Sunday, January 31, 2010

Run Swim Run

I arrived at sea swim early, took a ride from Jan this morning. The newbies had their orientation swim at 8am. So I headed off for a short 40min run from F2 towards NSRCC. It was slow going. I was overtaken by an auntie leisure runner, oops...

I rejoined the swim at 9am. There was a very large turnout today. We had many members of public and/or corporate teams who joined us. Many of them were using breast stroke.... and much as I tolerated, I just had to say - damn breast strokers! I was kicked several times by giant-sized swimmers slowing frogging their way and sighting the buoys. Or they would do 2 front crawl, 2 breast stroke, 2 front crawl.... Argh. One kick even landed on my goggles and I had to swim away from the rest, tread water and re-adjust them. Then another forcefully tried to cut my lane and go left as I was heading straight. We stared at each other because she kept hitting my legs, and then she just ploughed her way through. How rude! Reminder to self - no short distance races for me. Too many swimmers body slamming me.

We changed and went for a run. Melvin, Henry and I ran together for exactly 1:00h. It was such a hot day, I was burnt again...

I wonder if there was a term for a run-swim-run event. What sort of ".....thlon" would that be? Hmmm....

Saturday, January 30, 2010


We went for a late morning ride, Melvin, Alber and myself. Traffic was relatively ok to Mandai. But somehow my legs were feeling heavy. Just 1km out of my house and I could feel the fatigue up the Bt. Batok slope nearby. Sheesh.

Mandai, and we went about our usual loops. Bad bad, this ride would be a pain. I could just manage to spin at a relaxed speed, it took all of me to get to Seletar reservoir. *groan* And then I would have to spin myself back to Shell. I bought a drink and sat at the petrol kiosk for 30min before deciding to go for another loop. :(

I went on the small chain ring to ease the fatigue on my quads, and did a slow loop. Hmm... the smaller gear felt much better, albeit slow. At least I did not feel like stopping and giving up.

Finally made it back to Shell. The guys were already there waiting for the past half an hour. That was it. Ride killed. Time for lunch.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Late late late

Late for swim class. Left work about 7pm. I guessed I would only reach the pool at 745pm. :( So I went to Safra club instead for a swim. 30 laps.... I felt so stiff and tired that it was a struggle to get through the laps. :( 39:32min.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

YF Strides Day 3

I was late and only managed a 1.6km (4x 400m) for warmup.

Static drills - today we increased the per set timing to 25sec (from 20sec).
1 set = Drill 25", rest 10", drill 25"
We did 8 sets:
- normal plank
- one-leg squat
- cunch & hold
- push-up & hold

Run drills -
1 set = 3 drills
High-knee 100m, recovery jog back 100m
High cadence 30m (it was more...), recovery jog to 100m mark & back
Horse-kick (almost like a butt-kick, but deliberately landing on entire soles & scooping heels backwards) 100m, recovery jog back 100m

Gaining muscle mass, aka bulk! Eeeeeks!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Safra Avventura Race

I set off early this morning for Jurong Safra where the Safra adventure race would be held. It was the first time they were using the brand new club and vicinity. After a gear check and registration, we were done and had to wait for an hour before the race flag-off. So I caught a snooze in the car while waiting.

The race began with a 8-9km run from Jurong Safra towards Discovery Centre near SAFTI MI. All the checkpoints would be conducted within the army training compounds. It felt like TNF run, deja vu! We were making good time on the run and were amongst the earlier mixed teams to reach the first checkpoint. The ride in was on tarmac so that was not as worrying for me.

Alas, at one of the checkpoints, we were asked to deflate 2 tires and re-inflate them. We deflated both of KC's tires, and that was when one of the valves broke as we were pumping it. Oops! Change of inner tube. But something was wrong with the tube too, and it burst after a short ride. Darn. Luckily Foo had another spare and gave it to us. So that was time wasted with tube changes and pumping, and we dropped far behind the other teams. What a lame activity...

