Getting Slower

I used to be able to run a sub 6 minutes pace fairly easily. Now I struggle to even do a sub 6.30 pace. I console myself with all sort of reasons.  I getting older; less mileage; no race to train for blah blah blah. But I know I am only fooling myself. I have many friends who are older than me who seem to run faster and faster with age. I have friends who runs once or twice a week and yet are able to fly during their runs. So what ail me?

Then it hit me one morning as I was plodding along on one of my run. Out of the blue, I suddenly saw this:dsc_1801

Now where did that sign come from? I must have run here many many times yet never noticed it. Surely it wasn’t there the last time I came by? Then more and more variation of the sign appeared:

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Then it hit me! There it was. SLOW.  Somehow somewhere perhaps someone up there was telling me something. To slow down.

And so I now know the reason why I been getting slower and slower. No, the signs didn’t appear overnight. In fact they were there all along. Just that I was too busy running to see them but somehow the message has sublimely went into my mind and my mind and body had subconsciously reacted to it. Whew!! and I thought all along there was something wrong with me. So now I know this is there to send me the most obvious message. whatsapp-image-2016-10-25-at-9-21-35-pm

A Hot and Heaty Affair

Last weekend I did a 21km run.  Nothing unusual as that is quite normal for long run on weekends.  What was unusual was that it took much longer than the usual 21 km run.

For this particular run last weekend, I took a massive 3 hours 17 minutes. Ok admittedly this run route was what I called the Mother of all 21 km run in Singapore because it involves going up and down 3 of the highest hills in Singapore so the timing is always gonna be longer than the usual.  I try to do this route at least once a month and so far the timing has vary widely

April: 2:50; May 2:41; June 2:48 and August 2:59 and last week 3:17

So what accounts for the fluctuation?  Apart from toilet and water breaks and stopping to take photos, the first 4 runs were more or less still within acceptable range of 10 minutes but the last one was horrendous. And I think the reason was the heat. It was unbearably hot towards the 2nd half of the run and all the energy just sapped away and I just felt so weak. I walked up Vigilante Dr, Pepys Hill, even part of Kent Ridge Park, the Canterbury Estate and finally walked the entire length of the Forest Walk.

And I think that is the toughest part of running in Singapore. The heat. Many people think Singapore is all flat and easy to run but with our heat and humidity, running is definitely not easy. Which is why most of our races here flag off at insane hours in the morning from 4.30 am for a full or even half marathon to 6 am for 10 km races. Tomorrow I have another long run and if my experience during the last run along this particular route is repeated, I think I am going to wither and die under the heat.

It going to be  a long hot and heaty affair tomorrow! For all those doing the Craze Ultra tomorrow, Gambete!

Dealing with Flatulence while Running

Everyone of us who runs has this common problem. The need to fart while running. What does one do and how to deal with it? You tighten your pelvic muscle, you squeeze your butt cheeks together and all while trying to run elegantly. How long do you think you can hold it in?

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So the answer is clear. Just do it. Let it go. Let it go. But how to do it without embarrassing yourself or gassing your buddies to a PB? Let Uncle here who has more farts than fartleks tell you how:70fe7468e19d762593551771cc448215088732e8a8e620a4933717f2994faada

– When you feel a fart coming – run faster or slower to get away from the people around you if you don’t want them to hear or smell you.IMHO, it is better to run slower. Running faster and letting go some distance ahead may not be a good idea if your run buddy decides to chiong along with you. What then? Or if by the time you let go, and he/she reach that point and smell this rotten egg smell with nobody around, then they will know it got to be you… So run slower. The advantage of running slower is your buddy will be in front and cannot smell or hear it.

– But of course if your run buddy is the type that insist on running side by side with you and you cannot run slower or faster without he/she running in pace with you then how? Especially if he/she is the only reason why you are out running this early in the morning and the thought of letting out a loud and foul fart in his/her presence is going to ruin the rest of your life! The trick is then to let it out slowly. Ease up a bit on the pace, with every stride of the legs, open up your butt a bit and let it go very slowly. Hopefully, that will work.

– However, if you feel that the fart coming is the type that can wake the dead and is more vile smelling than rotten eggs and blue cheese and there is no way you can control the volume, try try to hold until you come across something that is making a loud noise. Like maybe a noisy motorbike, a pack of barking dogs, some idiots blasting loud music and let that drown out the sound. As for the smell, just hold your breathe and pretend nothing happened. But if you noticed that your buddy smelled it, then go on the offensive and loudly proclaim “yeeeh so smelly, must be a dead animal nearby” and quickly run away

– Last but not least, learn to differentiate between a normal fart and a wet fart cos if it is a wet fart, …………….Rottenecards_35433864_b79s773pqd

I don’t think I really need to spell it out right?

