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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Words for 2009

Another 35 minutes or so and it is bye bye 2008 hello 2009.

What are my resolutions this year?

I resolve first and foremost not to run any full marathon.

I resolve ...... I think that's all for resolution since most time they are not kept. Oops did I just said that? So does it mean I going to do a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ again this year?

Anyway the same old desire. Break 50 mins and 1:50 for the 10k and half respectively.

Wish me luck!

Happy prosperous 2009 everybody. Here to good health, career advancement and a wealthy abundance year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Review

The year draws close to an end. So I think it is timely to review my past year of running adventure.

I did not make any new year resolution last year but only set myself 2 targets. Both unfortunately I was not able to meet. The first target was to run a 10km race in under 50 mins and the 2nd target was to run a half marathon in under 1 hour 50 mins. Sadly, I was way off. The best effort for the 10km was 52:43 at the Mizuno Wave Run. My original hope was to achieve this at the Saucony Passion Run which was on a flat ground with good organisation (start in waves etc). But unfortunately, a screw up in the distance caused me to lose my bearing and my chance. I only took part in 1 half marathon this year, the Bay Run/Army Half Marathon and finished badly. A troubled right knee forced me to slow down after the East Coast Park and with it all chances of meeting the target. Still these are excuses. Like some people like to say, 'can swim means can swim, don't blame the swimming trunk too big!' Yah, I know I not cut out to be a fast runner and I am heck of a lazy guy too so meeting all these targets is always going to be tough if not impossible.

Now the other thing that I promised myself before the year started was not to run any full marathon this year and this promise turned out to be a big joke! Instead of not running any, I ended up doing 2! One very badly and one well not too bad. Me and my big mouth!

This year was also a bit traumatic. First there was a scare when the right knee acted up during the AHM and I thought that was it. No more running! That fortunately turned out to be a fast alarm but the following month, I sprained the right ankle badly during the KPE Run and was out of running for almost 1 month. I therefore got the perfect excuses for my poor performance in the Borneo Marathon:) but actually I was so desperate that I kept going to different chinese physicians hoping for a miracle.

So it wasn' a really a good running year for me. Not much plus - the only thing I can thing of is my 2 free shoes - The North Face Arnuva 50 Boa and the Nike Lunar Trainer courtesy of The Running Lab and Nike Sg respectively. First time I need not pay for shoes! Also the short lived Nike+ Sports Band, again courtesy of Nike Sg. Hopefully more to come in 2009! Are you guys listening? I promised to wear a sign saying 'Sponsored by XXXXXX' if I get more free stuff Ha ha ha!

What about 2009? I think I leave this for 31 Dec.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

78 and counting

After 2 weeks of slacking and holidaying, finally I gain 2 whole kg! Unlike most people I know who are forever trying to lose weight, even if they are stick and bone thin, me on the other hand have been trying to put on weight for the past year but so far have not been successful until now. Guess my calorie intake all the while is still less than burn rate.

I am not really skinny by most standard and Alicia recently commented my stomach can jiggle :) so why am I trying to put on weight? Cos I'm vain. Ha ha ha! Somebody said I looked better with a little bit more flesh on my face so I gonna have to try and put on another 2 more kg to cap it at 80kg which will mean a BMI of 24.4 and into the moderately at risk group!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Running causes injuries?

There was this article in Saturday (20 Dec 2008) Straits Time that reported on a research by local scientists that runners are more prone to injuries than triathletes. I can hear all my relatives and friends going " I told you so!" According to the article, the scientists came to this conclusion after doing a sampling survey of 500. Their conclusion was that the triathletes had less injuries as compared to long distance runners as triathletes run less.

Now I don't know what the purpose of the research was but I don't think it is rocket science to figure out if you run less, the chances of getting a running related injuries is reduced. Likewise, the more a swimmer swim, the higher chances he may get into a water related mishap as compared to someone who never swim and don't go into a pool or sea. Ditto a cyclist. Don't cycle on the road - no injuries from traffic accidents. So it is very natural that the more you do an activity, be it running, swimming, cycling or even typing, the higher the probability of getting a related injury.

On the other hand, if the research was undertaken to prove that running is bad, then I think it is even more silly. Runners does seem to have more injuries but that is I think because of the sheer number of people who runs as compared to say play football or badminton. I think footballers get more injuries than runners. Likewise, weightlifter and gymasts. Think sprain ankle, torn ligament, slip disc, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow. So no I don't think running causes injuries.

In any case, as Charles Wu, the guy interviewed in the article and whom I had the pleasure of making his acquaintances a few years ago while running along the ECP said, "the benefits of running far outweight the cost".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Running Souvenir

Got these beauty of a souvenir from my running.

These 3 from the just over SCSM:

Black Toenail on left foot

2 Black Toenails on the right foot

Funny thing is I been wearing the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa for so long already and never had this problem. Even worn it for the PI Pure Run 30km run and the last long run of 34km at East Coast Park last month. So this was a real surprise. 3 black toenails. This is a record!

Now this beauty on the right little toe is also courtesy of the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa. Again a new experience. The only cause of it that I can think of was I was wearing a pair of Nike socks and not my usual Wright socks. And this is since 25 October. Hmm that seem kinda long for a dried up blister - which is basically what I think it is. Maybe I should get a scissor or knife and just slice it off?

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Route

With the regular lead runners and volunteers missing this evening, it was left to me to run the show and again I opt to go for a new route. This time round with a smaller group of runners and only 2 new runners who looked very competent I was sure it would be easier to get everybody to run the distance without as some people said "go holland"

We run up river past Central Mall and along the usual route (in reverse) along the river until we came to Jiak Kim St. Exiting there, cross Kim Seng Rd to the other side running underneath Block 88 before crossing Zion Road and continuing along the river park connector all the way to Tanglin Road. Once away from the maddening crowd along Clark Quay, the rest of the route was a breeze to run. With several straight path, this will be a good place for the fast runners to challenge each other and maybe even do interval.

Total distance 1 way according to Maymyrun is 4.5km although most of the runners felt the whole distance should be around 10km. I took 10:07 running as sweeper so I also reckoned it should be closer to 10km.

Anyway, here is the route.

Monday, December 08, 2008

SCSM 2008

So down to the last race for 2008 and still hopefully the last full marathon for me, ha ha ha!

The target was to complete in 5 hours same as in 2007 and not choked like in Kota Kinabalu. This time, I was slightly better prepared having finished the KK marathon, the Pearl Izumi 30km and 1 34km training run.

Started in the tail end of the 5 hours pen with M. Met up and talked to some of the Team Fatbird pacers and at one point contemplated following the 4:45 pacers but quickly put that thought out of my head preferring not to stress myself.

The race started at 5.30am sharp without the usual countdown which I think caught a lot of people. We took 1min 36sec to cross the start line. This year there is a new modified route. We started down Shenton Way as usual from Esplanade Bridge but instead of turning into Marina South at Maxwell Road, we turned back into Robinson Road before going into Raffles Boulevard. Because Robinson Road runs parallel to Shenton Way, was disgusted to see a runner cut through McCallum Street from Shenton Way and further down the road, another 2 male runners cutting through Boon Tat Street. Aiyoh, what is the point of signing up for a full marathon and taking shortcuts here and there? Also, was amused to see so many male runners lining up to pee along the hoarding of the former Clifford Pier and along the roads within minutes of the race starting. Must be releasing all the pent up stress:)

From Raffles Boulevard, we turned into Nicoll Highway towards Suntec u-turning at Middle Road junction. So far, so good. Slightly behind the 7mins pace but it was still early. We continued at a constant pace, stopping to take gel at 12km and a toilet break at ECP B1 toilet. Surprisingly, so far still didn't see any of the Team Fatbird's pacers only the official Adidas pacers. Up the service road until Area E where we turned into the bicycle path turned up at Carpark F2 and continued along the service road until behind the NSRCC golf course before u-turning. Along this stretch the 2 returns route was running side by side separated only by construction cones but the runners were all very disciplined and there was no overcrowdng. Was surprised though that there was no timing mat at the u-turn. Hmm I am sure if the runners knew about this, a lot of them will simply just cut short that stretch saving 500 metres in the process. It is here that we finally see the Team Fatbird 5 hours and later 5:30 pacers on the other side. Also bumped into Gentle, doing his 17 marathon. Had a short chat with him before going our separate way.

