I heard, if you want to lose weight… JustRunLah!

Running and losing weight at the same time is not an easy task, especially here in Singapore with all the wonderful local foods available. Even more so, the fact that we are in the middle of festive season doesn’t help at all!

This article is meant to encourage consistency, promote awareness and help you along the way achieving your goals.

  1. TRY to eat healthily

    Remember that you will only lose KG if you burn more calories more than you consume. (You may want to re-read the previous line.) To lose a KG, you have to burn about 3500 calories through exercise. So combining running with a healthy diet is very very important. Runners do have special nutrition need but the basic need for eating healthy still apply. TRY choosing smaller portions of high-fat and high-calorie foods. Eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

    – As a runner, carbohydrates should make up about 60 – 65% of your total calories intake.

    – Protein is used for some energy and to repair tissue damaged during training. Protein keeps you feeling full longer which helps if you are trying to lose weight.

fruits grains

  1. TRY to follow a training schedule

    Sticking to a schedule is a great way to stay motivated to run. You know exactly what you need to do every day and each run builds on the next. Following a schedule can also help you to avoid a running injuries by increasing your mileage too quickly. My advice, improve a little at a time. Do not rush. Consistency is key! Black toenails, blisters, chafing, muscle cramps, muscle strains, runner’s Knee, side stitches, shin splints are some common running injuries to avoid.

  1. TRY to run regularly

    Cannot follow a daily schedule? Some consistency with your running is needed. Buddies, you will not lose weight by running just once a week. Try to get some activities in every day OR try to run at least 3-4 times per week. Singaporeans are always busy. My advice, skip the lunch, go for a 40mins run! Or, skip the train or bus after work, try running home if it’s not too far.

  1. TRY to keep it challenging

    Incorporating interval training (running at a very fast speed for short intervals of time) into your running routine can also help your weight loss efforts. Interval training burns a great amount of calories in a short period of time. You will also increase your muscle mass and improve your resting metabolism thus causing you to burn more calories throughout the day and of course a better runner at the end of the day!

wednesday_three_mile_run_day

  1. TRY eating the right thing at the right time

    Running regularly and training for a middle / long distance event, proper nutrition is critical for your performance. Skipping meals does not allow you to train with adequately fuelled muscles. Eat wisely before and after your workouts. These are crucial times when nutrition is important to performance and recovery.

    Before: When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. You do not want to eat / drink immediately before running because it may lead to side stitch. But running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy and leave you feeling lethargic during your runs. Likewise, your choice of pre-run meal is important, as eating the wrong foods could send you looking for the closest bathroom during your run.

    After running, especially a long run, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. You will want to consume primarily carbs but do not ignore protein. If you feel like you cannot stomach solid food immediately after a run, try drinking some chocolate milk.

Remember, no pain, no gain!

The above is based on personal experience only and does not constitute professional advice.

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Farewell Run on the Decommissioned East Coast Parkway Expressway #Throwback

Introduction

1 year ago, the new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) took over East Coast Parkway (ECP) on the work of routing the traffic around the downtown area. There was a small stretch of time when there are absolutely no vehicles on the decommissioned expressway and there were no barricade barring the public from entering the disused expressway. I decided to post this run 1 year after the closure of ECP to prevent the word from getting out and attracting hordes of runners to do a farewell run on ECP. There are all those heavy vehicles and construction materials lying around which could pose as a risk for irresponsible and careless runners.

11 Jan 2014

“Hey guys. You know last week during our Tanjong Pagar Run? I found a way into the closed down portion of East Coast Park Expressway!”

“No Way! Aren’t you scared of the Police?”

“Well, it is a public road and there is no signs asking people not to trespass.”

“Hmmm, it will pretty cool to have a farewell run on the ECP. Let’s do it!”

My crazy proposal to run in the middle of the disused part of the East Coast Park Expressway was actually adopted by the group! News of it spread and we managed to attract a few more curious runners to try out this one in a lifetime experience!

 After gathering at Tanjong Pagar Mrt once again, we set off along Tanjong Pagar Road to find the now disused ramp into the expressway.

We did not see any barriers, any “Do Not Enter” signs or tapes, so we assumed that it should be legitimate to have a stroll/run in the middle of an expressway. We were probably the first people to run in the middle of ECP ever since 1982 and there would never be such a chance again. Lining up, we took a wefie and off we went, sprinting down the wide 5 lane expressway!

Oh the Joy!!

East view of ECP
East view of ECP
South view of ECP
South view of ECP
West View of ECP
West View of ECP
The run ended at MBS
The run ended at MBS

The decommissioned stretch of ECP is pretty short and we only had a joy run for around 800meters before we hit the end of the road (literally!). We continued our run to MBS and was pleasantly surprised to witness a passing out parade by our national service men who survived the 3 months basic military training course (BMTC). The guys were sighing on the subsequent 12 years of national service commitment waiting for them and we were reminiscing on our own passing out parades. The weather is absolutely beautiful (and hot!) and we spent more time taking pictures that day than trying to accumulate some mileage to our run.

Thank you ECP for serving Singapore all these years!

It was a great run!

Glorious morning for a passing out parade
Glorious morning for a passing out parade
Beautiful play of colors in the morning with the Singapore flyer, Sheares Bridge and the morning sun and cloud
Beautiful play of colors in the morning with the Singapore flyer, Sheares Bridge and the morning sun and cloud
Rare to see such beautiful blue sky in Singapore
Rare to see such beautiful blue sky in Singapore

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Visit SG Unfit Runners for more routes for absolutely unfit people. Don’t visit us if you are very fit and do ultramarathons without breaking a sweat! SG Unfit Runners is a finalist at the Singapore Blog Awards.

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The Beginning

My Pretty Trees Route

I was a night owl, partier and drinker. On the other hand, I’ve also been sporty all my life, just didn’t do the long intense cardio workout thing, and hated running I usually did weights, body balance, body pump, spinning, or tennis.

Started hearing friends who turned 40 saying that its harder to lose weight after they turned 40. Body starting to “fall apart” too.

My First 2 shoes
My First 2 shoes

So, approaching 40, 3+ yrs ago, at the same time when my daughter had to be at school by 7am, I started to wonder what to do with myself that early in the morning after I was done with the shuttle service. I was also getting tired having to drive to the gym to exercise and missing classes while on holidays. I want to be able to just go out the door and exercise! Whatever time of day as long as the weather is nice and “cool”. I thought, after all the spinning classes I did, my stamina should be good enough to run!

And that was it! one Saturday morning, I laced up, asked my daughter to cycle along (I was too shy to run by myself ). We did 5k! I didn’t run nonstop but I tried the best I could. I choked, struggled, out of breath but I was determined to cover that lap!

Legs and body ached and were stiff all over after. I later asked around, apparently I should have worn proper running shoes. Even running socks!! Wow, I didn’t know they made any difference. That was the next thing I did, retail therapy!!

Even choosing running shoes was confusing; there are the road or trail shoes, cushioning, stability, motion control, minimalist/barefoot.

Anyhow I bought my first, they were adidas and they were perfect. They supported my feet and body. I kept on running and there was no more ache/stiffness. However, those supports wear out. How long that takes is dependent on your mileage. I now can tell as I can’t feel the “cushioning” anymore, the shoes become kind of stiff and I know it’s time for more retail therapy! 😀

My Pretty Trees Route
My Pretty Trees Route

Unfortunately just like fashion, they have new running shoe designs every season or something, supposedly better I think. You might not be able to find the same ones as that last pair you loved and became accustomed to. So you have to start that whole process all over again…try different ones which would suit your feet and running style. Sometimes you can only feel it after a few runs!..

In 3 years, I think I’ve tried and owned almost 10 pairs, from adidas to nike to saucony to brooks to asics to sketchers. Different brands, different models, different fit! From those 10 pairs I’d say 6 were the perfect fit.

Anyway, after my first run, I continued running. Minimum 5km! My thought was, my first run was 5k, my next run cannot be less!! I tried to get my daughter to cycle along on the weekends. Over time, she even noticed I was getting faster and lasted longer without walking. Now I run alone and running is freedom – from schedule, at my own pace, I don’t need to depend/wait on anyone.

My regular route is our neighbourhood. I recreate accordingly should I want to go further. In the beginning I used an app to plan and calculate my route. And when I needed change, I go to East Coast Park or Sentosa to run along the beach. But now that’s not convenient anymore.

One of my holiday runs
One of my holiday runs

I didn’t follow any training plans for a while. I just ran by feelings. When I wanted to push/challenge myself, I just told myself maybe I can do 7k today, then lets try 8k, or 9k and so on. I didn’t stop, I kept on running..I actually love it!!

The key is listen to the body – to go fast, far, pace, push or rest. At my age, I don’t think to be fast like athletes. I just want to keep fit, healthy, finish races within cutoff time and most importantly not to get injured.

Now, I’m still a night owl, I still party and drink, but according to my running schedule. As I have now been training for half marathons, so I’m running more, my body feels more tired and my mind thinking “I’d rather run tomorrow morning than nursing a hangover”

When I’m going on holiday, I check in advance where I’d be able to run – on the beach/trail nearby, or if I’d need a hotel with a gym.

I searched, googled, downloaded training plans, mix and match them, follow them however suits my body.

I didn’t really need to lose weight. I may have lost 3kg in the 3 years of running. Not much but I look skinny and toned. 😉

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Dr. Will talks to JRL about his Antarctic Ice Marathon experience

SGflagatcamp Race3 Flag 2medals

William Thomas, 48, lives and works in Singapore and recently became a member of the 7 Continents Marathon Club, whose members include those who have run a marathon within the Antarctic Circle, as well as on the other six continents. He began running only six years ago and says his decision to run all seven continents before turning 50 was a “mid-40s birthday, bucket list sort of thing.

Thomas talks to JustRunLah! about his experience running the Antarctic Ice Marathon:

WT: I realize Antarctica is a bit out of the way, but if you have a goal of running a marathon on all 7 continents, at some point you have to come here. This was #7 for me, after years of pursuing that goal, so you can probably guess how excited I still am about this race.

The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the southernmost marathon in the world. It takes place on Union Glacier, about 1000km from the South Pole, and it is the only marathon within the Antarctic Circle. Since it takes place in November – which is the end of spring in the Southern Hemisphere – the temperature “only” drops to about -20C (though the wind can make it colder). The race consists of two loops around a 21.1km course that is AIMS-certified, and also carefully marked so you don’t run off the course and fall into a thousand-meter crevasse.

We were supposed to run the race the day after we arrived, but bad weather made us wait a couple days. I was a bit nervous leading up to the race, but I wasn’t the only one. Most of us had not run in conditions like this before, and many of us had training plans that looked great on paper but that had been disrupted by real life in the weeks before we arrived.

A short 4km practice run helped boost my confidence, but conditions were different on race day. You might think clear skies and reduced wind were a blessing – and they were – but they made things warmer. While that sounds great in theory, the biggest challenge in the race is maintaining your core body temperature, getting neither too cold nor too hot. Most folks run with 3 layers of clothes, and if you get too hot, you sweat so much that the two inner layers get really wet. Then let some chilly air in, and you learn an entirely new definition of “cold” as your clothes freeze. That’s what leads to hypothermia, and it can keep you from finishing the race (oh, and kill you, of course).

