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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Forward 2012

Just a few days left to 2011. Time to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.

What's there in store for me in 2012? I wish I have a crystal ball so that I will know. But unfortunately, that is something I don't have and so I will again have to make do with some pathetic dreaming.

Races - Definitely low on the agenda. Probably not going to sign up for more than 4. Top of the list still is to do the TNF 100 Duo and try and better my 2010 timing. That is unfinished business and the only time target I will set for any race. Okay, maybe at this point in time. Meanwhile, already signed up for 1 race in April which means 2 more to go. Something new and hopefully fun. Still no intention to run a full marathon but that can change if an attractive one comes along at the right time, right place.

Running - Definitely less. Currently mileage averages 30km a week. Don't see myself exceeding that. Will be looking to do more easy and enjoyable runs rather than gruelling training sessions. With age catching up and constant injuries, it is better for me to take things easy. In line with this, will wind down my involvement with group runs and other organised events.  Will continue to run trails once the wet season is over. But will do it for myself and friends and not for any organisations. So no official tie up. 

Injuries - Hopefully no more. But with my love to tinker around with running gaits and experiment with different shoes, this might be a pipe dream. But touch wood, with reduced running, hopefully will not be plagued with any thing major.

New Activities - Maybe try something new. Like Tai-chi. Ha ha, don't choke. I am going into the half century mark soon. Tai Chi will fit in nicely with the age group. Then can combine and come up with Chi-running. Sound good? What? Somebody has already invented Chi-running? Oh well........

Volunteer - Not going to sign up as volunteer anymore. But will definitely chip in if asked directly. So anybody organising races or events and need my help, feel free to give me a shout.

Okay that's it. A simpler, easier 2012 for me. Hopefully. 

Here's wishing all friends and readers a blessed, healthy, fun filled and prosperous 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

5 Years on....

Time flies. 5 years ago, I attended my first Running Lab Night Run at Funan Centre as one of the trio of run leaders. It was the inaugural event for Running Lab and was instrumental in kicking off group runs by other retailers. The number of participants grew and grew but over the past 2 years, with the departure of handsome Eddie and the charismatic Ben and speedy Arzeen, the numbers started to drop to the current average of above 12 per session.

Being the only original run leader left from the initial trio, I have more often than desired, been cast as the unofficial "Chief Run Leader", a title that I am not comfortable with since I do not possess most of the qualities that qualify me for it. Probably that is why the runners have stopped coming as well since they do not see any value-add in joining the run - no speedy runners to compete with or someone knowledgeable to share and impart tips.

Anyway, with age catching up and a constant almost non-stop flow of injuries, it is now the right time for me to step down and let the younger run leaders take over. Hopefully, they will be able to resurrect the run to its original glory days.

So after 5 long years of making new friends, some of which has become good friends, I will be bowing out from the Running Lab Night Run.  To Running Lab, Management and staff, it has been a wonderful 5 years of collaboration and I wish Running Lab and everybody all the best for its future endeavor. To all the friends and runners that I have met during these years of running together, I wish you all happy running and I hope to see you around in the running scene.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

Things started well this year.  

Firstly, I got all the shoes that I wanted; most of them either at very good discount or even free! Organised the North Face trail run series for the TNF store in Singapore and made many new and wonderful friends. Managed to volunteer in a few races as well. All in, it was a great 6 months up till June and than wham, it went downhill almost from July!

The injury brought everything almost to a stop. At least for the next 3 months and so I ended the year with just 3 races. The least ever since I started running. 

The volunteer part also went down hill. After a promising start  with 3 volunteer stints, I couldn't get anymore. Problem was I only want to do the charity or non-profit races events and the bigger one doesn't want individual, preferring to get all the volunteers at one goal from organisations like schools. Of course, I also screwed up badly, getting the date mixed up for one event. In the end, I ended up with 4 volunteer stint, 2 short of target. 

But despite all these setbacks, this has probably been my most enjoyable running year so far. I no longer feel the need to out run myself, my run while much slower has been more easy and fun. I learnt to relax and "smell the flowers", a result of doing all those long slow trail runs. 

What will 2012 be like?

Monday, December 19, 2011

First "Drive" Saucony Kinvara 1

.Finally took out the Saucony Kinvara which was bought almost a year ago for its maiden run. A lot of people have only good things to say about this shoe.  But my first impression wasn't too good. Maybe because I didn't lace it up properly and it felt loose. Maybe because I had inserted my own insoles instead of using the original insole. Or maybe the ground was wet after the rain and it being a new shoe, I didn't want to dirty it so was more conscious about my movement....

Managed to take it out for another spin on Saturday. This time with laces properly done up.

First impression, it was light, very light especially after wearing the Brooks Launch and the TNF Sentinel. But it was very comfortable more so I must say with the insoles.

But the insoles is slightly thicker than the original insoles and that I guess, while providing better cushioning reduces the ground feel. But in my current condition, I don't really have any problem with that and I enjoyed wearing the shoes. Just the right mix of cushioning and minimalist feel.

