"My Running Blog" Personal Page by bpacker
For those who know me, I've always been a foodie and the thought of running around for long distances and perspiring is as appealing as eating a stale burrito. But in late 05, I started running when my mother fell into a coma, mainly to make myself so tired that I won't have time to wallow in self-pity. I continued running after my mother died and the obsession to run a marathon festered in my mind. Well, I did run my first full length marathon in Dec 06 and the learning journey I took has been fantastic. I still consider myself a novice runner because every new step that I take is a discovery lesson. Along the way, I'll blog about the lessons that I've learnt. Hopefully, it will inspire another person out there who thinks that running is like eating a stale burrito. As for my obsession, it has evolved unhealthily from a Marathon to a Triathlon. I'll continue to feed the obsession till I achieve this in 2008 or 2009.
My running resume
Prior to 2006
Though I am relatively fit, I hated running long distances with a passion since I thought shorter races were more fun! I never ran more than 2.4km since it made me pant like my sister's Chihuahua. Trouble was, I didn't know that running like a certain mouse with a sombrero at the start of a long run was not the way to go. It took some time for hubby (he did his first marathon at 15) to drill some sense into me since I was a stubborn knucklehead. I learnt to start slow and maintain a consistent pace.
Theme for 2006: Run for Experience!
July- Milk Run (8.4k) - 55min - My First Run !
Aug - Army Half Marathon (21k) - 2hr 45min
Sep - Terry Fox Run(9k) - 50 min
Dec - Singapore International Marathon(42k) - 5hr30min
Runs Lined up for 2007
Theme for this year - Niche in favour of Mass Events
June - Orchard Mile Run 1.6km ( 10 June ) - 7min40s
July - Mizuno Wave Run 10km ( 22 July ) - No show:(
Aug - Singapore Bay Run 21K (26 Aug ) - Signed up
Oct- Great Eastern Women's Run 10k ( 21 Oct ) - Signed Up
Oct - New Balance Real Run ( 28 Oct ) - Signed Up
Dec - Standard Charted Marathon? - Got discount!
Standard Charted Marathon 42K ( Hong Kong ) - Feb 08
Equipment - 1) Heart Rate Monitor - Polar RSD200 /
2) iPod Shuffle 2nd Gen
3)Asics Gel Foundation Shoes for the Overpronators!
Jan 07 - I've resumed training and just did 10k ( East Coast ) and 3k ( Botanics ) , 2.4s ( gym ) over the weekend. It's great to start running again, though my timing is not fantastic ( 13min/2.4km) , I just needed the adrenalin pumping in my veins again. On a another note, my marathon pictures just arrived from NZ and it hit me that that I paid almost S$100 for really crappy pictures of myself with no make-up. Never order marathon pictures just after the event. The post adrenaline high makes you a little loopy.
April 07- It's been some time since I've blogged about my pathectic training attempts. Guess the only progress I've made so far in my tri progress was to order a decent tri racing bike (trek equinox, 7 wsd) from the US and force my poor husband to piece it together. Heck, he managed to piece his mountain bike together so a racing bike shouldn't be too far off right? Anyway, this is ergonomically made for a woman's frame so I feel comfortable in this piece of equipment. I'll tell you how it feels after a couple more training runs. In the meantime, here's the specs:
SIZE: 47, 51, 54 cm
WEIGHT: 21.6 lb. (54cm)
FRAME: ZR 9000 alloy aluminum
FORK: Bontrager Race Lite TT, carbon
COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS: Shimano 105 derailleurs, Dura-Ace bar-end 10-speed shifters; Cane Creek 3 brakeset w/ BL2000K levers; Bontrager Race 53/39 cranks, Select Aero wheels, Race Bullhorn w/ Profile Aerolite clip-ons
Anyway, I ended up buying a Trek bike since I refuse to pay USD5K for a Cannondale ( The Trek is no where near that amount!) . Heck, Lance Armstrong did say that it isn't always about the bike right? I hope he is right.
May 07 - Signed up for Mizuno Wave Run 2007 in July. Gotto start training!
May 07 - Just did a 6km run/walk with sailor_p at Marina. It is good to run with a friend sometimes as your pacing will be regulated and the encouragement keeps the spirits up! Maybe we might ask more vters along with us the next time.
We also talked about 1)Pacing 2)Running Form 3)Shoes as we ran. Somehow, it started when we saw a man flapping his hands like a chicken when he ran. Not good, since this will tire him after a while, provide even more wind resistance and possibly injure other runners! Better to keep arms close to your body and swing it in tempo with your stride. A good arm swing, I feel will propel you forward in the right direction. A Chicken Swing will only cause an arm cramp.