Next up was the Team Biathlon segment - ie. one to ride, one to run. The organizers made us go many loops, I was totally lost. Thankfully KC was an ace navigator, all I had to do was follow. He was also a very strong runner, and I was hopeless cycling on the trail. In the end, he ran faster than I rode, and was even ahead of my bike! *unbelievable*

We rode to the canoe checkpoint, hauled the boat into the waters and rowed away. I think it was some reservoir that seemed closed to the public. More team biathlon after the canoe, we kept going round and round. The guys flew down the rocky slopes while I pushed the bike. Eeeks! I was still fearful of bashing downslope. There was a lot of cycling this year, some parts felt rather aimless to me. Cycling for the sake of clocking the distance.

Finally, we dropped the bikes and ran to the rope stations. It was held at the SOC area and we literally had to go through some of the army boys' SOC stations! Monkey bar, wooden beam, log steps, ramp, and then finally the jumar and abseil towers. But the bottleneck meant a long wait for our turn at the ropes. We waited more than an hour before getting hooked up onto the ropes. Sheesh. Ropework was my favourite, but unfortunately it was always the bottleneck during races. Reminder to self to get thicker gloves. My palms burnt as I abseiled down. Ouch.

That was the last checkpoint. We had to run all the way back to Jurong Safra. On the way exiting the military grounds, we had to do a few more obstacles. By the time we left, we had only 40min to make it back before the cut-off time. Gosh. We ran and ran, or rather, I chased and chased. We thought we were taking the same 8-9km route back, in which case, we might not meet the time. Argh, mad dash! Luckily, it was a different and shorter route and made it back safely within the time cut-off. Whew!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Long Swim

Dropped off my bike at Jurong Safra for the adventure race tmrw. Checked out the new clubhouse facilities, and used the pool. Rather decent lap pool.

We did 60 laps. I think I miscounted and did 2 more.

1- 12:56min
2- 13:23
3- 13:39
39:59:59 (wow!)

4- 17:02 (must have swam extra)
5- 14:44
6- 14:12


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hopeless Merging

Coach put me in Lane 3 tonight. Lanes 2 & 3 were doing the same drills. Gosh, I had a lot of chasing to do, seeing who the swimmers in the lanes were.

We did countless laps of pull drills. Then on to swim. I was the last swimmer in the lane. I gave up timing after a while because the distances were off since I did not end at the wall, or I had to merge along the way.

100m, 200m, x 3 sets
100, 200 x 4 sets
To me, they seemed like 300, 300, 300.... or simply 900 & 1,200m non-stop!

Then 12x 50m sprints. Due to the large number of swimmers, and my slow speed, the first swimmer set off even before I reached the end. Hence a few near-collisions because people were swimming towards me. Argh... super ego-bruising. Darn.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

YF Strides Day 2

Interesting circuit training and drills for tonight. I saw many groups at SMU track doing circuit training ala boot camp style. They looked like they were having fun, executing high-paced, high-intensity drills.

For our YF Strides, the circuit menu tonight was:
Station 1: push-up hold 20", rest 10", push-up hold 20"
Station 2: superman hold 20", rest 10", repeat 20"
Station 3: one-legged squat 20", rest 10", change leg
Station 4: side plank 20", rest 10", change side

2.4km drills x 2sets
Run 300m, and do a specific drill for 100m
There were 6 drills in total: high cadence, butt kick, russian dance, hop, high knee, heel strike stride.

1- 1:54
2- 2:03
3- 2:14
4- 2:15
5- 2:11
6- 1:58
Total: 12:38min

7- 2:02
8- 2:07
9- 2:20
10- 2:11
11- 2:18
12- 1:55
Total: 12:57min

----- and the post-training spiel from Coach -----

I saw most of you were bashing through the 100m drills during the 2x2.4km.Slow down and focus on the techniques and concentrate on the form during the 300m, it's not how fast you can do the drills, it's how well you can execute.. (gee, that sounds familiar, like his swimming tagline)

Many reasons for what all those drills --

Fast cadence---A lower cadence causes you to land harder on the ground. With higher cadence allows you to reduce contact on ground.

Kick butt---It's mainly for the hamstring. Focus is on a the smooth action.

Russian----Just want to make fun of you all

Hopping---Spring up to train your legs strides flexibility, strength...

High knees---Increase leg turnover and improve your knee lift when you need to pick up the pace.

