Sunday, 29 December 2013

Run 2013

I can't believe in 2 days' more, it'll be 2014!

Thought it'll be nice to just jot down my running memories in 2013. Don't really have time to do lengthy posts, so here are the highlights in point form! :)

1. Jan 2013 - Green Corridor Run - my virgin run which was a 10.5km trail run stretching from the old railway station at Tanjong Pagar to Bukit Timah. Most thought I was crazy to attempt a trail run for my first race ever but it wasn't really that bad and it wasn't really as trail-y as what you would experience at MacRitchie. I survived and finished it in 1:30 which was fairly good for me, considering the fact that there were a few bottlenecks because the ground was terribly muddy from the heavy rain the day before. The best part of this race was that I re-connected with two of my very dear friends. One was Sharon, whom I didn't meet after JC years (hell, I don't even remember we went to the same JC because I was from Science and her, Commerce). The second one was Esther, whom I haven't met since 2004 or so, I think.

2. February 2013 - Safari Zoo Run, which had a 6km route spanning both the Singapore Zoological Garden and the Night Safari. The run was on my 35th birthday and again, most people thought I crazy to get up bright and early on my birthday morning just to go for a run! Well, this time the hubby ran the entire race with me. It rained halfway through and we saw many people abandoning the race to take shelter. We didn't though, and I was so proud of the hubby for braving the rain to finish the race. How can doing my favourite thing with my favourite person on my birthday be a crazy thing? <3 Enough said. :)

3. May 2013 - JP Morgan Corporate Challenge with my colleagues. Even though the registration fee was pretty steep and there was no medal at the end (BLEAH! And yes, I am the superficial kind of runner who likes to collect nice race blings!), we still managed to form 2 teams in the end and got off work early to participate in this on a weekday. It was a short 5.6km and I finished it in about 38 minutes. :)

4. July 2013 - Race Against Cancer 15km run. I registered to be a charity athlete with the Singapore Cancer Society shortly before that set up a donation portal on GiveAsia to garner donations from the running events i took part in. Can I say, this was my WORST race ever? I didn't train hard enough because I had a super stubborn, recurrent upper tract infection that refused to leave me for the next couple of months. Didn't help that the race started at 7-ish and at about 9-10km, the sun was up and ready to fry me alive. I must say this was one of my most gruelling runs ever afterwhich I collapsed (well, voluntarily lah) after I ran past the finishing line and collected my medal (yes, going to die still must collect race bling first can!).

I suffered from extreme nausea immediately post-race and felt like I was going to black out. I couldn't get a taxi home 2-3 hours after the entire event ended and was stranded at ECP until my knight in shining armour sneaked off work to rescue me. The fact that i didn't eat or hydrate myself properly pre-race probably also played a part in all that drama. This race definitely takes the cake as the WORST race of the year, but I also learnt many lessons from it and realised the importance of a good training plan, hydration and fuelling up before a race.

 (Sorry ah, no photos of myself because I was about to die already...)

5. Sept 2013 - Army Half Marathon. To commemorate my 1 year anniversary ever since I picked up running, I signed up for the AHM (with my running 损友, Sharon) in a moment of recklessness I believe! Again, there were some people who thought I was crazy (Why are people such wet blankets and why do people bother saying I'm crazy, knowing I REALLY AM! :P) because I am not a seasoned runner and they deemed it premature for me to attempt a half marathon within such a short time after I started running.

You know what? There is really NO "good time" to do anything. The only "good time" is NOW. I learnt that in July 2010 when I lost many of the normal functions most people take for granted. Now, I seize the day and am thankful for every living, functional day.

Anyway to side-track, I wanted to join the Mt. Faber Run earlier in June 2013 too, but was persuaded out of it because some people thought it was too tough for me. It's not that i'm overly confident but i love a good challenge and really, what is the worst that can happen to me? Crawling to the finishing line? I can deal with that. :) I regret being swayed by those words that planted self-doubt in me and have made up my mind to conquer Mt. Faber in 2014!