Legs were still fresh. The sun haven't come out yet. Took another gel at 22km. So far so good. Saw a few runners in the new sgrunners top but didn't know most of them. They were giving out Gu gels at the 28km and unlike last few years, this time they were so generous. Saw some runners taking 4. We took 2 each although on hindsight should have taken only 1 as we still had some with us. At the sgrunners support table, Sotong gave us an iced hydralite and that was so heavenly and invigorated us. Unfortunately clumsy me had to drop off a third of it while trying to suck it. So wasted. Ran with Fennel for a while. She seemed to be experiencing ITB problem and was doing run and walk. Also saw Alan who seemed to have cramps.

Back on Nicoll Highway, we turned left into Stadium Drive(?) turned out again back to Nicoll Highway and then in again before going down along the river and up on the other side of Nicoll Highway. 35km and still feeling good. We were 10mins ahead of our 5 hours target. Along Kallang Rd, M complained of tightness on her left leg and stopped to get some heatrub from the volunteers. From here, we slowed down and along Crawford Street took a slow walk along the dreadful slope which in normal time seem so gentle but now seemed like a mountain!

However, energised by the sign 39km, M started to run and pushed the pace up to 6km pace. I struggled to follow but mercifully she had to slow down when we ran into a hugh human walk of walkers along the F1 track and I was able to take a breather. There was simply too many walkers. Was really surprised. So far the route had been well segregated without congestion and here at the most crucial point, the 3 races, full, half and 10k merged! There should have been barricades to separate the runners Anyway, once out on the road, M started running again and up on Esplanade Bridge, we started weaving in and out of the runners before turning onto Fullerton Bridge, the home stretch. With less than 50m to go, we held hands and ran in together to finish in 4:48:6 (gun time) and 4:46:25 (chip time).

A PB for both of us, me after 5 attempts and she in only her second!

Will we be back next year? We said no but don't bet on that!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

SCSM 2008 Race Pack Collection

A little bird (okay, not very little bird) tipped me off that there were problems with the event tee and urged me to go early to collect. So took a half day leave on Thursday and went over. 

Reached there at 3pm and was dismayed to see a long queue stretching all the way to the atrium. Later was told by friends that at one stage, it even stretched until the MRT station so maybe we were not too bad after all. There was only 1 common queue although occasionally the volunteers will ask those doing the 10k and half to follow them. Presumably, the queue inside for these 2 were shorter. We queue outside for almost an hour before being allowed in.  

Once in,  I went to the Kids Dash queue to collect for a friend's kids while M joined the full marathon queue. The queue for the Kids Dash was short, only about 10 person in front of me so I thought it will be a quick. Boy, was I wrong. Somehow the queue moved so slowly. Each person in front of me on average collected about 3 each. The 3 Japanese in front of me collected 6 each and so I was stucked there for another hour. I shudder when I looked at the queue for the full marathon which was like 100 times as long! Were we going to be stucked until 7 pm?

Observing the counter staff doing their work was an eye opener. The young kids were very polite but I don't understand why they need to go to all the trouble. First, they have to key in to the computer to get the bib number. Then somebody or they themselves will go to the back and collect the bib and the goodie bag. After that, they will show the person collecting the race pack the bib number and the singlet to confirm the name and size before putting everything into the gym bag. And they will repeat this with every bag. No wonder it take so long to process each collection.

I tried to persuade them to let me collect the full marathon pack from the kids dash counter but no go. I was resigned to queuing from the back but luckily the other staff there allowed me to join M who was somewhere in the middle of the queue. Surprisingly, the queue here moved very much faster probably because there were more counters and we managed to collect our race packs within 20 minutes which was not too bad. 

So total we took nearly 2 and a half hours to collect everything leaving us with not much time to explore the Sports Expo. So did I do right to collect on the first day? Last 3 times, I have always never collect on the first day but because of my friend warning, decided to do otherwise. I reckoned since it was at the Expo and not Suntec, there will be no lunch time crowd and the crowd will only come in the evening. So I was proven wrong there.  But reading the post in the forum, I am glad we went early - at least M got her size because they ran out of ladies S & M yesterday evening. I can't imagine how much she will freak out if she can't get the size she want just like what happened in Kota Kinabalu!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

4 days to go

4 days to go to what will be my last full marathon. Hmmm doesn't that sound darn familiar?

This week is slacking week. Sunday as expected, got lazy and didn't join the Fatbirds for their last run.  Yesterday was supposed to do a short run with the CBD people but someone up there like me and it poured so managed to slack.  Today I would like to think I can do a make up run (subject to work and weather), tomorrow confirmed RL run going to be short short run (subject to weather again!) and Friday, swim? and Saturday of course rest.

So am I ready for my fifth attempt at the full? I think I am as ready as can be which is to say not ready at all. I would like to be able to complete within 4:30 - 4:45 but realistically I think I will still do around 5:00. Not because I lack the stamina or endurance but because my mind is mentally weak.

Now anything to eat to make the mind strong? Pig's brain? 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Bum

With just 1 week to go b4 the big 42, I'm getting lazier instead of more kancheong. 

Last weekend, did 15k on Sat, supposed to do another short one on Sunday. Got up at 6.30am, went took a leak and then promptly went back to sleep. M was all geared up to go already but surprised she also didn't said anything - just went back to sleep! So last weekend mileage was less than ideal. Only about 35km.

This week Tuesday evening decided to join the I-run. Why?  because the longest distance they do is only 7km. Last night, RL run was Fort Canning/Clark Quay. Can choose to do 2 rounds at Fort Canning but again got lazy and settled for one round clocking less than 10k. 

This weekend program is 10 - 15k on Saturday and follow the Fatbird on Sunday but it will probably be 10k Saturday and zero Sunday.  Ha ha!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

M's Borneo MarathonTrophy

M's trophy has finally arrived along with a free Air Asia ticket. The ticket is quite useless though. Must board from KL and only to Borneo. So unless she intend to fly from Sin to KL and from there to KK or Kuching, it is as good as junk. Some more doesn't include airport tax, baggage etc. Anybody want a free air ticket from KL to Borneo, good until next March?

Apart from these 2, she also won RM1500 which was tt to her bank account so all it I must said this has been a fruitful 1st marathon for her.

Will she be back next year? I doubt. This type of luck cannot prevail. She has already ride her luck twice - once at the Mizuno Mt Faber Run and now this. Both time, timing that are so miserable that we didn't even bother to find out the results after the race. Like for the Borneo Marathon, even though we were still at the stadium until quite late due to transportation problem and had looked at the results pinned on the wall, it never dawned on us that she had won. To get lucky a third time, she need to look for another obscure race where the number of women veteran runners are few and don't attract attention from the elite runners here and in the home country. I don't think there is a lot of these around though.

But having said that, I would like to go back though but not for the marathon, but to climb Mt Kinabalu, visit the reserve and see Survivor Island which we had no time to go the other time. And of course to eat the barbecue seafood at the waterfront!

