Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seminar on High Performance Training

Coach Guy Oden conducted a seminar for a roomful of runners this evening. About 60 runners attended, which was very good response considering my initial target was about 30. :)

I took away many useful tips as well, which challenged a couple of "conventional" or existing things & trainings that we do. Eg. never do static stretching immediately before a training or race, but do dynamic stretching instead. I liked also that he demonstrated some stretching and showed video clips of exercises that are running specific (ie. mimic the running gait/ posture -which I had read in RW). Eg. holding light free weights in both hands & forward swing (running swing), or why place leg on the MR entry-barpole to stretch when we're not hurdlers. Haha.

Oops, forgot to bring paper but managed to salvage a precious A4 from my attendance list & scribbled furiously. I guess I retained abt $4 of knowledge from the talk. The other $2 of cakes also retained themselves somewhere on my waist....

Oh and, according to Guy, I would use up 2 precious marathon lives this Saturday. I probably outlived my 9 quota already. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Slow Jog

Did an ultra ultra slow slow jog from Safra to Botanic Gardens and Tanglin Rd, about 11-12km. The rest of the group did a 14km around Buona Vista - Commonwealth. And returned before me! Sigh.... 'nuff said.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Waist Massage

Went for RPM Challenge. Sat on the big, fat saddle of the spin bike and ouch! Butt was still aching from Saturday's ride. Contemplated if I should go off, but heck, Ali had started playing music for the warmup track. So I stuck with the class. Legs were a bit heavy today, could not spin as fast or as hard as I thought I could.

After class, I decided to pop by DJ's for a massage and a check on the irritating hip problem which was playing hide-and-seek with me. We worked on the back-waist area, which was knotted, then worked our way down to the knee and calf following the same muscle alignment. Hope that would keep me ok until Sundown.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last LSD Tapering

Heng, Alber, Ultra and I decided to forego the Safra MF slopes today and do a flat 20km to Marina South Pier instead. We started off at a relaxed pace. My legs were ok after sleeping in my 2XU compression tights last night. But my hip had a weird electrical sensation to it when I walked. It did not give me any problem on the run though. We ran as a group until the Tanjong Pagar KTM Railway Station, and the guys picked up speed. I was happy to run alone and not hold them back. We stopped at MSP for a water break, and I did some stretches. The electrifying feeling returned, and I walked the stretch near Prince Edward Rd (exiting Marina South). But for some strange reason, it disappeared after I popped by 7-11 (along Anson Rd) and bought my drinks. Hmm... Very weird. Alber was waiting for me after the railway station. The guys had waited for some time before moving on. Oops...

It was a humid and hot morning for a run. I was soaked and tired by the time I returned to Safra. The ice-tubes from Siew Lee were such perk-ups after the sticky depleting run! Also met Sam, Helen and some of the Safra Tampines runners, who had started much earlier to check out the new bridges. Sam was setting up a support table during Sundown for their 42km runners. Way to go! Ong asked if we wanted any special food or arrangement as he planned to go to Changi early Sunday morning. Much appreciated! :) But we told him not to trouble himself and travel all the way to the race site. Hopefully good weather prevails for Sundown.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Aching Butt Ride

Had a slow lazy brunch at Riders Cafe again. Tried the breaded fish & chips this time - pretty decent. Love the home fried potatoes. Alber had the Riders burger and it was good. The strawberry milkshake was made from real strawberries, nice. Vanilla milkshake was sinful too. Next visit I should try the fluffy pancakes and the egg benedict again. Many surrounding patrons had ordered the egg benedict and I had so much food envy eyeing those lovely sunny eggs!

Went for a ride in the late afternoon with the guys. It had been months since I last used my cleats. I tried and wobbled many times before I got my shoe clipped in, and darn, there were many traffic light junctions! Eddie, Alber and I rode from my house to meet up with JD & Sumiko at Ten-mile Junction, before proceeding to Mandai & Sembawang. It was a route with many rolling slopes. Nevermind all those, I was busy concentrating on my clumsy cleats. Eddie was super fast on his MTB and thick, fat tires. He was nice enough to keep looking back, wait and guide me along. Alber was behind me, lest I toppled over. Oops, but at least I managed to regain confidence on the cleats after some time.

We stopped at a coffeeshop in Sembawang for drinks. It was about 20km of riding. We contemplated whether to loop to Seletar or return home. Everyone felt lazy. It certainly did not help that the tables surrounding us were tucking into seafood dinners! Haha.... It was suppose to be a leisure ride, so we looped back. The plan was to go home, get a nice shower, then head out for dinner - on 4-wheels. We made it home safely, except for an aching butt. My legs were ok (RPM classes not wasted), but not the butt. Ouch, had to get seasoned with my saddle again.

