Saturday, May 30, 2009

Brilliantly Clumsy Desaru Ride

A bunch of us went to Desaru for a long ride. All was going well, I managed to keep 30+/- kmh for most part of the ride, thanks much to the tailwinds we had and long downslopes. Strategy today was to keep playing with the front gear. Today's route was the reverse of what we did with Wung Yew and Kenneth earlier this year. We stopped at Petronas for a break. Wall's Cornetto Royale ice-cream at only RM2.80 (it is S$2.80 here)!

Continued along the coastal road back. Good ride, until the fall. Sigh. Accidentally rode into a sand ditch at the side of the road (to give more berth to vehicles) and skidded and crashed. Could not unclip in time and went down with the bike. Scrapped my left elbow and left hip. Immediate self-check: knee ok, good, still can run. Alber helped me to rinse with water. Blood was fresh red.

Picked up the bike and continued. Had problem leaning my elbow on my aero bars. Then strike 2! Went round a bend fast, which had another sand ditch and deja vu! This time on my right side - badly scrapped the right elbow and shin. Argh, not my day at all. Super sian by then... Speechless at my own stupidity to make the same mistake twice, within 10km. *$^#*%! This time the cut was quite deep and blood was dripping. Literally, bloody hell. Haha. And I was sort of covered in dusty sand all over. Brilliant....

Made it finally to lunch restaurant and cleaned myself as best. After lunch, stuck some gauze onto the wounds, and we headed back to jetty. We completed the ride in good time actually, everyone of us. Back at Changi Village hawker centre, we stopped for ice-kacang and food. Saw many Sundowners getting ready and having dinner. Reminded us of our run last year.

Brought my bike to be serviced. Handle bars and aero bars took most of the impact, scratched and torn taping. Went home after that to lick my wounds, literally..... Swollen bruises and bad scraps all over. Looks like I would not be swimming next week....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Swim Class

Friday class can be quite shiong actually. Not the swim, but the drills. Endless catch-ups, side kicks etc. Legs were tired more from the drills than swim.

We did not swim-train per se. But had to do 10x 50m 'sprints' or hard swim. It was quite hard, pant. Managed to keep every set below 1min or thereabouts. We ended with a shortened relay game. Similar to Monday's, but only 15-20m.

Rest needed, long ride ahead tomorrow....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Swim & Hills

Swam 20 laps. 13:23, 12:45 = 26:08. On track to ~40min.

Ran 6km up Morse Rd, down Kg Bahru, back to club. Went up the slopes strong, good pace. But hated the killer downslope at Kg Bahru. Steep and long. Slowed down considerably to almost a brisk walk. Stretched and stretched my ITB and knees.

Club - Morse Rd: 7:50min
Morse Rd slope: 4:40min
MF loop up: 4:30min
Down:.... forever
Total: 34:55min.

Re-did the Morse Rd up. Relatively strong.
Club - Morse Rd: 7:53min
Morse Rd slope: 5min
MF loop up: 4:40min
Down:.... slow jog down MF loop, and walked down stairs at Henderson Waves

Have to preserve my knees.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fish can Run

I was in the vicinity at a late meeting, so decided to join in the YF running session. Arrived in time for warm up lap on the grass. For the training, the rest did target HR zone. Since I missed the earlier sessions and did not do the threshold exercise, I focused on my target pace instead. I was trying to condition my legs to the pace before setting a higher target.

Today's training: 7x 1.2km, with 2min resting interval
1- 6:23
2- 6:19
3- 6:16
4- 6:10
5- 6:15
6- 6:10
7- 6:06
Approx 5:10-5:12 pace.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post-rain Run

Finally it rained today, bringing everyone a much needed respite from the heat. Run was so-so. Recovery run for me (which was just an excuse to say that I could not run fast....). We did the Ridley - Holland Rd, Margaret Drive route. I ran with Sok Hwa almost all the way, taking it relaxedly and enjoying the cool weather.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Perspiring Pool

It is possible to sweat in a pool. Tonight. The punishing heat in the day warmed up the pool so much that it felt like a sauna. No kidding. I had a headache throughout the day, no doubt from the heat and (overpassionate) Passion Run. I thought I would go to class and chill out in the water. Not a chance..... When Coach said jump in and warm up, we literally got that. Jumped in, and warmed up, by the water no less! Swimming felt like there was a sheet of something wrapped around us, clinging on. How does one feel humidity underwater?? Sitting on the ledge outside the water was actually cooler.

