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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

That Was Fast!

The year end is almost upon us. It's amazing how fast the year went by. If you ask me to recall what I did the entire year, I'd be hard pressed to recollect all of it. It seemed like only yesterday it was January and I was eagerly waiting to take part in my first race for the year, in April, which unfortunately had to be the Energizer Nightmare Run and now it's four days to the New Year and I'm already eagerly waiting in anticipation for my first race for next year, the Newton 25K Challenge which falls on New Year's day.

This will be the first time I'm ever going to actually run, let alone take part in a race on New Year's day itself. Obviously there's not going to be a late night party session for New Year's eve cos I'll be tucked in bed pretty early. The Newton Challenge is something to be respected and partying the night before is like taking a flying leap off a tall building! But then, I can't think of a better way to usher in the New Year than by running it in :D

All the preps for the race has been done, the route has been recced and run (at least the hill sections anyway) and it's every bit as challenging as it's made out to be. This is also going to be my longest distanced run to date and is the perfect stepping stone for me to embark on my marathon quest for next year.

The only apprehension I have about the race is whether the injury I'm saddled with at the moment will act up on race day. It's healing just fine and feels much better than last week when I pulled up in pain and was unable to even walk back properly. The cautious, short and slow 10K I did on Christmas day gave a promising indication that the leg was healing just fine and Ive been resting it since then with no runs scheduled for now.

But I'm not taking any chances on race day though. I'm going to run a conservative race and keep an eye on the leg. I'm planning a race strategy that will see me starting from the middle or back of the pack, keeping to a slower than normal pace of 6:00 - 6:30 for the first two and a half sections of the route (I've broken the route into 3 sections) and then if things are fine with the leg, maybe up that pace a little in the final half section of the race. It's all in theory though, that might just go to hell on actual race day ... hahaha!

The wife is also eagerly looking forward to the race, especially after totally out-running me during our recce session two weeks back ... LOL! She's been training hard for the race and I'm sure she's going to do just fine :D She's been taking part in every race I've been to this year and she's improving from strength to strength with each race. I foresee her doing loads of PB's next year :D I'm glad she's as passionate about running as I am :D

With that said and done, I'm now going to take a nap and enjoy the rest of my holidays, which will be until next year. If the weather permits, I might take a short run later this evening to take the legs for a little test run.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Good Tidings To You ...

Wishing all my running buddies a blessed Christmas and a beautiful New Year. Here's to a year of PB's and lots of enjoyable running :) Have fun, party wisely and most importantly, be safe.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ammah Redemption Run

After the debacle of having the world's worse stomach ache and having to suffer for 2KM looking for a petrol station, discovering I ran the wrong hill and then being totally outrun by the wife, I just had to go back today and find the right 'Ammah' hill and run it.

Well, I'm glad to say that even though I only trial ran a tiny fraction of the Newton Challenge route, I managed to take 'Ammah' and one of her daughters both ways, front and rear ... hahaha ... that really, really, really sounds disgustingly perverted!

You know all those horrible things you heard about about 'Ammah' and her daughters? Well, I can tell you that every single one of those horror tales are absolutely true! The hill was as daunting and challenging as it's made out to be and even though I only ran 10KM section of the route, practically 70% of it was uphill.

But surprisingly, I kinda enjoyed the route and the hilly challenges it posed. It was tough workout running up those darn hills nonstop but you felt a sense of satisfaction everytime you reached the peak which was so close to heaven you could practically wave at God ... hahaha! Yes, the inclines were that steep and what's worse was that it was a nice slow, long gradual climb that had your heart beating like a drummer on steroids the moment you reached the peak.

But heck, I enjoyed every moment of it and though I know my calves are gonna protest tomorrow, it was thoroughly worth it. At least now, I know what I need to do to get through 'Ammah' and her daughters.

On a serious note, the route is extremely challenging and it will be my longest distanced race so far. After the run, the wife and me took a drive along the entire race route and it looks downright challenging. What little flats there were, were so few and far between that you'd be practically running uphills at least 70% of the time, based on the sections I ran and also the sections I drove through.

I foresee a problem for myself just as you turn towards Kinrara Uptown after coming down 'Ammah' and heading for the first of two roundabouts. That stretch is utterly long and absolutely boring. Boring stretches like that tend to take a lot of out me. The hills may be challenging but they're far from boring and has its own character unlike that stretch. We'll see how it goes on race day.

At least now, I have a picture of the entire race route and what's ahead of me, which will make planning how I run the race much easier. No guessing about how long that hill stretch will be or how long more before I reach that roundabout for the final leg of the run. I can now plan how to pace myself properly, when to slow down, when to speed up or when to charge to the finish line. Most importantly, I know where the darn petrol stations are in case I need to make an emergency pitstop :D

Overall I would say the experience was well worth it and at least now the wife can stop teasing me about how she outran me yesterday ... LOL!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Break And A Hill

I'm on a self imposed 4-day running break and to be honest, I'm actually enjoying the break. It's been a while since I've rested the legs for this long. Though I've been itching to go for a run but this break is also partly to give a dull throbbing ache that developed during my last run some time to heal.