The race report here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gym Rat 1

You know I got nothing to write about when I start to write crap but here goes:

My observations of the different foreigners in the gym downstair.

First the

The oversea Indians. I am amazed at the way they do their stretches. Most of them do a form of yoga and stretches at superfast speed. And the way they run on the treadmill - high speed and literally holding on to the handle bar to avoid falling off! Just watching them makes me dizzy. Interesting thing is, the Indian ladies are almost inevitably obese and just content to walk on the treadmill. I am not a racist and generally I avoid going near them when they are doing their workout. Not that I am scare of being hit by their rapid movement but those who go to the gym often will know what I am referring to:)

The angmoh. Can't tell whether they from down under, or the Big Apple or Europe so all get dumped under angmoh. Down to a t, they will go for the heaviest weight available. And most of them are not the body builder type some more! I can't imagine doing bicep curl with 17.5kg weights. These guys are super strong or what? And yah, they grunt and groan with every lift and every curl.

The mainland Chinese. Very easily recognisable. Oversize basketball tee and shorts and sometime basketball shoes too. Mostly young, they will go on the treadmill - run at 13 to 15kph for all of 5 minutes and then disappear.

The Indonesian Chinese. I can smell them the minute they walk in. Usually clad in a branded t-shirt and short and covered with an extra thick layer of perfume. The amazing thing is that no matter what exercise they do or how much they exert themselves, not a single strand of hair will be out of place and they still end up looking a million buck!

So far that the main group of foreigners that patronize the gym. Very few Korean and Japanese so no comments about them. What about the locals?

That's another story for anothr day when I run out of things to write again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

GE Women 10K 2008 Video The Final Instalment

The little lady is away for a school camp and so finally get to use the note book and do up the final instalment of the GE Women 10K 2008 video.

Actually quite boring. Lousy resolution, cannot catch the faces cos either too fast or too jerky. Put in some slowmo and a nice catchy song.

Video also uploaded to sgrunners photo album.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recovery Food

As usual after today's run, I had a ripple ice cream. Somehow I can't resist it. Probably the body craving for sugar but it sure make me very happy That and a cup of teh halia.

Try it. It definitely aid in recovery! No need fancy expensive mix!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blister, blister everywhere


For the first time since I started running - I have multiple blisters all over my foot.

1. 1 big but now dried up blister on right foot arch - souvenir from the Borneo Marathon - likely caused by the orthontics insole

2. 2 permanent big blisters on the outside of the 2 big toes - present from Nike Singapore that comes together with the Nike Lunar. No amount of change of insoles (tried all types), socks help. The front is simply too narrow for my foot.

3. 1 newly acquired one on the left foot arch. Probably from lacing the Saucony Phoenix 3 too tight!

4. 2 tinny weeny one on the middle toe of each foot courtesy of my Sole flatbed insoles ganging up together with the Saucony Phoenix 3. 

So where else coming up next? Heel? Small toes? Urggggggggg

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mileage Mileage Mileage

Mileage, mileage, mileage. I have decided that last week was the week that I was going to break 60K. The plan was to do 10 on Tue & Thu, 15 on Sat and 32 on Sun. Total: 67k. Yeah pipe dream.

Monday was rest day after the PI 30k run on Sunday. Tuesday came down with an unexplained fever so Tuesday and Wednesday frizzled out too. Thursday - didn't want to push it and only did a short 5k. Friday got work and end up leaving office late. Saturday finally managed to do a 14km with new running friends. Which means only 19k for the week and 41k if I want to touch 60 for the whole week. Decided that was too optimistic, the original 32k will do but alas someone up there has obviously decided that I need a longer break - it rained cat and dog on Sunday morning! 

Sighed! Ended up going for a run at 10.30pm. M said I siowed! Yeah a bit crazy most of the time. Was really tempted to run longer but in the end settled for 15k as need to go to work the next morning.

So did  I miss the final opportunity to do my last long run? One more weekend to go after which must taper. What's  going to happen this week?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


My friend Ben, wrote about mileage training for the marathon in his blog and of course he being the ironman that he is, he only needs a weekly milege of not more than 30km to do a marathon!

Now me, being a mere mortal have always subscribe to the belief that mileage is key to doing a good marathon. And that means doing at least 60km a week. Unfortunately, for this year, a lot of things seem to be conspiring against me to keep me from doing a proper mileage training.

Take the leadup to the Borneo marathon, total monthly mileage for June, July, August was 171, 189, 183 and September was a miserable 99 no thanks to the ankle sprain sustained during the Swing KPE run. This means assuming a 4 week month, the weekly mileage was 42, 47, 45 and 24! October itself was not much better. After taking out the marathon itself, the weekly mileage was only 35! Now into the first week of November, with a 30k race last weekend, this should be the week for me to boost the mileage but instead out of the blue, I am down sick and 2 days of training is gone. So this week mileage is unlikely to hit 40 after which it will be too late to increase any more

Compare this to last year when weekly mileage for the month of October to mid November was at least 55k a week! And those were with higher intensity training thrown in compared to this year just running at slower than race speed.

Looks like I going to suffer this time round:(

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pearl Izumi Pure Run 2008 Series 3

Run like an animal. That's the Pearl Izumi war cry. And so I ran like an animal. A sloth. Long hands long legs and yet so slow:)

Okay today was the last run of the Pearl Izumi Pure Run Series. The first run which we missed was 10km, the 2nd was 20km and this last one 30km and all at different place.

Today run starts from Changi Beach Park and goes all the way to East Coast Park Carpark F2 and back. Like the previous run, there was only a small crowd of about 300 runners. The ladies started first followed by the guys 10 minutes later. There was a small number of sgrunners, Mr & Mrs IMD, Sleek, Yamsong, Fruitloops, Zco, Ayin, Eliza, Yankee, Fennel.....and a number from Safra. Michelle and Jun Hong decided to get crash since we had 2 extra ladies bibs. Unfortunately, Jun Hong is a guy. Luckily he managed to swap his bib with a lady who had an extra guy bib.

After last week horribly slow 27k, I had decided I was lucky if I can complete the 30k in 3hrs 30mins. I started slowly at around 7min pace and hit 3km around 22 mins where the first drink point was located. After that started to pick up a little speed but could see that I was like the last few runners. As I was still feeling good, decided to go slightly faster. Hit 5km in 31mins + and 10k just a few seconds of 1hr. So far so good. Was looking forward to the accerelate drink and banana at the 15k u-turn and decided to move even faster. Finally reached the uturn just after 1hr 30m to discover that contrary to what was emailed to us, there was no banana and no accelerate drink. Only plain water again!

Surprisingly, despite the hot weather I was still feeling rather good. Reached 20k at slightly after 2h. Met Eddie manning the traffic light and asked him 'Where is his banana?' before realising that it sounded......... At the next water station, they finally had a blue medicine tasting drink (presumbly the acclerate). The next water station had a yellow colour version which tasted slightly better and thereafter no more. Sigh... they should have served this at 15k and maybe 22k!

Anyway, still running and constantly shifting from fore foot to heel strike to relieve the pressure on the knee, I reckoned I was now looking at possibly finishing just around 3 hours instead of the 3:30 that I was thinking I could do. At the first park after Aviation Rd, saw somebody in blue up ahead and thought that could be M and decided to catch up with her. Unfortunately cock eye me..that turned out to be a guy:( Running alone and after the SAF terminal, saw another person in blue with a cap and from the way she was running, reckoned that must be M. She was about 500 m ahead and it took a lot of effort to catch up with her. Finally caught up with her just after carpark and ran back together with her to finish together. Time for me based on my watch was 3h 06m and that cheered me up no end! Hopefully I can maintain this momentum and do the same at the SCSM.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Newton Gravity

Key Power International came to Running Lab this evening with their Newton running shoes for trailing. Fortunately for me, they brought along only 1 pair of size 12 and I managed to get it first.

