Saturday, July 31, 2010

Problem Knee

There weather was wonderful for training this morning. I met George, his gf June, Jacq, Dennis and Mano for a run at MR. We ran the usual 10km route but in the reverse direction that I typically did. Interesting, because the slopes and stones felt different, and I was a little disoriented. I could have sworn that the rocks and stones seemed sharper, perhaps from the recent heavy showers. Really! I jogged along with Dennis and we chatted all the way about housing grouses. What a topic.

We finished a loop, the rest of them stopped while I went for another loop. But this time in my usual direction. The first 5km felt good. Then the problem began. My right knee felt locked, which happened frequently recently. I felt it on any runs more than an hour. Argh. So I stopped, stretched, rubbed, and continued. And I had to stop a couple of times. To the extent that I went to the fitness corner and did a massive stretch-down. It went from a locked feeling, to pain. Not acute sharpness, but enough discomfort with every running step that I gave up and walked the last 2km back to the end point. The stroll eased the pain somewhat, I guess there was much less impact. Still, I was not able to exert power through the knee, semi-limping. :(

I managed to get Victor for an emergency massage. Strangely, my knee felt worse after the shower and drive to his office. I could not bend it, as one naturally would when walking. I could only keep a very straight leg and walked awkwardly. After lots of rubbing and kneading, I was able to bend and flex my knee somewhat. But walking a short distance brought back the soreness and pain.

Sigh. I guess it will be a swimming week ahead. I think I probably would not be able to pedal and exert force through my knee with each pedal stroke. Sigh sigh.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Non-Productive Week

The only thing I did this entire week was a run on Tues at Safra. A recovery run of 14km, really really slowly. Last one. My quads were still aching that evening from the Port Dickson race cramps. And my right knee kept locking up. I stopped to stretch it many times. Was it my landing, my posture or...? Something was causing that routine 'locked-ness'.

And so tonight I went for the remedial swim class. Drills were tough. We did many body roll drills across lengths and across laps. Coach said I was still splashing and fighting with the water as my hands entered. And then to close my palms, all the way. And not to cross my centre line as they entered. There was a lot to remember!

The skies started drizzling again. Hopefully there will be fine weather tomorrow and I can have a good trail run.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Port Dickson International OD Triathlon 2010 - Race Day

Race Day (25 July 2010)

The morning schedule was as such:
5am: Hotel breakfast starts
6am - 7am: Body marking
715am: Close of transition area
730am: First wave flag off

6am - My alarm went off at 5am and was immediately silenced. We did not wake up until 6am. I had brought my own instant oat breakfast, and thought that I would skip the hotel spread. Alas, no bowl or spoon! Mild panic.... We got dressed, and decided to bring down everything to the transition area first.

6:15am - Arrived at transition area. Placed my bike on the rack and did my body marking.
6:30am - Went to the hotel restaurant and happily found cereals, wholemeal bread, and peanut butter. :)) Reminded self that it was a 3h-plus race, do NOT over-eat.
6:50am - Back to transition area to retrieve my goggles, swim-cap and set my gear for the race.
7:00am - Toilet.
7:15am - In the sea, testing out my new goggles. Tension ok. Good, ready to go!

Uncle Chan flagged off the participants in waves. The men in different age categories. Then all the ladies, together with the veteran males. The horn sounded and off we went.

Swim - The water was very calm this year, unlike last year's choppy state. This was like the first time I took part in 2008. I reminded myself to pull properly and have closed palms. Some swimmers took a 'shorter' turn and did not go around the big buoy marking. It was significantly shorter, and that would have given them 1-2 min lead. I had more integrity than that, and went around the buoys on my left. I took 21min to reach the u-turn buoy. Again, some swimmers just cut through in front of the buoy. Argh... Ignoring them, I did what I was supposed to and continued. Along the way I kept colliding with a few swimmers, and tried to draft others. Then I gave up, and overtook them. I soon caught up with the tail-end of the male swimmers in the wave before us. People were unsure if they should finish within the 2 rows of buoys, or outside. Whatever, as long as we reached the Finish sign on the beach. Siew Ling was out of the water the same time. Well done! It was her first OD, and she was worried about the swim. Swim time: 39min. Woohoo! Similar to my pool time! :)

Bike - The run from the beach to the transition area took some time, and putting on my shoes, helmet etc took me a total of 5min. No good... I mounted my bike and gave chase. The weather was holding up tremendously well. Overcast with no sun nor rain, and mild tail winds that pushed me upslopes. The cycling route was a nice one with long rolling slopes, long enough for one to build momentum for the next upslope. I went on my small chain ring most of the time, except for zooming downslope. I made the mistake of using my water bottle instead of the aero bottle, which meant that I had to slow down a little each time I wanted to drink, breaking the momentum. :( It felt so different mentally, cycling 40km vs 180km! It was a blast to see the speedometer counting to 40km so quickly, 10 down, another 10, u-turn, another 10, finishing. Bike time: 1:23h.

