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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gel Overload

While I was walking around the Race Expo last week, was at the SIS booth and learnt something new which I will share here.

Apparently there can be such a thing as too much gel. This chap, unfortunately I didn’t get his name claimed that he only takes ¾ of the packet of gel and chucked the rest. His reasons was that our body can only convert a certain amount of the carbohydrates in the gel to energy and any excess will be absorb into the stomach which will cause gastrointestinal distress or GI distress for short.

What is GI distress? Stomach feeling bloated even though you haven’t really drink a lot of water? Nausea, feeling of vomiting even though you are not pregnant and haven’t eaten anything oily or heavy before your race? Maybe feeling of getting the runs and I am not talking about the running you do with your legs? These are all symptoms of GI distress.

So according to this guy, if you take too much gel, the rest of the gel goes to the stomach, then you drink isotonic drink at the next water station and wham, trouble starts.

Which bring him to his next point – never down the gel with isotonic drink. The combination will guarantee GI distress as there is carbohydrates overload.

And finally his last point – don’t gulp down too much water especially during the latter part of the race. As the body temperature and the surrounding temperature increases, the body will have lost a lot of salt and drinking too much water will further dilute the salt in the body and that’s where the dread Cramps come in. His advice is to sip 1 or 2 small mouthful at every water station and drink isotonic drink when possible.

Sound easy? To summarise, take ¾ packet of the gel, don’t take gel with isotonic drink and don’t drink too much water. Did I mention how much gel to take throughout the whole race? My rule of thumb used to be 1 packet per 10km and 1 packet as needed between the last 12 km but after hearing him and doing some research on the net, I am totally confused.

Want to be confused with me? Read these:

  1. How much Carbohydrates to consume?
  2. Overcoming GI Distress
  3. Energy Gels and Sports Drinks 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shoes for Barefoot Running

Actually what an oxy moron - barefoot how come got shoes? But I am still in the stage of enjoying short runs san shoes but still need some sort of foot protection. My Tyr booties is almost worn out after and I need another replacement. Unfortunately, they are no longer on offer so I am left with not much options.

Most of my friends who like me still need some sort of shoes have got the Vibram Five Fingers. But I think they are very very ugly and over priced too. So despite this being the most obvious choice, it will not be my choice of footwear for any time to come.

This next pair is something I been eyeing for some time. This is the Terra Plana Evo Vivo barefoot shoes for barefoot running. It is available in Singapore at Mandarin Gallery and Ion. Can't remember the shop name but at $229, it is a bit too pricey. Unfortunately this one got no lobang for discount. How about if the distributor whoever you are? Sponsor me a pair and I do a very very nice review? :)

Most likely I will get this pseudo barefoot shoes from Nike. The Nike Run Free. The sole is not as thin but it is fairly flexible. It sells for S$169.00 which means I can hopefully pull some strings and get it at a decent discount but if not I go to Queensway I can get it for at least 20% lesser.

These next 2 are trail shoes but I reckoned if they ever reach our shore, should be suitable for road running as well. First on my wish list is the Merrell Trail Glove. This one is created by Merrell with Vibram so should be a good alternative to the VFF. Hopefully, Royal Sporting House will bring it in soon.

Finally, the one that a lot of people are anticipating  the New Balance MT101. Hopefully, the local agent for NB will bring it in. They didn't bring in the MT100. And hopefully, it comes in my size.
Er, anybody want to be Santa Claus to me? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tips No 3 for Marathoner Wannabes - Distract

Down to 1 and a half week. So exciting! Got sleepless night or not?

Okay you are running running running and tired as hell. When is this race going to end? “Why”, you asked yourself, “did I sign up for this torture”; “how am I going to finish this?”

When you are physically drained, when all the gels and salt and isotonic drinks doesn’t work and all you want to do is to lie down and sleep, how do you keep yourself focused and continue to run? This is what you need to do - Distract Yourself. Yes contrary to all the other experts’ advices out there to focus on the race, I am telling you – distract yourself. Guess that’s why I am not an expertJ

Distract yourself. Look at the other participants. Look at the hot bod in front of you or the sexy bum. Read the captions on the bibs. Get inspirations from them. Look at everybody just don’t look at yourself.  Look at the old fogey in front. If he can do it, so can you.

Distract yourself. Look at the scenery/surroundings. Hopefully the lights will still be on in Orchard Road but once past that place, look at the sea, the surf, and the people lining the streets. Look at the impatient guy in the car stuck in the traffic jam because of all these crazy runners and laugh at him. Look up, look down, look left, look right anything and anywhere just to take your mind off the agony of the run.

