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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Run Faster on Coffee

The headline said it all: "Run faster on Coffee". Reading through the Sunday Times Life section this evening, the headline caught my attention. Experience runners have always warned of the danger of drinking coffee before a run and here was something that ran contrary to the advice.

The article went on to describe the experience of 2 runners and the effect the caffeine in the coffee has on their run. Apparently, what works is that the caffeine increases the power output of muscles by releasing calcium that is stored in the muscle. This enables athletes to keep going longer and faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain's sensation of exhaustion so in effect keeping one going longer.

This is the best news ever. So the next time I head out for a run in the morning, I going to give that milo a miss and have my cuppa!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Head Over Heels

The last (?) of the team event for this year - the Head Over Heels Couples Run 2009 at East Coast Park. We took part in it last year and enjoyed it so came back for a second round.

There was about 200 couples or so who signed up for this run to commemorate the sanctity of marriage. Of course, non-married couples were allowed to sign up as well although in the rules and regulations on their website, there was this qualification: "In accordance to the Ministry of Community Youth and Sports (MCYS) regulations, this event is strictly for heterosexual couples." Well I supposed time has change and event organiser now has to set out this type of rules from the outset otherwise....

Anyway back to the race. Unlike last year, there were only a few recognisable faces like Mr & Mrs IMD and their brother/sister in law who came down all the way from KL to support this event [bravo!]; Acidburn/partner and Jeremy/partner. Up and rising Sumiko Tan also took part (this time with a different partner from the one in the Suburban Run) and their team came in strongly to finish 2nd. [Clap hand].

This time round and to make sure that our last team event for the year went off without any hiccup [read sour face], I let her lead the pace and just followed a few steps behind. Unlike last year where there were many strong teams, the field this year was not as strong and at the u-turn point at the jetty after the sailing club, I counted only 11 couples in front of us. Running at a constant pace and stopping for drink at every drink station (there were 3), I think eventually we managed to finish within the first 10. Unfortunately, only prizes for top 3 :(

But nevermind, we enjoyed the run. At the end, the couples were encouraged to finish together so most hold hands, some carry their partners every which way - wedding style; piggy back and one even high up on the shoulder!

Unfortunately for one couple, he stumbled and dropped his poor partner and both were left with cuts and bruises. Who said love is not dangerous?

The event was well organised. Despite it being such a short distance, there were 3 water points, plenty of marshals and with not that many participants, the route was a joy to run on without having to squeeze past other runners. At the end, there were games, a sharing by Melody and Randall, Mediacorp artistes and of course a goodie bag.

Note: Above photos by IMD.

There was only 1 goodie bag for each couple but look at it:
Bulging with
2 bottle of water, 1 bottle of H20, 1 packet of sweet, countless satchets of toiletries samples; 1 bottle of shampoo, 1 bottle of eye rinse, 3 lipsticks, 3 pack of tissues, 3 magazines, 3 don't know what beauty stuff (wonder why everything come in 3?) and more but it is absolutely the biggest goodie bag I ever seen.

At the end, some couples (including us) were interviewed by the organiser on video and one of the question was "Will we be back next year?". The answer of course was "You bet!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MacRitchie and Killer Hills

Have to clear last year's leave so took the day off.

Decided to pop in to MR again. The last time I ran the full loop there was in June last year. My, how time flies. MR has always been a jinx place for me and I approached today run with a little apprehension since I was running alone. What if something sway happen to me again and nobody around to help? Neh.. I wasn't going to let a small little thing like that stop me so .

Reached there around 7.40am. The new car park has been up and running for some time and can park in the shade. Good - no more hot car after run. I was also glad to see the construction of the new plaza in full progress. Hopefully, it will include a toilet with shower facilities.

Went up via the Little Sister way or what is known as the Northern Trail. The ground was a bit wet. Did it rained last night? I remembered my first time running there so many years ago with Uncle Sebas. I was huffing and puffing as I tried to negotiate the rocky trails with it many up and down while he was sprinting away. 4 years later, I am still huffing and puffing my way up the rocky trails. Sighed.. something never change.

