Tags: races

OSIM mini run finishing

Thinking back, looking ahead

The New York City 2010 Marathon took place last weekend and I was kinda feeling nostalgic. I checked the weather forecast, prayed for good weather for the runners (it seemed rather cold at 40+ F/4 degrees C thereabouts) and was feeling excited for my friends who were running it. If there is anything about the two marathons that I have run, is that both were very memorable especially NYC which was my first.

I follow a few running blogs and coincidentally, some chose to run in this year's NYC marathon so it was nice reading about their experience and all. One of my favorite write-up on the marathon is by Elizabeth of Racing Stripes. It was an excellent account and I could totally relate to most of the parts! The 2miler up the bridge at the start, the Queensboro bridge where I hit the wall, the loooong upslope run into Central Park which was never-ending, and the tremendous crowd support which made the entire race experience, phenomenal.

It's funny how the weather this year was so different from last year - I think we had better luck then and I think global warming is really happening. They say running in Singapore, there is only one thing you need to worry about - the weather. The route is mostly flat and predictable. Running overseas is a different game altogether. You worry about the unpredictable weather AND the route. I was so confident that training in this humidity and heat gave me an upper-hand and if it got hot in Chicago, it was no issue. I found out otherwise during the race. Post-race, I found out that actually, dry heat is very different from humid heat. The former results in dehydration faster and the reason why all of us were guzzling water and isotonic drinks like crazy!

TS emailed an interesting article on the relationship between running pace and weather. If you run too hard in too hot or humid conditions, you'll hit the wall sooner than expected. I think 45-55 degrees is meant to be the 'ideal race temperatures'. Of course, if it gets too cold, it's hard to run. As the temperatures climb, your pace gradually drops. If it's above 85 degrees (like in Chicago), it says, forget the pace, just run for fun. Hence, the reason why we ran at 'red alert' and at our own risk. Humidity plays a factor too but if you train in it and used to it, it shouldn't matter versus not being able to train at your 'race conditions'.

When I was in Manila in May, I was surprised that it was more humid in Manila even at 6am+. Perhaps, the pollution doesn't help but when I ran there, it was really challenging. It's no wonder everyone thought I was mad when I suggested a 7am run, citing that it would be 'too hot'. The ideal temperature is like the low twenties (degrees C) and low humidity. But between humid hot and dry hot, I think I might opt for the former as the latter results in you feeling extremely thirsty. And trust me, you'll still sweat a lot in dry heat!

As they all say, you never really know on race day itself, how well you will fare because anything can happen and mostly, weather plays a huge part.

At the end of the day, it's sometimes not about how fast you ran or whether you 'beat' someone or scored your personal best. Rather, you made trained hard, made it to the start point and finished the race. Why is it about training hard? I firmly believe that you will truly and only feel the race adrenaline and the passion of running if you train for it instead of merely rocking up to just 'try and complete it' without making the effort to train and prepare properly for it. It's quite different. And I've talked about it at great lengths in my previous entry on zero to 42.2.

Today, I ran fast and hard. It was for just half an hour but I felt great compared to Sunday's hour long run. My legs were light and I felt as though I was flying. I finished, dripping in sweat and feeling incredibly refreshed. My running buddy TS and I have our sights set on next year's Nike Women's Half Marathon. I am determined to take a year off (at least) from marathons and work on my speed work and on shorter distances. Next, is how to beat my previous P.B of 54 minutes down to 52 minutes and so on. Training for the half in San Francisco will be tough as it'll be a hilly route but I'm looking forward to the Tiffany finisher necklace :P Plus, a trip to Napa Valley for wine and visiting friends and relatives. As for my marathon goal of completing 7 in my life time, we'll see. I space them out and use them as 'motivations' :P And if I do more marathons, hopefully it'll be the Tokyo Marathon, Honolulu, Las Vegas and Berlin.

