RunforFood: Highlights of my 24 months of exercise regiment

Yes, it has been 2 years since I decided that I need to get my act together to get myself back into shape, literally. Peeps who know me personally, know I was athletic when I was younger. Well, not the national level but surely good enough at district level. But I know I need to find the right motivation to get running a  sustainable regiment instead of a short moment of enthusiasm.  Food becomes my motivation factor, and therefore my mantra, “Run for Food”  #irun4food .

My first run was a disaster, but you got to forgive the performance considering that I had not been exercising for at least a decade.

First run in 2011

First run in 2011

Since then, it has been a regiment to run at least thrice a week. At one period, I just keep on running on alternate days, and when I got injured in 2012, I told myself I had to augment my routine with swimming and cycling, which I did subsequently. 24 months later, I can fairly say that there has been a tremendous progress made, whether it’s physically (8″ slimmer and 15kg lighter), pace and timing (4 min/km faster) or health wise (more focused with fewer MC taken). I did a similar run this morning, through the same route as I did on my first run 24 months ago, and the result was sobering.

2013 Run

Run in 2013 on 24th month Anniversary.

I did feel tired towards the end of the run, but hey, I WAS tired from the first second I ran 24 months ago!

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of my exercise regiment in the last 24 months.

Less than 80

Less than 80

While the motivation of running is so that I can eat in peace, the “side effect” of physically more trimmed is also welcomed. I lost 8″ of waistline, and more than 15kg worth of calories.  It could be more, if not for my lack of diet control, but I am not complaining. That said, I am more selective with my diet choice though, the food has to be worth my hard earned calories for me to ask for extra serving.

Longest Run to-date

Longest Run to-date

One of my goals is to complete a 20km run before end of 2013. While there is still 15 days before the year end, it is highly unlikely I can last that kind of distance considering the state of my ankles at the moment. I probably could do a mix of run and walk to achieve that goal, but I want to challenge that goal with a consistent pace. In the end, the farthest I can achieve is a 16km run, 4km shy of my target, unless miracle happens in the next 2 weeks.

Best 5km Run (Oversea)

Best 5km Run (Oversea)

One of the things I try to do is keep my exercise regiment in all circumstances, such as travelling. So far I have managed to keep my running routine intact wherever I traveled, whether it’s Bangkok, Geneva or Cupertino. I actually like running oversea, particularly those in Europe and US because of the fantastic weather, cool temperature and low humidity. It is therefore no surprise that one of the best run is achieved when I was running in Geneva early this year during Spring time, clocking a 29.18 min timing for a 5km distance.

BestRunLocal5km

The best, however, is reserved for the run made just few days ago. My biggest peeve with running in Singapore is the heat and the humidity, and therefore I thought I would never outpace what I have achieved in Geneva (per above). It was therefore a pleasant surprise that I achieved my best 5km run, so far, at a sub 29 minute timing locally. The first km was done comfortably and when I saw that it was a under-5:50 min/km pace, I told myself there might be a chance for me to achieve a low 29 min run, so I pushed myself further. The last km was a challenge though, as I felt my leg muscles were too tired to even lift an inch.

Year to Date Exercise Report Card

Year to Date Exercise Report Card

All in all, it has been a great 24 months of exercise.  Over 2600km of distance covered, 336 hours of heart pumping moments and over 230,000 calories burnt. And that’ll a whopping over 800 of burgers worth that I could have afforded to eat! But obviously, it has to be a damn bloody good burger for me to waste all these hard earned calories.

Running Statistics

Running Statistics

 

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Run for Food: 9 months of “labour”

Counting back, it has been almost 9 months since I started taking the first step to re-exercise my heart. The momentum to stay fit continues with new addition forms of exercising, including the recent swimming regiment. Statistically, I have shaved to a near 15kg and trimmed 7 inches of waistline. I have thought I would achieve more than that, but I guess my passion for sinful food has kept me honest. I have no complains though, because I think its such foods that have kept me going, ironically. Incidentally, I have started another blog, irun4food recently, to blog about the yummy calories hoggers that I cannot resist to.

Beyond statistics, I do feel much healthier. I have hardly fallen sick since I started my exercise regiment, and when I did, I recovered within a day or two. It could also be attributed to the adoption of a more sane working hours, as I recently moved from a worldwide to region role. Beside feeling healthier, I do feel more confident with a leaner body. It has been an amazing journey, to say the least.

For two weeks I have not been running due to the recent foot injury. The daily swimming not only helps to tone my body muscles, it also serves as a physiotherapy to my strained feet and knees. As a matter of fact, i thought swimming is a good fat burning exercisr but only if you have achieved a certain level of fitness and maintain the needex discipline.

Yesterday I decided to try a light run to see how my legs respond to the therapy. There was less strain felt on both feet, probably even lesser than before my foot injury. I did feel a sense of tightness on my right knee cap. While my feet and knees looked like they had lubricated after 1.5km, I was still uneasy for every foot landing, and could anticipate a relapse if I mis-step again. I had started with just a 60 min light jog in mind, but ended with a 10km jog with a comfortable time of 1 hr 14 min. That said, I thought the “swim-o-therapy” will need to continue, and would probably go easy with running, perhaps with just a 5km run a week.

Till now, I have completed 862.12km, 120 running activities, together with 11 swimming activities covering a distance of 16.1km. I do need to reinstate my cycling regiment though, so that’ll be something to work on next.

