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Saturday, April 28, 2007

NB Real Run Club Terrain Race

It is 5 am. The Mrs gave me a kick and told me to get up and close the windows. It was raining cats and dogs. Good! Now I can sleep until 8am, than go down to Bedok Reservoir and collect my goodie bag. Unfortunately, the rain stopped about 6.30 and so reluctantly I dragged myself out of bed to go for this inaugural race organised by the Home Team Real Run Club.

Since the day I heard about this race, I had wondered how they were going to squeeze 1000 people into that small track and run 2 rounds to boot. Maybe because of the rain, but when we reached there at 7.10, there was relatively few people around. For the first time ever, there was very few runners from sgrunners. Only met TLR, Aerosoclan, Readytorace and Lucky. Only much later, was I introduced to Sywong by TLR. TLR also pointed out Juwatim to me. Juwatim incidentally came in 10th position. Also managed to meet up with Ephraim from the RL TNR & Molly's uncle. Interestingly, he told us that to run a good timing for Bedok Res, just divided our age by 2 and that should be the timing for 1 round. So since I am 44, that means 1 round for me should be 22mins? Does it mean somebody who is 20 years ago, should take not more than 10 minutes for 1 round????

The race started at 7.35am. Since there wasn't so many people, I estimated less than a 1000, we were lucky and managed to be in front but cannot run means cannot run go in front also no use. Before long, we were overtook by a whole lot of people. I ran side by side with Lucky for a while before he moved forward. M was trailing me. Reached the 1km mark in about 6+ mins. There was a lot of puddles and spent more time concentrating on not stepping into them. At the end of the first round, my time was 23:07 which surprised me since I didn't think I was going that fast. Maybe the cool weather helped. Into the 2nd round, M caught up with me. Was a bit surprised but didn't want to lose to her so pick up some speed. To my surprise, after some time, she caught up again. So we continued like this - I ran ahead she chased and catch up.
Finished the race in 47:35 minutes with M just 3 seconds behind in 47:35. that means the 2nd round took 24:25 which was another surprising since I thought I ran faster in the second round.

The goodie bag was disappointing. Only 1 string bag and 1 t-shirt. Design quite nice but not NB. So what did the NB sponsored?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mizuno Mt Faber Run

My first race since the op. Initially wasn't sure whether I wanted to do this race since it involves a lot of slopes and slopes at the moment is still a no-no for me. I was tempted when Molly and Michelle signed up and resisted but when an opportunity for a free entry came along, couldn't tahan anymore and signed up which was why I only got my number tag last Thursday.

The aim was to just do a slow jog and complete - just enough to 'earn' the finisher t-shirt. Reached there quite early and sat there waiting until bum and legs went to sleepZZZZZ.

At 7.30am the race still haven't start and we were standing around chatting with some of the guys from sgrunners. At 7.45am, saw the red flag moving around and before we could move into position, the horn sounded and the race was on! And there we were still right inside! There were simply too many people and M and I walked the first 500 metres before we found some space to move to a slow trot. Continued at this pace for like what seems an eternity. There was no road closure - only Cisco guards stopping traffic as and when required.

On to Henderson Road - it was uphill, slope so early in the route hmm no good. Turn into Henderson Industrial park and than back to Henderson Road. By now could not see anybody I know - guess all of them had flew far ahead. Continuing the uphill trot along Henderson Road, towards the turn to Telok Blangah Rd - ha finally somebody I know - Kelvin the supervisor from Running Lab Velocity. He seems very engrossed in his music and so didn't disturb him.

On Telok Blangah Rd itself, we were forced to run on the sidewalk. The crowd and the narrow sidewalk with its many kerbs and breaks made it very difficult to run. But luckily this was a short stretch and soon we were into Morse Rd going upslope to Mt Faber. I liked running upslope so picked up the pace a bit. Molly fall behind and I ran up all the way until the water point at the top. Amazing Ben was there. That guy is incredible! He chiong all the way to the top and than stopped to take photographs! Going downhill, a lot of runners were literally flying down the hill but mindful of the hard impact, I slowed down tremendously. Soon, Joy a regular runner at the RL Thu Night Run and than Molly overtooked me. That shook me up a bit. Wah I was really going slow!