Drills - some kicks and pulls. Short one tonight.
Swim - 3x 400m frontcrawl, 1x 100m breast stroke
(Coach also felt the heat and too pity on us, so less swim, more relay 'games'.)

Relay - side kicks, some other drills, then the 'fun'.
3 swimmers across, 4 swimmers opposite. One side did breaststroke, the other did frontcrawl. Then butterfly + backstroke. Then all frontcrawl.

It was a huge relief to be out of the pool. The shower never felt more inviting.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hard Passion Run

Took the opportunity to do a time trial for 15km at Passion Run. Chantelle passed me her tag, and Alber took Alan's. The grand plan was for him to pace me for a good timing.

There was a traffic jam from ECP into the ecp hawker centre. I thought I was early, but after being held up, we only parked the car at 650am (flag-off 7am!). Made a quick dash to the toilet and did a 5km warm-up jog to the start line. Luckily, they were late to flag off.

There was a slight congestion in the front, and we went out a wee too fast. It was about a 5:10 pace, definitely unsustainable for me, and lasted about 2-3km. Then the pace got slower, but I still tried to keep it sub-6min.
5km - 26:36min
10km - 54:53min
15km - 1:22++min

Happy with the timing since it was a debut race. But I doubt that I could sustain the pace over 21km, let alone 42km. Whew.... faint.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My 38min 30 Laps

Spent the entire day dating HK and Korean hunks on TV.... Such a fabulous weather outside but I was indoors instead, what a waste. Bad planning....

Finally went to the pool for a swim. 30 laps non-stop. Clocked my fastest! 12:58/ 12:22/ 12:42 = 38:02min! The glide seemed to be working, splash, pull, glide, pull, glide, pull, glide... Getting the hang of it.

Still somewhat surprised by the timing. Perhaps the pool at home team is slightly shorter? Hmm, have to do another time trial at a different pool.

Friday, May 22, 2009

30-30 Negative Split

Friday. Weekend. No swim class, no life.

So I made a date with chlorine water at a different pool. Safra pool was relatively crowded, but I swam in the cordoned off lanes and so had a clear lane to myself. The aim was to hit 50 laps, but feeling good and swam 60 instead on the spur. Yeah.

1st 30 laps non-stop: 41:24min (13:53, 13:11, 14:20)

Rest interval to blow bubbles, adjust goggles, wait for lane-hogging swimmers to clear out...

2nd 30 laps non-stop: 40:51min (13:11, 14:24, 13:16)

Negative split!

Off to the movies to chill-out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Keppel Bay Route

It started to drizzle slightly in the evening, so there was a change of running route to Keppel Bay. Some of the runners had done that route, but it was a first for me.

I was slow tonight, like really slow slow slow. Oh damn it. Sigh Sigh Sigh,.... or should I ask Why Why Why? The familiar nagging pain in the knee was back, reminding me of last year. I would really hate to be sidelined again for months.

That led me to the next question - why the recurrence? Was it my running style/ posture/ gait? The pain only comes after speed work. Am I destined not to run fast?

No answers, I can only hope....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sub-40 and Hill Runs

Hooray, my first sub-40min for 30 laps in the pool. Well, ok it was close, 39:57min. And it was not exactly 30 laps non-stop. I did 3x 10lap "tempo swim" (if there was such an equivalent of tempo runs). *self-pat*

Followed by MF training at Telok Blangah hills. First time I did that route - up TB normal loop, round carpark, down the long slope to main road, u-turn, up the long slope, carpark. It was approximately 2km per loop.

