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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Running from God

A friend emailed me yesterday and asked why I stopped going to church and why don't I go again. I considered telling her that I am always busy running on Sunday morning and got no time for church. Then I understand nowadays church services goes on almost the whole Sunday - early morning to evening so no good excuse there.

Yeah indeed? Why did I stopped going to church? Thinking back trying to recall the reasons - I was a pretty active church member in my youth and then sadly at the church where I worshipped, the English and Chinese service had a disagreement and split up with the English service (which was where I worshipped moving to AMK). That was too far for me in town so I switched to another church. Big mistake I supposed. I was never made to feel welcome there and nobody actively approached me to take me under his wing. I never felt a sense of belonging and eventually just stopped going altogether.

I know a lot of people who when they grow old turns to religion. I never considered myself a non-Christian and sometimes in my moments of misery, will whisper a silence prayer to God for strenght. Now that I'm past the big 4, I often think of God.

So should I go to church? or continue running on Sunday mornings? or am I just running from God?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Balance Real Run

Finally the first competitive run for this year. Haven't fully recover from flu. And why the hell they have to start so late! At 8.45 the sun is already blazing hot. Still feel pretty confident. First target for this year - to run below 51 mins. During the previous practice run, have come close - 52 +.

Reach the start point and see the crowd - shit have to get in front otherwise will be stuck behind among the mass. BC said he will pace me and he thinks I can touch 48 m.

Alamak, they start the junior 5.5k off at 8.30. Then it's our turn at 8.45. From where I am, took 39 secs to cross the start line and another 2.53 mins to reach the first 500m. Not a good start. BC is urging me to go faster but how can with so many people in front. He's good. For someone who is nearly 10 years older, he runs like a gazelle.

First km - 5.54 mins not too good - at this rate will not be able to hit 51 mins. Got to speed up. The next 4 km was much better - average about 4.6 min. Hit the beach. Shit, they cordon off the running path - right at the edge of the beach. The sand is so soft today unlike the previous runs. Guess too many people trampling over it has loosen all the sands. And it's hot. Took 6.29 min just to run this 1 km stretch of the beach. The next beach was no better. Another 6.56 mins to run the next 1 km stretch. Too hot. Feel like giving up and walk. Push myself on.

The home stretch. Another 3 km to go. Have a drink and start dashing. Legs crying out for relief. Slow down a bit. 5.26 mins each for the next 2 km. Already 49 mins on the watch. No way to run the last 1 k in 2 mins. Still must try. Body, mind and soul all screaming for me to stop. 5.29 min and finish at last. The time on the finish line shows 51 something I think, my watch shows 55.07 mins.

Couldn't be bothered. My body is screaming for relief. Gulp down a cup of 100 plus. BC is already there. Went to one corner to rest - very very exhausted. Never felt like this before. Don't know why? - Is it the heat or the effect of the medication I took this morning? And then the bile all came out - dash to one corner and started throwing up. Yuck. Couldn't even walk well. Luckily BC was there. Gave me more water. Made sure I was steady.

What went wrong? 55 mins for a 10 k is something that I routinely hit in practice run. Next week Mizuno Wave Run - try's again for the 51 min.

Never ever give up!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Where are our good salesman?

The other day - registered for the Mizuno Wave Run at the Downtown East World of Sports.

The service was acceptable. The salesman was attentive when I said I wanted to sign up. He than volunteered that there was a 40% discount on Mizuno shoes valid only on the day of registration. 40% why not? So I asked the guy - which shoe he recommend for long distance running.

That's was when all the headache starts. He picked up the first pair and said 'This is new' So I asked him whether it was suitable for me. Instead of replying, he picked up another pair and said this one also not bad. He continued with a few more pairs each time showing me how much money I will be saving on the 40% discount. Finally, I told him I will get my current Mizuno shoes from my car and show him what I need. He took one look and said 'old model' pick up another pair and told me it cost only $97+ after discount. Fadup but still keen to buy a new pair, told him to get me any one in my size US11.5. He came back with 2 different pair both size 11 and told me no more size 11.5 try 11. Then I asked him what's the difference between the 2. His answer - I quote "This one got 2 holes at the side but this one only 1' Asked him what the holes were for and he looked at me blank! Finally, I told him to get any pair of size 11.5 and he finally came back with a Mizuno Maverick.