I think I will stick to this pair of shoe for a long time provided it last long enough.

Date of Purchase: 10 January 2011

Cost:  $102

Purchased from First B Marketing

Worn in Races:

Bali Marathon 2012

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Changi Simei Run

Got an invitation to join friends from the old neighbourhood for a run. Since moving out of Simei last year September have not gone back to that area to run. It was drizzling when we reached Blk 108, the start point of the run.

Team Captain and Champion Runner, Gary Goh was there with a few other current and ex-Simeians. There were also a few "PR" and "FT". Not a very big crowd though but it's nice getting to get to know new running people.

The run took us through the usual Simei St 3 before going into Changi Business Park. The place is real quiet during the weekend and running post rain, it was shiok.

All too soon, the run came to an end, just about 9km and it was breakfast time courtesy of Changi Simei CSC.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Running in Phnom Penh

I read a lot about my running friends running whenever they are abroad. So far although I do go overseas now and then, I have never run in any country unless it is during a race. So when we were in Phnom Penh, our friend  suggested going for a short run and I was stunned. 

We, meaning the sidekick and I were travelling light coming over from Siem Reap and we had not brought along any running gear. Fortunately, we were wearing our running shoes so we ended up wearing our day cloth which was for me, a polo tee and a quite longish short and casual socks. Definitely very uncle looking, I must say.

First thing we learnt about running in Phnom Penh, crossing the road is like dicing with death. And there were several roads to cross before we got to where we want to start our run. But with fairly cool weather and many nice things to see on the way, it was a breeze to have my first overseas casual run.

We started from here. I think this is the Independence Monument.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Angkor Wat International Half Marathon

This was supposed to be my 6th and final race of the year but instead it was just the 3rd race. But what a great race it turned out to be!

Held in the beautiful Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, this is a half marathon organised as a fund raising project for the underprivileged and poor people in Cambodia. The race is popular with Caucasians from all over the world and the Japanese.  
Flags of all the countries of the participants
It was a small race by Singapore standard though - just over 8000 participants but that means it was never going to be a congested course for the runners unlike a certain race held in Singapore on the same day. On top of that, even though there were 4 categories (the half, the 10km and the 3km and a wheelchair event), the routes were designed such that there were minimum overlap even with 10 minutes difference between each event's start time.
Runners waiting for the flag off
The support for the race by the locals were fantastic. Even though we were running in the temple complex, the villagers staying there all turned up to support. All the darling little kids were there, either to give out the water or pick up the bottles or just to cheer and high 5 the runners. I had such a wonderful time just looking at the smile on the kids' faces.
Children high fiving the runners

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Marathon Musings

It is now just 3 days to the 2nd Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Previously, it was known as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. And I have no part in it much to the surprise of all my friends and running acquaintances. After all, this is the marquee event of the Singapore's running scene and the holy grail for all local runners. So friends are surprised that I am not doing it, since I am almost an running addict.

Truth is, I have not ran the Singapore Marathon or for that matter, any full marathon for the past 3 years. The last full marathon that I did was in 2008 after which I had decided that I have achieved what I set out to do. Actually, the thoughts of those hours and hours slaving away to train for it just turn me off. Nevertheless, every time the marathon comes along, my mind wanders back to the past and sometimes a "what if"

I started running in 2004 and completed my first marathon in 2004. Back then, I was a newbie and greenhorn in running and I just ran. I thought I did pretty well, at least for the first 32 km and then I hit the wall and had to walk all the way back. The resulting cramps and aches were so bad that I had to call my friend to come down and drive me home!

In 2005, I got to know people from sgrunners and joined them in their long runs. I also got valuable tips from the sifus there. That plus the previous year experience gave me the confidence that I could do better in the year's edition. I crashed even more badly and ended up with a even worse off timing. Again, I was doing well until the 30km at East Coast Park when the cramps came and refuses to go away. It was another long long walk back to the finish line. I swear I will never do another marathon but everybody knows that is pure bullshit!

I sat out 2006 due to injury and came roaring back in 2007. I had to find out for myself that I could do this. This time with 4 years of running experience behind me, I got smart and less ambitious and came up with a game plan which went according to plan. I got a personal pacer; a superfast runner who was also coming off an injury to pace me; and stuck to a 7 mins pace throughout. Its worked like a charm and I finished right on schedule. No cramps, no ache!

In 2008, an ankle sprain killed my race in the Borneo Marathon but that did not deter me from trying again in the year end marathon. This time round, I stick to the same game plan but got a new pacer in the form of the sidekick who was doing only her 2nd marathon. And we got a PB! That was it for me. I decided I got enough of FM to last me a life time. 

But don't be surprise if one day, sometime, somewhere, you caught me running another FM. Never said never!

Good luck and enjoy your race, all my friends and acquaintances doing the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore!