Click here for the latest on RunEatGossip »

Sunday, February 28, 2010

U by Nuun

Before February, I have never tried any electrolytes drink that comes in a water soluble tablet form, yet this month alone I had the opportunity to try not one but 2 different brand of tablet electrolytes. The first one was the Nathan Catalyst and now I have this 'U' produced by the people at Nuun,

I was at the Athlete's Circle last Thursday to collect some stuff for a friend and the friendly people there just gave me a tube absolutely free. Why? Not because they know me or wanted me to write a review but simply because it was near its expiry date! Ha ha beggar can't me chooser so I happily accepted with thanks. Anyway, I figured I will have finished it way before its expiry date of 03/10 (does it mean 1st day or last day of March?).

I shall not go into the mumbo jumbo part of the tablet. You can read it all here on its website but what I think matter most is the taste. Because no matter how powerful it is, if it don't taste good, nobody ain't going to buy it especially since it cost $16.00 for a tube of 16 tablets.

The tube that I have was the Tangerine Ginger flavour one. After my run at RL, I passed it around and at the same time popped 2 tablets into a bottle of 500ml mineral water even though the instruction was 1 tablet to 500ml of water. Hey, I figured after the Nathan Cataylst experience, I better made sure it taste all right. The tablets took a long time to dissolve unlike the usual vitamin tablets and disappointingly after the wait, it was just as bad as the Nathan Cataylst. Okay, I supposed that's what you get when no artificial anything is added to it.

On Saturday morning run at MR, I popped in 2 more tablets to a bottle of water and drank from it as we made our way through 14km of trail. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the pace or maybe it was actually the tablet effect, but I thought I didn't felt so tired although the legs were heavy from going up and down the slopes.

Last test was when I dropped 5 into a container of half water, half grapefruit juice and plenty of ice and the result - a tangy icy drink which didn't taste half bad.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where will you be?

Over the course of the CNY holidays last week, met with some relatives. Now as guys do when they meet, inevitably the conversations turns towards our NS days. And as we talked it was an eye opener for me to find out they had IPPT timing of under 9 mins during their NS days. Why eye opener?

Relative No 1 - His best IPPT time according to him was 8:45. I know him long enough to know that he used to enjoy sports and play soccer during weekends and in his younger days, was what we would called a "weekend warrior" so the timing wasn't really a big surprise. What was disappointing was to see his stocky built now accumulated from years of boozing in China. He himself doubt he can even complete a 2.4km run nowadays.

Relative No 2 - His best IPPT time was about 8:55. This guy looks tan and fit but is more into golf than run. In fact I think he doesn't run or I never heard of it from his wife anyway. Which was a waste as I think he could be a real good runner if he had continues.

Relative No 3 is the saddest case of all. While the first 3 are all in their mid to late forties, this young man is I think only in his late twenties but he has the biggest belly of us all. I think his wife who is 7 months pregnant has a smaller tummy. And what is so sad is that this guy was a former track and field runner for both his school and JC which means he would have been very very fit. But looking at him now, one will never have guess.

Over the past years since I started running and leading the RL TNR, I have also seen many runners come and go. Some were fast, some came with a lot of enthusiasm, some started from zero and progressed to a creditable distance but whether it is burnout, work, lack of time, many of them have dropped out.

Where will you be in a year time? Do you still see yourself running 3 years or 5 years from now?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Team Fatbird Eastside Run

The folks in Tampines must have thought a big group of loonies were on the loose. Decked mainly in red and sprewing Hokkien (thankfully not profanities) every now and then, it was the occasion of the Team Fatbird Eastside Chinese New Year Fa Cai Run.

One of the few rare occasion when I joined Team Fatbird for the run, this was a special run as we the Eastsider hosted the Team Fatbird for a run in the East. Thanks mainly to ACLeong for organizing the run, tirelessly co-ordinating, the run went off smoothly despite a last minute hiccup when our original plan to go through the Tampines Mountain Bike Park was curtailed as it was closed in preparation for the YOG.

I think the Taichi practitioner must have been pretty pissed that we took over their spot at Sun Plaza Park,
close to 70 of us went off first towards Pasir Ris Park,
then a run through the mangrove with a stopover at the watchtower and a fishing platform and annoying the hell out of the photographer waiting there patiently to photograph the birds. I think we scare the birds away. ha ha ha
Another stopover at the Gallop stable. Unfortunately, it was still early and there was only 1 white horse in sight. Never mind, after a run through the park, it was up a gentle slope along Pasir Ris Height
before we went up a trail to the Mainland Tropical Fish Farm. Enroute,
there was obstacle to cross
and a nice wide trail for the speed king to chiong.
Another stopover at the Farm for a drink and to gape at the giant arapaima,
before heading down Pasir Ris Drive 3 and the crocodile infested Sungei Api Api. Too bad we didn't see any crocs.

