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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Field Report Saucony Kinvara

More than 1 month and 45km later, I am ready with a field report of the Kinvara 1. Well, the Kinvara 2 is now out in the market and available in outlets here in Singapore but then better late than never.

First, the usual technical stuff:
  • Breathable nylon upper.
  • Endoskeleton Synthetic Lockdown ensures a secure, supportive fit.
  • Strategically placed memory foam in the collar provides a snug, comfortable feel.
  • Hydrator Collar Lining helps wick away moisture and offers great next-to-skin comfort.
  • EVA insole for lightweight underfoot plush.
  • Heel ProGrid LITE midsole is 20% more responsive than EVA and supplies exceptional cushioning.
  • High Abrasion EVA (EVA+) is an extremely lightweight grade of EVA that provides supreme cushioning and durability.
  • XT-900™ carbon rubber outsole delivers multi-surface traction and long-lasting wear.
  • Weight: 9 oz
I must admit I am not too sure whether these stuff are for the Kinvara 1 or 2 or they are the same for both.
Pic from Runblogger

Design: Like most of the newer Saucony shoes, the Kinvara comes in an assortment of colors of which the most striking is the sole. It doesn't really look like a conventional running shoes, what with it almost flat heel to toe drop compared to the usual big solid piece of heel lift and thick outsole. However, it is still a good 18mm thick at the heel and this makes it very different from the thin sole of minimalist shoes which the Kinvara claims it is.

Sizing: Saucony shoes does not come with wide version but I had no problem with the fit so far although it felt a big loose on first wear and subsequently after adjusting the lace, it felt too tight on the instep but I guess it is nothing an adjustment of the laces won't solve. So far no blisters, no abrasions on the big toe, yet.

Grip: Dry ground, wet ground. The triangle shape outsole gripped wet on both wet and dry ground. However, I have not worn this for trail running since it is not a trail shoe so I can't comment on how it will perform on trails. But so far I like that even on the smooth surface of the overly common pavement of our parks, the shoe ride well unlike some running shoes which tends to have poor grip on wet pavement.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My jingly Tummy

I knew I was going to pay for it with all that reduced running. Some more with the tons of makan over the course of the past few months. So there I was at the mall trying out a trouser and I realised to my horror that I can only fit into a 1 size larger pants. Okay maybe it was the cutting but true be told, the signs were all there.

The trousers were getting tighter. The Princess keeps saying that my stomach jingles and I can see a protruding tummy from my running tees. And is that a moob I see?

So I need to do something. So now barely 1 month into the new year, I have a new resolution - to lose 2 inches off the waist line and 5 kg off the body. And to do it within 3 months!

Possible? Watch this space!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More than Garmin

Here in Singapore, practically every runner I know who wear a GPS watch have a Garmin. Mostly because there isn’t much of an option in the first place. Other than the Garmin, the only other “running” watch easily available here is the Polar.

But unlike the Garmin, the Polar watches do not come with any built-in GPS. For measuring distance, it relies mainly on the separate foot pod or as in the Polar watches which all require a separate GPS pod which comes with its own arm band for wearing on the arm. Not very runner friendly!

Then there are a small number of people who go for the sexy factor and pump for the Nike Sportband. This is of course a poor cousin to the GPS based watch as it utilizes a pedometer to count the strides and distances.

But there is hope for those who do not want a Garmin.

First off is Nike who has come up with a GPS watch – the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS. It looks pretty cool too and should be a hit when it reaches our shores.

Timex, the Ironman watch has been surprisingly slow in catching up with Garmin and I am sure it has lost market share but it is slowly catching up with the Timex Global Trainer launched in 2010 and the Timex Run Trainer last year. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer is now available in Singapore but it may take a while for the Run Trainer to find its way here. Hopefully they can also price the watch as cheaply as their Ironman series!

Timex Run Trainer

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Balance MT101

This comes more than a year late. Prior to this review, I worn it once for a short run at MR and thereafter, it went back into the box where it has been sitting. Between then and now, New Balance has come out with a replacement for it and by now it is probably no longer available at the retail outlets except maybe during clearance sale. Nevertheless, now that I have finally decided to wear it, I will still do a field report of this shoe.

First off, the technical stuff from New Balance:
  • Rock Stop® embedded into forefoot provides protection from sharp rocks and debris
  • Synthetic/Mesh upper provides lightweight comfort and support
  • ACTEVA™ Midsole cushions and resists compression set - 12% lighter than standard foam
  • EVA foam on the upper provides visual contrast and supports and cushions the Achilles; it does the same with the ankle as the EVA extends to the shoe collar
  • SURE LACE™ secure shoe laces provide added midfoot support and keep the shoe snug around the foot 
What does all that means? Go read it yourself lah!

Now the stuff that I make up:
Photo from 
Design: It is a beautiful pair of shoes. Overall a darkish green with shiny bright light green reflective strips, it looks rugged and very suited for running in the woods and forest unlike the colorful trail shoes nowadays.  There is no insole or at least the strip of what pass off as an insole cannot be removed when I tried to peel it off. The other interesting thing is that instead of the usual fabric heel collar, there is a piece of soft plastic cuff. This makes it easy for one to just slip the shoe on/off. The upper material is made of a  light weight synthetic mesh which promises to allow water to drain out quickly. One final thing is the tongue. I find it quite short compared to other shoes although reading other reviews, most seem to like it that way. But the tongue held well and do not slip or move. And did I mention that it is incredibly light even for my size 12?