Run - T2 took me 2 min. The weather was still cool and nice that I decided to forego my water bottle. I took a pack of powergel with me from the bike, and ran off. I felt some cramps in my left quad, and had to go conservatively. Small shuffles, high cadence. I took half of my powergel. All the way for the first 5km. I saw many friends along the way, but all of them were in the opposite direction. The guys were on their way back, having been flagged off early. So many hi!s, good job, hi-fives. The running route had 2 slopes per 5km, and was in the 'away-direction' from the cycling route. It was much better than running in the open highway as we did in 2008. I shuffled my way to the u-turn. 25/26min. I took the remaining powergel, then attempted to open up my strides & run tall on the return stretch. Passed a few friends, and carried on. Left quad was almost cramping now, but I could not stop. My watch read 2:40plus. Perhaps I could aim for a close-to sub-3h? I ran on. Near the finishing chute, I tried to sprint but could only manage wider strides. Run time: 50/51min. (According to Melvin, the distance was only abt 9.23km, not 10km.)

Swim: 39min
T1: 5min
Bike: 1:23h
T2: 2min
Run: 51min
Total: 3:01/02 (plus all the seconds +++)

Official Timing:
0:40:55, 1:23:57, 0:54:08, Total 03:01:59h.
Hmmm.... I wonder where the transition timings go?

Great improvement over previous years of 3:30 and 3:14h. But! That extra 1-2min to a sub-3! Ooops!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Port Dickson International OD Triathlon 2010 - Pre-race

Pre-Race (Sat 24 July 2010)

My 3rd PD triathlon! This year we drove up in a convoy of 21 cars (!) with my Yellowfish training mates. The lure of food in Malacca on the way back was the main reason why we drove instead of taking the coach arrangements with Alvin. In true-blue Singaporean fashion, food, quickly & easily, replaced the race as THE reason for the trip.

We set off on Saturday morning from Tuas Checkpoint. Kat did an incredible job of issuing car number stickers and walkies to each vehicle. It was like Operation Walkie-talkies, the last time I saw such heavy duty equipment was on a mountaineering expedition...

The drive took about 5 hours with 2 meal stops in between. We arrived at the Admiral Cove hotel (the official race hotel) and did our race registration before checking into the rooms. Every Malaysian race was like a big social outing and gathering for us Singaporeans. There was a jovial atmosphere at the hotel as almost everyone knew everyone else. Some friends whom we only 'saw' on Facebook but never in Singapore, we would catch up with them in person at these races.

We collected our race kits and went to our room. It was the first time that I was in this hotel and it was a good choice. Nicely furnished spacious suites overlooking the Marina and sea. The swim-route was right outside our window! I quickly unpacked and took a nap. It had been such a long day.

We met Chua, Lee, WeeHaur & Gary for dinner, skipping the official carbo dinner (word had it that the food was bad). The guys had to have their stouts, so we drove to some random Chinese seafood place. The food was surprisingly good, much better than the one near our hotel, where most race participants would visit. Then it was back for a quick check of race gear, and off to bed. There was a lot less to prepare compared to an IM, and strangely, that felt a little discomforting.... like something was amiss.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taper Slow

We did a short tapering run today. 5km around club-harbourfront-MF. I tried on my new DS Trainer, and went really really slowly. Actually, slow because my legs were still 'crampy' from last night. I was not very used to the lack of cushioning on the DS Trainer. They felt too close to the ground with their low profiles. I would probably use my Mizuno racers rather than these for the Port Dickson race this weekend.

