Thursday, November 13, 2008

Taking a long break...

Will be hanging up my running shoes for the next 12 months...

Though reluctant, it is for the good of our little precious one -- so as not to subject to too much "bouncing trauma"! TK is afraid that our little precious one will have "run" phobia when s/he joins us next May... hahaha...

Here's a blog to share the marathon-like journey to welcome our life's little joy

Friday, October 10, 2008

Marathon Training

Yesterday, I was attending a technical seminar when a guy came up to me and said "Hello, xiao ding dang"... Blurred for a moment as I cannot recognise him.. A look at his name tag and I realised he is kanglc who joined me for NUS Hill Run. We chatted about his marathon training for the upcoming SCSM. After doing 2 long runs on Sat and Sun, he has developed PF. So I shared with him how me & tktan trained for SCSM.

4 months training of weekly mileage 50-65km
- 1 weekday short run (10-12km)
- 1 weekday short run (13-15km)
- 1 weekday mid-distance run (18-20km) with a day rest after
- 1 weekend long-distance run (24-36km) with 1 day rest before and after
outcome : 3:58 finish time

For all training runs, I'll do it at race pace -- coz I wanna train my body to get accustomed to the breathing, speed and pacing. Add some hill training to work on different sets of muscles for weekday runs. For LD, if you have home ground advantage, train on the actual race route and at the same start time.

Race strategy :-
- start ~ 12km : maintain 5.15min/km pace
* refuel with 1 pack of energy gel 15min before the race start
* refuel with 1 pack of energy gel at 12km
- 12km ~ 30km : maintain 5:30min/km pace
* refuel with 1 pack of energy gel at 22km
- 30km ~ end : maintain 5:45min/km pace
* refuel with 1 pack of energy gel at 32km
* refuel with 1 pack of energy gel at 36km (final boost)

For me, I cannot start slow -- engine will stalled and I am unable to pick up speed later. So I will let go and run at my own unconstrained pace before settling in a comfortable pace.

What works for me may not work for you. So, please train with caution and most importantly, enjoy the run!

P.S. After SCSM, we went on to take part in Nagano Marathon 4mths later. Vary our training schedule as below :-
4 months training of weekly mileage 45-60km
- 1 weekday short run (13-15km) with a day rest after
- 1 weekday mid-distance run (18-20km) with a day rest after
- 1 weekend long-distance(LD) run (24-36km) with 1 day rest before and after
outcome : 4:12 finish time

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nagano Marathon on 15 Apr`07 (Sun)

It had been a long time since I took part in a cool climate race -- my first was in Silicon Valley Marathon @ 1999 after 5 mths of training (switched breathing style to nose-in mouth-out). After the surprise sub4 completion @ SCSM 2006, I should be able to meet the 5-hour cut off and signed up for Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon – held in spring where weather will be cool with sakura bloom and beautiful scenery of Japan alps. My running buddy n koibito, tktan, readily joined me for this enjoyable race – his first cool climate race and first visit in Japan!

We arrived in Japan 4 days earlier to acclimatize. Met with a cold front and weather was freezing cold at <>! Our first acclimatization run was at 10am ard Shirakabako (a lake of 4km circumference). I put on my long sleeve running top and long tights while tktan was in shorts but put on his windbreaker. Brghhhh.... the sun was shining but it was COLD – we were still nice and cool after 4km! Oh, my Injinji toe socks kept sliding down :( Kinda distracting as I had to stop n pulled it up numerous times during the run (silly me forget to bring my Ironman socks). The cold air also made the throat dry. Next morning, we woke up early to do another run -- boy, this ended disastrously after 2km as we started to experience pain in the ear due to the cold air from strong wind! In panic mode, we went gear shopping upon reaching Nagano City – 2 day prior to race day. The CW-X running tights did not fit tktan -- very tight at the calves and I advised him not to get that as it would bother him during the run. Instead, he bought a long sleeve CW-X top to keep his upper body warm. I bought Nike toe socks to replace Injinji socks. We did our last acclimatization run a day prior to race day in our new gear -- warmer in the city than @ the lake and both felt good :) Yeah, we were all set for an enjoyable race!