But we had the run, we had the trail, we had the obstacle, the fish, the horse and
most of all we had fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pre North East Run 2010

How do I decide on which race to take part in? Mostly, if the prior experience was good, chances are I will be back but if it is a new race, I look at who the organiser is, the route and the registration fee before I sign up. Most time, I have no regrets but sometime I do make some silly choice. Like the North East Run.

Unlike most run, the organiser did not put up the race route until last week but because it was in familiar territory and I have good opinion of the organiser after last year Suburban Run, I decided to sign up even though it wasn't really cheap. But I thought since I never did a race in Pasir Ris, why not?

And now the race is still a few weeks away and I am regretting like hell. The route was released last week and to my horror (and I am sure many participants' as well), the only thing Pasir Ris about the route is the end and start and the major part of the route is in heavily populated Tampines stretching from Ave 9 to Ave 1 before u-turning back towards Pasir Ris. Along the way, there are 14 sets of traffic light junction, 6 overhead bridges and countless slip roads and entrances to car parks. I can just visualise the frustration of runners as they are forced to stop constantly to allow residents to come out from their car parks (pretty sure the motorists are not going to give way) and also the frustration of motorist as they are caught in the partial road closures along the various way.

Why oh why do they have to put the main part of the race in Tampines? For the crowd support? Can you imagine the aunties going to market applauding us or the chuch goers already late for church because the runners are blocking them stopping to horn their support for us~. I can't.

I don't really like to pre-judge and I really hope the experience will be better than what I can see from the route map but don't bet on it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A better Marathon or 2 Marathons?

I guess the whole running community in Singapore is waiting with bated breathe to see how the tussle between the SAA and SSC turns out.

To recap, the SSC has fired the first salvo by announcing its own marathon on the first Sunday of December, a slot that has traditionally been reserved for the SAA organised marathon. SAA triumph card is of course its affliation to the IAA and without the sanction of SAA, the SSC organised marathon will fall flat on its face as no international elite runners will be allowed to take part. Does SSC has something up its sleeve? It has engaged a son of the IAA President as its consultant so does it mean that eventually IAA will grant its consent direct to SSC instead of going through SAA? So who will triumph? Or will we have 2 day marathons this year?

Let me try to be a bit kapoh and analyse the news announced so far.

Firstly, the SSC has announced that its marathon will be held on 5 December 2010 and SC Bank has jumped over to its side. The SSC promised a bigger capacity. new route, new events and most important of all a better race experience.

3 a crowd. With 50000 people last 2 years, the congestion at the end point was horrifying for most of the full marathon runners. With 60000 people how do the SSC hopes to solve the problem. I doubt they can. Why?

All roads lead to Rome. The ending point will be at the Padang (note that they did not say it will start from the Padang). There is only so many way to go into the Padang, via Esplanade Bridge, Connaught Drive and St Andrew's Road. Traditionally, the end gantry is along St Andrew's Road. I doubt for cost and logistic reasons, they will have different ending point for all the different categories and events. So the runners may come from different directions but eventually all will converge on to St Andrew's Road and the nightmare will continue for the runners.

The early bird catches the worm. Start the race earlier? I doubt. They need all the spectators they can get and there must be public transport to transport them there. And that is not possible with the current apathetic attitude of our public transport companies.

Have a break. Split the race into 2 days? Nah - it will be difficult for the organiser to claim that it is one of the biggest race in the world if it were to do so so quite sure the 1 day format will stay.

So it will be a big race but better experience? I seriously doubt.

How about the new route? That sounds promising with all the talks of Orchard Road. Fat chance. Remember the furious honking during the 2007 AHM when it went through Middle Road and Clemenceau Road? Can the authorities afford to close Orchard Road for 5 - 6 hours? I don't think so. My guess for the new route will be Padang or FI Pit stop to Sands IR via the new bridge and through Marina South, Marina Barrage and East Coast Park again! Why? Because most major marathon involves a coastline run and so die die we must have a coastline run as well and beside - no road closure required!

How about 2 marathons. Nah I don't think it is possible. The SSC has already confirmed early December which means no sane organiser will do another full marathon in the 2 preceding months unless it is an informal one like the MR Ultramarathon. And the SAA will definitely not do one like that.

