Saturday, January 31, 2009

NUS 10km Trial Run

Attempted a run at NUS and S.Buona Vista slopes this morning. Well, it was not really morning, since it was already 10am when I started. The idea was to re-test the route that took me down on Tuesday. The weather was rather cool initially, running under the shade and there was a light breeze blowing. I managed to clear one loop successfully, and planned a second round. But the sun was already out in full glory and it was very humid. I guess I would have to test mileage tomorrow morning then, perhaps on ECP flat grounds.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yellowfish Swim - Bubble bubble bubble

I felt horrid in the pool tonight, strained and poor breathing. Barely made it through the training and laps. The sprint was a terror, and it was only 4 laps of sprints! I did the sprint in my normal lap time. Bleeaaah....... Breathe breathe. Self-consolation that it was a 'down' training week. Next swim should be better.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RPM Challenge

We had a departmental lunch today, and I needed to burn off 2 pieces of sinful succulent melt-in-your-mouth "dong po" meat (aka braised til soft very fatty meat).

RPM Challenge Andrew's class. Fun, loud and pumping as usual. There were a couple of new riders. The couple next to me came last week as well, and the guy cramped again mid-way through the class. It happened previously too, I wondered if it was his riding style or something.

After class I stayed on to chat with Andrew. He was telling me about his ride to Kulai over CNY and the route. Going across Woodlands immigration with/ on my bike sounded daunting. Perhaps I would stick with Desaru for the time being. He was going to Desaru this weekend for a 300km ride over 2 days, so I shared with him my recent ride. I was also considering doing a ride in Batam sometime, and would check with Andrew again when that happened.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seeking Solace on the Dreadmill

Hesitantly went on the dreadmill at Safra today. Not sure if I could still run, given yesterday's depressing ordeal. First 10min, foot was a somewhat stiff and painful. Didn't want to give up. So I stopped the dreadmill, stretched my foot, ankle and heel. Restarted. Not bad, the discomfort went away and soon I was jogging on cruise mode - aka, slow, unlaboured, leisurely. I could run forever. The song 'I could have danced all night' by Audrey Heburn in My Fair Lady came to mind..... Oh the days of running forever......

Only boredom threatened to topple me. I hung on, and did 10.0km on the dreadmill. Towards the end, I experimented with some incline. I wanted to test if it was the inclined slope yesterday that strained the foot arch and triggered the pain again. My test was inconclusive. Maybe later in the week I would try another run. But as of current projections, I had better be ready to flag the marathon bus in HK.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Good Test-Run

The weather was fabulous throughout CNY. It was the kind of weather that was great for running or cycling the entire day. So I went, very optimstically, to NUS for a 10km test-run. It was to check the recovery of my foot and how far I could go. Last Thursday I managed 5km.

The going was smooth and virtually pain free. I did the usual NUS - Pasir Panjang - South Buona Vista - NUH - Clementi Rd - back to carpark. Unfortunately, the pain set in just after the NUS Sports Hall. I stopped, stretched and continued. I did that a few times, until I decided it was pointless pushing the foot when it was injured. So I stopped running about 8km along Clementi Rd, and walked back to my car.

How demoralizing.....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Desaru 100km Long Ride

My alarm went off at 5am. I hit the snooze button, clearly reluctant to get up. Finally, I pulled out from my blanket, 530am. Alber and I were meeting Henry at 615am at the Changi CSC Club car park. We crossed to Changi Point Ferry Terminal to meet the rest of the folks going to Desaru. There were about 20 of us. The immigration clearance was quickly settled and we loaded our bicycles onto two bum boats. The ride took about an hour across to the town of Pengerang in Johor. I was surprised to see Clarence and Cat too. They were riding with another group of cyclists. From the Pengerang Jetty, we began our 100km ride at 830am (map). I was already beginning to feel hungry. Oops.

The ride was split into a few sections. The first re-grouping point was 15km away in the town of Sungei Regit. The stretch was fairly easy and straight. Then we rode another 35km to the refuel point at Petronas gas station (~53km). The headwind was relentless along the coastal road. It blasted at us non-stop and occasionally swayed our bicycles. The stretch around 35-50km was fully of rolling hills. They looked really steep from afar, but were actually more long, gradual and manageable. But throw in the challenging headwind and we were looking at hard cranking up the slopes. Part of the route was familiar, we covered it during last year's Desaru Long Dist Tri. Our riders broke up into 4-5 packs of various speeds over the distance. We tried to huddle and draft, but it was not easy. We ended up overtaking, falling back and overtaking....

