Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The flu bug's been going around and a bunch of friends have caught it. I've been priding myself on having a strong immune system and being above all this 'illness' thing until I fell ill on the day I flew back from Hong Kong. The plane ride was hell and I felt like I was spreading the plague to the rest of the passengers.

So since I've been back from HK my training count has been a big fat zero. And I still have a nagging cough that just won't go away. I do realise that it's been only a week and generally a flu can take ages to go away, but still...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Team with No Name

'Let's Take A Walk' is back! I've only ever done this with them once because the year after they did a night walk and I'm not too keen on walking 50km when I should be fast asleep. Gina, Rach and I were the Manchester Uni Aunties. We didn't quite manage to finish the whole 50k then though and decided to throw in the towel about 45k. With Gina in Melbourne this year it almost looked like this was a no go, which was a shame, because they took a one year sabbatical and I'd been looking forward to them coming back!

Mel stepped up to the plate first, he was an old friend and I bumped into him the last (and only) time we did this and figured he was a good person to rope in. After him I just needed 1 more to make the minimum of 3 to start a team and I threw it out to Facebook. Voila, we now have a team of 4, we have a plan to do this in 15 minute run-walk intervals and hopefully we'll all be fast friends (and not total enemies) after the whole thing! So behold the Team With No Name - Mel, Chris, Shah and I!

All this means is I need to start training for this. Not really sure where the heck to start. It's not hard walking, it's just hard walking for ages and ages on end. And short of me training by doing 12 hour walks every weekend, I'm not entirely sure I know quite where to start. If anyone has any idea, help me out here!

In the meantime, I've done a run with my new runners and they gave me a blister. The ankle collar may have been a bit high or my socks were too low or I didn't have my usual insoles in there so it all rubbed wrongly. The toe bit feels a bit funny too...more cushioned? I guess it just takes getting used to. I do love me some Asics. Tonight I'll try another run this time with the right insoles and a higher pair of socks. Maybe with all these variables tweaked I'll grow into it! As for the run, if you've been following this, I've been doing my previous few runs blind. Well insofar as I didn't bother bringing out my footpod (my Garmin is now permanently residing in Rich's place because I'm absolutely useless with technology) and so hadn't a clue how far I had run. I dug out my footpod for the last run and realise I hadn't been running all that far all this while, which is a bit of a bummer. I logged 5.5k in 37 minutes and there I was thinking I had become such a speedster because my 30 minute runs had seemed far! Tis always nicer living in ignorance.

What I've done:
Monday: 5.5k run in 37:16 mins
Tuesday: 30 min spin followed by a sad amount of crunches and lots of stretching.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Questions Answered

First off, a big WOW and congratulations are due to my friends who completed the Melbourne Marathon - Chris and Gina. I knew they were both going to do a Full and a Half respectively, but it only occurred to me the day before the actual race that they might actually be doing the same race albeit different distances. Doh! All the same, Chris ran sub-4 (better than Paul Ryan!) and Gina ran sub-3 which is pretty awesome considering the only time I did a halfie, I took ages and ages. So well done, you awesome running people!

Other than that, the weekend was pretty much a blow-out. Hardly did anything because I was so dang tired. I managed to make it down for pilates on Saturday and then did a quick walk up the Nature Reserve with Rich on Sunday. Did a short run on Friday which turned out fine minus the return of my all-too-familiar stitch...Didn't go too far because well...erm....I was just plain lazy. Because I knew I wasn't going to go too far, I tried to run a bit harder...which maybe explains the stitch. So that didn't last very long either.

Whilst mid-run, I thought about my podiatrist and I realised that I'm kind of glad I went to see him. Rich says I walk like a cowboy sometimes and I never really understood what he meant, but it's the whole flicking outwards that my foot makes when it leaves the ground. I know it's to compensate for something, but I forget now. Then there's been that annoying pain on my little toe that never really quite went away and the foot aches that cause a whole bunch of hobbling around. In all, it's nice to know that there's a reason for all of this. Makes me feel that I'm not actually that much of a freak and that maybe I can run (not that I'd choose it as my first sport of choice) a little more pain-free once I get all that fixed up.

