resort and that was a long way in indeed. I was feeling very hot and tired and the road seem never ending. Half way in, saw M running on the other side. She still looked very strong and I hope she won't hit the wall. At the end of the Sutera Harbour route, I took my first walk break. Exiting that, I was disappointed to learn that we had to go further up and not turn back. There was another 3 km loop to run before turning back. Then I saw the small little marker ( they were using small triangular distance marker) placed on the route which said 10km to go. Got a packet of power gel here and continued to jog along. Again saw M on the other side of the road. By now I estimated she was at least 1.5km in front of me.

At 33km, the wall came. I couldn't summoned any more energy to run and was so drained. The ankle and knee had held up well so far but the 1 month layoff was coming to haunt me. I decided to walk for a while. The walk became a 1.5km walk as my body refused to run. Another problem was the left calf was tightening and I knew if I pushed on, I will get a massive attack of cramp so it was walk walk walk and run and walk walk walk. With this stragety, managed to stall off the cramp but I knew the 5hours target was shot. Past the hotel, wished I can go inside and just lie down but I got to finish what I started. Pressed on. The 3km to go marker didn't bring any relief. I was hot and tired and wishing it was 300m to go. In front of me was a lady who was limping and sighed - she was limping and walking faster than I was jogging. There was another guy running and carrying an umbrella! Smart move considering that it was like noon here in Singapore!

With 2km to go, I finally managed to catch up with the limping girl and told her to run together and finished it off. But then with 2 strides, the cramp that I had been trying to stall finally came. Damn! Decided not to stretch, applied some heat cream and walked. The limping girl had disappeared. Walked some more. Where is the damn stadium? Finally, a guy said just after the bend and so I started to trot and there it was - the stadium floodlight!

Turned into the stadium and still have to run half a round. But I must admit it feel good to finish in a stadium. Like the Olympic! There were people on the stand cheering and clapping and I managed to run and even overtake another runner in front of me although 2 runners behind overtook me in return. Nevermind, I had finished! It wasn't a good time but I did it. From an initial DNS to a maybe will DNF to completion. And without major damage to my ankle, knee and legs. Ha ha now I can enjoy the rest of my holiday and not have to walk around like a crab with something stuck between the arse!

M had finished earlier within 5 hours and was waiting for me. I am so proud of her. Her first marathon! More good news was to come for her later.Unfortunately, they had ran out of milo by the time I finished. There was no free drinks at the end of the race and runners had to buy the isotonic drinks. Strange. There was a booth selling the race photo but it was so packed so we decided to forget it and go back. Waited for our bus but it never came. Went to checked with the organiser and after hanging around for another 45minutes, we were told the bus was on the other side of the stadium and we were waiting at the wrong place.

Got very cheesed off and told Shan off. In the end, the very nice Shan asked one of her staff to send us back to our hotel. If you are reading this, Shan - my apologies if we sounded rude but we were tired and hot and rushing to check out.

Back home here now, just checked the official result and believe it or not - M came in first for the Women Veteran category! Whoo whee! Ha ha seem like got advantage running in unwanted races.  But actually quite paiseh with the type of timing. Only 7 participants in the Women Vet's category. But that's not her fault or problem right. Now there is supposed to be a cash prize of RM1500 and a trophy, so where is it? Are they going to give it to her?

Overall, the organisation was good especially for a first time marathon. There are of course room for improvement - like moving the race kit collection to a more centralised location, making sure the runners get their correct size shirts as indicated on the registration form, better road markers and dividers, traffic control (at one stage on the return leg we were running on the extreme right of the road with cars whizzing past us). Also, the puzzle of why they ran out of women singlet. Saw many guys walking around wearing the woman's cut singlet. So, they must have just distributed the women shirt freely on Friday and ran out by Saturday leaving only the men's shirt for distribution. All these could be better managed but it was nevertheless a good attempt for a first time marathon.

The rest of the visit to KK here

Borneo Marathon Pre Race

Decided to go to Likas Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon to collect the race kit. There didn't seem to be any public transport there at all and so we had to settle for a taxi. Goodness me, it cost RM18 from our hotel to reach there. Why have the race kit collection in such an ulu area?

