Monday, January 25, 2010

Safra AvVentura 2010 Race Report

My first race of the year and (I suspect) the hardest race of the year too! I am now typing with a strained wrist, a sprained toe (I think), an aching body and numerous numerous bruises! R's actually worse off than me because during the team biathlon bit he was nice enough to offer to do the running bit whilst I peddled away on the bike. So I got away relatively easy.

The race started a bit on the late side, which meant a lot of it was done under the bleeding hot sun. Actually I think it was all of it. Which explains my red nose and the sunburnt back of my hands. Two areas I stupidly forgot to put sunscreen on. You'd think it'd be easy enough to remember to apply sunscreen on your nose, when it's right in front of you. But no. I have proven that I'm not that bright.

After not running in...days and days and days, the run at the start just winded me. I don't even know how far I ran, but it felt way too far. And I was trotting most of the time. Again, R was an angel and stuck around and trotted with me...and egging me on to run a little. So...bad start to the race. And it didn't get much better.

When I had done more running than I've done in ages, we jumped on the bikes and thought 'Phew! It's gonna be easier now!'. Obviously I was wrong. In fairness though, it was pretty nice cycling around at first in some army camp and then past some path where there was a reservoir on one end and the sea on the other....all that was picturesque...but I'm skipping ahead of the bit that I was actually good at...the one sad bit. At checkpoint 3 we had to stop to do a wordsearch. Now I'm a big Scramble fan on Facebook and I am proud to say that I found 9 out of 10 words! Give me a FB game and I'm ace at it - anything else, I'll settle for bottom place.

So I was at how picturesque and blue and green everything was. Which it was. And it was nice. There were a bunch of checkpoints after that we just had to cycle by, but the one that cost us was the bit where there was another challenge. We had to deflate our tyres completely. That was it. Of course with our crappy rental bikes, after deflating our tyres, we couldn't pump it back up. I'd try to explain how we eventually did it (we had to ask a lot of people!) but I really don't know bike parts and I'd just end up confusing everyone. Long story short, we were at the checkpoint a long long time.

More cycling and on to the nightmare checkpoint that is Checkpoint 7. Which is a lie. Because Checkpoint 7 is made out of Checkpoint 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D and (the mystery) 7E. That's 6 checkpoints (including Checkpoint 7 itself) and we had to go to Checkpoint 7 three times! Checkpoint 7 (and all the rest of the sub-7 checkpoints) was a biathlon segment. As I mentioned before, R was very nice about it and offered to do the running whilst I biked (or he recognised that I was probably not going to run at all and me biking would be a wee bit faster). I think this was the 'orienteering' part of the race and I really really wanted to use my compass (generously loaned to me from C), but really, we didn't need it. (In fact, we didn't need any of the rope stuff that we lugged along the whole way because we didn't even get to that bit of the race!). So after running from 7A to 7D, we got back to Checkpoint 7 to get our second map for Checkpoint 7E. By this time, R and I are more or less sick of everything linked with Checkpoint 7 but it's not like we had anywhere better to go, so Checkpoin 7E it was.

Kayaking at 7E. We thought we'd get to rest our legs. I thought I'd get to rest my poor aching back. I was lugging a bunch of crap around and 2litres of water and my back was really starting to ache immensely. After dragging a canoe to the water and hopping into it, I tossed my (by now, much hated) backpack to my feet and R told me to put it back on my back on the offchance we capsized. Bah!!!!! So on went the dreaded backpack again. Kayaking was approximately 5k of paddling to nowhere in particular. R thought it was dull. I thought my arms would fall off. Poor R had to do most of the paddling because I was pretty hopeless. I did the best I could, but I suspect my best was pretty darn pathetic. Bringing the kayak back to shore was a real pain in the ass. Well bringing it into sea was already a pain, but after kayaking for ages and having pretty much no feeling left in your arms, bringing it back pretty much sucked. And I got my foot caught in some weeds and fell, hence the sprained toe. And bruised ego. But mainly what broke us was after lugging the kayak back, they made us move it further up a couple more meters. It sounds like nothing. But when you're dead tired and sunburnt and aching, it really is the last thing you want to do.

So after all that, we had to get back to Checkpoint 7 (again!) and R collected his bike. Which, considering how unlucky we were the whole day, had now been completely deflated thanks to a puncture. Of course, the tyre tube didn't work on his bike. And secretly I was hoping that our race would end there and then. But no, we found someone who could swap tyres with us and about a half hour to 45 mins later, we had our asses back on our bikes and were on the way to Checkpoint 8.