Despite having practiced with gloves on, I had a lot of trouble opening the vents under the arms of my wind shell, so when I started heating up it was hard to release that. Fortunately I was able to get the front zipper open, and I cooled down. I had overdressed a bit, wearing a stocking cap on top of a full-face balaclava. I took that off occasionally and could feel the heat leaving through my head, but it was nice to have it when the wind kicked in.

The balaclava was, as expected, the biggest clothing challenge. Covering the mouth as it does, it makes breathing difficult. I had practiced, but it’s one thing to breathe through a mask on a treadmill in Singapore, and it’s another thing to do it during an actual race in Antarctica. I could feel the mask getting wet as I breathed out and I was concerned about ice forming on it, but I avoided that little annoyance.

The only time my goggles fogged was as I approached the final checkpoint with about 3 miles to go. They not only fogged, they froze, and the support guy at the checkpoint wasn’t sure how to clear them because he figured even warm water would just freeze again. That’s when we discovered that hand sanitizer will melt ice and won’t freeze up, and so I finished the race with the cleanest goggles out of everyone (but there’s no prize for that).

Mentally, everything went very well. I never had the “why am I doing this to myself?” feeling that sometimes pops up during a race. I was excited the whole time, and during the back stretch of my second lap I caught myself yelling “I AM RUNNING A MARATHON IN ANTARCTICA!!!!!!” There was no one within a couple miles of me so at least I didn’t bother anyone.

The setting was beautiful. Sometimes it felt like you were running forward into a painting. It was also insanely quiet. I could hear my breathing, I could hear the crunch of the snow under my feet, but that was it. Combine that with not seeing anyone and it was like being this last person on Earth.

I have usually found I run faster in a race than in training, in part because I am surrounded by other runners and that helps set a pace for me. But here, there were only 47 of us, and we were pretty spread out after a few miles. There were plenty of times that I could see no one in front or behind, and even when I could they were often tiny little specks that I knew were probably 2-3km in front of me.

Running on snow is unbelievably hard. Though the course had been somewhat groomed, there was nothing smooth about it. Snowcat tracks, snowmobile tracks, other runners’ tracks, melting and re-freezing, and being on a glacier that moves 3mm per hour, all combined to make a very uneven surface. We were lucky it was sunny, because it meant you could see the biggest changes in the surface, but in that kind of light in a big white space, while wearing polarized goggles, there’s not a lot of contrast and it’s hard to judge the surface. Also, once you step on it, you tend to sink in even as you are trying to push off, so it requires a lot more effort to just get your legs moving. Your toes sink in with each step, putting pressure on them and increasing the chance of injury. After about 23km I started landing on my heels instead, which is very different from how I have been running the last year and a half, but it’s what I needed to do. During the second lap, when I was more familiar with the course, I found stretches where I really picked up speed, but I will admit that was not my normal state.

This was not a fast race for me, but I don’t care. In the first place, my goal was just to do it, not to do it quickly. More importantly, though, was a thought from my friend Nancy during our midpoint pit stop: “I have been trying to get here for years, why would I want it to end quickly?” Though to be honest, I was really looking forward to taking my one shower of the week after the race (one minute long, using melted snow, and it was the best shower I ever had).

Our support crew was very helpful. In addition to medical teams cruising by on snowmobiles looking for a thumbs-up, we had two manned aid stations and one unmanned. At the manned stations we had not only warm drinks and food, but also a half-igloo with a field-condition restroom. The need for that is based on the treaty requirement that anything created by humans – ANYTHING – needs to be boxed up and shipped out. That means you can’t just stop by the side of the trail when nature calls. There is a spot on the course called “Pooh Corner” for reasons that have nothing to do with a bear named Winnie, and I was determined not have similar stories told about me to future runners.

One particularly rough stretch of ground led to some serious back pain, and I used my midpoint pit stop to stretch it out, and also take some ibuprofen. I also needed to change all my inner layers as well as socks, gloves, and headgear, because I was concerned they were too wet.

The final two-tenths of a kilometer were among the greatest moments of my life. I was yelling as I ran, arms up as I crossed the Finish Line, and I could not believe that after pursuing goal this for years I had finally done it. I wish a bunch of my friends could have been there, but I think I can understand their absence in this case.

There are a couple other marathons on outer islands in Antarctica, but from what I have read this one seems like the best. The race itself was obviously fun, but living at a camp in Antarctica for 5 days was a truly amazing experience. The other runners were fantastic, and when you combine that with being in a place that so few people have ever visited, this can really be a life-changing trip.

Do you want to learn more about Antarctic Ice Marathon? Check out www.icemarathon.com

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“I Get To Run Even Though I Lost My Sight” – Meet Runninghour members

Runninghour is an inclusive running club for integrating people with special needs. We’d like to introduce some of its members, whom you will be running alongside at the inaugural “Run So Others Can” race (March 22, 2015).

Dennis Sim

Joined Runninghour: 2013

What was your first running experience with Runninghour and what was it like?

Dennis: My first running experience took place in early 2013 at a running session held at Toa Payoh stadium. It was my very first time running since I lost my sight and I was paired with an experienced running guide for the session. It was scary at first so I was running at a slow pace as I was worried that I would bump into someone else. My guide was assuring and constantly spoke to me as we ran so my confidence built up from there.

How has Runninghour changed your life?

Dennis: For a few years after I completely lost my sight, I mostly confined myself at home and did not exercise at all. My health was in bad shape and I was in a constant state of depression. Since joining Runninghour, I am in much better shape both physically and emotionally. Not only has the co-op help me to regain my fitness, I have also made many new friends. Through our weekly runs, we share our life experiences and act as emotional support for one another. The sessions have given me confidence to deal with challenges that come with my disability.

What advice would you share with first-time Blind Run participants?

Dennis: As the participants will be experiencing running blindfolded and as a running guide for the first time, it is vital to attend the pre-race workshops to get vital first-hand information from those with experience.

 

running hourTan Siew Ling

Joined Runninghour: January 2013

What was your first running experience with Runninghour and what was it like?

Siew Ling: In December 2012, Runninghour members Wai Yee and Ivni invited me to run with the group, and much to their disbelief, I told them I would join in the January the following year. My first run with the group was at Buona Vista for a trial before the Green Corridor Run later that month. I was paired with Royce for my first run with a shoelace for Royce to guide me with. The trail was muddy, full of puddles and ended up in us not being able to complete the planned running route. It was an eventful first run for me

Why did you decide to join Runninghour?

Siew Ling: When I lost my sight at 11 years of age, I did not exercise at all. Even with my sight, I was not the exercise sort. Since taking up running, I feel fitter leading a more active life, and have forged strong friendships with the friendly members of Runninghour. I’m now more involved in sports now than ever before.

What advice would you share with first time Blind Run participants for the upcoming Runninghour2015: Run So Others Can?

Siew Ling: Take it slow. As the visually impaired runner, you are the one setting the pace so communicate with your guide, tell them how you want to be alerted of changes. As a running guide, use distance alerts such as 10m ahead, 30 steps ahead, get ready in 3…2…1 to inform your partner. When blindfolded, just trust your guide, run and enjoy the whole experience. It’s a very liberating experience.

 

10676160_10152605074531888_7145433919702951995_nOng Meng Hong

Joined Runninghour: February 2014

How has Runninghour changed your life?

Meng Hong: Besides my regular running routine, I have found new joy and meaning to this sport after joining Runninghour. My wife and I always look forward to the weekly Saturday runs. We can’t wait to meet old and new friends at these sessions. In fact, if we were to miss some sessions due to work or personal commitments, we get “withdrawal syndromes” and cannot wait to attend the next session. It is also very inspiring to see many of our special needs runners train very hard to achieve their best times or distances, and also others who brave the long travel time and/or weather to attend the training sessions every week.

What was your first running experience with Runninghour and what was it like?

Meng Hong: I joined Runninghour in February this year, after chancing upon their website in Facebook. During the first session at East Coast Park, another first time guide, David Pong, and myself were given a short induction on how to guide a Visually-challenged Runner (VCR). We also took turns to experience first hand what it is like to run when you can’t see by running a short distance blind-folded. I was paired with Wai Yee, one of the VCRs who has been with the club for two years. It was a brand new experience for me but I must say it was quite exciting. I alternated with David, to “guide” Wai Yee which means we will hold on to one end of a shoelace while she held the other end. Initially, we were super cautious and kept giving instructions to her about every single road condition, regardless of whether it matters or not! However, Wai Yee was very relaxed and friendly and she was chit-chatting all the way with us, easing our tensions as first time guides. Everything went smoothly until the last 100m where Wai Yee suggested that we do a sprint to the finishing line. As we sprinted (and me trying to keep pace with Wai Yee!), I became complacent and completely forgot that she is a VCR. While I avoided the path of an old lady, Wai Yee bumped straight into her as we crossed the end point. Wai Yee fell back on the ground and I felt so guilt-stricken. Wai Yee assured me that she is perfectly okay and mentioned that it is not uncommon for a beginner guide to make such a mistake. After that first session, I was totally inspired and the rest as they say is history and have never looked back on the decision to join the club!

What advice would you share with first time Blind-Run participants for the upcoming Runninghour 2015: Run So Others Can?

Meng Hong: Feel the fear to run in total darkness and overcome the fear to guide others. Be inspired by the determination of visually-challenged people to run regularly. And extend your help to reach out to more visually-challenged people to pick up sporting activities such as running.


 

Wait no more, register now for Runninghour 2015: Run So Others Can that will be taking place on March 22nd, 2015. You can take part in the competitive 10 km race or join the non-competitive 5 or 10 km including 1 km of blindfolded run. Use promo code RH5D2015 during registration and get $5 off!

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5 Possible Motivations for Marathon Cheating and the Solutions

Running a marathon is often listed as one of the bucket list among many of my friends. Marathon is always associated as a revered sport, associated with strength, determination and perseverance. If you are a guy and you told people that you have completed a marathon, your social status immediately rockets and beautiful girls will flock to you and want you to share your experience. If you are a girl and you told people that you have completed a marathon, men will queue up to want to marry you.

The recent blog article by runningsucks.blogspot.sg created an uproar in various Singapore’s social media circles, and the topic of cheating in a running event became a hot topic among the runners. The saga started by a passionate runner/blogger who was taking pictures of Singapore Marathon and noticed quite a number of runners wearing the slow runner’s bib clearing the marathon within 4 hours (An extremely good timing by marathon standards). He checked the bib number against the official timing and found that some of the runners skipped some of the check-points, effectively reducing a 42km marathon to 25km. The blogger posted pictures and names of some of the suspected cheaters. The Singapore Marathon organizers later clarified that some of the slower runners were asked to turn back at the 13km mark as they have to reopen the roads closed by the event. The runners who were asked to turn back were still promised the coveted race medal and finisher T-shirt.

The big question now is that Singapore Marathon, being one of the Gold Label road race awarded by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), along with the most prestigious marathons in the world such as the Boston Marathon, is setting the right standard by forcing runners to take a shorter route and still awarding them the finisher rewards despite not completing the marathon. Is that the standard the organizers should set for a Gold Label marathon event? Should a qualifying timing be set just like the Boston marathon?

While the debate rages on in the running community, I took some time to take a look at some of the marathon cheating cases around the world and the motivation behind and possible solutions to deter marathon cheating.