Top of the World

Well not quite since the highest point in Singapore is only just slightly over 160 metres. But that is Bukit Timah Hill and Bukit Timah hill is now close so the next highest point is Mt Faber at 105m and that where are the trail runners looking to race overseas are flocking to now that they are deprived of good old Bukit Timah.
I followed 1 group last week and did just 1 loop of the hill. One can get a pretty nice view of the Telok Blangah Estate from the top of the hill. The view stretches all the way to Orchard Rd. On the other side of the road, one can see Sentosa, the cable cars and on a clear day, some islands of Indonesia. Instead of using my own lousy camera to show the view from the top, here is a VR taken by Singapore top VR photographer, Aram Pan. Guess what? I am mentioned inside the post! Cheap thrill!
The beauty of running around these areas is that there are several high ground where you can have that top of the world feeling and look out far far away.
From Mt Faber, I went on to Telok Blangah Hill crossing the beautiful Henderson Waves Bridge. And right smack in the middle of the bridge which is 36 metres high you get these awesome view.

Looking southward towards the sea
The Telok Blangah and Bukit Merah estates
After the Henderson Waves Bridge is the Telok Blangah Hill. There are some mean slopes here including a very short and steep one up to Terrace Garden where you can another panoramic view.

Standing between Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge is a patch of forest and over this is a series of metal bridge called the Forest Walk hovering over the forest. And beside being able to see the flora and fauna close up, one can get another great view of the far beyond.

After crossing the bridge, its up to Kent Ridge Park and here there is a series of zig zag path which leads to what is known as the Canopy Walk which comes with a view of the Hort Park below it.

From here it is a straight run down Kent Ridge Park. That is the easy part. But coming back up, there is either the long and steep Pepys Road or the other long and steep Vigilante Drive. By now after conquering the up and down from Mt Faber to Kent Ridge, I was well and truly beaten and could only managed to walk up Vigilante Drive. At the top of course the reward is another top of the world view.

All in, depending on how one runs, one can do up to 20 km covering Mt Faber, Telok Blangah Hill, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park with total elevation of more than 500 metres. Not a lot by any other measures but certainly a good enough workout for those who want to do some serious hill runs and get many great view at the same time.
Here is the elevation for the run last week

Run Safe

Recently there was a press report of a case in 2013 when a lady jogger was attacked and raped by a man while out on a night run. I think a lot of people were shocked. Surely Singapore is the safest of all place? But like the police slogan, low crime doesn’t mean no crime and this is not the first time a lady has been attacked while out running. In 2000, a lady was attacked and rape while running in Bukit Batok Park. She died a few days later from her injury. And for those who thought MacRitchie Reservoir is safe, in 2003, a lady was sexually assaulted while running there.
Singapore is generally a safe place to move around but like in any other countries, there will be sickos around. Here are some unsolicited advices:

1) Don’t run at night. The best time to run is early in the morning but I know it is easier to sleep late than wake up early. And with everybody’s busy schedule, sometimes the only time available to run is in the night. So if you must run at run, try to run earlier and end by 8 pm rather than start after 9. But if you really cannot avoid running later in the night:

2) Get someone to run with you. The hubby, the boyfriend or girl friend, neighbour or even a child. There safety in number. But if there is really nobody to run with you:

3) Avoid running in dark places. For some reasons known best to Nparks, our parks are not well lit at night. Even places like East Coast Park is poorly lit and the park lights are switched off after a certain time. So if you must run, run along the roads or in brightly lit areas. Or if there is no other option, run only in the brighter areas within the park. Do loops around the brightly lit area rather than run the full distance along the park trail. Some parks with poor lighting to avoid:
 – Area A and area G of East Coast Park
– Pasir Ris Beach Park especially the middle section between Sungei Tampines and Sungei Api Api
– Fort Canning Park. The lighting here is atrocious. Many stretches have no light or they are switched off at random
– Bukit Batok Nature Park – the place with the most incidents
– The Green Corridor. Avoid running alone at all cost and this applies to the guy too!
– West Coast Park
– Garden by the Bay East. The lights here are generally ok but it is too quiet. Keep to the waterfront and not run into the park ground.

