Thursday, July 31, 2008

Melting Musical Run

I had an outing to attend tonight, so I left office early for a run around Esplanade/ Stadium area. It was still very bright and sunny during the run, and before long, I was dripping with sweat. I jogged past the floating platform outside Esplanade where preparations for NDP were in full swing. It sounded like there was a technical rehearsal going on, no spectators, but loud music and parade commands were blasted over the roadside speakers. It was kinda cool jogging to that patriotic upbeat music, though thankfully not for too long. Haha.

I ran towards Stadium and to Tg Rhu. Many expat ladies were bringing their children and pet dogs into the open fields. The babies were cherubic, peering over the prams with their big round eyes. The dogs were all fluffed and groomed. Children were playing ball with one another. It was a lovely run, just me and myself, soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying the session.

I ran back to office and had a quick shower. I was suppose to meet some friends for the Singapore Garden Festival, and I was running late, literally!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spin Puff Spin Puff Puff

I reached KL's class early and started doing simple drills. Light weight, high cadence. Seemed quite effective and I could last longer yet being less tired. I had a total ride time of only 75min, hardly enough to be conditioned for long distance. To maximize the ride time, I rode through all the breaks and breathers as well. The last hill climb track, I totally hammered it home, visualizing my bike and I on steep rolling hills. I must say that the mental imagery worked because it generated extra power to pedal harder. Whew! Exhausted after the workout. Chatted with KL about his overseas races and learnt a few tips on how to handle a bicycle. Must try out soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Serendipitous Training

I had to wake up really early to send a relative to the airport this morning, totally sleepy throughout the day. I got to Safra pool early - surprised that the carpark was quite full even before 6pm. Many runners could not get a lot subsequently and had to park around Telok Blangah area. Anyhow, I planned to swim 30-4o laps, had to clock mileage.

Tried to swim, but nose was blocked. Had to stop every lap to breathe. Two lanes were closed for divers and students, and there were a lot of swimmers sharing laps in the remaining lanes. 30min later, it got too crowded and stressful to swim, having to zig zag within the lane to avoid swimmers in the opposite direction. I pretty much gave up after a while, with a grand total of 14 laps. :(

Thought I could switch to a short 10km run, but legs refused to cooperate. I met Jaime and 2 new runners on their way to MF. I thought the training progamme was an OTOT MF loop, but they must have changed it to the 1.6 loops. Totally in no condition to run the loops with them, so I headed off myself. Ended up strolling and strolling, and found my way into the Marang Trail off HarbourFront MRT station. Hmmm, never been on the trail and the sky was darkening, but the it looked short. So I trotted off into Marang Trail and followed the many steps that eventually led to MF hill - the climax of the upslope that we always ran from Kg Bahru. Ahh, so that was where those wooden planks led down to. I am fully orientated now! Slowly winded my way down the Kg Bahru slope and back to club. There was still a long queue of cars outside Safra trying to enter the carpark.

Such a dismal training day. But ok, not too upset over it. Knowing my own limits beats futile pushing and falling sick again. A serendipitous day would be my most optimistic description of today's workout. (

Monday, July 28, 2008


I was suppose to check out the Garden Festival with some friends today, but the outing was cancelled at the last minute. Good thing I always had a set of gear in the car, and made a quick recovery decision to attend RPM Challenge. The idealistic side of me wanted to think that spinning would somehow count as ride mileage. The practical side said otherwise. Oh... what if I went earlier to do an extra half hour of spinning? Did that count too? I was early, so I managed to get on the bike for a while before the class started. 20 extra minutes, better than none. Have to start training for my next race.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Heavy Run

Today was the long run that killed many runners. We did the Shenton Way to Esplanade/ Flyer and end of Esplanade Park. It was about 20km. Legs felt heavy but I could still manage to shuffle along. On the return run, I was surprised to see Jimmy, Melvin, Ricci and Alber at the 7-11 along Anson Road. The weather was excellent, but somehow everyone's legs were dying. I barely managed to finish the run back to Henderson Rd. Alber was also having problems, he was still not back. It started drizzling, so I went out again to look for him, but missed him.