1. “I only want the T-shirt and Medal!” 

(2013 Singapore Marathon, Singapore)

Picture from Straits Times
Picture from Straits Times

Mr Tam Chua Puh created an uproar at the Singapore Stanchart Marathon when he emerged as the winner of the local category of Stanchart Marathon. He ran 6km, took some time to drink some coffee (I made that up, but what else to do while waiting for the race to end on an early Sunday morning?), and made a heroic dash to the end point. The tightly knit competitive Singapore marathon community was confused as to who this new-comer was and how he managed to beat the top marathon athletes in Singapore. The organizers took a few hours to verify the records before they disqualified Mr Tam. Mr Tam later made an apology and said:

“After resting at the bus stop, I made my way back to the finishing line. I saw some Kenyans run past, and I thought I saw some local runners run past too, so I assumed it was safe to return to the race. I didn’t expect to be the first Singaporean to finish.”

It later came to light that Mr Tam cheated in that last 2 Singapore Marathon and the organizers still allowed him to run on 2013 despite multiple transgressions.

Motivation: T-Shirt and Medal

Solution: Ban Medal and T-shirt

 

2. “I only want to improve my Grades!”  

(2010 Xiamen Marathon, China)

 

Picture from whatsonxiamen.com
Picture from whatsonxiamen.com

Around 30-40 students were disqualified from the Xiamen Marathon on 2010. Some students hired imposters to run in their place, some hopped on a vehicle, some passed their running chips to friends with faster timings. Of the top 100 runners for the marathon, 30 were disqualified.

The motivation to cheat came to light when it is discovered that the students will gain extra points in their university entrance exam (gaokao) if they are able to complete the marathon within a certain timing. Getting into a good university in China is seen as crucial to securing a good paying job and with only a limited university admission slot in a country with a population of 3 billion, every single point counts. It is not surprising that the parents probably had a hand in cheating too, since students probably are not so rich to hire imposters to help them run.

In 2014, 3 competitors were found to have cheated in the Xiamen Marathon.

Deputy Chief Referee of Xiamen International Marathon, Shi Jianping, expressed his distress and anger about those who cheated in the race. Shi criticized them for tarnishing the reputation of the Xiamen marathon, and said the cheaters will receive harsh punishment.

Motivation: Academic Scores

Solution: Ban Entrance Exams

 

3. “I am a Personal Trainer. I Train Everyday … for the Past 7 Years!”

 (2014 London Marathon, United Kingdom)

Mr Williams showing off his achievements dailymail.co.uk
Mr Williams showing off his achievements
dailymail.co.uk

Jason Scotland-Williams completed the second half of the London marathon 2014 faster than Olympic champion Mo Farah and he completed the second half at half the time he did for the first half of the London Marathon. He had been witnessed to had jumped over a dividing barrier and sprinted back to the finishing point, leading a pack of runners. Mr Williams denied that he cheated and he had a “Miracle” second half, thanks to the amount of training he underwent as a personal trainer for the marathon.

Mr Williams is also a personal fitness coach and a part-time model and he has been posting his achievements online, probably to improve his credibility as a fitness coach and to get more sign-ups for his services.

Motivation: Fitness Coach Credibility

Solution: Ban selfies with running medals

 

 4. “I wanted to run the Boston Marathon to raise money for a Medical Charity!”

 (2006 Twin Cities Marathon, USA)

picture from kare11.com
picture from kare11.com

Hassan Ibrahim is a physician at the University of Minnesota and he managed to improve the timing of his marathon timing at the Twin Cities Marathon to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon. With the timing for the Twin City Marathon, he signed up for the Boston Marathon and was admitted. However, the problem is, the person who ran the race at the Marathon looked nothing like Mr Ibrahim. It seemed like Mr Ibrahim passed his bib to a friend to run on his behalf. 

When asked by news portal  KARE 11, Ibrahim initially said, “It’s none of your business.” He later called back and said he only wanted to run the Boston Marathon to raise money for a medical charity. Ibrahim said he planned to seek $25,000 dollars in pledges. “I wanted to do something good.”

Motivation: Qualification for Boston Marathon

Solution: Ban Boston Marathon

 

5. “I got up with a lot of energy this morning.” 

 (1980 Boston Marathon, USA)

 

Photo by AP via NYTimes.com
Photo by AP via NYTimes.com

The list will not be complete without Rosie Ruiz, the legend who literally transforms how marathons are being organized.  Rosie Ruiz smashed a new woman record for the 1980 Boston Marathon with a time of 2hrs 31min. Suspicion rose when people noticed that Ruiz was not covered in sweat, did not have the body of a world class runner (flabby arms and legs) and when asked, could not recall any details on many parts of the run. The most damning evidence came when two students recalled seeing Ruiz jumping out from the crowd and joining the race near to the end point. A further investigation on her previous New York Marathon run (which qualified her for Boston Marathon) revealed that she took a subway to the finish point.

Ruiz denied that she cheated and insisted that she ran the whole of the Boston Marathon till today.

Called as one of the “greatest sporting hoax ever”, the cheating incident during the Boston Marathon drove organizers to set in place a number of security devices to prevent future cheating incidents in the future. 

Motivation: To be a Legend

Solution: No Solution Needed. Contributed Greatly Towards Marathon Sport. Immortalized.

 

As an unfit runner who has never thought of running a marathon, researching on the origins and history of marathon is something new and interesting to me. Researching on how people cheat on marathons is even more interesting. After spending at least 5 hours poring through all the case files of marathon cheats around the world, I can safely say that I am one of the experts in marathon cheating. As an expert, I have made my recommendation below all the case studies and hopefully, the organizers of the Singapore Marathon will take note of the solutions and hire me as their resident consultant for marathon cheating.

I can probably get a few complementary finisher T-shirts and medals without needing to run!

“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart.”

– Bill Bowerman 

Visit SG Unfit Runners for more routes for absolutely unfit people. Don’t visit us if you are very fit and do ultramarathons without breaking a sweat! SG Unfit Runners is a finalist at the Singapore Blog Awards.

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Banana Relay – The Fine World of Friendship

Well Captain Canada has just completed his final race of the year and is feeling (As Tony the Tiger would say) Grrrrrreeeeattttt!!!!!

I figured maybe this week I would tone down my nonsense a little bit and give a normal review for once… Then I thought to myself… who the heck am I kidding I can’t do that I am Captain Canada LOL.

Anyways this weekend I had the pleasure of participating in one of my favorite events of the year hosted by the outstanding group The Runners Guild. What a classy bunch of runners whom I have to commend on putting on a great event. I will give my rating upfront and say 10/10. Awesome event, great spirits, tons of photographers to capture the beauty within Captain Canada’s pain and a delicious meal at the end.

Hats off to you all from Runner’s Guild for an amazing morning you really taught me something this weekend.. What you may ask?? The power of Friendship. It was a small event on a Sunday with a close group of friends which is what really made this special.

I will keep this brief and would love people to add to this list, but after this weekend I thought I will put together of the types of friends that accompany us while training, competing or living our daily lives.

Without Further Ado I would like to call this list Captain Canada’s guide to understanding your running or life companions.

1) The Spouse : Well Ladies and Gents I think opinions may differ here, but let’s just say don’t bring sand to the beach. If you are anything like Captain Canada running is my way to relieve stress not create it haha. Opinions?

 

 

2) The Drunken Friend: What could I possibly say about this one haha. This is that friend who has the brilliant idea of drinking the night before a race… oh it’s only 8km and you can even eat the Banana while you run…. Let’s just say waking up at 6AM last Friday was that moment your stomach is either getting a $500 drinking on subway ticket, or being brought down by the Singapore Task Force.

 

Capture

 

 

3) The Complainer: This is my Favorite lol…. Common complaints I hear… Man this is boring let’s go drink a beer….. Dude why didn’t we fill           our water bottles full of beer.. water is for wimps (hmmmm).. Bro slow down man I drank too much… last……… nigh… wait a minute I just           realized the complainer friend of mine is also the drunken haha.

 

4) The Ultra Runner: First of all I would like to ask you guys.. You do know the movie Forest Gump was only a movie right?? You send me home in tears after each training/ race and look up into the sky wondering why I was cursed with lactic acid in these legs. Damn you hahaha.

5) The brother/sister from anotha motha: These are the friends till the end, but also the ones that base every decision off of their own limits lol. Common examples of this would be….. Im Gei Gei DNF ultra marathon with you don’t worry you will finish. Well sounds like a great idea let’s do it. See pic below of how that turns out. Good things is at least they won’t take pics of me dying on the ground.

 

6) The Clown: This is the person who loves watching you suffer. The are waiting for that moment where you are lying on the ground dying to go      paparazzi on you. Where do you think the pic above comes from haha.

 

7) The guy who always has to use the toilet: What can I even say about this besides I learnt how to utilize 8 squares of toilet paper best from them lol (See previous post)

This might actually help hahahahaha.

I want to cut it short here because I would love to hear others opinions on this. I really do feel there are so many other types of friends we train/ run with and I want to hear it. Oh  see some pics below of some of my favorite friends.

 

                  

 

Again thank you to the Runners Guild for an amazing event and inspiring me to think about all the lovely people I come across in my adventures.

Captain Canada is off to see his lovely fiance for x mas and heading to Canada till February. I will be back with a vengeance in the new year with tales from the land of Ice and Snow.

Happy Holiday all and have an amazing new year. till 2015! Captain Canada up and awayyyy!

Happy Holidays

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Why Do I Run : 2014 Running Recap

2014

This post is going to serve two purposes:

Firstly, it’s me thinking about why I run and secondly it’s a school report for the SinaiStrider 2014 running performance. Now that the SCMS dust has settled and the Mount Sinai Striders have had their boozy ‘that was the year that was’ lunch review, I can close the racing year with a review and some introspection.

Why Do I Run ?

I am quite sure you’ve all pondered this whilst out on a long run somewhere, or sitting on the grass after a tough race, or whilst in the shower or some other pre/post run activity. There are lots of great books on the subject too….

Common reasons are (I think) Fitness, Lose Weight, Feel Good about Yourself, meet new people, improve health etc….

I am a fairly competitive person, I also work (and have always worked) in a team environment. Running is a deeply individual thing, even when you train with a club, run with friends, it’s all about you – no one can help you when you are running  (not directly anyway) and conversely, you don’t have to rely on anyone else to run. I like this a lot – add this to the simplicity of running (shorts, t shirt, trainers and a stretch of footpath) means I can run wherever and whenever I like. If I want to go out and do a quick lap of macritiche, I just go, if I want to do intervals up and down the Pandan PCR, boom – there I go.

So that’s number 1 for me – self reliance and simplicity.

john3

I am also a pretty sociable guy, I like to chat, I like to chat while I run – so I like to run with my mates. I am not a huge fan of running in big groups, but I do like to do my long/steady runs with a mate or two (two or three runners max in a group for a long run is perfect, any more and it becomes two or more subgroups or isn’t enjoyable in my experience) I can just shoot the breeze with.

So that’s number 2 – hanging out with my mates

john2

I’m a decent runner. I dont know why, but fortunately I have the right genetic makeup for distance running and I have the ability to train in a sufficiently structured way that I can improve my base. I honestly don’t know if I would or could do it if I wasnt good at it – even if I enjoyed it (which is probably a huge character flaw in me!), but fortunately I am ok at it, even if I dont run for 3-6 months I can knock out a 46-47 min 10k, although I’d pay the price the next day – and I can usually manage to make improvements when I focus and train hard.

