Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5km Test Run

Attempted a short jog around Safra. Dragged Alber along for the company. We did Depot Rd, Alexandra, Telok Blangah and Henderson, a 5.20km route (according to mapmyrun.sg). I strapped a patella guard tightly around my knee for support and off we went. Knee felt ok for the first 10-15min. Then it started feeling a little tight after 20min. I stopped about twice to stretch, part of the pain being masked behind the patella guard. I experimented with different foot strikes to test the pain distribution. Finally made it back to Safra after 38min (Sheesh!), just in time for Alber to join in the hill training tonight.

I went to the pool, the water looked murky. One of the filters was not working. No wonder there were so few swimmers tonight. I jumped in anyway and tried to do some laps. But water visibility was very poor, you could hardly see the swimmer ahead of you until it was too late - collision! Well, that did happen. Melvin Lee (Jr) was swiming too (he forgot his running shoes!) and we collided into each other from opposite directions, shoulder to shoulder bump. Haha.

I gave up after 10 laps and went to the smaller training pool. The water was equally cloudy, I guessed it was a central filtration pumping system. Did drills in the training pool - catch up drills and kicks. Coach sent me videos of my swim from last Friday. My hands were flaying too widely and away from my body. My legs were sinking, almost. So I had to pull closer and kick harder.

Rushed to the airport with Alber after Safra training. My little sister was going to Oxford tonight for her 4-year undergrad studies. The whole family was at the airport for the send-off. How exciting, a new phase of independence and experiences!

Monday, September 29, 2008

10-min Jog

Finally had a chance to go for RPM class tonight. I reached the gym early enough, so thought I should go on the treadmill and try jogging. I survived 10plus minutes, slowing increasing from 5.5 to 8.0 kmh. I was not sure how much pounding my knee could take, I did not dare to try jogging farther. Maybe I would try jogging again tomorrow.

It was time for class. It was shocking how quickly one's cardio strength went downhill. The last time I did a RPM was weeks ago. It was quite a torture tonight as I tried to pedal hard. I was also subconsciously holding back because of my knee.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sea Swim

This morning we were at ECP F2 for a sea swim. There was a sizeable group of swimmers from his other classDavid had set up the buoys to mark out a 350m route. There was a safety boat and 2 life guard assistings him. We had to do a warm up loop - tough with all the currents. I did not seem to be moving at all. For the drills, the fastest group had to do 5 loops, the next group 4 loops and so on. My group was instructed to do 3 loops. I barely completed 2 loops.... We had to do another set of loops, and again I only finished 2 loops. Too tiring! And totally sleepy the whole day.......

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Joyrider Session

Met Richard at 7am at the Longhouse for a morning ride with Joyriders. I parked at MR and cycled down. There was a huge group of riders from various groups. I saw Adrian, Mika and some others. We started soon, and of course the ride was anything but joyful, not at their speeds of course (which I could not catch up at all). I was dropped right from the start. Ha.

Richard brought me through Thomson to Serangoon, Sengkang, Punggol, Tampines, Pasir-ris, Loyang and Changi Coastal Rd. It was actually quite a pleasant route with little traffic and vast fields. Unfortunately, Richard strained his back and we had to stop at ECP hawker centre. Luckily we met my friend who was able to send Richard back. I walked further to Big Splash before finding a cab back to MR.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yellowfish Swim #2

Today we did new drills (everything was new to me). We did side kicks, catch-ups (hands touched in front before pulling away - which I could not), kicks, some mixture of butterfly-and-freestyle pulls, long swims, and sprints. I totally enjoyed the long laps. 2h passed by so quickly. A big group went for dinner after the class.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Swimming Against Flippers

My colleague, CP, was hosting us at his place for dinner. Lovely place, I could so rent an apartment there and stay, so cosy. So after work, rushed to collect my bicycle from Rodalink before dinner. There were some funny sounds from the crank when I pedalled and the shifter jumped, so I sent it in last weekend. Ah Wai very kindly tested, rode, and tuned everything. Seemed ok when I test-rode the bike tonight. He liked my bike and offered to buy it second-hand if I was selling it in future!

