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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Open your mind

Went for a very informative talk by a podiatrist and a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist is apparently one of the pioneer in this line in Singapore. Both speakers were very articulate and knowledgeable and there was even short demo session.

However, one thing about the talk irks me a bit. Both speakers were quick to dismiss the 'unorthodox' shoes like the Nike Free, Vibram 5 Fingers and even the MBT and Newton shoes. They based their reasoning on their knowledge of the foot anatomy and how it works and what is the 'acceptable' or 'perceived' way of how the foot should move.

Now while I certainly am no expert, I think it is wrong to dismiss outright any thing that is 'alien' to us or not within our sphere of knowledge. But I guess this is something that is quite common among all of us. Take TCM for example. For many years and even now, Western doctors have always been quick to dismiss the effectiveness of Chinese herbs and medical pratices. However, today, I know of Western doctors who uses acupuncture in their treatment and Western pharmaceutical companies are rushing to produce medicine and supplement from plants etc.

In this case, it was even more sad that these professionals are so quick to dismiss these shoes when by their own admission, they have not even tried it. While I cannot speak of how effective the Nike Free, Vibram are, I have worn a pair of MBT for over a year and I can certainly attest to its effectiveness (for walking). The Newton? So many people are wearing it - can they all be wrong?

I guess what I trying to say is - don't judge a book by its cover. It may not look good on the outside but there may be gem inside it. Take the durian. It smells horrible but if we don't try it, we will never know that it taste darn shiok right? So to those who love to rubbish all the new technologies out there, give it a chance or at least have a personal experience on it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Accidental New Route

With 2 of the regular routes out of bound due to the F1, we were left with only the Kim Seng/Tanglin route but there was the pcn closure somewhere along the route so was a bit stuck as to where to do a proper run without having to run around in circle.

In the end decided to just go ahead and run the Kim Seng/Tanglin route since there wasn't any option and to just run a shorter distance in the worse case scenario. True enough, just after crossing River Valley Rd, the Alexandar park connector on the left was closed. Directed the first group of runners to cross over and run on the right side of the PCN while I waited for the 2nd group.

By the time the 2nd group arrived, the 1st group had disappeared. Thinking that we will meet them as they return, we ran along the PCN which sadly again was closed off less than 200metres from the road. With no where to go and hoping to meet the returning group of runners, made the decision to run along Jervois Rd, Jervois Road is a winding gently sloping road with high class private residences on both side of the road. It was peaceful and a very nice place to run even though there was some traffic zipping up and down. At the junction of Jervois Road and Jervois Lane, I faced a small dilemma. We had still not bum into the returning runners and I was wondering where they had ran to and eager to follow but I knew the small group of runners were running out of steam. In the end, we split up with 4 of us pressing on and the other 4 turning back. Imagine my surprise when within a short distance, we reached Tanglin Rd and was able to turn back onto the other end of Alexandar PCN. Further down the road when we hit the closure, I got a bit worried about the other group and decided to hunt for them. So our small group of 4 split further with 2 going back and 2 of us turning back to Jervois Rd. But in the end couldn't find any one and had to turn back clocking 11km - more than what we were supposed to do on a typical RL TNR.

However, I am glad to discover Jervois Rd. It is a nice neighbourhood to run in and a good substitute for the closed Alexandra PCN and I shall henceforth make it a part of the RL regular run routes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Kid

I am glad the Kid has finally decided to join the Koh family 'running club'. Been nagging him to start some fitness program since half the time he's on the com. Actually he promised to start end of the year so that he has 1 year to bring his fitness up to par for NS but somehow at the beginning of the month, he suddenly decided to run.

Started slowly with a 2.6km jog which he completed without walking. A surprise considering that the last time he did anything remotely close to exercise was in his secondary 4 days 2 years ago. After 2 more same distance runs, both of which was done at increasingly faster pace, he did the RunSingapore 4km with us.

Yesterday 2.8km run was done at close to 6.05min pace a drastic improvement over the first run which was at a closer to 7.30min pace and leaving the Mummy far behind.

Welcome to the club. Princess - you lagging behind already!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hunt for Nike LunarGlide

Went to Queensway to get a pair of the Nike Lunarglide. All the shops there are selling it at $160.00 except for Sportslink at $161.00.

But the black and orange version is being phased out and they have it in the new colour (white with a light blue swoosh) but that looks like a school school. Went shop after shop and what the heck none of them have the black/orange version in my size 12.

The Nike shop is selling it for $189.00. That almost $30.00 more than Queensway. Unfortunately, even RL don't carry size 12. Is size 12 that big?

