Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Swim Class

Last class of the season.

100m - 2:22min
400m - 10:03min
350m - 9:02
350m - 9:05
250m - 6:43
250m - 6:46
100m - 2:25
50m - 1:07

Various relay games to end the class.
Busso here we go!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tapering Run

Became a fat bird this morning with a tapering 18km run at ECP. Saw many friends training there for various races. We were going with the 4:30h group. Good to see Nigel after a long time. I got dropped after the 2nd toilet break and had to go doubly fast to catch up with the group. Bummer.... Managed to chase and re-group. 1:45hr.

Time to rest those legs til next weekend! :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Leisurely Swim

Finally dipped into the pool after a week of rain and temperamental weather.

3x 500m
12:58, 13:.., 13:... = 39:39.

What a nice number, can buy 4D!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slow slow run

Let's see, in typical PS-fashion, I have to hurt something somewhere before a major race. Right foot from US trail marathon. Right thigh from Sunday's long ride. Left toe from (of all silly things) my work shoes. How clutzy! Massaged all of these today and hopefully they will recover in a week.

Did a slow jog around Canterbury-Harbourfront in my new Asics. Shoes were a little stiff initially but broken into after 30min. Legs and body though were terribly tired and uncooperative. So we just trudged along very slowly. It was one of those runs just for activity, not training. Heck, I was not even timing myself. Thankfully, all the problem zones did not hurt as much as last Saturday. Whew! Enroute to recovery.... *fingers crossed*

Monday, November 23, 2009

Relay Swim

Late for swim and missed the drills.

400m - 9:21min
350m - 8:13
350m - 8:23
250m - 5:54
250m - 5:57
200m - 4:39
200m - 4:41
Relay front crawl, aka, sprint x1 - 57sec
Relay front crawl next set, aka, sprint x1 - 54sec (!! yeah)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Windy Ride

Another insanely early morning ride, which of course we were late for. Terribly apologetic. As usual, my mind and body do not function well in the dark or before sunrise. Rode very conservatively in the beginning.

The winds were free today - all sorts - headwind, tailwind, crosswind.... Buy 1 get 3 free. Never experienced such strong winds in Singapore as this morning. So many times I was almost swept away, wobbly. And the winds in Busselton are stronger than these. I was so petrified that I would be blown off course during the race! Craps.

A couple of new guys joined us today. They were fast. Chased as hard as I could, but was still dropped within sight of them. Went really hard along Jln Ahmad Ibrahim to Tuas. By the time we exited Tuas, I was spent... Getting back to my car was another challenge.

Total 145km.
Legs aching, eyes drooping... Time to sleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Painful Run

Joined in Fatbird's long run this morning. 28km. Not very long, but it felt like 50km after I was done. Ouch. Leg pain, back pain, stomach pain. Haha.... That did not sound promising at all. After weeks of running on trails, the tarmac was very hard on my knees and legs. My injured foot felt problematic again. Sigh. Walked, ran, walked, ran with a few other runners, and finally managed to get back to the start/end point. Whew....

Super tired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Non-stop Swim

For some strange reason my watch was totally reset tonight and I could not record the timings properly. It was simply a non-stop 1-speed swim for 1.5hr tonight. I was in Lane 2, there were various drill sets of moderate, fast and sprint speeds. But for me, it was simply 1 speed. I was dropped big time and almost lapped by 1 lap, so much chasing! *pant*

A warm-up set that I missed. Was 350/ 400m I think. Swam abt 200m cos late.

7x 100m 2:45min I think
400m moderate
8x 100m 2:30min
400 moderate
10x 50m sprint

Total: 3km
Aching shoulders and back.

Kat brought a surprise cake so we had a little celebration. Lots of snapping photos with me in messy swim wear holding the cake. Eeeks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Infinite Swim

Water was cold today after the downcast skies and wet weather for the past few days. Brrr...

Coach: "All of you very cold right? Go swim 500m to warm-up."

Then it became somewhat of an infinitely sadistic swim.
500m, 7x 100m 'sprints', 400m, 7x 100m 'sprints', 400m, alternating 50m. No drills today! Maybe Coach deliberately forgot.

500m- 11:45min
7x 100m- 2:14, 2:16, 2:15, 2:13, 2:15, 2:16, 2:15
400m- 9:47min
7x 100m- 2:17, 2:22, 2:22, 2:22, 2:21, 2:21, 2:25
400m- 10:08min
8x 50m- 1:08, 1:11, 1:06, 1:05, 1:07, 1:06, 1:14, 1:03
(easy, hard, moderate hard, repeat)

Good night!
Such magical words to the ears!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cruising Ride

Alber and I headed out for a morning ride. Not one of those insanely 4/5am rides, but one which started comfortably at 800am. It was 2mths since I last got on my bike. Every time I laid off cycling for a long while, it took a little getting used to. And each time I would be momentarily stumped over the gears and brakes and recalling which cleat to clip in first.

