Run for Food: 500km milestone and new exercise gears

It has been 5 months since I first started running. Since my last blog post, I have not been tracking my running mileage. That is because I have decided to stop the mileage chase, and instead focus on running at the right heartbeat zone, i.e. aerobic zone, for now. Quoting the explanation of the aerobic zone

Training in this zone will develop your cardiovascular system. The body’s ability to transport oxygen to, and carbon dioxide away from, the working muscles can be developed and improved. As you become fitter and stronger from training in this zone it will be possible to run some of your long weekend runs at up to 75%, so getting the benefits of some fat burning and improved aerobic capacity.

This means monitoring my heartbeat and ensuring my running pace keeps my heartbeat stays within the aerobic zone. In theory it sounds easy but application is difficult, because I have to deliberately slow down even if I am still comfortable in running a faster pace. Then I receive a Runkeeper alert email after my usual Friday run.

500km milestone

Wow, I have covered 500km after 5 months of running! My new goal is to be able to complete a 15km distance run with a steady pace, by end July. As such, I am focusing on interval  and endurance (distance and duration) training while continue to keep my heartbeat at the aerobic zone. The pace may be a minute or two slower than previous, but I do find myself pacing better at each run.

While I am continuing my 3 times a week running routine, averaging a total distance of 25-30km/week,  I figure I need to alternate my running with something else, such as cycling. I can swim, but I just hate the idea of exercising in the water. So cycling comes naturally to my mind, and in fact I have been contemplating for the new exercise for the past 2 weeks. I began to research on possible cycling equipments I could use. To be honest, I have never owned a bicycle in my life. When I was a kid, my parents had always thought cycling was dangerous for me. The only times they would allow me to cycle were when we were at East Coast Park for picnic outings. I also remember that my first road cycling was when my junior college classmates and myself set up a round island cycling trip. I had to borrow a bicycle from my sister’s friend, and it was just a single-speed road bike! I still recall the jittery feeling when I first rode on the road after collecting the bike. While I was cycling to the school to meet my classmates, I actually lost balance and fell off from the bike ! I have been keeping that incident under wraps so to avoid unnecessary nagging (or parental escalation) but guess now the truth is out … Ha Ha!

Brompton .. made in England

I explored various options; road bike, mountain bike, hybrid, etc. There are simply too many variants, too many brands and models to choose from. I was confused and lost until a good friend casually suggested that I could look at folding bike. It is a brilliant suggestion because I can bring the folding bike to train, and therefore I can also cycle and train ride to work. He offered me to try out his Strida folding bicycle (which by the way, I thought was neatly designed and engineered with a high tech look) but mentally I was not ready to take up his offer. I don’t like the idea of trying out something if I have not made up my mind!

Two weeks later and now, I decide I should just get the folding bicycle, and before I could go back to my friend to do a trial run (or cycle), I chance upon an online forum thread that is discussing about Brompton bicycle. Very quickly, I am sold with the Brompton folding bicycle, supposedly the “Rolls Royce of folding bicycle”. But I am put off by its expensive price tag. As if it is fated, somebody notices my interest, and make a quick offer to sell his and his wife’s Brompton bicycles to me. The bikes are only 5-6 months old, and have clocked less than 100km each. At $400 discount off for each bike, it has definitely helped to accelerate my decision making process.  So before I know, we are proud owners of these gems.

Brompton M6R Raw Lacquer (Foreground) and M6R (Pink in background)

I am very excited now. Now I have another new mantra, which is “Cycle for Food”. For now, I have completed 503.66km (of running) through 83 running activities. Here’s a wish for many more years for Running for Food … oh and Cycling too! 🙂

Ganbatte!  がんばって!

Run for Food: First oversea run

For the first time since my maiden run, I postpone one running session this week, as I only run 2 days after the previous run. I blame it on the intense meetings this week but I know it is a lame one. As I will be travelling for a business meeting next week, I tell myself I cannot let the momentum goes down. Worrying that I may not run at all while I travel, I decide to run more  more this week to “over compensate”. By end of the week, I have completed 17.36km in total.

It then occurs to me I should continue to run while I am in US. There is no reason why I should not. Without any hesitation, I pack my running gear with me and off I go (or “fly”) for my meeting in Cupertino at California. When I touch down and check into the hotel at noon, I decide I should run before the sun set so as to familiarize with the route. That was just the “Kiasee” side of me. It is anyway a very sunny but cooling Sunday, with temperature probably around 16-18 degree Celsius.

The run turns out to be a tiring one despite the cool weather. I think much of it is due to the flight fatigue. But it is still a good run, after all, this is my first oversea run, while on business trip.

My first "Oversea" running route

By the end of the run, I have completed 35 running activities, covering 126.67km. More importantly, will I continue to run while I am here at Cupertino this week? Or will I just fizzle out and give the “intense meeting” reasons again?

Run for Food: 4KM Full Run milestone

Today (28th Jan), I feel it is time for me to do a full run instead of the usual interval training. I have been doing “5 min run, 1 min walk” training for the past 1 week, and think I should be ready for a full 30 minutes run. Obviously I need to adjust my pace to ensure I can sustain through the entire 30 minutes.

Since it is going to be a 30 minute long run, I start the run with a slow but steady pace.  Since the aim of the run is to keep running without stopping, I have to regulate my pace between 7min/km to 7.30min/km at regular interval. Perhaps I could have push myself further, but the run turns out to be a relaxing one. That said, I have to stop at 29th minute due to some logistic constraints.

Most importantly, I have completed a 4km run without stopping. The systematic training that I have been through in the past 6 weeks, which saw 30 running activities, has finally paid off.