“What day is it?" "It's today," squeaked Piglet. "My favorite day," said Pooh.

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Wanderlust

Last December, after spending 7 days in Tokyo and seeing the majestic Mt Fuji, I felt that I’ve rejuvenated enough and was ready to go home. After all, home is really where the heart is. But, within 3 days of starting school, I found myself on travel websites and checking out plane tickets again! So here I am, barely two months into the new year, and plane tickets to 3 different destinations have been bought already. Starting with Hong Kong this weekend where I’ll be running the half marathon and hopefully I’ll get to see more of the city than I did the last time since this time I have a local guide! Thought of treating it like just another LSD but was told that I should run harder since I’m flying all the way there.  (My retort is that since I’m flying all the way there I must maximise my time spent on the race course, haha) Oh well, I’ll just see how I’m feeling on that day then I’ll decide. 

Happy 2014!

Started off the new year doing 2 things that I enjoy the most – staying up late and running. Which when done together is not a good idea at all. On the cab to Punggol Park, I could barely keep my eyes open and had the usual “what did I get myself into” doubts. Didn’t help that I didn’t check the venue properly and told the taxi uncle “Punggol Waterfront Promenade” instead of “Punggol Park” – that’s at least 5km away.

Finally reached the correct venue and phew, I wasn’t late. Everything was so well-organised, from the bib collection, baggage deposit, introduction of pacers and lining up systematically, etc. The route is also one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen so far!

During the registration, we were asked about our pb and target timing. I put 46min for both, but I didn’t expect everything to be published on the internet for the whole world to see. Haha, not that I mind. Our bib numbers were also arranged according to our target times.

However, in order not to dig myself into an even bigger hole, I decided not to push at all. I wore a heart rate monitor and set the alarm so that it would beep whenever my heart rate exceeded 153. It beeped several times and I considered turning the alarm off halfway. But I decided to be disciplined and stick to the plan. I just hoped that everyone else didn’t have to wait to long for me to finish! In the end, I covered the entire distance in 64min, drank a can of 100plus edge, a bottle of newater, and had 2.5 slices of carrot cake. What a great start to the year!

The only downer was that less than half of the 250 registered people turned up. The organisers limited the no. of ppl to 250 and 80 were placed on the waiting list. I guess that’s what happens when something is free. Next year (if it takes place again) it’s gonna cost money which will be donated to charity. That’s a better idea I guess. Kudos to Mileage for this community outreach initiative!

T for TRX and Torture

For a long while I’ve heard of this thing called TRX but I’ve always deemed it too hardcore for me. Basically, it’s like doing exercises using something that looks like a noose – how much more unfriendly can it get?

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But this morning I got signed in as a guest at a gym and I got to try a TRX class for the first time. Expectedly, I went into the class early and choped the perfect corner position right at the back, away from the eyes of everybody. Not that I think it made any difference anyway. The most worrying thing is, my arms were tired and almost trembling 5mins into the class! Haha, thankfully, after a while I realised that I was doing it wrongly so it eased the stress on my arms a little. Phew. But still, it is one of the hardest exercises I’ve ever done and it totally exposed my weaknesses when I couldn’t hold a plank for more than 10secs, darn. The good thing about the class was that we could do all the exercises according to our own abilities. Eg. we were given 1min to do as many reps of each exercises that we could manage. So for a newbie like me, I could just do 3 reps and then wait for the 1min to be up or collapse onto the mat, haha.

Would I do it again? Hmm, it depends on whether I can get out of bed when I wake up tomorrow morning!

SCMS

The above title is a total misnomer because while the horn went off (both the false-start and the subsequent one), I was still in dreamland.

Everything was still good 2 weeks before the run. Not as fit as before but I felt healthy and all ready to go. I felt good after the GE21k, no aches nor much fatigue, so I continued the running normally the following week. I guess “feel” is not a good gauge sometimes, cos a week later my legs felt overtrained and I started getting the not-so-good aches at many places.

It’s the second consecutive year I’ve managed to get myself into bad shape while training for a marathon. I wouldn’t consider it a failure because each time I tried, I learnt new things about myself. Or rather, I discovered what doesn’t work for me (help!! The list is getting longer and longer!!).