We went for brunch and discussed upcoming races with Henry. Julie and Teck Hou joined in and we talked about some possible overseas events. Had to go off for a farewell party after the run, where we had lots of entertainment and amusement provided by my colleagues' children. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tuas Cycling

I lazed about the whole day, almost wasting the perfect cool weather. Finally I decided to move my butt and take my bike out for a spin. I had to inflate the tires somewhat, but I think either my tire nozzles or the pump was spoilt. I could not get air in beyond 90-100 without it hissing and leaking. Hmmm maybe I should buy a new pump (but the one I was using was new too!).

Put the bike in the car and drove to West Coast Park. Planned to do Tuas area and get home in time for family dinner outing. 2hrs of cycling time, wonder how much I could do. I started the ride, and stopped about 100m. The speedometer was not sensing the distance because the front tire was fixed with the magnet on the wrong side. Ah, I did not check my bike after last week's race. So I stopped at a bus stop and tried to switch the front wheel. Not bad, at least I remembered how to do that. Ok, meter fixed, back on the ride.

There were surprisingly still many heavy vehicles and big trailer trucks at that time of the afternoon. And they were hurtling down the roads in a menacing way. The head wind was very strong, I practised riding on the smaller front gear. There was also a lot of cross wind, and I could feel myself swerving slightly even when I was going straight. Even when I was on my drops on a straight flat road. The instability increased each time a trailer sped by me, and I would wobble a little. Took a lot of control to keep the bike pointing forward and drawing a straight line.

Reached Tuas Biomedical Park area where traffic was very light and I could do about 5km on the drops with no disruption. The roads and air around Tuas were not the most desirable. The roads were rough and sometimes I would be stuck at the back of trucks transporting sand/ pebble that left a ghastly cloud of dust behind - had to hold my breath! Depending on which part of Tuas and the factories in the area, the air would smell of sweetness, to burnt rubber, to sourish and an assortment. But I guess it beat having to be in start-stop traffic weaving in-out of congested roads.

Managed about 50km before rushing home. So very late for dinner!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Night Festival

Vince was back for a few days! :) A couple of us met for dinner and headed to National Museum for the Night Festival. It was the first time I had been inside the Museum (the paying halls at least), and it was quite a fascinating outing. The Night Festival was rather successful, as evidenced by the large crowds thronging through the place. There was an outdoor movie (Hairspray) going on, many childhood games and some live performances. We tried our hands at the games, and were obviously not very good at them. There was also a booth that had old card games like Snap, Old Maid and Happy Family! So deja vu! The highlight was a light display that outlined the museum wall facades and transformed it into what looked like a chalk sketch, and subsequently a pastel fairytale building. See photos:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Drizzle drizzle

I had a meeting at CSC that ended late. Drove over to NUS for a renaissance run around the loop. Renaissance because it was a training route, from a not too distant memory. Parked at Eusoff Hall and set off. My legs were heavy from two days of trotting around in high heels. Went down Clementi Road and onto West Coast Highway. I was soon lost in my thoughts, thinking of an assortment of issues. My mind was busy, very busy. 50min into the run, it started drizzling. Then heavier. It was good foresight that I brought money along, so I ran directly to the Fong Seng stretch for a yummy soup noodles while waiting for the rain to subside.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Swim Inspired

Quads still aching, so a visit to F for a massage was in order. After that, still somewhat inspired by the PD open waters, I decided to swim at Safra and give my legs a break. New metallic pink silicon swim cap looked cool in the packaging, but resembled a bubble gum balloon wrapped over my head. And hair still got wet! - verified with Sumiko that hair wuld indeed still be wet (so it was not due to my klutzy wearing). But I guess being damp was better than being thoroughly soaked in chlorine for an hour. Must be fragment of imagination, but did I feel slightly more streamlined too? Haha.

Managed 30 laps in 49min. Had no idea whether I miscounted 2 laps short. If I did, then I should be over 50min. Must figure out how to go faster without killing myself in the water. I should try and see if I could make 70min for 38laps in the pool.

70.3 would be 1.9km to 2km swim. Would the time delay from an extra 0.4m swim be offset by my potential time "gain" from the extended long distance bike and run? Hmmm, have to do a cost-benefit time analysis before signing up for a race.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pump it!

