Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Telok Blangah Power Hills

Power chiong-sua tonight. No swim before the run. Still in a recovery mode from KL.
5 sets of the (back-to-normal) 1.2km route.

1- 5:24min (thought was non-stop so went slower, happy to discover a rest interval)
2- 4:54min
3- 4:53min
4- 5:01min
5- 5:00min
Rest interval ~4/5min

Think I went upslope too hard and fast, and then lost my form on the down. Literally overtook many people and tried to stick close behind the front pack of runners. Well, not exactly drafting distance behind, but reasonably close by my standard. And of course I got dropped every time once we chiong-ed over the slope. The guys picked up pace, and I slowed down. Even if I tried to maintain a decent pace, I would be overtaken by runners about mid-way through the loop on the down. Either I went up too fast (and died), or I slowed on the down to recover (and still died). Bad idea to try to speed up or open up strides on the down. I knew the theory of descent, but execution was a different issue. The impact on my shins was tremendous. Really went out hard that by the 5th set, I was totally flat out from the power bursts. Jelly-legs, could hardly walk straight after that. Whew....

Incidentally, KL official results are out. 1:54:56h for my 21km. Yes! And I'm gloating over the 4sec bonus (from 1:55h). Friend said I'm such a cheapo. Haha.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rainy Swim

It started raining at 5pm. I was hoping it would stop by 7pm, but no, it continued drizzling.

Coach jumped into water during the drills, and swam around correcting the strokes. Then he stood at the pool side holding a giant brown LV umbrella. But wasn't he already wet....?

Catch-up, kicks, sidekicks

4x 100m (2:13, 2:16, 2:22, 2:20)
3x 200m (5:00, 4:44, 4:57)
1x 400m (10:08)
4x 50m sprints (1:01, 1:00, 58)
After some drills, we did our last 50m sprint (56sec).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

KL (Half) Marathon 2009

I managed to get a bib for the inaugural KL marathon for 21km, alas the men's category. Last minute error which could not be recitified, what the heck, just run. Morning of the race, it started raining when I stepped out of the hotel. Would not be nice if my shoes got wet even before the run stared.

Met Simon, then went on to meet Karen & Peter at their hotel. The full marathoners had already gone off at 4am (race flag off 5am). The half marathon flag off was 615am. We walked to the race venue and had 30min to spare. Stretched - I tried out some of the warm-ups that Shem taught us, jumped around and awakened the legs. Whew, tired already. Haha.

The gun sounded and off we went. I was blocked by so many people, it was impossible to open up my stride. There was no km markers for the half-marathon either, so I did not know my exact pace. I just snaked around the crowd, and ran. It was only after the 1st water point around 3km that the runners spaced out and I could go unobstructed. I saw Chantelle at about 6-7km, her style distinctive from behind. I wanted to time-trial for a 21km PB, so I had to 'just go'. The pace felt right, I reached Berjaya Times Square at about 55min. I estimate that was about 10km.

Continuing, there were a couple of slopes along the route. I maintained the pace and went up the slopes. Had to keep reminding myself that we were MF-trained. :) Steadily I went past groups of runners. I did not see many female runners ahead. Hmmm.... And of course the elites were well out of sight! Things went well, my run felt strong and constant.

Then congestion! Argh. the 10, 21, and 42km runners merged about the last 8km or so. Suddenly there was a surge in runners on the road, and 90% walking! The 10kmers were strolling, some even holding hands, oblivious to the fact that others were still running! It was pure energy wasting as I weaved through the crowds. Even the slopes on the roads looked less daunting from afar as they were filled with runners. All I could see ahead was a sea of black hair.

It was demoralizing but I trudged along. Could not stop to walk now, would totally waste all my hard run earlier! Up and down the highways.... Then we heard music and saw the flag at Dataran Merdeka. Time check: 1:45h. End point was nearing! Alas, we had to detour and do another 10min loop before reaching the Finish bay. The road signages were filtering the race categories, but the volunteers were shouting out different instructions. Confusion for a split second.