Anyway, it was not supposed to be a chiong run - just a remembrance run and I took my time soaking in the peaceful surrounding. There was few walkers (mostly aunties and uncles) and runners (mostly Caucasians) and most time I had the trail all to myself. I enjoyed the solitude run, feeling the cool morning mist around me, with the occasional peek of the sunlight through the trees; listening to the canopy of sound from the cicadas and birds. That is something you won't hear if you run in a group as all you will be doing is concentrating on catching up with the runner in front or not fall too far back.

Out on to Venus Drive, saw a security guard standing guard at the start of what I called 'Killer Hills' and I felt sad that the route is now closed to us runners. This was one of my fave route. I loved to run from Upp Pierce to MR and back challenging myself on the slope. This I rate as my most difficult route even more shiong than Mt Faber! The first time I ran there was also with Uncle Sebas and I had to walk the hill a few times. I don't run there that often nowadays as it is too tough but I do enjoy a good challenge every now and then. Hopefully SICC, PUB can come to some sort of compromise for us runners?

My suggestion for what it is worth is:
  • Relocate the hole just before the dam so that the golfers tee off after the dam and not before it so that runners are not in the fly zone of the golf balls
  • No running on top of the dam. Build a broadwalk on the outer part of the dam at Upp Pierce just above the water level and below the top of the dam for runners to run on. Fit it with a sloping roof just in case any kayu golfer's shot goes astray.
  • Construct or just demarcate a path at the end of the dam to Venus Drive skirting the green for runners to run on.
  • Finally, along the road itself, clear the vegetation on the side of the road (say about 1 m wide) and let the runners run on it.
That way runners don't get hit by cars and golf balls; golfers can tee off without waiting for runners to clear the dam. Of course, SICC or PUB will have to come up with some money for this but surely a little CSR will go a long way.... hopefuly somebody there is reading this.

Back on to MR, the ground after the wooden walkway was very soggy especially just before the golf course. Damn there goes my shoes as it sucks in the mud. Out of the golf course, the ground gave way to wet clayy surfaces and in order to avoid slipping I cautiously picked my way through even walking through the entire section of the slope just before the fitness corner. Even then with every twist and turn of the foot, my heart jumped waiting for that awful crack sound that will signify my ankle giving way. It came once when I landed on a rather big uneven rock and I yell (heh heh nobody around to be paiseh about) but fortunately in the end emerged from the whole experience without a scratch.

So have I overcome my MR jinx?

Monday, March 23, 2009

ADVENTURE 200 Singapore – 1 Person, 1Metre, 1 Dollar, 1 at a time... is all it takes

Got an email from a friend appealing for donation and support for a guy suffering from a rare genetic disorder Morquio Brailsford Disease, Spinal Sclerosis and blinded on one eye due to Glaucoma but who intends to travel 200km over 3 days (21-23 Apr09) within Singapore on a battery powered wheelchair, covering places like East Coast Park, MacRitchie Nature Reserves, Orchard, Shenton Way, HortParks, South Bouna Vista Rd etc to raise $200,000.00 for the Spastic Children's Association of Singapore (SCAS) to help people with cerebral palsy under their care.

This guy put people like me to shame and deserve my utmost respect. 

For more information, to donate or to run alongside him, click here

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Running Sucks

These posts absolutely cracked me up! Those of you still sitting on the fence and trying to decide whether to take that first step into running - may be these will turn you off forever! or make you so confused that you will get up from your butt and go run that first km

This is a gem. Especially this comment: "You forgot to mention that most people look really stupid while running. Beyond what to do with their hands, runners seem to be torn about what sort of facial expression to make. Is it best to look like the running is easy and smile, only to risk bugs getting plastered to your teeth. Or, is it better to have the constipated look, showing how much effort it is to be physically fit"

This one from an ex-runner trying to return to running:

I like this quote from this lady: "I have large "let's give Cindy a black eye while she bounces up and down" breasts. Not fun and quite frankly, a little on the painful side"

And this is inspiring for newbie:

And this lady said it all:

"1. Because I can't remember the last time I slept past 10 am.
2. Once you stop running you eat for two.
3. The only "Elements" you ever have to worry about is water and gatorade.
4. If you run and trip, people laugh, then ask you for directions."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not An Usual Run

Last evening just immediately after the warm up for the RL run.

 The front runners had already took off towards the Esplanade side. The last three ladies were as usual taking their own sweet time to run off running parallel to each other along the wide promenade. Me as usual was still standing around. 