Notes from my mentor - I asked Peter about this and he mentioned that it's not so much wind resistance but inertia and wastage of energy.
Jun 07 - Another 6km run with Teresa. It was a good run but my watch beeped like a time bomb throughou the run. Why? Well, I'm now trying to train at 70% of my max heart rate on alternate days and it seems I can't keep to it, even at a slower pace. Guess that speaks a lot about my fitness level (endurance atheletes are supposed to have a slower heart rate even while running an even pace). The beeping must have irritated the hell out of my running partner but I stubbornly kept at it till the end. So why 70%? Well, there's this theory that if you keep at 70% on alternate days ( 80-90% on other days ), your body can recover, get rid of the excess lactic acid, etc and on top of that you condition your heart. So far, I lack the actual discipline to run slower so till my running partner gives me a huge whack on the head, I will try to run slower on my alternate days.
We talked about good earphones for running. Sigh, other than the Sennheiser CX300 in-ear headphones (S$129) which will threaten to blow the bottom of anyone's pockets, there's very few good models. I use the iPod ear buds. Not exactly the best but it will do.
Signed up for the Orchard Mile Run! It's only 1.6km, but speed is a factor here. Since I'm not into dope, I won't do it under 4 min;p Running with sailor_p since she talked me into doing this!
Notes for my running mentors - Guys, I made it at 7min+ , with an average speed of 4min10s per lap. I swear to you I didn't take any dope for this one mile run. Just Jelly Belly Sports Beans. They must have contained caffeine. I felt really hyper during the run and max it out at 80-90% of my max HR although I didn't intend to. Needless to say, I didn't do a burst speed at the end since I was pretty much spent. Now I am wondering how other people sustain this for 50+min to finish their 10k. Pray tell me. If not, i will eat more beans or get octogenarians to push me from behind like today.
Jun 07 - Just when I'm getting all fired up to do my training, I pulled my quadriceps ( right leg ) muscles. Arrrgghh!!! The worst thing of it all is that I don't remember hurting my leg during the run. The doctor told me to lay off training for one whole week. One whole week! On top of that I have to wear a dumb knee guard. Anyway, I was ribbed mercilessly by my trainer after this incident. Looks like I can do a marathon but not a mile. I wonder what went wrong. Well, it's upper body strength training for now.
Notes from my Running Mentor - Peter very kindly explained that I pulled my muscles because I did not do sufficient warming up. Sigh, it looks like even after one whole year of running, I am still making this elementary mistake!
Though I am wearing a knee guard and not looking as chic as I hoped, I am still working out in the gym. Just discovered that I am able to do push-ups ( man style ) . Freaking awesome. Kudos go to my personal trainer, Liz!
Pulling your quadriceps is not fun and I found it out the tough way. Apart from the pain, there is the inevitable recovery period where you cannot RUN. And when that happens, I am forced to concentrate on working on my core (abs), upper arm stregth and flexibility to prevent further injury. Well the good thing is, I can now do proper 'man' push-ups, chin-ups, the 'flying pigeon'(yoga) and other contorted yoga poses. On the minus side, this ability to contort myself have inflicted much horror on my Christian friends. Horror? You might wonder at this stage what religion has got to do with sports. A lot apparently. Faster than I can mutter "zealot" under my breath, these enlighthened friends accused me of trangressing against God for lying in a said Hindu prayer position and proceed to turn me off further by arguing about the whole yoga/christian controversy. Needless to say, I didn't bother arguing with these friends, nor do I bother defending what I love doing. While I recognise their good intention to prevent me from 'sinning', I resisted the temptation to Argue about Faith. Faith is about your own personal relationship with God and if your walk is right, nothing can rock your faith. Definitely not a pose that resembles a pigeon. I think there are worse trangressions in life compared to that. I will continue what I am doing and let the do-gooders yak.
Recovered from my injury and was able to do a very leisurely 10k route around my house and the beach. The day after I went to Bedok Stadium and used the track to calibrate my Polar Watch Distance Tracker. It looks like there was a small error of 0.20m.
Just when I thought I recovered from ze bad leg, it performed badly when I did a leisure run with sailor_p. For some odd reason, it ached and it ached badly and I was unable to finish the route. So, T and I spent the rest of time talking about the other races in Singapore. We noticed that there was at least one running competition per month, building up a exciting runner's crescendo that would built up to a fevered pitch in december ( the marathon month ). There was the Ironman of course, the Woman's 10K run by Shape magazine and Great Eastern, the Terry Fox , the Passion Run, the Osim Tri, etc. Both of us are determined to do the Terry Fox run and we might sign up for the women's run as well. Let's see how it goes.