Then I popped by CP's house for a swim. The pool was slightly less than 50m, but rectangular and enabled laps. I had time for only about 20-odd laps. There was a guy swimming next to me. He was quite fast. So I thought I should try to keep up, but he went faster and faster.... Ah-ha! Then I saw the flippers on his feet. Ahhh.... no point giving chase.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monthly Eats - Ming Kee

It was time for our monthly 'try new good food'. Tonight's destination was Ming Kee Live Seafood Restaurant (556 Macpherson Road), for crab bee hoon. Menu for the night:

- iced cucumber with wasabe dip (refreshing but I could have done it myself at home)
- nai bai vegetables poached with 3 eggs (also a comfort food to me :))
- frog legs with chicken essence (soup stock was tasty enough, frog leg succulent)
- mussels stir-fried with egg-tomato gravy (no comments, I don't take mussels, but looked good. Other tables had steamed mussels)
- mongolian pork chop (no complaints)
- crab bee hoon (dry) (wow! bee hoon totally infused with crab's taste, v good!)
- steamed shark meat (generous big platter of shark meat, and bits of shark's fins still attached)
- yam paste (again, no complaints, just nice, not too sweet)

Plus 3 bottles of wine...... Sleepy....... after all the indulgence.
Plus no runs, guess where all that extra calories would lodge themselves....... Oops.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swim & Jacuzzi

Suspected knee ligament injury, perhaps from overstrain. ie. pushing beyond when there was pain. One major injury on the inner knee, and ancilliary strains around the complex knee structure. Fingers crossed that it was not anything major, like a tear. It did not feel like there was a tear. That was the conclusion from a physician. I think I was at the point where I would just about believe everything and anything, and try out everything and anything. Was told to rest, perhaps get a knee guard for support.

Back to reality, more swimming. Did 30 laps at Safra. Some guys just did not know how to swim and watch where they were headed. Front-crawling so fast and furious, you would expect that they knew how to sight ahead. But no, head-on they came. Or else they kicked or pulled so hard that they created waves in your face. And then there were two giant butterflies, who caused massive spillage and turbulence in the pool.

Siew Lee was there. Like a coach, she sent me on kicking drills on the board. It was 8 laps, discounted to 6, and finally downgraded to 4. Haha. Hey, it was anaerobic hard work, kicking all the way across 50m. She said it helped to train our kicking rhythm and breathing efficiency.

We were done, but the guys were still not back from runs. I decided to try out the jacuzzi at the gym. First time, very sotong. Ouch, super hot water. 40-degC! The hydro jets were bubbling, and I used them to target all the sore points on my body. Not bad at all. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Bike, My Therapy Tool

Woke up late this morning. The plan was to do an easy run at Pandan Reservoir to test my knees. I reached there about 9am and it was a hot Sunday morning.

Sigh, the test was super disappointing..... no go. Barely 20min into the jog and I could feel it tightening again. How do I describe the feeling? It was like a web of rubber bands under the knee cap, pulling unevenly in different directions. Hence the pain could be above, below, on the inner or outer knee. I sat on one of the huge rocks, stretched out my leg, and attempted to find the 'knot' - aka press around and find the point that set off an acute pain. The sun was blazing and I was getting roasted as I sat there for 20min, prodding and massaging with the focus of a puzzled investigator. I tried jogging again, and stopped after 5min. I realized that I could probably shuffle jog, with my leg in a more straightened and extended manner, but not kick back. By now I recognized the tightness and I certainly did not want a repeat of Thursday when I could not even land my foot. Utterly frustrated.

Went for a quick lunch, and decided to do an ultra long ride to vent my frustration and pent-up energies. Thankfully I had the foresight to leave my bike in the car and all my ride and swim gear. Back-up, I say. If can't run, bike. If can't bike, swim. If all else fails,..... well, have not thought of that yet. Haha.

Drove over to West Coast Park. It was a good thing that all the destinations were within 5min drive. Today's traffic was significantly less than yesterday's. Much fewer heavy container trucks, but also much stronger headwinds. I rode and rode and rode, mentally noting the distances over specific 'landmarks'. I did 2 loops around the Raffles Country Club stretch. My shoulders and neck were stiff and sore since last night - could not rotate properly - and the aero-position added to the strain. I stopped for a Gu-gel after 40-odd km, and stopped again at a petrol kiosk on the way back for a cold Pocari. Finally returned to my car after 3-odd hours of cycling, 73km. There, I felt tired already, no more frustration to exorcise. Lovely.