After a much needed refuel - I had a happy Magnum Classic ice-cream (cheap in Msia!) and Milo packet drink - we continued the ride towards lunch point. That surely was part of the motivation for the excursion today. :) We did not backtrack, but took a traverse route. The return route was had less headwind and we were able averaged much higher speeds. But the sun was also out in full blast by then and we could feel the heat burning through the skin. Before long we reached our lunch destination at Jade Garden. The iced lime juice was such a thirst quencher! I gamely gulped two glasses. Lunch was rewarding enough, we had vegetables, herbal chicken, cereal prawns and buttered lobsters.

The post-lunch ride was a 15km back to the jetty. I almost cramped up on my right quads, and then later on my left quads. My oh my.... I certainly did not wish to roll my bike and walk the distance! I dropped my chains to very light gear and switched to high cadence. Surprisingly, it did flush out the lactic after a while. The road sign that stated "Jetty - 2km" was very welcoming indeed! Counting down......

We reached the jetty before 3pm. Distance covered was about 97km. It was a fantastic ride with many of my Yellowfish classmates, and we got to know some new faces as well. The combination of sun and sweat (salt) lulled by the gentle waves was intoxicating, I slept through the return boat ride.

I was happy with my ride today, had put in effort - so that I could redeem my reunion dinner tonight! Haha.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yellowfish #3

CJ joined our class today! I was so surprised to see him there, it took me a while to recognize the familiar face. Ok, everyone sort of looked different with goggles and swim caps. There were fewer students today, but more newies in Lane 1. I was still stuck in Lane 2, but comfortable with that, so no complaints.

We did some basic drills. I could now do the catch-up drills decently, after one season of 'punishment'. Scullying, catch-ups, side kicks. Then we swam 4x 200m, 3x 100m and 4x 50m sprints.

Good class. Now to prepare for tomorrow's long ride to Desaru....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

5,000m Lungs vs 5km Legs Mismatch

Felt very tired and lazy today. Needed a break, so did a short trial run to test my foot on the road. Attempted the 5km route around MF/ Kg Bahru. Foot throbbed a little for the first 2km, but eased as I continued the run.

Happy that I completed the run. But I still had 37km to go. Oops..... Now, what does one do with a 5,000m lungs poorly matched with 5km legs??

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shiok RPM and Boring Chinatown

Late! Emails start flying only around 6pm. Had to charm KL to chope a bike for me. I made it to class just in time. Full house tonight, and there was a trainee instructor up on stage. The Msian lady instructor was on the bike next to mine. Had not seen her for some time since Powerman last year. We powered up on the bike. Quite shiok, the energy level was quite high and I rode fairly hard. Regaining my lost leg muscles. After the class, for some of the long-time regulars, KL gave us a chunky slice of kueh lapis each. How sweet.

Met Alber after class to recee Chinatown CNY festivities. Quite a disappointment this year. Not much stuff to see or buy. Times were bad, so I think the fruit jellies and candies were going for cheaper than last year. It was not even as crowded this year. We left after a short while.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dreadmill Happiness

Yeah yeah yeah, I managed 4km on the dreadmill today. Happiness! It was my first attempt at running decently on my bad foot.

I spent the afternoon mulling over where to go tonight. BodyPump class? Or Safra swim? A nagging part of me wanted to run. Counting down to HK made one anxious. I had a sudden brainwave. I could attempt to run a short distance on the dreadmill! So if my foot still hurt, I could always do some weights and conditioning or swim. How smart! Or rather, how foolish I did not think of that earlier.

So I went to Safra and decided to swim before the run, otherwise the pool would get crowded. It already was fairly crowded when I reached. I swam 30 laps in 42:57min - my fastest I think. Of course it was hardly bragging material, to which Alber simply commented I should swim faster. Duh....

I put on my running shoes, loosened the laces around my foot and hopped onto a dreadmill. I gradually increase the speed and stepped on very gingerly. I did not dare to put my full weight on my foot or run hard. Compared to the two sweaty guys next to me, arms swinging hard, I hardly looked like a runner. I barely broke sweat. I aimed to run for 30min to 'test' my foot. Along the way I increased the speed every 7-10min. I did some abs, plank and rotational drills before calling it a day.

Happy to complete around 4km with no significant pain in my foot. Great! The dreadmill did not seem so dreadful afterall! Haha. Now, 38km more to go.....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Miracle Awaits....

I skipped the GE Pacesetter run over the weekend. It became a makan and shopping trip instead. So much for a 'run off the calories' plan. We ate so much, a major detox was required. This week shall be a fish-soup week.

