Wednesday, December 14

wear your marathon with shame or pride?

My knee seized up after 21k so i hobbled back the rest of the 21 k hell bent on avoiding a DNF "did not finish".

It was my most difficult long run physically and mentally coz i knew i wasn't going to meet my time target but i still had to go on - in this walk of shame and painful self flagellation. Maybe I should have trained more properly. Maybe I should have done my long runs.

The marathon was penned into 3 categories a) the elites b) the 4 to 6 hr decent runners c) the more than 6.

The more than 6 was where i was. I saw a 78 year old guy who had a tag saying "age is not a barrier" and he had 3 marathons for the year listed including Boston. There was a woman who looked 60 plus who was wearing a cheong sam. And I saw a couple from Africa wearing their state flag. There were a few couples who took their PDA to entirely different level and ran the whole marathon hand in hand. I must have looked ridiculous too with my tevas and at some point, I let my fashion sense all hang out when i put on a pair of socks to avoid chafing. Sandals and socks. OMG.

Apart from a few bottlenecks at the start, you could pretty much break free and run along. My strategy was to break my marathon into a bar of music and take it 4 steps at a time and keep an even tempo.

When my knee seized up, probably because i my body was trying tell me something, i started walking, stopping to rest, massaging the spot and praying. My reflexive action when I am down on resources.

At one point, i sat down on a rock at the 33 km mark and wanted to be just left there and die, except it really looked like there was no good Samaritan out there who will be able to help I had to snap of the self pity and keep walking.

When I reached the last 150 metres, my vanity took over and I broke into a run. Must look good for the camera finish mah! I tried to fake a smile but I realized that i didn't have to coz I was genuinely happy that it was over and I completed it without calling the ambulance.

7 hrs something. I didn't even bother to stop my stopwatch to record the time.

On my way to MRT, I met a 50 year old woman beaming coz she just completed her first marathon. Her name was Sandran. We compared our walking distance, complained about the heat and smelly guys in compression tights. I was so glad to talk to someone who had been to exactly where I had gone and understood.

How, I asked her, what do i tell my friends when they ask me how i did? 7 hrs plus. So lao kui leh?

Lao kui? I will be so proud! Some of my friends younger than me don't dare to run this marathon.

And that's when I knew, I would probably run again, 6 hours or no 6 hours, marathon or no marathon....simply because if I was ever going to wear being 50 with pride, then I need to be just like Sandran.

And keep going.

Tuesday, November 22

Many little petite steps will cover a magnificent distance.

And so I woke up this morning, with the identical feeling from yesterday morning. How nice would be to burrow the head into the pillow a little bit longer!

Half and hr on the treadmill. Just 30 minutes left me pouring in sweat and happy afterwards that I didn't remain in bed.

Monday, November 21

where i am is where i started

Today I woke up with enough time to get out for a run. But instead, I lay in bed, under the blanket with my head on the pillow, watching the minutes go by until there was no time to go running.

2 weeks to the marathon and it's all gone pear shaped with the training.

And so have I, as I wistfully pinched the sides of my belly which seem to have become thicker.

Purpose of this blog was to make an epic attempt at training properly. But I have to confess that it hasn't gone according to plan. I didn't magically transform into a disciplined marathon runner. The transformation didn't happen.

Where I am right now is where I started. And I guess that's the starting point for my continuing motivation to keep running. I remember the fat girl who would never even run a K so that when the shame piles on because I am so lazy to get out of bed, she knocks me on the head so that I

-can summon the gratitude for just being able to run
- honor how far i've by come by not giving up
- and to treat every step as a victory walk.

Then I find myself running again: cellulite, warts and all.

Friday, September 2


30 laps. What used to take 38 mins now takes 48 mins.

Not as conditioned as I used to be before. Had to stop for breaks, loosen the shoulders and start again. It was like meeting an old friend after a really long time and catching up just where we left off. Wondering why, we took so long to get in touch again.

Wednesday, August 24

keep pedalling

The fat girl bypassed Saturday's long run in favour of mountain biking on a trail.

Always wanted to take a mountain bike and throw it on a trail. Coz that's what a mountain bike is for? Going off road.

I took a bus to Pasir Ris, lost my way among the carparks. Ended up walking for about 30 minutes in the park with 2 other damsels in distress. Tried to look on the bright side - my heart rate was elevated so this would count as exercise.

Just when I was about to give up, someone galloped up on a fire engine red mountain bike to show us the way to the rest of the group. He wore a pink helmet. Spoke in a slow and calming sort of way - something about the way he moved which made him appear one with the bike.

What was most remarkable was that he cared to help out the newbies. He rode behind the pack as we wobbled on the pavement and made our way to the Tampines bike park. He adjusted my helmet so that it would fit my head properly. Offered to carry my bag pack if it was too heavy.

Gallantry is well and truly alive.