I decided that I would lay off running for a while, lay off the impact on the knee. I would probably swim and ride more. Love my bike, retaining my sanity.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tuas Unfriendly Truck Drivers

I went out for a ride at Tuas. Blur me forgot my helmet, and had to waste time driving home for it. By the time I started, it was 2pm. Such a tight rush, had an afternoon physio appointment.

Should have known better than to attempt Tuas on a Saturday afternoon, when the big container trucks were busy making weekend deliveries. The long and heavy trucks were so menacing, many times they came close enough to make me wobble. Or when we both turned round the round-about, and the container tail swung outwards in a wide turning radius. There were a few misses and plenty of cursing (from me of course, not the drivers). Surprisingly there was plenty of tailwind today, and the ride was enjoyable once I cleared the trucks. The entire route was about 48km.

I rushed to NUS for shower - I think I could practically camp out of my car - and sped to SMU for appointment with Philippe. More twists and manipulations, and again he asked to go and try running. Would do that tomorrow.

Met KC, KM, SM and G for dinner and desserts. Nice workout, food, and company. Ahh, bliss. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yellowfish Swim #1

I joined Yellowwfish for their class tonight at Buona Vista. Friday's class was for novice-triathletes, 40% drills and 60% trainings. There were 4 lanes blocked for our training, with each lane grouping swimmers of similar speeds together. Naturally I fell into the 1st (slowest) lane.

We did some drills like side-kicks, rolls, and long-distance laps (16 laps x 2 sets) because many of the swimmers were taking part in some swim events soon. We ended with some backstrokes and a few laps of 50m sprints. I had many pointers to remember and bad habits to change. Gosh, my arms and chest feel so tight now after the workout.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sudden Knees

Still on a high from yesterday's slow jog, I went to Pandan Reservoir again this evening to attempt intervals. Since I was seeing Philippe again on Saturday, I should really go through a 'normal' training and review if there were problems.

Warm-up jog 15min, nice and easy, manageable. Did a few stridings, and started on my 1st set of interval (1km @ 5:30 pace). I ended the run with a sharp pull in my left knee. The pull was so intense and sudden, I could not even put my foot down on the ground. I slowly jogged back to the starting point to stretch, and hobbled out of the reservoir to my car. In that 30min of hobbling (which would normally take less than 10min), my knee pulled 3-4 times, every time a sudden acute pull that zapped across the front knee. I was immensely disappointed, scared, and angry all at once. :(

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Physio-ed Knee Hurray!

Finally got my appointment to see Philippe today after a 2-week wait. He was referred to me by KM, and I deferred going as his consultation fees were sky-high. It was S$120 for the first session, typically about an hour long. But having delayed for so long and my knee was not getting any better, I was thankful that I had made an appointment earlier on.

Philippe was a charming French old guy, friendly, experienced and totally competent. He smiled constantly and joked while he "manipulated" (to use his word) my body. I was pulled, stretched, twisted, cracked, clicked and rotated in all possible joints on my spine, hips, legs and even neck. I could literally feel my vertebrae go click-click-click one by one. And to re-align the hip joint that was causing tension on my knee, he yanked and jerked my leg - I almost flew off the therapy bench - and then a loud click on the hip. After many countless yanks etc (I lost count...), I left the clinic a much loosened, joint-lightened and happier person.

I went for lunch at a nearby food court. But after sitting for some time and crossing my leg, I felt the familiar tension-pull in my knee as I stood up. Hmmm, that could not be right. So I went back to the clinic for a quick check with Philippe. He was nice enough to fit me in between patients for a quick adjustment of the tibia (I need to read up more on parts of the leg....). He sent me off, asking me to try running this evening and see the effects. I had a follow-up session on Sat. And that was despite him travelling on Friday and voluntarily squeezing me in after closing hours on Sat. I guess in my state of desperation, I was most grateful. :)