"It" is the Newton Gravity cushion trainer. Now I am rather surprised that Newton still has its shoes designed as cushioned or stability shoes. According to its website, Newton shoes are designed for forefoot running. Based on the literature I have read previously, if a person is running using forefoot, there is really no need for stability or cushioning shoes as the gait and impact point is different and there is no need to stabilise the foot etc

Anyway, back to the shoes. "Whether training or racing, Newton Active Membrane Technology™ provides greater shock absorption, greater energy return while promoting the natural and more efficient forefoot strike of barefoot running". With this in mind, I put it on and instantly felt the different. There was actually 4 piece of protruding foam known as actuator lug right in the middle of the shoes. This raised foam force the wearer to land on the forefoot first and these together with the hollow chamber is supposed to reduce the shock to the legs. So is it really true?First impression - although it comes in my fave colour, the color combination of orange and yellow was actually quite a turn off. Made it looked rather 'cartoon'. Another runner commented that it reminded her of the shoes in the '80s.

However, it was light - in fact very light. When running, there was a bounce to it - much better than my Spira. Cushioning was good and I felt that I could run much faster in it without much impact on the legs. Ran about 6km up and down Fort Canning at varying speed and the shoes felt very comfortable. It really absorb the impact well much better than my Nike Lunar.

As I have been adjusting to forefoot running for the past few months, I had no problem getting used to this shoe and I think I will be wiling to give it a longer tryout. But alas, the trial is only for tonight and I am too lazy to go for other trials. Now if it wasn't so ex!

GE Women 10K Video

GE Women 10k Run. All the actions. Including the top 5 finishers and members of SGRunners. See if you catch the bandit runners or any familiar faces.

The Making of the Group Photo. Damm jialat. Ladies.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Eastern Women 10k

The Great Eastern Women 10K. This year was lucky enough to get an invitation from ESG, the event organiser so was able to go to the Hospitality Tent and get breakfast. Thanks guys. So while the ladies were sweating it out in the queue under the sun, we were having breakfast inside the Hospitality Tent together with the VIP and the race winners!. Hmm life is great!

M didn't do too well this time round coming back in a much slower time of 58:06 compared to her last few races. The race was won by a Kenyan (they seem to be popping up everywhere) and Singapore's favourite Vivian Tang was beaten to 7th place.

Met a few of the new sgrunners ladies. Don't know many of them. The regulars have mostly disappeared or are not supporting this race. Probably too ex which is a waste as I thought this is one of the most well organised race.

Photos and videos coming up soon.. just so soon as I can find time to do some tweaking!

Okay all photos finally up here

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Borneo Marathon

After some searching finally managed to get a video of the start of the marathon on You Tube.

As there were only 170 runners in the full marathon, scanned through slowly and can see us.

Still can't find any photos yet:(

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Borneo Marathon Race Day

The day of the marathon. Should I run or not? Actually I had more or less made up my mind to run - bad knee or ankle be dammed. There was never a question of not starting although that was in my mind the last 2 weeks leading to this day. At most, I reasoned, if I cannot do it, I will DNF.

Arranged with the race organizer for a shuttle bus pickup from our hotel to Likas Stadium. Cost RM35 per person for a return trip. We were to regret paying for this later.

Reached the stadium in good time and was surprised to see the organizer still setting up the start point. There was a lot of Safra runners around. Met IMD and Jennifry(?) at the start. Also saw Alber, Jeffrey(?). Seemed like there were more Singaporeans than the other nationalities. IMD told M not to run too fast ahead of me and leave me behind. How prophetic his words were to become later on.

The race started slightly after 4.30am. We had to run 200m round the stadium before going out onto the road. Stepped on a plastic cup and and then another. Wondering why there were so many cups on the road so early in the race. An angmoh runner told me these were the route divider! So creative. Using plastic cup filled with sand for road divider. Later on the plastic cups became plastic bags.

From the stadium, we ran north in the direction of Mt Kinabalu. It was still dark and there were no street lights along part of the route so for the first half hour or so, we ran in darkness.

M and myself ran at a slow 7min pace. I had decided to adopt the same strategy that I adopted at last year SCSM and run 7min pace throughout and hopefully complete the race in 1 piece - just under 5hours. That should suffice for M's first marathon and for a crippled me. At around the 3km mark, I estimated there were only around 20 or so runners behind us. Was wondering to myself whether both of us will finish last since the field of 250 runners or so all looked so 'pro'.

We ran north, passing the majestic City mosque, 1Borneo hypermall, the Sabah University, past a row of durian stalls (hmm the smell was heavenly); and all the while facing the magnificent Mt Kinabalu. How I wish I had my camera with me. We did a u-turn at the 12km mark. At this point, we were still on target with our pacing and were running very comfortably. It got bright very early in KK and by 6am, it was totally bright. The sun came out in full force around 7am and when we passed the stadium, we ran into the 10km runners streaming out of it. As there were only around 1000 runners, we had no problems with the crowd and continued our run smoothly.
At 25km, I started to slow down or did M started to run faster because she was pulling ahead. Soon, we reached the city passing the Observatory, the Waterfront where the whiff of fish was so strong, passed our hotel and continued southward towards the direction of the airport.

Around the 28km mark saw Yee Hua who was doing the half running strongly. Strange - didn't see IMD. Then saw him some distance behind. He complained of stomach pain and was walking. By now, M was a full 50 metres in front of me and I was tiring fast. At one of the water point, I asked the lady where the u-turn was and she very discouraging told me it was still very far. We turned right into the Sutera Harbour Resort and that was a long way in indeed. I was feeling very hot and tired and the road seem never ending. Half way in, saw M running on the other side. She still looked very strong and I hope she won't hit the wall. At the end of the Sutera Harbour route, I took my first walk break. Exiting that, I was disappointed to learn that we had to go further up and not turn back. There was another 3 km loop to run before turning back. Then I saw the small little marker ( they were using small triangular distance marker) placed on the route which said 10km to go. Got a packet of power gel here and continued to jog along. Again saw M on the other side of the road. By now I estimated she was at least 1.5km in front of me.

At 33km, the wall came. I couldn't summoned any more energy to run and was so drained. The ankle and knee had held up well so far but the 1 month layoff was coming to haunt me. I decided to walk for a while. The walk became a 1.5km walk as my body refused to run. Another problem was the left calf was tightening and I knew if I pushed on, I will get a massive attack of cramp so it was walk walk walk and run and walk walk walk. With this stragety, managed to stall off the cramp but I knew the 5hours target was shot. Past the hotel, wished I can go inside and just lie down but I got to finish what I started. Pressed on. The 3km to go marker didn't bring any relief. I was hot and tired and wishing it was 300m to go. In front of me was a lady who was limping and sighed - she was limping and walking faster than I was jogging. There was another guy running and carrying an umbrella! Smart move considering that it was like noon here in Singapore!

With 2km to go, I finally managed to catch up with the limping girl and told her to run together and finished it off. But then with 2 strides, the cramp that I had been trying to stall finally came. Damn! Decided not to stretch, applied some heat cream and walked. The limping girl had disappeared. Walked some more. Where is the damn stadium? Finally, a guy said just after the bend and so I started to trot and there it was - the stadium floodlight!

Turned into the stadium and still have to run half a round. But I must admit it feel good to finish in a stadium. Like the Olympic! There were people on the stand cheering and clapping and I managed to run and even overtake another runner in front of me although 2 runners behind overtook me in return. Nevermind, I had finished! It wasn't a good time but I did it. From an initial DNS to a maybe will DNF to completion. And without major damage to my ankle, knee and legs. Ha ha now I can enjoy the rest of my holiday and not have to walk around like a crab with something stuck between the arse!