I finally saw the Finish banner and opened up my strides. 1:55min. A 21km PB! Fabulous! :)

*Official results - 1:54:56h. Yes! So I'm gloating over the 4sec bonus. Cheap thrill. Haha.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leisure Swim

Had to rush for a dinner, and also forced myself to save my legs => no run.

Rushed through a 30lap in the pool - 13:45, 13:00, 13:01 - 39:47min. Ok, not complaining. Need to work more on my pull-and-glide, and angle palm entry deeper...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

4 On 2 Off Workout

4 min 'On' at Lactic Threshold HR, 2 min 'Off' with active recovery. 10 sets. Shem sent us a nice enthusiastic email describing the workout tonight. Except that I never did that LT test at the first session, so I had been running based on target pace all these weeks.

Had a 4km warm-up easy jog. 23min. Slow and easy to flush out the lactic acid from yesterday's hills. Was so zonked out last night, sleep was good indeed! Completed my jog in time to join the group for warm-up exercises. Ok, time to hit the tracks!

Well, not much to 'time' since it was basically Start-4min-Split-2min-Split-4min-Split-2min....

I set the target of maintaining at least 5min pace consistently, which meant at least 2 rounds/ 800m in 4min. Was slightly faster than that because we ran on the outer tracks, and completed 2 rounds on average 3:45-3:50min. So covered about 815-825m in 4min? The 10 sets passed fairly quickly. Coach joined us again tonight, he was pretty fast on the track. Melvin and Wenlong came as well, blazing the tracks obviously.

The sets felt like fartleks to some. But they seemed like Yasso-800s to me, since 4min ~ 800m anyway. Slight difference in that in Yasso-8oo, the active rest period equalled the 800m run time, ie. run 4min, jog 4min. Hmm.... so going by the above, my full marathon timing should be about 3:50h? I hardly think so.... *skeptical laughter*

Anyway, Coach said I was taking it easy on the run... He didn't see me panting hard after each set ah? *whew, dripping sweat*

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wrong Bricks

So it occurred to me tonight that I was doing the wrong bricks - swim and run. I should be doing swim-bike, or bike-run,.... but swim-run? Ok, I guess one had to maximize whatever training time there is.

Swam 30 laps. Barely made 40:20min. :(
1- 13:32min
2- 13:06min (so I know gone-case already, usually this set would be sub-13)
3- 13:41min

MF loops 1hr (back to the normal 1.6km loop)
Legs were really heavy, calves and ITB tight. Was hammering away on quads during the downhill sections.
1- 4:19min (to 'top')/ 9:30min
2- 4:12/ 9:34
3- 4:22/ 9:50 (!!)
4- 4:33/ 9:39
5- 4:22/ 9:49
6- 4:12/ 8:37 (!!)
How inconsistent.... *sheepish*

Super tired out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Semester Reset

Pool was hot, swim was tough. It was amazing what a long semester break could do to stamina. Total reset! *gulp*

There were many new students in Monday class tonight. I recognised some of the Friday swimmers. Then there were 3 young girls, students. And geez, they were really really fast. Someone said children know no pain, they just go. Goodness.

Kicking drills were heavy, legs forgotten how to kick?

200m - 5:02min - and Coach said at a moderate pace??!? (My usual average was 5:10-5:20. Lane 2 led by Lane 4 swimmer, how to moderate? I had to semi-sprint so as not to be dropped!)
300m - 7:24min
400m - 10:20min
300m - 7:33min
(I think... forgot to save the split times, recording from memory.)

6x 50m sprints - ok, totally spent. Where my usual sprints could be sub-1min, today they hovered around 1:03 - 1:05min. Only the last set broke in at 59sec (and only because I thought it was the last last sprint). *pant pant*
Coach asked why Lixia and I kept hanging on to the divider rope after each set. But he was the one who said if drowning, hold the rope....

But not over yet! 3x 25m sprints + 25m easy swim. Ouch, kenna conned....