In the evening, I went for a relaxed run at NUS to test my knee. Bumped into Ros jogging at the track, how nice. I ran slowly on the field surrounding the track for about 38min. There was still a very slight pain in the patella, but not over the previously injured spot. I decided to head out for a small loop around Clementi Rd and back to NUS. I managed a total of 56min non-stop, even up the long NUS slope near Central Library. Compared that to Monday where my knee tightened after 20min and needed a massage every 10min, tonight was heavens. After my cool-down stretches, my knee felt totally loosened. I could even execute a couple of gungfu front kicks, when previously I could barely hobble after a run. Knee felt a little weakened though, but I suppose that could be easily toned up. But my stamina probably fell a little, after weeks of low mileage. :(

Now as I am sitting at my dining table, typing this entry, I am swinging my knee, revelling in the newfound non-restrictive sensation of having regained full range of motion. :))

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Swimming Tips

Knee was still hurting from yesterday. :(( Wanted to spin but did not think knee would take kindly to the cadence rotation. Sigh.

Swam 30 laps at Safra instead. The pool was quite crowded, but still feasible for laps. I wondered why some of the 'fast and furious' and 'furious and not fast' guys in the pool do not sight when they swim, and also almost 'lang-gar' into other swimmers. Almost, because I would then have to swerve and avoid them. Most irritating. The worst was when going in the opposite direction in between two male swimmers and figuring which was the lesser evil.

The bright spark of the night was meeting Siew Lee in the pool, who gave me a few correction tips on my strokes, hands and legs. :) Very good! Must find a chance to try out the amendments.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wistfully, I

Wistfully, I

Wistfully I stare
Runners so carefree and light
Bounding over the roads
Without care or restraint

Wistfully I read
Training schedules fired up
Mileage and intervals to power up
Cardio, endurance, burn, burn, burn

Wistfully I imagine
A time when I could bound without restraint
A period when I could fire up and go forever
A phase when I had speed without pain

Wistfully I sigh
How I wished to be on the roads
Wistfully I plead
My knee should be more cooperative

Wistfully I hope

Knee Not Recovered

Attempted to run again after 3 days of break and a weekend trip up KL, where I did absolutely nothing but eat and shop. Well, not really. 7hours of endless and mindless walking around a hypermall was not exactly my idea of a break. I think my legs and back ached more than if I had to run 7h.

I decided to do a short warmup jog around Botanic Gardens before training. Started off really really slow, and met Wong & Peter in the Gardens, probably doing a recovery run after yesterday's long run. Oh how I missed my long runs. :( All that eating and eating and no running, it was amazing how fast fat cells multiply.......

Trotted a 5km loop and returned just in time for training. My knee felt tight, not as bad as last week, but still tight at the quads. I could feel the pull distinctly. Stretched my legs thoroughly. Was told to do sets of 10min-run and stretch, while the rest did some running drills. Then we did conditioning exercises as a group. And more stretching.

Push-ups x30
Dips x30
Sit-ups x40
Plank - 1.5min x 1 set
Side plank - 1min x 2 sets
Back raisers x40
Hamstring hold - 1min per leg x 1 set
Invisible chair - 1.5min x 3 feet positions
Calf raisers single-leg x 12 (up 3 sec, down 3 sec)

Slow run around Botanic Gardens: 5km
Slow run on field: 10min run, then stretch x 3 sets

Took a quick shower and had dinner (fish soup again) with KM and Michelle. I saw a runner go by, with a hydration pack on his bag. I could only stare wistfully....... :((

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spin & Pilates

I went to F's again to massage my knee. I was hoping and hoping that it was not the dreaded ITB. Actually, I was not sure, it was purely my own diagnosis and guess-timates. F wanted to bandage the knee with medicated cream, but I wanted to go for RPM. I guessed I was not going to heed his protests against my spinning tonight. I was going for a short weekend trip, with lots of food and sleep and no workouts. I just had to spin.

Andrew took the RPM class this evening at ORQ. I had missed so many of my regular RPM Challenge classes (extra 10min workout). :( Good to see Tommy at the class too. Andrew rode his roadie to the gym. Nice piece of carbon! Then I stayed on for Pilates. Might as well condition and stretch more since I could not run. Could not recall all the poses and stretches we did, but it felt like a good stretch. Maybe I should do it more often. My flexibility was horrendous.

Fragility & Futility

In the past few days, I have been thinking about the fragility of our existence and bodies. We train so much, so hard, only to be beaten by sudden illnesses and injuries. A very good friend was recently warded, a sudden case that gave me a great scare. The very same evening, my brother cracked his ankle on the soccer field. As for me, 'nuff said about my legs. Not to mention the increasing numbers of healthy 'non-risk profile' people who are dropping like flies at the finishing lines.

