Down but not out (Wk 3)

29 August, Saturday

Participated Orange Ribbon Run as one of the sports ambassadors with Rachel, Raviin and Renuka. Rachel had a shin splint and was also nursing her injury. Haha! I must agree with her when she commented that we are really sisters, injured also around the same time. Anyway, we decided to just do a easy 10km run together. She suggested 5min pace. As I have no confidence in my stamina these days, I told her I will try to follow, and she can go ahead if I can’t keep up. It was hot and humid when the race started at 4pm. We started at an easy pace of 5:30″/min and gradually increased our pace. Rachel’s husband, Zili was still running with us initially but ran ahead after we reached Marina Barrage as he felt that it was too hot and wanted to quickly finished the run. I wasn’t really watching the time anymore after Rachel and I settled into momentum and started chatting as we run. The first half felt more tiring probably because I could feel the glare of the sun in my eyes. We found ourselves going faster at the 2nd half of the run and met a lot of 5km runners as we passed Marina Barrage. At the last 100m to the finishing line, Yvonne, who participated in the 5km category came running past and we witnessed her victory as she crossed the finishing line in under 20mins. And yes, we managed to complete the 10km in sub 50km run too. A very much enjoyable run and catch up with Rachel. Am also very encouraged that I do not feel any pain at all on my left heel when I was running. My pair of GT2000 really provides good cushioning and shock absorption. =)

30 August 2015, Sunday 

Decided to hit Fitness First gym at West gate for active recovery. As the heel pain has returned after I finished running, I decided not to run but to use the elliptical trainer. After that, I went for an hour of RPM Challenge (spinning) class and lazed by the poolside. I can get used to spending Sunday like this.

31 August, Monday

REST!

1 September, Tuesday

Joined Jurong Safra Running Club on JW stadium for intervals. Workout was a pyramid: (400m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 400m) x 2 sets.

Compared to the same workout I did a week ago (which I struggled through), I find myself more in control of the pacing and effort this time. Very happy to complete the workout feeling strong. Splits for the two sets: 1:35; 3:13; 4:55; 3:10; 1:31 and 1:30; 3:12; 4:53; 3:14; 1:28.

No pain on my heel when I did the intervals, but the pain returned once I took off my shoes and started walking. What bothers me is that the pain lingers and doesn’t go away till hours later. I find that icing the affected area helps. So I continued to ice my heel at night before I sleep and in the morning before work.

2 September, Wednesday

Active recovery at Fusionopolis Fitness First after work. I tried running on treadmill for 5 mins but my heel has yet to recover from the workout the day before and there was discomfort. Switched to elliptical trainer and I spent 45 mins on it before attending a 50 mins RPM class. Realised there was a 30 mins hardcore class after the spin. Curious what the class is about, I decided to try it out. Gosh! Hardcore indeed. It was high-intensity workout consisting of 15 mins cardio and 15 mins of conditioning. I was breathless and panting hard after just one set of cardio workout. This class activated all those muscles which I have been neglecting for the longest time.

3 September, Thursday

Still feeling discomfort on my heel so I decided to skip training with Safra Jurong and did deep water running instead. 45 mins of deep water running follow by 20 mins of swim. It’s really not the same as running outdoors, but I guess it’s the only way to avoid pounding and get fit while I’m at it.

4 September, Friday

REST! =)

Mileage for week 3: approx. 20 km

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Down but not out (Wk 2)

22 Aug, Saturday

Woke up to a cool morning with light drizzle. Zhilei has kindly offered to teach me deep water running upon knowing that I am down with plantar fasciitis. Thankfully, the rain stopped and Jurong Safra pool re-opened just in time after 9am. Zhilei has also brought along a float (to be belted around the waist) for water running since the feet should not be touching the floor. After watching how she ran in the water, it was my turn to practise while she watched and corrected my posture. A few laps up and down the pool, I could feel the ache in my arms from all the swings, fatigue in the legs and even started panting a bit. We had to pause for a short while though as it started raining again and had to get out of the pool. Resumed running in the pool after the lifeguard given the greenlight. I practise a few more laps before we call it a day. Not quite the same as running, but it was closest to running with low impact. Thanks Zhilei introducing me to deep water running and spending your Saturday morning with me. =)

