Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recovery Day

Ouch, 2nd day is when the full effects of DOMS and soreness set in. Ouch indeed. Had to support my knees just to go down the stairs.

Recovery 1 - Massage my precious legs!

Recovery 2 - an ultra slow 5km trot around Safra. It was supposed to be a swim, but oh well, social pulls were stronger and I ended up trotting along. Nonetheless, it helped to flush out some lactic and I managed to stretch properly after the trot.

Recovery 3 - eat eat eat. Ate so much at dinner, it was unbelievable.... *guilty*

Sunday, December 27, 2009

MR Ultra 84km

Ecstatic to come in 2nd for the annual year-end MR ultramarathon. Surpassed my previous record of 7 rounds to complete 8 loops in good timing. :)))

The MR ultra-marathon was a 12h race where runners attempted as many rounds of the 10.5km route from 7am - 7pm, each round averaging less than 2h. Alber and I were 23min late for the run, no thanks to an overdose of xmas-y gatherings. Felt a little gan-cheong and we tried to go at a steady pace. By the 2nd loop, we caught up with some friends. It was the first time we managed to run together and keep in pace, for a good 42km. Mighty pleased with the effort. We ran together for half of the 5th round and split up. The timing looked good and I felt like there was sufficient time to aim for 8 rounds if I could maintain the pace.

So my routine went something like this - Ran without stopping for the first 3 rounds. Then run 1 lap, toilet & food break 4-5min, start next lap. My aim was to cap each round at 1:30h (incl break). It started drizzling slightly on the 4th & 5th round, with thunder rumbling in the distance. The past days saw heavy downpours in the late afternoons. Likewise the forecast for today. The weather on the run thus far had been cool with a slight overcast, shady & breezy. I was praying so so very hard for it not to rain. In exchange for continued good weather, my promise was to complete 7-8 loops. Miraculously, the weather held up and we even had a glimmer of sunshine around 4pm.

I told myself running 5 rounds was the minimum. The race was just starting now, go on! I was still feeling ok on the 6th round, managed to run fairly strong, even though I was already walking up the slopes to save my legs. But the fatigue in the legs really set in on the 7th round. That was when I could feel the back of knees tightening and locking up. For once I ran without my water bottle and relied purely on the water points. I was so worried that they would pack up before I was done, and kept asking them not to 'close shop' yet. I met Rima on the 7th round and she said, "It's mind over matter now, go another loop."

The guys were still waiting at the end point when I reached. Results update, 5th if I stopped, 2nd if I ran. But it was not about the win. I did not start the run with a podium aim. It was a personal challenge to complete 84km in the trail. Friends would know that I never go into a trail with expectations. I only modify my goals along the way, depending on how I felt during the run. You have to feel at ease and as one with the nature in order to run well, go with the flow. Looking at the watch every minute is stressful and wrecks the running rhythm. Skipping on the rocks was a good fun distraction, daring to run downslopes when others held back, and shuffling on the grass even though there was a tarmac road. Those were just some of the joys of trail runs.

The 8th round was pure mental perseverance. I felt like my legs had reached their limit - I could not imagine 100k of trail. There was a certain high knowing that it was the last loop, I just had to endure and force through this. I remembered my promise for good weather and there was no way I would give up and forfeit all my effort in the day. The organizers had informed the volunteers at the water station that I was the last runner because they were looking out for me. Oops, felt bad they had to wait. The light opening at the end of the trail exit was the sweetest sight ever, there was just a little stretch of 3-4min tarmac to the finishing point. Alber was waiting near the carpark end, took photos and ran with me to the end. :) It was pure happiness to finish that distance. I honestly did not think I could run that well on the roads (flashback to Sundown 84). Love love love the trails! :)

Net timing (official minus 23min)
1lap - 1:11h
2lap - 1:10h
3lap - 1:14h
4lap - 1:31h (2 toilet breaks) -- 42km 5:08h (half a powergel)
5lap - 1:29h -- 52.5km 6:37h (faster than TNF race!) (half a powergel)
6lap - 1:32h (quarter of Gardenia focaccia bread, tks Jack!, half a powergel)
7lap - 1:36h (half of my turkey sandwich, iced-milo, orange juice, thanks Alber!, half a powergel)
8lap - 1:31h (mouthfuls of sandwich, milo)
Grand total - 11:18:30h yoohoo!! 2nd prize women

Could barely walk and climb the stairs to my room after the race. It was worse coming down. Gosh, guess I would have to hobble for a few days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas Ride

The guys went for a 430am ride. What unheavenly hours on a xmas day! I dragged til 11am to start my ride. Alber and I went 1 loop of Mandai and then to Kranji to have lunch with the morning group. And then back to Mandai for Loop 2 and home. On the way back, we stopped at a coffeeshop along Upp Bt Timah Road that had pretty decent char siew and crispy roast pork. New pit stop for next ride. :)

Brought my family to Sakuraya for fresh sashimi. I ordered an entire fish - some reddish looking plumpish fish, in addition to an assortment of salmon belly, fatty hamachi, tuna & scallop sashimi. :) Heavens!