So number 3 – doing something I am good at, trying to get better at it.

john1

Obviously it’s a very personal thing – what about you? why do you run ( not why did you start, why do you run now?)

So, after the introspection, a quick report card for 2014.

2014 Racing Review

Overall Grade : B-  (Some positive signs, but could do better)

The numbers

I have run just under 2000km’s so far this year, pretty steadily through the year – averaging 150-180km per month.

(this is high mileage for me, low for many. I can’t run super high mileage or I get injured very easily)

I completed 15 races, plus One DNS (orange ribbon, hip injury) One DNF (stan chart marathon, hip injury) and 6 park runs.

I won $450 in prize money (first money I have ever won running in my life)

I set 1 PB (5k – 18:31 in November @ Park Run).

Seasons Best : 10k 40.10 at Tampines 10k and Half Marathon 1.34 at the Army Half.

Both these are a good way off PB’s so there is a lot of work to do.

The Good

My favorite races this year were the Newton 32, the Green Corridor and the Mizuno PAssion Run 16k.

I met some great folks (at F1 Runners and through Park Run).

I rediscovered some passion for running and racing.

The Bad

I started to get frustrated with the SG Race scene. In 2015 I am going to pick my events more carefully. I am also learning that I am better suited to 5 – 10k racing here, 21k and above and my inability to hydrate properly is preventing me from hitting good times still.

The Ugly

Ending the year with a DNF was the low point, for sure.

In Summary

A good year overall, I have a great base now, and I know what I need to work on to improve (endurance).

Thank You

Lastly, thanks to the people without whom my year wouldnt have been anything like as good.

Shug, Scouse Pete (the eleete athlete), The Claw –  my fellow Mount Sinai Striders and best running kakis, Lexus, Vanja, Alan, Chee, Prasant, ZhiYong and the F1 Gang, Ming Ham for the awesome photos, Ben, Stu, Carol and Troy, Dom & Anna and the rest of the park runners, Jason, Andreas, Peter and the JustRunLah family, Inge and my running work colleagues. In one way or another, you all helped me this year – see you again next year, for more races, grind and sweat.

Happy Trails & Happy New Year.

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Standard Chartered Marathon 2014 (Half Marathon)

It’s been slightly more than 1 week since the SCMS 2014 – my first half marathon, The Human’s second… and I’m pleased to declare that I AM STILL ALIVE AND BOUNCING!

Before anything, I gotta address the doubts I had prior the race…

Did I prepare enough? No. (and I blame The Human for that)

Did I hit the wall? No. (but she did LOL)

Can I finish in a respectable timing? This is kinda subjective eh? 02:41.40 – you be the judge.

And my greatest worry of falling off and getting lost midway? Well… as I’m still here, clearly that didn’t happen. Phew ~ had a few scares though, when fellow runners brushed roughly past The Human and hit me right in the face. Lucky I was strapped on pretty good, with a safety pin at the top of my head for additional security.

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This might look painful, but I assure you it didn’t hurt a bit!

 

My day began at 3am, with the annoying sound of the alarm clock blaring. The Human hit the snooze button and only woke up 1/2hr later. After which was the frenzy of having breakfast, worshipping the porcelain God, taking a quick shower, then scooting outta the house.

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Travelling in style, yo!

She was supposed to meet her friends at Harbour Front MRT at 5am, and would have made it only slightly late if she didn’t forget to take her wallet when she left the house. Really people, pleaseeee ensure that you get everything ready and laid out the night before!! *facepalm*

Rushed home to take her wallet, and that genius decided that she would take a cab down instead – totally forgetting about the numerous road closures. The Human hitched a ride with 3 other half-marathon participants who she spotted trying to flag a cab in the same area. If you guys are somehow reading this, thanks a million for the ride!

To cut a long story short, she was late. And after being “stuck” a little at the baggage deposit, she flagged off in the second wave as the sun started to rise over the horizon.

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oooo… so many people!

Save for festive countdown parties, I have never seen so many people at one place before! Spirits were high, and the energy was fantastic as the surge of runners set off, crossing the starting line… and I can’t help feeling curious about the stories everyone has/and will have to tell. Their reasons for taking part, the motivation that got them outta bed at that ungodly hour, the race experience they are gonna have… etc.

The first half of the race was good. The Human wisely stopped at every water point she came across, and popped her 1st energy chew at about the 7km mark (she can’t bring herself to consume those icky gels).

The first hint of trouble came around the 14-15km mark when The Human went up the West Coast Highway. By then, the sun was starting to scorch, and the slopes were taking a toll on her. I could feel her mental fortitude starting to waver, and prayed that she would not break. She soldiered on, like I knew she would.

16km. The Human’s left knee started to bother her, causing her to slow down to a walk. She pretty much did that for the next 2-3km, walk-jog-walk-jog, popping chews occasionally, glancing down at me to ensure that I was still strapped on and patting me on the head now and then.

19km. The end was near, and she has crossed into familiar territory (the CBD area is where she works & runs). By now, The Human has resigned herself to walking… or rather, limping, the rest of the way.

20.5km. The Human could see the 10km runners coming in from the other direction, and she could feel the energy emanating from the finishing line. She pushed herself forward and successfully managed to jog the rest of the way despite hurting. w00t !!~!

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We Finished!!!

The Human’s ordeal was not over though. She still had to collect her baggage. At the Marina Floating Platform. Ugh. This is my only gripe about the event, to be honest. The poor thing limped all the way there, then all the way back to meet up with the rest of the gang.

Our “day” ended with a hearty meal at the Marina Square food court, where we chatted about our experience and monitored those who we know are still running via the SCMS app.

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Full & half marathon finishers \(^_^)/

Verdict? Full marathon next year perhaps? 😛

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SleekTag: The Christmas Gift for Runners

It’s almost Christmas, folks! If you’re anything like me, gift-shopping can be an intimidating experience – Who do I have to shop for? What to buy? Where to go? How to avoid all those other shoppers? When can I go home already? What if my friends and family don’t like the presents? How much do I have left in my bank account? Oh my God, is it too early for a glass of wine?

Runners, you’re not always easy to shop for!

Runners in particular, can be a notoriously difficult group to shop for. My partner never fails to tell me so each Christmas and birthday, so I know this to be true. The one fail-safe gift – running shoes – is also impossible to buy as a surprise present. There’s size to verify, brand, model and colour to choose from, and of course, with a hefty pricetag, it’s not the sort of gift one really receives (or dare to ask for) from anyone save the closest of family.

From my own experience, the types of gifts people default to upon learning that I’m a runner, tend to be the small-and-practical types of things. Think running armbands for my phone. Technical socks. Caps. Water bottles. I even once received a AA battery-operated handheld light, in case, you know, I got lost running in the forest at night or something, and needed a thin beam of visual aid… Also, earphones. So many earphones.

So, what to do when you’re working with a budget, but wish to do better than earphones?

SleekTags: Beyond the Practical

A while ago, JustRunLah introduced us to the SleekTag. It’s stylish, it’s affordable, and it could save your life in emergencies. Worth reiterating: with up to five lines for details, you could engrave your name, emergency contact details, allergies, blood type, or other useful information you can think up of. In case the unimaginable happens, SleekTag carries all the information people would need to assist you. SleekTags also come in SleekTag Lite for children and a Pet Tag, for a complete peace of mind.

That said, with a choice to engrave whatever you desire, you’re not limited to announcing details like your spouse’s mobile number and the fact that you’re allergic to prawns and bees. You could put whatever you want! If it’s going to be a corporate gift, engrave your company’s logo. Sports club? Use your team’s slogan. Family? Write a personalised message of love. Be creative!

What I like: delivery time was super-fast What I love: how comfortable it feels What I use it for: a constant reminder of why I run
What I like: delivery time was super-fast
What I love: how comfortable it feels
What I use it for: a constant reminder of why I run.

My Two Cents’ Worth

My SleekTags arrived in the post after only a couple of days; I wasn’t expecting them for a while yet. The SleekTag Prime is lightweight, the silicon feels pleasant against the skin and the stainless steel tag and clasp are of solid quality. It took me a little while to figure out how to cut the thing down to size, but the website does explain how to do it. I’ve also included a tutorial below.

Once on, it looked and felt great! It really is a statement piece to complement your running outfit, and if you love yours as much as I do mine, you’ll never want to take it off. I’ve even worn it out to lunch. It’s not a piece of jewellery that would draw admiring glances from strangers, but if the message on it is done right, it’ll give you the warm fuzzies just putting it on.

A Tutorial On Sizing Your SleekTag Prime

For those who have already received a SleekTag, hooray! Depending on which model you got, you may be able to pop it straight on. If that is the case, lucky you! Now what are you waiting for? Go run! If you got the SleekTag Prime, you will need to customise your gift just a little bit more, to suit your size. Although the SleekTag website provides instructions, I’ve taken some photos while fiddling with mine and popped them on here, just to save you some time on waiting for another page to load. You are welcome.

With a variety of colours available for the silicon band, and the stainless steel tag, create a beautiful personalised gift that runners will love.

Run happy and safe!

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Race Review: Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014 [42KM] (by ‘The ReAwakenedRunner’)

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SCMS 2014 Objectives :

  1. no cramping
  2. no over drinking –> bloatedness
  3. pace control – not to go fast from the start

The Master & The Disciple

As a boy, I grew up watching a lot of  Hong Kong Martial Arts movies. A common theme would typically portray a Master-Protege situation. The master always imparts knowledge, but never experiences.

  • 2012 : My comeback (main) event : SCMS 2012. My target was to at least equal my previous Marathon timing from ’91 – 4:41 ! I trained hard after signing up on the last day of the early bird promo, and did 2x  40KM DIY runs, and on the final week … stupidly got myself injured by trying out a new routine in my training. I was down with ITB ! I went into the event heavily taped and finished in 5:40 ! Lesson 1 : DO NOT OVER TRAIN !!!
  • 2013 : I was quietly confident I could come close to or break the 4-hour barrier, but I did not have a race plan! I started too fast and cramped up after just 15KM in (I never cramped on training runs of up to 30KM). Lesson 2 : PACE PACE PACE !!!
  • 2014 – Pre-SCMS events : Objectives 1 & 3 … met during SAFRA Bay Run, Craze Ultra, TNF100 !

So the protege heads to SCMS 2014 feeling as ready as he’s ever been … and to lay the ghost of 2013 to bed. Flag-off pace control was good. But then the race decided to throw me a big baddie ! Stomachache ! Something I’ve never experienced before during races! A worrying and alarming first for me! After putting this baddie away at the 13th KM, I recovered and was confident I could yet make up for it in the last 12KM! My master had something else up his sleeves : Zzzzz Monsters! Wow totally underestimated this little villains! I’ve met these fellas before during Sundown 2013, and emerged victorious against them then. With daylight breaking, I was confident I would be able to repeat that feat by the next few KMs. Boy, I was in for a surprise! This time around, there was a lot more lackies & Big Boss hasn’t even showed himself yet! In the end, I failed to totally defeat the Big Boss, but instead  it ended in a stalemate. My Master’s final Lesson (3) : NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF REST !!!