Run for Food: No running for a week but …

Ever since I injured my foot a couple of weeks ago, I have been struggling in my recovery. In trying to avoid putting too much physical stress on the foot, I have decided to go for a swim routine instead. The fact is I am not a natural swimmer. If not for the latest injury, I would have chosen running over swimming any time. Plus, it has been years since I did a leisure swimming, let alone a more regimental swimming exercise.

New gear for new exercise. A TYR corrective optical goggle

As this was my first swim, I decided to keep the swim to just a 30 minutes routine. With the short pool facility in my apartment, I had to swim 40 laps, for the distance of 1km swim. I did feel good after the swim; As  long as I can recall, I have never swim more than 500m. What was even more amazing (at least to myself) is I continued the swimming exercise consecutively for the next 5 days. In fact, on Friday I decided to stretch for a 2km swim, after swimming 1.5km the day before.

With all said, it is still a boring exercise (as compared to running or cycling), especially given the short pool lap. I am not sure if I will continue a daily swim routine on a longer basis, and am already looking forward for a full recovery of my foot so that I can reinstate my running session. But the last 6 days of swimming did a great deal to my body, probably because the swimming activities train nearly all major muscle groups in the entire body. There is a significant difference in how my body reacts after a week of swimming, vis-a-vis a week of running. Perhaps I should do a more balance exercising involving running, cycling and swimming (no I’m not doing a tri). For now, as long as the food is motivating to move my butt, I’m happy.

First swimming week

As of now, I have completed 119 running activities with a distance coverage of 852.12km, and 6 swimming activities with a distance of 7.5km in total.

Run/Cycle for Food: 1000km milestone

It’s been a while since I last blogged about my running ritual. I am still running regularly, averaging about 25km a week. However, I have stopped cycling for exercise, mostly because of my new job. Having moved from a worldwide to a region role, I have lost the time flexibility as a result. As I would usually cycle for 2 hours in the evening before dusk sets, I will always end up running instead. Nevertheless, I still cycle, albeit to train station en-route to my workplace, occasionally.

All Exercise 1000km milestone

Today, I carry on with my usual run routine. I have planned for a light 60 minutes running, after running 10km two days ago. But it turns out to be a disaster run, with my left calf muscle remains tight throughout the run. It usually loosens up by the time I run 20 minutes or 2-3km, but not today. I have to slow down, or even stop for a few minutes just to stretch my muscle. By the time I completed the 60 minutes running session, I have only covered 7.66km.

But the surprising news is, I have achieved 1000km milestone. Specifically, I have run 776.48km (over 111 running activities), cycled 220.5km (over 8 cycling activities) and walked 5.5km. What I like is how RunKeeper put the accomplishment in perspective; That it’s equivalent to 2487 laps round a track, 10,000 soccer field lengths, or 20,000 Olympic pool lengths. It’s amazing how the number can be inspiring when you contextualise it.

My next milestone is 1000km of running coverage. With 224km more to go, and based on my current weekly running mileage, it means I am just 9 weeks away from my next goal.

I need to start thinking what I shall feast when that day come. Run for Food at its best!

Run for Food: 100 activities, 15km milestone and Cycle for Food

Yes I have been slacking. But no it’s not about my exercise regiments, but rather my blogging of those activities.

Since May 19th, I revise my exercise regiment to include 2 running and 1 cycling sessions every week. I said previously that I no longer focus in chalking mileage, but I have been gradually increasing the distance each time I run. On average I still clock about 20-22km a week until recently I have started to stretch myself to run more than 12km, while keeping at the aerobic zone. The first time when I completed 13km on 7th June, I felt great although I could feel a significant strain on my ankles. I ran another 13km a week later, and on 18th June, I attempted a unthinkable goal — 15km. The initial plan on that day was to run 13km, but 4km into the session, I felt I was in very good condition to do a 15km instead.

15km milestone

For the first 1 hour, I keep my pace to stay at aerobic zone. So by the time I was at 10km mark, I could still go on, and at a faster and steady pace. Amazingly, by the time I completed the 15km distance, I have an average pace of 7.56min/km, slightly faster than the previous 10-12km run. Obviously, there is nothing to shout about, in completing a 15km in 119 minutes, but considering that I struggled with 1.5km 6 months ago, I felt a great sense of accomplishment here. The question now is increasing the distance or  pace in my subsequent runs, and I thought I would just continue my aerobic routine for another month and those two aspects should be fulfilled naturally.

100 activities milestone

In the meantime, I have achieved the 100 activities milestone. That includes some cycling activities which I started on 24th May.  Speaking of which, the first cycling session was just a modest 17km route. Given my general inexperience with cycling, I keep my cycling sessions to East Coast Park. Fortunately the park is within cycling distance from my home. Cycling in the park has its challenges too, as I have to avoid kids or even adults who either jaywalk or hog the cycling lane, especially on a busy Friday or weekend. I completed my first 40km cycling route on 1st June, as I cycled all the way to Changi Village via Changi Coast Road and back. While I managed to maintain an average speed of 20-21km/h in the first 30km, the last 10km was a struggle for me, probably lack of sufficient fluid replenishment.

By now, I have completed 95 running activities, covering a distance of 636.14km. On the cycling front, I have completed 8 cycling activities with a distance of 180.22km. Now I’m facing a challenge of keeping up the regiment as I am possibly going to take up a new role in July which may not give me the time flexibility that I enjoy right now. Let’s hope I can continue to find time amidst my hectic schedule to continue the exercise regiment!