Experts say we should aim for a single big race a year and work hard at it. Having too many events distract us from our goals, interrupt our trainings, and over-stress our bodies with inadequate recovery. But the same experts could not foresee other non-race disruptions that erupt in our faces, derailing us completely from the plans. Putting all the eggs in one basket, forgoing everything else and gearing up for that one big thing, but only to drop the basket near line, does not seem like a sound strategy to me. Instant gratification, grab the experience whenever there is a chance. I think I prefer that motto instead. You never know what might hit you. A friend used to quip - The lights at the end of the tunnel........ is an oncoming train.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pandan Flies

Totally upset. Ran at Pandan Reservoir this evening. Instructions were to do an easy run for 40min and 4 sets of striding to 'test the knee'. Alas the knee was really tested! Every 2km I could feel the left knee tighten on the lower outer side, and stopped to massage-stretch before continuing. Finished the 6.3km loop in exactly 40min, with 2 stretch breaks. The sand flies were thick as blanket and buzzing everywhere. Thank goodness it was an easy run and I could keep my mouth shut throughout the period. Yucks, the sandflies were smack in the face and you could see them hovering in bunches under the lamps' illumination. Horrid! So I had to find a stretch that was sufficiently long and flies-free. Knee ironically felt ok during striding, how weird!

Anyhow, IMHO, I think it was a mildly pulled ITB. Groan..... every athlete's curse. Had tried so hard to avoid getting ITB at all over the years. :( Think I would stay off running for the week and see how if it got better. Damn sizn..... :((

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pool and Conditioning

KM banned me from the tracks today. :( I was banished to the pool to do laps and my own conditioning. So I managed to squeeze in an appointment with F, who gave me a thorough rub on my legs, before going to Safra gym to meet Alber. Poor guy, he had to spend an extended period in the gym to wait for me. Oops.

Heard subsequently that the guys did striding upslope tonight. Good thing I was forbidden to run, my knee would be totally stressed by the upslope bounding. Geez, mega sayang-ing it, hope it recovers for the next run.....

Push-ups x30
Dips x30
Sit-ups x40
Plank - 1.5min x 2 sets
Back raisers x30 (forgot to do 40)
Hamstring hold - 1min per leg x 2 sets (killlller.....)
Invisible chair - 1min x 3 feet positions x 2 sets (burning!)
Calf raisers x 20 (up 3 sec, down 3 sec)

Swim - 24 laps (nose blocked, took forever to swim....., and had to tell some guy to stick to his lane...)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Long Sunday Ride

A day of messed up trainings. The guys set off at 5am for 70.3 - good luck everyone! I trooped to MR at 7am for training. KM planned 25km run (thought only 18km!) for me - boy's x-country route x2 + northern trail x2. But my knee was still hurting. Managed 5km before the tightness kicked in. Walked and it eased up, ran 5min and it returned. After a series of start-stops, I gave up. Disaapointed that I could not run on such a lovely Sunday morning. :( But KM did not let me off, I had to find some activity to clock the time equivalent of the long endurance run. He suggested swimming...... good golly no way. Swimming 2.5h is impossible... Perhaps a swim and stationary bike. Oh else a good long road ride. I settled for the less mental one - ride! Thought of doing BT trek with backpack, but did not think I should further stress my knee going up and down those high steps.

Drove home, packed my bike and went to West Coast to do the Tuas route. Would have to clock 60ish km. Had to rush for an afternoon appointment as well, so everything was a mad dash. The route was deliberately chosen to smack into the headwinds at Raffles Marina and Tuas, for training purpose. Had not ridden my bike nor attended RPM much since Desaru. Legs were still quite lactic-laden but thankfully no pain in the knee during cycling. 64km and had to rush off. Would have loved to ride longer.