So, I’m going back to basics and reverting back to my good old favourite style of running. Hope it works, we’ll see!

Great Eastern Women’s Run

This is one event that I’ve been signing up for every year, with the exception of this year. For a reason that I can’t quite pinpoint, I love all-women’s races. Hmm, nicer, more feminine event tees? Better goodie bags? More post-run food + fun activities? Not having men around and hence more empty routes? I have no idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly fine running with men, just that…I can do without them sometimes. heh heh.

I went through a not-interested-in-races phase this year, but I saw a bib available on fb and subsequently my friend told me to pace her, so I thought that was going to be a very fun experience! It was fun, but totally not in the way I expected it to be. Her longest run was about 13k, and she said her pb from sometime ago was 1:52, so I thought it was going to be manageable. 5:15 pace isn’t “easy” but I wouldn’t have to dig deep to keep up (hopefully).

What she didn’t say, though, was how she’s been regularly cycling and gymming. (I also forgot that she used to be in her school’s cross-country team). So I had no way to respond when she zoomed off right at the start, except a feeble “too fast!” Thankfully, she did not follow my advice and went ahead. 

When I was all set to do a 5:15 pace, it was terribly difficult to suddenly switch gear to run faster. The massive power of the mind! So I told myself I’d go with the current 5:15ish until 10th km and decide what to do from there. Either I would’ve caught up with her by then, or I’ll have to speed up and catch up over the next 11km. 

The run was so enjoyable. Cool and windy, the best kind of weather that we can wish for in Singapore. But my only gripe is the darkness. It was like running in a twilight zone, not being able to see my surroundings and watch my steps sometimes. Besides, it’s been so long since I last raced, I wasn’t really sure what to think about when I’m running. So my thoughts automatically shifted to the marathon in 3 weeks time. Eeks, it’s only 3 weeks away and I still feel like I have no aerobic fitness. Hmm, not a good thing to think about, since it’s something I can’t do anything about at the moment, so I quickly banished that thought and focused on…nothing. I got so lazy at some parts that my pace per km slowed to 5:20+++ including the walk breaks at water points. 

10km came soon enough, and it was time to start chasing to catch up with my friend. Since I agreed to pace her prior to the run, I had to at least catch up and finish together (more to save face lah). Thankfully, I brought along a gel with me so I ate it for extra energy boost. I was ready to chiong! What I did was to target each girl in front of me, and overtook them one by one until I saw my friend. After seeing her a huge distance away at one of the u-turn points, this finally happened near the 20km mark. Phew! Potential huge embarrassment averted! So all was well and we finished together slightly below 1:49. PB for her and a great workout for me as a result!

Afterthoughts:

Compared to other races I’ve done previously, I managed to recover pretty well for this one, by making sure I drank enough the day before and after the run, and forcing myself to eat the banana right after the run no matter how much I felt like eating ice-cream instead. I did have the ice-cream, but after getting the nutrients in from the banana first. Also was kiasu and went straight to the massage tent. Not sure if it helped cos it was a rather half-hearted one. Oh well, no complaints, it was free for us anyway. 

However, I also realised that I am totally not ready for a full marathon. At this stage of marathon training, I ought to be feeling much fitter and running should feel much easier than this. Of course I will not miss SCMS, but that means I have to be realistic and adjust my plan for the day so I can finish with dignified race photos at least. BQ will have to wait til another time then!

Feel-good running

This is my 3rd week (or issit 4th? I don’t remember) of consistent running, and sometime mid-week I suddenly felt like my legs belonged to me again, yay! It was a 10k tempo run and I kinda found the “comfortably hard” zone that has been eluding me for such a long time – it was always either one or the other. For the first time in 4 months I managed to go below 50mins! Ok it wasn’t so much the timing that mattered, but the fact that I no longer feel uncoordinated and psychomotor-challenged when I run. Thank God for that!

Hmm, but now I kinda miss the struggle, in a way. Those days where even a 5k easy run felt tough. Oh well, at least I enjoyed the toughness while it lasted.

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