Legs felt weak yet heavy after swim. First 2 sets were horrible, like could not move, had to forcefully drag legs. Paid my price in the next half loop. Sudden sharp pain on foot arch, had to stop to stretch and massage. I decided to continue after a while. Good thing for the stretch though, the next few loops were much better. I ran 3 more loops. The other runners were done and gathered in the carpark, ready to walk back to Safra. I had to complete the remaining 0.5loop to finish a total of 6.

10:03min, 10:30min, 6:25min (incomplete), 10:37min, 10:16min, 10:00min, 6:29min (sort of complete the earlier half).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Class

I am beginning to enjoy Monday class. The people are fun and training intensity is just nice between the drills of Fridays and the speed demons of Tuesdays.

Drills as usual. Coach was a bit tekkan today, our drills like no rest in between! Then off toe 3x 400m - hard, slow, hard. But people like me, with only a single speed gear, would swim everything at the same pace. Haha. I kept hitting the swimmer in front of me, and the timing went from 9:44 to 10:20 to 10:44!

Then we did medleys. Coach seemed to love that nowadays. Aiyo, but too much butterflys and the shoulders become too broad! Bummer....

The sprint relay was fun. Discount - everyone does only 2x 50m. Half the lane went to the opposite end of the pool and we took turns to sprint, like a baton relay. Cool, clocked both around 53min. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sea Swim

Sea swim this morning at F2.

For my group (Group 3):
Warm-up - 1 loop around the pink buoys (~320m)
Easy Swim - 2 loops
Moderate Swim - 1 loop
Hard Swim - 1 loop
Relay - 1 small loop

My weighing scale tipped again. Damn, I wonder where the additional weight is coming from. At this rate, I would need a new wardrobe soon! And that would not be the solution....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Triathlon - Jog, Walk, Cab

I was so incredibly tired and lethargic today, I could not even begin to describe how bad it was. I was yawning all the time, my joints felt weak and sng and body just super no energy or mood to move.

I was down at ECP with Alber. We bumped into so many people there. Siew Lee, Melvin, Wayne, Simon etc were there to blade and cycle. Chez was blading. Sumiko finished her run. One of the commandos from last week was with her, she said I was 'the pink girl'. Giang was finishing her run. Gene & Kops etc were walking. Lock, LX and LP were training for Gold Coast.

It was one of the days you knew instinctively the run would be a flop, especially when the first 2-3km took so much effort, yet such slow timing. The rest pretty much went downhill thereafter. Initially I thought 'slow and easy just enjoy the run'. I still felt ok past Bedok Jetty and F2. Saw Alber on his way back after the sailing club. So I thought that I would go on to NSRCC as well. Bad move. Totally flat out about 200m from the car park of NSRCC. That 1hr of run never felt so long long endless and tough. Melvin cycled by, I joked that we should swap shoes and I could take his bike instead.

I walked the way back, from NSRCC to the hawker centre (only because that was the only place to get a taxi!). Saw some random people from the Safra chalets cycling and wheeling another bicycle (presumable returning bikes for friends). I actually asked one of them if I could help him with the bike (read: so I could cycle back and not walk. haha.) Alas, the extra bike was faulty... Sigh.... continued walking. Met Siew Lee and group. Simon had a bike, but the poor guy was learning how to ride, it would be horrible of me to take his bike! Borrowed a phone to call Alber to drive over, but he was not holding his phone. Ok, all alternatives tried. Back to walking and finding a cab....

Walked along the service road instead of jogging path. Some guys in front of me flagged an oncoming cab. Argh. Walked some more. Finally! Cab! and sped all the way back to my car.

I was still yawning after a shower and lunch. So tired, all I wanted to do was lie flat on my bed and nap. But had a whole day full of appointments. :(

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tired Arms & Legs

Still very tired today, hence swim was lacklustre. Like slugging slugging and slugging. My 200m warm up laps before class were a good indication of how I would feel later - heavy.

1hr of drills. Both arms and legs were tired. Kicks felt so difficult.
200m sets. I simply had to stick close to and draft the guy in front of me to pull me along. Would probably have hit diminishing returns if I was the first swimmer.
Sprints - only 2x 50m! whew, discounted heavily. Best was 57sec.