M had finished earlier within 5 hours and was waiting for me. I am so proud of her. Her first marathon! More good news was to come for her later.Unfortunately, they had ran out of milo by the time I finished. There was no free drinks at the end of the race and runners had to buy the isotonic drinks. Strange. There was a booth selling the race photo but it was so packed so we decided to forget it and go back. Waited for our bus but it never came. Went to checked with the organiser and after hanging around for another 45minutes, we were told the bus was on the other side of the stadium and we were waiting at the wrong place.

Got very cheesed off and told Shan off. In the end, the very nice Shan asked one of her staff to send us back to our hotel. If you are reading this, Shan - my apologies if we sounded rude but we were tired and hot and rushing to check out.

Back home here now, just checked the official result and believe it or not - M came in first for the Women Veteran category! Whoo whee! Ha ha seem like got advantage running in unwanted races.  But actually quite paiseh with the type of timing. Only 7 participants in the Women Vet's category. But that's not her fault or problem right. Now there is supposed to be a cash prize of RM1500 and a trophy, so where is it? Are they going to give it to her?

Overall, the organisation was good especially for a first time marathon. There are of course room for improvement - like moving the race kit collection to a more centralised location, making sure the runners get their correct size shirts as indicated on the registration form, better road markers and dividers, traffic control (at one stage on the return leg we were running on the extreme right of the road with cars whizzing past us). Also, the puzzle of why they ran out of women singlet. Saw many guys walking around wearing the woman's cut singlet. So, they must have just distributed the women shirt freely on Friday and ran out by Saturday leaving only the men's shirt for distribution. All these could be better managed but it was nevertheless a good attempt for a first time marathon.

The rest of the visit to KK here

Borneo Marathon Pre Race

Decided to go to Likas Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon to collect the race kit. There didn't seem to be any public transport there at all and so we had to settle for a taxi. Goodness me, it cost RM18 from our hotel to reach there. Why have the race kit collection in such an ulu area?

There were hardly any people there so collection was a breeze. And than the shocker came for M. They had run out of female size singlet! We couldn't understand why but the puzzle was solved later during race day. M got very upset and so we went to look for Shan, the very nice lady coordinator and requested that she gave us the t-shirt on the mannequin instead. Unfortunately, nobody seem to know who was in charge of the mannequin or for that matter the t-shirt distribution so in the end M had no choice but to settle for the oversized man size singlet. The goodie bag was quite miserable. 1 small shopping bag sponsored by HSBC, 1 voucher for the pasta dinner, 1 discount voucher for some spa treatment, the race info, number tag and timing chip and of course the singlet.

Met Jenap aka Harmoni aka Catwoman at the collection. She was going back for the pasta dinner. We had decided to skip the free pasta dinner considering that there was nothing to do around the stadium area.

Waited for a while but no taxi came along until a couple came in a cab for the collection and we gratefully jumped in and adjourned to 1Borneo.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

3rd Sinseh

Went for my 3rd TCM consultation with a third sinseh in as many weeks. Although up and running already, the swelling was still there so when Sebas recommended this TCM practitioner in Chinatown, decided to pay him a visit.

The shop certainly didn't inspire any confidence. It was run down, with many worned and old sofas and chairs lying around. It looked more like a shack with a quack doctor in those old Cantonese movie. 

And it was almost like that. The sinseh asked me to sit down on one of the sofa, asked me to take off my shoe and prop up my leg on a stool and start examining it right there in public. No consultation room, no privacy. 

But the difference stopped there. And what he did thereafter was very different from the earlier 2. He asked me to remove the other shoes on the unaffected leg and started comparing both foot.(The earlier 2 didn't even bother). Than he pointed out the difference to me and explained that I had dislocated my ankle and he had to put it back in place. Ouch that sound painful! I can imagine machiam like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon who was constantly 'popping' back his shoulder joints. But He assured me it will hurt only a bit and then started pulling on the toes.

Toes? Yes. He didn't manipulate the ankle but the toes. Then he stopped when he noticed my knee and asked whether I had operated on it. When I told him in the affirmative, he went on to probe further and when he found out I couldn't fully straighten it or bend it all the way back, he declared that he can solve that problem but not before he made sure there was no implants or insert in it. So after some more pulling and twisting, he made me do a full squat. A squat (as in go toilet do business on the squat pan type of squat) is something that I can't do - not for the past few years anyway and I can do it. Not once but 3 times!
To cut the story short, did this round of treatment work? Certainly by Tuesday evening, the swelling on the ankle had gone down tremendously. But is it because of this treatment or it was healing anyway? 

But honestly despite the environment, I thought this particular sinseh whom his card stated his speciality as 'oestopath' actually paid much more attention and seemed more experience than the earlier two. Hopefully, this will be the final round of treatment required.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shoes Laces Locking System

I am a lazy guy and I also don't particularly relish tying shoes laces halfway into a run which is why I got all these shoe laces tying thingy.

Lock Laces: This one I have been using for a long time. Convenient once tied, there is no need to do any further adjustments. It is pretty cheap too at around $12.00 but comes in only a few boring colors. The main disadvantage of this otherwise easy to use product is that adjusting the laces to fit different thickness of socks or a ankle guard can be a nightmare. Also, I am never comfortable with just yanking off the shoes after run without loosening the laces.

Yankz Laces: This one comes in many beautiful colors with a fair bit of them in luminous color. And I got the shoes to match! It is also reasonably priced at around $15.00 but I don't really like its way of tying the laces together. Make the whole thing seem so messy. Also, like the lock laces system, it is hard to get the correct fit especially if we use different thickness of socks. Adjusting the laces can be a messy affairs.

Boa Lacing system
: This come comes with the shoes and so cannot be purchased separately. Of the lot, this is the most neat and easiest to use. Just twist the knob at the back of the shoe to tighten and pull to loosen. But somehow, the lace will become looser after running longer distance - maybe that is deliberately built in to suit long distance running where the foot expand?

And finally my favourite.

Lace Lock: At $1.50, this no brand cheap and good device and can be fitted onto any lace. Just loop the lace through the hole and pull and the lace is tightened. To release, just press the 2 parts and the lace is loosen. So the shoe lace can be tied normally, adjust to fit different thickness of socks etc and best of all, it comes in many colours to fit any color shoes.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Balance Real Run Practice Run

Didn't sign up for this race but nevertheless decided to go down for a look see at their practice run. Actually just wanted to kapo a bit and see how the trail was.

The training run started at last year end point and down through the chalets.
Once passed the chalets, it was straight into the 4.5km trail. And finally, they got the trail part correct. The last few runs, the portion where they called 'trail' were actually park pavement. The trail here was all flat and a breeze to run on. No rocks or uneven ground but along the way there are patches of mud pool. Part of the trail is quite narrow so it might be a squeeze especially if the ground is wet and runners are trying to avoid the mud.
Also, there are a lot of areas where there seem to be a quick patch job and sands have been dumped on the road. There are no shades throughout the trail. If the sun is up, it is going to be hot. If it is wet, the whole place is going to turn into a swamp. This is going to be one tough run. You guys have been warned!

Out back on the runway route, the 15 km and 10 km split off at the junction with the 15km runners turning left on Changi Coastal Road and u-turn about 10metres before the fire station. The 10km runners turn right towards the park and the beach (similar to last year). Water support for this run is adequate with drinks station (100plus + water) at the 6 stations spread evenly throughout.