24 August, Monday

I decided to activate the 3 months complimentary gym pass at Fitness First which I won for winning Shape Run.(timely, isn’t it?). By the time I cleared the administrative work, I was too late for the body pump class. So I decided to try working out on the elliptical trainer for 30 mins. I have forgotten when was the last time I used this machine but I recall I don’t feel like I had a workout the last time I tried. How wrong was I. It’s really just a matter of the resistance and how hard you pushed. Within 10mins, I was perspiring and enjoying every single minute of it. Stepped off after 30 mins to get ready for the RPM (spinning class). One full hour of very satisfied workout as the instructor Lay Yen pushed the class to reach our limit.

25 August, Tuesday

Have not been running for 11 days. I decided to join Jurong Safra for short intervals as a test drive. Workout was (400m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 400m) x 2 sets. Timing as follow: 1:26 (too fast), 3:14, 4:58, 3:16, 1:29. Over ambitious and I struggled through for my 2nd set and could not keep up with the rest. 1:31, 3:20, 4:56, 3:14, 1:28. Though timing was quite decent, it was demoralizing to be so far behind the pack and to feel the discomfort on my left heel once again. This was even despite wearing my most cushioned shoes. A sign that I still need to lay off from running for a while. =(

26 August, Wednesday

Am so glad I can still hit the gym to use the elliptical trainer and attend the RPM class to get my endorphin fix. Once in a while, it does feel good to just exercise, do what you like and not chase for timing at each training session.

27 August, Thursday 

It’s Jackie’s day off from work and he wanted to join MF Safra for their run. So I decided to check out the Fitness First at Alexandra since it was the closest to the clubhouse. Just nice there’s a Aqua Fit class in the evening and I managed to get to the class just in time. An enjoyable hour spent in the pool doing some runs and jumps; and squats, reverse crunches, push-ups etc by the poolside. I went on to swim a few laps after the class until the time is up for me to meet Jackie for dinner.

Mileage for week 2: approx. 10km

Down but not out (Wk 1)

Since I am supposed to layoff from running for 3 weeks, I decided to use the Fitness First 3 day trial pass from Shape Run race pack to start a new exercise regime. Visited the gym on Sunday afternoon and tried the RPM (spin) class. It has been a long time since I join a spin class and it felt really good to race against the tempo of the music and work my quads. Not bad when the instructor is an eye candy too. =p

Rest on Monday and I returned to Fitness First to explore more classes on Tuesday evening after work. It’s great that the gym is so near my workplace at Fusionopolis and I get to save time on travelling. Attended the Bodyjam class and it was quite fun dancing to the rhythm of the music though admittedly I could not really keep up when the steps got more complicated =p This probably explains why I did not perspire as much as I would like to after the one hour class.

After the Bodyjam class, I went for the RPM class. I was looking forward to the spin class as I knew I would get quite a good and hard workout out of this class.  The RPM class feels much tougher than Sunday’s class. I could feel my quads burning with each push and pull of the pedal. Never have I pedaled so furiously before and it was satisfying to spot small puddle of perspiration on the floor after the 50 mins class.

The third class I tried was the Bodypump class, a barbell class to sculpt, tone and strengthen the entire body. I felt daunted when I first entered the class as everyone look so proficient in setting up their equipment. I was feeling slightly lost as it was the first time I attend such classes and have no idea how to select the appropriate weights for my bar. Thankfully, the instructor Andre noticed that I’m new to the class and patiently guided me to set up of equipment and select the weights and also a quick run through of some of the movements.

I chose the lightest weight available to load on the bar for warm up and gradually load more weights following the instruction of the trainer. As it was my first time doing strengthening and conditioning with a barbell (and I have zero confidence of my arm strength), I was caution with the load. Despite the minimum load, I was able to feel the fatigue in my arms after a few repetitions. The 1 hour class leave me feeling quite satisfied and toned. This was the last class for the day and I hurried to shower before the gym closed for the night. 3 days in an evening. Seemed like I had fully utilized the pass.

As the trial pass was only eligible for 3 consecutive days and I missed Monday, I went back to Jurong West Sports Complex’s gym on Wednesday and Thursday to continue with my gym regime. Hopped onto the stationery bike and cycled for 40 mins, followed by using the Nike Training Centre app to do some core workout.