My grouse - our sport sales personnel in Singapore are all totally lacking in training. They don't even know how to look at foot type, know which shoes is for which type of running - they just want to close the deal! It was the same at a Sportslink outlet at Eastpoint the last time I tried to buy a pair of shoes. When asked to recommend - the pretty little salesgirl recommended a pair of Nike. Her basis for the recommendation? She was wearing the same shoe!

I think sporting goods outlet should trained their sales staff well instead of trying to cut cost and employ parttimers who don't know the difference between trail and tracks.

For me, I think it's back to good old Queensway where most of the proprietor are personally running the outlet and have good knowledge gained from their year of experience.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Money equal justice?

Damm! What a time to get the flu or is it the common cold? Never can tell the difference! Need to pysche myself up so that can run this Sunday.

Read about the American guy who was arrested for bringing in porno DVD. Can't believe the police buy his story that the dvds belongs to his brother and was accidentally packed in. Such they may or may not belong to his brother but it was definitely shipped over for him to enjoy! 1 piece I believe is a mistake but 58? Only an idiot will believe such crap!

Unfortunately, this just goes to show that even in Singapore, if you have money and connections, you still can get away with breaking the law. Look at the poor Malay chap with the low IQ. No lawyer to defend him and what he kena? An increased jail sentence. Who the hell advised him to appeal? Now if this Malay guy has money and the right family background, somebody will have arranged for him to be warded and the sentence to be compounded.

I guess Singapore is no different from any other countries after all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Running Calendar

Yesterday afternoon after the rain stopped, went for a long run. Has not been running longer distance for the past few weekends as have been running at Sentosa practising for the Real Run. Finished the 20k run in a comfortable time but must have caught something becos after that, threw up. Maybe push myself too hard.

One thing I don't understand - why must race organisers cramp all the events together? Why don't they spread it over the year? Apart from the club runs, starting from the New Balance Real Run this weekend at Sentosa, next Sunday there is the Mizuno Wave Run at Hougang and then the next next Sunday will be the Sheares Bridge Run followed by the Terry Fox Run on 17 September. Organisers - why don't you guys co-ordinate the dates with the Sports Council and spread out the events?

Taking part in some of these shorter run is causing havoc to my training for the marathon where I need to build up my mileage and the only time I can run long distance is during the weekends.

Easy solution is not to take part but I love the challenge of beating my PB at these certified races and not to say - get hold of the t-shirt, which I must admit have been getting better with each year. This year, both New Balance and Mizuno are giving away dri-fit or whatever they call it t-shirt, better than the cheap cotton tees they used to give away.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Accept thyself

Read an article in the Sunday Times about exercising for senior citizen and how exercise can slow down aging. Tried out this web site: Real Age. I scored well - real age is 38 instead of my current 42 going on 43 although don't really look like it. Hair is all white so got the Mrs to dye it dark brown but it turned out jet black so now look so artificial.

Over the weekend was looking at the old photo albums. Amazing, from skinny to fat and now back to skinny. Have I overdone the exercise and running? Lost a lot of weight from around the cheek but the beer belly is still there - don't think it's possbile to get rid of it. But still, I am at my optimum BMI for my height so don't think I want to lose any more.

Nowadays a lot of people especially the young ladies are going for the skinny look. Some of them especially the actress are already so skinny yet they are still trying to lose weight. Where got the fat to lose? They are setting a bad example for their fans. The only way to lose weight and fat is to exercise and eat right not pop some miracle pills. Haven't the Slim 10 case makes these people wiser?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Be Prepared

Wednesday, I started formal training for the year end marathon. Not that I have not been in training. Weekly I have run on average 25 - 30k as part of the preparation for the marathon. But the difficulty was finding time to run long distance on weekdays. But last week, my running buddy gave me an article from the Runners World magazine. It is a 3 time a week training program for the full marathon with detailed training program for 16 weeks. It basically comprises of a speed work, a tempo run and a long run per week. Looks feasible but most of all it promises to help reduce body fat and improve timing. Wow.