Weather was good today but mindful of the ankle, decided to only do 10km. Up to the beach, chicken out and turned back on the pavement instead of running on the sun. Overall, it was enjoyable especially as I was taking my time and stopping every so often to take photos.

All the pictures here:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Joy and Love of the Game

The Straits Time today had an article on page C34 written by journalist Rohit Brijnath entitled 'Amateurs play for the joy and love of the game.

Rohit Brijnath writes mainly about cricket but this piece really strike a chord in me.

The gist of it:

- He first talked about his friend continuous engagement of cricket despite a 'bum' knee and why he continues to play on

- He then went on to talk about why amateurs like us (yes u and me) who don't profit from sports or take it as a career continue to slog on.

- He described weekend hackers as 'charmingly mad', when it come to playing, "they cannot be stopped." Here he is talking about ball games but it can be applied to runners as well. His next words:

- (Talking about golfer) "Professional are expected to constantly construct brilliant shots, amateurs are in constant search of just one memorable one...........and when we hit such a shot, ......., then we can't forget it. We'll tell our wives in excruciating detail, we'll bore our friends, we'll replay it endlessly in our minds, we'll walk around with a private grin. We get joy from ridiculous things, small things, it's why we keep coming back to sport......"

Sound familiar? Even to us non-golfer?Don't we all feel the same when we do a PB or run a race and finish in fine form or complete what seems impossible to complete initially - like a marathon, an ironman or a ultra marathon?

He went on to describe the feelings one get from sports:
  • the rediscovery of prayer (Oh God, please let (insert your own desire here)
  • the taste of sweat trickling into the mouth,
  • the first burn in the lungs,
  • the feel of a sticky shirt
  • the rhythm a runner finds as she flies through the middle of an evening run
  • the nervousness before the whistle
  • the cold shower
  • the explosion of adrenalin
He described amateurs thus: "because we want to test ourselves, discover parts about ourselves..... Many of us are competitive creatures, we want faster than the next guy on the treadmill. Even if we we lose, if we fail, and we constantly do, it's the challenge that sustains us......"

Don't we have felt all these and more? He wrapped up by talking about Erik Compton,28 who was born with a defective heart, got a new heart at age 12, a heart attack at age 27 and is now into his third heart. Instead of resting, he is now training for the USPGA Tour. His conclusion of this mad man? "Courage, Resilience, Stubbornness." Or something more simple? Maybe just a love of the game?

Is that why so many of us continue to run, despite the injuries, the long hours, the sweat, the grim and for some, the loneliness and sacrifice?

Is this the joy and love of the game?

NB: Unfortunately, the ST does not allow reproduction of its articles on blogs or any other medium so I can't reproduce the whole article here. The ST Online is also only subscription based so no link either.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Short Run

After 2 weeks and 4 days, finally went for a short run. Accompanied the new store supervisor from RL and jog a short round Fort Canning. There is still some swelling but the pain is not very obvious although there is still this niggling pull. Was fearful that any over exertion might just cause the pain to come back so in the end did just 4 km and call it a day.

Hopefully it won't swell up like a balloon tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

2 Weeks

So what have I been up to these past 2 weeks? Last week was eat eat eat. It was probably the longest stretch of time where I did no exercise of any sort - not even a single push up. And so not unexpectedly gained 1 kg.

This week, well 6 days gone and still no running. Monday did some weights. Tuesday more weights. Wednesday managed to do an hour of swimming. Thursday half an hour on the Elliptical trainer + some more weights. Friday rest and Saturday half an hour on the bicycle in the gym and another half an hour on the rowing machine + more weights.

Hmmm but still nothing beat running:(

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mumpty Dumpty had a fall

Mumpty Dumpty had a fall, again. Some people in the forum described her as 'brave' for carrying on the run. I will call it stupid. It's just a run and since the fall was at the beginning barely 500 metres from the start, should have just stop and take care of the wound rather than continue for another 1+ hours. 

But then again, she has 'experience' with fall and since injuries seem to be following the 2 of us, what else is new? SoI reckoned she decided might as just well just do it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

TCM Round 2

Found a TCM practitioner near the office. Actually it is the mother of all TCM here - the TCM Orthopaedic Centre run by the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to the physician, they are teacher of TCM.

The lady physician assessed my leg. First thing she noticed was that it was swollen on both inner and outer ankle and silly me didn't even notice it. So it was worse than I thought. But the good news was no fracture, no dislocation. Bad news was it was going to take another 2 weeks to heal.

Anyway she did a tui na for me which felt so soothing - much better than the aggressive rubbing Ye Sifu did last week. When I informed her that I was self treating it with ice, she was shocked. According to her, ice is only good for immediately after injury and icing the injury more than 24 hours later does not help and in fact will make it worse. Not too sure what she was trying to explain to me with my limited understanding of mandarin and she with her accent:(

Interest different point of view from the Western medicine. Another thing that she advised was not to take 'cooling' fruit which she specifically indicated include banana, pineapple and watermelon - alamak and there I was actually increasing my intake of pineapple for the past weeks as I read that the bromelain in pineapple can help reduce swelling!

There was no charge for the consultation but the tui-na cost about $38 and the medicine (pills thank goodness - I don't think I can stomach brewed herbs) cost another $18. Plus another 2 piece of plaster. Not too ex. Let's hope this treatment works.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Secret of the Ironman

While bored and with nothing to do, browsed through the photos taken by friends at the recent Aviva Half Ironman. Something strike me - a common theme that ran through a number of contestants.
Take a good look. What do you see? No no I am not a pervert! I don't have any fetish for torso! Look closely. Look at the size of their tummy er sorry I means abs. Most of them look like they are like 3 - 4 months pregnant.

Sorry my friends if you recognise yourself in there. I mean no disrespect but is that where the extra reserve of energy come from? After all, its not called spare tyre for nothing - and spare tyre is as everybody knows, something pretty handy in hand when you get a flat which is what most participants will be feeling after the swim and bike.

Hmmm maybe I should emulate their example and get one of that proportion to give me more energy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Slacking Time

Have recommended a few people to Ye Sifu, the TCM at Bedok North but myself never had to see him or for that matter any other TCM until now that is. Yesterday afternoon, went to see him, got a rub down and the normal yoko paste. Now the ankle is all wrapped up like a bak chiang:) Hopefully, it is just a sprain like the Sifu said and nothing worse than that. So for the next 1 week going to slack big time!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Swing KPE

Probably the one and only chance to run in the KPE so when the run was announced, quickly signed up just for the experience. And what a 'run' it turned out to be. Sighed........

It started well enough. There was no parking facilities near the start point so the organiser kindly provided free transport from Tampines & Kovan MRT. Reached Tampines MRT at around 7am and didn't have to wait long to board the bus. Reached the KPE in less than 10 mins. Bummed into a few sgrunners and a group of 'siow kia' who called themselves Fatbird but I looked left, looked right, looked up and looked down, didn't see any guy who was fat or any bird:) They had tied this rope around themselves and looked like were preparing to run tied together!

Anyway M and me we tried to move forward past the 5km fun crowd. I slipped and I think twisted my ankle while coming off a kerb. Back then, I didn't think much about it. Anyway, the race was flagged off and I started slowly. M had already moved off ahead. At the front, there was a Bangra group playing some musical instruments, music etc and it seems like a real fun race. They even switched off the lights along part of the tunnel I think for the purpose of the lantern walk which was part of the 5km fun run.