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed the AHM because it was my first half marathon and I completed it without having to ride the ambulance back to the finishing line - I trained pretty hard initially until a couple of weeks before the event when i suffered another mild relapse. In fact, I was having some problems running properly, especially during that stretch at Gardens By the Bay, but hey i made it in the end, unscathed! It would have been perfect if there weren't so many smelly, army boys but hey, Life isn't perfect, is it? :) My unofficial timing was 2:54 but official timing (because of the irritating bottleneck that kept me standing among SABs was a good whole 30 mins) was 3:30. BOO!

6. Nov 2013 - Great Eastern Women's Run, Half Marathon. My 2nd half marathon just barely 2 months after finishing the AHM. Again, I signed up with my race buddy, Sharon who is always so game to do this with me. I just have to ask and she will agree in a heartbeat. :)

Another relapse in between September and November, this time more severe than the previous one, knocking me off balance (literally and figuratively) so much so that I couldn't train at all. From the AHM to the GE Women's Run, I only ran a couple of times and did not do any LSDs. :( My neurologist was hesitant about letting me participate in the GE Women's Run but he left the ultimate decision to me and of needless to say, I went ahead. You know, my life is pretty much NEVER about who is going to let me, but who or what is going to stop me. And usually, no one (not even my Papa or Mama) dares to stop me. Heh!

In the end, i achieved my personal best of 2:48 in this race, by the grace of God! The weather was forgiving (it was actually drizzling -- the perfect weather for running IMHO) and I never felt as good. Well, at about 7km, my vision actually screwed up and everything was just blurry and out-of-focus, but I thought about the many friends who (like me) have their daily battles to overcome, and that gave me the strength I needed to soldier on. :)

Well, this about sums up my running events for 2013. I know I said I wouldn't indulge in anything lengthy, but really, there is so much to say and I want to put those thoughts in words so that if the day ever comes when I lose my memory, there is this blog to look back at. :)

Happy New Year my dear friends! Stay calm and run on! :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Project Happyblog

You know how you open Facebook everyday and you see all kinds of negative status updates - people complaining about their lives, about their jobs, about their spouses, about their children, about other people, and the list goes on. I'm just not one of those people because I believe in being positive and attracting positive things. Yah yah, most people think i'm just too prescriptive but I can give you many, many examples of how I've been attracting good things in life now and how I've attracted many, many bad things in my life in the past because of the negative person I was.

Anyway, I've decided to start "Project #Happyblog", which is basically to pen down all the good and happy things that I'm grateful about in my daily life. Shall start by writing about something which the hubby said last night over Teh-oh-ais and Tandoori Chicken.

So did I mention I'm officially a charity athlete for the Singapore Cancer Society? Anyway, I have been trying to promote my cause the past couple of weeks and have requested that friends do the same. A few friends have donated and amount currently stands at $1,100. :)

The hubby as usual, has been supportive and even got up early to ferry me to my 15km Race Against Cancer run. When I told him the night before that it was really okay and that I could take a cab myself, he brushed me off in his usual manner and said, "Aiyah, I always fetch you one mah!" I know he's shy that way and he goes all red in the face when I tease him about being sweet. Heh heh.

So back to last night. We were talking about my cause and the donations that have come in and he said he knew my target amount was 5K and he had already helped share my donation portal on his Facebook profile. I knew of course, that he hadn't donated to my cause yet but I didn't want to put a gun to his head and force him to donate his life savings, but what he said to me then really, really shocked me.

His exact words were, "You know why I haven't donated to your efforts yet? It's because at the end, I want to settle the balance for you and top up the donations so you hit your 5K target..."

I thought that was extremely sweet and thoughtful of him. We're not dirt-rich folks who have a lot of spare cash - granted the hubby earns more than me (much more on good sales month), but I really didn't think he would do something extreme like that just to make sure I achieved my goals and that I was happy at the end. Not saying it's bad to donate a few grands to charity but I just wasn't expecting him to make such an "extravagant" (for lack of better terms!) move. Well, if he was going to spend money buying branded bags which I really, really don't need. I'd rather he spend his money this way.