I went for tui-na and wrapped my foot. The metal rod prodding continued. No idea how long more it would take to recover. Tonight I went for RPM Challenge. For some unknown reason, I was distracted and not in the mood to pia. Hardly breathless. I went home for healthy home-cooked dinner.

I think I desperately need a miracle in 20 days for HK marathon. 3 weeks downtime, 20 days to go and zero mileage. Fabulous.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yellowfish New Season - Class #2

Swim. Pant. Swim. Pant. Breathe. Swim. Breathe. Swim. Breathe-breathe. Swim. Gasp!

That was the essence of my catch-up drills in the pool today. Maybe I should make it gasp-gasp. It was suppose to be 2 pulls 1 breath. We did several sets of 100m catch-ups that by the 4th set I was doing 1 pull 1 breath. Gasp.

There were a number of newbies in the class today. Not new as in beginner swimmers, but new students. Some had problems keeping to the lane - hello, the black lane marking so thick still could not follow?! - and almost collided into other swimmers. I was tired today, so was just focused on finishing the class. We ended with a 5-min treading water that WAS a never-ending eternity.

Off to KL this weekend for the GE Pacesetter. Not sure if I would be running.... but for sure makan-ing!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bt Timah Introductory Session

I brought a group of folks to Bt Timah to train for an upcoming Mt KK climb. Most of them were first-timers/ beginnners so it was a relatively light introductory session for them. Some had light packs, some were without. We started with the Catchment Path which led us to the summit main road, bypassing the steep road near Nature Reserve 'entrance'. Then we went up Summit Path, gathered, and I briefed them on what to do next. We would do Rengas Path, then move to Jungle Fall Path, repeat, and call it a day before it got dark in the trails. Everyone gamely put in effort and completed the training. I think there should be some aching butts the next day. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HomeTeam Swim

I popped by HomeTeam pool for a swim in the evening in between running errands. The pool was almost empty when I arrived, but filled up gradually as swimmers streamed in after work. But compared to MF Safra, one could still have a lane per swimmer and not collide into anyone. What a joy! I did 30 laps, 45min. Compared to last July when I first started swimming 1.5km, I had shaved off about 10-15min. But of course I was off the qualifying 40min for a local biathlon, and far from the 30-37min that the average triathlete would take. *ponder*

Went to tui-na my foot after the swim. He used a metal rod thingy to prod and reach the inner depths of my injured sole. *ouch!* And held the 'poking' for a long time. I held my breath and counted to 10. Still poking. Counted another 10. Finally released when I mumbled 'aiyoh!'. It was super-super painful, I was almost in tears. And he did that about 3 times. Oh man..... *ouch*

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BodyPump defeated by Chocolate Cake

Attended Andrew's BodyPump again today. Still no runs. Sigh.... Had some unhealthy snacks in the afternoon and felt compelled to work it off. But of course, strength training was not the best workout for burning fats (compared to aerobic cardio). I upped the weights from last week. Unfortunately I came home to discover a chocolate cake in the fridge.... and had two sinful slices. Oh bummer!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not so Challenging RPM

Monday's RPM Challenge class was usually not as shiong as Thursday's. I was in cruise mode. Still lazy and reluctant to do hard-core training. With no major race in sight, I was in maintenance mode. Well, I would like to think that it was 'base training' phase, but I doubt my effort (or lack of) qualified for that. Haha. My upcoming races would be running events. But with my foot still in limbo, it was a 50-50 chance of running the GE Pacesetter this Sunday. What a shame.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cannot Run, Can Swim

Alber, Adam and I met at ECP B1 this morning for a run. Well, the guys ran, I attempted to. I only moved about 500m and aborted my plans. My food was hurting. I had barely resumed being able to walk decently on Thursday, I guess it was very ambitious to try and run. The loading and running impact brought back the pain. Sigh, better go for acupuncture or tui-na in the afternoon. What a waste, the weather was so cool and breezy for a morning workout outdoors. :(

I had 2hrs to kill before the guys returned. I walked the remaining 500m to Old Town White Coffee at B2 and decided to try the food there since it had rave reviews and was always crowded. Wow, the prices were exhorbitant, even higher than Ya Kun (which I already think is overpriced). The soft-boiled eggs were $1.90 for two. Hot drinks were $2. I had only $5 so had limited options. I ordered a signature milk tea. It turned out to be a rather 'gao' concentrated tea and was bitter, and I had to add lots of sugar. Not to my liking. The bill came to a rip-off of $2.20 (plus GST) for a tiny cup of tea. I would not be returning any time soon, if at all. Armed with a copy of newspaper and some snacks from 7-11, I walked back to carpark B1. I discovered the luxury of lowering the passenger seat and having a snooze in the car with the cool winds blowing through the windows.