Had no time to return home to drop off bike, so went to NUS for shower instead. In the end, my appointment was postponed since I was late. Which was all as well, since I also had to rush to 70.3 and meet Alber and the rest. After a couple of wrong carpark judgement and missed turns on the road, I finally got to the race transition area. There were many participants leaving, but also many who were still running. I managed to spot Alber's bike - so bright, how to miss?! Spotted Lee, Chin KK, Richard, Robert and Chee Mun as well. The rest was out at the main finishing area. Sumiko won 3rd place. JD did well too. Seeing all the buzz, I half wished I was also racing. Next year. :)

Speaking of next year, so my interview results came as I was finishing my ride in the morning. Both my friend and I did not make it, but strangely I was not as disappointed. Maybe that disappointment would kick in later or tomorrow. It was an interview for the Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, and 10 candidates were interviewed out of 80 applicants. In the end, two were chosen: http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_276336.html. The ladies had good background profiles, and I think they would be able to inspire if the expedition was a success. In any case, no regrets, I was glad I applied and tried for it. So now that the expedition was no longer on my calendar next year, I would be freed up to plan events for 2009. :) My friend said that was such an optimistic response. Haha.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Busy Busy Saturday

It was hectic day. I had an interview early in the morning, and I woke up late because my alarm failed to sound! After a series of slow traffic and wrong turns, I finally entered the interview room 5min late. Argh. Thankfully the interview chat went well. Keeping my fingers crossed for the results.....

Then I scooted to Riders Cafe to meet Lee for brunch. She got me a set of Oakley vented persimmon night lenses for my M-frames. Yeah! We chilled out at the cafe, had an overoad of eggs - omelete and benedict, followed by a lovely creme brulee.

The sun was lovely. I stuck to my initial plan of swimming at the Home Team NS Club at BT Gombak. It was nice, about 7-8 swimmers in a 8-lane 50m lap pool. I did my 30laps before the kids descended upon the pool in their pyjamas and blazing neon swim suits.

Next stop, meeting my climb mates to discuss our Dec expedition. Hmm... would need to figure out how to squeeze in training for my climb.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Poor Knee

My poor knee. I think I strained it or twisted it slightly after the 30 rounds on the track. I concluded that I can never become a hamster......

Alarm bells went off the whole day when it hurt to even walk. I quickly sought out F, who bandaged the entire left knee, and that essentially killed any workout or swim plans I had last night. So I went to catch Wall-E. Pretty good show. A simple story line of how earth became corrosive and toxic, and where robots would take over and control every aspect of our lives.

I went home to prepare for my interview tomorrow morning. Hopefully I will say the correct things and give intelligently charming replies.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

30-Rounds! Round and Round

Did not wake up early enough to clock a morning makeup training. Prayed very hard for good weather in the evening. These days, I wished we had the equivalent of USA's dedicated weather channels that kept repeating weather reports ad nauseum. It drizzled a little in the mid-morning, but cleared up nicely in the afternoon. Weather looked promising.

In a desperate attempt to dry all my gear after the downpour last night, I had to stuff my shoes with newspapers, fan-blow them throughout the night, and sun them outside in my office's rooftop garden. With so many things lying all around, the clumsy me would obviously forget something. Indeed - my footpod! Darn, it meant I could only do my training at routes with clearly marked distances if I wanted to record the timings. 3 sets of 4km, R3, 5:30min pace. Which meant - Pandan Reservoir, or tracks. The worst wet weather backup would be the dreadmill. All venues listed in increasing order of evilness.

Pandan Reservoir = 2km to-and-fro 3 times
Track = 10 rounds x 3 times (= 30 rounds! Gasp!)
Dreadmill = ...... unbearable

In the end, I picked the track option and headed for NUS. KM was training there with his coach recording his timings, while I was there running, with KM encouraging along the way. It was funny, like a family generational tree of who's watching over who.

1st set: 21:45min (oops a tad too fast); 2nd set: 22:01min; 3rd set: 22:01min. There, nicely done. I unbelievably ran 30 (freaking 30!) rounds on the track. The last set was especially tough, I think I totally maxed out by then. KM ran alongside as part of his cool down jog. Luckily or I might have slowed down. In the past 2 weeks, I had more track contact than I ever had for an entire year! However, I think we would need to find alternative venues for long intervals. The circular runs were torturous to my left knee, due to the prolonged body slant.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rain Rain (refused to) Go Away

It started drizzling by the time I reached the tracks. I was very early, thought I could do a proper warm up and also calibrate my footpod. Alas, the rain spoilt all the best-laid plans. I sat in the car for a long time, flipping through Runner's World. Meanwhile, the rain pelted down. Just when I thought it was easing, the droplets turned into splashes again. :(

Decided to make my way down to the tracks anyhow. Most of the other runners were there already. We started on our warmup jog. To calibrate the footpod, my polar watch said to "Click Start and run 1km". So I did, a nice pace for 2.5rounds, and "Click OK when done".