Brought the group to Commonwealth cooked food stall next to the hawker centre. Cheap and good. 6 pax, 5 dishes, about $56. It was my 2nd visit in a week. Worth repeated visits again.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Southern Ridges Leisure Run

Today was a leisure run across the Southern Ridges. Deja vu, I was just there on Monday morning. Anyhow, the bridges looked different and nicer at night. We ran up MF slope to the usual MF loop, and got onto Henderson Waves. It rained when we started our run, so the roads and bridges were slippery. The Forest Walk segment was long and slippery, particularly so in my Pearl Izumi which had terrible grip. Ran into Cantebury Estate, a lone runner was lost and trying to connect to the Canopy Walk on KR Park. I tried to describe the directions to him, but 10min later, we bumped into him in the opposite direction. We led him out of the small twisty roads and off he ran into Hort Park. I took Depot Road to return to Safra.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Had a wonderful carbo-loading (that's a good excuse for indulging!) with a group of runners. 10 hearty delicious dishes that worked out to only S$27 per person. Quality food, good wine, great company. Makes one forget the bad timings, the poor races, the lacklustre trainings. No comparisons, no competition, no envy. Just a 3hr happy sharing of race experiences, quirky boo-boos as 1st-timers, encouraging exchanges of dos & don'ts, and a suspension of judgement on one another. That's what makes running in a group fun. :)

Acupuncture vs Myofascial Triggers

Came across an interesting article - that traditional acupuncture and the modern myofascial release actually treat the same pain areas. The study concluded that both approaches targeted the same problem zones with fundamentally similar techniques. There's a large convergence between the two and that "acupuncture points and trigger points are anatomically and clinically similar in their uses for treatment of pain disorders."

Ahh well, but I suppose it is much easier to DIY on my red toy myofascial self-release roller foam, than to try and prick needles myself! But the wider implication of the study is to 'acknowledge' the effectiveness of traditional Chinese acupuncture and acupressure massage techniques (ie. "tui-na") in treating sports injuries. Many athletes I know are loathe to try out Chinese massages due to a lack of understanding and belief in the approach, preferring the "proven" (but often more expensive) Western treatment. They may not use the same terminologies (eg. ITB), and many are unable to clearly explain how or why a certain injury came about. To be fair too, there are many black sheep in the industry trying to pass off as qualified tui-na therapists. But that does not nullify the approach that has existed and been improvised over thousands of years. The executioner is at fault, not the tool.

Anyhow, I'm sticking to my familiar therapists. For a third of the rate charged by sports physios, I get my problems sorted out. And in the process, I learn much more about my body and how things work or are inter-joined. In the end, paying for 3 sessions is more effective than 1 expensive one. So here I am, 1 week before Sundown, getting my routine fix on my legs. My next appointment is next week. After that, the sun comes down and the show begins.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Run that Died

A few of us tapering for Sundown went separately for a run to Botanic Gardens - Anthony, Bev, myself, Alber, Adam, Philip, Eddie and Alvin (a young chap who had not come for some time). We had 1.5hr to return. Anthony confidently said that we could complete 14km and be back at Safra within that time. .... What he did not mention was that the planned route was more than 14km. Haha.

The guys ran ahead, chatting merrily, and yet gaining pace along the way, while Bev and I tried to follow behind. They got faster and faster, and the gap between us widened by the minute. It was so demoralizing!

It was a run all gone wrong. Everything that could have died and malfunctioned did just that. First my footpod. Blink-blink-blink-........... no light. Pressed and turned it on again. No flashing green light. Tried a few times at various junctions. Finally it surrendered and showed me a red light.

Then at Dempsey, I felt a sudden soreness in my hip. Damn. I thought it had fully recovered. Could have been triggered by the initial fast pace and upslope along Tanglin before Ridley, and trying to catch up. I stopped to stretch a little and decided to skip Botanic Gardens. I told Anthony & Bev that I was heading back via Holland Road. It was much more relaxing jogging alone, getting into my own slow rhythm and breathing. No strain on the joints nor hip. But alas, so slow that Alber managed to catch up just before the Holland-Farrer junction. It was just one of those utterly demoralizing run that I just wanted it to end immediately. :(

Oscar allowed for Olympics

Oscar Pistorius is allowed to race against able-bodied athletes to qualify for a spot in the Olympics! The Court of Arbitration for Sports overturned an earlier ban by IAAF and ruled that the earlier tests on his prosthetics did not yield conclusive results on whether it gave him any unfair advantages. With only 64 days left to shape up and meet the Beijing qualifying times of 45.55s in the 400m sprint, Oscar is in a race to race. is PB is 46.33s. A more realistic target is to focus on the London Olympics in 2012.

Beyond Oscar & the Olympics, the ruling sends a strong signal to disabled athletes worldwide, and is an inspiration to all of us.

Previous related posts:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Southern Ridges Bridges

Brought my family to the new Southern Ridges Bridges this morning. We decided to start at KR Park, thinking that it would be more accessible and less crowded. Apparently, many others had the same idea. So despite reaching the carpark (where the tanker display is) at 730am, it was full and we had to park by the roadside.

