Friday, February 26, 2010

IM Langkawi (Pre-race)

(24-26 Feb 2010)

I was totally unprepared for the race, having just touched down from New York the day before. 32hrs later, I was in the hot and humid island of Langkawi, less than ready to take on another IM challenge.

We deposited our bikes in a multi-purpose hall that the City Bayview Hotel had set up for guests. It was mind-boggling to see the array of bicycle transport cases. The Japanese had their usual huge contingent at IMLKW and with their tinkering culture, many brought interesting looking cases that had been self-constructed or modified! Most participants were just arriving in Langkawi today. Some of those who came earlier were already out on the roads for acclimatizing rides. There was an old beaten bike in the hall. On closer examination, however, we saw two IM-Kona stickers on its top-tube! We assembled our bicycles before heading out for a seafood dinner.

The next morning, many athletes donned their various IM finisher tees at the breakfast hall. I was going gaga over the IM-races and faces – IM France-Nice, IMWA, Korea, Japan, China. There was a full-time flight attendant from Europe, and several under-stated, weathered-looking veterans from Japan. We headed for the race registration at Seaview Hotel. The registration process was smooth, beginning with a simple medical check-up and declaration, followed by race pack collection. There were a few booths selling race merchandise, and a bicycle support tentage operated by Bike Boutique.

We rented a mini-van and drove along the bike course. It was daunting just staring at the rolling slopes through the windows. The killer slope where many cyclists pushed their bikes up was certainly going to be a challenge. *faint* That evening, we attended the carbo dinner at the jetty. The sight of the giant eagle adorning the Langkawi jetty greeted us. A magnificent monument, it was a reminder that we were fast approaching “the toughest show on earth” – the tagline for IM Langkawi.

I was apprehensive at not having tested my bike and new apparel. So I woke up early and took the bike to the road. I cycled to the jetty and back, then ran the same route. My new Under Armour Heatgear Compression long-sleeved top felt decent in the sweltering heat. *whew* A quick breakfast later, and we were at the race briefing. Last words of advice and caution and the last thing left to do was bike and gear check-in.

We waited until 5pm for the check-in as we did not want our gear to be baked unnecessarily under the sun. First a bike mechanic did a simple check on each bicycle, then we dropped off our Bike/ Run transition bags, racked our bikes, and we were done. The point of no return! Counting down to the race flag off….

Sunday, February 14, 2010


First day of CNY. I ambitiously tried to wake at 7am or before for a run. Alas,... 8am! A mad dash out onto the roads. I attempted a new route - incineration plant to Clementi, PCN, Sunset Way, Ngee Ann Poly, Bt Timah-Toh Tuck, Jurong Kechil, Bt Batok East Ave 6 and home. The route took exactly 1h. I was surprised that I was not the only runner on the roads this morning, so many others were too. Ahhh runners!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Had a slow run in the MR trails today. Bumped into Lai Chee along the way - she after running 19km, and me just barely 2km. We decided to run together and went towards Rifle Range road. It was a nice slow chatty run, and we covered about 13-14km. Time taken 1:48h. Ahh.... desperately trying to burn off CNY goodies...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Endless 50m

Coach said we would do speed work tonight. I better hide in Lane 1....

7x 100m @ 2:45min - 2:12, 2:18, 2:17, 2:14, 2:16, 2:20, 2:15
6x 100m @ 3:min - 2:18, 2:23, 2:22, 2:28, 2:23, 2:31
10x 50m @ 1:30min - 1:02, 1:06, 1:05, 1:07, 1:05, 1:08, 1:04, 1:07, 1:07, 1:08
10x 50m @ 1:45min - 1:05, 1:10, 1:09, 1:12, 1:09, 1:12, ..... *watch ran out of lap recording*
10x 50m @ 1:30min - average about 1:05/6 ...... last sprint 1:00min. Did not cut 1min. :(

Good night. Last training done before my trip and race. Looking forward to a good 2 week break before Langkawi.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

YF Strides Day 5

I have no idea how I pulled my left butt muscle, but I did. Coach got us to do the one-legged- squat-touch-ground drill. My leg butt was very tight, I just could not go down properly. It was not a muscle pain, but a sharp pull. The kind of locked-tension that felt like the muscle might *twang* if I forced my squat down. I kept stretching in the middle of the drills, but the tightness would not go away. :( I might try rolling over a golf ball tonight.