Friday is my rest day. And so this marked my first week of zero mileage. Feeling a bit down since I can’t run, but I’m glad I’m still able to get my endorphin fix from the gym.

Injury Woes

The heel pain on my left foot was so worrying that I finally called Singapore Medicine Centre to fix an appointment with a doctor. The schedule was fully booked so it was more than two weeks later when I finally arrived at SSI for my appointment on 14 August 2015 morning.

I took the whole day off from work for this consultation. Had an ultrasound and the doctor confirms that the heel pain to be due to Plantar Fasciitis. To elaborate, it involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

My ultrasound imaging showed a 4 mm thickness. Anything more than or equal to 4mm is consider plantar fasciitis. Doctor advised me to cut my mileage by half, and it would be best if I could lay off for three weeks. He also recommended me to see a podiatrist who can customise a pair of insoles for me.

And so the medicine centre pen me in for an appointment with a podiatrist (who comes only in the afternoon) on the same day. The podiatrist made some marking at the back of my foot and then asked me to walk up and down the corridor while he assessed my pronation.  Thereafter, a mold of my feet was made and I was asked bring along two pairs of running shoes when I return at my next visit.

Will be going back to see the doctor and podiatrist in 3 weeks’ time. Shall be good and cut my mileage for the time being. Hope to be able to recover fully in Sept so I can kick start my training for year end SCMS soon.

ASICS City Relay

1 August 2015

I was feeling quite excited about the race as ASICS is the title sponsor for this running event in Singapore. Adding to the fun element, it’s gotta to be a team event across all categories. However, unlike Sundown team event, Asics City Relay is an Ekiden format whereby team members take turns to run 10.5km one after another to make up the full marathon distance. Representing ASICS Running Club, Rachel volunteered to be our first runner as she prefers to run when it’s still bright. Claire opted to be the 2nd runner and Brittany chose to be the 3rd runner. And that leaves me to be the last runner for the team.  We called ourselves Team Asics Charlie Angels. =D

By 5.45pm, all the first runners of each team were already ushered into the race pen. There was a short briefing of the race route and a run through of the change over. At 6pm, the horn sounded and the race was on.

Having fun at photo booth after all the first runners were flagged off.

Having fun at photo booth with Claire after all the first runners were flagged off.

And with Jackie, who eventually decided to participate in this event. He was the 2nd runner for another team.

And with Jackie, who eventually decided to participate in this event. He was the 2nd runner for another team.

There was a tracking board available on the event’s website which shows the time of the runners when they crossed 5.2km mark, which is the u-turn after Gardens By The Bay. It also shows the time when they returned to stadium for the changeover. Rachel ran an impressive first 5km in under 19 mins. By the time she returned to the stadium for change over, her time which was sub 41 mins put us in the lead by more than 3 mins from the 2nd women team.

Claire took over the wrist band and set off looking strong and focused. I looked out for Jackie, who is running the 2nd leg for his team and then went around taking pictures with friends, at the same time find out more about the race route and learn from the experience from the first runners who has returned.

A picture with Brittany (in black) and Rachel after Rachel completed the first leg. She is so amazingly fast!

A picture with Brittany (in black) and Rachel after Rachel has completed the first leg. She is so amazingly fast!

I was feeling hungry having had my last meal at 1pm. Was still contemplating if I should get some food when Wong offered me a small piece of hotdog bun which was enough to fill my stomach. Maintaining our first position, Claire returned in about 48 mins and off Brittany went. I was feeling more jittery by the minute and decided that it was time to get myself a cup of coffee to calm my nerves. Sat down to enjoy the cup of coffee while I listened to Claire as she shared her race experience. It’s gotta be quite messy, she said as the running path is narrow and shared by runners running to and fro. She reminded me to turn left after I see the overhead bridge as she made the mistake of going straight towards marina barrage, only to backtrack after she realised it was not the correct route. Claire also warned me to look out for cyclists and park-goers too.