I brought them along the wooden Canopy Walk into Hort Park. There were many walkers along the way. Crossing the Alexandra Arch was quite tedious though because of the crowd. It was a metal bridge that zig-zagged over the foilage belo. Most of the sections had only room for 2-3 people abreast, hence causing a slowdown. Looking down, I saw a group of runners along the Earth Trail below. It was Stardust, Ultra, DO, Anthony, Jancy, Vincent etc! I shouted to DO, good thing he looked up and spotted me. Jancy tried snapping a photo of me on the bridge from below - wonder if the distance was too far for the zoom lens. My sister and brother decided to go down and check out the trail. It connected at various points to Alexandra Arch, the last being at Telok Blangah Park. This was the route that we trained our TB loops. Familiar grounds but I was not used to seeing the place in the day, and with so many cars and people. It was as if half the Spore population had descended upon the bridges today! All the car parks and roads around and along the Southern Bridges were totally full and jam-packed with vehicles.

Henderson Waves was my favourite. It was wooden and wide, allowing people to mill around and stroll across. Many families were on the bridge - I hoped the engineers tested its safety load bearing! We ended our trek at the MF loop and turned back to KR Park. It was faster to take the Earth Trail back as there was less people. It was also in the shade and cooler. I met the SGRunners at Alexandra Arch again on the way back.

It was a nice morning walk, but unfortunately marred by the typical ugly Singaporean behaviour. Into the Hort Park, I saw some parents playing with their children on the Lawn Garden. Some strollers cut across the grass to the paths. Many took short-cuts on the grass slopes along the zig-zag loops that joined Hort Park to KR Park. It was a shame, because that left streaks of baldness on the newly planted grass verges, and track marks on the lawn. Adults were to blame, for they led the children up/ down the slopes and let them ran amok on the fields. I was irked. When can we be a civic society that did not require NParks or the government to put up "Do Not..." or "Fined XX for..." signages all around public spaces?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Polar Footpod

It was a humid morning for a run. I had a new toy today, the RS200 foot pod. :) It was very easy to strap on and operate. Turned it on and the green light started blinking. I tried to follow Ultra, Anthony & DO but soon gave up around Pasir Panjang Rd. Geez, my watch registered a 6.30-7.00 min/km, yet it felt like a 5min pace to me. Pant pant.

We went up South BV Rd. It was a painful run this morning. Tough weather, tough route. Plodding up the windy road and entered NUH, but it was only 10km. Groan. There was no other runners in sight, only Teacher Lee and Rosemary's friend. The 3 of us too turns cutting and following one another. I took a water break at Com Centre and soon reached NUH. My watch read 12km. I continued to Kent Ridge Park and took another break at the water cooler. Wow, the place was crowded with people trying out the new Southern Bridges. Along the way down Pepys Rd to Pasir Panjang, we came across several people coming up the slopes, trying to look for KR Park.

Got myself a chilled Pocari Sweat & took my Gu-gel at Caltex along Pasir Panjang. Just a bit more to run. Oh it was so hot. Brrrr..... melting. Walk-run-walk-trot. Melting. Finally made it back to Safra. The guys were all back, I was the last one. Again, as usual. Sigh.... DO, William, Anthony & Ultra were already changed and having kopi at Ya Kun. Siew Lee made iced milo again today, a cool respite to the weather!

The footpod measurement was quite accurate - 22.5km. Think I'll play with it a bit more, test it out on more routes. :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New GT2130 Trail Shoes

I proabably have more trail shoes than running trails in Singapore. I added another to my collection recently, the Asics GT2130-trail, and tested them out at MR this morning. This is the off-road version of the popular road shoe and seemed promising. It had the same sole construct as the GT2130 and was relatively lighter than my North Face(s) and Salomon. Admittedly though, those were Gore-tex lined so they tended to be much heavier.

The GT-trail shoe felt comfortable and familiar. As with all new shoes, my feet took a little while to get used to them, but the discomfort disappeared after about half an hour. The toe area of the shoe was roomy and did not cause any hotspots, unlike my other trail shoes. Yeah, I would not have to tape my toes anymore with this pair of shoes.

After I exited the Northern Trail and hit the tarmac towards SICC, I was pleasantly surprised to feel the shoe's cushiony bounce. It delivered more cushion on the hard road without feeling like a heavy drag. Usually trail shoes gave very good support in the trails but were heavy on the roads. Road shoes, on the other hand, were great on roads (duh...), but I would loathe to wreck them on the rocks. Yet in Singapore, it was difficult to find a stretch of pure trails for long distance running. So our trail runs always ended up a 50-50 mix, resulting in a less than satisfactory choice of shoes. The GT-trail felt like a good balance for both trail and tarmac.

I ran to Upper Pierce toilet, took a break and turned back. Re-entering the trails at the "25"kmh mark, the GT-trail offered good support over the rocky paths. Its soles were also thick enough to cushion against the jabs of stepping over sharp rocks and debris. However, I realised that its front was not as reinforced (aka hardened) as my other trail shoes. The advantage was that I would not get any more bruised toe nails from hitting the shoe. The bad news was that you could kick a rock and bruise the toe. Hmmm....