I've finally got myself a new pair of runners. I decided to go cheap and headed to Queensway (sports gear mecca!) over the weekend and got me a sweet new pair of Asics Gel-Nimbus 13s for $70 less than the usual specialist running store I go to! I did miss having someone there who said 'yes, you should wear this shoe and in this size' though because I'm terrible at making a decision. Even something as simple as 'do I want this in a size 6 or a size 6.5?' I spent a good half hour deciding that. This despite the fact that I brought my old shoes along and it clearly showed 6.5. I ended up buying a size 6 and then going home rummaging through all my old shoes (all size 6.5 as expected) and heading back the next day to change it. Maybe that's what the $70 gives me - extra time and peace of mind. Plus Queensway is like a zoo in the weekends, way too many people! Meanwhile I just hope I got the right pair of shoes.

What I've done:
Friday - Ran 20 minutes
Saturday - 45 mins Pilates
Sunday - Walked Bkt Timah Nature Reserve

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Foot Report

I went to see the podiatrist today and have learned that I have one foot a wee bit shorter than the other, and that I walk funny and have been walking/running funny for a while. That's the short story. The long story involves a lot of walking around, reaching for my toes and standing around while my little toes and big toes were moved around.

Bottom line is, I need custom-made orthotics because I am over-compensating for my feet by walking funny and over-working muscles (or something like that). I also need to stretch my calves and hamstrings twice a day, do an ice bottle massage after each run and I need to either get regular sports massages on my calves or do it myself with the foam roller. Oh joy.

Plus I've got to change my running shoes (which I kind of knew, but didn't think I ran enough lately to justify getting a spanking new pair of runners) which means a trip down to Queensway tomorrow to find a new pair, which he kindly recommended a few.

The good thing that came out of all this is that I've been given a free pass to skip the halfie I signed up for. Woohoo! I can sleep in and not feel bad that I'm being lazy! He did say thought that I should shoot for the trail race later in the month I also signed up for. Which is fine, I like that race anyway.

So now my foot is taped up and he says to run tonight with the tape on. So far I've walked with the tape on and it's dang uncomfortable, and for some reason my heel is starting to ache a little. Not sure how my run is going to go.

All in all, I quite like this guy, aside from being rather good eye-candy, he seems to know his feet. He's the 3rd podiatrist I've seen ever and I felt more informed coming out of the appointment. It could well be that he spins a good tale, but hell if I'm paying that much, at least spin a good tale!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Fine Line

Yesterday I went on my run hungry. I'd eaten an early lunch and all I had for tea was a quinoa cookie, so before I started my run my stomach was growling. I figured if I just drank a whole bunch of water it'd help that. Well boys and girls, it doesn't. My original plan to run from the train station all the way home got halved and I had to get on a bus to go the rest of the way. Talk about humiliating.

It was insanely hot yesterday as well which didn't help at all. About 1.5k into the run I was dripping sweat and feeling exceedingly hungry. I stopped at one of the traffic lights and when I started again, my legs just felt like lead and I just couldn't find any energy to drag them along. I think I struggled through maybe another 2k before I called it a night.

The thing that went through my head throughout the run was why running was just such a miserable sport. Granted there are days where I love the run and all that, but then there are so many more days where I just want it all to be over very early in the run. I don't get that swimming. Other than when the coach makes us do ridiculous interval sets, I rarely ever am in the pool thinking 'oh my gawd, when is this going to end?' And just the number of parts that ache when I run is ridiculous. People ask me 'why do you run if you don't enjoy it?' and really I think there are only 2 reasons - 1. I wouldn't enjoy stopping as much as I do if I never ran and 2. every time I see some guy/girl running and how they make it look effortless, I forget how much I ache and feel like crap half the time and wish I were running with them. I'm calling it running amnesia. That'd be the only way to explain why instead of looking at someone running and going 'thank goodness that's not me', more often than not, I'm thinking 'I wish I were running'. Weird, but true.