Thinking of what he said, the way he said it while looking into my eyes so earnestly makes me very, very happy. I thank God for a supportive hubby like him who puts my happiness above everything else.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Back on Track

I wish, i wish, i wish i had more time to update my blog but with so many things on my plate at the moment, it's really a feat. I'm sure i can find time if i want to, but that will probably mean sacrificing time that i set aside for other things and i'm not ready to do that. I'm already sacrificing lunchtime to work out, sleeptime to read among other things, so i don't think i can afford to pu blogging on my priority list at the moment.

Still, i think i will start using this place to chronicle (i just found out you can use the word 'chronicle' as a verb too!) my running journey - preparing for my very first half marathon this September and really, really looking forward to it! 我不要宝马,我只要我的半马! :) After which i plan to train harder and do a full marathon next year. Before i hit 40, i hope to be able to attempt an ultramarathon (anything >the standard 42km full marathon). So far i've only told one person, which is Adeline whom i was whatsapping a few days ago. She probably thinks i'm insane ("50km?!?!?!?") but was still nice enough to tell me to train with care.

China's 5 most scenic marathons - something that Sharon sent me last week. In her words "all the China marathons" damn sexy and i can't agree more! I would really love to attempt the Great Wall Marathon or the Genghis Khan Grassland Marathon someday but again, the few people i've expressed my wishes too think i'm nuts.

Why liddat? If i never had wild dreams of being a vet (even though my sister told me "young dreams never come true") and if i never had clear, passionate goals of achieving anything in agility, i would never be who i am today.

Anyway, I have about 2 months more to the Army Half Marathon and i will start to really focus on training right and training hard. I don't believe in bullshit like not training, not because i'm afraid of injury but because i believe in always giving my best in whatever i do. I don't give a shit about beating other's people timing, i just want to continue beating my own timing. For the AHM, my goal is to complete it sub-3hours.

Starting to also get back on track for eating healthy. I've slackened in the past week because of the hubby's birthday and our wedding anniversary - hanged out at Aquanova that night too so as expected, there were drinks and what-not. Have to constantly remind myself that i only have one body and in Dr. Lim's words, i really, really need to be fitter than the average person.

Good news today, i smashed my own record for fastest /km timing. When i started running in September 2012, my timing per km hovered around approximately 8:30-9 mins/km. I know, i know, i know, that's damn freaking slow - think Tiffanie my 10-year-old niece runs at that pace too! I started getting fitter though, and my timing improved to approximately 8 mins/km. There are good days when i can do under 7:30- 8 mins for both short or long runs and today,  i actually did 6:48/km!! First time my pace was below 7 mins/km so that's a milestone for me.

I will continue trying to be fitter and faster. Just need to be focused and disciplined! :)

Today's training:
  1. 2.4km in 16:14mins
  2. Hill training
  3. Mat work - abs. (Standard crunches with raised legs x 20, Oblique crunches x 20 each side, Oblique twist x 20, Lower ab rocks x 20, Lying leg raise x 20)
  4. Push-ups x 20
Need to start developing my core muscles so i can use these to propel myself. Funny i know because most people think you just have to strengthen your quads and such and that's all. Need to find time to plough through the "Chi Running" book which promises injury-free and pain-free running. According to the authors, running a marathon should be pain-free and people over-glorify pain too much in such events! for thought, shall find out and share more when i've finished the book.

Over the past few months, i've also tried to cut down my meat intake, mostly inspired by Scott Jurek (still reading his "Eat and Read" book while simultaneously trying to finish the Chi-Running book). For the past few days, i've also heavily restricted my carb intake and have stuffed myself silly with greens. I feel good and clearing my bowels have never felt easier (too much info!). I feel less bloated and most of all, i think my drive and motivation is back. Eating carb and putting crap into my body have somehow made some of my symptoms re-appear again so without a doubt, eating healthy is definitely the way to go (like DUH).

Ok, i should get back to doing proper work. See, for blogging i have to sacrifice work time!