Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Got the Flu Bug

This week it has been a horrendous trial battling the flu virus that I caught on Sunday. On Sunday I ran 12K at Punggol, whilst simulating the actual heat I would face on race day. I started the run at 11.00 am in the hot sunny day, battling the heat as I paced myself slowly. Had my music playing from my phone as I ran easy. The heat really messed my pace as the heart rate monitor showed a high beat of 162, whilst the pace was slow. That was the same feeling I had when I did my first triathlon at East coast. I was running slowly in the heat whilst my hear rate was beating very fast, in the range of 182 then. After 45 minutes of running in the sun the weather turned and it started to rain. Hence it became a 45 minutes run on the hot sun with another 20 minutes of run with the clouds above me pelting me with rain. I guess, the dramatic change in weather may have weakened me enough to get sick the next day. I had to battle flu as I prepared to send my children and my wife to India.

On Tuesday after sending my family off at the airport, I had to do EFI safety supervision job at Diary farm adventure centre. It was raining lightly and I had no choice but to complete this job that I agreed to do last week. Hence I spent the next 4 hours concentrating on making sure the kids were wearing the hareness properly and supervising the belayers who were tasked to belay the kids. Even if you are sick, the mind is capable of switching gears to stay focus to get the work done at hand. I remembered the same experience I had for the 2nd batch of participants, who attended my leadership program. They did not know I had fever that night. Even then I followed through with a 5 Km run and swim that was intended for them the next day.

It all goes to sure one is capable of more then what you think you can do. I have lost 2 days of training and I look forward to running on Wednesday. It has been lonely and tough not having my family around. Then again my work is heating up and this week onwards it is going to requite me to stay very focus to complete the 3 projects I have for May. That is life isn't it, staying focus in the context of what you do. As a father, husband or athlete, there is a real need at times to dig in deep within your soul to ask your self why you do things that you do. At times you do get distracted and the price you have to pay can get phenomenal if you are not able to check yourself. When biking on the road, there were countless times when cars get very closed and it takes sheer concentration to keep my focus intact my not getting hit by a car or a bus. Likewise, it takes the same sense of focus when you start a training regime. There I am running and it makes no sense to just follow a routine for the sake of doing an activity. The ironman race is important to me it is about seeking a accomplishment I can be proud of. It is tough as I am not as young as used to be and this race is important for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Started to swim

Well, it has been a while since I last swam in a pool and this friday I swam 18 laps at the public pool. I have decided to leave behind the strokes that I can swim best and learn how to use the front crawl effectively. For a 50 m lap pool it tool 30 strokes counting just one hand to get me from one end to the other. I used muscles I never new existed and the whole body ached when I got home.

The previous nite my and my training partner cycled about 36 km just after 6.00 pm returning back to our home just before 8. It was a good ride and I can't help but realise that YC is in a better fitness then me. I had to shake him off couple of time on the uphills only to have him back on my tail cruising on in style and I pant hard like a fish gulping for air on land. Well that is how the story goes, you reap what you sow and till I started to work just as hard or harder, I will lose a few minutes behind him.

I rested on Sat and sunday is a day for a long run just before lunch to get use to the heat.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Suffered with no speed

Well the title says it all and that was what happened today. Last nite, they showed a very good Tamil movie that I missed so as sleep early to ride the next day. At 2.30 am in the morning my dad insisted that I carried my son to the bed room. He had apparently fall asleep in the hall whilst watching the movie. My dad wakes up quite a bit at nite and he rarely gets a full nite sleep on any given day. He has diabetes and he also goes to the toilet at least 3 times in any given nite. Well, that broke my sleep and I woke up late at 7.20 am with my training buddy waiting outside my house to start out ride.

A quick brush down and I was out with him after 3 straight days of hard work outs. I took a candy bar that I confiscated from my children many days ago. That was suppose to be breakfast whilst we started our ride. Well, that candy bar has since gone bad and I had throw it away as I grabbed Young Sheong' s candy bar when he saw me throwing mine away. I needed more then just that bar for breakfast. We covered a 52 K ride that starting off fast and tapering out like an engine without any fuel towards the end. I was just not able to crank the pedals. We made it to Changi Village and back and an intended hard ride became a ride to just finish.

My body is still aching and I guess to sustain this training regime, I need to alternate between hard and easy days. This month the focus will also be on learning how to do the front crawl right and fixing my strokes so that I can manage a 35 mins swim for 1.5 Km using front crawl.

Any guy in Singapore who is reading my post, you are most welcome to contact me cos i am looking for a coach to help me correct my strokes.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

fast Run

Today it was a day to run fast and furious. I did a quick 6K run from home to the junction of Punggol Church and back. The heart rate monitor was beeping away as I went past the threshold of 165. I averaged 33 mins for that run and an average heart beat of 162. That was good enough for me.

In the evening just before dinner I asked my wife Afroz to accompany me for a walk. Well there are not many days when I had to resolve issues over little arguments with Afroz and tonite was one of those nite. I needed to make peace with Afroz. She is by far the most patient person I know and as a wife I could not have asked for anything more. Precious and it pains me a lot to see her sad when I hurt her feelings. Like I said to her, the children and my wife are more precious to me then anything else. As we made peace, during that walk I dropped her wallet and we traced back our route twice and yet were not able to find it. When we got back home my frantic mom informed us that a teenage chinese boy apparently found our wallet and returned it at our house. Moreover she added on that he appeared to be a young teenager with streaks of red hair and looked like a gangster, but behaved like gentlemen in returning that wallet that had money and other cards in there.