And we made it to Checkpoint 8 after the cut-off time. So essentially that was the end of our race. We were sunburnt, miserable and very very tired. The race wasn't so bad in all. And I know I pushed my lazy untrained self harder than I have in a long long time, thanks a great deal to R. Overall, I had a great partner and a bitter-sweet takeaway from the race!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Physical Training

So when I renewed my membership with my gym, I got offered 2 PT classes and 5 Bikram yoga sessions along with the new membership. Today I went for my first one. I was overrating my own abilities by planning a 5k run in the evening after the class. Hah. THAT was going to happen....

Today's class was a toughie. Partly because, as I've mentioned a zillion times, I now have mush in place of muscle and also because I've just gotten used to not pushing myself. The last time I pushed myself was at the rope skills test yesterday which really only lasted probably 30 minutes in full and which, at no point of time, did I ever feel in control. But today's session was kind of good. He made me do a bunch of running around with weights, jumping around with weights etc etc. It was hard. But it felt good too. It's been a while since I've really been pushed. Generally I get tired nowadays or a little breathless and quit (Yes motivation levels on my part have been almost negligible). But I got through the whole 1 hour class - kind of had no choice in the matter - and now am almost definitely going to skip my run tonight. Ah well. Spin tomorrow and an early morning run on Wednesday it is then!

What I did today:
Personal training: 1 hr

Swim Training et al

I went back swim training last Thursday after about a month or so of 'rest' (read laziness) and it was hard work. After ending the year in a crawl last year somehow I've managed to lose the ability to do any kind of rough work. My arms don't work quite as well and they tire really easily. What used to be somewhat okay work ( I won't say easy because sport has never really been 'easy' for me) has become gruelling and rather discouraging. It's as if I were now back at square one, not that I moved very far from it at any point.

In any case with all these other stuff I've been doing, I haven't really been as disciplined as I'd like to be with respect to running. In fact I haven't been disciplined at all. I haven't run since...well I can't remember when and I really need to get at least a short run in tonight.

What I've done:
Thursday: 1hr Swim training
Saturday: 1 hr Pilates
Sunday: Rope Skills test (result of which is two big bruises on my shin, blisters on my hands and a very nice burn on my chest from where I leaned into my abseil device)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lookback on 2009

22 Feb
Tri-bob Singapore Sprint Series:
Sprint Aquathlon
58:29 mins

15 Mar
Suburban Run
5k Individual
38:36 mins

30 May
Tri Factor Series-Swim:
Women’s 1k Open
28:30 mins

16 Jun
Mizuno Mt Faber 2009:
Women’s 10k Open
1 hr 22 mins

30 Aug
Women’s 10k Open

6 Sep
Yellow Ribbon Prison Run
10k Individual
1 hr 3 mins

13 Sep
Mizuno Wave Run
Women’s Open (10 miles)
2 hr 26 mins

3 Oct
Pink Ribbon
Women’s 5k Competitive Run
30:28 mins

17 Oct
Salomon X-Trail Run 2009
Women’s Open (10k) DNS

17 Oct
PoW Tinny Run 3
Women’s 3.4k DNF

1 Nov
Nike+ Human Race
Women’s Open (10k)
1hr 22mins

1 Nov
Great Eastern Women 10k
Women’s Open 10km
1hr 24mins

8 Nov
New Balance Real Run
Women’s Open 15k DNS

22 Nov
Run for Hope
4k Run DNS

6 Dec
Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Half Marathon DNS

19 Dec
Let’s Take a Walk
50k Walk - Finished approx 45k

Might do a photo recap for the year soon...if I actually get down to downloading pics off my camera!

Full Steam Ahead

So it's been a relatively more fruitful start to the year compared to the lazy way I ended last year. R and I are taking part in an adventure race on 24 Jan and I'm starting to get a wee bit freaked. I've done a couple of bike rides, but on the road and nothing close to mountain biking; I've climbed once; done 2 very very pathetically short runs in the past few weeks...and I don't feel prepared at all.

I'm still aching from windsurfing on Sunday. Yes, it's 3 days later and my back and arms STILL ache. Then again, I did spend 10 minutes shooting out from the bay and another hour 20 minutes trying to get back. And failing. In summary I spent a lot of time freaking out at sea, having a long conversation with myself and hoping in desperation someone would pick me up, before the rescue boat spotted me trying to swim back (and Tim, who was manning the boat, commented that I was too far to swim back anyway). After a year's sabbatical from windsurfing, my foray back was just...well...a very trying experience.

I went back for spin classes yesterday as well. As you can see, I'm on a whole 'let's do things I haven't done in ages' phase. But also, I needed to get more bike training in. After my sad little 1 and a half hours windsurfing, I was made very aware of the fact that I've just become a lot weaker (and lazier!) so I didn't expect to last the whole class. But I did! And it was completely exhausting! Also the sweat monster came out and I was dripping all over the floor.

Good news though, other than the same old crotch ache, my legs seem pretty good. So good that I'm going to do a sad little 3-4k run tonight. I know it's not far, but it'll do.