It was a hot day for a late morning run, even at MR. I was drenched by the time I finished my 15km run. Bumped into Alex and chatted about bicycles for a while. After washing up, I met KC at Riders Cafe for lunch. The cafe came highly recommended by a colleague. It was a quaint place done up in dark wooden tones, non-aircon but lots of natural ventilation and ceiling fans. It was a nice place to chill, read the papers, and have a lazy meal. We ordered a Veggie Benedict, a grilled Ham n Cheese sandwich, and a vanilla milkshake. The food was good. The egg benedict was nicely done. Atop a toasted open-faced muffin was a layer of spinach and mushrooms, topped with an egg. The egg white was fluffy and quivering, egg yolk a cheerful liquid yellow, with a layer of melted cheddar cheese over the yolk. Oooh lovely. The fried cut potatoes (aka chips) that came with the sandwich were great too - salted, crispy and fat. But the sandwich itself was a tad disappointing. The toasted bread was too dry. The vanilla shake was rather good too - thick, frothy, and well, vanilla-fragranced. Definitely worth a return to try a couple of other items on the menu. But be sure to visit only after a workout! :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

RPM Challenge

Faye was a last minute replacement for a sick Kee Leong. She also took the class last week. I was ok with Faye's classes actually. But one of the regulars was complaining in the changing room about rushing to the gym and having to miss the class. Ahh.... such was our obsessions with our favourite trainers. Most of the regulars (like myself) had a couple of preferred trainers for various classes - usually the 'demon' trainers were more popular. We had masochistic tendencies and favoured trainers who could really burn our butts and make us work our hearts out. It was a subjective liking though, because one person's hot instructor could be another's poison.

Well I liked Faye's classes. She was like a chilli padi, very petite but hot, bundle of energy, mischievous impish eyes. I managed to get my favourite front corner bike. It took me a few song tracks to warm up. I would just take the class as it came, not overly pushing or straining. In a few distracted moments, I was checking out the engagement rock on Faye's finger that Andrew had gotten her. Haha. Ok, back to focus. Spin. I think I might just crash through the Duathlon, had not been riding. But mind too pre-occupied with Sundown and injury to think too far ahead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Return to MF Loops

Was super tired today. Dozed off around 930am (!), drank a big cup of teh-tarik for a caffeine booster, totally zoned out in my cubicle for the rest of the day. Dragged myself to Safra out of habit.

I returned to MF Loop training tonight after staying away from it for a couple of weeks/ months. The warmup jog to the MF Loop carpark was tentative and apprehensive. A couple of cranky jolts down the hip flexor. Stopped twice to figure out what went wrong. Maybe I was not warmed up or stretched properly yet. In two minds whether to attempt MF Loops or go with a flat run. Decided that it was now or never to test my "recovered" butt/ hip, so gritted up Morse Rd. Wen Long came down Pender Rd, and sped up past me again. Morse Rd seemed forever.

Quite a large group turned up tonight. Eddie & Chin Yeh came. So did Anthony & Bev. Was surprised to see Anthony still doing hill workouts so close to Sundown. Bev was the most power one, improved tremendously. :) One group headed off for flats, while the majority followed Ong to MF Loop.

I did all my loops conservatively on the inner pavement today. Tried to push a bit harder on the upslope. Gingerly, carefully, unsure how much I should open up my strides, lift the thighs or calves. All body sensors were on high alert, more focused on 'sensing' my hip than the workouts. Psychologically, something was holding back. It was about testing the boundary bit by bit, ever uncertain when pain might snap back again. When you run so much and so in-tuned with the body, you know the different shades of pain and can tell if it is a normal "tired" soreness, or chronic problem, or something strangely new.

Thankfully, I cleared 5 loops with no pain, though still witholding a little. I managed a constant 4:47/8 min for all the upslopes ending at the peak (cafe), and simply took my time to slowly wind down to the start of the loop. Did not want to aggravate hip/ butt with every downstep extension. Each loop averaged 11+ min. I skipped the staircase, went down to Morse Rd and ran back from Henderson. A couple of runners were doing a flat run and also just returning. Henry had fully recovered from his knee, he overtook me on the Henderson upslope and blasted ahead. I tried to chiong up too, but did not have enough power to sustain.

Had a half-mind to retire from running after Sundown. Or else to totally restart from zero and retrain everything. Two extremes. Both painful.