I'm looking forward to the drive and race. Glorious food in Malacca on the way back!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Run & Cramp

Track session. 4x 1200m, alternating with 4x 1200m with drills. (run 300m, drill 100m)
I tried my best to keep to a 6min/ set (ie 5min pace), but somehow my legs were not cooperating. Almost cramped on the drills. I had to sit out 2 sets of drills. :(

Even then, it was a struggle to maintain 6min.
5:52min, 6:03, 6:14, 5:53. Something like that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tempo Run

I discovered that the nice stretch in Canterbury area makes quite a good tempo run. It's not all flat - there are 2 short rolls - but it's almost traffic-free. Great for going non-stop at a consistent pace, with good air. Each round is slightly below 4km, which is a just-nice distance for tempos. The only problem is that it gets dark and there's a stretch that's very difficult to see in night vision. But if one can start early, say before 630pm, it's a good training. :)

I had a good tempo run tonight, thanks to the wonderfully cool weather. We ran into Canterbury and attempted 3 rounds. First round including the lead-in from Safra: 34:09min. I managed 17:58min exactly (!) for the subsequent 2 rounds, with a 2min rest in between each set. Then we did a slow trot back to Safra. Ahh, felt good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Swim

I had a good swim tonight. Tried to practise the 'closed palm' pull that Coach pointed out - my problem area.

5x 200m @ 5min: 4:33, 4:52, 5:05, 4:46, 3:33 (150m)

6x 100m @ 2:45min: 2:18, 2:20, 2:27, 2:18, 2:17, 2:17

5x 100m @ 3min: 2:22, 2:26, 2:24, 2:24, 2:33

1x 50m easy: 1:15

3x 50 sprint: 1:06, 1:14, 1:09

Fish Soup Sign

The cleaning auntie suddenly showed up at my lunch table:

Auntie: I was dieting. (proudly, pointing to my fish-soup)
PS: uh-huh.
Auntie: I lost kgs. (still smugly, still pointing)
PS: uh-huh.
Auntie: And I'm still losing weight. (very pleased with herself)
PS: ??!!?!?! (wonders why she thought I needed that information... a sign!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sea & Land

The sea was especially choppy & chilly at various places today. We did an hour of warm-up before hitting the 1.5km trial. I skipped the 1.5km though, had to hurry through a run because friends were waiting for me.

Did a very brief 1h-odd run, abt 10km. From F2 - NSRCC - park connector - brink of coastal road, and turned around. It drizzled throughout the run, very cool weather. But somehow I could not run fast either. :(

Went for mee siam @ Cafe Royals with my YF friends, and then to Udders next door with Alber, Adam and Yean. The tried various flavours and ended with a scoop of decadent 'mao shan wang' durian ice cream. Ooooh. (For the record, I only had 1 chocolate scoop)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Remedial Class

Val, SL and I were called back for remedial lessons. Friday was a beginner's class, and we used the shallow training pool at Katong. And we did drills width-wise, not length-wise. Some of those drills I had almost forgotten about them. Back to basics. And... twist... twist... twist... side kicks and rolls.

I didn't realise that it was so difficult to swim through shallow waters until we had to do 50m laps! It was like putting in extra effort to stay afloat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jelly Arms

Coach made us do 100m the whole night. 6x 100m (hard + easy), 6x 100m (easy), 6x 100m (hard). Then 2x 50 recovery. 4x 50 sprints.

It was a night of endless catching up, and merging, and cursing under water.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Stomach didn't feel good, almost crampy. True enough, my intervals suffered.

800m hard - 3:40min, 3:44, 3:50, 3:59, skipped a set, needed the restroom.

1200m race pace - 6:06min, 5:59, 5:59, 5:58
Somewhat redeemed myself.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hopeless Demoralizing

7x Telok Blangah 'shorter' loops - up the usual, and Fig-8-round the carpark.

I just did not feel up to it. Breathing, steps, legs. Everything was not in sync. Each round got slower and slower. It was a real struggle to hang on and finish 7 loops. Hopeless... I was lapped more and more until I was last. Lovely....

Times- 6:05; 6:30; 6:39; 6:43; 7:13; 6:37; 6:43

Sigh... so demoralizing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


We totally overslept for the run this morning. 8am run. 8am woke up. Uh oh... Informed the guys to go ahead, while I rushed down to MR.

Managed to run 2 loops, in a bit of a struggle. Could not fathom the thought of finishing 50km, fast, in an even more unforgiving terrain. Arrgh....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sputtering Ride

We tried a different route to Mandai today. I brought the guys from my house to BB East Ave 6, Ave 8, out to BB Road and to 10-mile Junction.

Distance from the revised route to Mandai Shell = 12.5km
It was a nicer route than Upp BT because we had a relatively flat & fast stretch along BB Road. The other section with heavy traffic was into Choa Chu Kang, just before 10-mile Junction.