Distract yourself. Listen to music. Get a MP3 player. The Walkman 252 is great for this. Power it up with some real macho songs, not Jay Chou(I learnt my lesson!). And make sure there is enough juice to last the number of hours you expect to run. Dance to the music and you find your feet gliding so smoothly through the kilometers.

Distract yourself. Got no MP3 player? Sing out loud. Er a caveat here. If your singing is that sort that will wake the dead or give goosebumps to everybody, maybe better to hum silently in your head. Sing those silly songs like Lemon Tree, Mice love Rice, Umbrella Song you know those types that have the silly and catchy chorus that keeps you singing them over and over again.

Distract yourself. Visualise the char kway teow; swee char-boh; ice cream waiting for you at the finishing line. Visualise the sensual massage you going to get at the Thai massage bar in Geylang. Visualise the pride you going to feel when you recall every single step of the race to your children, colleagues and family. Visualise yourself crossing the finishing line – hands held up in pride!

Yes you did it! You are a marathoner!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 110

After waiting for the past 1 year, I finally went and got my Garmin GPS watch. I had wanted one for quite some time but baulked at the cost of it. However, now that the USD had come down to a low, the watch has become so much affordable.  As I don't do tri, I went for the basic Forerunner 110. Across the big blue sea, the watch is selling in the US for around USD250 with the heart rate monitor (including shipping to sg) but over here it was retailing for S$340.00. However, I opted for the non heart rate version and it cost $300.00 at Sim Lim. Found out it was selling at the Sports Expo for $299.00. Oh well.

Out of the box, the set comes with a clip to attach to the watch for charging and uploading. There is also a power adaptor which provides for convenient charging direct from the power point.

The watch itself is pretty bulky. Its face covers almost my whole wrist. The display is simple - just the distance , the total time start, elapsed, end and the pace.  Using it was simple. Just press the page/menu button and wait for it to locate the satellite signal after which it will automatically switch to the Timer mode. From there, press the start/stop to capture the run. To save the run, press and hold reset. To manually insert lap, press lap otherwise there is some prefixed autolap interval provided.

Like: Easy to use. Display is big and easy to read for old fogeys like me. Locating the satellite was quick although in my 1st 2 usage, it took some time (more than a minute for the 2nd run) to pick up the signal but for the 3rd run, it picked up the signal almost instantaneously and while I was still inside the car!

Dislike: I like to see my splits but it does not display the splits in the History page. Just the basic information. Also, the battery life is kinda short at 8 hours with GPS usage and 3 weeks without (on clock mode). For my 3rd run with it, because I did not charge it since the 2nd run on Thursday, I was anxiously looking at the watch as the battery indicator went lower and lower but fortunately it held up for the 20km in the end.

Am I happy with the watch? My original choice was the Timex Ironman GPS watch which is still not available here yet and I have never considered the 405/410 or the 305/310 or even the 210 as I don't like the price, design and don't need the footpod respectively. So yes, I think I am happy with the purchase more so when after uploading the data to Garmin Connect and seeing the wealth of information there and after finding out how much the Timex will cost when it finally reach our shores.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips for Marathon Wannabe - Don't

3 more weeks to go before the SCMS.

At this point in time, to make sure that you can get to the start line in one piece

Don't sit next to anybody who looks even remotely like he/she has the cold, flu or even cough. Change place if you on the train or bus. Wear a mask if it is a colleague. Report him/her to the communicable disease centre and get him/her quarantine! Better still, take sick leave yourself and stay at home for the next few weeks until the race. That way, you be sure you won't catch any nasty bugs from anybody.

Don't do all other sports especially soccer and badminton. Many runners have had to abort their race even before the start after injuring their ligament or spraining an ankle while playing soccer or badminton. Maybe shouldn't even cycle. You won't want to be hit by a car or fall or something like that. If you must cycle, do it in the gym and make sure don't fall off. Swimming is okay but just don't drown okay?

Don't run ~ if the only interval you know is the break during performances at the Esplanade or you think fartlek is what comes out between your leg, don't try any new fanciful training no matter who recommends them. If you haven't done your long runs, it is too late to start now. Just like exam, if you have not been studying diligently throughout the year, last minute revision ain't going to help much so save your energy for the race and don't put in any last minute extra or special training. Just continue with your normal runs and pray for divine intervention.

