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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Awed and Inspired?

There are world class, world famous athletes like Dean Kamazes, Lance Armstrong and even Oscar Pistorius but here in our tiny little dot of a garden paradise, we too have maybe not world class or world famous but nevertheless athletes who are right up there with the great names.

First and foremost is our very own ‘Oscar Pistorius’ – Mr Mohamed Shariff Abdullah. Someone who is a common sight at races here and in the region, his determination and courage knows no bound. He is aiming to ascent Mt Everest! Along with him is Mr Adam Khamis, who lost his arms in a traffic accident and is now training diligently for the Paralympics. Both these young man can be seen running together frequently and put people like us to shame with their dedications to training. Then there is of course the more famous Dr William Tan who despite being physically challenged and relying on a wheel chair to move around has managed to complete many marathons and even one across the Antarctica and tirelessly raised funds for many charities.

Not handicapped but just as determined are our ever growing pool of Ultra marathoners and adventurers. There is good friend, Major Kelly Lim, who runs ultra marathons like it is a weekend trip to the parks; and single handedly raised closed to $50,000.00 for the President Challenge by running 30 hours non-stop. There is Mdm Sophia Pang, who skied 900km in 38 days to reach the South Pole and of course the many crazy people each year who attempts the 4 Desert Races. One such person whom I met recently who will be doing her maiden Sahara Desert Race is Jane Peng, a business analyst who just took up running in February this year!

Hearing and reading their accounts, sometime I wonder whether I am made of the same stuff and able to accomplish what these people can do. But I know deep down, I am awed by them but inspired? Nah… I think I am better off supporting them from the side line.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Water has been occupying the mind of many people. Be it lack of water in some countries or too much water in another; or a frustrated runner; an exasperated businessman in Lucky Plaza (not very lucky after all eh?) or an angry homeowner in Tessarina, everybody has been affected by the lack of or deluge of water.

In the forum, somebody said he will be training his body to run on less liquid. Somebody posted a reply with a link that revealed years ago, runners do not deem it useful and even consider it harmful to drink water during a race! Interestingly, 2 years ago at a talk held by CSMC, somebody asked how he can train his body to do long runs without water. That question had the speakers scratching their heads trying to come out with an answer. And of course, some runners cannot do without water and even for short runs, they carry hydration bag; fuel belts and what’s not just to make sure they don’t run out of water.

So the question then as now is – how much water is enough? Not just for us runners but for the world too? Too much water, get flood, too little water, get drought, too much water, get water intoxication and hyponatremia; too little, get dehydrated. Ah water – love it or hate it – you gonna need it!

Personally, as a runner in hot sunny Singapore, unless one is a camel, water is essential during a run. Just a personal rule of thumb that I follow: Short run (up to 10km), a small glass or cup of water before run and one can of isotonic drink after. Long run up to 20km - drink before and thereafter every 5 – 7 km 1 cup of water or 12 hand scoops (if drinking straight from tap) and one nice cold isotonic drink at the end. And if it is extremely hot and I am running for more than 2 hours, I drink as and when I feel like it. Unless it freezes over in Singapore or somebody drinks like 1.5l every 5km, I don’t think it is possible to get hyponatremia in Singapore so there is really no need to exercise too much caution when it comes to hydration during a run.

Finally, to end this rambling, something that I received from a friend just yesterday:
  • 2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs
  • 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
  • 1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure
  • 1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack

Friday, July 16, 2010

Aim at Nothing Hit at Nothing

Somebody asked me why I am so hard up for the sub-2. After all, he reasoned, it is not possible to always get a PB. There will be good days and bad days when the timing is good and there will be days when the running sucks. And I agree totally with him. Why is why I am not after a PB. In fact, I think I will never be able to achieve a PB for the half ever!

But what I hankered for is not a PB but a sub-2 half marathon finish. Why sub 2? Cause like retailers pricing their products at $1.99 rather than $2.00, it is so much more ‘egoalbe’ to say 1:59:59 than 2:00:00. But seriously I see it as some sort of QC. Like must be up to a certain standard otherwise factory reject. In my case, I choose 2 hours because I think it is just achievable, not too difficult to attain and yet not too easy.