We did the Mandai loops. Legs were fresh, obviously after such a long break. I even managed to pedal standing on the upslopes! :)) Well, somewhat because I would then wobble and sit down. Today I had no patience for incompetent drivers. I think I showed hand (not finger) to about 3 drivers who were so irritatingly slow and hesistant, I would have crashed into them from behind.

Total distance: ~100km

One more long ride and then time to taper. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miracle Class

I call tonight a miracle class because the rain actually stopped for class. It was still raining and drizzling as I drove to the pool, but stopped once class began! Drills were harder than swimming. :(

Training- Coach said go slow, it's Friday, don't sprint, watch the arms and strokes.

Warmup 2x 100m= 2:13, 2:14,
7x 100m= 2:11, 2:15, 2:22, 2:23, 2:19, 2:21, 2:22
6x 100m= 2:20, 2:24, 2:21, 2:22, 2:19, 2:21

57min, 59, 58, 1:00 (yeah!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Happy Swim Class

There was such a huge turnout today, the lanes were crowded. People must be doing their make-up or utilizing the 4 free sessions because the class season was ending soon.

Coach moved me and Vanu to Lane 2.
Coach: Vanu & PS go to Lane 2 last swimmers. I think you can catch up.
Me: Huh? Don't want lah, so fast.
Coach: Up to you. But PS, you doing WA right?
(my sheepish nod)
Coach: Then go get some intensity!
(suitably chastized....)

Life in Lane 1 first set of 7x 100m in 3min intervals:
2:17, 2:22, 2:20, 2:23, 2:13, 2:14, 2:15

Life in Lane 2, 7x 100m, 2:45min intervals:
2:05, 2:06, 2:07, 2:12, 2:11, 2:12, 2:14

5x 100m, 2:30 intervals:
2:08, 2:09, 2:15, 2:14, 2:16

7x 100m, 2:45min intervals:
2:14, 2:21, 2:24, 2:22, 2:22, 2:22, 2:20

6x 50m 'sprints' (no rest after previous 100m set!):
1:12, 1:12, 1:13, 1:13, 1:12, 1:07,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recovery Run

I was very lazy, did not feel like training. In the end, went with a few YF folks for a slow jog around Botanic Gardens. Then we crossed over to Dempsey, Ridley and connected back to Tanglin Rd and returned to the SMU tracks. Total 56min. I think it was only 8km? Oh dear...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stinson Beach Marathon, CA (7 Nov 2009)


It was my 2nd trail marathon in the USA. This time it was in the scenic cradle of Marin County and Mt. Tamalpais national park, across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The place yielded a special meaning for me. As a young student in Berkeley 13 years ago, my first orientation camp was in the Marin County Muir Woods. Coming fresh from tropical Singapore, I was totally unprepared and under-dressed for the cold and winds of the seaside campground. Yet I stayed outdoors and huddled next to a huge campfire the whole night. It was the first time I saw high waves hitting the shores, and a vast unbroken horizon of the ocean and city landscape from the trails.

Thirteen years later, I am back on the shores, waiting for the start of a marathon. The Stinson Beach Marathon was a community event, limited to 300 participants across 7mi (11.2km), 25km and 26mi (42km) categories, with a course-wide 6h cut-off time. The route took us from sea level to 1,800ft (550m) where we ran along the mountain ridge with a spectacular view of the glittering ocean. The weather was glorious with clear skies and sunshine. Runners gathered as the race director gave instructions, and then headed for the beach where the start point was. That would be the only time we were at sea-level.

The run began with a steep climb on the Dipsea Trail. We went up 1,500ft (460m) in the first 3mi (4.8km) on wooden steps, slopes and rocks. That averaged 500ft/mi (~110m/km). Brutal! A guy tripped in front of me and twisted his ankle. Ouch. It took me 50min to clear that section. Everyone was immensely relieved to see the water station at 3mi.

There were no distance markers on the trail, only orange guiding ribbons. The only estimates we had were the four aid stations at the 3mi (4.8km), 11mi (17.6km), 17mi (27.2km) and 20mi (32km). Runners were encouraged to carry our own water due to the large and uneven distance gaps between the stations. I took my trusty Salomon hydration pack.

The route descended to 200ft (60m) for the next 5mi (8km) until it was time to climb again. I ran and walked with 2 other runners as we tackled the unforgiving slopes for another 3mi (4.8km). I looked forward to the next station at 11mi and was having problems converting the measurements to metric. The climb seemed never-ending until I heard vehicles and figured that the road and aid station should be nearby. This time we reached the maximum elevation of the marathon at 1,800ft (550m).