Both of us signed up for the GE Women's 10K run and Mizuno Wave Run 10K. Afternote: Peter advised me to do cross training, he's right, I ought to brush up on my cycling skills. I still hate cleats, there's never an easy way to dismount without looking like a total idiot.
I met sailor_p yesterday and we had a run along the bay for 8.19km (7.3km/h ) for slightly over an hour without stopping. This was my longest run yet since my quad injury so I think maybe peer encouragement helped a lot! The pace was also comfortable for t, and by comfortable I meant that both of us could still maintain a conversation as we ran. This time our conversation centred around speed calculation and how to do it without any fancy gizmos. The trick is actually to log into www.streetdirectory.com and use their jogging calculator. It tracks the distance for you and if you were to time yourself, you will be able to calculate the average speed (distance/time). This is a great tool for all Singapore runners since it has information on all jogging routes in Singapore.
Flew to HK - I tried my darnest to train in Hong Kong but at 36c and 80% humidity level even at 630am, it was too trying. I couldn't push beyond 5km. Thing was, I admit to being ill-prepared. I should have worn my hydration belt/hat/shades. Still, I am quite pleased they have a nice, new stadium and literally speaking a sports hub near my residence. Big pools, dedicated lanes for cyclists meant that I could do my tri training.
Back to Singapore for the Mizuno Wave Run - Did some speed play (interval training) with sailor_p in Marina. Made my running mate run for dear life at 9-10km/h for 400m and jog at 8km/h for 200m. We did 3.05km in all. It was a refreshing run and quite fun overall.
Mizuno Wave Run Day - I can't believe I'm about to say this but I missed the run. Yes, I woke up at about 6am, bleary eyed, was horrified to see that it was raining cats and dogs and decided, rather stupidly to go back to sleep. I did run in the rain before ( Terry Fox, 06 ) but it was a light drizzle then. Well, by the time I woke up, it was still raining but too late to rush over so I gave T a call. Only to find out that it was fine over there. Yes, Bedok Reservoir is within running distance from my place (10k) and it was not raining there. Stranger things have happened but this takes the cake.
It's an understatement to say that I was upset, since I flew back to town for this. Oh well, to cheer myself up, I did this later in the day
1)Signed up for Singapore Bay Run (21K)
2)Signed up for the New Balance Real Run (15K)
3)Went for a 10k anyway, at Bedok Stadium. I clocked it at 1hr, 5min.
Note for my mentors: Pls don't confirm my status as a cretin. The weather here is somewhat wonky. Still, I'm proud to say that today I pushed my limits and adopted a "not afraid to screw up my training" attitude. I wanted to see if I could maintain a higher speed than normal (9km/hr to 12.5km/h) and I think I did it. Still it is interesting to see my myself getting a runner's high at every 3km, surge in glycogen?
Today sailor_p and me did hill training. In case you're wondering what that is, it's basically running and challenging gravity and feeling every bit of the chicken rice you ate for lunch . Yes, T and I had a hard time with altitude training and even though we were running really slowly (7km/h), we felt the strain on our calves. In between pants, I tried to teach T the chi-running method of doing uphill climbs ( it's like running sideways), sure it takes some getting used to but it saves your knees in the long run.
16 Sep - Well, I'm back in Singapore again, this time to take part in the Run for Hope 2007. Now this run is inspired by the courageous story of Terry Fox, a Canadian teenager, who despite an amputated leg due to bone cancer, ran a 'marathon of hope' across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. Well, Terry Fox's dreams lives on for some for us. Come Sunday, sailor_p, me and our families will be doing the Run For Hope to raise funds for Cancer Research.
And a common reason give us cause to support the run.
Both of us have mothers who are afflicted with Cancer.
Yes, I'm running in memory of my mom who was a Cancer Survivor. She went through the ordeals of chemotherapy and radiation, beat the disease into remission for 20odd years before dying from another unrelated cause ( sudden cardiac arrest ). Sailor_p's mom also contracted cancer earlier this year ( as mentioned in her wedding blog) and we're hoping and praying that she beat the disease too. Well, we think she stands a good chance, with treatment and with your prayers, we are sure she can do it.
Please support the Run for Hope 07 in Singapore and pray for her mom's quick recovery.
Being the shameless person that I am, I've undertaken some guiless Vters under my wing for running. First sailor_p, then jenaikes and hopefully imstress. I'm no record breaker myself and honestly, I can't give myself any credit for the achievements these ladies have been making recently! Take jenaikes for example, she has completed her first 5km without stopping to rest, sailor_p ran non-stop for 10k despite the dammning heat and imstress clocked 34min for 5k. Which is a lot better than me since I waddled through the whole 10k in my post-pms/addled state of mind.