Sichuan Quake

It's different when a quake hits a place that you're familiar with, as opposed to, say, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. I've been to Sichuan 3 times in 2 years for long climbing expeditions, and spent much time travelling up-down those bumpy public roads into the mountains and such. Those places that are mentioned in the news all ring a bell - a signage along the roads, the mountain ranges, Chengdu etc. Our climbing guides are from one of the autonomus minority tribes there, the youth hostel in Chengdu we so loved staying at every climbing season is run by a Singaporean-Teochew who married a Japanese wife, the climbing huts at the mountain base that seem like 3-star luxury after 2 weeks of tents & snow. They are safe for now. But one thing I think the Chinese have in abundance is resilience. Heart-wrenching stories that shock us, they simply shrug them off 'that's life' and move on. Very tough people, hardened by survival instincts in a massly populated country, they can bounce back in no time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Massage Security Blanket

It was a different pain from my supposedly butt injury/ strain. The running pain that plagued me for the past 3 months was towards the side of hip and back of butt. That chronic problem had recovered a lot, hopefully I could call it 100% done-deal soon. But this new one came down the front joint in a jolting sensation while walking & standing. Felt like the hip flexors. *Mild panic*

Unsure if it was caused by or surfaced from yesterday's physio. Irrational as it sounded, I visited F for a quick-fix and rested today. I think I feel more secure with my regular acupressure sessions who knew my history, than trying new therapists. Praying real hard that all the weird kinks would disappear very soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Safra Sunday Long Run (21km)

I reached Safra late and did not manage to catch the route briefing nor the runners heading off. Oops. I had a vague recollection that it was the MSP 21km route and ran down Henderson Rd. Rightly so, and from afar, I spied a group of orange tees moving down the slope. Too far for me to catch up. So for the most part of the run, I was alone, and half the time wondering if I was on the correct route. I was eager to try if my hip was really better, or if last Friday's long run was a fluke success.

It was a cool yet humid morning. Cool from the downpour in the pre-dawn hours, but humid nonetheless. As I turned into Marina Way, I saw Chairman running with another lady whom I did not know. It did not seem like they were with the Safra group today. Soon I saw Trevor already on his return run. Then Wayne & Shirley. The sequence of runner sightings made me even more confused because of their different speeds and relative positions in the run. Finally I met Jimmy, DO, Ultra and Anthony as I was going into MSP. Jimmy offered to wait and run with me back to Safra. Thanks! At least with his pacing & presence, I had no choice but to follow. He had some knee problems and we walked-ran the way out of Marina South. We stopped at 7-11 to get some Pocari and met Freddy at the nearby junction. Wow, he was really fast! He had extended the run towards Nicoll Highway and now he was overtaking me. Oops.

By 1:30h into the run, I was starving. Took a sip of Gu-gel and trudged to Kg Bahru. Jimmy returned to Safra while I went to Henderson. By the end of my run, I was drenched in sweat from head to toe. Toxic!

Deserved a nice lunch after a tiring run. It was Mother's Day celebrations and I had a family lunch buffet to attend. In the late afternoon, I tried a physiotherapist recommended by Kenny. I wanted to experience the difference between a "trained-certified physio" vs my usual Chinese acupressure types. I learnt a couple of stretches too, which was useful. As for the sports massage, well, I would know the aftermath tomorrow.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Recovery Swim

Legs felt ok today. :) Slept in late and had to rush to a colleague's party. Later in the afternoon I dropped by Safra for a recovery swim. Managed 20 laps in the pool. Took an immensely long and disruptive time because there were divers and kids having lessons in 4 of the lanes! The remaining lanes were shared by everyone else and it was impossible to swim a complete lap without having to avoid another swimmer. :(

Rushed over to Vivo to catch a movie - Once Were Warriors, part of the NZ Film Festival. It turned out to be a very good film, sad but in-your-face violence and protrayal of a very real social problem.

Sundown Familiarization Night Run (30km)

There were many runners this Friday, gathered at C4 for our last round of night familiarization run. It was the complicated Siglap-Bedok-Tampines-PasirRis park connectors where many got lost during the previous night run. Many familiar runners were present - Jancy & Vincent, Kayano, Stardust, Ultra, Anthony, DO, Eddie, Teck Hou, Kumaran etc. Everyone was in high spirits.

We set off around 830am. Again, my aim for the run was very simple - painfree completion. I was tentative and hesitant to test my hips to withstand 30km. The Skins capri felt very comfortable and I started with a good pace. Eddie was suppose to run with me tonight. We ran alongside until Bedok Park big-toilet area. The front guys were already there waiting for the slower runners. I wanted to continue running while my legs felt warmed up & no discomfort. So a few of us headed off first towards Bedok Reservoir. There were 5 of us - Kumaran, Eddie, Vanda, myself and a guy whom I did not know. I led them through the big, dark carpark to Tampines PCN. We met Teck Hou on his return run at the junction outside Downtown East. We finally reached the u-turn point at the mosque in about 1:46h.

On our way back, we bumped into the rest of the runners near Downtown East. They were running together as a big group. Eddie and the other guy stopped at Mac for a drink while Kumaran, Vanda and I stopped much later at the Esso petrol kisok along Tampines. Soon Eddie & the guy caught up with us. The run back through Bedok PCN was the most demoralizing to me - 2 bridges, rolling shopes. I stopped to stretch a couple of times, calves were threatening to cramp up. Bought a Pocari from Cheers at Kembagan Station, such a life saver! But had no place to hold the coins change, and had to trouble Vanda to safekeep them for me. Oops. Finally made it to Siglap PCN. Alber and Ultra had also caught up by then. They were fast despite my 1-2km headstart! We ran and ran and finally cleared the last 1.5km back to C4.