The trails were just as I imagined. Gravel, dirt, potholes and twigs. I tried to charge up a slope which had lots of rocks and skid, falling sideways and bruising my legs. I dusted off the dirt, checked for blood (none) then hopped onto the saddle again. When the trails got too challenging or steep, I jumped off the bike and pushed it along. Never mind if it wasn't really trail biking. This pushing the bike along counts as exercise too?

The 1 tip that will stay with me, which was repeated several times when we were tackling the slopes and bumpy portions was this:

Keep pedalling. Keep pedalling!

Sunday, August 21

10 km kallang track

Only 1 proper run this week. 10 km at the Kallang track on a Tuesday evening. Ages since I've run on a track. Thought it would be deathly boring, but it was ok coz a bunch of people were playing frisbee in the field in the middle of the track. And there were a bunch of guys doing sprint training. They were all exerting so much energy I felt quite laid back running at my slow pace in comparison.

But this is what I found out:

1. Have to take a break every 3.2 km, to take gulps of water as well as walk for one round of the track. My foot will start to ache and the form will suffer if I don't hydrate and take a walking break.

2. Water consumed for 10km is 1 litre.

3. Time for 10 km with these walking breaks is 1 hr 25 mins. If I can keep up this routine over 42km, I should be able to keep it within 6 hrs.

And that's my self declared time goal for running the marathon this year - to finish it within 6 hours.

Tuesday, August 16

Pasir Ris

Long run on Saturday was interrupted by kayaking at the pasir ris beach. I like to think of it as cross training.

Pasir Ris was ridiculously beautiful for Pasir Ris. You wouldn't think that somewhere as picturesque as that existed in Singapore on a Saturday morning without being overcrowded. I reached the beach early and hungry. There were no cooked food stalls so I found a little convenience store near the chalets which sold me a pack of potato chips. With a little bottle of ice water and pack of chips, I sat on a tree shaded stone bench overlooking the sea.

The sea breeze melted all cares away and it felt like a beach holiday.

Must come running here.

Tuesday, August 9

Was torn between staying in bed on a public holiday and making full advantage of it by waking up and going for a run.

By the time I got to East Coast Park carpark C (the free parking one), turned out that I wasn't the only one with the same idea. The sun was out, the carpark was full and it was a choice between turning out of the car park or staying put and finding a lot.

Left the car by the side of the road and trotted out for the run. Determination!

Couldn't keep the thought of getting a car park summons out of my mind - so that became the motivation for this morning's run. To finish running the usual 8.7 km route in as short of time to reduce the chances of getting a fine.

Gary was with me and he said that my slow pace of running caused his knees to ache, the upright way his feet were landing. I ran ahead while he walked but I tried to be a more conscious of the way I was running. Maybe it could with more lift and roll. So that was what I tried to do, lean forward. Roll with it.

An hour 15 mins passed and it was back to the car.

No fine! What a relief.

Sunday, August 7

Not much running this week. Felt a little ache in the knees so rested.

Saturday. Carpark C to E this morning. Walking to Bedok Jetty and running back.

Tuesday, August 2


G seems to think that running at my pace - which is really really slow is beneficial coz it jiggles the fats. So that makes 2 of us jiggling our fats along the Nicol Highway. It's hot, we're sweaty and it's 2 of us running at the same pace as rush hour morning traffic.

Only difference is that we look a lot happier than the people in the cars.

Monday, August 1


Today, I ran past a 3 car pile up on the Nicoll Highway. The tension was palpable, the cars were honking and there was a big jam behind it. The drivers were surveying the damage, looking worried and making calls on their handphone.

Why bother with driving?

Travel light

I took off the sternum strap on my running bag pack so that I could get a drink of water. When I put my bag back on, I didn't secure the sternum strap and it just didn't feel right running with a bag which kept jumping on your back.

Running requires very little - shoes, water, hair band and God bless the sternum strap. Just a little strap which goes across your chest which makes all the difference.

With those 4 items, I can run anywhere.

Paint on a blank canvas

I also thought about life. What to make of it if you had a completely blank canvas. I'd like to do massage more seriously, train, learn maybe even teach.

It would involve erasing the old painting.

Dream big, train hard

And I couldn't stop thinking about the OSIM triathletes that I saw being flagged off at East Coast Park on Sunday. I was running - the usual 8.7 km from carpark C to carpark E. There were barricades and I was directed towards the beach. The women swimmers were going to be flagged off in 15 minutes so I found a spot near them. Some of them were in the sea doing their warm up swims. Most of them were just standing around, stretching, taking photos. Beaming with pride. This was their moment.

When the horn blared for them to start their swim, I cheered even though I didn't know anyone in there. Cheerful orange swim caps bobbing in the sea.

Then it was time for the guy veterans to start. This was the 50-59 age group. You could tell that their bodies had aged past their youthful prime, but there they were - tanned, fit and strong. Like fishermen who had spent a life outdoors, casting nets and lifting heavy wooden boats.

When they ran towards the sea in their green caps, I felt great emotion welling up. That's the spirit of the triathlon. You throw yourself at a goal much bigger than yourself.