A series of program was lined up to kick start the Nagano Marathon at JR Nagano station. With the help of race volunteers, we located the pickup point for the shuttle bus to race pack collection hall. Race pack collection was a breeze with a dedicated booth for foreign participants – juz need to sign the indemnity form and choose the size for event T-shirt. We went on browse thru the stalls at the race expo and bought the special edition Nagano Marathon T-shirt and Amino sports drink. tktan was elated to find an ear warmer and I bought a sock with arch support. That evening, we attended the opening ceremony at Hotel Kokusai – to check out the invited athletes and the pace runners. There were lots of runners in track suit, representing various running clubs in Japan. At the line of national flags representing countries of all participants, we saw the Singapore flag and took a pic :) After carboloading was a HUGE ramen dinner, we returned to the hotel to get ready for our race gear and had an early nite. P.S. I decided to wear my long sleeve red running top in anticipation of colder weather.

Race Day
Woke up at 6am and had my breakfast of 2 rice balls & a bottle of Amino sport drink. Board the 7am train bound for the start point and followed the crowd for a warm up walk to the start point at Nagano Athletic Park next to Aqua Wing. After a quick toilet break, we did a warm up run and I down a packet of Gu Gel to give me an energy boost. After depositing our bags, I went for another toilet break (maybe due to the cold weather). The lady queuing in front of me seemed to be a celebrity – everyone was coming forward to shake hand with her! And she had a manager standing beside her. tktan joked that he was acting as my manager, too! By the time I came out from toilet, announcement was made to urge all runners to enter the runners’ pen before it closed at 8.20am. We quickly ran to the runners’ pen and tried to squeeze to the front. I was feeling a bit puzzled why the runners had such small bib numbers. tktan gave me a tug and whispered to me that he was stopped by the race marshal – this pen was for the elite runners! Gosh, so embarrassing! We wriggled out and looked for our pen. Hmm, mine was located at the pen after the elite pen but tktan was at the pen behind mine (but our timing was juz 3min apart for SCSM?!!) After giving each other a final encouragement for a good run, we entered our respective pen. Saw a runner with a Taiwan logo on top of the bib and strike a conversation with him. He was a 3-hr runner and also first time @ Nagano Marathon – after hearing great review from fellow Taiwanese runners who took part in previous year. We both agreed that the race was very well organized – race pack collection, transport to start point, baggage deposit etc. We shared with our previous marathon experience – faint, this is his 40+ marathon after starting running for 3+ years! But he commented that Singapore Marathon is one that he does not dare to attempt due to the hot humid weather. We saw the 3-hr and 3.5-hr pace runner moved ahead. We wished each other a good run and the race started at 8.35am on the dot.

All the runners shot ahead and countless overtook me – haiz, coz I was in the 3-hr pen with super fast runners, different league from mine. I stayed focus and ran at my own pace – felt good as need not switch my breathing technique. tktan caught up with me and commented that the runners were super fast! After making sure that I was alright, he moved ahead and became my chasing target. The cool weather dried up my lips and I looked forward (literally with long neck) to each water point. Superb supporters lined the entire 42km route as we ran through the city, bridge, paddy fields etc. They cheered their hearts out and even called out my bib number – “nana-sen ju-san, ganbatte”(7013, keep going)! There was a group of kids dressed in baseball suit and high-5 with runners and old ladies handing out salt to runners after 30km. My knee pain came after 25km which limit my stride length. Tried my best to not think abt the pain and enjoyed the picturesque scenery of Japan Alps as we ran thru paddy fields and route lined with sakura full-bloom trees. Was surprised to see tktan waiting for me at the 22.5km water station – his leg was in pain and needed my deep heat. He passed the tube back to me and urged me to continue on. He would catch up, overtake me and wait for me at the next water station. Finally, at the 36km water station, I dun expect any major cramps and passed the whole tube to him (did rubbed some on my right thigh juz in case). After the last water point at 40.1km, a long straight road of 2km awaited me and I happily ran and greatly encouraged by the signs of “2km to go”, “1km to go”. Finally, I ran into the stadium -- surprised to step onto the bouncy track but widen my stride and rose up both my arms as I crossed the finish line in 4hr 12min! A huge finisher towel was immediately wrapped ard me. I searched thru the crowd for tktan but he was not there! Huh, how come he is not ahead of me? Our previous races, he would catch up towards the end and finished in front of me! Then I turned and saw him entered the stadium – clapped and cheered for him as he finished exactly 1 min later. Gave each other a bear hug for a good run! Yeah, we completed the race and did not get on the bus!

