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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Words for 2009

Another 35 minutes or so and it is bye bye 2008 hello 2009.

What are my resolutions this year?

I resolve first and foremost not to run any full marathon.

I resolve ...... I think that's all for resolution since most time they are not kept. Oops did I just said that? So does it mean I going to do a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ again this year?

Anyway the same old desire. Break 50 mins and 1:50 for the 10k and half respectively.

Wish me luck!

Happy prosperous 2009 everybody. Here to good health, career advancement and a wealthy abundance year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Review

The year draws close to an end. So I think it is timely to review my past year of running adventure.

I did not make any new year resolution last year but only set myself 2 targets. Both unfortunately I was not able to meet. The first target was to run a 10km race in under 50 mins and the 2nd target was to run a half marathon in under 1 hour 50 mins. Sadly, I was way off. The best effort for the 10km was 52:43 at the Mizuno Wave Run. My original hope was to achieve this at the Saucony Passion Run which was on a flat ground with good organisation (start in waves etc). But unfortunately, a screw up in the distance caused me to lose my bearing and my chance. I only took part in 1 half marathon this year, the Bay Run/Army Half Marathon and finished badly. A troubled right knee forced me to slow down after the East Coast Park and with it all chances of meeting the target. Still these are excuses. Like some people like to say, 'can swim means can swim, don't blame the swimming trunk too big!' Yah, I know I not cut out to be a fast runner and I am heck of a lazy guy too so meeting all these targets is always going to be tough if not impossible.

Now the other thing that I promised myself before the year started was not to run any full marathon this year and this promise turned out to be a big joke! Instead of not running any, I ended up doing 2! One very badly and one well not too bad. Me and my big mouth!

This year was also a bit traumatic. First there was a scare when the right knee acted up during the AHM and I thought that was it. No more running! That fortunately turned out to be a fast alarm but the following month, I sprained the right ankle badly during the KPE Run and was out of running for almost 1 month. I therefore got the perfect excuses for my poor performance in the Borneo Marathon:) but actually I was so desperate that I kept going to different chinese physicians hoping for a miracle.

So it wasn' a really a good running year for me. Not much plus - the only thing I can thing of is my 2 free shoes - The North Face Arnuva 50 Boa and the Nike Lunar Trainer courtesy of The Running Lab and Nike Sg respectively. First time I need not pay for shoes! Also the short lived Nike+ Sports Band, again courtesy of Nike Sg. Hopefully more to come in 2009! Are you guys listening? I promised to wear a sign saying 'Sponsored by XXXXXX' if I get more free stuff Ha ha ha!

What about 2009? I think I leave this for 31 Dec.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

78 and counting

After 2 weeks of slacking and holidaying, finally I gain 2 whole kg! Unlike most people I know who are forever trying to lose weight, even if they are stick and bone thin, me on the other hand have been trying to put on weight for the past year but so far have not been successful until now. Guess my calorie intake all the while is still less than burn rate.

I am not really skinny by most standard and Alicia recently commented my stomach can jiggle :) so why am I trying to put on weight? Cos I'm vain. Ha ha ha! Somebody said I looked better with a little bit more flesh on my face so I gonna have to try and put on another 2 more kg to cap it at 80kg which will mean a BMI of 24.4 and into the moderately at risk group!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Running causes injuries?

There was this article in Saturday (20 Dec 2008) Straits Time that reported on a research by local scientists that runners are more prone to injuries than triathletes. I can hear all my relatives and friends going " I told you so!" According to the article, the scientists came to this conclusion after doing a sampling survey of 500. Their conclusion was that the triathletes had less injuries as compared to long distance runners as triathletes run less.

Now I don't know what the purpose of the research was but I don't think it is rocket science to figure out if you run less, the chances of getting a running related injuries is reduced. Likewise, the more a swimmer swim, the higher chances he may get into a water related mishap as compared to someone who never swim and don't go into a pool or sea. Ditto a cyclist. Don't cycle on the road - no injuries from traffic accidents. So it is very natural that the more you do an activity, be it running, swimming, cycling or even typing, the higher the probability of getting a related injury.

On the other hand, if the research was undertaken to prove that running is bad, then I think it is even more silly. Runners does seem to have more injuries but that is I think because of the sheer number of people who runs as compared to say play football or badminton. I think footballers get more injuries than runners. Likewise, weightlifter and gymasts. Think sprain ankle, torn ligament, slip disc, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow. So no I don't think running causes injuries.