Dream and just train really hard.

Wednesday, July 27

warm look

Home to office
8.7 km
Start: 7:21
End: 8:41

Always feels really bleah first 10 minutes of the run. You're kicking up the legs but don't seem to be gaining much speed or distance. Like a piece of lead being stirred up in a bowl of liquid cement.

But after the first 10 minutes, there are some bright spots.

Well, there are the regulars that I meet along the way. There is a guy who runs every morning. We nod to each other as a greeting.

I call this the warm look.

You see it on the faces of the joggers passing me from the opposite direction. A look which affirms and says hello with no words.

You're not looking for it, but it springs out of the blue and it makes you want to shine a light out too to the other people who are running by, like the headlight of a car which momentarily passes by.

Monday, July 25

Marina 21k

Forgot that I signed up for this run until I got the email to collect the race kit about 2 weeks ago. When did I do this? What was I thinking?!

I spent the whole week not running. And entire Saturday afternoon groaning in bed and wanting to avoid this.

I didn't feel up to it but that's the way with run events.

You just have to roll out of bed and turn up.

It would be a good way to find out what my 21 k timing was. To feel the distance and find out how my new shoes felt - a pair of Adidas jaw paws with a minimal heel and as close to barefoot without the tarmac scraping effect.

The reality didn't sink in until I stood there near the start. The MC was blaring, the music was going and I got a bit excited - it was 2008 again. My first 10 k at the Stand Chart.

Then we were off!

I started off cool and slow, adjusting the timer on my watch. At the first 1 km marker, I was about 7 minutes plus down. Ok, good. Let's try to keep this pace. Aim was to run 21 k under 3 hours.

Kept similar pace at the 2k, 3k and 4k marker. There were no distance markers until the 10 k mark - 1 hr 22 mins.

That was when I started getting quite pumped. I had a chance to complete it under 3 hours!

My legs started to feel quite heavy and my running form suffered when I got tired so I shook off the fatigue by walking. I walked at every water station to load up on a cup of 100 plus.

NDP fireworks went off in the sky. Aaahh.

Was really tired but it felt like a game. Lots of people overtook me, but I was overtaking a few people too and even though I was keeping a slow pace, I knew that I was trying my best.

For the last 100 metres, I sprinted and celebrated as if a firework had burst inside. It was going to be under 3 hours!

2 hours 45 mins.

Monday, July 18

Takes me 1.5 hrs to complete 8.7 km. You can't really call it running. It's more like shuffling along the beach, feeling a bit hungover - coz that's your body's way of saying you should be in bed.

Sat 16 July
Run walk ECP from carpark c1 to Bedok Jetty
8.7 km
End: 9:25

Sunday 17 July
carpark c1 to Bedok Jetty
8.7 km
Start: 6:46
End: 8:10
Watch right knee for twinges after 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 14

Thursday and still no run for the week!
Fueled up on eggs and bread. 5 k easy run from nicoll highway to office.

The strap on my bag pack kept creeping up from my left shoulder to chafe against the left side of my neck. Convinced that my shoulders are imbalanced - my right shoulder hanging lower causing the strap on the left to creep upwards.

Start: 7:45
End: 825

Monday, July 11

first ten minutes always the hardest

Gary accompanied on a run-walk to office this morning.

Fueled up with prata, one egg and one cosong. Showed him the sea view over the benjamin sheares bridge, laughed at cars that were stuck in the rush hour traffic that we were passing by even at walking pace. He said he felt like my security aide running alongside me. So used to running on my own, it did feel a bit that way.

Ran along Guillemard, walked the rest of the way. Apart from sharing our life, we can share nalgene bottles now.

7:20 Crane Road
7:40 Nicoll highway
8:40 End

Saturday, July 9

the longest 28 minutes

Treadmill. It's been a long time.

3.2 km 28 mins. Felt like the longest 28 minutes in my life.

cheezels n nutella

Sat 9 July
ECP carpark C1 to Bedok Jetty
Distance: 8.4 km
Start: 625
Bedok Jetty: 7 am (3 sets of wooden logs x10)
End: 755

Have to lay out running clothes the night before to prevent procrastination.

Fueled up on a handful of cheezels and 2 tablespoons of nutella and went to ECP for the first long run! Woo! Think keeping accountable to this training log helps.
Friday 8 July
Suntec to home
Distance 6.7 km
Start: 1923
End of Nicoll: 1944 (walked till 1955)
End: 2023
Have to watch for TOFP on right foot

Wednesday, July 6

first training log

Soo: You need a training log.
Me: What's a training log?
Soo: Write down what distance you ran, how you felt. Timing.

Following my running guru's advice, I start my first training log today full of running detail which no one would care to know.

Distance: 8.5k
Start: 7:23 am
Thiam Siew Avenue: 7.30
Nicoll highway traffic light: 7:50 (drink water)
Erp gantry: 7:57
End: 8:42
Felt good.