Sizing: According to the New Balance website, the last for this shoe is RL-3 which means it comes with narrow heel width, standard instep height, standard toe box height and wide forefoot width. I have no problem with my size 12. The toe box was wide enough for my toes to splay and move slightly but not too much to cause discomfort. But again maybe because of my Morton toes, after the last 20km run, I could feel the beginning of some blister underneath the joints of the right toes. A new place which I have never encounter before. Maybe I had laced it too tightly? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rules of Thumb

As in everything in life, there are rules of thumb for running. Here are some of the more common ones and what I think of them.

1. The 10% rule. Increase mileage by no more than 10% per week. Okay this is probably the most well known rule among runners and also probably the least observed. Let say a new runner starts at 2km. Assuming he follows the rules religiously, he will be doing 2.2km the next week, 2.4 for the following and he will hit 5km in about 11 weeks. Did I interpret this correctly? Does anybody actually follows such a schedule? But that is not to say that this rule of thumb is bad or flawed. In fact, I personally think it is very sensible advice if taken with a pinch of salt and some common sense. 

2. For every km that you raced, you  should rest 1 day. Nowadays, it is common to hear of people doing back to back marathons over the same weekend or running marathons week after week. The generally consensus is that marathon running should be restricted to 2 a year but of course I don't think anymore stick to that. But again this is good advice. The body can only take so much punishment and there should be time for it to recover from racing. This does not mean no running. Just take it easy for a while!

3. Wait for about 2 hours after a meal before running. Again sensible but impractical especially in our climate. With races or even weekend running starting at 6 - 7 am, following this rule means waking up 2 hours before the run to eat! With not enough sleep, how to run? A more practical approach is to eat something light like a sandwich and a energy drink before the run regardless of time. This is to fuel the body and provide enough energy for the run.

4. You should be able to talk while running. Yes if you are just jogging with friends or maybe doing a long slow distance run. Not true if you are training for a race, doing a fartlek or interval. Better to concentrate on the run rather than waste energy yakking!

5. You need to carbo before a race. Maybe for those who don't eat a lot of carbohydrates in their diets but certainly not applicable for Asians where the staples are rice, bread and noodles. All the extra carbo is going to turn to sugar if not burn off on a daily basis. Better to stick to the energy bars and gels on race day for the energy than to rely on store up carbo.

Don't agree with the above? Let me hear your views then. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Found a Dog - A Pomeranian

The Princess found a Pomeranian on her way to school.

Anybody know of anybody living who lives in Pasir Ris and has lost his/her dog, give me a buzz or email me here.

If no claimant within 2 days, unfortunately will have to hand the dog over to SPCA or whichever organisation willing it take it in since we can't keep 2 dogs.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Eastside Run 01012012

I can't believe the last time there was a Eastside Run was exactly 1 year ago. It used to be a once a month affairs but due to the packed race calendars the past year, somehow I have not been able to find a free day to slot this in on a more regular basis. 

Anyway, I decided since there was an extra long weekend and being its anniversary, it was a good time to hold one. This time round, the route picked was a part trail part route covering 3 separate trails in the East. Invitations were send out via the sgrunners forum and Facebook. I had expected in view of the many runs over the weekend to have at most 15 - 20 pax but  the numbers kept growing and growing and before I knew it, there were close to 50 respondents which was more than the 2 of us can handle. So last minutes I had to rope in buddies from Simei to help manage the group. Many thanks to Gary, Zco, Ming and AC. Especially the latter 2 as they still had a World Harmony Run to do in the afternoon.

We started off from Sun Plaza Park at about 7.20 am. The first trail was the "carpet" trail of Tampines Eco Green, in my opinion the best and most comfortable trail in Singapore, JB and some say Batam! Surprisingly, many of the runners have not been to this park even though a majority of them stay in the East.

Next trail was the Tampines Mountain Bike Park, a more familiar place for most of the runners. But of course they didn't bargain for a "water" obstacle. I had recced this place a few times prior to this and decided that the water course was more fun than the usual out and out trail. And it was hilarious to see the new runners to trails picking their way gingerly over the water. And some kind dude finally decided to help the ladies in distress and picked up some more rocks to help the ladies walk over the water. Who says chivalry is dead?

The final trail was the wild but scenic Tampines Quarry, a place that I believe was new to almost everybody.   We had a group photo taken at the most scenic park of the quarry before proceeding up to the wild trails.

And wild trails it was, with tall grasses, mud and 2 fallen trees which had everybody climbing and crawling all over. Surprisingly, it appears that Nparks or some kind soul had trimmed a bit off the 2nd tree on Saturday afternoon and we could easily walk across.

Finally, after a fun and exhilarating 12km, we reached back Sun Plaza Park for a final group photo.

And with that, it was the end of another Eastside Run. Hopefully, it will not be the last one for this year.  But whether there will be another this year will depend on the demand, the race schedule cos that will affect my ability to get pacers and whether I can hustle up new and interesting route instead of the usual Bedok Reservoir or East Coast Park.