Coach's parting shots - "Tonight you'll all have a good sleep...." Truly.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cannot-make-it Ride

This morning, 2 loops of Mandai (52km). Total 71km.

Felt tired right from the start, even before we reached the start point at Mandai. The first loop was a pain, climbing, climbing.... Toyed with the idea of riding only 1 loop, but convinced myself to go on another round. After all the effort to wake up, prep my bike... had to justify some output even if very slow right? Luckily the 2nd loop felt slightly better as the body warmed up (yah right, takes more than an hour to warm up??).

Ok, next time, I'm trying for 3 loops! Or else a super long long ride.... Need to do some bricks too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

MR Reacquaintance

Ran at MR this morning. Finally reacquainted with the trails after a long long break for reason I forgot. Travels and somehow did not manage to get to MR on the weekends. It was just me, the sun, and the sandy crunch crunch crunch of my footsteps. Nice. The first loop felt fresh and strong, so I tried to run a little faster. But there were so many walkers and hikers, and I had to keep calling out to give way. After the first few polite 'excuse me's, I lost patience and must have sounded fierce. What was it with the locals and Asian hikers who like to walk 3-4 abreast, could not decide which way to give you and froze in place? At the risk of sounding stereotypical, it was usually the ang-moh hikers who stayed in a single file on the left, and some stepped aside so that I could pass. ... Well ok, there was a local student-boy who did that too. :)

So I changed tack from 'excuse me' to 'keep left'. And still, there were some who went right despite that.

3 aunties strolling abreast ahead.
Me: Keep left, keep left
2 aunties went left, 1 went right. (???)
Me: Thanks
'Right auntie' to her lefty-friends: Oh you mean that's left! *laughter*
(Me: half-amused-half-not-amused)

Finished 1st loop. 1:01h. Dripping wet, it was so hot, especially the exposed stretch along the golf course. Bought a drink at the cafe to refill my bottle, and saw HH and J there. Ok, on to 2nd loop! *deep breath* Pace was slower in the 2nd loop, the heat was getting to me, and mega thirsty. So then I was wondering how I ever managed 7 loops at the MR-Ultra two years ago? Geez! Today 2 loops dying already.

Had a proper shower at NIE tracks, and rewarded myself with brunch at Riders. I think they still serve one of the meanest egg bennies around! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pump, Spin & Be Merry

Went to Fusionopolis gym for BodyPump and RPM Challenge tonight. Knee did not feel good so skipped the Safra run.

Had not pumped for a long time, and was 10min late for class. Arms and legs were sng after class. Met Peter for RPM class. There was some mess-up with the class sign in and the sound system. In the end, we started about 20min late. But credit to Fernie who stayed cool and humourous throughout the mess. I had never been to her class and found it pretty decent. My already-sng legs powered all they had, and I was basically spent after the class. Peter did well for a first-timer too.

I would feel the aches tomorrow....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ladder Workout

Ladder workout, according to Shem's email, meant we stepped up the distances and down again. 600m, 800, 1000, 1200, 1000, 800, 600. Consistent pace.

I was feeling all out of sorts today, crampy, weak, tired joints... basically no strength or power to run. My usual 4km pre-training warm up run was slashed to 2.5km - because I went to re-park my car. Wah lau.... Some drills and stretches before we began the track workout. Coach YF joined us tonight. Had not heard his loud voice for so long.

600m - 2:42min
800m - 3:48min
1000m - 4:59min
1200m - 6:03min
1000m - 4:57min
800m - 3:54min
600m - 2:45min

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Swim & Telok Blangah Hills

Swam 30 laps. Regained a bit of form.
1- 13:16min
2- 13:02min
3- 13:22min
Total: 39:42min

Telok Blangah Hills as many loops in an 1hr:
1- 9:47min
2- 8:37min
3- 9:40min
4- 9:40min
5- 10:04min
6- 9:46min
Total: 58min

Legs like jelly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good ECP Run

Overslept this morning and missed the Safra run. Woke up at 730am, and the run was 730am. Ooops.... Since late, might as well sleep more.... til noon! Gosh, must had been really tired.