Post race
We returned our timing chip and each handed a bottle of amino sports drink and a 2-page newspaper of the winner of the marathon, a Kenyan, who finished at 2hr 13min – that’s how efficient the Japanese can get to print out the news within 2 hours! We took a cool down walk. Saw some runners lying on the grass with ice pack and asked a Caucasian where to get the ice pack – he pointed to the box behind and tktan got 2 packs for us. Heavenly to ice my sore knees! We saw many runners with rice balls and went in search of food. We took extra drinks and 2 rice balls – the sour ume taste was not to tktan’s taste. Baggage collection was fast and efficient – in fact, as I walked toward the tent, they spotted me and brought the bag to me! After taking some pics, we took the shuttle bus to Nagano Station for a proper lunch, wash up and attend the farewell party later in the evening.

While taking turns to take shower, we watched the delay telecast of the marathon – the video crew followed the elite runners on the entire route! It was a close finish between the Kenyan and Russian – they entered the stadium side by side and the Kenyan edged the Russian to give it all! They finished with the same timing but Kenyan touched the finishing line first! The Russian was runner-up for 3 straight years!!! Another amazing thing was that the Kenyan hardly drinks! Other elite runners had special drink mix at each water station but we only saw the Kenyans start drinking after 30km, from the sport drinks provided for the other runners.

So engrossed in watching the telecast that we arrived 30min before the farewell party end. Luckily, we managed to spot the Kenyan winner and took a pic with him – he was fascinated with my red camera :) We told him that we juz watched him on TV and what an exciting finish he had. We took a pic with the female winner, a Russian lady, as well. There were lots of food and beer at the party and an auction session for apparels of the elite runners. We left after taking a bite and head back to our hotel for a well deserved rest. Look forward to the rest of our holiday – with more onsen, yummy food and beautiful scenery!

Time check at each water stations :
1st water point @ 5.1km : 25:59min – wah, that’s a fast 5:06min/km pace!
2nd water station @ 7.5km : 38:39min – my ideal pace of 5:15min/km, hope I could maintain for 12km.
3rd water station @ 10km : 52:44min – yup, still maintaining my ideal pace of 5:15min/km
4th water station @ 12.5km : oops, forget to take lap timing….
5th water station @ 14.5km : 1hr 17:11min – slow down slightly to 5:19min/km pace.
6th water station @ 17.3km : 1hr 32:35min – manageable 5:21min/km pace.
7th water station @ 19.3km : 1hr 44:27min – ok 5:25min/km pace.
8th water station @ 22.5km : 2hr 03:56min – getting slower 5:30min/km pace.
9th water station @ 25km : 2hr 18:52min –5:33min/km pace, hope I can maintain this pace.
10th water station @ 27.7km : 2hr 36:03min – 5:38min/km pace, knee pain came after 25km which limit my stride length.
11th water station @ 30.8km : 2hr 50:03min – 5:38min/km pace
12th water station @ 33.7km : oops, forget to take lap timing….
13th water station @ 36.5km : oops, forget to take lap timing….
14th water station @ 40.1km : 3hr 59:34min – oh dear, that my finishing time for SCSM06…5:58min/km pace.. must have slow terribly after 30km :( well, wat the heck, will juz run the final 2km of straight road to the finish line…
Finish point 42.195 : 4hr 12min – glad to make it back in one piece. Great feeling of nice and dry!