Each aid station had trays of nutty trail mix, energy bars, bananas, pretzel mix, Gatorade and water. I spent 3min at each station, taking my time to munch on the nuts and refuel. This was the only marathon where I did not consume a single powergel. I was totally enjoying myself and the cashew nuts.

With the hard climbs behind us, we continued along an exposed ridge that snaked high along the mountain curves. The sun shone and the ocean resembled an endless soft flowing mirror. The breathtaking views and the gently rolling slopes made for a very pleasant run. I was distracted with my camera and almost fell flat on an uneven ground. It was difficult to keep my eyes down on the trail as the scenery unfolded by my side.

Soon I reached the 17mi aid station and there was another 1.5mi to the u-turn point. The path narrowed considerably, with thick dry grass growing on one side, and a drop on the other. There was only space for my left foot to land flatly, while my right foot struck the uneven mound at an angle. After a few minutes, my right ankle was strained from the constant lopsided impact. We also had to share the narrow trail with marathoners who were returning in the reverse direction. We often had to stop, step aside and let the other runner pass through.

The u-turn point was nondescript, with only an arrow signboard. It was a race based on runners’ integrity. We headed back on the narrow path to the previous aid station. I was making good timing, 3:45h by 20mi (32km). There was hope for a sub-5h completion, since the last stretch was essentially downhill to the beach.

I picked up pace, motivated by that thought. Alas, going down wooden steps and rocks on the Matt Davis trail was more difficult than it looked. It was a zig-zag path that wound its way down. The flat section was paved with fallen leaves and provided a soft bouncy run. The challenge was to brake in time around the corner and not fall over the steps. I checked the time, 4:40h. Gosh! I had no idea how near or far I was from the end point. I literally made a mad dash for the last stretch, while trying to avoid hikers along the way. Finally, the tarmac came in sight. I kept an eye on the orange directional arrows and reached the Finish sign. A personal best of 4:53h! J It was slow relative to the local runners, but a huge improvement from my previous 6h trail record.

Gear: Trusty Asics GT-2130 Trail shoes
Nike long-sleeved dri-fit shirt
2XU compression tights
Polar HRM
Oakley M-frame
Salomon Raid Revo 20 pack
Platypus hydration set

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Miami Beach Jog

So I finally finally managed to head out for a run early this morning. The sun was already up. I ran along the Boardwalk and caught my first glimpse of the famed Miami Beach & ocean. After 20min, I headed onto the sand. It was surprisingly hardened and my shoes did not sink in as much as I thought I would have. It was tougher running on sand than tarmac, I thought it was quite a good training. Managed an 1h run. The sun was so hot by then, I almost got tan lines! I must try again tomorrow morning. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Miami First Impressions

I'd been musing over the last few days - that if Florida succeeds as a tourist destination, perhaps our heat & humidity won't put people off too much. I've been thinking abt tourism since I'm staying in Miami South Beach, supposedly the hip happening area, with the historic art & pub culture. I'm one street away from the beach front, and 5min car from the more exclusive resorts.

I can't comment on other cities in Florida (afterall home to DisneyWorld). I feel Miami is really about real estate and retirement or vacation houses. The prime beach front are mostly condo-like developments. The entire boardwalk along the ocean is very manicured, every other swaying palm tree or pebbled walkway is planned. Think The Caribbean condo extended 3-4miles. It's hotter but less humid than SGP. But likewise have the same problem with over-powered AC on buses and in conference rooms. Nights are cooler, 24degC. Still able to stroll down a shopping stretch the length of Orchard with no sweat.

Florida works as a tourist destination because I think it's driven largely by domestic tourists escaping the harsh winters. I met a couple of conference participants very happy to be here because it's snowing or approaching 0degC back home. The organizers were deliberate in their choice of venue. Participants were seeking the heat. I'd rather be in Californian weather.

I'm not sure about SGP's 'weather proposition'. None of our close neighbours have cold winters they need to escape from. Those countries that do also have their escape routes. Koreans to Jeju, Chinese to Hainan Island, Japanese to... I don't know (Hawaii & Jeju?), Australians to Bali.

But Miami feels empty, souless. Shopping doesn't count as an 'authentic experience'. Seeing the Everglades was boring because we have Jurong Crocodile Farm in SGP, and Msian rainforests diversity nearby. (Nonetheless, I carried a baby alligator & took an obligatory tourist pose...) Miami reminds me of high drugs, high life & wild parties. Probably over-stereotyping. A Chilean cab driver I chatted with told me that he is an engineer but came to Miami to earn more money. I think Chileans have to pay to work here, the labour market isn't easily accessible to them (unlike Cubans). Driving a cab earned more than waiting tables. He's been here 3 years, doesn't like the place at all, and eager to return home next year. He said that the young girls come to find rich old men. The young men come to peddle drugs to the party crowd. And summed it up best I think, "I don't like this place. It's all plastic and fake."

Well, so much for first impressions. :)