So tired... I want to sleep...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recovery Canterbury Run

Reached Safra very early today, and killed some time in the gym. Did not feel like swimming. In fact was yawning on the weights machines. Oops.

Legs were still tremendously heavy with lactic and nagging aches. The first 15min of the run was painfully draggy. I ran with Giang, both of us nursing sore legs. We ran into Canterbury, the legs did not get any lighter or faster. Almost everyone else whizzed by, even if some of them had also done the hill intervals on Tuesday. How come could recover so fast ah?

Thought I would shorten the run and go up Henderson. But I had company from a few runners, so decided to follow with the training route of HarbourFront. Shin and knees almost died!

Every other day, the gym weighing scale registered an additional 0.5kg! Must be some mistake or conspiracy! :((

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fabulous Labrador Hill

Deal for the day: 7x Labrador hill slopes (~1.2km) in 1hr.


Slow warm up jog to Labrador Park. Alber was sick and recovering, so I asked him to pace me instead. That would be an easy run for him. (Did I mention killing for me? breathe breathe)

1st set 8:01min - legs like burning, want to die already, so heavy.
2. 8:26 - same feeling as above
3. 8:25 - still same feeling
4. 8:31
5. 8:23
6. 8:08
7. 7:46 - and finally done! pant pant...

Total 57:45

Yeah! First time, did not think I could finish within an hour. So tired! There was also Henderson slope on the way back... Now I could sleep very well tonight.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swim Class

Lane 1. Simple drills, we did not do much - kicks, side kicks, hands crawl.

5x 200m in 5:30 and 6:00min.
I clocked average 5:05min. Getting the hang of it.
(Doesn't mean finish in 5:30. Means next set starts in 5:30... breathe breathe)

8x 100m in 3min.
Average of 2:20min. Last set 2:14min. Sweet.

Medley of 4 strokes - the pool went chaotic! Haha...

My ah-ha tonight was the pull. Coach always tells me to pull deeper and glide. For the longest time, and life of me, I tried but could not get what he meant. Tonight I suddenly felt it! I had the swimmer in front of me to thank for. I was following behind and trying not to hit her toes initially. So I deliberately pulled a bigger circle to slow down the arm. In doing so, I thought I felt a glide. Then the gap widened and I could pull harder to catch up. I experimented with various pulls and body turns (like the skewered chicken wing drill). Hmm... there was a nice rhythm yet some strength to the motion! I concentrated on that for about 3-4 sets, which was good as it totally distracted me from the speed. Surprisingly the timing was consistent, and similar to what I clocked with my half-baked rapid pulls. Ahhh.... I see light. Enlightenment! Haha... Have to work on it more though, to get a good feel of it.

Enjoyed tonight's class and the dinner company. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Take to the Trails

(an extract from Runners' World - a Salomon advertisement written by Adam Chase, president of American Trail Running Association)

Take to the Trails
~ Why trail runners are not just fast hikers or road runners who couldn't find pavement, and why you should be one.

If variety is the spice of life, trails are the zest of running. Moving rapidly on trails is all about adventure, challenge, and excitement. Dealing with constant change defines the sport of trail running, as no two steps are the same on the natural terrain. Even trail runners who return to the same trail know that they have lives of their own: one day dry and hard, the next wet and slopppy. The dynamic of the variables - the flowers and animals - breathes life into running.

A Zen-like Experience

Trail running is an almost zen-like experience with intrinsic value, and many trail runners never race. They feel no need for measure, or to gauge themselves by running faster than others. Trail races or "events" are different from road races. The atmosphere is support rather than competitive.

When runners complain of overuse injuries, it is often the result of road running. Pounding on the pavement with little variation in stride or strike takes its toll. Trail running casualties are of the more flesh-wound variety. It is so much more impressive to be covered with dirt and dried blood than to be sidelined because of some ITB or shinsplint flare-up.

The attitudinal distinction between road and trail runners is a dichotomy of speed and distance, vs pursuing something for the inherent, immeasurable experience. Road runners tend to be into measurement - pace, heart rate, time, target zones, distances, calories. In contrast, trail runners rarely know how far they have run, measuring instead by destinations or views enjoyed.