So I need to work harder from now on. Since last year, I have been taking it easy and the results show in the slower time all round. So if I continue like this, I will not be achieving anything and will be like running in circle. After all, aim at nothing, hit nothing. So better to set a target and works towards it. At least that will spice up the running a bit and hopefully enable me to get back that elusive sub-2. And I got 2 more chances to do so before the end of the year.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It ain't fun - Timex Tri-Run 2010

This wasn’t a race that was on my schedule but got greedy when found out there was a free Timex watch worth about $80.00.  The way I figured, I was going to do a long run during the weekend anyway and since my current Timex had been cruelly mutilated by the dog, why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone?

So that’s was how I found myself with a small crowd of 2000 people at Sengkang although strangely the race was touted to be in Punggol. That was the first omen but hey who’s paying attention to such small details?

The 21km route was on a course of 3 loops of 7 km. A lot of the runners were touting this as a PB route. I wasn’t looking for a PB but after my experience 2 weeks ago at KL, I was quietly confident of regaining my sub-2. I even got it all worked out. All I need to do was to run each loop in an average time of 40 minutes or a safe 5:35 mins pace. Very achievable or so I thought. But nobody told me there was 2 freaking long inclines and both of them had us staring directly into the sun. Times 3 loops both way and that was 12 bladdy slopes in the bladdy freaking hot sun! 2nd omen.

It started well enough though. Did the 1st loop in 37:59 mins with almost 2 minutes to spare. There were no isotonic drinks provided along the entire route. Only warm mineral water.  3rd bad omen. Didn’t think too much of it though at that point in time. Nevermind, at the second loop u-turn which I reckoned should be 10.5, took a packet of SIS Gel. Time checked: Closed to 56minutes. Slightly over an hour to complete under sub 2. But the sun was up and blazing strongly by then. At the foot of the incline to the start/finish/u-turn, I stared at the sun and the distance to go and was thinking – wah this one like the New Balance Real Run final stretch – only thing was I have to do this and then repeat one more time. At that point in time, the weak mind took over and my plan went to pieces. I struggled to go up the slopes (about 1.2km?) and my mind keep telling me – why torture yourself – let’s stop here. I was seriously entertaining a DNF. That would be a first for me! Time checked: 40:43 for the 2nd loop a very drastic drop of almost 3 minutes. Time elapsed: 1:18:52. But heck, with another 42 minutes and only 7km more, I was still on course for a sub 2 and so somehow I convinced myself to push on for the 3rd lap.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


A lot of people including me talked about having fun in running but the way we over trained or under trained for it, makes me wonder seriously how fun it can be?

Can it be fun running/walking for 7 to 8 hours when other marathoners have long went home to bath and eat and you are still struggling under the hot sun?

Can it be fun when cramps hit barely 5 km into a run?

Can it be fun when we push ourselves to run until we are about to puke and bent over in pain?

Maybe we should take Reebok more seriously instead of just doing it or thinking that impossible is nothing or try to run like an animal when we can't even crawl properly.
Paiseh, photo taken via my not so trusty handphone while going up the escalator, so blur blur!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

Time to replace my Brooks Axiom and Saucony Fastwitch.

But not into that VFF stuff yet but am now somewhere in between. Which shoes to get?


Or this?

Actually it is a no brainer. Those who know me well enough by now will know which one I will pick.

But other than Nike, maybe I should be more adventurous and go ahead and get this?

Anybody got any other recommendation?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Singtel Race Against Cancer 2010

Another beautiful cool day - perfect for sleeping in but was up at 5am for a race that I was not running.

For the 3rd time this year, I have elected to participate in a race not as a participant but as a volunteer. This time the event was the Singtel Race Against Cancer at Pasir Ris Park. Unfortunately, was deployed to the Pasir Ris Bus Interchange to point participants in the right direction. I guess they figured us volunteers were cheaper than printing and putting up a whole lot of directional sign. Being at the Interchange means I had to miss most of the actions on site but nevermind, it was for a good cause.

But sometime wish can and do come true but it may not turned out exactly how we like. Was recalled back to the finish line at 8.30 am and found that I had to trudge through 100 metres of mud and then stand there guiding the finishers into the right chute. It was fun time though and I caught a glimpse of a witch, a 'Áh Lian' and a 'air stewardess'!

But the best part was watching the participants hopelessly trying to pick their through the mud without getting their shoes muddy!

And the absolute best part of the whole deal was we get to bring home the many freebies that could not be finished includes loads of fruits, Yakult and Magnolia ice-cream!

Me think I should sign up for more of this.