Coffee Tea Runners Running Clinic

Attended a running clinic held by Coffee Tea Runners. The Coffee Tea Runners is a running group formed by running enthusiasts. They hold weekly run every Thursday at the Labrador Park and also volunteer as pacers for races such as The Performance Series. In fact, they are recruiting pacers for this year series and welcome volunteers to try out.

The first part was by Mr Peter Tan from Justrunlah.com. He talked about the setting up of Justrunlah as a web portal for runners and 3 years later, it has grown and evolved into not just a web portal but a running community and race organiser. With just a small team of 5, it has managed to maintain a website that has gone international with over 200000 members from 5 countries; created an app for runners and even organised a Race series, The Performance Series!

The next segment was a talk by Dr Derek Li, one of the top marathon runners in Singapore. His talk was on training for a race. He touched on the importance of total mileage as opposed to speed and even distance clocked in a run. He also talked about recovery with special emphasis on getting enough sleep. Last but not least, he went into some pointers on choosing a running shoe. 

The final segment was a short stretching and strength exercises conducted by Dr Derek Li

Finally at the end of the session, there was a short sharing by one of the sponsor,  Apex Pharmacy on its joint lubricating product Flexiseq. Flexiseq is not, contrary to what most people think, a glucosamine cream. In fact it is a lubricant that once absorbed into the joint can form a lubricating layer with the synovial fluid.

 

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.