Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Evening 10ks

Term break for now, free of evening classes until mid-August. Time to recharge and focus attention on getting my backlog of work cleared up.

Joined in the club's run last night, 11km with Alber, relaxed. MF 10km + 1 loop. Ran another 10km tonight on my own around the club - 2 loops around Telok Blangah. Lost in thoughts about stuff that I needed to finish tonight for tomorrow's work. Will be away this weekend in Krabi and trying to get some work out of the way so that I would not be the bottleneck.

I think I much prefer morning runs - IF I can wake up early enough for a decently comfortable run, aka 1-ish hour. Legs often feel so much fresher and lighter in the mornings, and my mind is always cleared up after that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Annual PD Triathlon 2012

Time for our annual drive up to Port Dickson for the triathlon race (OD of 1.5k/ 40k/ 10k) over the weekend. My last race was exactly 1 year ago at PD, just before school started. Since then, I swam once (at Safra pool) and never touched my bicycle saddle. Ha! Only tuned my bike 3 days before the race and off we went. I think I should be able to complete the race, swimming and cycling were kind of 'mechanical' memory - slow but would not forget. It was my first chillax weekend after a crazy week, I was just beginning to switch mental modes.

We stayed at the Regency Apartments 1.8km away from the official hotel, Admiral Pavilion, which was fully booked. It turned out good because they did not have our rooms and upgraded us (4 pax) to a 4-bedroom apartment, each with attached bathroom! Obviously, my group was not as concerned with the race than the food. We had 'tze-cha' (aka stir-fry) seafood meals throughout the stay - 3 sumptuous meals, one for each of the race discipline. Way too much food.

As testimony of my (and fellow travel companions) lack of race experiences in the past year, (a) I forgot my race belt, and (b) my Timex watch strap broke - it was such a trusty but worn-out well-thrashed watch. Awww.....

For (a), I almost bought a new belt, when Wee Haur and Sok Hwa suggested that I use the string from the race pack paper bags instead. Great idea, saved money. For (b), I looked for duct tape to mend it but no one brought it (we would typically bring along many tools for a race,... if it was an important event...). Luckily Melvin had a Garmin, so he lent me his Timex. It was a Men's watch so it was not very fitting, but good enough, it was not sliding along my forearm.

Morning of the race, another boo-boo. My goggles were a tad loose, which I only realised the implications after the race began. Water seeped in, so I either had to close my eyes when I surfaced to breath for front crawl (cos a sideway head tilt would send water into eyes). Breast stroke was fine, so I used a combination of both. And treaded water twice to clear goggles.

The weather was cooling until the run, so the bike was at least enjoyable. I could still clip into my cleats and not fall off. I think 40km was about the max I could get away with without training. I would certainly need some butt time if I wanted to do a half-IM distance of 90km.

The run was the best part of the race. My legs did not cramp after the ride, courtesy of the great weather. So I was able to ease into the run and then pick up speed. We ran through sand and bits of trail-like dirt track. About 2.5km to the finish, Alber came out to look for me and paced me back. So I actually ran (like panting run). The distance, according to Melvin's Garmin, was only 8.9km though.

Time recorded by Trusty Timex:
Swim - 43m24s
T1 - 5m58s
Bike - 1h30m
T2 - 3m04s (best lap time according to Timex =P)
Run - 51m32s
Total - 3h14m47s
All in, a fun post-exam race. Definitely survived the race, and almost could not survive the feasts! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Mega Crazy Capstone-cum-Running Week

I could not even begin to count how crazy this week had been.

We had a Major Capstone Exam. An 8h long paper with a Pass/ Fail grade - my Prof said that it was impossible to fail, and I would take his word for it. But I would still have to put in the minimal readings and preps. So I was on study leave for a a couple of days to coop myself up at home and mug. I must say that my place is really nice and quiet to be focused and productive. In between the mugging, I squeezed in times for runs and clocked a fair bit of mileage this week.

Let's see,

Mon - ran in the morning 1.5h before dashing to school for a study group, then back home, worked a bit, and out for a class dinner. After the long runs over the weekend, I was surprised that my legs could still push and go fast, so I covered more ground this morning within my usual duration.

Tues - again, dashed a quick 50min, cut 2min before heading to work. Then home to study.

Wed - clocked a 2h through the evening trails in the nice, cool post-rain weather. Back to the books.

Thurs - Capstone! Survived! Desperately need a mental break. So another 1.5h in the evening, this time on the road to avoid the mega-downpour in the day.

Fri - Mad rush at work, then off to Valedictory Dinner and my last chance to see my foreign classmates, who were graduating and returning home this weekend. And to pack for my PD Race trip tomorrow.

Literally madness. Average of 2am bedtime each day.
Did not know howI survived, but I did. Whew!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Ipoh (not) Weekend

Sigh... the guys are away in Ipoh for a half-marathon-cum-weekend-trip, and I'm stuck at home supposedly preparing for my Capstone exam on Thursday. It's a 9h paper (!) and the school has catered two tea breaks and a bento lunch for each of us. Such love... And to prepare for that, each of us has an one-inch binder of a case study on a Thai industrial estate that faced an environmental disaster. Something like that. Obviously the readings were so dry that I have not gone past 20% of it.

Meanwhile, to make up for my 2nd 'lost trip' because of exams (argh!), I just had to clock my long, long runs. I seldom have the chance to get a 30km in over the weekend, simply because it takes up an incredible amount of time.

So on Saturday, despite waking up terribly late, I headed off at 11am (ahem... sheepish) and aimed to do a 2-loop in MR and back. The weather turned out nice and cool actually. It was slightly hot on my way to MR, and then it turned cloudy. On my first loop, I heard thunder but missed the rain. Bumped into WH at the visitor lobby, he had finished his run. The skies had cleared, so I thought it was ok to go for my second loop. Halfway through, and the rain started again. I was between wet from sweat and wet from rain. The run was vastly different from my previous attempt - the difference in having breakfast or not. I was equipped this time with some chocolatey snacks, but did not have to activate them. I actually managed to run throughout. On the contrary, the snacks attracted a snarly monkey which tried to snatch them from me. Run done, ~ 33km.  Happy. Back home, back to readings.

Did another long run this morning, managed to wake up earlier and get home by noon. It drizzled, which cooled the weather for a bit. and then the sun came out strong again. I was more drenched today than yesterday - a toxic mix of sweat and raindrops. ~ 23km. Ok, back to the boringly dry readings...