He told me : No 2 individuals are the same. Some can go on without sleep and (yet) perform, some like me … cannot. Why? Because of experience. I am still a rookie when it comes to race events flagging off at unearthly hours. I do not do enough waking-up-at-2/3AM-runs-which-starts-at-5AM! My body is not conditioned, nor battle hardened!

I thanked my Sifu, and will remember his final lesson and come back ready in 2015. To be continued in 2015 ………….

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SCMS 2014 – 42.195 KM : A Personal Race Review / Journal

Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC)

  • Singapore Expo Hall 5
  • collected on Day 1, 4th Dec noon.
  • possibly the worst SCMS Goody Bag
  • bumped into a few friends; William, Pris, Mervyn, Dorcas, Teck Hoo

 

 Gei Gei Running Club

Gei Gei Running Club  [Facebook Page Here] : For all runners who like to geh geh (pretend). Can run but pretend cannot run. Got run but pretend never run. … is formed!

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Pre-Race

 

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good Gear List from SCMS ! but where’s the mobile phone, and audio gears ?

 

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brekky

Saturday, 6th Dec … up since 0730AM … afternoon siesta from 1630-1800PM … dinner at 2100PM – McDonald’s Quarter Pounder meal … trouble sleeping … soon it was 0145AM … toilet/bathe … breakfast … geared up … left home 0230AM in time for first train. Train operates at 15 mins interval. missing one as I did last year, time crunch! Train arrived at Yew Tee approximately 0250AM !

 

At Orchard station, bumped into Ethan and later Angelina Then. William soon arrived and we decided to make our way to our Starting Pen. Where previously I entered via the Red bib entrance (Patterson Rd) … this time I got in thru the rightful Blue one (Orchard Rd). I soon spotted Alex Ang with his fanciful Xmas cap. The 3 of us made our way closer to the front after Alex got back from his short stint of being interviewed by a media coverage group. The strangest thing isn’t it … time always seemed to just go by ever so quickly when you are waiting in the Race Pen. I soon caught sight of my fellow JustRunLah blogger John aka sinaistrider (aka Without Limits). It was great meeting John for the very first time! He soon made his way ever closer to possibly try to rub shoulders with The Kenyans! I rid myself of the empty 500ml (mineral) bottle of my Nuun drink just prior to flag-off. As always, I failed to find space to go thru my short warming up routine. I just feel so much more mentally prepared going thru my ritual. Oh well !

 

Start : Orchard to F1 Track Drink Station [8KM Mark] – So Far So Good

The Elites were first to be flagged off at 5:01AM !
The Elites were first to be flagged off at 5:01AM !

Wave 1, 3mins after Elites’ flag off. Alex immediately took off like a man possessed, not without first wishing all the best, zigzagging his way to chase the 03:45 pacers! I ran with William at a sustainable pace (still able to chat somewhat comfortably) until somewhere between 4 to 5 km when I asked him to go on ahead as I felt I was holding him back.  Right, I was on my own now! Continued with my strategy of keeping pace between 5.30-6.00 mins/km …. and refraining from stopping at any drink stations where possible.

F1 Track to ECP U-Turn [22.5KM Mark] : SNAFU (Big Baddie)

9KM in, towards the end of the Nichol Highway stretch I felt the first uneasy feeling in my abdomen. The temptation to head for the amenities of The Sports Hub when I was at the junction of Stadium Walk – Stadium Boulevard was strong, but I decided against it as it seemed a hassle and a tad too far to be heading to and back (on course). The on again – off again struggle was somewhat getting to me! I’ve never been in this situation and the last thing I needed was an embarrassing moment of getting the runs on the move! I decided to try to run it (the urge) off, but at the same time keeping a lookout for porta-loo (last ones I saw was at the 8KM Drink Station) or public toilets. Darn it, none to be had!

12KM in … my personal battle was still ongoing! The route was now into the Tanjong Rhu Road stretch. I contemplated begging the guards of the properties I was running by for permission to use their facilities; Singapore Swimming Club, Dunman High School … even The Waterside condo construction site! I was getting desperate! I even considered getting into the canals, but decided the risks of getting bit by snakes and rats was simply not worthwhile. Katong Park came and went … can’t help but think if I’d blown my chance.

 

13KM in … I knew my fight was up! Though now within striking distance of the toilets along ECP … I also knew that they might have been occupied by the guys ahead of me. Time for an evasive action. Desperate moments calls for drastic decisions! I spotted the Heavy Vehicle Park to my right. Nice, Perfect! Out of mind, and out of sight! I broke off course and headed for it. The marshal stationed there looked at me bewilderedly as I came ever closer to him. Sounded him out briefly as I hastily went in search for an emergency landing site ! Found my ideal open spot, obscured from view by the mini buses parked there (the drivers were sleeping whilst waiting for their shift to start). I PARKED my payload. Bushes and grass were out of the question for me. Last thing I needed was to be swarmed by ants !!! Thank goodness my decision to run with my pack paid off big time! I had toilet paper !!!! I deduced it’s gotta be the butter bun I consumed whilst waiting at Orchard MRT Station.

I made my way out, notified the marshal out of courtesy (lest he tot I’d MIA and am attempting a shortcut … OUCH ! this was where the diversion took place later in the race ya ? lolz) and resumed with my race. FREE … DOM !!!! I was ‘flying’ once again! And just in time too to catch a glimpse of the Elites Pace Car, followed by the speedy Kenyans ! Further back, I also spotted Dr Mok and applauded him. Nice chap! still acknowledging with a lift of his right wrist, and a smile.

At the 16KM Drink Station, I finally relented and stopped for some water (drinking wasn’t the first priority 😉 ) lolz (better be safe ya) LOLz.

Continuing on, I soon spotted my friends from Craze Ultra setting up shop on the other side of the track. My calls of “Habib ! Habib!” were in vain. I soon chanced upon Wolfie (Zac Chen) and Adam Onearmrunner whom I teased by first addressing him as Mr Subaru (and quickly making it known to him that I was pulling his leg) !

 

After ECP U-Turn to Marina Bay Golf Course [33KM Mark] : “Hi’s” & Lows

1) Of Monsters & Men

25KM in … a new adversary! One that I had made the acquaintance of back when I was doing Sundown Marathon back in 2013. I whipped out a 2-piece Kit Kat to try to counter it’s effect. He soon called upon his allies. My nemesis from earlier on in the race was also starting to stir (pun) trouble yet again, such that as I was considering regrouping at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village facility. I decided against wasting more time, and knew I had backup further down this stretch of ECP should I need to head into the pit stop! More worryingly, the little villains were getting bolder. I was having trouble staying awake. I was starting to reach a compromise by dosing off on the run at 10-20 metres intervals, a strategy that I had employed successfully back during my maiden Sundown Marathon. I felt confident. I also headed into drink stations pouring water down my face. That wasn’t enough, I was also starting to slap myself silly on the cheeks ever so increasingly. As the KMs past, I was slowly but clearly starting to sink into despair …. this was daylight breaking and I found it more and more difficult to keep my eyes opened for any prolonged amount of time. I was soon reduced to a run-walk strategy against my wishes. I knew I had to head into CP4 for any hopes of salvation from these vicious monsters! My thoughts also turned to how I was gonna defeat sleep if and when I do take up Craze Ultra 100 Miles challenge in 2015.

CP4 was supposed to be a stone’s throw away from me (supposedly at the 28KM mark) … but yet every KM on, I was nowhere nearer to it. Run-walk run-walk, and I soon heard someone shouting out my name as he was passing : “Jason! walk some more … my grandfather can run faster than you!” …. my friend Michael, whom I had about 1.5KM lead on after the U-turn. I told myself I would be taking a 2-mins nap at CP4 to recharge. And I knew I had to keep on pushing on just in case I do emerged victorious against this beasty.

Just before CP4, I recognized the cycling jersey of my Craze Ultra buddy BC Seah ! I caught up to him just as we arrived at CP4. Unlike me, he just carried on without even stopping however briefly.

2) CP4 … and the Good Samaritans Alley

A most relieved sight to see Habib & Yeo Kim Song!

Habib immediately handed me a chilled face towel, whilst a crew member handed me a cup of Coke! I asked Habib to allow me a 2-min nap in his makeshift bungalow, but he was having none of it. He was going off on his mic “no no no! You’re so close …. another 13KM left. You don’t know what you’re doing! Go go go!!!”

 

 

Reluctantly and with a heavy heart and heavier eyelids … I thanked my friends at CP4 … and headed out of there after topping off 3/4 of my 500ml bottle with Coke.

SCMS 2014 ... BEST Checkpoint by a MILE !!!!
SCMS 2014 … BEST Checkpoint by a MILE !!!!

And imagined to my horror to find out that my TNF secret weapon (Coke) was of not much use against the Zzzz Monsters. I was half regretting letting them talk me out of my 2-min shuteye. I was also not sure at this point if I was even able to maintain a straight path walking/running. I’m pretty sure I was staggering along, but somehow still had my wits about me to keep to the left when I was walking / running.

I was now in Volunteer Support alley ! Volunteer Support Crews were setup on the left and right of the path. It had a feel of a Race Expo sans photographers!

I spotted Sandy Heng with her customary box of grapes. The runner just ahead of me grabbed a whole handful of them, leaving me with only 2! I took one, and left the other for the next person. Thanked her, and sidewinder myself over to the left side for a small slice of watermelon before asking a couple of ladies who were busying themselves cutting oranges if I could help myself to the already cut ones. Took one (didn’t dare risk taking too many lest it triggered the other monster again. To court Master Bowels aka Mr Runs now was less than an ideal time as I was approaching the end of the ECP = no toilets ! Besides, I would have no concealment, coupled with the fact that  it’s bright and sunny now as well!), bit down really hard on it on the run … praying and hoping it was super sour. Wasn’t sour enough but it helped perked me up for like the next 200m before I got reeled back in again to LaLa land. Man, how I wished there were sliced lemons to be found.

think these were the ladies busy cutting the oranges !
think these were the ladies busy cutting the oranges !

My situation was getting dire. I was still resorting to pouring water down my face at every drink station (and getting my top drenched in doing so, on hindsight not such a good idea …. it’s only getting heavier as a result) and damping the face towel from CP4. I was lumbering on, with fatigue now slowly starting to be a factor too. I also decided against consuming one of the 2 packets GU Energy Gel that I had brought along in my pack … (1) I don’t really rely on gels (2) brought as emergency backup (3) didn’t wanna risk another round of upset tummy! And to compound my predicament further, I was beginning to get that same sensations I had during my recent DIY modern-day version of the ’95 Mobil Marathon – tightness on the calf (I can’t even remember which one !). And it is only after the race that I wondered if it would’ve made any difference to my state of alertness had I taken out my Bluetooth Creative WP-250 earphones from my pack as well. That possibility didn’t even cross my mind then …

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Out of the ECP and onto the service road enroute to GBTB East, I can’t help but lament how nice it’d be if CP4 was a mobile unit!

I was still on that slapping-face-wake-up-call routine for who knows how long, when I spotted a single female (official) volunteer doing her best to motivate the runners passing her. I went up to her : “Excuse me, could you do me a favour?” … and before she could answer, I asked if she could blow the whistle (she’d been using) as loudly as possible into my (left) ear! Wow! that startled me into action …. for some 200m yet again … before the same old same old feeling sunk in (yet) again.