Anyhow, static drills tonight: 6 sets of:
1. one-legged squat, alternate (L, R, L, R...) x12
2. push-up-kick-leg x12
3. side planks, alternate 30sec each
4. half-squat, alternate leg x12

Then 3x 2.4km
1. Moderate pace: 14:05min = slightly under 6min pace
2. Slightly faster: 12:34min = slightly above 5min pace
3. Tempo: 11:53min = slightly under 5min pace

Oh my poor butt.... why a sharp pain? :(

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Recovery Run

Joined the Safra run tonight and bumped into GY & KM near the Kent Ridge Park. So we got them to join us in the run too. Up the 99-turn then through KR Park and back down Hort Park, Depot Road to club.

GY was so full of energy, chatting away throughout! So much so that KM tried to shut her up. Haha. Graham came for the run too, so all of us had a jovial time over dinner.

Run time: 1:24min
Dist: about 12km

Wow, what a nice recovery run!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My First LSD

My first LSD this year and with MF runners. It has been 6 weeks since I ran anything more than 1.5hrs.

Route for this Sunday (07/02/10):
Club -> Depot Road -> Alexandra Road -> Pasir Panjang Road -> South Buona Vista Road -> Turn left at NUH -> Lower Kent Ridge Road -> Kent Ridge Crescent -> Clementi Road -> Kent Ridge Crescent -> Lower Kent Ridge Road -> Science Park Drive -> Kent Ridge Park -> Go down by Pepys Road -> Pasir Panjang Road -> Telok Blangah Road -> Kampung Bahru Road -> Go up MF -> Go down via Pender Road (~22km) -> Telok Blangah Road -> Telok Blangah Rise -> Club (~26km)

Route map:

I was so tired last night, cumulative lack of rest. I had no rest days since last Saturday and could feel the fatigue by then. I slept at 10:30pm!

We started off the run this morning at a good pace. There were several runners, many of whom were training for HKSCM. I chatted with Yong in the beginning. He kept asking when I was qualifying for Boston. Muahahaha, I nearly tripped at that suggestion. Me, a never-sub-4-before runner? For laughs and amusement. :)

Both my feet were sore. Left sole had not recovered, though much better. Right arch was tight and aching. Then I had a stiff neck from a bad pillow posture last night and could not turn my head to the right. Oh my... how to run?

I took an incredibly long time for the run. I stopped for a toilet break at NUS Comp-cen. Somehow I always slowed down on the exit route out of NUS (to NUH and Kent Ridge Park). I was walking up the KR Park slope, when Ong ran past me from behind. He was doing an extra loop. On the way down Pepys and Pasir Panjang Rd, I was so flat, I needed fuel. So I bought a HL low-fat chocolate and drank it. And filled my bottle with chilled Gatorade.

Then I contemplated cutting short the run, but decided to grit it through. I finished unglamourously in 3:04h run-time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Morning Ride

The grand plan was for us (Alber, Melvin and I) to meet with some friends at Longhouse in the morning for a 60km ride. SL said we would follow the Joyriders' route but at our own pace. The mere word "Joyriders" struck panic....

Well, as it turned out, we were 5min late and they had left. So... did not know what the intended route was. So we just did the only route familiar to us - Mandai! From Longhouse to Casuarina to Columbarium and Mandai Road (about 9km) where we did our usual loops. 2 loops and we headed back. Total 70km.

My legs were so not cooperative at all, struggling to go up the slopes and keeping a good cadence. I was 40:60 on big:small chain rings. So happy that the ride was over. Yet super guilty because it was such a short ride and I had no chance to clock another long mileage ride. :((

Friday, February 5, 2010

MTI Wheel Deal

We finally got it off, our inaugural MTI Wheel Deal - essentially a bunch of motley crew colleagues on an evening ride to Changi Village for dinner and back.