Then I heard a loud whack and looked up to see this guy running towards me. He had delibrately kicked at one of the ladies. I was stunned! I think the ladies had blocked his way and instead of giving them a wide berth, he had decided to bulldozed his way through and in the process aimed a kick at them!

By the time I realised what had happened he had ran past me. I shouted at him but he continued running. On hindsight and probably because it happened too fast, I should have chased him and kick him. 

Even if they had really blocked his way, there was no excuse as a fellow runner to kick anybody. What if she had fell and seriously injured herself on the hard pavement. 

Just don't let me see him again next week. This time round I make sure the whole gang will surround him and make him give a formal apology.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Team Mekko @ Suburban Run

The second of 3 run events that we (meaning me & M) will be taking part as a team so volia Team Mekko! No prize for guessing what M stands for:)

It wasn't a good run today. I like to do a race giving off my best and enjoying myself. It doesn't mean I will go all out but I least I try to put in more efforts and not run it like a training run. Unfortunately though, running as a team means each team members may have different objectives or goals and so it panned out that way today as well.

Originally, the plan was for us to run at each own pace as the rules for the team event was that combined time counts. So I had grand vision of finally getting my sub 50. I figured with a flat route, not so many runners - this was my best opportunity to bust the 50mins limit. However, that idea was put to bed when at the start line the MC announced not once but many time over that team members should run and finish together. After the sour face at the Valentine Day's Run, when I heard the MC, I knew my goal was kaput. Going it alone was going to lead to another sour face for the rest of the day so sighed.....

Still this being a race, hopefully with some encouragement, she could go a bit faster. Fat chance. We crossed the start line 35 secs after flag off which was bad enough but 50metres down the road, I realised she was far behind. I stopped and waited for her and asked her the wrong question. "Why so slow?". Immediately I got a retort - "so fast for what!". Sighed again... It was going to be a long long run:( I decided to run off and leave her alone and went until the first drink station. Now worried what hell I was going to get I decided to stop and wait for her. To her credit, she did try to push herself a bit faster and so from that point onward we ran side by side for most of the route abide in silence. The sun was out and it was hot. On the returned leg, just after crossing the bridge over TPE, I remarked on it and [insert big big sigh] got an earful and told to 'go away don't pressure her'. Moved away from the fierce hot wrath and ran alone for a while before she somehow decided to catch up and we continued in silence for some more distance until we came to the 8km marker where I made the mistake of opening my mouth again and telling her only 2 more km to go. [insert extra big sigh]. Got another chewing off for making her run so fast at the beginning. [insert super loud sigh]. What fast? The start pace was probably like 6.30min/km certainly very achievable by her standard. We finally crossed the finish line together (yah for those who need to know... hand in hand) in 56:33mins.

So was she happy? Nope - she promptly declared that in future she will run alone and will not run anymore team event with moi..

So it wasn't a good race for me. Good flat route, adequate water point, not very big crowd and nothing to show for it. Well console myself at least the goodie wasn't too bag. A Bod singlet, an unique medal, a cap (and in my colour too), an Uncle Toby bar and plenty of Milo, drinks and bananas.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Kiasu, kiasee and kiamseap

I have this morbid thinking that one day I will just drop dead during a run be it from a heart attack or an accident.

So I am kiasu. I wear bright clothing during night run. Not for me the cool look of the black knight. Most time, I am in my fav colour or white and probably the only people on the roads who can't see me are blind people. But that's not to say that accidents won't happen and I have this fear of being found lying on the road and brought to the hospital and the nurses checking me out and yeeeh, no underwear or worse... torn underwear! So I make sure everything I wear are in order and with holes only in the right places:)

Now I am certainly not kiasee. Cos death comes to everybody as sure as day turns to night. But not being afraid of dying doesn't mean I want to end up there anytime soon so I make sure I stay healthy and reduces the odd. But if the grim reaper calls or for some reasons, moi end up in hospital, I do not want to be a John Doe. Also I don't want the family to be unnecessary worried rushing from one hospital to another to trace me down.

So for longer runs and runs when I run alone, I make sure I carry some sort of id. It is too troublesome to carry a wallet, or the I/C or driving licence. Most of the running shorts do not have big enough pockets to carry to much things and me being the typical kiamseap, I have this":-Info on tag delibrately blurred out for this post

Yeah a self made id tag, that cost 10 times less than the stylomilo Road Band or the swee IDband.