There were hardly any people there so collection was a breeze. And than the shocker came for M. They had run out of female size singlet! We couldn't understand why but the puzzle was solved later during race day. M got very upset and so we went to look for Shan, the very nice lady coordinator and requested that she gave us the t-shirt on the mannequin instead. Unfortunately, nobody seem to know who was in charge of the mannequin or for that matter the t-shirt distribution so in the end M had no choice but to settle for the oversized man size singlet. The goodie bag was quite miserable. 1 small shopping bag sponsored by HSBC, 1 voucher for the pasta dinner, 1 discount voucher for some spa treatment, the race info, number tag and timing chip and of course the singlet.

Met Jenap aka Harmoni aka Catwoman at the collection. She was going back for the pasta dinner. We had decided to skip the free pasta dinner considering that there was nothing to do around the stadium area.

Waited for a while but no taxi came along until a couple came in a cab for the collection and we gratefully jumped in and adjourned to 1Borneo.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

3rd Sinseh

Went for my 3rd TCM consultation with a third sinseh in as many weeks. Although up and running already, the swelling was still there so when Sebas recommended this TCM practitioner in Chinatown, decided to pay him a visit.

The shop certainly didn't inspire any confidence. It was run down, with many worned and old sofas and chairs lying around. It looked more like a shack with a quack doctor in those old Cantonese movie. 

And it was almost like that. The sinseh asked me to sit down on one of the sofa, asked me to take off my shoe and prop up my leg on a stool and start examining it right there in public. No consultation room, no privacy. 

But the difference stopped there. And what he did thereafter was very different from the earlier 2. He asked me to remove the other shoes on the unaffected leg and started comparing both foot.(The earlier 2 didn't even bother). Than he pointed out the difference to me and explained that I had dislocated my ankle and he had to put it back in place. Ouch that sound painful! I can imagine machiam like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon who was constantly 'popping' back his shoulder joints. But He assured me it will hurt only a bit and then started pulling on the toes.

Toes? Yes. He didn't manipulate the ankle but the toes. Then he stopped when he noticed my knee and asked whether I had operated on it. When I told him in the affirmative, he went on to probe further and when he found out I couldn't fully straighten it or bend it all the way back, he declared that he can solve that problem but not before he made sure there was no implants or insert in it. So after some more pulling and twisting, he made me do a full squat. A squat (as in go toilet do business on the squat pan type of squat) is something that I can't do - not for the past few years anyway and I can do it. Not once but 3 times!
To cut the story short, did this round of treatment work? Certainly by Tuesday evening, the swelling on the ankle had gone down tremendously. But is it because of this treatment or it was healing anyway? 

But honestly despite the environment, I thought this particular sinseh whom his card stated his speciality as 'oestopath' actually paid much more attention and seemed more experience than the earlier two. Hopefully, this will be the final round of treatment required.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shoes Laces Locking System

I am a lazy guy and I also don't particularly relish tying shoes laces halfway into a run which is why I got all these shoe laces tying thingy.

Lock Laces: This one I have been using for a long time. Convenient once tied, there is no need to do any further adjustments. It is pretty cheap too at around $12.00 but comes in only a few boring colors. The main disadvantage of this otherwise easy to use product is that adjusting the laces to fit different thickness of socks or a ankle guard can be a nightmare. Also, I am never comfortable with just yanking off the shoes after run without loosening the laces.

Yankz Laces: This one comes in many beautiful colors with a fair bit of them in luminous color. And I got the shoes to match! It is also reasonably priced at around $15.00 but I don't really like its way of tying the laces together. Make the whole thing seem so messy. Also, like the lock laces system, it is hard to get the correct fit especially if we use different thickness of socks. Adjusting the laces can be a messy affairs.

Boa Lacing system
: This come comes with the shoes and so cannot be purchased separately. Of the lot, this is the most neat and easiest to use. Just twist the knob at the back of the shoe to tighten and pull to loosen. But somehow, the lace will become looser after running longer distance - maybe that is deliberately built in to suit long distance running where the foot expand?

And finally my favourite.

Lace Lock: At $1.50, this no brand cheap and good device and can be fitted onto any lace. Just loop the lace through the hole and pull and the lace is tightened. To release, just press the 2 parts and the lace is loosen. So the shoe lace can be tied normally, adjust to fit different thickness of socks etc and best of all, it comes in many colours to fit any color shoes.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Balance Real Run Practice Run

Didn't sign up for this race but nevertheless decided to go down for a look see at their practice run. Actually just wanted to kapo a bit and see how the trail was.