Heels stride---You will need these on the last 2 to 5km in Triathlon.Just open your stride to increase the speed

Adventure Calendar

I am still wondering what adventures to fit into my calendar this year. Let's see, I've a few things in mind, major events that I have or would really love to do each year (and that list is getting longer... in no order of priority):

1x Ironman
1x Ultra-run
1x High altitude climb

In that context, I think I'd have to give Mongolia a miss. Between the Mongolia 100k and a climb, the latter has more appeal. I guess that's simply because I just ran the MR-Ultra 84km and suddenly the 100km seemed less challenging and daunting. I probably only have resources, time & money, for one of the two events.

So then I wonder if I should attempt the Gold Coast marathon in July? The grand paper-plan is to do Phuket half as a lead-up to GCM full. But would I be able to do a good timing in GCM if I am not training for it? The expectations (personal & external) of a good sub-4h carried some pressure.

Or maybe I could combine 2-in-1 and go for the Everest Base Camp marathon, achieving both a high-altitude trek and run. But that's not a climb, really.

Argh.... options and temptations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Base Mode

There was a change in training programme. Instead of doing track intervals, we went back to basics to a base phase. Using this off-season (technically no, but...) to build our base strength and foundation.

So we did a 14km easy run - supposedly able to chit chat pace - to Queenstown, Commonwealth, Portsdown and back. I was the last few. Oh well, I never was in the front anyway through these years. I love base mode, I think I had never gone out of it? Haha.

Although I would have liked some intervals or beloved hill workouts. I guess I would just have to do them by myself.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bird Bird

Went for a ride this morning, well, late morning. Started almost at 11am, the sun was strong and hot. Rode down to Kranji, Neo Tiew, and NTU. Put in effort & pedalled hard & fast. Did 3 loops in NTU. Hmm... wondered why I could not climb slopes. I mean, my legs are quite strong, so how come I have problems going up? We stopped at NTU canteen for a drink before riding back.

On the return ride, Alber spotted a baby bird by the roadside. It probably fell off its nest and landed on the road. It did not even know how fly yet! We scooped the sweetie and placed it in my bento box and brought it home. How cute!

Total 75km

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cycling Haikus

Cycling haikus, hilarious! @Tks Adrian :)

(Haikus - 5/7/5 syllabus)

Damn! Another hill/ Lord, please forgive my cursing/ and level this land

How do I explain/ a rear derailleur that costs/ more than my mortgage?

Hit by SUV/ Hark! Pelvis crack'd asunder/ You utter bastard

Thinning ly...cra of/ the cyclist in front of me/ revealing secrets

Perfect 100

I can't believe I got 'drunk' (well, knocked out) on mussels! We had pots of mussels cooked in assortment of sauces, mostly alcoholic, last night. And I kept spooning mouthfuls unknowingly. All I had was half a glass of wine, but damn, those soups.... *hic*

So this morning, I totally overslept for my morning ride. Sorry to keep you guys waiting. Oops. We finally started at 830am from Yishun Safra. I had 4 hours, just enough to complete 4x Mandai loops. It felt a lot more like 8x intervals. I was pedalling hard, by my standards, over the rolling hills, trying to keep the speed on flats at 26-30+kmh. The winds were changing directions through the day. So on some slopes we had fabulous tailwinds, and then some were just so demoralizing.

Melvin had a semi-flat around 70km, but enough air to roll back to Safra. Alas, Henry broke his chain! So Alber & I continued the 4th loop. It was really tough, especially the last slopes on the return.

Total distance: 100km. No water breaks, no pitstops, just pure hard pounding for 4h straight.
Oh my poor butt... I was totally flat by the end of the ride. We had lunch at the coffeeshop opposite Safra. Hard-earned meal, 2 iced-milo, ... and rushed off to shower & attend a race briefing. I felt like I burnt so much calories! (But that's probably self-delusional....)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Achy Sore Arms

My arms were already aching after yesterday's push-ups and drills. And Coach made us swim quite a fair bit tonight. So my arms are totally gone now....

The traffic near Clementi pool is always so bad in the evenings. I was late and missed all the warm up drills, jumping into the pool in time for:

6x 200m @ moderate 4:45min
1- 4:47min (uh, we missed all the time targets anyway)
4:57; 5:14; 4:58; 4:54; 4:56

6x 100m @ easy 3min
2:25; 2:27; 2:33; 2:39; 2:28; 2:31

6x 100m @ hard (uh... not much difference from easy)
2:21; 2:26; 2:22; 2:25; 2:25

10x 50m (the killer... obviously could barely swim, let alone sprint)
1:08; 1:09; 1:13; 1:13; 1:14; 1:14; 1:23; 1:19; 1:12; 1:13


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

YF Strides Day 1

My first session of YF Strides since I missed last week's inaugural session. We did circuit training, drills, and ended with a 2.4km round the track. Oh gosh, I cannot recall the last time I did so many push-ups in one sitting!