Basically, a key chain tag (packet of 5 available from most bookshops at less than $2) it can be written on both side. So I have my personal particulars on one side and the ICE contacts on the reverse. Just attach it to the shoe with a cable tie and tadah,, I ready to go.So how does it perform? This self made tag? So far so good. Written with a permanent marker, it is splash proof and even stands out well in rain unless I run through a flood. But even if it gets wet, replacing the piece of paper is just a matter of removing the damp piece of paper and writing a new piece and putting it back. So what's the bad thing about it? It's dammn uncool!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cold Storage Kids Run Launch

The Cold Storage Kids Run kicked off yesterday at Novena Square. The company being a sponsor for the 2nd year running, I dutifully made my way there to witness the launch. Sad to said, the venue was very bad - despite its proximity to the MRT, the crowd was not as big as at United Square. In fact, there seemed to be more foreigners than local there.

Anyway, in the afternoon, there was a Kids Hunt where 2 celebrities, Alexandra Duric and Indra Sahdan Daud and their children joined the first 20 registered participants in a healthy food hunt in the Cold Storage supermarket. Me being the company's representative, got to meet up with these 2 nice gentlemen and their so cute children. The hunt was in wave of 5 and of course the first one to get everything in the hunt list wins but everybody goes home a winner cause they get to keep whatever they manage to grab in 5 minutes plus the winner got additional voucher from the company and Fila, the apparel sponsor.

The Cold Storage Kids Run road show
Excited Children hugging the mascot

The 2 celeb and their kids
Studying the quest very ardently!

A very excited participant
Hmm which one to take?

How about those inside?
Take the orange

Aiyoh why so little?
The judges tallying up the score

A bored participant waiting for the result
One of the happy winner with the Fila bag

Parents with kids aged 2 to 12 - this is the event to sign up for. More information here: Don't wait. Only got 4000 places!

PS: a little bird told me the goodie bag this year very solid - got Fila shirt plus plus plus....

More pictures here:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Itch and Cramp

The foot had been itching like mad the past days. Probably from the medication that I had been applying to ease the sprain on the left foot. I think it is either the Camphor or the Menthol inside the Eagle brand ointment. Just like the Tiger medical oilment, initially there is no reaction. But after prolong usage, the itch comes. The common ingredient in both these 2 brands are the Camphor and the Menthol. So look like I cannot use them anymore.

Okay at least I know what caused this but this... I can't believe it actually happened to me

Was walking along the MRT walkway towards office when the right calf suddenly seized up. Yeah, I had a cramp in the morning while walking to walk! How in the world did that happened? 

Interesting.  A new but not nice experience.

Maybe slacking is not so good for me.Yeah, been slacking big time what with the foot sprain, work and no race to train for... Maybe this is my body telling me to buck up and put more effort into my keep fit regime. 

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Newton Active Run 2009

The first real read competitive race of the year and I choose to walk 90% of it. Ha ha ha.

But I had a really nice time this morning helping out as a volunteer. The Mrs and I were roped in to perform what was termed "Run Marshall" ie instead of jagaing at a certain point along the route, we were supposed to run along with the runners and look out for runners who were unwell, lost, etc. Specifically, we were given the sweeper role for the Veteran's race. That mean we had to make sure the last runner complete in one piece.

I was given a walkie talkie and I also brought along my ailing compact camera hoping to take some nice shots enroute. The only equipment that I was not carrying was a broom to sweep up the runners and the many roadkills along the roads.

After our race was flagged off at 7.45am, we started walking 500 metres later. And that was the pattern throughout although I did play cheat and occasionally dashed ahead or took shortcut to take photographs. Being the sweeper, it was difficult to take photos of the runners and I had to run across to the other side of the road to take the returning runners from the Open event. Otherwise I will be taking mostly pictures of backside! However, it is never easy taking photos on the run and so most of the photos came out blurrryyyy. And with a camera that is feeling as old as the photographer, taking forever to recharge, a lot of nice photo opportunities was lost.... Yah blame the tool not the person behind it:)

Rest of the photos here and on Facebook and sgrunners' photo album