Did an evening run at ECP instead. 21km with Alber pacing. He at a comfortable pace. Me at a hard (but still surviving) chase. There were so so many people at ECP - bikes, families, dogs etc. Everyone seemed to think they owned the road, either walking without checking surrounds, or children on bikes and anything mobile who could not control their machines. Had to avoid so many people and a few near misses. I ran with a super scowl, glaring at those who blocked my way, like a bunch of cyclists who did not stop at the zebra lines!

Total run time: 2:02hr for a distance that should be more than 21km. Was a good, hard run, to wash away all the grouses and tensions of the week. Looking to run a decent sub-2h in the KLSCM. Hopefully.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Morning Ride

I met Amelia & Melvin for a ride this morning. The guy was super duper late, and made the 2 girls wait the whole morning for him. Ahh.... lunch or dinner would be in order, no? :)

We met at Mandai Shell, all lazy and 'nua' even before the ride proper. Oh dear... Did the usual loop to Seletar Reservoir and back. 26km. Twice. Then it started raining. I think we missed the heavy downpour because the roads on the way back were all wet with puddles. It was a tensed ride home alone as I was afraid of skidding and crashing (again). So I rode one-third of the bus lane. Thank goodness for bus lanes! Cars kept out of my way because I had a bigger 'kao shan'. :) And blur me, I overshot the turn towards my house! Duh... Had to backtrack.

72km. Time for brunch. Looking forward to checking out a new cafe.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recovery Swim

Two weeks of break from swimming was a huge dampener on my form! Gosh! 2-3min slower than normal. It was a pure drag going through the warm waters. Arms were not really coordinated. I had a few gulps of water. It was basically a pain to plough through 30 laps. *groan*

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Easy Recovery Canterbury

Canterbury was turning out to be a nice venue for recovery runs. After 2 evenings of hard hill runs, I was thankful for the chance to roll along on a 9-10km jog. :) But still could not resist the urge to chiong up hills, so I went hard on the upslopes around Canterbury and on Henderson. Gosh, could feel the fatigue in my legs by the time I reached Henderson. Unlike the light, strong feeling 2 days ago. Ok, signal to rest for a few days and not run anymore. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

YF Hill Sprints

You know it was a hard run when legs are now jelly-ed and eyes closing...

4km warm-up on my own: 22+min (~5:30+min)
Group warm-up on field: 10min
Slow jog to Bot Gardens

We had a 2-part hill intervals tonight in the hot and humid Botanic Gardens.

1st: Short slope (sprint) then slow recovery jog down in a loop back to starting point. 30min. Did 8 sets. Legs wobbly already. Rest interval was supposedly the time for heart rate to fall back to an ok level such that one was fresh to dash again. Time for the upslope sprint segment (did not record time for the down jog):

1- 29sec (followed Shem)
2- 25 sec
3- 24sec
4- 23sec
5- 23sec
6- 23sec
7- 22sec
8- 21sec
(Each complete loop took abt 2:20-2:40min)

2nd: Long slope (consistent), u-turn and slow jog down the same way. Again, rest interval was for HR to drop, but I was feeling the fatigue after 2 sets. Did 5 sets. Average of 1:30-1:35 for the upslope, and 3:30min for the complete set.

Slow jog back to NIE tracks. Legs did not feel like they belonged to me by then.... Stretch stretch and more stretching.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

MF Loops (New)

On the training menu tonight - MF loops 5 rounds, OTOT.
Relatively easy right? Afterall, we normally do more than that, or with time target. So tonight discounted! Fat chance....

After we ran up Morse Road to the carpark, Jimmy sprang the new route on us - Reverse direction of the usual MF loop, continue down the long road to Pender Rd at the bottom (T-junction), u-turn and come back up. Finish as many sets within an hour. *loud huhs & groans everywhere* I think I should just carry a banner that says "Canterbury"....