Back to the running, about 2 km down, I managed to overtake M but than the nagging feeling on the ankle had started to intensified into shooting pain. At the 3km mark, my watch showed 15.20m but the pain was starting to bother me. I continued until the water point at around the 4.5km mark and stopped for a drink and to my horror discovered that when I tried to resume running, the pain was so sharp that I couldn't even walk properly let alone run. With another 5.5km to go and not willing to make it worse, I decided to discontinue the run and start to walk. I was hopping to hop into an ambulance to take me back but there wasn't any in sight until after 8km. Got them to give me a pain relief spray but it didn't help. With 2km to go, decided to continue walking and eventually finished in a record time of 1 hour 32min!

Collected the goodie bag. For a free run, this must be one of the best deal around.
On top of the t-shirt which we collected last week, the goodie bag contains 3 packet of instant noodle, 1 sports drink, 1 lantern, 1 pen, 1 fridge magnet, 1 water bottle, 1 body sticker and 1 face towel! Very good deal.

What wasn't so good was the ride home. Queued up for 1hour 20mins to board the bus back to Tampines.

Sigh... now icing the ankle. Hopefully it is just a minor sprain otherwise...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Glucosmine Cream

I have been using glucosamine cream for the longest time ever together with super duper expensive glucosamine pills. Have it work? I certainly hope so considering the amount of money that I have spent on these products so far.

Anyway, today I have decided to compare the various creams that I have used throughout the years:

Tiger Balm Joint Rub

This was the first cream that I tried and used for a long time. I find it effective especially at masking pain. According to the product write up:

“Tiger Balm Joint Rub provides temporary relief from aches and pains due to muscle sprains, stiffness, and joint pains associated with arthritis. It contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) - ingredients commonly used for treating and preventing osteoarthritis. This topical cream is pleasant to use, as it is greaseless and contains no alcohol which can lead to localised, dry skin conditions”

Like: It comes in a pump bottle, making it easy to use and is the cheapest among the brand tried.
Dislike: Because of the camphor, it has a very strong smell and is not suitable for use in offices. Also, I get an localized rash reaction to it nowadays which did not happened when I first used it.

MediLynk™ Transdermal Glucosamine Cream

Next is the most famous lot of them all – the TGC. Like everybody else, I was seduced by the tv ads and promptly went out to buy a bottle to try. The product info:

“Maintain healthy joints and alleviate joint pains with our MediLynk glucosamine cream. Glucosamine is a natural agent produced by our body. It is involved in producing glycosamino-glycans and proteoglycans, constituents of our cartilage. Formulated with an excellent transdermal property (ability to cross the skin), the MediLynk glucosamine cream is able to supplement the body with glucosamine efficiently”

Like: It is odourless and easy to apply.
Dislike: It is the most expensive of all the cream tried.

That aside, when I went to a pharmacy to buy a new tube, the pharmacist asked me why I want to pay for their advertisement when I could easily buy similar products as half the price and so she introduced me to

Kordel Arthrocare Care Cream

This one come in a small tub container and is not very handy to use as you need to dip your finger into the tub.

The formulation combines glucosamine and OptiMSM, a superior form of MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane). Glucosamine plays a key role in maintaining healthy joints while MSM helps to ease aches, pains and inflammation, and accelerate healing.

Aloe vera, willow bark, arnica, wild yam and vitamins A, C & E are added for additional soothing, antioxidant and pain relieve benefits.

Like: Odourless
Dislike: Come in a tub, greasy

IcePower Arthro crème

First time I came across this was at John Little and not in a pharmacy! Bought it to try. Since then, the distributor has been actively promoting its range of products at races and roadshow.

IcePower Arthro cream eases pain in joints. The glucosamine sulphate, the MSM and the chondroitine sulphate included in the cream strengthen its effect. Menthol and eucalyptus oil cool the tissue in joint area thus relieving pain and swelling. Chondroitin is a natural building material of the cartilage tissue, and it lubricates the joint surfaces. Glucosamine is a substance found naturally in human body. It exists in all connective tissues. It plays an essential part in the well-being of joint cartilages. MSM reduces inflammation and muscular tension and reduces muscular pain plus it increases blood circulation. MSM effects in reducing muscular and joint tenderness, in recovering from strain and in sudden muscular fatique.

Like: Odourless and cooling to the touch. Supposed that why it’s called Ice Power.
Dislike: Nothing to dislike

Jointace Gel

Again I stumbled upon this at John Little and not a pharmacy. And after using this, I must say this is my favourite.

Jointace® Gel is an advanced massage gel for healthy joints and muscles, combining the beneficial properties of glucosamine and chondroitin, with aroma-therapeutic essential oils including Ginger, Lavender, Eucalyptus and Clove Bud. Jointace® Gel’s unique formula represents a major advance in gels designed to help sports people and maintain general joint health, as it combines the benefits of soluble glucosamine and chondroitin in a lipophilic formula with aroma active essential oils and menthol.

Active ingredients: Glucosamine Sulphate, Chondroitin Sulphate, Aroma ActiveTM Essential Oils: Ginger Oil; Eucalyptus Oil; Sweet Orange Oil; Clove Oil; Lavender Oil; Fennel Oil; Menthol

Like: It’s smell. It has a sweet orange smell that even M like. Applying it is like applying aromatic oil over the body.
Dislike: Er... nothing to dislike actually.

So at the end of the day which is more effective? I really don’t know. There are studies* that said glucosamine cream is ineffective as it cannot be easily absorbed into the skin and to the affected areas but there are also studies# to show that cream is the most effective way to get glucosamine direct to the joints.

*1 Glucosamine Osteoarthritis Resource Centre
*2 The Arthritis & Glucosamine Information Centre
# Synflex America, Inc

However, going through the info on the net, most of the studies in support of the effectiveness of cream based glucosamine appears to be commissioned by 'interested parties' namely the manufacturer. What seem to be the common consensus was that for the cream to be effective, it must come together with either menthol or camphor or the more recent trend - emu oil.

Interestingly, what appears to be most effective seems to be liquid glucosamine as it is claimed that this is the best method for absorption of glucosamine into the body.

So does this mean that I am wasting my money on this product? I really don't know but certainly I feel better after using it but then again I also take 1500mg of glucosamine tablet a day + do plenty of lower body weights so I suppose all this are contributory factors that has helped alleviate my knee problem. Anyway I don't think there is any harm in using it and honestly I don't dare to stop any of the 3 combinations so I think I will continue with the use of glucosamine cream.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Running with M

As most of those who have a full time running spouse (read: lady spouse) will attest - running with the spouse is oh... so bitter sweet.

I have been running together with M for the past years and while most time I look forward to running together as a time of bonding, sometime it can be nerve wrecking.
Just like yesterday. I wanted to do our lsd by running from home in Simei to ECP via the Bedok PCN and from there to Changi Coastal Run and than Loyang Ave and back to Simei. She didn't want to run along the side of the road and prefer just running up and down the ECP. To me, doing a 28km up and down ECP was not my cup of tea. It is so boring. In the end we compromised, from ECP to Changi Beach and back. And that is one hell of a monotonous and tortuous routes. But what to do? And that is the problem for most of the runs that we do together.

I love to run new routes, routes that do not entail going up and down the same old path and I will travel all over Singapore just to run. She prefer to just do her runs on the same old familiar places. Next, her speed and my speed are vastly different (for the time being). Run too fast on unfamiliar or dark area, she makes noise. So have to run side by side with her. Run side by side, too fast also she makes noise (give her pressure) too slow I suffer. Also, cannot talk to her too much. No words of encouragement, no advice. Do so at own risk.

Most time, we get to solve the problem by running with her friends. She can run with them at her own pace and I can run on my own. And also because they are all staying in different part of sg, I get to run at different places. But sometime it is not possible to get that many friends to run together especially now that we are doing more long runs.