Still on a high from PD race, but not that high to torture myself in a spin class, I headed for Pump instead. Not exactly a wise choice, because the squats and lunges just about killed whatever that was left in my precious legs. Knees and muscles around the joint hurt a little from the cycling (plus 14-storey stair climbing) yesterday. They were totally squeezed after pump class. Ouch.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Port Dickson Triathlon (20 July 2008)

I completed my first virgin OD triathlon, yeah yeah yeah! We trooped to Port Dickson over the weekend, many of us in the group were first-timers - Henry, Alber, Eliza, and myself. The grand plan was to try not to be last one out of the waters and aim to finish the race without cramps.

Swim - The waters was nice and calm, made my swim a lot easier. The women were flagged off after the men. That was great, because in Singapore, they usually got the women to start first, and we get swam/ crawled/ kicked over by the guys catching up from behind. The u-turn buoy seemed forever in the distance. But I was behind, and there were only about 10-odd swimmers near me, we had all the space and calmness to ourselves. Nothing to distract nor upset our rhythm. Got out of the waters, and surprised to see about 47-48min. Much better than my budgeted 1h - yes, that slow....

Bike - Mounted my bike and rode off. Experimented with the gears that Eddie taught me, playing with both the 1st and 2nd gear in front. In the past, I would only adjusted the back gears and crank my way up the slopes. Nice feel, high cadence with less effort on the upslope. However, it could not really capitalize on the flats and downslope, at which point I would switch to the bigger front gear. The route was like a series of rolling Mandai slopes, quite enjoyable. Some stretches just flew down at high speeds of 40kmh without pedalling! Cleared my ride in 1:30h without much panting. Save the legs.

Run - My legs felt really fresh at the start of the run. I usually get cramps in my past duathlons. Today was the first time that I ran cramp-free! At a few times, my quads threatened to sieze up, but I simply slowed my pace and the cramps disappeared. I started with a 7min pace to ease into the run, and worked my way to a 6min pace, overtaking quite a number of people. The weather was insanely hot, beating down mercilessly on the uncovered highways. At every water point, I would grap 2 cups and drench myself. Helen caught up around 5km (I overtook her on the bike), and ran ahead, I could not catch up with her. The end was soon in sight, an escape from the unbearable heat! I sprinted the last 20m with a Singaporean guy in front of me. Done. 62min run. Race completed. Yes! Total about 3:30h. Survived!

.... The lift in our apartment block was spoilt! We had to deposit our bikes in Alvin's room in a different block, and then climbed 14 storeys up to our room! But somehow I was still in a hyper mode, and skipped hopped my way up. Still on an adrenalin high after the race. Haha.

Good experience, plus a sun-kissed face and shoulders. :) Looking forward to the next overseas race.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Swim & Gather

Tested new swim cap and googles at M's place before the gathering. Fairly decent sized swimming pool, just slightly less than 50m, but non-crowded so I could do some laps. The race was this Sunday, and here I was, frantically trying to get a few laps going. Great, we shall see how I survive the race.

The gathering was great fun. We had not seen one another for a few years, and most came with children. But most of us still pretty much looked the same as 10years ago. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monthly Eats - Big Eater

Monthyl eats for this month - Big Eater Seafood Restaurant (34 Jln Pari Burong, opp Jln Chempaka Kuning). We had a bigger turnout tonight, which meant more food. :)

Dishes we had:
- fried beancurd skin (crisp and fresh)
- frog legs with chicken essence (first time trying such a style of cooking, love the soup broth)
- salted egg crab (I'm not a crab eater, but gravy was excellent)
- black pepper crab
- fried hokkien mee (KL black sauce style) (noodles texture was very smooth and soft, best I'd tried)
- .......
(could not recall the rest)

The restaurant had strings of empty crab shells hanging down the walls, filled with customers' wishes and greetings. We wasted no time too in getting a shell from the staff, and squeezing in our birthday wishes for Heng onto a tiny little shell. :)

Definitely worth a repeat visit, except for its faraway location.