Marina Bay Golf Course to Republic Boulevard [40KM Mark] : My Saviors

1) Jakob [33KM Mark]

I knew Jakob on FB after Craze Ultra 2014. He was the night 43KM Craze champ. He had ran past me at the Woodlands PCN (near The Sports School) when I was heading back towards MR to complete my 101KM event. We bumped into each other again later on during our TNF100 50KM event.

33KM into SCMS 2014, I spotted the towering figure of a man dressed in red t-shirt, his trademark color. As I got closer, I decided to call out to him : “Ulrich … Ulrich (calling out the “h” as a “k”) !” Hmmm he does not respond, and I’m thinking perhaps I am mispronouncing it. I called out with 2 other variations : “Alrick … Erik” and still nothing. I was dead certain this is him. I gently tapped him on his back … and he immediately recognized me and called me “Jason”! So as it turns out, I’d failed to (ever?) notice his first name is Jakob ! (that’s what it says on his bib as he showed me). I laughed at my folly, and asked how come he wasn’t running. He was carrying an injury. This man has a PB of 3:26 at the Boston Marathon! We walked and chatted and I shared my disappointment at not being able to achieve anywhere near my target goal of 4:00! Glancing down on my Pebble, I soon realized that I am bordering on my PB. I’d be lucky if I could match it. About 10KM to go, and with that much dreaded Benjamin Sheares Bridge segment coming up, it’s daunting enough if I had my game face on …. but terribly and utterly deflating given the state I find myself in now. Jakob did his best to encourage me to be off … but the combination of sleepiness and weariness are starting to take it’s toll. Twice I tried but the afterburner could not be fired up.

Just up ahead at the bend that would take us back to The Barrage, a Coca Cola stand ! My Coke refilled at CP4 had all but finished now, and out of courtesy I thought I would take no more than 2 cups; one for refilling, and other for immediate consumption. But the SG Freedom Freaks crew without hesitation automatically refilled my bottle to the brim! I was taken aback by this kind act of generosity! (they didn’t look like they had a lot of 2L pet bottles with them).  I thanked them profusely and carried on to catch up with Jakob, who then tells me to start using fellow runners as pacers! Aha ! something which I’ve employed successfully on previous occasions but guessed I was just too stoned to even thought of myself. I thanked Jakob, wished him all the best and was off on my way.

 2) Shaofei [Just Before 35KM Mark]

Shaofei is a recent addition to my FB friends list of no more than 2 days (ago). He is one of the runners from Braddell Heights Running Club, of which I am friends with a few of its members, the first 2 being Boon Heng and Michael whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the end of the most recent Craze Ultra when I went to retrieve my baggage at MR. Shaofei is also a fellow member of the phantom Gei Gei Running Club, but for some reason he opted not to don the bogus bib during this race. As a result, I was not able to confirm his identity when I first noticed him from the back. I’d ran ahead thereafter, glanced back at his bib … but was not able to make out the details on it. I soldiered on from there … and as I was walking some metres later, he pulled up alongside and smiled at me. He wasn’t running freely too, as he was suffering from ITB!

Shortly after running across The Marina Bridge to get over to The Barrage (36KM Mark), I went ahead just after taking some fluid from the drink station. There were several other support groups set up over on this side as well. I went about to hunt down for ice-cream and sng bao. The one group that had the latter apologized and said they were meant for the Official Pacers. I understood that, and thanked them all the same as I was heading off.

I carried on with my run, and then did a u-turn as I remembered I had forgotten to dampen my face towel.

 

3) Eugene Lim [38.4KM Mark]

Eugene Lim was a fellow participant of the TNF100 50KM race. He’d been in and around SatayRunner & myself thruout most parts of that event. He also suffered the same problems concerning faulty timing chips – non-recording functionality.

Eugene was a heaven sent. I was soon walking after the final drink station before embarking on Sheares Ave, a rather long unshaded stretch of road that would eventually link with The Sheares Bridge! The sun was ruthlessly hot this particular morning. It would not be too much of an understatement to say that it was baking hot! He called out to me from behind. For a brief moment, I addressed him as Kenneth. And soon realized my mistake and called him by his rightful name.

As sadistic as this may sound, it was good to see him just as tired as I was, but he showed great determination (as opposed to seeing someone looking really fresh and tearing up the tracks which would usually be demoralizing more so than is inspirational). We both agreed to start running. The ascend was now proving to be a tad difficult and taxing. We both agreed we were going to power walk our way up as fast as we can. We also took the opportunity to take deep breaths to get ourselves recharged. That helped significantly. As we got closer to the top, I glanced at my Pebble and suddenly realized that I still had a fighting chance of not finishing too far off my PB of 4:40 !

I wished my 3rd savior, Eugene all the best and sped off down the other side. I immediately noticed 2 other FMers; a man & a lady. They weren’t together. I targeted them as my pacers as they were some distance ahead of me. The man was the closer to me. We did not run shoulder to shoulder, but he was resilient for every time i overtook him, he returned the favour. I soon caught up to the woman too. She too proved a tough nut to beat. I eventually lost both of them at the Republic Boulevard drink station.

A greater challenge was in stored for me up just up ahead!

10KM participants, notably the walkers! So intent to make the road their own, the whole road was practically blocked by participants not only intent on leisurely strolling along but holding hands too. They were in Phalanx battle formation! I found myself increasingly frustrated trying to navigate thru. At times I wondered why I even bothered with the “Excuse me, Make way, Passing thru, Coming thru” …  only 2 out of 10 times a path was cleared for me to go thru. The rest of the time, I had no choice but to gently budge my way. It was horrible. The race organizers definitely made a real mess of this, this time around. I don’t recall it being this bad last year. It’s made it that bit much more stressful that I had a timing to beat!

 

Republic Boulevard to The Padang : Finishing Line

Less than 2KM was all that separated me from finally ending my misery. I believe I was still occasionally slapping myself on the cheeks.

My calf (can’t remember which one) cramped for a split second after I was asked to get back onto the tarmac. I had been using the sidewalk to avoid the walkers. I stomped the affected foot on the ground, felt no pain and carried on!

I somehow wasn’t feeling at my optimum too. I could not summon up my (usual) reserves to go charging in and finishing strongly. I was just too fatigued. I began to wonder and stole glances on my Pebble more than I’d ever done  this close to the Finishing Line. I was resigned to missing it by the thin of my teeth.

The home stretch … and I could finally, yes finally … relaxed a little and looked to my right at all the spectators to try and spot my wife  and son who had made their way here to support me!

Alas, I crossed the Finish Line … Pebble : 4:38 !!! By golly, a new PB by a mere 2 mins ! I Can’t believe it !!! and lo and behold, over to my left … Michael “Grandfather can run faster than you!” I called “Michael!” I can’t remember for the life of me what happened next! Not sure if we’d even congratulated each other! Strangest thing it is …. sleepy as I was thruout the race, I could still register the accounts of events …. but these few seconds upon crossing the line remains a mystery! A blank!  This is why I have this blog. It’s my running journal. I do not wish to have a repeat of not being able to recall what transpired during and after my maiden Marathon all those years ago!

 

I headed down the proper channeled metal barriers for the Marathon Finishers. I was immediately given a Medal & a bottle of mineral water. I next had to head for the correct sizing Finisher Tee counter. Here, I was further issued my tee, and a can of 100Plus. The boys were nice. Gave me an ice cold one after I mentioned the initial one wasn’t cold enough. I asked the 2 boys if I could spend some time by the empty table ahead of theirs. I proceeded to do a shortened version of my regular cooling down routine, and yes … I was still feeling a tad sleepy! I bowed down my head to try to facilitate blood flow to the brain. The boys looking on, asked if I was okay. I gave them a brief account of my day’s proceedings. One said he was attempting a HM possibly next year. I commended him! I thanked the boys and headed out of the tent.

 

It was super duper hot outside! Little to no shade as far as the eye could see. I headed for the closest one, the First Aid tent. Took out my mobile to try to locate my wife, but at the same time feeling a little lightheaded. I went further into the tent, and situated myself in front of the fan. No sooner had I sat down, one of the personnel informed me that I was not permitted in there. Duh ! didn’t even first asked if I was alright! Informed her of my situation, and she arranged for 2 teenage volunteer girls to have me wheeled (yes, wheelchaired) to the main Medical Tent adjacent to the Finishing Line area. The girls were struggling to get me past those humps down on the ground, and I insisted that I was fine to walk … and it would have been faster. Nope, gotta follow protocol lest I should fall and resulted in a bigger headache for all concerned. I relented and enjoyed my rare moment of being treated somewhat like a VIP, but all the while looking out and hoping none of my friends would jump out in front of me to ‘stomped’ me!

Wow, seemed like more runners in the main Medical Tent than there were last year! YES! I was in here last year too, but for a different reason. My hands were swollen by the time after the race. I was worried it was a symptom of hyponatremia cos I had been guilty of downing fluid at every single station. Hence why this year, one of my objectives for this race was to avoid over drinking! Well, it wasn’t … and I refused the antihistamine jab as per the Dr’s suggestion. Glad i didn’t too cos my wife spotted the UV Arm Sleeving that I had rolled up to my biceps. They had been up there all the while thruout the race cos it was a cloudy day last year. It kinda acted like a tourniquet! So guys and gals … PLEASE TAKE HEED. ROLL DOWN UV ARM SLEEVINGS TO YOUR WRIST WHEN NOT IN USE!

Back to this year’s … so there I was and I could not be entirely sure if I was sleepy or that I was blacking out due to fatigue. I knew from past experiences that one should not close their eyes no matter how tired after a race, more so if you have the urge to lay down. The Dr brought me a cooling pad and positioned it and the back of my neck after he had taken my temperature (38 deg Celsius). I soon felt a lot better, thanked the very patient Dr who then offered me the coldest drink I’ve had had the whole day, 100Plus …. walked back to The Padang from whence I came from ie going thru the collection areas, where they wanted to give me my 2nd set of momento, which I pointed out the tick on my bib when declining.

Spent the rest of the time catching up with friends …………

Left The Padang just before 12 noon. Headed to my secret location to clean up and change … and as did last year, took a bus down with my family to Alexandra Village FC for duck rice!

Personal Observations :

  • Failure to get a good rest a whole week ahead of the race. Been keeping late nights.
  • Inexperience with regards to such early flag-off events. having to stay up for hours before 0500AM start time
  • Use towel as opposed to pouring water down the face, thereby getting running tops soaking wet and heavy
  • Oughta given earphones a try when fighting Zzzzz Monsters
  • Absence of Runner’s High and Second Wind for the first time I think
  • Took the shortest amount of time to clear Sheares Ave & Benjamin Sheares Bridge as compared to previous 2 years
  • Did not cramp … a first for SCMS (Nuun is the key?)
  • Did not over drink
  • The Gei Gei Runners bib has potential … hoping to see more in future events

Personal Lessons :

  • Rest is of paramount importance
  • Pack toilet papers whenever possible
  • Sliced lemons for future esp if knowing not getting adequate rest coming into the event. A must for Ultras!
  • No oily food / buttery products few hours before
  • Bring Ziploc bags to store food (ala doggie bag)
  • Pace control to keep cramps striking early and ruining the event
  • Expect the unexpected, and dealing with it

Personal Conclusions :

A good personal race on the whole. Could have been a lot worst. Should have been a lost worst had it not been the support of not just the 3 saviors; Jakob, Shaofei, Eugene but also the voluntary Support Groups setup along ECP, GBTB East, The Barrage!