In any case, as Charles Wu, the guy interviewed in the article and whom I had the pleasure of making his acquaintances a few years ago while running along the ECP said, "the benefits of running far outweight the cost".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Running Souvenir

Got these beauty of a souvenir from my running.

These 3 from the just over SCSM:

Black Toenail on left foot

2 Black Toenails on the right foot

Funny thing is I been wearing the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa for so long already and never had this problem. Even worn it for the PI Pure Run 30km run and the last long run of 34km at East Coast Park last month. So this was a real surprise. 3 black toenails. This is a record!

Now this beauty on the right little toe is also courtesy of the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa. Again a new experience. The only cause of it that I can think of was I was wearing a pair of Nike socks and not my usual Wright socks. And this is since 25 October. Hmm that seem kinda long for a dried up blister - which is basically what I think it is. Maybe I should get a scissor or knife and just slice it off?

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Route

With the regular lead runners and volunteers missing this evening, it was left to me to run the show and again I opt to go for a new route. This time round with a smaller group of runners and only 2 new runners who looked very competent I was sure it would be easier to get everybody to run the distance without as some people said "go holland"

We run up river past Central Mall and along the usual route (in reverse) along the river until we came to Jiak Kim St. Exiting there, cross Kim Seng Rd to the other side running underneath Block 88 before crossing Zion Road and continuing along the river park connector all the way to Tanglin Road. Once away from the maddening crowd along Clark Quay, the rest of the route was a breeze to run. With several straight path, this will be a good place for the fast runners to challenge each other and maybe even do interval.

Total distance 1 way according to Maymyrun is 4.5km although most of the runners felt the whole distance should be around 10km. I took 10:07 running as sweeper so I also reckoned it should be closer to 10km.

Anyway, here is the route.

Monday, December 08, 2008

SCSM 2008

So down to the last race for 2008 and still hopefully the last full marathon for me, ha ha ha!

The target was to complete in 5 hours same as in 2007 and not choked like in Kota Kinabalu. This time, I was slightly better prepared having finished the KK marathon, the Pearl Izumi 30km and 1 34km training run.

Started in the tail end of the 5 hours pen with M. Met up and talked to some of the Team Fatbird pacers and at one point contemplated following the 4:45 pacers but quickly put that thought out of my head preferring not to stress myself.

The race started at 5.30am sharp without the usual countdown which I think caught a lot of people. We took 1min 36sec to cross the start line. This year there is a new modified route. We started down Shenton Way as usual from Esplanade Bridge but instead of turning into Marina South at Maxwell Road, we turned back into Robinson Road before going into Raffles Boulevard. Because Robinson Road runs parallel to Shenton Way, was disgusted to see a runner cut through McCallum Street from Shenton Way and further down the road, another 2 male runners cutting through Boon Tat Street. Aiyoh, what is the point of signing up for a full marathon and taking shortcuts here and there? Also, was amused to see so many male runners lining up to pee along the hoarding of the former Clifford Pier and along the roads within minutes of the race starting. Must be releasing all the pent up stress:)

From Raffles Boulevard, we turned into Nicoll Highway towards Suntec u-turning at Middle Road junction. So far, so good. Slightly behind the 7mins pace but it was still early. We continued at a constant pace, stopping to take gel at 12km and a toilet break at ECP B1 toilet. Surprisingly, so far still didn't see any of the Team Fatbird's pacers only the official Adidas pacers. Up the service road until Area E where we turned into the bicycle path turned up at Carpark F2 and continued along the service road until behind the NSRCC golf course before u-turning. Along this stretch the 2 returns route was running side by side separated only by construction cones but the runners were all very disciplined and there was no overcrowdng. Was surprised though that there was no timing mat at the u-turn. Hmm I am sure if the runners knew about this, a lot of them will simply just cut short that stretch saving 500 metres in the process. It is here that we finally see the Team Fatbird 5 hours and later 5:30 pacers on the other side. Also bumped into Gentle, doing his 17 marathon. Had a short chat with him before going our separate way.

Legs were still fresh. The sun haven't come out yet. Took another gel at 22km. So far so good. Saw a few runners in the new sgrunners top but didn't know most of them. They were giving out Gu gels at the 28km and unlike last few years, this time they were so generous. Saw some runners taking 4. We took 2 each although on hindsight should have taken only 1 as we still had some with us. At the sgrunners support table, Sotong gave us an iced hydralite and that was so heavenly and invigorated us. Unfortunately clumsy me had to drop off a third of it while trying to suck it. So wasted. Ran with Fennel for a while. She seemed to be experiencing ITB problem and was doing run and walk. Also saw Alan who seemed to have cramps.