Happiness because my hips felt ok, only the normal soreness after a long run and not the injury pain feeling! I was driven to complete the run to see if the hips were fine. Happy that I could honestly declare this run as relatively pain-free! :)

We washed up at the public shower area. It was like the good old camping days, 4 ladies chatting and laughing while standing under the communal shower taps. We drove to Yong He Dou Jiang for supper refuel. The shop had moved to a bigger location, but unfortunately the quality & standard had fallen. Considering how hungry we were after a long night run, the food was not even impressive. I was more sleepy than hungry. Reached home in a thunderstorm and managed to crawl into bed only around 4am.

Love my bod, love my hips, love my SKINS. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Had a long 1hr+ massage today. Besides the usual spots, we tried massaging a new area - inner thigh which was very tight and might be pulling on the hip joint. Drove to Safra after that and promptly jumped into the pool. Ahh warm waters.

Two lanes were closed to swimmers in order to accomodate a diving class. Darn. The remaining lanes were thus super crowded. Managed to swerve swimmers and complete 20 laps.

Olmypic Torch Summits Everest!

The Olympic torch has reached the summit of Everest! :)

A couple of hours ago this morning. Amazing feat for mountaineers! I'm reminded of the inspiring scene from Lord of the Rings where the warning signals along the mountain range were lit like dominos.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Faye did the RPM Challenge tonight instead of KL. I did not manage to get my usual bike in the front row, and ended up in the 2nd row right behind this big sized chap. Translated - I could only see the back of him and not Faye on stage. Didn't help that Faye was also tiny and petite, so she was totally blocked from my view. Had to look at the reflections off the windows and mirrors to see what she was doing.

Bike ride started off with the right hip feeling a little wonky. Slight panic. Pressed the joint a couple of times. The feeling cleared off after a short while. Whew. Managed to build up to a decently panting and sweaty workout. There was a freshie in the class tonight, seated in front of me, and Faye had to keep telling him what to do. Very distracting as I kept looking at his wrong postures.

Spent a good 15min stretching after the class. No choice, had to do extra time on the entire hip area on both sides. Continued on foam roller at home and fell asleep on the ice-pack.

Collected my new SKINS capri tights tonight. Black and purple. :) Lovely. Looked chio too, they covered up to mid-calf. Felt smoother than 2XU, but less tight/ compression. Game to test it on a run soon.

Disabled or Superabled

One of the sports topics that I actively track - the use of prosthetics in competitive sports. The article nicely captures the key developments and bioethics surrounding this.

What will we make of the day when athletes proactively remove their body parts and undergo restorative or reconstructive surgery for biomechanically better ones? When the disabled becomes abled again, and the abled turns superabled. Already we hear stories of passionate pianists who snip the webs in between their fingers so as to stretch beyond an octave on the keyboard. Lasik is a commontype restorative surgery now. Probing along the slippery slope, is it really so unthinkable for athletes to inflict something extreme upon themselves? What is shocking to us now may hardly raise eyebrows in 10-15 years.

A mash of several socio-medical trends and dynamics, this space remains interesting to watch. The debate continues.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Canterbury 12km

Bought 2 pairs of shoes today. A newly minted Mizuno Wave Elixir 2, my favourite race shoes. :) And a pair of Asics GT-2130 Trail! So happy. I spied the shoe from the USA website but could not find it in Singapore until today. Very few shops bring it in, and I had no lobangs for it. Apparently the difference between USA and Australian versions was the shoe width. The non-USA shoes are D-width (ie. wider), which are what our shops carry. Can't wait to test them on the trails!

Went to Safra and did a 12km route with Heng, Alber, Henry, Adam & Philip. I baptized my new Elixir. Felt super lightweight. :) But I had to adjust and re-tie the laces a couple of times to the 'perfect' tension. We did a loop inside Canterbury estate. As we exited at Hort Park, we bumped into Anthony & Bev, who had ran to Kent Ridge Park earlier. The group continued towards Harbourfront & Kg Bahru.

After exiting Canterbury at Alexandra, I felt like I could pick up speed. Very very conscious of foot landing and hip response. Ran a bit faster and sustained the pace until Kg Bahru. For that short distance, things felt good. Hips felt confident, legs were obedient. But when I turned into Telok Blangah Rise, I could feel the tensions building in the hips. Utterly conservative me slowed down immediately and slowly jogged back to Safra.

Kenny made a guest appearance today. He came to train with Alan and the fast fast runners. Over dinner he was dispensing tips on training and recovery. Managed to get a sports physio contact from him & Melvin. Perhaps I'll give it a try too.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Since I was still walking like a duck today, it was a real struggle deciding whether to hit a Pump class (and ache more) or RPM Challenge (and use hip joint). Then Bingo! Remembered that I had my swim gear in the office and decided to hit the waters instead. When I told my colleagues I was going for a swim, everyone responded with the same "Swim?" remark. Yes yes, I know, I would strike 4D for going swimming. Hope the water was not cold.