Having screwed up my morning workout, I dragged Alber to the pool in the afternoon. We went to the Bt Batok HomeTeam club hoping to catch some tan. Despite the sun being intermittenly hidden behind the clouds, I still got some tanlines. I managed 30 laps before the pool was invaded by children swimming classes. Just in time for my tui-na appointment. I hope my foot recovered quickly. I had two road races coming up and needed to clock some run mileage. It was not a serious injury at all. Maybe I should load up on those new inflammatory tablets at home.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Riding Solo

I took my bike and headed out to Mandai. It was drizzling slightly at my place initially but that stopped after a short while. The weather in the afternoon was fabulous - cool and breezy. The headwinds and tailwinds were rather strong too. Today's ride was my second ride and much better than last week where I went flat-flat-flat. I rode past the zoo and saw several Safra Avventura signages, one pointing into the zoo from a traffic light junction opposite the zoo entrance, and others along Mandai Ave towards Yishun. Ah, so that was part of the route.

I reached Seletar reservoir and decided to cycle further in to explore the Seletar airbase area. There was a group of MTBrs coming out and several cars going into the country club. I did not venture very far but ended up in the industrial area where they were building the new aerospace hub. On the way out, I stopped for a while at the reservoir to take in the scenery. Passing by lower Seletar Water Venture site, there were some vehicles by the road side setting up logistics. I would not have taken note of them if not for a road cone that said "Safra". Haha, so that would probably be the kayak venue for the race. Mental note to self to text my friends who were taking part. :)

Drivers tended to give some road space, especially if they see a female cyclist. It also helped that the Mandai stretch had several road signs cautioning of cyclists ahead. However, on every ride, there would be the inevitable speeding truckers or lorries that whizzed by us closely, throwing us off-balance or sucking us into their tailwinds. Those drivers were either (1) inexperienced and clueless about the effect of their speed or size on cyclists, or (2) plain inconsiderate and did not care. I had two zooming past me suddenly today on my way home. *#$%(!#

Reached home with ample time to wash my bike and also clean the car (while I had all the cleaning stuff). Distance: 50km..... not quite enough to burn off the huge seafood dinner that awaited.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yellowfish New Season - Freeze Swim!

Coach changed all the start time to 7pm for this new season. I spent 15min waiting in the car park for a lot. Some idiotic drivers jumped the 'queue' (ok, it was not a real formal Q, but being civic-minded first-come-first-lot....) and took the lots before me. So I was late, for the first lesson of the year. Great....

Anyhow, to return to the main story. The pool water was brrrrr freeeezing! I shivered non-stop throughout the 2h class. And I mean literally shaking, with goosebumps, whenever I was not swimming. Coach was in an interactive and chatty mood tonight (maybe first lesson he gave chance). He took to explaining and demonstrating quite a bit in between sets of drills and laps. And so there I was, huddling myself by the wall while waiting and trying to listen. I was distracted by the cold. Brrrr..... And each time, it took 50m to thaw before I could get into the rhythm, and fully warmed up after 200m. By which time, the set was over and we stopped. And the cycle repeats. Finally it was sprint time. For once, I thoroughly enjoyed the sprints because it was the only drill where I was nicely thawed! Geez.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another RPM Challenge

My foot felt better today but still not run-worthy. So I headed for another RPM Challenge today. Pretty good. But I think my 5,500m lungs and non-existent muscles were a mismatch. Although admittedly, I could feel some power and strength slowly returning to my legs.

Andrew was hammering it (and us), in his own bid to shed 6kg. Class was full as well. I guess everyone's back to their workout routines, starting some fitness new year's resolutions, or just trying to detox from the festive parties. After class, Andrew showed me his photos from 10 years ago when he was massively overweight and unfit. Wow, one could never tell.... He is so much fitter now, having dropped 40kg since.

Which reminded me, I lost 3-4kg since Oct, over a 3-month period. There were some ups and downs, but it was a net loss. Hmmm..... good for some sports, bad for others.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

RPM Shiok

My first RPM Challenge in about 2 months since last Nov. Wow, it had been that long?! My philosophy for this week was 'not to kill myself'. Hmm.... I think that should be my philo for the rest of the year, no? :)

Anyhow, my abs and shoulders were kind of aching from yesterday's BodyPump. So doubling over the spin-bike and sucking in my core added to the aches. Track 6 flat track was my favourite song, oooh I could go on forever with that song. :)