This was a lesson for me when at times when we are so use to stereotyping people because of the way they appear or as result of their ethnicity. I was humbled that good honest people are out there in our midst and some may not fit the mould of looking decent, here I stereotype again but in fact a nasty looking dude may just be another honest person. The outer appearance has no dept or any magnitude in deciding what a person is like. Very thankful to this boy who returned my wifes wallet with everything intact.

I need to rest and sleep tonite cos my training buddy Youn Sheong wants to ride hard on Sunday.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Evening Bike Ride

To those of you who wander thru life thinking, how can I find time to exercise, here's a snapshot on what is possible. Thursday was a packed day for me and I had to handle and coach my son who is preparing for his examination in school. After teaching him. the time was 1815 hrs. I had the choice to just hang around or watch TV, I made the conscious choice to ride my bike. After my Asar Prayers, I saddled up, got my gear together and cycled out of my house.

It was indeed a good decision, a bike ride just before dinner. I took the route that plyed to Hougang from Punggol to Old tampines road and made a loop around Bedok Reservoir before returning back. It was a 32K ride and I was riding well above 30 km/hr maxing 36km/hr on some part of the route. This was a first and it was a good feeling to see the speed in the 30s range as oppose to the 20s.

The bike positioning is getting just right as I am able to use my quads and hamstrings well on this ride. I got back home at 1940 hrs with just enough time to do my magrib prayers before settling down to read a book with the biggest bully in Punggol, Fatmah Zahra.

I would like to encourage anyone reading my blog to get off the PC and go out and work out. Ultimately all it means is an hour of your time to exercise and it will get you very focused in the things you want to do. I slept at midnight and woke up at 6.00 am and I feel good. Today it will be work again and collecting the hardcover of my thesis from the print shop. I can't wait to convocate for Master's degree in July. For once sports is tying up all loose end in my life. We have a busy month for May with quite fair bit of work and I look forward to June, when I will be cycling and training in India. I will post an update on two weeks of training in India on this blog.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Interval Training Runs

Here is a short cut that will get your endurance up and running. Interval runs, that will get your head detached from your body when you run fast. What do I mean my this, interval training is hard and the last time I tried this I was 15 years old. I was in my school's cross country team. Interval training runs requires you to run laps from 400-600m fast with a short rest period before running again. I did this 1 week ago with my son. Yesterday nite, I did it again with 1 lap more to add from 4 I managed last week. A short warm up run was initiated just before the hard 5 laps of 600 m. Each lap will only be described as a torturous bliss, as I literally "flew" from the start go. It felt like you were flying as you raise your knees high and land on your heels only to take off again. The hands raised high swaying from side to side as you breathe in hard with each stride. All you hear as you run is your hard breathing, the soft thud of your stride and the heart rate monitor telling you have gone past your max threshold in your training zone. The stride gets harder as you near the finishing line only to push hard as you detach your head so that you don't feel the pain of exhaustion.

It was great because I managed 5 fast laps finishing between 2 min 8 secs and 2 mins 11 secs for all 5 laps. For once I felt like a champion as I ran fast on each one of these laps. Perhaps as the body get fitter, I will increase the number of laps to 8. For now all I can say is that I am starting to do what I feared for many years,... doing interval training sessions.

Thinking back, I remembered managing 8 laps of 400 m with 8 laps of 200m in one training session as a 15 year old. We trained right up to the stage of seeing stars in our heads. This session was not one of those days but it was still hard for a 38 year old trying to gain his fitness. For one short moment I felt like a school boy. A bearded 15 year old kicking butts like I use to when I was younger. The days when I won cross country races and competeted really aggressively in school.

Interval training session is by far the most focused session you can ever do with your good mate called pain. It amazes how the whole world disappears and all that remains, is the track, the dark shadows of your strides and the sound of heavy breathing. Life momentarily stops for a while as you leave everything behind as you fly in pain. It was torturous to the lungs and legs to say the least but it felt good to do such a session once very week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sunday Run

Well on Sunday I did my run on my own. This time it was the Jungle route and incidently, I met my Platoon Sergeant, whom I have seen occassionaly walking his dog. We spoke for a short while and to my surprise I was his last batch of soldiers that he trained at Tekong, I was doing my National service then.

The run was a mix between easy and hard and I just did the best I could during the run taking on the hils along Punggol road. My running gait has changed a bit, as a result of wearing cushioning shoes. I purchased a pair of Asics - gel Cumulus to fit my style of running and the high arch I have. Here's a picture of this shoe. I have put my legs through a lot of pain with the other shoes I have worn. By far this pair of shoes is the most comfortable with cushioning and support for my high arch. For once I am starting to enjoy my long runs without having to feel the ache on my knees. The gel has a springy feel, that gives you a light bounce as you retract you feet upwards. The last time I wore a pair of Asics shoes was 18 years ago when I was a recruit in the army. That pair of shoes rode me to become a Best Physical Trainee in my company, winning the best cadet in Field training in Officer cadet school, winning 1 cross country race in OCS, completing my first biathlon and my very first marathon. That was a momentous year for me. That year I lost one race coming in second to another police trainee, Koo Chin Poh, in a neck to neck finish. Chin Poh, went on to become a phenomenal runner in Singapore. He holds the records for the marathon and 10K races.

On Monday, I decided to run again even though my schedule was to swim. I managed to complete a fast 5K run in the morning before settling to get some work done in the office. I managed to fit in a 1 hour sales presentation for a potential new client and meet my current client at Woodlands.

During the 5k run I averaged 155 bits a minute and it felt nice. This is my normal route around Punggol. That night I had to tutor my son for his exams that is looming around the corner this week.