Distance : 42.195km
Time : 4hr 12min
Avg pace : 5:59min/km

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

West Coast Run on 9 Apr`07 (Mon)

Went for DTM on Saturday -- REALLY PAINFUL 3hrs!! Neny helped to "untie" the knots and ease my arch pain on my right feet due to PF. Met renoh, fennel, swoop and tktan for dinner at Chinatown -- to hear the "war" stories from swoop's Langkawi Ironman and fennel's KL marathon. Recommended this nice home-run Korean restuarant at Mosque Street -- yeah, we got to try the spicy octopus which we missed at our last visit.

Muscles still sored from DTM. Did an easy run to West Coast Park. Ok, we are all set -- Nagano Marathon here we come!

Distance : 6.5km
Time : 37min
Avg pace : 5:42min/km

Monday, April 09, 2007

Good Friday Run on 6 Apr`07 (Fri)

It had been ages since we did leisure run. Decided to SgRunners for Good Friday Run aka Hot Spring Run -- highlight was to end at Sembawang Hotspring. We met the group at Yishun Stadium -- lotsa of new & familiar faces like littletigger, james, ripley, BR, lelio girl, cokiee etc. James took the lead and we followed at chit-chatting pace. Interesting places that we passed thru were the park behind Safra Yishun (had been rockclimbing there for ages but dunno the park exist!!), temple in the mist of an industrial estate, the long unsheltered stretch along the park connector to Bottletree Restuarant etc. Made a mistake not to bring along my camelbak -- felt dehydrated under the hot sun and had to gulp down loads of 100plus later (too late). Was really glad to reach the hotspring and soaked the feets n knees in the burning-hot water! SHIOK!

While the guys head straight for breakfast/lunch at Chong Pang, the girls took a cab back to Yishun Stadium to shower. So paiseh to make the guys wait sooo long, we finally had a yummy breakfast at a coffeeshop. Great fun chatting with BR, lelio girl, ripley. Many thanks to james for organising this fun run!

P.S. This marked the last long run before Nagano Marathon. Maybe due to dehydration, my nose started running and I had to rest for the entire weekend -- afraid that it will "bloom" into a flu!

Distance : 15km

Friday, April 06, 2007

Labrador Park Run on 5 Apr`07 (Thu)

We head towards Labrador Park again but start off to Clementi Rd instead of Pasir Panjang Road. Getting accustomed to this route and set on auto-cruise mode soon. Reached Labrador Park in 41min @ 7.8km -- cool 5:22min/km pace. Yeah, regaining some of my confidence. After a quick water break, we u-turned back to KRGH via the same way. tktan was turbo-charged and I was left smelling his dust. Finally completed the run in 1hr 14 min @ 13.3km -- reasonable 5:34min/km pace.

I stopped to abruptly at the traffic light and suddenly felt faint -- had to sat down at the roadside to regain my breath. That got tktan real worried -- thank goodness I felt ok after the short rest. We grabbed a quick dinner at KRGH -- had panfried bak chang from the Hainanese food promo.

Distance : 13.3km
Time : 1h 14min
Avg pace : 5:34min/km

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

West Coast Run on 3 Apr`07 (Tue)

Was feeling tired and went for a short run @ West Coast. After 30min, I felt a funny twitch @ my right ankle. Stopped to check -- hmm, nothing perculiar... Asked tktan to go ahead and do 1km loops while I take a water break. Take lap timing for him -- 5:25min for 1 lap. Joined him on his 3rd lap -- chased after him and we did 5:20min :) We stopped @ Clementi Rd and took a cool down walk back to KRGH. Wah, rarely do short runs and we made it in time to try the red wine chicken mee sua & fish mini hotpot @ Harbourfront -- hmm, so-so only.

P.S. Oh oh, my right leg is not feeling good. Think PF is affecting my foot landing and kinda worsen my ITB which trigger my knee pain :( Dun panic, relax relax...

Distance : 7.5km
Time : 42min
Avg pace : 5:36min/km