The ache has pretty much subsided (hopefully it doesn't recur) and I'm looking forward to this weekend's challenge to take on that infamous 'Ammah' hill. The fresh and well rested legs are definitely going to be a big boost. The Newton challenge is just around the corner and after all the tales of horror I've heard about the route and its challenges, what better way to ease that fear than to do a trial run along the route.

It was actually the wife who is more interested in trying the route. She has this attitude that if something challenging is in the way, take it head on and show it who's boss. I suppose her positive enthusiasm has caught on and we've decided to tackle it this weekend.

I probably won't run the entire route, maybe just a section of it but that 'Ammah' hill section would definitely be on the menu. After seeing a few mind numbing pictures of the incline that awaits me on race day, I really want to get a feel of the struggle before race day.

Since it's a new route for the two of us, I'll be running at a slower pace than I normally do to run along with the wife. I don't trust leaving her on her own in an unfamiliar route. Better to be safe than sorry. Besides, I'm planning to run at a leisurely pace to just get a feel of things to come on race day. I don't plan to over exert myself. I'll leave that for the actual race itself.

Taking heed of Jamie's advise, I'll be decked in gear that provides protection from the sun and will strap on my Camelbak filled with iced cold Gatorade for my hydration needs and a gel or two tucked away for some late energy needs.  Hopefully everything goes as planned.

With that said and done, I'm eager to run the route though I still have to figure out the directions to get there first :D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sniff, Sniff, Cough, Cough

I haven't been running the past couple of days due to being down with intermittent fever and a sickening cough. While the cough isn't so bad, the intermittent fever that comes and goes is the main culprit that makes my bones ache in every conceivable joint. The combination of a clogged nose, an itchy and sore throat coupled with this feeling of weakness makes running the last thing on my mind right now.

The wife and me were supposed to do an LSD this morning but since my fever attack came on last night, she strictly forbade me from waking up early to run today. Wanted to do an evening run but I had to work today, which had me supervising a 3 ton lorry wrap under the blazing hot sun this afternoon and by the time I got back I was just too exhausted to do anything let alone run.

We're planning for an early run tomorrow, hopefully I'll feel up to it. She's been kind enough to skip her run sessions to keep me company at home though she's been itching to run so I'm hoping to repay the favour by accompanying her for her LSD.

It's a good thing there aren't any races at this time of the month. It's going to be lights out early for me tonight. Hopefully it'll also be good running weather tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MPSJ 10K 2011 Race Review

My last race for the year is over and done with. While it's only a 10K and nothing to shout about compared to you guys running the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, I'm still pretty happy with my run.

I've been looking forward to this race for personal reasons as well as the fact that it's just a stone's, well maybe three or four stone's away la, from my house. I ran this race by myself last year and am was glad to run it with the wife this year. Once again, that woman amazes me. She took off a whopping 4 minutes off from her Nike 10K time last week. She's getting faster with each race and I'm thoroughly overjoyed for her :D

Seeing as how the race was near our place, we woke up later than we do for other races, took a nice slow 10 minute jog from home to the start line to loosen and warm the muscles. By the time we reached the start line, the place was already filling up with people and we didn't have to wait long for race start.

The crowd was much lesser than last year, probably due to the many races that were being held elsewhere. The weather was pretty decent which was a good sign for me cos I intended to just kick into top gear the moment the gun went off, remembering Jamie's words of 'whacking' short distanced races like these.

Training and running this route on my run sessions was a huge advantage for me. I knew each and every pothole, every uneven road surface, where to speed up and where to slow, which I used to good advantage. The route was actually a darned easy one anyway.

The start was as usual with most races, swerving in and out to get pass the other runners. It took quite an effort to get past them during the first 1K and then things started spreading out a little more after that. I managed to get into an effective but fast paced stride. Nothing much to write about from this point onwards as the race was quite straight forward.

After a short battle at the end with two runners from my category, I managed to cross the line in a time of 50:40 minutes and was pleasantly surprised when an official stopped me and shoved a piece of token in my hand stating that I came in at position number 14 and was eligible for a limited finisher medal. I didn't expect it but was darned happy anyway :D

That brings the number of races I've done this year to a total number of 15. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every race and here's looking to next year's races :D

But I have one little complain (it just wouldn't be me if I didn't have at least one complain la ... LOL!). I wonder who the genius who came up with the idea of having the refreshment station right before the finish line by the side of the track. Imagine the amount of people crowding that refreshment station with the runners having to avoid them just to cross the finish line. Pure Genius!