On the day when I left for Hong Kong on 28 Oct 07, I ran a gruelling 15k race somewhere in the wilderness of Singapore. I must admit, this was the first X-terrain run I've ever participated in and the harsh conditions rattled me. Nothing prepared me for the searing Singapore heat on the runway or the narrow, uneven sandy trail strip. Sure, I finished way past my expected timing but I felt good when I completed it. For starters, some $$ was raised for charity and for seconders, I managed to beat some men to the finishing line. Not that many men, but still some men.
If I have to admit it upfront, I enjoy participating in races where there is more men than women. While it is true that I participated in the Great Eastern Women's run the week before, I shun all female races in general and will do it only to encourage my friends. If truth be told, I participated in the GE10k run because of my gd VT pals, J and T. Those 2 inspired me with their new found enthusiasm for running but if it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't have signed up for it, not even for the nice red singlet.
So why the sexism? It's not that I am the fastest runner in the world ( haha, far from it! ) but I crave the high level of professionalism and competition that only inter-male rivalry can generate. There's none of the dumb aerobics warm-up, joking sessions or the condescending- you can do it, it's only a mile! talk before the run begins. Instead, you smell fear and aggression since there's more testosterone in the air. If I were to put a pack of hound dogs at the start line, they'll probably howl their heads off.
There's also no delicate gasp of shock when you cut a participant suddenly/grunt in exhaustion/spit/snot. Yes, runners do indulge in some of those disgusting behaviour, those who claimed they haven't are probably lying. Sure, we don't look a pretty lot when we are competing or running but seeing each other pushing aggressively to the finishing line is helluva encouraging. And since men do run faster in general, you can't lag behind, you are pushed to stretch your limits so you consciously aggress and outrun your competitor.
I'm not saying that all women's races are bad, they aren't. They are a good starting point for women who are first time racers since there is a camaradarie there that you don't see in unisex races. You see women encouraging one another, walking with one another and even holding hands at the finishing line(yes, even the straight ones). And when they finish they hug each other in joy and sometimes cry. I am comfortable with all of that and I do crave it because nothing matters to me more than friendship but when it comes to competitive racing, let me join a race with more men please. I'll wear pink when the time comes, just to show that I run like a girl and I'm proud of it.
The New Balance Real Run 2007 had 10,000 participants. Out of these, 3330 took part in the 15km leg, less than 600 were women.
It's now an understatement that I run quite a bit. Not just in HK but also in Singapore. And when I'm in town, one of my favourite routes is along Singapore River since I'm bound to meet like-minded folks who seem bent on punishing themselves when the weather is fine. Usually when I return from my run, I'll meet an octogenerian on a trishaw at a traffic juncture at the same time and often in a week. He's like an old friend except that we've never spoken. Well, maybe there were a couple of times that we 'interacted' - he always struggles to pedal his vehicle at the Clark Quay/Hill Street juncture and with the help of a couple of passer-bys, I'll help him push the trishaw up the steep incline. Still, I didn't think much about it till I read these reports (see Daily Mail, Asiaone) when I was in HK. I recognised the octogenerian immediately and my blood curdled when I found out that 3 unthinking British sods had bullied and humiliated him.
Since you can read what actualy happened, I won't dwell too much on that incident or do any mud-slinging here. My heart goes out to Mr Lee Shee Lam (the octogenerian) and the graying population in Singapore who have to work hard to eke out a living. Yes, it's costly to live in Singapore these days and unlike other countries, we do not have a welfare system that caters to the less fortunate. We do have charities to fill in the gaps but even so, some of them have been under public scrutiny for misappropriation of funds and the criteria/paperwork needed to qualify for funds can seem daunting for the less educated. So while Singapore becomes a utopia for the capitalistic elite, it can become a nightmare for the less fortunate like Mr Lee.
No amount of mud-slinging on the chickened-brained bullies will help Mr Lee, neither will hundreds of inflammatory hate mails that are already out there. Maybe just before we start pointing our fingers towards the state and start dreaming of grandiose-change-the-world plans, I think I'll start small. I'll say hello to my old friend for once this time, continue to help him push his trishaw at that steep juncture and give him a small hongbao( red packet containing money) this Christmas.
That is, if he does not mind encountering a sweaty runner like myself.
You can do something too. If you are in Singapore, you can look up Mr Lee, use his services so that he'll have a decent pay on that day ( Check this blog for more details) Even if you're not in this part of town, you can still make a small difference to the less fortunate in your country, particulary those who are elderly.
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