So this is xmas... a day with family & close friends, workout and great food. :) A rest day tomorrow before attempting the MR ultra on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brick Swim-Run

Met a couple of friends at Safra for a swim-run brick.

30 laps - Felt very tired & heavy in the pool tonight and took long than usual to cut the waters.
12:41min, 13:42min, 13:12min = 39.37min

Run - Morse Rd up to MF, 1.5loops, and down from Kg Bahru. The distance seemed relatively short ~8km?, 46min.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Short Leisure Run

Had to go off early for a dinner and could not join in the Safra run. Instead we did a very slow leisurely run around Canterbury. Brought SL & KM on the run, together with Alber. Distance ~11km. Took a long long time...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NTU Combo Ride

Plan was to do many loops in NTU. Alas, survived only 3 loops and nearly died of boredom. So we went out to Kranji/ Neo Tiew. Rode hard for that 30km out & back. Met WH & HS back in NTU and we went for another loop. Total distance was only 50km but I was totally spent...

Then we did a brick run. Supposedly 5km, but I was so tired I jogged and walked a lot and ended up taking 50min! zzzz......

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MR Plant Flowers

Did an easy 10+ loop with Yean in the morning, with a slight detour out on the trail towards Rifle Range, and back.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Off Rhythm Tracks

5x 1200m @ Queenstown stadium

My last track workout must have been around August in preparation for Desaru HIM. Thereafter it was a mad rush of trips, climb, ultras etc.

Back to current, it was a painful track intervals. I struggled to get back the feel and rhythm of speed work.

1- 5:50min
2- 5:45min
3- 5:42
4- 5:36
5- 5:41

And panting all the way, legs almost cramped.... Definitely off-form.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mini (Iron) Biathlon

Swam 20laps and my arms were heavy after only 8laps. The result of gym weights last night.

500m - 12:19min
500m - 12:40min
Total - 24:59min

Did a slow jog with Alber & Melvin. It was abt 7min pace for me, too stiff and tight to run better. 50min of run.

Yawn, so tired and sleepy now....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Swimming Day

Went to Safra to swim. Some lanes blocked off (crumbs....) so all the swimmers were squeezed into 2/3rd of the pool. I ended up with many old aunties & uncles in a section of the pool and they were all using breaststroke and swimming off-lane.

500m - 12:19min
500m - 13:08
500m - 12: 30
Total - 37:58min

Saturday, December 12, 2009

MR Leisure Jog

Back in the trails, woohoo! Did a leisurely jog in MR this morning. It was nice to be out there, no pressure, just trotting along and enjoying myself. It was late morning by the time I started and the sun was blistering, but it was nice and cool in the trails. My Asics trail shoes were mended and re-mended so many times, I wondered how much longer they would last. Sadly, the model was out of production. The replacement models did not feel as 'connected' as these. :(

1:15min trot. Lovely. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Swim

Had some time in between D&D which was near the clubhouse. Needed to clear my mind so I took a quick 20lap swim. It was the first 'workout' I did since IMWA. It was simply nice to swim short & slow. Just getting into the rhythm.

25min 20 laps.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

From Perth & Busselton

1/2 Dec 2009

We arrived in Perth almost midnight. There was a sizable group of IM participants on the flight. When the customs officers saw our 10 giant bike cases, they simply waved us through. *whew* no need to open up the wheels and luggages for checks. By the time we settled in our apartment, it was 3am. Yawn. Tested my brand new running shoes in the morning in the gym treadmill. Nice, did not have to break them in. We had a late lunch of fish & chips, did some grocery shopping, wandered around King's Park and had dinner at a friend's house. Chicken rice in a foreign land. Bliss. :)

3 Dec 2009

The drive to Busselton took about 3h. We arrived rather late at 12noon & headed straight to the registration tentage. It was a great IM ambience at the IM-Village, with lots of merchandise and athletes milling around. Went to our resort & set up our bicycles. Managed to do a short 45min test ride. Gosh, the winds are free! We went for the athletes' parade and caught the Singaporean group along the way. There was a moment of national pride with the Flag proudly displayed and our anthem being played during the carbo dinner. :)