I reached Safra, changed and stared. Muffins. Damn. Made my way as inconspicuously as possible into the pool, had to suck in tummy and hold my breathe. Haha. Water was snug and warm! 1st lap breast stroke. Ouch ouch, arms and legs protested. 2nd lap front crawl. Ok much better. 3rd lap front crawl. Had not gotten used to the swim rhythm, out of breath. Slowly I swam. Every lap warranted a self-pat. Covered 24 laps tonight. The last time I swam was almost half a year ago!

Icy Duckling

Inner thighs were sore now. DOMS after Saturday's pump class. Yes yes, the effects of not having done squats for..... 2-3 months? I'm walking like a duck today. Chest and triceps were also sore, could not reach my back fully. Pathetically funny.

Got a ice-pack from Alber last night. I tested it on my precious hip, straight from the freezer. Oooh ouch. Ice cold. But after a while the cold dissipated, so I pressed it on the other hip, calves and knees. In the end, I slept on my side with the pack still pressed against the hip. No idea if it was useful or not. Popped the ice-pack back into the freezer this morning. Tonight I might try again.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dinner Discovery

Island creamery! Had a craving for the entire week. Finally satisfied it tonight. :) Horlicks & teh tarik double scoop, drowned in horlicks powder. Oooh luscious heavens. But first, dinner before desserts.

Went with Alber to hunt for a new dinner venue. We ended up at Commonwealth hawker centre intending to have black bean paste bee hoon, but decided to explore the area instead. We walked past the HK Street Fish Steamboat coffeeshop. Hidden at an obscure corner of the said coffeeshop was a Vietnamese stall. Cheap and authentic food cooked by a Vietnamese auntie. Everything was priced at $3.50 for a small and $5.50 for large portion. It looked good, we decided to try it.

Alber ordered a beef noodle soup. The "small" was a surprisingly large and generous bowl of beef rice noodles. The soup tasted nice without MSG. I had a BBQ chicken dry noodles - spicy, whew, my tongue was burning! But tasty. The chicken had a sweet coconut taste to it. We also had a traditional Vietnamese rice paper spring roll. It was decent, except that it tasted like a wrapped up version of my noodles. Same ingredients minus the chicken. Ahhh. And best of all, total damage was only $10.50. Immediately sms Alvin to come and try next time. Auntie was so happy when Alber complimented her food, she kept slapping him on the shoulder and even offered us some sweet tapioca dessert FOC! Haha. Of course he declined. Perhaps next time we could try some. :)

MR25 Progressive Run 20km

Aim: pain-free run. Mantra for self-recital: pain-free run. Verdict: not so pain-free run.

Today was the MR25 Progressive Run 20km. I had 2 cartons of 100-plus with me so had to arrive early. Almost could not wake up in the morning. Reached MR before 630am, ample parking lots at that time. Taped my feet, wore my shoes, registered for the run. Not many Safra runners were around yet. Some of SGRunners were there already, DO, Anthony, Ricci, Ultra, Stardust.

The run was flagged off at 7am. We waited a while for Heng before joining the runners. They had dashed off fast ahead. I was hoping for a totally pain free run this morning. Hip felt good, no particularly feeling. Butt a bit sore, either from the massage or Pump class. Inner thighs sore. Must be the lunges and squats.

Slowly slowly. It was not very difficult to be the last runner. Took a sip at the 1st water point and continued running with Heng. I directed him into the golf course towards Pierce and he went ahead. Then I lost him for a short while, hmm... I think he made a wrong turn after the pump station. He reappeared after I reached Upp Pierce carpark. We ran to the aircon road. Most runners were already on the out-direction of the road. Some of the very fast runners (they were wearing number tags) had even finished the gate u-turn and were on their return towards MR! Did a quick stretch at the end of aircon road before continuing the run towards main gate. All that rolling slopes.

Reached the u-turn finally, and refilled my bottle. Very hot weather. Ran back to the carpark and straight for the water cooler at the toilet. There was no one with the number tag for miles ahead of me nor behind me. It was rather embarrassing to be wearing the tag. Maybe I should not have registered in the morning.

I turned into the trail after the golf course, under the treetop walk. There were people strolling on the bridge. Hip still cool. Butt still sore. Good sign for now. At least. My favourite part of MR run, the trail. Went down the slopes, crossed the canal, back into the trail and over the mini-stream. Rocks galore. Best fun! Focused. 1-2-1-2-1-2- hop hop hop over the stones and rocks. Ah the Jelutong Tower at last. The end was near.

I could feel my hip a little flaring up though. Damn. Took a stretch and went up the wooden platform. The exposed golf link was super hot. Stretched a few more times along the way. Walked up the roots section. Hip was starting to feel sore now. Sulk... Time check: 2:08h. At least I lasted beyond Friday's 17km and the soreness was much reduced. Yesterday's massage helped a lot, but it had not fully recovered. Demoralizing. Could not even run fast. Would be happy to be able to simply complete without pain.