Anybody got any lobang?

Friday, September 18, 2009


Finally got to do a x-ray for the shin. The pain is much better now. At least I can run but there is still this niggling pain and because it has been so long - 3 months I am a bit concerned so the good doc finally sent me to do a x-ray.

Didn't expect to see anything from it but surprise - the x-ray came back very clearly - a bump on the bone which the doc said is the fracture site and evidenced that is is healing. The bad new is that it is not the usual type of stress fracture whereby the fracture is across the bone but one that is parallel with the length of the bone and according to her, this type of fracture takes a long time to heal. Good news is that she is of the opinion I can continue running as long as there is no pain but to heed the usual .. 10% increase every 2 weeks; no 'chionging' blah blah blah.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mileage Game

A friend asked me how much mileage is considered enough to run a full marathon.

I remembered when I did my first FM in 2004, I was doing an average of about 40km per week. I choked miserably in that FM. Later on when I asked the seniors in SGrunners, I was told my mileage should be around 60km per week. So one year later, with 60km weekly mileage and 1 more year of experience, I reckoned I could hit a reasonable target of 4.30 - 4.45. How wrong I was. Not only did I failed to hit the target, I ended up worse off than the previous year!

So it couldn't be the mileage right? But after trawling the net, talking to some more seniors, it was still mileage, mileage and mileage. Some running magazines advocate 100km of running a week which was like crazy. Unless we are our own boss, where do we find the time to do that sort of running? With our studies, work, family most of us will be hard press to even find time to do a 60km week let alone 100km.

So back to the question - how much? Seriously, I wish I have the magic figure but I don't. I suppose one will only really know the answer when he/she completes the FM.

I have a neighbour who runs 7km 3 times a week. His longest run prior to any marathon is the AHM yet without fail he will finish around 4:30 in each FM! Me on the other hand faithfully clocked up some 40km - 60km weekly mileage prior to every FM yet I have never been able to run faster than him. So it does not seem like a mileage game is it? You go figure - is it mileage or something else?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Marathon Training?

Over the course of the past few years since I have been involved with the RL TNR, on and off I met people who have signed up for a full marathon and who do not have any inkling of how to go about training for it. In fact some of these people do not even intend to train for it. When they told me they were just going to run the full marathon and with only a longest run of 10km (1 guy didn't even do up to 5km), my jaw dropped. I have always been a advocate of mileage training for running a marathon and I couldn't see how these people can possibly do it!

Of course, these people did eventually finished the full marathon which they signed up for but with timing ranging from 6 hours to 8 hours. These people - I am sure they felt proud that they have managed to complete a marathon, some even more than 1 - but I wonder - is there any glory in walking 3/4 of the marathon?

Last week, Tigger uploaded a link to the reality show, the Biggest Loser where they featured some contestants who were required to complete a marathon without proper training in 26 days. Again, these people did it with 1 even finishing under less than 5 hours.

So the 42km question? Is it possible to complete a marathon without going through all those hours and hours of pounding on the streets? Answer is yes yes yes. Yes if you are a natural born runner or a supremely fit athlete; yes if you intend to walk half or 3/4 of the way and finish in more than 6 hours; and finally yes if you do not mind walking like this

But for the rest of us who intend to do have fun, do a good run and complete in reasonable time, nothing beats good old fashion hours and hours of pounding. Good luck and enjoy.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Run Singapore 06092009

The first time in my life I completed in 2 running events on the same day. This 2nd one was to raise funds for the President's Challenge but not too sure why but they were offering free registration to eery tom dick and harry although the website said there was a registration fee of $25.

Anyway, since it was free, managed to get a few colleagues and their spouses to join in. My intention for this was to do a run/walk/take photos. We arrived around 4.45pm but the queue at the start line was already so long that we had no choice but to wait at the side and join in the run after the President had flagged off the run and most of the runners had passed.

The good weather had continued from the morning and it was a cool nice evening. We, meaning me, the Mrs and our boy (yes his first time joining us for a run), we walked for a while until we cleared the traffic junction between Suntec City and Raffles City. We even had to stopped while the traffic police let the vehicles crossed the road to Esplanade Drive. So it wasn't a very good start but after that it was much more smooth.

I ran up and down looking for known faces while M ran with Alvin. Saw a brood of very noisy big fat red birds. These 'birds' had so much energy singing, shouting, blowing whistle all the way!

I think we took about 40 mins to finish the 4km? but I think we walked like 15 mins + wait for the traffic so it was a pretty decent for Alvin considering that this was the first time in his life he ran for more than 2.4km.