We tried the route. I did not really like it. The up was flat and gradual, before getting steeper. Up to the cafe at the top of MF. Then the down was super duper long. I thought it was too long that it was like a full recovery, HR could actually drop to decent levels. The good side was that coming up Morse Rd was a relative breeze after that. First loop 17min.

But I decided to do the usual MF smaller loop instead. I could squeeze in 4 loops within the time, vs another 2 long loops. Which meant that I could do more intensive (albeit shorter) slope intervals.

Aimed for hard upslope and relax downslope.
1st up: 4:18min; Total: 10:09min (wah, really took my time to float down....)
2nd: 4:25min/ 10:17min
3rd: 4:23min/ 9:54min
4th: 4:10min/ 9:40min

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NTU Odac Adventure Challenge

I teamed up with KC today for the NTU adventure race under the Mixed Open category (there was only that for non-students). We were flagged off from Sengkang Compass Point, 6 teams per 10min, so we had to wait until the 4th wave (40min!).

It was a mostly running race. Getting to checkpoints was all on foot, unlike other races where one might cycle to the next checkpoint. As such, the race route was contained within the Sengkang-Punggol region. First checkpoint was the jetty about 3-4km away. Enroute, there were activities, like getting into mud water and crawling up a muddy slope. Then there was a mud crossing to retrieve a puzzle piece. Only 1 member needed to wade across, KC kindly volunteered.

The weather was super hot in the morning, and our running pace was quite on-the-ball. ie. KC easy run while I chased.... The main checkpoint was kayaking. The kayaking route was near the shoreline, hence very susceptible to waves and currents that kept sweeping us off. We were not very coordinated, I kept hitting KC's paddle. Oops, my fault.

The next major checkpoint was the cycling segment. To get there, we had to run along the coastal line, again with random activities thrown in. Had to wade across a 'river' that was about waist deep. Then more running. Trail cycling was more sand cycling. The route was all sand and I was really tensed on the ride. Every time the wheels hit a deeper patch of sand and skidded a little, I was reminded of my Desaru fall. At certain sections, it was faster for me to run and push the bike, than to peddle! We had to look for a picture along the route - I was totally focused on riding and missed it. Luckily KC spotted it. Whew....

Hot hot hot, the ice cold water at the various checkpoints was a welcome relief. Next up was rock climbing. This was one race where participants were not allowed to bring our own gear - harnesses, crabs etc. Everything was provided for, and I must say, the equipment was quite brand new. The rock wall was in Edgefields Primary School. Only 1 member had to scale the wall, so I offered. I underestimated the wall, thinking that it was 'primary school'. It was tougher than I thought. There was a small concave section and a slight overhang. It was easy in that the wall was 'real rock' that one could smear or pinch. Yet it was challenging because the handholds were small, not like the giant jugs at Yishun Safra. Maybe that was why it was a primary school wall - for tiny hands! Haha. The climb was tricky, because if you 'fell', you would have to restart from the bottom. Two tries and the team would suffer a time penalty for incompletion. I hung on to the wall for dear life! Whew, made it to the top. Retrieved another part of the puzzle.

More running... along the way we overtook many teams that were walking or slowing down. But KC did not look like he was ever going to need a break! Continued chasing lor... The next checkpoint was piecing together the puzzle using the pieces we collected along the way. It was like those childhood game where we had to form a square with the pieces. Took a bit of brain work, and it was done.

Last checkpoint was abseiling from a multi-storeyed car park about 4 storeys high. The sky was darkening and a light drizzle began. Again, we grabbed the equipment, geared ourselves and ran up to the abseiling deck. Because we were going down storeys, there was a tendency for the participant to swing in in-between the floors. Some hit their legs on the ledges during the swing. Ouch... That was it, the end of the checkpoints and the last stretch was returning to the start/end point to report. By then, the rain had gotten heavier and we were totally drenched when we returned.