Back on Nicoll Highway, we turned left into Stadium Drive(?) turned out again back to Nicoll Highway and then in again before going down along the river and up on the other side of Nicoll Highway. 35km and still feeling good. We were 10mins ahead of our 5 hours target. Along Kallang Rd, M complained of tightness on her left leg and stopped to get some heatrub from the volunteers. From here, we slowed down and along Crawford Street took a slow walk along the dreadful slope which in normal time seem so gentle but now seemed like a mountain!

However, energised by the sign 39km, M started to run and pushed the pace up to 6km pace. I struggled to follow but mercifully she had to slow down when we ran into a hugh human walk of walkers along the F1 track and I was able to take a breather. There was simply too many walkers. Was really surprised. So far the route had been well segregated without congestion and here at the most crucial point, the 3 races, full, half and 10k merged! There should have been barricades to separate the runners Anyway, once out on the road, M started running again and up on Esplanade Bridge, we started weaving in and out of the runners before turning onto Fullerton Bridge, the home stretch. With less than 50m to go, we held hands and ran in together to finish in 4:48:6 (gun time) and 4:46:25 (chip time).

A PB for both of us, me after 5 attempts and she in only her second!

Will we be back next year? We said no but don't bet on that!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

SCSM 2008 Race Pack Collection

A little bird (okay, not very little bird) tipped me off that there were problems with the event tee and urged me to go early to collect. So took a half day leave on Thursday and went over. 

Reached there at 3pm and was dismayed to see a long queue stretching all the way to the atrium. Later was told by friends that at one stage, it even stretched until the MRT station so maybe we were not too bad after all. There was only 1 common queue although occasionally the volunteers will ask those doing the 10k and half to follow them. Presumably, the queue inside for these 2 were shorter. We queue outside for almost an hour before being allowed in.  

Once in,  I went to the Kids Dash queue to collect for a friend's kids while M joined the full marathon queue. The queue for the Kids Dash was short, only about 10 person in front of me so I thought it will be a quick. Boy, was I wrong. Somehow the queue moved so slowly. Each person in front of me on average collected about 3 each. The 3 Japanese in front of me collected 6 each and so I was stucked there for another hour. I shudder when I looked at the queue for the full marathon which was like 100 times as long! Were we going to be stucked until 7 pm?

Observing the counter staff doing their work was an eye opener. The young kids were very polite but I don't understand why they need to go to all the trouble. First, they have to key in to the computer to get the bib number. Then somebody or they themselves will go to the back and collect the bib and the goodie bag. After that, they will show the person collecting the race pack the bib number and the singlet to confirm the name and size before putting everything into the gym bag. And they will repeat this with every bag. No wonder it take so long to process each collection.

I tried to persuade them to let me collect the full marathon pack from the kids dash counter but no go. I was resigned to queuing from the back but luckily the other staff there allowed me to join M who was somewhere in the middle of the queue. Surprisingly, the queue here moved very much faster probably because there were more counters and we managed to collect our race packs within 20 minutes which was not too bad. 

So total we took nearly 2 and a half hours to collect everything leaving us with not much time to explore the Sports Expo. So did I do right to collect on the first day? Last 3 times, I have always never collect on the first day but because of my friend warning, decided to do otherwise. I reckoned since it was at the Expo and not Suntec, there will be no lunch time crowd and the crowd will only come in the evening. So I was proven wrong there.  But reading the post in the forum, I am glad we went early - at least M got her size because they ran out of ladies S & M yesterday evening. I can't imagine how much she will freak out if she can't get the size she want just like what happened in Kota Kinabalu!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

4 days to go

4 days to go to what will be my last full marathon. Hmmm doesn't that sound darn familiar?

This week is slacking week. Sunday as expected, got lazy and didn't join the Fatbirds for their last run.  Yesterday was supposed to do a short run with the CBD people but someone up there like me and it poured so managed to slack.  Today I would like to think I can do a make up run (subject to work and weather), tomorrow confirmed RL run going to be short short run (subject to weather again!) and Friday, swim? and Saturday of course rest.

So am I ready for my fifth attempt at the full? I think I am as ready as can be which is to say not ready at all. I would like to be able to complete within 4:30 - 4:45 but realistically I think I will still do around 5:00. Not because I lack the stamina or endurance but because my mind is mentally weak.

Now anything to eat to make the mind strong? Pig's brain?