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The official results

I was a little surprised to see my official chip timing results -


That is a full 20 seconds difference from my watch time! The chip is definitely accurate but I'm not sure how that happened because I started my watch the moment my foot crossed the start line sensor and stopped it after I crossed both finishing line sensors.

Nonetheless, I'm still very happy.

For those who wish to check their results, click here
OSIM mini run keeping strong


Clear and non-hazy day :)

I ran for the first time, 2 weeks after the Chicago Marathon, in today's Nike City 10K and it was a blast! :)

I felt really good, my legs were going well and I clocked in my best PB ever :):):)

According to my watch, it said 53:33 so whooopeeeee!! My last PB at the Shape Run 2010 in July was 56:15 (official results). It is said that the route today was 300m shorter so okay, I'll put it at 54:33+ and since I have been trying really hard to run under 55 minutes for years, I am really really happy with my results for today.

Okay. Busy busy day today. Later!

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Terry Fox Run

Two weeks after

It is said that one should rest a day for every mile ran in a marathon. That equates to 26 days of rest or about a month. Last year, though my legs recovered within a day or two, I took a month and a half break from running.

Last week, my legs were starting to itch and I was dying to run. I have already figured out the race plan for next year but I shan't go into the details until it's more firmed up. I have been resisting the urge and haven't done a single km run except for running across the road.

This Sunday, I will be participating in the Nike City 10K. It will be a fun run for me and I won't be aiming for any timing. I just want to let me legs run a little.

Meanwhile, I am rather glad that I no longer need to train as the haze is terrible and I can't imagine having to run 20 miles in this blurry smog.

P.S I have verbal diarrhea this week. It's been hectic at work and when that happens, I usually land up on a blogroll and I have been tweeting non-stop too! So bear with me :P

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The Chicago marathon

26.2 miles.

I believe that everyone can complete a marathon as long as the mind is strong. Of course, that's assuming that you don't feel ill or anything. But even if you are aching and all cramped up, it is quite possible to do so.

I would say that I was better prepared and trained compared to last year when I attempted my first marathon. I did speed work at the track, tempo runs and many long runs that stretched over as long as 4 hours. Hence, the expectation was higher. I was aiming for a personal best aided by an ' extremely flat and fast course' with cool racing conditions. However, sometimes, no matter how prepared or perfect the training went, you never really know how it goes until race day itself.

To side track a little, let's talk about the training. The program that we undertook was way tougher than last year. The criteria before starting on the program, was that you are able to comfortably run 15km. Together with the cross training Insanity program, it was really tough to manage. I literally worked my butt off to train and it wasn't easy at all. 

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Let's do it!

The best way to lose weight is to run a marathon. It's about 2,000+ calories burned for me!

That's the cheeky answer that I give when asked why I want to run a marathon.

It was a terribly long flight and we reached totally jetlagged and knackered. We have been showered by kindness and generosity the moment we touched down. J's friend, a complete stranger, picked us up from the airport, brought us to buy groceries and drove us over to J's place.

We crashed out at 745pm and woke up at 5am - race day wake up call. Chilling out for a bit before we do our last 20 minutes easy run. Next, is to figure out how to get to the race expo to collect our tags and how we're getting to the start line tomorrow morning.

I'm on my last day of antibiotics and cough mixture - YAY! I'm much better, thank gawd. We are just hoping for cooler weather tomorrow as it's predicted to be between 17-27 degrees Celsius. Way hotter than last year which averaged 14.

Let's do this race!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

OSIM mini run finishing

Shape Run 2010

Officially wear-testing the Sony W252 - in a race!


All geared up and ready to go - 615am

B.T took this nice picture as I was running towards the finishing line :)

I've participated in Shape Runs since it first started and this is the first time that I'm taking this picture :P

It's been awhile since I last did a race and frankly speaking, I was in fact a bunch of nerves! I've done many 10Ks but somehow, it feels different doing one under race conditions.