Unlimited Playground

The off-road experience offers a liberating escape that recharges your emotional and spiritual batteries. A beautiful track. Trails provide freedom and quiet, offering a retreat from the masses. The mild distraction of scouting each footstep can lull you to a meditative peacefulness. The challenging surface slows runners down as a cautionary reflex to avoid falls.

So step off the treadmill, tarmac and track, lace up the trail-runners and hit the trails.


Ran at ECP today. Supposed to be there in the morning, but I was woken up by the lightning and thunder, and went back to bed. Ooops, too late. Took my chance at the weather, and arrived at ECP at 930am. Saw Kenny, Kenneth and Sumiko. Weather seemed ok, sun still blocked by the clouds. I started my run. 30min later, it started raining. I ran into a shelter, but after a few minutes, decided to continue my run. Alas, the rain became heavier. I stopped again in a shelter. The rain did not seem to abate. Oh well, better to run and stay warm, then to cool down in the shelter and catch a cold. There were only a few runners on the road now. The rain pelted down, hard, torrential. I was totally drenched, and looked like I had ran straight out from the sea.

I returned to B1, and the rain stopped! Argh.... Was undecided if I should continue (aka restart the run) or go home. Finally overcame the inertia, and ran. I noticed new km markers along ECP, and used them to distract myself from the distance by timing each km. Along the way, there was a group of guys running topless, and all wearing HRM straps. They made a very prominent group. Intimidating! Haha. We passed one another many time on the run, always in the opposite direction. I was nearing the Safra Country Club when they were on their way back towards Fort Road. Then we passed again, around B2.

Stopped at 7-11 to buy drinks. Bumped into Sumiko, who was waiting for friends. Turned out to be those guys. Ahh small world. Finally completed my run. From dry to drenched to wet.... Ahh life is good. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swim @ Home Team

Today rest, even though a great urge to go out and run run run. Saving my legs for a good run tomorrow, hopefully.

Went to the pool at Home Team. Thankfully, it was a public holiday and the hordes of screaming splashing kids were gone.

Swam 30 laps. Not great. Felt slow, and it reflected in the timing. 43min total. Guess that would be my 'base' pace for swims.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Swim Class

Tonight's class was easy compared to Monday. The rest yesterday helped too. We did a lot of drills. I quite enjoy those drills because they were interesting and also something that I would not do by myself in a public pool.

Drills -
Catch-ups, side kicks, pull-bouy kicks and swim.
Coach asked me to demo the side kicks! We had to flip-flop left-right like a skewered chicken wing. Haha, maybe I felt like a chicken wing, so can flip.

Training -
4x 200m (1 set with pull-bouy). Amazed that I clocked an average 4:53min consistently per set! Yeah!

We ended with treading water. Eeeks, I did not like it, stressed my knees.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Training Anguish

Dilemma. Anguish. Sigh.

Joined KM for intervals. Ran with Chantelle & Raymond. 3x 4km around Botanic Gardens. 22:40min (route familiarization cos first time & warm-up), 21min, 21:06min. Decent without going all out or killing myself. Could breathe with mouth still closed. That was my crude indicator for level of exertion. I could still go on, or faster.

Discussed how to train. Argh.... Short vs long. Speed vs distance. Confession: I am a distance (duration) addict. I find it extremely difficult to subscribe to a low-mileage high-intensity programme. Logically I understand it. Execution is another matter. I do not think I can run fast, therefore I run long. That, in essence, is the PS' logic, even if it is not much of a logic. Mental barrier, no confidence? No natural talent? But I also know many who started off way slower than me, but improved by leaps and bounds to be much faster. So that eliminates the 'natural talent born to run' theory.