We went to a friend's house nearby to shower and have lunch, before returning to the race site to collect our bikes. Just in time to hear the results being announced. We came in 1st! :)) Totally unexpected but what a pleasant surprise!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pancake and a Stranger on 21km

Had a great evening run at ECP. 21km from Fort Rd - Safra NSRCC.

Do not eat pancake before a run - kept burping for a good 15min! Barely 10min into my run, some random topless guy ran alongside and asked if he could run together. Uh, sure.... Then he became talkative, tried to impress and chit chat. I must have looked like a recreational leisure runner?!? There I was, trying to warm up into a good rhythm and pace, and he was robbing me of precious oxygen! Tried giving mono-syllabic answers as politely as possible. Graciousness was a virtue to be practised....

Man: "So where are you running to?"
PS: Safra
M: Where is that? (obviously don't know ECP well....)
PS: Country club
M: Oh,... how far is that? (still clueless)
PS: 21km (of course must return to start point right?)
M: Wow, so far! So you must be very fit, run marathons type?
PS: polite smile (no need to explain the concepts of 21km and 42km...)
PS: You can go ahead if you want, I'm keeping this pace.
M: This pace is fine.... (M drops a bit behind, breathing hard.)

800m from his end-point, M speeds and catches up alongside.
M: I'm finishing soon at BK.
PS: uh-huh
M: You run very often?
PS: ok (cannot sense I don't want to talk meh?)... Sorry I can't talk when I'm running. (pant a bit to exaggerate, luckily he didn't say 'no worries then I talk'!).
(BK in sight!)
M: I'm done, see you around.
PS: Bye, enjoy yourself! (Must always remain gracious.)

Happy to run off! Haha.... I tried to keep a sub-6min pace throughout. Some 5:40, some more/ less. Ran a little extra at NSRCC. On the way back, bumped into Anthony and DO near Mac. We ran together. Happy to have them around to pace me. We did abt 5:30ish pace for 2km. Experienced pacers that they were, great job! Can consider hiring them as personal pacers during races! Haha... (sure very expensive).

Ran more than 21km. But timing for 21km was about 2:00 or 2:01min. Good, got potential for sub-2h (I hope).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

RPM (no) Kick

Went for RPM Challenge. Alas, it was changed to RPM only. Andrew's rationale was that smashing a good 50min was better than cruising through 1hr. Oh well, what could I say to that?

Had suspended my gym for 2 months when I was away. So tonight was my first RPM. But 40-50min really no kick leh. Over so quickly! Did not help that my newly rebonded hair was swinging in my face and flying into my mouth with every breath. O2 in, hair in. CO2 out, hair out. Brilliant.... Distracting.

Andrew said the classes might be permanently 'downgraded' to RPM, because some members had complained that Challenge was too tough!?%#$ Duh! Else called Challenge?? If that was the case, then I would have to rethink about my membership....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

YF Speedwork

Tonight short distance speedwork. Shem had a long menu lined up. I went early and did a warmup using KM's 4k route. Legs still heavy so I wanted to loosen up some lactic before the track workout.

Assembled at the field. We did some drills - different from the conditioning drills that KM made us do in the past. So I learnt something new again. Then 7 sets of stridings.

Combination 400m - ie. hard on the straights, easy on the bends. 6 sets. Kept an average of 2 - 2:04min.

Followed by 400m intervals - hard all the way. 6 sets with rest 1:30min (ok, I exceeded the rest intervals slightly).
1- 1:34min
2- 1:35min
3- 1:36min
4- 1:42min
5- 1:45min
6- 1:36min

Ended off with 10min easy jog on the field.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Heavy Run

It was a recovery run, but as with all runs in MF Safra, nothing was ever a recovery pace. I ran like I had an extra 50kg on my shoulders, so heavy. Legs heavy, body heavy, everything felt heavy. It was only about 10km (or less), but I went so slowly. At one point in Labrador Park, the sea breeze and waves felt so luring, I stopped to stare and stretch.