I had my favorite peanut butter jelly sandwich for breakfast (at 530am). I wasn't exactly hungry so it took me some time and a lot of water to wash it down. My stomach started acting up weird and I was running to the toilet thrice in total -_- It was a good thing my nose and ear (from an infection) was hurting less and I was feeling better than I did yesterday.

By the time I reached the start line, it was a few minutes to flag off. I didn't have time to warm-up and was just fiddling with the Sony W252 - trying to find my favorite start song. It's quite strange but I started running the race to Taylor Swift's Love Story! And I replayed it thrice!

I think the 10,000 of us running today's race were blessed with good weather. It was quite cooling, hot but not humid. The sun was up and bright and I did regret not bring my sunnies. I landed up running with my head down for some parts of it. I'm not sure if I started off to fast in the beginning since I actually take an average of 3km to warm up. But in a 10km race, 3km is too long to take for warming up. So I tried to keep the pace that I wanted to for the entire route. I was feeling okay for most parts of it which was good.

I have to commend the Shape team for doing a good job this year in improving the route and massively reducing the congestion. This time around, the 10km and 5km runners didn't merge and had different finishing gantries. Compared to last year where the merging of 10 and 5K runners caused a major human jam at the last 1.5-2km and left many of us frustrated as I for example, was weaving in and out groups of people that were walking - which is fine but it's better to keep to the side so that you don't get into the way of those running through. I was happy that during the race, it wasn't congested and I had a comfortable amount of space around me.

I enjoyed the race and it was great seeing 10,000 women out there on a Sunday morning having fun. Whether it was your first 5K or first 10K, kudos to taking that first big step forward :) The fact that the race was well organized made the experience better. The only improvement is that perhaps one more water point could be added. There were only 3 in total and for the stretch between the first and second water point, I was getting really thirsty. I think I've read somewhere that for running races, it is recommended that water points at placed at every 2km - more so in this hot weather of ours.

According to my Garmin, I clocked in 56:18 for 6.25 miles which is exactly 10km. Well done Shape Run for the accurate distance measurement! My average pace was 9min/mile. I think this is my personal best record although not the target time that I am hoping to achieve. Methinks I need to spend more time on the track working on my speed and pushing myself to run harder. B.T thinks I'm too conservative in the effort that I put into the runs. I do admit that I am quite cautious as I am afraid of over-pushing my limit and resulting in me collapsing.

By the way, this is what I have to say about the Sony Walkman W252 :P

Hehe. I'm loving this app on the iPhone :P

Anyway, I typically don't use new gadgets or gear for the first time on race day itself. I'll use it for at least a few training runs - especially for shoes and apparel. When it comes to gadgets like the Garmin (which took me awhile to figure everything out), I needed quite a few runs to learn it well. However, for the W252, I was open to using it for the first time during the race. I was confident that the product would perform as promised.

The verdict?

Sound quality is good and controls are intuitive. Right side - back button (rewind, play/pause, forward), middle button (decrease volume), front button (increase volume). It was lightweight and it didn't bother me. Though, as my ears are quite small, it didn't quite fit properly all round. During the run, it never did once fall out of my ear but I was obsessed with pushing the player into the horizontal position! I have no idea why I kept doing that because on hindsight, it didn't matter if the player slipped to the 'vertical' position as the earbuds still stayed inside my ear.

I'm really enjoying this product and looks like I'll be running more with music now again :)

On a side note, since my program required me to clock in 18 miles today, we went out for another run close to noon. It was so hot and I made the mistake of eating half a bowl of cherries just before I headed out - took a long time to digest and made me feel bloated and gave me stitches, so it wasn't a quality run. Landed up doing a jog-walk and decided to head back home after 6 miles. As B.T said, it's better to rest at home then to do 'junk mileage'.

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NB Aquathlon race to the end

Foam roller excercises

Here are some images of the foam roller exercises :) Taken from Runners' World, May 2010, p58.