So the most idea date will be in June but that is a mere 4 months away and too close to the Sundown marathon so I don't think that is a possibility which leaves September. Can the SAA pull it off? Without a doubt with its experience but with the SSC controlling the purse string and most probably all potential sponsors too scared or bemused to get involved..nah it will not happen.

My take on the eventual ending? There will be one marathon and it will be co-organised by the SAA and SSC as usual. Yes they will kiss and make up. And how is that going to happen? Remember Aware and a certain EGM? Well the same thing will happen. The clubs will be coaxed or 'persuaded' by some unseen forces to call an EGM and Mr SAA will be voted out and the newly appointed head honcho? What of him? No prize for guessing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Self Test

Have not been running hard for the past months preferring to just do easy runs. However, on a cool starry starry night this week, decided to see how far I progressed (or rather deteriorated) and went to Tampines Stadium with the Kid to do a 2.4km time trial.

The Kid started off first with me about 10metres behind but soon he was like 50 metres ahead while I was still struggling to get into the feel of the run. The legs got heavier and heavier, the breathing more and more chuang and I was like - 2 laps gone - 4 more to go....dying dying. The Kid by then was about 200 metres ahead and I was like shit when is this torture going to end. In the end, I finished the 2.4km in 11:55mins. And almost throw up. So pathetic! But on a brighter note - if I was in the army I would have got gold liao!

Having completed week 5 of my 100 push up/200 sit up challenge (I skipped week 1 & 2 and started on week 3) it was time for another self test.

So I started with the push up first. The requirement, at least 45 which should be easy since the last rep for day 3 week 5 was 50. But hell I collapsed after 40. Okay blame the run for affecting me. So after 3 hours of rest at 11pm, tried again. This time went 1 better - 30 only and the arms started screaming. Ha ha no excuse this time and now got to repeat week 5.

Fortunately, the sit up test went much smoother. The requirement was min 75 and I doubled it! Well almost. 140 to be exact. How about that!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Nathan Catalyst

Most conventional electrolyte drinks (that I know of) come in powder form and you got to mix a few spoonful to xxxx amount of water. What I like about the Nathan Catalyst is that it is in a soluble tablet form and you just need to pop one into water and volia!

The tagline for this product is "Turn Water into Power". Okay I don't know about the power part but certainly it turned the water into some murky stuff and don't look too good. And it tasted worst!

Following the instructions on the container, I dropped the tablet into 700ml of water. Bad move. Not only was it yucky looking, let's just say I rather drink plain water. I guess 700ml of water is too much. Fortunately, there was no strong medicinal smell but I couldn't taste or smell any lemon lime either.

The next time round, I wise up and added less water and for good measure added in another portion of grapefruit juice. The stronger flavor of the grapefruit juice makes the mix more palatable although I swear I could actually taste some medicinal taste this time round.

Finally, I popped 1 tablet into a coffee mug of ice water. At least now I get to see a more decent lime green color and it tasted much better. So I think the trick is not to add too much water if taste is important.

Enough about the taste. More importantly did the electrolyte did its job to hydrate, enhances performances and recovery? Unfortunately, I only drank it after running so I cannot comment on the performance part but certainly I didn't feel so tired after running this morning even though it was so hot.

Anyway, I like its convenience as compared to say Accelerade which comes in powder form. When the CNY period is over and I can get some real oranges, I will try it with real orange juices and perhaps it will taste much better.

NB: The Nathan Catalyst was sponsored by Running Lab

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


There were some complaints that the Singapore version of Men's Health Urbanathlon was a "crap" race. Not having taken part in this or even going down to watch it, I have no idea of what they are complaining about. Not tough enough? Maybe they should try this:

Tough guys test their mettle

Monday, February 01, 2010

Banana Relay 2010

First event of the year but I wasn't running. The 3rd Sgrunners Banana Relay and I was a volunteer.

Had a fun time watching the participants carrying 3 bananas and running all round West Coast Park. Interestingly, I guess when a person is concentrating on running, they can be so focus that they can forget which is left and right. I had to laugh in amazement when despite shouting to some of them to turn left, they still went right. Some got temporarily stunned and seem like couldn't decide which was left and right. LOL. Also, despite having to run the circuit 3 times, some still couldn't remember the exact route even after 2 rounds. I guess their concentration was fully on the run and they are too focused to remember anything else.

Anyway, managed to sneak in some photos (not a lot compared to last year) as my primary duty was marshaling and not photo taking. Here is a sneak preview. The full lot to be uploaded soon.

The rest of the photos here