The training run started at last year end point and down through the chalets.
Once passed the chalets, it was straight into the 4.5km trail. And finally, they got the trail part correct. The last few runs, the portion where they called 'trail' were actually park pavement. The trail here was all flat and a breeze to run on. No rocks or uneven ground but along the way there are patches of mud pool. Part of the trail is quite narrow so it might be a squeeze especially if the ground is wet and runners are trying to avoid the mud.
Also, there are a lot of areas where there seem to be a quick patch job and sands have been dumped on the road. There are no shades throughout the trail. If the sun is up, it is going to be hot. If it is wet, the whole place is going to turn into a swamp. This is going to be one tough run. You guys have been warned!

Out back on the runway route, the 15 km and 10 km split off at the junction with the 15km runners turning left on Changi Coastal Road and u-turn about 10metres before the fire station. The 10km runners turn right towards the park and the beach (similar to last year). Water support for this run is adequate with drinks station (100plus + water) at the 6 stations spread evenly throughout.

Weather was good today but mindful of the ankle, decided to only do 10km. Up to the beach, chicken out and turned back on the pavement instead of running on the sun. Overall, it was enjoyable especially as I was taking my time and stopping every so often to take photos.

All the pictures here:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Joy and Love of the Game

The Straits Time today had an article on page C34 written by journalist Rohit Brijnath entitled 'Amateurs play for the joy and love of the game.

Rohit Brijnath writes mainly about cricket but this piece really strike a chord in me.

The gist of it:

- He first talked about his friend continuous engagement of cricket despite a 'bum' knee and why he continues to play on

- He then went on to talk about why amateurs like us (yes u and me) who don't profit from sports or take it as a career continue to slog on.

- He described weekend hackers as 'charmingly mad', when it come to playing, "they cannot be stopped." Here he is talking about ball games but it can be applied to runners as well. His next words:

- (Talking about golfer) "Professional are expected to constantly construct brilliant shots, amateurs are in constant search of just one memorable one...........and when we hit such a shot, ......., then we can't forget it. We'll tell our wives in excruciating detail, we'll bore our friends, we'll replay it endlessly in our minds, we'll walk around with a private grin. We get joy from ridiculous things, small things, it's why we keep coming back to sport......"

Sound familiar? Even to us non-golfer?Don't we all feel the same when we do a PB or run a race and finish in fine form or complete what seems impossible to complete initially - like a marathon, an ironman or a ultra marathon?

He went on to describe the feelings one get from sports:
  • the rediscovery of prayer (Oh God, please let (insert your own desire here)
  • the taste of sweat trickling into the mouth,
  • the first burn in the lungs,
  • the feel of a sticky shirt
  • the rhythm a runner finds as she flies through the middle of an evening run
  • the nervousness before the whistle
  • the cold shower
  • the explosion of adrenalin
He described amateurs thus: "because we want to test ourselves, discover parts about ourselves..... Many of us are competitive creatures, we want faster than the next guy on the treadmill. Even if we we lose, if we fail, and we constantly do, it's the challenge that sustains us......"

Don't we have felt all these and more? He wrapped up by talking about Erik Compton,28 who was born with a defective heart, got a new heart at age 12, a heart attack at age 27 and is now into his third heart. Instead of resting, he is now training for the USPGA Tour. His conclusion of this mad man? "Courage, Resilience, Stubbornness." Or something more simple? Maybe just a love of the game?

Is that why so many of us continue to run, despite the injuries, the long hours, the sweat, the grim and for some, the loneliness and sacrifice?

Is this the joy and love of the game?

NB: Unfortunately, the ST does not allow reproduction of its articles on blogs or any other medium so I can't reproduce the whole article here. The ST Online is also only subscription based so no link either.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Short Run

After 2 weeks and 4 days, finally went for a short run. Accompanied the new store supervisor from RL and jog a short round Fort Canning. There is still some swelling but the pain is not very obvious although there is still this niggling pull. Was fearful that any over exertion might just cause the pain to come back so in the end did just 4 km and call it a day.

Hopefully it won't swell up like a balloon tomorrow morning.