Don't be a hero.  There has been a lot of news about gangster fighting and so on. So if you see a gang fight or a damsel in distress, don't be a hero and wade into the fight. Hero dies young. And dead hero don't get to run. Just be a good citizen and use your phone to call the cops and then get out of the way first. You also don't want to be injure by any flying objects.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tip for Marathoner Wannabes - Drink

4 weeks more to go to the big day for all Singapore marathoner wannabes and I am back with another series of posts for marathoner wannabes. But you gonna take these with a pinch of salt. Hmmm actually you should. Take the salt that is. It will come in useful when you run the final 10km of the marathon. For the other pro marathoners, the seasoned marathoners, the atas marathoners, you can read, you can dissect, you can criticize, you can add your comments, your advices, in fact you can do anything you want including go away but if you really 事做, by all means, carry on reading.

This 1st post shall be about drink - what to drink during the run up to the marathon other than your usual coffee, tea, milk, isotonic drink and sky juice.

Vitamin C. You trained and trained and 1 week before the big day, you catch the damned bug from some idiot standing in front of you in the train and who sneezed big time into your face! And there goes your race. So what to do? Load up on vitamin C now. Build up your immunity. Eat fruits rich in vitamin C. Better still, pop a tablet of soluble C into your pre-run/post-run water and drink it. And don’t worry about Vit C overload. Our body will know how to flush away the excess (smell your pee if you don’t believe me).

Honey. You see bees flying around non stop the whole day? Guess where they get all the energy from? From the honey of course! Studies have shown that honey builds up energy and helps wounds recovery. All the better to help you recover quickly from all the running.What more do you need? But wait, Like Vitamin C, honey helps build up immunity. It contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal substances. So what are you waiting for? Go get one bottle now. Better still get Royal Jelly if you can afford it!

Monday, November 08, 2010

How much Carbo?

Last Saturday I did my longest run since December 2008. Distance of 28km. It started off well and I was able to catch up with the front runners in my group even though I started about 5 minutes later than them. However, on the return leg, by the 22km along Changi Coastal Road, the energy level begun to drop and the pace became slower and slower.  I could see M about 50m in front of me but I couldn’t summon the energy to catch up with her. At the 25km outside NSRCC when she stopped for a drink at the choked water cooler, I ran past her but within 2 minutes she overtook me again and that was the way the run continued till the end with her finishing a good 5 minutes in front of me.

Fortunately for me, the run had come to an end. I knew if I had continued, I will hit the wall and come to a complete stop. I surmised what had happened was I had ran out of fuel or in cheem technical terms, depleted the load of glycogen stored in my body. How did that happened?

Let me see, firstly no carbo loading. In fact the day before, my entire day meal consists of a mishmash of junk starting with a small portion of fried beehoon, followed by another teeny weeny portion of abacus seeds for lunch, 2 slice of kaya toast and 4 tang yuen for tea and 1 bowl of laksa for dinner before wrapping up with a slice of peanut pancake for supper. How much calories are there in these foods? Personally I don’t think it was sufficient for me. According to HPB’s website, somebody like me need something like 2800 calories a day to maintain my weight so I figure best case scenario I took in enough calories to maintain my weight with no excess for the next day run. But this is at most guesswork.

Now some runner scientist in the US has come up with a specific formula to calculate the amount of carbohydrates required to run a marathon. To cut a long story short (you can read the summarized version here or the full paper here), one need to know his VO2 max (I don’t know mine which is a problem right?), expected pace; leg muscle mass and voila, take in the calculated amount carbohydrates and who knows you might be on your way to Boston!

For me, I think I stick to my short runs. It is so less complicated.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Not all Shoes are created equal

Take a look at the 3 shoes above. On the left is the Adidas Exerta. In the middle is the Nike Lunarglide and finally on the right is the Saucony Fastwitch. Look at the condition of the soles. Looking at the state of the sole, it would look like the latter has been used helluva a lot as the sole is almost bald. See the patch of grey right in the middle.

Yet, surprisingly, the mileage for each pair of shoes are 375km; 383km and 374km respectively. Can you believe it! The shoe with the lowest mileage got the most wear and that is made worse by the fact that the  Adidas Exerta is a trail shoes and used exclusively for trail runs and in that type of rough terrain should suffer more damages but did not. The LunarGlide is my current favourite pair of shoes and reserved for races and longer runs and the Fastwitch is used for shorter runs and shorter races.So it proves one thing. Not all shoes are created equally so relying on the time tested 6 months or 500km to 600 km is not good enough. Need to look at the condition of the shoes and replace accordingly.

So what should I get?