So I had my first speed work - running 8 x 400 intervals. Not too bad. But at such fast pace, will I get injured easily - or will I burnout? Maybe I should have a plan B?

But I suppose one can never be fully prepared for all eventualities.

Look at poor Andrew Kuan. That guy started in 1999 preparing for a presidential bid in 2005 - one should think more than enough time to think of everything yet despite that - he never plan for all his contacts to sabo him!

Oh well I suppose just train and prepare as best as can be and hope for the best.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Story of Two Ladies

I read the story of Margaret Wong (Today Newspaper 8 August 2005) with interest. At 63, she has completed 10 marathons, 1 triathlon, is able to climb 20 floors of stairs, cycles from Bishan to Pasir Ris and is now going to cycle 620 km to KL. I really really salute her! And to think that she started all these only in her 40s and appear to be picking gear as she grows older.

Appearing in the same newspaper on the same day, is another senior citizen, Sally Wong (no relation I guess?). Looking fairly healthy judging from her picture, she speaks of loneliness, not having some one to interact with and appears to be looking for a social group to fit in.

What a contrast! Here we have 2 senior citizens of the same sex and around the same age. One appears to be enjoying life to the max while the other appears to be moping away maybe just waiting for her time to come. Maybe the newspaper should put the 2 ladies together!

So what's causes the difference? I suppose it is the attitude towards life. No one owes you a living and certainly nobody is going to come after you picking up the pieces for you or just standing there waiting to serve you. You have to reach out and grab what you want.

And that's what Margaret Wong did - she didn't just stop and forget the idea when her son refused to let her join him on his mountain climbing expedition. Instead, she reach out and achieved what she wants for herself.

And that has to be the way for me, you and everybody else who wants to have a better quality of life!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Run Free

Yesterday at Suntec City I had my first feel of the new Nike Free running shoes. It was amazingly soft and flexible. According to Nike, "athletes who train barefoot see improvement in their strength and flexibility; by mimicking that movement, Nike Free delivers the protection of footwear with the benefit of barefoot running"

I must said that I am impressed with the shoe. It is amazingly light, soft and flexible. The broken up ridges on the sole allows it to be bend any which way. And of course, coming from Nike, the design is fantastic. The only pooper - it cost a hefty $146+

I remembered when I was a full time NS man in the early 80s. We were giving a pair of black canvas shoe. The sole was so thin it was almost like running barefoot. It was lightweight and soft being made entirely of canvas and so flexible due to the thin rubber sole. Sound familiar? To all of us recruit, it was as good as running barefoot only the sole prevent us from cutting our feet on the road. The cost of the shoe? Probably not more than $10.00.

So why pay so much more for a glorified version of it?

I say bring on the good old canvas shoe!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Run for What?

My mother asked me: "Why are you running so much? You are already so skinny!" My running buddy told me: "You are not clocking enough mileage. If you want to do well in the marathon, you need to clock at least 90 Km a week!" The Mrs said "Why do you keep going running and leave us at home? You kill yourself one day running for so long!"

Indeed, why do I keep on running. Since picking it up last year, I have progressed from running twice a week to thrice a week running at least 8 - 10 km on weekdays and 15 - 20 km on weekends. And for what?

To lose weight? I have lost enough already. From 86 to 75kg in the space of 1 year.
To keep fit? I am now fitter than I ever was - even fitter than my full time NS days.
To compete in competitive runs? - No way, not in a hundred years can I hope to win anything especially at my age.

So should I slow down the pace a bit or should I continue or even increase the mileage to make sure I can finish comfortably in the marathon?

Yesterday, I ran almost 2k to Tampines stadium. From there, I ran a 2.4km and clock 10.44min. Not a great time by other's standard but for me it was unbelievable. The last time I had this type of timing was during the NS days. Now nearly 25 years later, I have did it again. It was fabulous. Somehow, words cannot describe the joy I have at the big improvement and the knowledge that I am getting there - reaching targets that I had set when I decided many months ago that all this running was going nowhere and I need to set personal best targets - 2.4k under 10m, 5 k under 25, 10k under 47, 21k 1.50, and the full 4hours by the end of the year.

So I suppose I run not to get fit, lose weight or win prizes - but just for the satisfaction of achievement PB. Is that wrong?