So no choice got to stick with it. But having said all that, that's not to say I don't like running with her. I thinks it's great that we can get to do our running together cos this has helped our relationship grow stronger and stronger. Just need to learn to keep my mouth shut while running and slowly 'cyclo' her to run all the funny routes that I like to run.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's not the End yet

Since the AHM, has gone for 4 more runs:

Tue – 5km easy run with the Fatbird team at the I-run
Thu – 7km easy hill run with the RL people at Fort Canning
Sat – 12km easy trail run with some sgrunners to/from Bedok Reservoir to Tampines
Sun – 26km lsd run with M at East Coast Park

So far so good. The knee seemed to have rectified itself. No more sharp acute pain. No more locking. No more swelling.

Will continue to use a knee guard for the time being just to play safe. But then, some school of thought is that knee guard serves no purpose. More psychological (is this correct term?) than useful? But I think it does help in event of fall, etc to protect the knee and not so much to prevent injury whilst running.

So it’s not the end after all!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bedok Reservoir/Tampines MBT Park Run

Normally I don't like those what I call touristy photo taking run cause one short run can stretch into hours and the many stops for photo taking is so disruptive for running but today.......ha ha today not only did I join 1 such run but I was actually the cameraman.

Some newer sgrunners members running at Bedok Reservoir decided to meet up so AC Leong roped me in to run to the MBT park. Except for Bee and AC, the rest of the runners who turned up were totally new to me. And all are getting younger and younger. So AC and myself were probably the oldest guy there up until Seong350 decided to gatecrash so there were 3 old men with a group of youngsters young enough to be our children.
We started from Bedok Reservoir, ran via Tampines Ave 10, Ave 9 before reaching the Tampines MBT park, the highlight of the run. The place was a throwback to our army days with the hills in the background for us to conquer and winding muddy path - like going for topo! There was even a Jurassic like field!

Unfortunately, like all phototaking sightseeing run, this short run of just approximately 10km took almost 1hr 45mins with so many stops for phototaking.

Anyway, it was nice meeting all this new guys and hopefully we can redo this run but this time without the phototaking.

More photos here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming to an end?

My mother used to say that if got no problem, don’t go and see the doctor. If not, sure end up with problem. Sometime such old wives tales – it’s so laughable and yet ….. On Saturday went over to CGH for the Runners Seminar and met up with my doctor, Jason Chia and company. Now, just merely 4 days later, I think I have to go back and see him again – this time not for another seminar but for my knee. Old wives tale?

After almost 1 year and 9 months, the )&$*#* knee has flared up again. I knew I was in trouble when the knee sounded funny at the trail part during the AHM. It was making a sort of cracking rubbing sound every time I bent it. This went on until Monday night when I decided to go for a swim. Hey presto, after the swim no more sound. Good news? No because it was replaced by a swollen knee and a sharp acute pain whenever I straighten the leg as when getting up from a chair. This looks like 2006 all over again. I think something (the remaining meniscus perhaps?) have broken off and is now irritating the joint.

Again like the last time, I am able to run without any problem. I went for a short run with the I-Run people and it was okay. No pain, no nothing. So what the hell should I do now? Still without sufficient mileage and with the Borneo marathon coming up in just 5 weeks, how am I going to clock enough mileage for it? Should I just forget about it and leave M disappointed? Or just do it and bear the consequences later? And I still have the SCSM to come! Thank goodness I haven’t sign up for the Real Run.

Look like if really have to go for 1 more round of surgery, I might as well hang up the running shoes for good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2008

Should I try and aim for a sub 1:50 finish? Or just a PB? Or just go and enjoy the run? Based on current conditions and with the rest these 2 weeks, I felt the first 2 options were doable especially with all the inspirations from the Olympic:) But that was going to make the race very tough and not enjoyable in the process. Than a friend asked whether I can help pace him to a sub 2 finish. Ha – the perfect excuse to slack so I readily agreed.

Started a bit behind and of course as a result got stucked in the big crowd. Estimated we took slightly over 3 minutes to cross the start line. At the 1st Km mark, my watch showed 8 mins + and there was still a big crowd in front. The narrow 2 lanes along the ECP didn’t help. Told my friend at this rate, it will be tough to do below 2hrs but there was not much room to speed up. Also afraid if I start to go too fast to try to catch up for the lost time, he will not be able to cope later on. So we trudged along hoping to slowly make up for the lost time over the rest of the route. At the 5km mark, time was 28min+ which means if we don’t buckle up, there was no way to do sub 2 with another 16 km to go and to do a negative split in the process. Told my friend to aim to hit 10km by slowest 58km and thereafter to maintain about 5:30 pace.

With that, I proceed to move faster but unfortunately lost my friend somewhere along the way. Along the ECP while trying to squeeze past 2 army boys jogging(!) side by side, was so incensed when they put up their hand simultaneously to stop me from passing. I turned around after moving in front of them and gave them a ticking off. While I am not proud of my outburst, some people really simply have no race etiquette and it just makes me boil when I come across these people!

Reached the newly opened route after Fort Rd. When I first heard the Combat Engineers were repairing it, I was a bit apprehensive as I know the quality of their ‘repair’ being a former Heavy Plant Combat Engineer in my NS days. Yah, it really sucks! Fortunately the ground condition was better than I had expected even after the heavy rain the previous day. The condition I expected was more like the mud path that ran alongside the graveled path so luckily this time round the CE didn’t fail too badly.

Only thing was, the compacting wasn’t that good or the rain had loosened the soil so the path was uneven with part of it being pretty soft and thus absorbing the rebound so that it was quite difficult to run. It was here that my right knee started to give problem. No pain but it felt funny whenever I bent the leg like it was giving way. I was a bit worried. Had the injury finally caught up again? Nevertheless, stucked in the middle of nowhere, I had to continue and eventually reached the highlight of this race – the Marina Barrage! It turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. View inward of the skyline was nice but the structure itself was nothing to crow about. They could have built a more impressive bridge to match the skylight what with the IR and the new Botanic Garden coming up around it.

With the end in sight and having finally managed to catch up on my lost time, I ran slowly back even taking time for a final drink at the last drink station before finishing in a gun time of 1:59:27 just within the 2 hours time limit I set. With luck, the chip time should be around 1:56+.

Too bad my friend couldn’t maintain the pace and didn’t manage to finish under 2. May be next year can gather a bigger group of people who want to do sub 2 to run together and this time we will take our revenge and block everybody way. Ha ha ha!

26 Aug 2008:

Official results are out.
Time: Chip Time 1:57:22 Gun Time 1:59:48
M didn't too great. She got jammed at the back and did a slow run
Time: Chip Time 2:14:12 Gun Time 2:23:19

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Runners Forum @ CGH

Attended a Runners Forum conducted by Changi General Hospital. Goodnu me. Thought the thing starts at 2.30pm. 10 mins past 2 still happily eating lunch at home. 5 mins before 2.30pm took out the piece of admission ticket and realised start time was 2pm. What a bozo! Missed Dr Jason Chia's talk as a result!

The talk was very useful. A lot of useful tips but could be longer though. 2 hours definitely not enough. Found out contrary to what some websites said - forefoot is not the same as mid foot and of course me has been running on forefoot and not mid foot as I have thought! Time to readjust again:( Many other useful tips + food and all for $4.00. Possibly the cheapest and 'bestest' talk in town!

Also met many of the sgrunners there and of course the nice people from Changi Sports Medicine Centre, the people behind this talk. Quite surprised that a number of them remembered me - after more than a year and a half. Dr Chia remembered me by sight, David of course I bumped into quite often on the way to/from work and Darek, the physio who remembered me by name and even where I stayed! Considering that they see so many patients a day and after such a long lapse, really touched that they can remember me. Just show how much attention and care they pay to their patients!