You can buy a foam roller from physiotherapy centres here. If you are in the States, it is worth checking it out at Target. It's about USD$20+ compared to SGD$80 here. Or order it online from Amazon. Some asked about the other foam roller that I used - this is it. Sorry, it took awhile to search for it as it was a birthday gift! This version is especially great for massaging the calves, shins, and glutes. I even roll my feet on top of it. If you are serious about running, consider investing in both. It's not that expensive too.

Also, you can check out the video demo at Runners' World here.

I have a slot in this year's Shape Run for the 10KM. On that day, I am supposed to run for 18 miles -_- So I think the Shape Run race will just be part of my training i.e. I will unlikely be running at usual race speed and will run from my house to the event, do the 10K, run home and continue till I hit 18 miles. Yesterday, I ran 15 miles (24km). I am not aching.. as yet. Glutes are slightly sore but for now, it's okay. I am expecting the aches to hit fully tomorrow morning. 18 miles equates to 28.8KM. H-E-L-P. I guess it's better that I track in miles instead of kilometers. It's somehow.. easier. 15 miles seems less daunting as 24KM.

Speaking of races, I read about an unfortunate incident that happened in a recent race. I've also read a number of negative feedback regarding this event and it's sad that insufficient support was provided for the runners. I think the races in Singapore in general are reasonably organized, there are definitely rooms for improvement but at least most of the races are of acceptable standards.

I once did a race overseas and it was quite disappointing. There weren't any race chips so your timing and tracking were all guesstimates. I pitied the half-Ironman participants who were trying their best to finish the race with no water support, no volunteers around - just them racing in the dark. Because they were deemed 'too slow'. I personally feel that races should wait for the last runner because it is quite demoralizing for the person to run with no one at the finishing line if that is even still there. At least have a cut-off time to set the expectations.

The race experience for me is very important. When I did my first 10K at the Standard Chartered Marathon, it was a great experience. Sufficient water at every 2km, cleared roads etc. I think it makes a difference. I would say this over and over again but NYC was one word phenomenal. I couldn't find a single fault in the race honestly. And I am sure those who have participated in it will agree with me. Although there were over 30,000 marathoners, I collected my race pack in FIVE minutes. Instructions were clear - no confusion, the baggage drop off was a breeze - UPS was used! Collection of my baggage took just 5 minutes, I was given bottles of water, isotonic, fruits and granola bars to recover the moment I crossed the finishing line.

Whether the race is well organized will definitely affect my decision on whether I decide to run in it. I can deal with congestion but I cannot accept insufficient water support or medical support.

I have high hopes and expectations of Chicago. Hopefully, it wouldn't disappoint. If it was the Disney race for example which is meant to be fun, I would in some ways expect less of it because it is after all, a 'fun race' although fun is a half or full! I know that the spectator support wouldn't match up to NYC, but for a professional serious race where many are using to qualify for Boston (Chicago is noted for its flat and smooth course and most participate to get a PR and qualify), I am expecting good organization including secure and easy baggage pick-ups, sufficient water, mile markers which are important in a marathon and a good post-race support.

Just some interesting titbits from Runners' World - yes, as you can see, I've been catching up on my reading!

For the Boston 2010 marathon -

* 1,300 medical professionals responsible for 26,500 runners. Staff were well prepared especially for any emergency pertaining from extreme weather (both heat and hypothermia!)

* More than 2 dozen advanced life-support monitors and defibrilators were on hand.

* There were 47 medical doctors, 110 registered nurses, 160 massage therapists, 65 physical therapists, 50 medical records personnel, etc etc

* Supplies wise? They had 7,200 1x3 inch-sized Band-Aids, 3,000 ice bags, 400 IV bags of normal saline, 314 rolls of transparent tape, 200 cots etc

Given that the race fees are a lot higher for these races, it is money well-spent because you can race with a peace of mind knowing that if anything were to happen, you would be well taken care of.

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