We did 2 loops in Mandai - 26km each.

Then we retraced the same way back. Alas some stretches were wet, the aftermath of rain. And one particular are along the residential CCK estates, the rain came down rather hard, with buses splashing water all over us. But when we reached BB, it was clear skies!

We rode directly to Rodalink to tune the guys' bikes. Total distance approx 78km.

I think we will take a while more to build up the mileage to 100 and beyond.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Rainbow Run

I did an easy run tonight. Our training route was 11km, a rare break! I decided to give my legs a rest after the past 2 days of hill & track. Along the way at Tanglin/ Alexandra, we sighted a large & brilliant rainbow. Its arc was so wide and full, it was gorgeous! Of course there was no pot of gold at the end. Or I was too slow & missed it. Post-run, I gathered from the many Facebook postings that the same rainbow had been sighted all over the island by several runner-friends. How beautiful!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good Track

First class of Strides tonight. I had a good track workout, probably because it was the first class.

Coach said "introductory" today.

Drills - 4 sets:
Jumping jacks x20 of 4 counts
Push-ups x12
Leg raise x2 of 30sec
Plank x2 of 30sec

Run. This semester we will be focusing more on distance and pace, in preparation of the year end marathon... even though I am not taking part.

For our group, we were to run 3 sets of: 400m @ 3min, 800m @ 6min, 1600m @ 12min. ie, run + recovery within the stated time. I was able to keep a consistent pace and still breathe. For unknown reasons, my legs felt rather fresh and strong tonight.

1st set:
400 - 1:38min
800 - 3:51min
1600 - 8:13min

2nd set: 1:34; 3:50; 8:12

3rd set: 1:40; 3:55; 8:07

Approx 5min pace I think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Labrador Hills - That Wobbly Feeling

That unfamiliar wobbly feeling. Long lost and relived tonight. We ran loops at Labrador Hills, in an counter-clockwise direction. Because Jimmy claimed that there were 3 dogs somewhere along the route, though I did not understand how reversing the direction would make the dogs 'disappear'. The counter-directional route had a shorter but steeper slope vs our usual gradual but long slope.

45min OTOT. My pacing was all wrong, went out fast and slowed by about 20sec per subsequent set. I managed to finish 5 sets - 7:42min, 8:23, 8:44, 9:04, 9:02, 9:00. My legs felt like jelly after that, and I was totally drenched. A very unfamiliar sensation. Then we jogged back to club, up the Henderson slope where my legs really died.

I had some pain on my left ankle/ heel. Could not tip-toe and support my weight. Something felt locked. Ouch.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Swim Re-acquainted

First day of swim class. I might have forgotten how to swim. Coach wasted no time in re-acquainting everyone with the water. Drills and drills to warm up.

Then 200m - 100m fast, 100m easy. He gave us a target of 2:05min + 3:30min. 5 sets, plus 100m sprint. Ahh, we missed the first target right from the first set. Oops.

200m - 5:03min, 5:07, 5:16, 5:17, 5:20
100m - 2:29

Followed by 5x 100m in 3min - 2:27, 2:33, 2:33, 2:40, 2:34

5x 50m 'sprint' - 1:07, 1:16, 1:18, 1:20, 1:09 (and I thought I was going fast...)

4min treading water

Yeah! Felt good to be back in the water.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mud Pool

Ran with Lai Chee at MR this morning. The heavy rain yesterday left us a muddy playground and we splished splashed our way through. It was a nice easy run, at conversational pace. We chatted throughout the run. LC was on a recovery run, and I was fresh from not having done anything in the week!

The path from MR towards Rifle Range was closed for renovation until 5-Nov. Hmm... did that mean that TNF race might have a slight change in route? We detoured and went up part of the Treetop walk wooden bridge to rejoin the mud path. It became really muddy when we went towards Zhenghua. No choice, had to step right into the mud puddles. There were many MTB cyclists gathered around Zhenghua Park. It was really impressive to see them handle their bicycles over the obstacle-laden trails (obstacles to me...).

LC's Garmin beeped reminders every km. We carried on back to MR, this time turning into the reservoir after the pipe-drain (instead of the wooden bridge). Still chatting. We finished our run approx 23km, and saw Sok Hwa and Teacher Lee in the carpark. It was a good run in a superb cool weather. Ahhh.... Enjoyable.