Circuit - 8 sets of 4 activities, each activity lasting 30sec, rest 30sec, move on to the next one.
1. push-ups
2. plank
3. leg raisers
4. lunges (same leg, then switch leg)

Drills - I think it was 6 sets of 3 drills, each repeating about 6 times.
1. side skips
2. high knees (moving forward slowly)
3. butt kicks (moving forward slowly)
Super ouch. My lower calves almost cramped from the side skips and high knees. The lateral movements and landing on mid-foot were lactic inducing. Not to mention a slight strain on the ball of my left foot.

Track - 6x 400m with 30sec rest @ moderate pace
1- 1:47min
2- 1:45min
3- 1:49min
4- 1:49min
5- 1:47min
6- 1:45min

By normal accounts, that timing would be a moderate pace. But after all that drills, it was hardly moderate. Ouch....

Fish-on-land boot camp, let the fun-pain begin!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Paying Homage to MF Loops

It was my first MF loops for the year. 6 rounds. But felt crappy after the 3rd set. Could feel the gas and liquid sloshing in my stomach. Argh...

1 - 4:11/ 9:09min (up/ total)
2- 4:29/ 9:41
3- 4:33/ 9:56
4- 4:47/ 10:09 (oh no, cmi....)
5- 4:38/ 10:03
6- 5:25/ 10:53


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jervois Houses

Just recovered from my coughs and sniffs, and did not want to push myself too hard.

Slow jog to Jervois-Tanglin Rd. Wow, amazing number of beautiful houses. Never knew there was this stretch of road in Singapore, it was like a totally new place for me to explore. Many private developments with ostentatious designs.

From Jervois, we went to Tanglin, Ridley Park and then back along Holland Road, Margaret Drive, Alexandra Rd and to club.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Runny Nose

Tried to jog despite a whole day of coughs, sneezes and sniffs. Obviously the run went nowhere. Hardly broke a sweat, but hacked a few times on the go. Geeez.

Club - Depot - Labrador - 1/2 loops - Henderson - back.

I even forgot to time the run, that was how slack I was tonight....

*cough sniff*
My nose was out there running its 84k.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Messy Pool

Ever tried swimming in a class with almost 50 swimmers? It was like a zoo in the pool tonight. Coach scrapped the Tues class, so Mon bore the bulk of the avalanche of migrant swimmers. It was like a giant reunion for us. Each lane had about 10+ swimmers and it was so difficult to swim properly without hitting the person ahead, or be hit from behind. Maybe I should consider moving to Thurs instead.

We did so many drills tonight, I could not recall the last time we spent almost an hour on routines. 6x 100m of Kicks, pullbuoys, 4-stroke-1-breath, and some combo of easy swims. The awkward timings are evidence of the bottlenecks in the lane.

Easy 200m - 4:46min, 4:54
Easy 100m - 2:22, 2:25, 2:21, 2:22, 2:24, 2:26
'Faster' 100m - 2:21, 2:16, 2:17, 2:19
Sprint 50m - 1:04, 1:08, 1:05, 1:10, 1:05, 1:02

I figured out something though tonight. Johnny told me last week that I should thrust and rotate using power from the hips. I had a vague sense of that while doing the easy laps. Hmmm... I should experiment more on my own.

2009 in Reflection

This is a reflective post that should have been written a few days ago, but which was waylaid by sugar-rush and party treats. To my mind, 2009 was truly a blessed and eventful year that surpassed all my expectations and imagination.

It began not with aplomb, but quietly, with injuries and dismal trainings. Maybe it was the tailend of the Chinese zodiac year, which was apparently bad for me. Impatience did not make for good recovery, and I learnt that the hard way. I stubbornly showed up for an overseas run, but thankfully had the wisdom to forfeit it at the last minute. My friend who ran on my behalf did it in far better timing than I would if I foolishly persisted. It was a humbling start to the year.