4) Wear bright clothing. I am always amazed at the number of people who wear dark apparel to run. Not only does it absorb heat it also attract mosquitoes. And in an incident, it is easier to see something bright moving/struggling than something dark. Beside, other road and park users can see you if you wear brighter clothings and minimize the chance of a collision or being scared out of their wits!

5) Carry a small panic button, the phone and identification. The panic button is useful in situation where you need to attract attention. The phone? To call for help not just for attacks but in case of accidents. And ID – for identification purpose.

This is a rather useful panic button. Can double as a key chain too. You can get this from Sim Lim and other electronic stores or buy online. A panic button is more useful than a whistle as in an emergency, chances are you have no opportunity to blow the whistle

This ID band can be purchased online but you can also make your own ID band like what I did

6) Let someone know. Where you running and what time you be home. This will help if you go missing and people need to search for you. Or if you fail to reach home in the expected time, help can come earlier.

So that about it. Run happy and run safe.

Running 101 for Newbies Part 1

Came across this article in the press recently. And saw this little bit.

I must admit I do get a little bit peeved when people use the wrong words but most them if they are not runners and get the terminology all wrong, I just shrug it off but when people who are doing it gets it all wrong, I go grrrr………..

So I guess it time for a little refresher in layman terms:

JOG – This is my pet peeve. I absolutely hate it when people asked me whether I am going for  a jog. Yeah its an ego thing but I don’t jog. I run. A jog is when you put on a pair of running shoe, go downstairs or walk to the neighbourhood park and do a slow slow run of not more 20 minutes. It is done at an easy pace where you don’t break into a sweat, you can talk and laugh and noticed all the little things like the chio bu doing her stretches. And some people can walk faster than your jog. And after you finish the jog, you can just sit at the park bench and chill or hop straight into the car and drive home. No need to change or cool down because you never break a sweat.
RUN – I run. I don’t jog. At least not yet. Maybe when I hit 60 and the joints and bones start protesting louder. Meantime, when I put on a pair of running shoes, it is to run. A run is when you break into a sweat. You try to run faster than the previous time and you wish the traffic lights will be in your favour every time you need to cross a ppedestrianised crossing. And when you see a runner in front of you, your thought automatically turns into whether you can outrun that fella. You don’t notice the kingfisher in the trees, heck when you in the mood to run, you don’t even notice your friend on the other side waving to you. When you finished, you all sweaty and smelly and you need to cool down. Not hop straight into the car and drive home. 
And running can be more complicated than science. Ha ha ha. There are easy run, tempo run, fartleks (no its not something you do silently in the elevator although most runners are prone to it), intervals, long distance run. An if you don’t know what these are, it simply means you are not yet a hardcore runners. No worries. You will learn soon enough. And then we have pace. We measure how hard we run by the pace we ran which can get pretty complicated. Your hard pace can be the easy pace of someone else, your long distance run can be a short run for another person and a climb for you is just a gentle incline for somebody else. For a totally non-scientific analysis of pace read here. And all these don’t apply if you just jogging.
That is the difference between a jog and a run.
Of course, once you get hooked into running, you will want to join events. And nowadays, events are a dime a dozen. And there are so many events of different distances and themes that you go all blur blur. Here are a run down of some of the main characteristics of each event and what it is meant for.
FUN RUN – This is usually a short distance “running event” of not more than 5 km although there are some which are longer at 10 km. Generally, participants are welcome to walk, jog or run. There are no prizes to the top few finishers and no completion timing will be given. There are also no “Finisher Tee” although some events may give event tee, certificate of participation and a medal. Fun Run are usually organised to raise funds for charities, promote a cause or as a side attraction to a main run to attract more participation. Fun runs are suitable for everybody from children to senior citizen of all shape, sizes and fitness.
COMPETITIVE RUN – As the word implies, this is a competitive run. Prizes are given to the top finishers (usually top 3 or in some cases up to top 10). Runner’s timing are captured through timing devices attached to shoes or bibs and read by sensors at strategic points along the route. Serious runners who takes part in these runs to i) win prizes ii) get a good time and ranking iii) get a personal best (PB). Not so serious runners join to measure how they fare against other runners or mostly to assess their own standard of fitness. Most organiser will give an event tee or singlet, a medal, a certificate with the timing printed on it and for some events, a finisher tee. Competitive run are suitable for people who have put in efforts to train for it. Of course, there is nothing to stop fun runners and those who never train to take part in competitive run but the experience for them will be much better if they train for it.
Competitive run comes in various distance though and runners should learn to sign up for the appropriate distances according to their ability.
To be cont’d