I finished my cup of coffee and got ready to warm up. At close to 8pm, I proceed to the changeover pen to wait for Brittany’s return. I estimate her to be coming back at around 8:20pm. I was feeling nervous by the minute as I saw more and more runners returning and still no sight of Brittany. While waiting, I spotted speedy Yvonne Lin, 3rd runner from Team Trackstar running past and heading towards the next changeover pen. It was then I realised we have fell to 2nd place. There was nothing to worry about though as Trackstar was under Running Club category which means Team Asics Charlie Angels still remains first under Women Open’s category.

3 more minutes past and I was happy to see Brittany running towards me, her arm reaching out to pass me the wrist band. Grabbed the wrist band and flicked it across my wrist and off I went. I do not have high hopes of catching up the last runner of the Trackstar but was hoping at least I could close up the gap. Spotted Rachel and her husband, Zili both already showered cheering for me as I exited the stadium.

I focused on following the runners ahead of me and gradually overtaking them one by one. Switched on the LED light of the wrist band and it shone brightly in the night. At about 2km mark, I arrived at Tanjong Rhu Park Connector. It was the path whereby the already narrow path was further divided into two to cater for runners returning to the stadium. Spent some effort weaving in and out of the crowd. Also saw Gen, who was the fourth runner for team Flying Doctors flying past me, on his return route to the stadium to finish the race. He and his team mates, Baoying, Joshua and Derek would later went on to win the top position under the corporate category.

I continued running and was glad to catch sight of the overhead bridge, which means water point is near. Turned left and grabbed a cup of water for a sip and pour the rest over my head to cool myself.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out where to turn as I have many runners (mostly runners running the 3rd leg) ahead to follow. Crossed the road and I continued running on the park connector (which leads to ECP). That’s when it got messy and dangerous as this time we also have to look out for cyclists who were sharing the same running route as all runners.

I have yet to reach the u-turn and I managed to catch a glimpse of a female runner running past me on the other side of the route. Her race bib indicated that she’s the fourth runner and I sort of guess she was the anchor runner from team trackstar.

Soon, I reached the u-turn point as well. Time check: 21:31 mins for the first 5.2km. I pressed on, hoping to catch sight of the girl from team trackstar ahead. It took me a while, but I eventually catch up with her after a few hundred meters. She quickened her pace the moment she sensed that I was running alongside her. I pushed the pace, and took the lead shortly after. We continued pushing the pace and got a scare when an oncoming cyclist ride towards us. I let out a scream before I swerved to the left to avoid the cyclist. Thankfully, no one was hurt. With no time to lose, I continued running, hoping to pull away from the girl who was still hot on my heels. But she was quite determined to keep up and I could hear her breathing hard behind me. She was already pushing hard and I knew if I can sustain the pace, I can definitely pull away from her.

Alex Tiong from Safra Tampines came flying past me. Motivated, I tried to chase after him. But he soon disappeared and was out of sight in a flash. By 8km, I could no longer hear footsteps behind me and knew the trackstar girl has dropped behind. I pressed on, not daring to take any chances, in case she sneaked up from behind at the last minute.

The last 2.5km back to the stadium was tough. I was getting tired and my pace dropped back to 4:15″/km. There was more twists and turns as we ran around sports hub before we were eventually directed into the stadium. I sped up again at the last 1km upon seeing that the end point was near.

Made a right turn for the finishing line as I entered the stadium. There were many cheers from the crowd as the emcee announced that the first women’s team has returned. Elated and feeling super high, I crossed the finishing line, and lift the finishing tape up high. Yeah! Team Asics Charlie Angels did it! We won not just the Women Open’s category, but we were the overall winner for the female category too.

Time for my 10.5km was around 44:43mins. Combining all the time taken, we finished the “marathon” in a total time of 3:08:19.

Team ASICS Charlie Angels. =)

Team ASICS Charlie Angels. =)

Super proud of my team mates who have given their all for the race. All in all, we had a great race and truly enjoyed ourselves. It was so much more fun and meaningful to win this as team. =)

A photo with Andy, our

A photo with Andy, our “team manager”, who coordinates and get us together to form a team.

Looking forward to the next series of Asics City Relay!

Heel Pain

The heel pain on my left foot (which has been bothering me after SEA Games) got more noticeable after Shape Run. It was still bearable to run but the pain was enough to scare me to lay off for a few days.

Rested for three days and iced the affected area. I felt better on Wednesday morning when I land my foot on the ground. Decided to test it out on Wednesday evening after work. I swapped my usual racers for Asics GT2000 in view of the extra cushioning.