It rained in the late afternoon as we (Brandon, SiangTse and I) were about to push off and so we had to delay our ride until the weather cleared up. In the end we decided to drive to ECP B1 carpark instead as the delay meant the peak traffic along Nicoll Hwy was building up. Then we waited at the C4 bike rental kiosk for the rest of our colleagues to arrive. Finally, everyone had their bikes, we got our customary group photo, and off we went.

The roadies went on the road (duh...) and the mtbs took the park connector. We agreed to meet at the Changi Village hawker centre for dinner and drinks. The two guys were fast. Brandon had a fully customized bike, very interesting - steel frame, carbon handle bars & fork, and a single front deraileur (only the small chain ring). Wow!

Everyone made it safely to the Changi Village hawker centre and refueled. I left earlier with the mtbs because I wanted to be back sooner. So I rode by myself on the return road. It was a nice cool evening, although traffic was a wee tight along the ECP hawker & seafood centre stretch. Finally made it back to my car about 10pm. Total: 50km.

Whew... and I had another ride tomorrow morning. *tired*

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Butty Swim

My butts, oh my poor butts. They were aching after all the one-legged squats we did last night. I was dragging and shuffling my feet today because my butts were too sore to lift my legs. Well ok, a bit of exaggeration... I told Coach at the pool and he was surprised that even I was aching. Uh yes... I do not normally do squats like that...

Lane 1 for tonight, whew. My butt and hamstring muscles almost cramped in the initial laps. Then I adjusted my kicks and tried to glide more. Not too bad, saved some energy by trying to float longer. Graham led our lane tonight, then there was a big-sized guy. I alternated with Alex next in the swim-line positions. The big-sized guy provided very good drafting bubbles, I could match his pace and be propelled by those bubbles!

6x 200m - 4:35min, 4:41, 4:38, 4:33, 4:39, 4:38 -- Told Alex, wow, every set's a PB! *pant*

6x 100m @ 2:45min (slowly) -
2:23min, 2:25, 2:22, 2:23, 2:22, 2:23

7x 100m @ 2:30min (faster) -
2:11min, 2:17, 2:17, 2:21, 2:20, 2:19, 2:18

4x 50m @ easy - So I took my time to glide, glide, glide
(missed the 1st timing), 1:14min, 1:07, 1:14

4x 50m @ hard - aka sprint -
1:01min, 1:08, 1:05, 1:07

Whew, after all the "... and.. go, go, go...", the best was "... ok you can go...".

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

YF Strides Day 4

Session today was so tiring. We had to rush through the drills because we had to do more run today.

Core exercises - 5 sets non-stop:
Push-ups, planks, leg-raisers, one-leg squats (one-leg squat, touch the ground with fingers, and stand up)

Drills -
High cadence, high knees, kick butts

Run - 3x 2.4km on track
My hamstrings and quads were so tired from the drills and yesterday's MF run. The run was really an effort, I could barely make it through the laps even as I tried to keep each lap under 2min.

1st set - 11:57min
2nd set - 11:45min
3rd set - 11:55min

Totally flat out.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MF Loops

Tired, but still persevered to complete 6x MF loops in exactly 1:00h. Not the fastest loops, there were many tour buses and I had to go on the (longer) pavement. And then on some loops I just had to stop and walk a bit, but oh heck....

1- 10:08min
2- 9:56
3- 10:17
4- 10:40
5- 10:10
6- 9:41

Super tired, yawn....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Swim *gasp*

Monday class is always fast. Lane 4 comprised folks like Adrian, so by the time we cascaded down, I ended up in Lane 2 with fast swimmers. It was a gasping swim most of the way. After the first set, I moved to Lane 1. Breathe.

6x 200m (with countless of lane merges & forgotten distances)
4:32min, 4:47, xxx, 4:07, 4:35, 6:20??

Moved to Lane 1, 8x 100m @ 2:30min:
2:11, 2:21, 2:23, 2:22, 2:19, 2:24, 2:21

3x 200m @ 6min slow swim:
4:54, 4:56, 5:05

8x 50m sprint @ 1:45min:
1:03, 1:03, 1:05, 1:04, 1:03, 1:02, 1:01, 1:00