Maybe I'm just in a slump and need to find a way to get out of this. I also need to find that fine line where I'm not overly hungry or completely stuffed before I do my next run.

What I've done:
Tuesday - 1hr swim training (covered 2k)
Yesterday - 30 minute run

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

To Run or Not to Run

Last week I did a 40 minute run and for 3 days my legs ached and my left foot started acting up in protest at the work I put it through. It got so bad I actually had to hobble out of bed the past few mornings because it just hurt so much. 40 minutes - that's it. Not like I ran 40km. In fact I doubt I even did 7k. It is all very demoralising. So a part of me is seriously considering the fact that I may never do a marathon because my poor feet just can't take all that pounding. I may actually just have to admit that running may not be quite my thang!

I'm not going to give it up just yet though, drama-queen rant aside. I'm going to try a run again tomorrow and see how that goes. Then I've made an appointment to see a podiatrist on Thursday because the internet is spitting out way too much possible feet problems I might have and much as I love this chinese dood I go to to 'fix' my foot, I'm starting to feel that he seems to be treating the symptom rather than solving the actual underlying problem. Damn left foot!

The annoying part about all this is that my run on Friday was actually pretty awesome. I ran stitch-less and nothing ached too much. I saw some pretty odd people (one woman was carrying a sort of handbag while running...why???) and I ran a bit further than I usually do! So it really is a real bummer that it all fell apart over the weekend.

On a random aside, I went to the Nature Reserve on the weekend to do a quick walk and as I was coming down from the top, I saw a family and their maid. And then I realised the maid was carrying all the snacks and water for them. It didn't look like all that was very heavy, but it was ridiculous! What took the cake was the fact that the father was wearing a '42k finisher' T-shirt. Woohoo, he can finish a marathon but can't carry a few bottles of water? Seriously? I was not impressed with that.

Also, if you ever decide to go to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, go early. The early morning crowd up there are a lot nicer than the folks who rock up at 9am. No one said 'hello' and when I greeted people sometimes I barely got a reply. They just didn't seem happy which is a real shame.

What I did:

Friday: 40 min run
Saturday: 45 min pilates
Sunday: 40 min walk up and down Bukit Timah Hill

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recovery Be Damned

I signed up for a halfie in November. I was won over by the whole 'women's only half marathon' and thought 'ooh that'd be fun!' Only, after getting myself registered, I suddenly recalled that I didn't half like running all that far and I found out that it started at 5.30am. Oh joy.

So my post-race, laze-around-and-be-a-couch-potato plans got thwarted by my over enthusiasm at this whole 'all women half marathon' and all I had is a good 2 days to pig out and do squat. Yesterday I got back to some semblance of 'training' if you might call it that - only I didn't do any running. The sky's been a bit crap lately. Thanks to the lovely folk over in Indonesia (Sumatra to be exact) and deforestation by slash and burn, the air this way has been pretty hazy. I could run on the yawn-mill, but let's be serious...that really isn't likely to happen. So in training for my halfie all I've done so far (and that was all done yesterday) was to go for a spin class and a 1/2 hour session in the pool where I think I managed only 1.25k in distance....ah well, we'll write them off as recovery work-outs.

I was going to run tonight but my good friend Jeanne just rang to say she was in town for a layover for a couple more hours. Talk about last minute notice! No running tonight, instead I shall be knocking them beers back and catching up with an old friend I haven't seen in ages now! Come on, surely that's a better way to spend a Wednesday night than doing a 5k run. I'm not even going to bother to pretend that I'll wake up super early to do my run tomorrow. Ain't happening.

What I've done
45 min spin
1/2 hr swim training

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Team Small Dragon Baskets

Post race photo of Small Dragon Baskets! Rich looks like the only one who did anything!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cold Storage Triathlon Race Report

It's been a while and I have a confession to make. I don't report on some races namely races I feel embarrassed to talk about. For example the latest Tri-Factor Sprint Triathlon I did. I sucked giant ass and well...what can I say, I was lazy, I didn't train quite as hard as I should have and I just plain didn't take the damn thing seriously. The only thing on my mind was finishing it up early enough to make it for champagne brunch. Sooo....no race report on that unfortunately...I've said too much as it is!