Did a slow 1.5km jog from Jurong West stadium to NTU. The plan was to do a tempo run on the 3km blue track as it was softer from the pavement and road.  That will be 6km to and fro. I wanted to run for at least 30mins, hence extended the run a bit more to 7.5km. Time taken 34mins 57 secs, average pace 4:40″/km.

I was glad to switch to GT2000 as this pair though heavy soften the impact of the pounding. I could hardly feel any pain on my left heel as I pound on the running track. There was a strain which I felt just under the ball of my right foot, which was hardly noticeable. However, being injured (and suspected diagnosis of plantar fasciitis), I knew this shouldn’t be neglected as well.

Nevertheless, I was happy to finally release my endorphin after three days of zero running. Jogged back to Jurong West Stadium to cool down.

As the Asics City Relay is held on Saturday night, I decided to rest on Thursday and Friday as a precaution in case the heel pain flared up on race day. That’s make it just 1 day of training (10 km of mileage) for that week.

Shape Run 2015

A super belated post so am just going to keep this short.

Started the morning with a scare because I realised I had forgotten to bring my time chip when I arrived at the race site! I had left it on my bed after putting on my race bib before leaving the house. =(

I was still contemplating to ask my brother (who has kindly gave me and Peyling a lift to KPT very early in the morning) to drive home and help me pick up the time chip. Decided to check out the information booth first to see if they can help. Thankfully, I am able to purchased a new race bib at S$20. Phew! No need to trouble my brother after all.

The 15km race started promptly at 6am. There was a leading vehicle flashing the time as the clock tick away. Lead cyclists, Trevor and Chris led the way and a whole lot of us followed the moment the horn sounded. Few hundred meters into the race, I was in the lead. There was another female runner running alongside with me for a while and overtook me after 2km. I get to know later that she was the 26 year old RSAF officer, Lynette who appeared in the newspaper some months ago for a full score for her IPPT results. As I was already running  faster than my target pace, I told myself to be patient and stick to my own pace since it was still early in the race. I eventually overtook Lynette and gradually pick up my pace. She was hot on my heels as we pounded on Nicoll Highway. It was until we turned into the F1 pit and I gradually pull away from her when I sensed that she is not keeping up anymore. As I do not know if she would eventually catch up in the end, I told myself to focus on my pace and aim to maintain my position till the end of the race. Lynette later went on to finish 1st runner-up for the 15km race.

There was plenty of u-turns for this race course and it was encouraging to receive cheers from runners and pacers over at the other side. I was running alone most of the time and it was great that I have the lead cyclists, Trevor and Chris to follow.

Shape Run 2015

The race was over in a flash. 15km is actually quite a nice distance. Not the fast and furious, lung bursting 10km, and it’s shorter than 21km which make it seems easier to push a bit more because you know the end is near.

As I ran down the ramp towards Kallang Practice Track, I could see all the 5km runners waiting for their race to begin. I was all smiles when I saw the finishing tape in front of me. Super elated because it’s not often I get to break the finishing tape here in Singapore.

credits to John Tan for this lovely finishing picture =)

credits to John Tan for this lovely finishing picture =)

Completed the 15km run (my garmin read about 14.5km though) in 1:02:42. Avg pace: 4:19″/km. All in all it was a very enjoyable race and as usual, it was fun catching up with friends after the race too. A bonus to come in first for the first time in Shape Run. It was the first year they incorporated a 15km category into the event.

With the two wonderful lead cyclists, Chris and Trevor who led me from start to finish. =)

With the two wonderful lead cyclists, Chris and Trevor who led me from start to finish. =)

With 2nd runner-up, Serene Yang.

With 2nd runner-up, Serene Yang.

Ezann ran well too and came in 4th.

Ezann ran well too and came in 4th.

Happy to meet Cecilia who was there to compete in the 10km category. And she came in 10th position too! Congrats Cecilia!

Happy to meet Cecilia who was there to compete in the 10km category. And she came in 10th position too! Congrats Cecilia!

Prize presentation. =)

Prize presentation. =)

Prize winners for Shape Run' 15.

Shape Run’15 ‘s prize winners for 15km, 10km and 5km category.