Whatever the case (and I know I will be mulling over this dilemma for a long time), I am starting this cycle of training and races with a much more kiasee approach. I appreciate the flexibility in my training - to go hard when I feel up to it, to step back when I am tired. Having options always appeals to me, over abiding by structures. It is a blessing to be able to eat, run, swim, bike, talk, and even breathe normally. It is like a renewal, a second lease of life. I am not going to screw it up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Safra 12km Recovery Run

We had a sizeable group of runners today. Maybe it was the distance. 12km was the sort of attractive distance that made you feel like a decent workout without over-doing it. It was my recovery run. Realised I did the equivalent of a long-dist IM over the long weekend, albeit over 3 days. No wonder I was struggling with swim class last night. So tonight I was committed to a recovery jog. No chiong-ing, no chasing, no gung-ho sprints. Just steady steps to rid the lactic. Easier said than done, hard to resist a chase when a runner overtakes from behind. But resist I must. No killing my knees or legs or whatever. It was hard to recover from injuries, almost half a year downtime. Sheesh. Now on a kiasu-kiasee mode to 'not kill myself' and preserve the recovery. Like a new lease of life, treasure it. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Draggy Swim

Swim class was a nightmare tonight. Jumped into the pool and did the drills. Then coach moved me to last swimmer Lane 2. Target 5x 200m @ 5:30 pace, alternate with pull-buoy. The first set of swim was so tiring, I barely clocked 5:24. Cannot tahan. Moved back to first swimmer Lane 1. Ok much better. But the last set took me close to 6min. Blown by now. Whew.

Then the medley swims - the 3 Bs: butterfly (by 3 lap, I looked like caterpillar instead....), backstroke, breast stroke (without hands, and then with heads up). Can die. Arms and legs tired now.

10 more minute. Dreaded sprints. 100m, 50m, 100m, 50m. Wah faint. Really could not move. Struggle just to complete, and clocked very bad timings. 1:11 for the last 50m sprint, gosh, even slower than my average 50m! Time to end the class. Breathe....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

LSD 35km

Finally clocked a long run today. It rained so heavily in the middle of the night around 2am, I was hoping for clear weather for the run. I woke up late, thankfully the runners were still at the lobby when I arrived. Temperature screening booths were already set up and manned outside the main lobby entrance. We had a good attendance, considering the long weekend, MR Progressive Run and a long distance. Jimmy, Ong, TH, Julie, Dora, Henry, Melvin, Wong, Shirley, Simon, Alber, Karen, Freddy and a few others.

It was a new route this morning, from MF to West Coast Park to Pandan Reservoir. It was a leisurely run, at least for the fast runners, as we did a 6min +/- pace and waited at various junctions to regroup. I felt good on the run, able to keep up even though I was overtaken by all when we did the 6.3km loop OTOT at Pandan Reservoir. La-la-la.

The Pandan Reservoir loop was draining, for that was when the sun started to peek from behind the clouds. I liked the terrain there and kept a steady pace. The other runners too fell into their natural pace (and hence I was overtaken. Haha). After the reservoir, we ran across the road to a coffeeshop and got drinks. Thirst-quenchers! Then we ran back towards NUS, stopped outside the 7-11 near the prata shop, and had more drinks. It was my most quenched run in my running history! All in, I had 2x water refills, 1x Pocari, 1x Apple & Aloe Vera juice, and 1x Gatorade. Whew!

I managed to continue and finish the NUS - S. Buona Vista section, and ploughed through to Kg Bahru. Finally, finished 35km LSD. 3:30h total running time, excluding all the multiple stops. Felt good. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Long Swim

Had a swim this afternoon at Home Team. The first few laps felt tired, then I recovered. 20 laps at 27min. Unfortunately the next 10 laps took 14plus min, to a total of 42min. Sigh. Decided to do another 10 laps. Whoohoo! 2km in under 60min. Got hope! Haha.... And ended up swimming 10 more laps. Total 50 laps, 1:10h. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bike & Butt

Reunited with my bike today after 3 months. The last time I rode was CNY eve to Desaru. This morning, a few of us (Amelia, Alber, Henry, Melvin J and myself) met at the Shell kiosk at Woodlands-Mandai and did 2 loops to Seletar Reservoir. The sun was so hot today, burning, I drank so much. Henry brought us Seletar Country Club for a drink and bite. Had an iced horlicks and fruit juice.

Legs and butt were aching, protesting after such a long break. The return last loop was simply going through the motion, all that slopes. Ouch ouch. Made it home finally. 80km. It really was labour day today. Whew.