Anyway, on to a race report on the Cold Storage Triathlon. Technically just a race report on the swim leg of the Cold Storage Tri since that's all I did...and pretty damn slowly, might I add. Our team consisted of Mun, Rich and I. Rich was dragged along for the ride essentially since Mun and I had discussed doing a tri relay and were looking for a runner. Poor Rich - thanks to the weird time schedule, Rich pretty much had to run in the mid-day sun.

My wave started at 9.50am which is pretty late considering some people were actually doing the full triathlon on their own...I would NOT like to be starting my 10k run at noon! Since there were that few relay people, we had to start with the age 50 and over individual men's wave.There were a crap load of men - I spotted maybe 5 girls tops. When the whistle blew I pretty much let the wave of men fight their way in before I strolled into the waters. Surprisingly there weren't any breast-strokers with this lot. I guess men think it's not macho enough to start of breast-stroking? Who knows.

All was going sort of fine-ish I suppose. I didn't swim like a snake, I sighted every 6 strokes (except when I forgot, then I did some weird trying to catch the buoy at the corner of my eye whilst trying to breathe and glide and remember a whole bunch of things I was supposed to do), I didn't get kicked in the ribs...it was all good!

Then I spotted some chick hanging off the ropes. I think it might have been her first time in the sea but she'd pretty much freaked out. So I stopped. I can imagine how scary it can be swimming in open waters. I'm not that freaked by it since when I was windsurfing I got pretty used to being thrown off and floating around (even then I had my board to hang on to!) but I know sometimes when I go to Sentosa (a grand total of maybe 5 times) to do laps at the lagoon I sometimes think 'If I just had a cramp here or if there was some undercurrent that dragged me out, no one would spot me and that really wouldn't be a fun way of dying'. I told the chick I'd swim with her for a bit. So she went a bit and stopped and hung off the ropes again. I checked to see if she was fine and we swam for a bit again before she had to stop. We did this for maybe 100-150m. Then she tried to go it back stroke and went the completely wrong direction. So we stopped again. By this time she had got herself pretty winded and was pretty much over it. We shouted over for the canoe and I think that was it for her. Fair play to her for trying though. I'd have given up and called it quits much much earlier on.

The race of the swim was pretty uneventful other than a damn stitch and the weird fact that there was no where to grab a cup of water when we got out of the sea to do our 2nd lap. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that you do a full 1.5k (instead of two 750m laps) in the sea without coming out in other triathlons, so they're trying to mimic that? I was freakin' thirsty at the end of those 2 laps. After I got out of the sea, still no water in sight. And then they made us run. There were plenty of cuss words in my head at this point of time, the sanitised version pretty much read 'why the beep do I have to run? I'm the beeping swimmer and they make me run? Where the beep is the beeping transition point? And why isn't there no beeping water in sight!?!?' The run bit sucked ass. We had to run over some overhead bridge thing (lower than the ones you get on the street) but what a pain in the proverbial ass that was.

I was so happy when I shoved my sandy, salt-watery timing chip to Mun and could finally grab some water...from the water bottle that Rich passed to me. Mind you there was still no water point in sight. I think they just hate the swimmers. That has to be it.

I sat around with Rich waiting for Mun who nailed his bike leg (6th out of 15th! - 40k in 1:17hrs) and then caught some breakfast with Mun whilst waiting for Rich who despite having done zero training did pretty well (11th out of 15th - 10k in 1:07hrs). We finished up 12th overall thanks to me. I let down the team! I did, however, beat my PB 1.5k timing and finished my swim in 39:06mins. Yay to me! And yay to Small Dragon Baskets! We didn't finish last - which really was the goal of this race.

Race Report by the cyclist in the team - http://tourdejapan.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/cold-storage-tri-29-09-12/

Swim (1.5k) - 39:06 mins
Bike (40k) - 1:17:52  hrs
Run (10k) - 1:07:41 hrs
Overall - 3:04:38 hrs