CSC River Run

My colleagues and I signed up for the Civil Service Club River Run this afternoon - a 4.4km route along the Singapore River, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Riverside & back to Fullerton. It was a sweltering afternoon as many public service officers gathered at Empress Place near the river. My ex-boss, LF, was the guest-of-honour. Merrily waved and chatted with her. The guys were flagged off first, while the girls baked in the sun for another 3min before we started.

It was a leisure run, people could choose to jog or stroll. A few girls sprinted off, though they looked like they could not last a few hundred metres with that pace. Truely, I overtook them around the 2nd underpass to Clarke Quay. After a while, I simply focused on keeping pace with a lady in front of me. We cut many of the guys and edged our way forward. The weather was burning, thankfully I had my faithful water bottle in hand! I reached the end point, and my dear colleague, Cheryl, was standing there gleefully with camera snapping our pictures. :) Finished the run in 23:12min. Given the timing, I felt that the distance was about 4km instead of 4.4km.

We were suppose to pick up some goodie bag & lucky draw coupons at the u-turn point of the run, but there was a bottleneck so I ran past without taking them. Luckily I saw Akira at the goodie bag collection booth! :) And managed to get my stuff. We waited for everyone to return and posed for more pictures. Nice short fun run, no stress. And now a yummy dinner awaits. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Green Pool

Happily bought new goggles and swim cap, all geared up and ready to hit the pool tonight and attempt a mini brick training. Of course there must be a conspiracy at work somewhere, haha. The Safra pool pump was spoilt and the water green and murky, with a smoky smell in the air. And there were still people swimming! Well, they closed the pool after a short while. But damn, that meant I would not be able to swim for the rest of the week and the race was Sunday!

Breathe. So Henry, Alber and I changed plans and decided to ride and run in the gym instead. Rode for 30min on the stationary bike and hopped to the treadmill for another 30min. It was not obviously enough to simulate the lactic acid and brick conditions. Then again, my thighs were a little wonky from yesterday's Pump class, and was walking funny today. Very unglam! Since I was waiting for the guys to finish their workout, I took my time for a nice long cool down stretch.

Now..... to figure out how to squeeze in a swim sometime this week before the race. Too many dinner appointments this week.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Body Pump-ing

Decided to go for an early Bodypump class today as I did not want to wait for an hour between escaping the dreaded ERP and RPM class. Anyhow, it was months since I did my last Pump. Arranged my equipment and got ready to move. Pretty much used the same weights that I always did. Realized though that my legs were less strong than before. The squats and lunges were quite wobbly burning. Geez, no more power thighs! Hmm.... how to climb like that? Better buck up and strengthen the legs more. Before the class, I had entertained thoughts of continuing with a RPM class. Mid-way through Pump, the thought was banished. Haha. I foresee aching arms and back for the next few days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Existential Question

So I had an existential talk with myself during my 2.5hr jog-a-walk this morning. It was a lethargic run. It was so easy being the last runner and falling far far behind everyone. When I reached NUH, Jimmy was exiting. Along the SRC slope, Ong saw me and shouted out to jia-you. I spent the time on the run thinking about the upcoming PD triathlon and AHM. I estimated that I would take about 4.5hr to complete - 1h swim, 1:40h bike, 1:30h run, plus some buffer of transition. Maybe I should not race afterall. It seemed suicidal. I mulled about my target for AHM this year. I think 2.5hr seemed reasonable.

Running was very slow and listless lately. Plus my detox diet in the last 2 coughing weeks totally wiped out my carbo stores. I was coughing this morning, again it eased after 50min of slow jog. But by 1:12h I was flat, hungry, no power. I just could not muster the strength and energy to gear up and run.