At the bottom of the hill, caught up with Molly and from there on, decided to run with her. We overtook Joy and continued I think at a 7min pace. At Lower Delta Rd, started to be interrupted by the traffic stops. Counted 5 altogether. Since we were going so slow, the stops didn't affect the rhythm but what was annoying was that it allowed the crowd to build up and make running more difficult especially since along most of the route we had to run on the pavement. I guess that is the disadvantage of running at the back.

Finally saw Jalan Bukit Merah but was dismayed to find that we had to run down to Alexandar Rd before turning back to Henderson Rd. And I thought I could go and claimed my t-shirt. Anyway, we finished together in a time of 1:07:25, which works out to roughly 6:45/km pace - my slowest time ever for a 10k race but still I am satisfied since the aim was just to complete, get the t-shirt and get lost. At the end point, almost all the sgrunners gang were there lining along the pavement taking photographs and cheering on the runners. Thank you guys!

Surprised to bump into little sister there with YH. Didn't know she was coming. YH was fast - coming in about 45mins (by his estimate) and that from someone who according to him got conned into coming by his wife.

Next week there will be the New Balance Terrain Run at Bedok Reservoir. Already signed up. This one again going to run at tortoise's pace since I still can't visualise how they can squeeze 1000 runners + weekend joggers + cyclists into that teeny weeny path there.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This Weekend's Run

On Monday, did half an hour of gym bike, some weights; Tues - ran 5km; Wed - zero due to work; Thu - zero due to rain; Fri - a bit of weights + gymball ex at home.

So after a week of slacking, went into overdrive this weekend. A bit crazy but that's life.

Since a colleague was having a barbecue at the Costa Sands Resorts at Sentosa, decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and go there for a run. Tried to chio the usual gang but due to rain and other commitment or is it excuses? only Ayin joined me.

Ayin at half my age is a speed demon. I have never actually run at his actual pace as he has always been kind enough to slow down on those occasions when we ran in a group . So it was with my trepidation that I ran alone with him.

Starting from Siloso beach towards the bicycle trail, we started at a blistering pace - at least for me; probably like 5min/km. Unfortunately, quarter way through the trail, discovered it was cordoned off for the IR. In fact, it looks like this year Real Run will not be held at Sentosa since the starting and ending point as well as the bicycle trail has been blocked off!

We turned back to Siloso beach and ran to Tanjong beach. Ayin estimated it was about 4.5km. A check on my watch showed we took about 23mins which was roughly about 5.15 pace. I was gasping for breathe and decided to steal a few steps of walk. After about 20 walking pace, resumed running but I was dead beat. When we passed M and Alicia on her blade, took the opportunity to walk again abide for only about 10 paces. We than turned up Allenbrooke Road and towards the satellite. Again at the foot of the slope, took another 20 steps to catch my breathe. By the end, I had took a total of 6 walk breaks. I never had to stop so many times in a 10km run before - this was really a record!

Anyway, we finished the run at slightly over 1hr over a distance of about 11.5km-12km which makes it like about 5:30min/km pace which means I am still in very poor shape since I find it so hard to sustain this pace throughout. Anyways many thanks to Ayin for the company and pacing this old man.

Since M didn't get to run on Saturday, decided to keep her company on Sunday. We went to Pasir Ris Park, a place I have not ran in for almost 2 years. The distance marker was 3.30km 1 way so we ran up and down making it a distance of 6.6km in a time of 37min which works out to about 5:45min/km.