My training plan was 4km x 3 sets at the same pace as last week, with 3min rest in between. I started off, first round 2:10min. Slightly faster than target. Second round, the rain became heavier. 2:18min. I almost wished I had car-wipers to clear my face. It was so distracting, in between trying to wipe my face, and peering at my watch timing. Did not help that the track was quite dark as the basket ball court flood lights were not turned on. I stopped at slightly less than 3 rounds. The footpod was quite accurate - it registered 1.17km. Pretty close.

Could not run in the rain. The rest continued. I would have to re-do my run tomorrow. Hopefully the weather improves. :(

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Body Balance Class

I was at a boring conference for the whole day and practically slept through many of the bad speakers. Managed to squeeze in an appointment with F to check on my knees. Ahh, felt much loosened and lighter after a massage.

The rain spoilt all my plans. I had wanted to swim at Safra, but the clouds did not cooperate. I ended up at my gym, but got the timings of the classes mixed up. Very much tempted by RPM (had not done a class in a week!) but hamstrings were still aching. In the end, I went into a Body Balance class, since J (the instructor) said it was for 'stretching, toning and flexibility'. It was a mixture of tai-chi, yoga and pilates moves. Ok, I could do with more stretching and flexibility.

.... and was totally put in place by the many ladies in the class, who could execute some of the moves with total ease. Meanwhile, I tried to get the shape and sequence of the poses right. It was not easy... My movements looked more stiff and angular than the graceful fluidity of the experienced folks.

Came home for dinner. Home-cooked chicken rice! Except that there was a lot more rice than chicken.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Training = Loading + Resting

We had 2 groups today - a relatively fast marathon group, and a beginner's group. At different speeds and levels, the 2 groups did different sets of run training. I saw Swee Kheng and Sumiko there as well. Wow, a lot of people use the CCAB tracks for training.

Today was supposedly a relatively easy run and conditioning. It was not at all easy to me. 20min of warmup runs on the grass area, together with basic run drills. Run and drill concurrently - side criss-cross scissors steps, forward kicks, backward jog, side jumps, shuffle, and knee lifts - around a sort-of rectangular soccer field. Then we did 10 sets of striding across the green field. Striding means about 80% of max speed. My knee still hurt and KM had wanted me to sit out the striding, but I wanted to give it a try. Running on the grass cushioned my knee a great deal. The other 4 runners were fast 'sprinters', I always ended up last. No sprint or burst power. Last segment of the run training was 10min jog round the field to warm down.

Next came conditioning exercises, where both groups came together. First up was dynamic lunges in a forward motion. We did in groups of 3 runners, target of 10-20 lunges each while moving in a forward straight line. I love lunges, and did 30. Then the other bodily parts: Push-ups (men's style) x30; Sit-ups x30; Back raisers x30; Dips x30; Hamstring lifts x1min each leg; Plank x1min (too short); Calf raisers x15.

Last agenda of the day was going through a set of presentation slides on the principles of training. Correct training was supposed to bring our fitness to a new high, above current level. Conversely, over-training or training through illnesses would cause our fitness to fall lower than current. Training = Loading + Resting. Ok ok, the series of sine curves on the training graphs made sense. Theoretically and intellectually. But following the mantra was a different story. The compulsion to go out and 'have a workout' is so great for many of us! Mental note to self to remember those graphs and curb my chiong instincts....

A couple of us drove to Bt Timah food centre for dinner. KM ordered the ever popular (but in my mind over-rated) fish soup for everyone. Not satisfied with just fish + soup + rice (literally 3 items), we got a big plate of fried prawn hokkien mee from a newly opened stall. It was good, no wonder the long queue and wait for the food. Reached home, totally drained. It was a struggle just to keep my eyes opened, but still so much washing to do - shoes, clothes, car.... Flopped on bed and totally knocked out, flat. Ahh... the effect of a good workout. :)