Hack, maybe I needed to find another social circle, a different social group. Slowness was criminal at Safra. Everyone was getting faster and faster. There was no meaning to run with the club anymore when 90% of the time I was running alone. I could always run by myself anytime I liked and anywhere I wanted. The club was also getting too cliquish, too many small inner tight groups. It certainly felt very different from when I first joined 2 years ago. It seemed rather meaningless to show up, run by myself, and eat with the same company that I could have without being at the club. But primarily, it was disappointing and discouraging to be there. Criminal almost, chugging half hour behind.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Longest Run

I did my first 14km run since Sundown. It started off angsty, a very very angsty run. I was very slow and the runners were very fast. I was easily 50m behind them, then 100m, then out of sight. The cough was still there, every 4-5min or so and the throat would irritate. So the first 30min of the run was a lot of angst, frustration and self-reproach. But 30min later, the angst was gone, I had no more energy to be arguing with myself and I started to relax. The weather was cool, after a shower, the air was crisp. I started to enjoy the coolness and the quietness of the surroundings at Portsdown. I jogged slowly and evenly. By 50min, I realized that I was no longer coughing or wheezing. The heart had probably warmed up to the steady rhythm and I could jog unaffectedly. It took me a long time to return to Safra. But I didn't care. I encouraged myself that it was a blessing to be able to still run, the mere action of putting one foot in front of the other for more than an hour. It was my longest run since I can't remember when. But it was decent. For love of running. No speed. Why bother?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swimming Fits

I tried to swim today. I left office early to escape that damn new ERP gantry right outside my office. Crumbs. Got to the Safra pool and Alber was already doing his laps. Well I tried to swim, but the phlegm and cough got in the way. So at the end of every lap, I could feel the phlegm building and had to clear my throat. It was start, stop, cough, start, stop, cough. Quite a strain to swim even a lap. In the end I could only manage 12 laps before I gave up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My 1st Run

After resting for 5 days (!!! longest ever), I did my first run tonight. Shirley and I ran on our own because she had a sprained ankle, and I still had my coughing fits. The rest of the Safra group went to do hill runs. We took our leisurely pace, trotting along. We decided to run to Labrador, loop inside the park, and return to Telok Blangah Rise. It was a nice casual run, the chatty sort. We reached Labrador Park, and I brought Shirley over to the Dragon Tooth Gate, and we explored that new section of the park. There was a new seafood restaurant, but it was very empty. We jogged out of the park and slowly made our way towards Harbourfront. The runners should be back at the club by now. Turning into Telok Blangah Rise, we walked the way back so as to give Shirley's ankle a rest from the upslope. While strolling, she educated me on the business of blood donation, rather neat stuff.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dying Throat

Woke up 3am. Throat was burning. It hurt so much just to swallow. Coughed and coughed the entire day. Still to go to office as there were meetings. Slightly feverish, bad throat, horrible cough. Oh groan, there goes my training plans for the weekend. :( Maybe all that lung-bursting cough would strengthen my lungs instead! :((

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bad Throat

Sore throat, very bad throat. Perhaps it was yesterday's spin. I was coughing the whole day, better skip the Safra run. Went home early and brought my bike to the shop for a check. Slept early.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

RPM Hard Challenge

There was another trainer with KL today. A lady trainer from KL who had been posted to work in Singapore. So both of them shared the stage and put us through the routine. I cranked and cranked and puffed my way through, breathing really hard through the mouth. There was a flat track that seemed to go on forever and ever, and the pedalling endless. Even if it was kept at a constant cadence, after a while, my quads were burning, and there was still half a minute to go! I ended the class totally spent.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

10km MF Run

Last minute change of training plans as the runners wanted to go for birthday celebratory dinner. We swapped the Tuesday & Thursday plans, and did a 10km MF loop instead. So tired, I had 3 meetings & discussions today. I planned to swim, but seeing that it was 10km instead of track work, I joined in the run. And also because Eddie convinced me that he would run slowly with me. So 3 of us - Alber, Eddie and I - started slightly after the group. To the guys' credit, they slowed down and jogged with me. I was still trying to run leisurely and rekindle the running lovebug. After reaching the top of MF, I had a stomach upset and went to the washroom while the guys continued. I saw Alan training his runners at MF loop, everyone looked bushed. I guess that was the difference between elite runners and recreational ones like me. I managed to finish the MF route in 1:06h. 3 min slower than my usual, and goodness knows how much slower than most of the club's female runners. I should retire pretty soon.....

Had dinner with Alvin, Karen, Eddie and Alber. They were funny people, cracked me up as usual. A great antidote to a long day of churning brain juices!