Surprisingly, I felt much better in today run and wasn't as breathless. Other than the difference in distance, comparing the 1st 6km, I was definitely much more tired and struggling yesterday. I think it was because I started off too fast - something that I am not used to. Maybe I shall go and experiment some more and see whether there is a difference if I start off fast and finished slower or start off slow and finished faster?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pierce Reservoir

My fave Run Route 1

Pierce Reservoir along Upper Thomson Road consists of Lower Pierce Reservoir and Upper Pierce Reservoir. The 2 reservoirs are connected by a long winding road (Old Upper Thomson Road) with undulating slopes. It is a favourite with runners and cyclists alike because of the slopes and low traffic. Parking is available at either reservoirs. Toilets facilities are also available although there is no shower facilities.

The Route: Start from Lower Pierce and run to Upp Pierce. Total distance app. 9km (return).
Extra 1 : There is a side route along the way popularly known as 'Air Con Road' which is about 1km long.
Extra 2 : Another route (just before the gate to Upp Pierce) brings you out to the main Upp Thomson Road. This is about 1.5km long.
Extra 3 : At the end of the dam, running into the Singapore Island Country Club ground, will bring you into MacRitchie Reservoir.

Extra 4 : From Lower Pierce, can continue along Upp Thomson Road to MacRitchie Reservoir via Thomson Road.

Best time to run:
Early in the morning when the air is fresh and cooling

Toilets, water cooler(at Upp Pierce) and carparks available at both reservoirs
Fun Elements: There are 2 broadwalk trails for Nature Lover at Lower Pierce. Fishing, lobstor catching are popular at Lower Pierce.

Danger List:
Reckless motorists and cyclists, aggressive monkeys
How to get there: Bus Services 138 167 169 980 855 Nearest MRT: Yio Chu Kang MRT
Nearby Eat: The famous Casuarina Roti Prata, Sembawang Hills Food Centre, Springleaf estate raterirs
More Information on Pierce Reservoir: National Parks

Sunday, April 01, 2007

10KM Challenge

This was a race I have been waiting for the past 3 months. In this race, there is only 1 competitor and there is no prize. It is only me running against the clock and against my mind.

Over the past 3 and the half months since I started running, I have set my target to do a proper 10km run by end March. I have deliberately refrained from running a 10km distance so far just so that I can surprise myself, I hope!. My runs have ranged from short 2 km to 12 km but never 10. I wanted to see whether I still have it in me to run a 10k under 60mins.

To most people, 60mins to complete a 10k is a walk in the park. I used to think so too. My PB although not in a race was 51 mins with sifu BC. So why 60mins? Because I think it is a realistic achievable target that will not force me to over-train to achieve. It is also a pace that I hope to be able to sustain for future long runs and if I can maintain for 10k, it should be the base for me to move forward.

So M and me went to ECP. We started at carpark F3 - ran to the toilet where the old '0' km marker was and u-turn and ran to the toilet immediately after the chalets (old '5' km marker) and u-turn back to the start. Distance was approximately 10km +/- 200 metres. Weather was cool but still humid despite the earlier thunderstorm.

Started off slowly with M in front. After 5 mins picked up the speed and overtook M. At the 1st u-turn (about 4km) was about 22 mins; well on target. Turning back, beginning to grasp for breathe as the fast pace took its toil. Slowed down slightly but still find it hard. This is where the mind comes into play. "Take it easy; never mind no prize to win; what if you injure yourself; take a walk; can speed up again" but I know the minute I stopped, I won't be able to resume, not at the same pace anyway. At 5 km was about 28 mins - still within target. Continued at this pace and at 7 km uturn was about 40 mins. Could celebrate now - couldn't see why I can't do the last 3 km in 20 mins but still subconsciously picked up the pace a bit. M was about 200 metres behind me. She has really improved a lot during these 3 months as well.

Yay - Finally finished the 10k challenge with 4 minutes to spare. But gasping for breath. Conditioning still not very good. But I am satisfied. Leg and mind in one piece - no pain, no sore and no giving in to temptation. Now to move on to the next target to meet by end June.