My bad foot had a bit of trouble stepping down hard on high resistance during the climb tracks - initially did not really dare to exert force on it, but finally bo-chap and pedalled hard anyway. Surprisingly, it felt better after the class. Oh well, hopefully it gets better soon. I had resorted to wearing my beloved Rockport to the office today - totally unglam and mismatched with office wear. But such a relief for my poor foot. The work shoes were too hard and painful to even walk in.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bodypump on Bad Foot

First Bodypump of the year and after 2 months. Ouch. Weights felt heavy after a few reps. Geez, really need to regain power and strength. If not for my strained foot, I would be out running at Safra and not be at this class tonight. A blessing in disguise? Not quite. It was a pain to put weight on my right foot, walk, or stand on it. I basically hobbled and dragged my foot unglamourously around the office the whole day. Even stationary lunges during class took a bit of balancing. I skipped the dynamic lunges segment.

After class, I did some crunches on the giant gym-ball. It was amazing how fast one regained loss weight. I had ice-cream everyday for the past week, and put back 1kg. Wow. But of course all in the wrong places.... I forgot how hard one had to work just to get rid of excess weight or tone up. Tonight's workout reminded me just that.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Flat Ride - the Rider

My first reunion with my bike. It had been a long while, since last Powerman in Nov 2008. So, it took me a while to figure out how to mount my bike. I clipped in my left foot. It felt queer. I unclipped, paused to think.... Then clipped in my right foot instead. Geez, I had forgotten which leg went first! Luckily I did not attempt to ride off with my left foot, or else suffer an embarrassing fall at the bus stop. Oops.

Alber and I rode to Mandai and Lower Seletar Reservoir. We planned to do loops there to clock some mileage. Over-ambitious me started off thinking I would do a leisurely ride of about 40-50km, to ease back into the routine. Of course the loop was long, so I miscalculated. But I totally underestimated my lack of power. By 36-40km and slightly into the 2nd loop, I was quite flat literally. Low sugar, low energy, no strength. Definition of flat = 18kmh on a flat road, and 25kmh on a downslope into the headwinds. That WAS flat.... I just did not feel like pedalling. Plus my leg muscles were being worked in places that had gone to sleep for 3 weeks in Nepal. I wondered where my lunchtime Teh-Tarik island creamery ice-cream went. I was feeling quite miserable.

There was no petrol kiosk along the route, so I made a desperate detour towards Yishun Safra, hoping to find some mini-marts or coffeeshop amongst the HDB flats to refuel. I stopped at a shop, bought a Chunky KitKat bar, and ate it a the void deck. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a group of boys on kiddy bikes. They made genuinely innocent comments like 'I've never seen such a bike', and 'Her tires very tiny'. Very friendly boys. The eldest one in the group was showing off his bike knowledge with terms like racer and SPD. One asked how much the bike was. I tried to be friendly, flashed my pearlies, then remembered my shades were still on. Suddenly I felt like an alien who showed up in their neighbourhood and was being gawked at. Haha. I was doing a bad job at being conversational. One of the boys said a cheery 'Bye' when they left. How adorable!

Now to endure another 20km back home. The KitKat took effect and I was able to ride back to Mandai decently, where Alber was waiting for me. It was getting dark, so no more loops. We rode back and had dinner near my place. Total mileage 65km. Total physical damage unclear. I was kind of tired.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Short Run #3 - MR trails

Still pampered from the 12h daily sleep in Nepal, it was a struggle to wake up early these days. Even for runs or rides. I dragged myself from my silk covers and made my way to MR. Again, attempting to squeeze in a run before another lunch gathering. More meats and ice-cream and heavy food.

MR's new car park was completed. Pity the toilet was still as dodgy and dirty. I started on the usual 10km route. It was nice to be back in the trails. It felt softer and kinder to my knees than the pavement yesterday. The weather was nice and cool, the sky overcast, and not many people were in the trails. I took my time, enjoying the trail. After Nepal, our BT Nature Reserve and MR trails felt like a baby's cradle - so safe, flat and easy. They resembled any normal 'roads' and paths in the villages. I shuffled along, unhurried.

The entire loop felt lik a long time. Today was the longest distance and duration that I ran since Nepal. Survived. Time to pick up tubs of ice-cream for the party.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Short Run #2

It was my 2nd run this week since my return from Nepal. I just had to squeeze in a run before yet another party dinner tonight. There was so much partying food, meats and junk snacks over the past few days, I could feel my system overloading. And I was not even back for a week!

I did a slow loop around Depot Rd, Alexandra, then continued to Harbourfront and Kg Bahru. I think it was 7-8km, and took me a long 51min. Hardly breaking into any sweat. Knee was so far so good, holding up. But then again, I was not pushing the distance nor speed.