Past the fitness station, almost finishing. Then I saw a guy on crutches. His right leg was amputated up to the hip and he was using two crutches and his remaining left leg to walk through the trail. He had a cap and looked fit and stout. I think he had been very active before/now. I wondered what happened. He had a very determined look, I could only imagine how tough it was for him to train in the trail. I smiled at him and gingerly greeted morning. Not vey loud, I thought he did not hear me. Then to my surprise, he responded with a very energised Morning! Full of strength, which perked me up tremendously. :)

At least enough to finish the run. Alber and Sumiko were waiting for me near the zebra crossing. Everyone else had returned long ago. Saw Henry too - he came late. He told me he had just gotten a new bike, same model as mine. Ah... welcome to the roads on 2-wheels. :) We washed up and went for brunch at Adam Rd hawker centre. Sumiko told us her Gold Coast travel plans. Sounded like a good deal, very appealing. :)

Came home and thoroughly vaccummed and wiped my little greenie. Cute.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

BodyPump & Butt

Very upset last night over my hip. :( After a night of foam foller, joint still felt irritatingly locked. It was akin to people who had to crack their knuckles or neck to hear that 'cluck' sound and a sigh of relief. A friend recommended a brand of ice-pack to bring down the suspected inflammation. He said I should not roll too much or it would worsen the inflammation. Uh oh... Another gave me his glucosamine brand but it could only be obtained from his doctor. Sigh. Upset.

So my grand plans of trying out a BodyCombat class went *kaput*. I should not be rotating my hip and trying to execute kicks especially since I had not done kickboxing or muay thai for years. Had a hard time restraining myself from the RPM class too. Sanity prevailed that I should not be spinning a bike on the hip joint either. Damn. In the end I went for a BodyPump class.

I was early. Saw my ex-trainer, Tommy, working out at the gym. Still looking buffed and toned. I had some time to spare so I tried the eliptical-ski machine. Goodness me, I lasted about 12min and got utterly bored. Time for class! Ok, the last time I did Pump was eons months ago. Somehow everyone seemed to be taking heavier weights than me even for warmup track. Haha. Whoa, the effects of not carrying weights for so long. Jelly arms and legs by the end of class! My butt felt extremely tight on the lunges. Hmmm.... maybe related to the joint. Luckily I had fixed another massage appointment in the afternoon. Desperate SOS.

Spent a long time at the tui-na kneading on the side hip and back butt. Ouch. Sustained a slight right quad strain last night too. A result of stupidly altering my foot strike to ease the hip discomfort, putting more pressure on my big toe than evenly on the feet. See what happened from trying out a silly stunt like that. Oops. :) Felt considerably lighter after that. Hopefully the MR run tomorrow would turn out right.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New GTs

After a painfully long 3-day hiatus, I hit the road again. This time with my new GT-2130 in beautiful purple. Painfully long because it was really an ordeal not doing anything for 3 days. No workouts, no exercises, no runs, no rides. :( Boy, was I was grouchy this morning.

My colleague was going to blade at ECP and asked me along for a run. We left office early on a nice-weathered Friday evening and drove to B1. I almost forgot that I had my new shoes in the trunk. Perfect time to break them in. Felt kinda stiff and toe-off was unresponsive initially. Perhaps I was too used to the Mizuno or Pearl Izumi. But it would probably soften up a little after some mileage. Legs felt good, though was fighting the stiffy soles.

There were many people at the beach this evening. Scores of students sitting on the sand, at the BBQ pits, and old uncles taking dips in the sea. Not to mention the many runners, cyclists, strollers and bladers all fighting for a share of the paths. I decided to run to Safra country club and u-turn. There was a middle-aged uncle heading the same direction too. I tagged along behind him, our footsteps pounding the pavement. I saw my colleague who was blading up and down the country club a couple of times in order to wait for me. :) We waved goodbye and I continued on the return run.

The marker on the pavement indicated East Coast Park 0m. The uncle had gone ahead while I did some stretching. I tried to imagine that I was on Round 2 of Sundown. My gosh, the stretch was really quite mental. It was no fun to be there plodding on after 52km. Come to think of it, 84km was no fun either.

Soon I caught up with the uncle near the Bedok Jetty. He ended his run near the Seafood Centre. Hip was inauspiciously feeling tight again. I stretched a couple of times. It definitely had that familiar tightening feel so I stopped at C4, took a water break and tried stretching, rotating, massaging,.... whatever tricks I knew. It did not alleviate much. I ran, but stopped again near Big Splash. It was still stiff and hurt a little to walk. But I had rested 3 days! This was so unfair. I just felt like sitting there and sulk. :(

But of course I could not and did not. I had to get to my car. So I ran, massaged, ran, massaged until I reached B1. So upset. How to complete 84km like that? :((