Sure I lost a few battles, but I won the war (against myself) in the end ! new PB : 4:38 !

Hits & Misses Of SCMS 2014 :

Hits :

  1. Results and Timings ! Most efficient system employed to date.
  2. SCMS Tracking App … works !
  3. Reroute to Sports Hub a welcome change
  4. This new diversion also removes past incidences of runners tripping over MBS area, and having to run thru poor lit areas in that stretch
  5. Making the effort to honor Uncle Chan upon completing his SCMS Marathon, his 100th Marathon to date … and a ripe old age of 84 ! Fantastic !
  6. Muscle Rub abundantly available, just as last year

Misses :

  1. Diverting of slower Marathon participants without first clearly stating in B/W. Not making known the cut-off of individual CPs that might affect these runners, thus leading to confusion and a lot of unpleasantness amongst the runners
  2. Giving out Medals & Finisher Tee in the name of Appreciation of Participation does not go down well with those who slog so hard for the same coveted items
  3. No Bananas (complete disaster)
  4. Severe lack of Energy Gels … some suspected no gels even
  5. No Sweeper bus ???
  6. Running Community Wristbands – didn’t see too many fellow Marathon participants wearing theirs
  7. 10KM participants making Republic Boulevard Road their own … thus blocking Marathon runners … should have segregated them early on. Don’t need to be negotiating this when one is battling fatigue and possibly personal milestones on the line

 

My Stats :

 

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Race Review: Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014 [21km] (by ‘elf’)

Race Tees/Singlets

The Runner’s Lie

With already a few reviews on Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, I was asking myself whether I should join the fray as well. But since my only 2 posts are related to the Standard Chartered Marathon Series – why not? So let me start off with something most of might be familiar with – The Runner’s Lie. “I won’t be doing this again.” Prior to Sunday I said something along this line when asked what race I be considering for next year. 5 days on I am thinking if I will hold true to this next year. Afterall Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore was when I took on my first half marathon as well as full Marathon a few years back. Somehow it would really feel weird to just stop. Back to this later.

Race Pack Collection

Went in on Friday morning with relatively no queues and was directed to a counted in about 2 minutes. Impressive start but what was to follow was almost a joke. Informed the volunteer that I was here to collect my race pack as well as my daughter’s kid dash(which was registered in my name). She took my IC and then asked if I had a authorization letter to collect for my daughter. I pointed out that: I) my daughter was not even 3 II)registration was done with me as the parent The volunteer then look at me as if I didn’t make sense and replied – “yes but still you need a authorization letter.” I was about to ask them to print one out so that I as my daughter’s father could authorize myself to collect on my daughter’s behalf when another volunteer spotted that I was holding on to a photocopy of my daughter’s birth certificate and relented. Not that I would kick up a fuss but seriously some common sense would really help. Perhaps not realizing that kid’s dash participants are KIDS they then proceeded to give me a adult pack which I requested to change to a kid’s pack. Tempted to take a look at the gear and race sign-ups, I resisted the temptation and did a fast march out of the race expo do keep my credit card firmly in my pocket.

Self Authorized...
Self Authorized…

Race Day

Got up at 430 for a quick bite before heading out for a train ride to HarborFront. This initiative is a good one, as some of cabins were relatively packed and is definitely something that benefits the runners. Even though I proceeded over to the start point at about 0615hrs, I unfortunately was still in the 2nd pen which meant a 15min wait after flag off. Honestly, in all my runs I have never been placed in a 2nd pen(as I tend to be early) but somehow for SCMS I end up in the 2nd pen(last year I barely made it into the 1st). While it is just 15mins, it can really be quite frustrating as you not only stand around and do nothing but “preparation” – consumption of gel 15mins before start, basically gets screwed up. Hence I would say I kinda started on the wrong foot for the race.

Eventually got flagged off and once into Sentosa it was pretty much like the return leg of puma run going from Artillery Avenue to Allanbroke Road to Palawan Beach then onto Siloso Beach. Past the bus stop at the start of Imbiah Road it was uphill and downhill along Imbiah Road then past the Stilt Walkers at Festive Hotel before proceeding along Artillery Avenue to everyone’s favorite Universal studio. It never ceases to amaze me that people will actually stop to queue to take photos with the characters. But I must say it really does lift the spirits after 7km into the run.

Out of USS, it was along Artillery Avenue again before going into the underground car park. Here I lost my GPS signal(anybody else has this problem) which surprised me as when I did Hong Kong Marathon this year I didn’t lose my signal thru the Harbor Tunnel. Putting aside this distraction, I push on out of the car park and onto the ‘surface’ whereby signal was resumed and also the way out of Sentosa.

The 10km mark was around the Prima Towers and then it was up the ramp to the West Coast Highway. As I went pass the sign which read 15km(for the other returning runners), I realised that I had not paid attention to the route in the information booklet and in the course of it not realise that there was 4km on the highway! By now I started to feel the effects of the heat and probably the after effects of stomach flu( which I had just finished my medication on Saturday). Hence my run walk strategy started earlier than I wanted for the next 7km till the down ramp to maxwell road. This move to segregate the runners is definitely a good one and it allows the half marathon runners to run along Robinson Road towards Lau Pa Sat as well as Raffles Place MRT and somehow just adds a special touch to run thru the CBD. Not too sure if it was this special feel or for other reasons, I was so happy to see the 20km mark near the AIA Tower!

As I near the Fullerton bridge, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my wife and daughter doing the kid’s dash but they had yet to start as well. So I toiled for another few hundred meters to cross the finish line at just pass 3hrs(3:01).

Afterthoughts

Initially, I was kind of sad as well that I didn’t get to do my daughter’s first kid’s dash but my wife reassured me that it was more of a mummy-carry-and-run category and if I wanted to do a kid’s dash with my daughter next year, I either run faster or stick with the 10km category.

Despite the timing, I am glad to have at least finished the run especially after the bout of stomach flu and the pain I felt in my left foot after last month’s run in Bangkok. Am still not sure if it is due to an old injury(multiple toe fractures) or was it simply the shoe cushioning wearing off – but for now I will go with the latter and retire this pair which has seen 4 Standard Chartered half marathon with me this year.

Retired. Sunglasses too if someone donates a pair to me :P
Retired. (Sunglasses too if someone donates a pair to me) 😛

As always, my view is the run is always that the run is a challenge against yourself and that completion is an achievement in itself. Medals and finisher tees are nice but they must be earned. Without dwelling too much into the subject, I can only say “Respect The Distance” and go for something you are prepared to train for. Hence even though “it is only half,” well this is something I have to say:

Not for PB – cos too slow.

Not for finisher tee – cos HM don’t have.

Just to be able to say “I did it while you were sleeping”

(And maybe just because I have OCD)

Done!
OCD – Obsessive Collection Desire

As I mentioned earlier, there is somehow a special affinity with this run and it seems somehow hard to stop. So back to the runner’s lie – yes I will be back next year. 21km or 10km I am not too sure. But for now – a month’s break before starting on next year’s run with The ‘Sold-Out’ Race 🙂

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Green Corridor Run Takes You A Million Miles Away!

6WHAT: The Green Corridor Run is a running race along Singapore’s most unique course – an uninterrupted stretch of greenery and woodlands stretching the entire length of Singapore. The 2015 race is being held in conjunction with Singapore’s World Water Day celebrations.

WHEN: Sunday, 8th March 2015.

WHERE: Singapore’s Green Corridor. Starting at the historic Tanjong Pagar Rail Station and finishing at the old Bukit Timah Rail Station.

WHO: Runners, walkers, nature lovers, those seeking a unique experience. In 2014, over 70 nationalities were represented.

WHY: To encourage Singaporeans to experience this incredible piece of land for themselves and focus attention on developing countries lacking access to safe drinking water.

The 2015 Green Corridor Run is set to be the most exciting edition of the event so far. Running on 8th March, the 10.5km course is an uninterrupted stretch of greenery and woodlands cutting directly through the centre of Singapore. It’s an area of great ecological and historical significance to Singapore, but not very well known by the general public. The trail, known as the ‘Green Corridor’, covers the entire length of Singapore from the old Tanjong Pagar rail station in the south to the border of Malaysia in the north. Even though the trail cuts directly through the centre of the island, it is still one of Singapore’s least known natural assets.

6b57056b-2e7d-44de-8a1b-0b29e2d992e5Leong Kwok Peng, Vice President of the Nature Society (Singapore), the official charity partner of the Green Corridor Run, says, “Imagine running half of Singapore south to north without having to cross any roads and enjoying the view of a different side of Singapore with its greenery. At times along the Green Corridor you actually don’t feel that you are in Singapore.”

In an exciting development, the 2015 race is being held in conjunction with Singapore’s World Water Day celebrations. World Water Day (WWD) started as a United Nations initiative to focus attention on the 768 million people who lack access to fresh drinking water and sanitation. WWD also advocates the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

With this theme in mind, a new category has been created to raise awareness. The Water Challenge is a new non-competitive category within the Green Corridor Run that encourages participants to experience first-hand what it is like for 44% of the world’s population who have to walk large distances to fetch clean water for their families daily use.

The challenge is to carry a bucket of water from the start to the finish line of the Green Corridor Run course (10.5km). For every litre poured into the ceremonial well at the finish area, the event organisers will donate $1 to charity; a non-profit organisation that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations through sustainable water projects. The Water Challenge will use raw water (or an equivalent) which will be recycled after it is carried.

Registration for the Water Challenge and standard race categories are expected to sell out quickly, so register now at www.greencorridorrun.com.sg

 

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SCSM2014 and… that’s a wrap!

Running past the Standard Chartered 10 km finish line wraps up the runs in 2014.  16 runs in total.

My resolution for 2014 was to take part in an ‘official’ run each month and I kept it!

I did it! Cheers to me! Hip Hip Hurray!

IMG_0850The 16 runs included three kids runs that I took my kids to and of course, I ran with them.  Running helps cultivate values like determination and hard work.  (More like my hard work- imagine dragging them out of bed before sunrise, changing them and psyching them up for the run.) During the run, any whining or signs of giving up is responded with ‘Come on, come on, don’t give up!’ or ‘Press on, we are getting there!’ My younger girl would hold on to the other end of the towel as I ‘dragged’ her to the finish line.  How fun! This is family bonding at its best!

Nevertheless, the outcome is sweet. The medals they receive at the finish line give them courage to push boundaries and build resilience to face challenges on a daily basis.  ‘Look at my medal, mummy!’ the three year old beamed with sparkle in his eyes.  That in itself was my trophy, knowing how pleased he was with himself for running in the rain as he completed his Cold Storage Fun Run.IMG_0869

My older girl’s sheer thought of wanting to do another 5 km run next year was enough to put a smile on my face.  But she had a special request, ‘Can we sign up for evening runs? This way, I don’t have to wake up soooo early!’  All right, girl, I got the hint!