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2009

My first race after 3 months and I was totally unprepared for it. Though I started the race cautiously and slowly running behind M, I was still struggling for breath in the first 2 km. My past 3 months run had been mainly short runs of not more than 6km and even those were at very slow pace of around 7min and it was a struggle for me to try and keep to a sub 6 pace. Nevertheless, I pushed on and managed to catch up with M before eventually moving in front. Still it was a torture but thank God for the drizzle and cloud, that somewhat made it manageable a bit.

Around the middle of the route, my Sportsband showed a 4.7km but I had missed the 5km and the watch showed was 31mins + so I figured I had slowed down to a 6mins pace. But the objective for this race was not to get a PB but to ease myself into a proper running mood so I continued to run at the same pace. Around 6km, the energy came back or maybe the body had warmed up sufficiently but I started to feel much better and even the many slopes no longer seemed so intidimating.

And then rounding a bend I came to this beautiful sight of a giant field with the finish line and most important of all, a long downhill slope leading to it. Whoowee, what a sight for sore eyes. I eventually came in around 53mins + which was a big surprise as I had mentally prepared myself to finish in about 60mins.

This must be the best organised run I have ever taken part in. The buses to and from Expo was plentiful. The route was well marked out with clear big distance marker. Water point was adequate with both plain and isotonic drink. At one point, they were even giving whole can of it away. At the finishing line, there was a carnival with free food, Andersen ice cream, milo, and free games and we walked away with many many souvenirs. Including the race kit which came with a nice vest, there was a further goodie bag at the end. This was the final haul:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Gait Analysis

Went for a gait analysis this morning to find out whether there was anything wrong with my running that is causing so much problems.

Well according to the nice doctor, there is basically nothing wrong. The only minor things she could see were

1) my right leg tend to swing out slightly before swinging back to the front. This cause an imbalance to the hip and may possibly cause the left foot to absorb more of the impact

2) I tend to land a bit too far out on my left foot whereas the right foot is landing almost correctly underneath the body.

Other than these 2, she couldn't see anything else and she therefore ruled out that my problems were caused by my running. So may be the shoes?

Anyway, here are the videos (for those who really bored until got nothing to do)

Without orthotics insole

With orthotics insole
Did the insole made any difference? I been staring at them for the last hour and other than I don't look good (machiam like a sissy) I can't tell anything from it.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Swimming Sucks

I self taught myself to swim breaststroke more than 32 years ago when my school built a swimming pool. For the longest time ever, I wanted to swim front crawl. I see swimmers doing it so effortlessly and gracefully and I wanted to learn but tried as I could, I could not managed. But after I left school, swimming or for that matter anything to do with sports was put on the back burner.

Then when my kids started to learn swimming, I tried again to master front crawl but learning to swim in a public pool on a weekend was near impossible and I soon gave up and contend myself with just swimming leisurely breaststroke.

Then 3 years ago, my oesto recommended that I incorporate swimming as part of my recovery regime and since I wasn't supposed to bend my knees too much, he recommended that I swim front crawl. So I had a big problem. How? And then I discover this miracle product called a pull buoy. With it tuck between the legs, I suddenly discovered that I could swim lap after lap of effortless front crawl. I could even overtake the uncle and aunties swimming along side:) And so since then I have been using the pull buoy during my swim session swimming up to 30 laps in the 40metres pool.

But of course as with all things, I got bored and wanted more challenge. It was then that I discovered that take away the pull buoy, I still struggle to swim 1 lap and will swim like a bloody 'char tow' Hell after 4 years and to think I had not made any improvement. So I changed routine. 10 laps with pull buoy, 10 laps breaststroke and 10 laps alternate without the pull buoy ie struggled and splashed my way to the middle of the pool using front crawl and switch to breaststroke for the rest of the lap and revert again on the return leg.

By now I have come to the conclusion that the pull buoy has become a crutch and my security blanket and if I seriously want to improve on my front crawl, I need to cast it aside. So recently, I have started trying this new routine. 20 laps of 40 metres alternating 1 lap front and 1 lap crawl. Still struggling but at least can reach the end unless someone bump into me and I will sink faster than you can shout watchout.

I think my pull is okay. Breathing not so good but manageable. Anybody got any advice how to keep the lower body from sinking? Of course I can always take the easy way out and get a swim instructor but that is not my style aside from the fact that I am a 'kiam-ka-nah'. Some people said head look down, eyes look up (how?), my bro-in-law (he is a swimming instructor) said keep the body slimline, imagine you are trying to squeeze through a small hole (easier said than done), my daughter said kick as hard as possible (cannot will get cramp). So how?