It was impossible for me to be inactive, so I filled the empty space with travels. Work was the lifeline, with random assignments and opportunities falling in place. Work took me to far flung places, where I experienced life that opened up my world. I fell in love with the whiteness of Saarisselka, the dreamy Swiss alps, and all things Finnish and Scandinavian. I clumsily tried cross-country and nordic skiing, flirted with reindeers and huskies, and lost myself in the fjords' lushness. Silence, I learnt, had a mesmerizing and beguiling voice. Silence could be deafening.

In between figuring out the time zones, I squeezed in a medical procedure, led a corporate team up Mt KK, climbed an awesome snow mountain in China, and reacquainted myself with running and training. It was only in May 2009 that I resumed running, 8 months after a string of injuries. I was always mindful of triggering them and ran gingerly with much caution. Stepping back, I discovered more about my strengths, inclinations and dislikes, what excites and what stresses. If there was anything I learnt in 2009, it was that less was more. It was better to enter a race with fresh legs, than to overtrain and start with fatigue. I reaped unexpected PBs and wins at several running races, and gone beyond self-imposed distances. In 2009, I swam more than I ever did in my life, and fulfilled an 8-year dream of completing an Ironman race.

An expanded social and training circle meant more friends, more activities and less time. Relationships bore some brunt, I lost a few friends and regained some. Paths crossed, some cemented, some faded. The wands of friendship wielded their magic and surprised me with firm friends. The house was a lot quieter with my brother and sister abroad. In return for the rowdy clatter, I became more tolerant of the mess and inconveniences when they came home. I still angst over things that my partner does, but I am learning to focus on that which he does better than me or for me. We hit several road bumps in 2009 - some strips and some crashes - and rebounded stronger and more enlightened.

The year also saw challenges at work, changes and threats, and I am immensely grateful to weather them with a team that was more friends than colleagues. A team that daringly tried new things and experimented at the boundaries, and we had fun while doing that. I made tough, major career moves, and was extremely glad to have them steer me back when my resolve wavered.

To my mind, a fruitful year should be one of many firsts - a spirited can-experiment and can-try attitude - as well as one of furthering traditions and bettering what we already do. By that account, 2009 was 365 days well-lived. Hopefully 2010 would bring as much cheer and personal development.


Recovery II

Met SL, KM at Safra for another joint session. Legs were better after another round of massage.

Swim - 30 laps - 39:59min.... uh.....
Run - 5 km around Safra-Harbourfront, slow 7-8min pace

Jacuzzi! But got bored after a while sitting in a tub of hot water.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Long Ride

Dragged ourselves out for a 530am ride. Groan... painful.

Why were drivers so impatient at 6am on a Sunday morning? They were all rushing to beat the traffic lights, despite 3 bicycles with blinking bright lights staring at them. Damn. I struggled to stay awake in the dark. My body just was not awake yet. I actually stopped for a while at a random bus stop along Coastal Road to stretch and perk myself up. Miraculously once past 7am, my circadian clock vanished and I was chirpy once more. Oh my. No wonder I struggled with summit attempts in the mountains, they were all carried out in the coldest and darkest hours of the day.

We rode the usual route from Casuarina - YCK - Serangoon - Tampines - Coastal and stopped at B1 for a water break. Approx. 50+km. It was tough cycling along that ECP stretch, I could not imagine running the Sundown 84 up/down there for 4 times.

Continuing, we cycled to Kallang and the F1 route, and then to West Coast Mac. 75km. Time for breakfast, I was low on sugar.

Headed to NTU (90km) for 2 loops (5km each), my climbs were bad. Stopped for a drink at the sports canteen. Next up was the Neo Tiew and Kranji area, where I loved to speed. 115km. We had lunch at the coffeeshop before riding back to Casuarina. 130km.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Festive Swim

Partied and rested for the last 2 days. What a rowdy NYEve party it was, which left me with a semi flu/ sore throat. I ended up sleeping through the first day of the year. So today I felt compelled to do something. Swim perhaps.

We headed to the HomeTeam pool in the afternoon. It started pouring heavily but cleared up in 15min. Weird weather. It lasted long enough for us to finish 30 laps, afterwhich it started raining again. Gosh.

30 laps
1 - 12:30
2 - 13:08
3 - 13:21
Total -38:59min