Between 10 km Puma Run on 1 November and 10 km Standard Chartered Run on 7 December, I did a Great Eastern Half Marathon and a 2.2 km Santa Run.  Of all the runs in 2014, GE Half Marathon was THE run, MY run. Being part of the #RuntoLiveGreat programme definitely helped shape how I mentally and physically prepared for the 21 km run, which was my 4th HM. The fringe activities were super fun and rewarding.  The best part had to be training with the pacers from Running Department. The ladies were motivating and inspiring. Thanks to the super fit pacers’ encouraging shouts and cheers during the run on race day, I achieved my personal best.  I will do GE run or the #RuntoLiveGreat programme again in a heartbeat.

Santa Run for Wishes was a hit with the children.  5000 Santas dressed in Santa’s red outfit ran along Marina Bay Sands. Spirits were high despite having to run in the rain with raindrops pelting down on our backs.  It was an uplifting experience with Santa’s elves dressed in green tops cheering us on and giving us directions along the route. To top it off, our medals were given out by Santa Claus at the finish line. Besides taking pictures with Santa, the children were also treated to free kiddy rides during the carnival. The air was truly filled with the Christmas spirit and knowing that we have run for a good cause made it more meaningful.

SCM 10 km was my first Standard Chartered Run and apart from the fact that I took about thirty minutes to get from Connaught Drive to Esplanade Drive because of the bottleneck at Anderson Bridge, I think the whole event was well organised.  There was an abundance of 100 Plus and water at the hydration stations and the roads were wide enough to accommodate the thousands of 10 km runners.  I especially enjoyed running past all the iconic landmarks in the area, it made me feel all proud to be a Singaporean and to never take the peace in my country for granted

I now look forward to the runs that I have already signed up for in 2015. Next year will be one with more half marathons and my very first full marathon.  Woohoo! Wish me luck!

As for the remaining weeks of 2014, training will resume soon so that I can go ahead with the festive feasting, guilt-free!

Here’s Running Bee, wishing one and all, Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

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Why Has Singapore Become a Pay-To-Run Nation?

Singaporeans must be really training hard to combat the potential rise of the transportation cost in Singapore.

With the price of ERP, COE, train fare, taxi fare, bus fare going up, the pragmatic Singaporeans are finding a potentially new way to save on their travel expenses, support a cause, get a nice running Tee and keeping fit at the same time. They have been signing up for running events in doves.Looking at the running calender, there seems to be a run every weekend and the traffic police in Singapore is getting very proficient in setting up road blocks and redirecting traffic as more and more of these running events pops up.

I often wonder why are there so many running events for an activity that is essentially free and why Singaporeans are so crazy about signing up for running events.

Perhaps it is due to social media that drives Singaporeans to sign up for these expensive running event. In fact, the more expensive it is, the faster the tickets are being snapped up.

Why social media makes a difference?

When I go on my normal run around Bedok Reservoir during my evening runs, take a selfie and post my run route on my facebook/instagram, I get 2 likes.. top…

No likes! Not even for my FCbarcelona Buff scarf

However, when I go for a running event and take a selfie along with my race medal, I get 20 likes and positive affirming comments like

“OMG, you are there at the event too, I am there too!”

“Good Job!”

“I wish I could join you bro!”

“Looks fun!”

Suddenly, the $50 that I paid for the running event becomes all worthwhile!

And whenever I wear my event T-shirt for my usual run and I see another person running in a normal plain T-shirt, I will smile internally knowing that I have achieve something special (by paying for it) and getting acknowledged for it by my friends and relatives on social media (which they have probably forgotten by then).

I guess that explains why people pay $75 for a run to celebrate the birthday of a girl who is not a cat. I thought it is more appropriate to celebrate a girl’s birthday by throwing a party at a club with a $3,000 pink multi-tier cake. But No, this kitty girl is looking for something special. She celebrates her birthday by making people sweat for her! And it attracted 14,000 party-goers!

Top that Paris Hilton!

On that day, my facebook and instagram literally lit up with hundreds of selfies (An exaggeration, but that’s how I felt) posing with their Kitty running Tee, their Kitty stickers, and the Kitty mascot. I was so jelly and I liked every picture, cursing why I thought $75 is too expensive for a run when it seems like the party of the century.  At that moment that I felt like driving down to Sentosa just to gate crash Kitty’s birthday run.

Good thing I didn’t. It started to rain heavily and I decided to go back to sleep.

I guess we need that something special to spice up our everyday hobbies and to get that acknowledgement that what we are doing meant something to someone.

The people organizing these running events understand that need and they are coming up with more and more outrageous ideas in order to get people to participate in their running events. The more outrageous the idea, the more expensive the event fee will be. Of course there will be that special edition Tee and medal which is exclusive to the runners.

The greatest irony is yours truly who is criticizing Singaporeans needing acknowledgement about their running habits is a blogger addict who blogs about his own and his friends running activities for the world to see.

Darn. If you can’t fight them, might as well join them.

Time to sign up for the NUS Bizad Run 2015. Damn if my injured knee goes to hell. I need that likes and comments on my facebook/instagram to compensate for that 1 year I survived without participating in a single running event.

 

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Training Review: How Running in Singapore Is A LOT Harder

Drop a tab in a glass of water and bob's your uncle.

Oh, the incredible heat!

I’d like to start this post by congratulating all our bloggers on Just Run Lah who have participated in the various events of the SCMS 2014 – hats off to you, ladies and gentlemen, for bravely signing up, running, and surviving what demarcates us as runners from the rest of the world: incomprehensible self-inflicted insanity that nonetheless puts a stupid smile on our faces. Having read various reviews of the experience, the one thing that stood out, and got me nodding furiously in agreement was the brutality of the heat.

It has now been two weeks since I’ve returned to my Motherland. Have I successfully acclimatised? Well… I’m getting there. A part of me wants so badly to get used to running comfortably in the tropics, while another part of me is thinking: wait a minute, you’re going back to -5°C in a few weeks time. So, it got me thinking about how different my runs have been in Singapore so far, compared to “back home”, if you will.

1. Time of the day

In France, especially in winter, most runners tend to fit in a midday run during lunch break. This is the only way you’ll ever catch the 20 minutes of weak sunshine for the day, hopefully enough to ward off Vitamin D deficiency. Also, it’s the warmest time of the day, which means you don’t need to spend 1 hour warming up.

Here in Singapore, I find myself waking at the crack of dawn, or for my LSD runs, a couple of hours before the sun rises. I am bleary-eyed, a little bit grumpy, and hope I don’t wake my mom up as I stumble in the dark getting dressed and geared up. I’ve learnt to lay out all my necessities the night before – clothes, phone, GPS, water, food, keys, cash, shoes in the right order to minimise the stress in the morning. If you are anything like me, your speed of moving in the morning is inversely correlated with the time of the day, and at 4.45am, you’ll be thankful for the prep from the night before.

2. Safety!

Believe it or not, I find myself having to keep my wits about me a lot more in Singapore than in France. Yes, I’ll admit, a part of it has to do with a lack of familiarity here; Mother dearest has moved away from my childhood neighbourhood and where we are now is more foreign to me than Carlton (Melbourne), Forestville (Adelaide), Sablon (Metz) or even the sparsely populated countryside of Meuse. I’m also very used to running along long stretches of riverside, where my mind switches off and my feet take over. Here, to make the distances on my training plan, I sometimes need to wander outside of my neighbourhood. Inevitably, despite my constantly looking at street signs, I find myself lost.

This isn’t the safety point I wish to bring up though, for I am armed with an amazing bail-out tool known as the EZ Link card. No, what’s more dangerous than getting hopelessly lost in an unfamiliar part of the country is the fact that in Singapore – or at any rate, this corner of it – there are no bike lanes. This is a huge problem, given the number of cyclists I have encountered on the pedestrian footpath. I recall cycling on the shoulder of the roads as a teenager, much to the alarm of my mother, who thought it was suicidal. Yet, I reasoned that the chances of a collision were much higher on a footpath.

Worse, cyclists don’t seem capable of sticking to their designated tracks within the parks and park connectors. This has, in turn, forced me to cross over onto the bicycle track while running to avoid the oncoming cyclist on my running lane. Come on, cyclists, show a little courtesy to us runners! We’re not going to win against your two wheels, so please be nice to us!

3. Post-run re-fueling

How many of you pay close attention to your post-run fueling? I’m personally pretty fastidious about this, ever since I’ve seen marked improvements in my running performance and injury prevention after tweaking my nutrition. I shan’t go into detail since most of you are well-versed in this already, so I’m just going to make a couple of observations.

I like to eat my salt. After a good workout, nothing beats a solid and balanced meal to put everything I need back in. However, I have found the heat and humidity in Singapore is oppressive enough to kill my appetite post-run. Worse, my sweat seems to be a lot saltier here (if you really must know, aside from occasionally accidentally tasting it, I can also smell it on my clothes).

As a result, I’ve been having to rely on these:

Drop a tab in a glass of water and bob's your uncle.
Drop a tab in a glass of water and bob’s your uncle.

I’ve also replaced my lunchtime hot meals with cold breakfasts of yogurt, eggs and fruits to get the post-run carb+protein combo we need. Yes, I miss sinking my teeth into a filet mignon with roasted root vegetables, or nursing a nourishing pot au feu, but hey! Here I get to pig out on rambutans, roseapples, mangoes, pineapples, mangosteen, jackfruit, durian, lychees, starfruit…

4. Laundry

So much laundry. Thanks to the above-mentioned increase in salty sweat. If I counted the amount of time I spend each week on doing the laundry, it’d add up to another workout in itself.

5. You call that running?

Finally, the skeleton in my closet. My secret shame. The embarrassing truth. When I was a newbie, I was one of those runners. You know, afraid of what people thought about me. I ran my slow runs too fast, and my fast runs too slow. I ran myself into multiple injuries, and made laughable progress.

After a few years, I’ve learnt to leave my pride in the shoebox before I lace up and go out the door. I’ve also learnt to pay attention to this thing a little bit more:

It's not a lousy cliché - listen to your heart!
It’s not a lousy cliché – listen to your heart!

My various types of runs, which used to be defined by running speeds, have been replaced by heart rate ranges. This was probably the smartest move I’ve ever made as a runner, to ensure my heart doesn’t blow up and I keel over and die. For those who are interested in seeing how this translates, here is an illustration (for the sake of easier comparison, I’ve only tabulated my 4-mile runs):

heartratecomparisons

1. Look at the two lines highlighted in yellow. The average heart rate during the training is comparable but the maximum heart rate and average speed are different. My maximum heart rate on 4th November was higher than on 1st December, and yet, the average speed was faster on the later date. This was circumstantial – I had spent 24 hours flying and crossing 10 time zones prior to the run on 4th November.

2. Look at the two lines highlighted in blue: Once again, the average heart rate during the training are comparable, as are the average speed. However, the maximum heart rate on 6th November was 30 beats per minute lower than on 14th November (a figure which physicians may find alarming, but fear not, I just have a very high maximal heart rate). This was related to training – on 6th November I was only aiming to maintain speed over a certain distance, while on 14th November, in a moment of madness, I thought sprinting around Flagstaff Hill would an ideal way to start my day.

So, the point here is, although I am embarrassed by some of the shockingly slow times I’ve been clocking of late, I know that I’m working out as hard as I was back in France, and there are so many confounding factors: travelling, climate, changes in diet and sleep patterns, etc. It’s simply a matter of keeping perspective, hanging in there, and plodding on forward ever-so-slowly…

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