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: 10km and 15km milestones recapped

I mentioned before Runkeeper has the feature to set and track goals. So far I have set and accomplished two goals, 10km and 15km respectively, over the past 3 months. Here’s some reports from Runkeeper on how the goals were accomplished.

10 km goal attainment

15km goal attainment

Now, I have just set a new goal, which is to complete 20km by end of the year. It’ll be a challenging one as I would need to strengthen my injury-prone feet to endure through the run. My last run over such long distance was easily two decades ago. Probably shedding off another 3-4 kg would help too, to reduce the (weight) stress on the feet and knees. For now, it’s aerobic running for another 2 months I think.

New goal

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!



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: 12 km and 400 km milestones and some new gears

Ever since I started extending my run to and beyond 10km, I find that I need some energy boosting fluids or at least water during the run in order to keep myself hydrated and going.  I was not sure if I ever need a fuel belt, but I do observed that I usually feel very fatigued in my last 2-3 kms of the 10-11km run, a sign of dehydration. In one of the recent runs, I ran with a hand carried bottle of energy drink, and find that the run is less taxing towards the end given that I kept myself hydrated throughout the run.

Nathan Speed 2 Fuel Belt

So I decided that I should get a fuel belt, as it was so cumbersome to hand carry a bottle of water during a run. Eventually, I got this Nathan Speed 2 Waistpack with two 10 ounce flasks from a sports shop at Changi Point. It was not cheap, but luckily the mall was running a mall-wide promotion so I got 20% off the retail price, and I think it costs me around $48.

I put this into good use today on 26th April, when I try to attempt “something further” than 11km run.  After my night conference at 12.30am, I change up to get ready for the run, just as I had done at this hour previously. Little do I realize that it is a mistake since I no longer just do a 30 mins interval run. My last 11km run was carried out at 11pm. By the time I finish the run, it is close to 02:30am! In fact, along the journey, I did feel a little sleepy at times.

Finishing a 12km run

The good thing about the run though is that I did not feel as tired as before, as I replenished myself with water every 15-20 minutes. At one point, I do feel tough running, especially in the 10th and 11th kilometres, as my ankles seem to be weakening. My injury stricken ankles are really my weakest link in my stamina building exercise. Nevertheless, I manage to overcome the physical pain, interestingly by strengthening my mental desire to finish the run. In the last 2 km, I could comfortably pick up the pace and finish the run with 12km covered. It is a milestone for me since it is a step closer to my goal of finishing a 15km run by end July.

New Balance Minimus Zero

By now,  I have completed 415.15km with 73 activities. I am running fewer now, but longer distance. At the same time, my Adidas running shoe is wearing out fast, and I feel it has quite a poor wear rate. It does not help with a recent trip over a uneven ground as I found out the side canvas is tearing. As such I have also added Minimus Zero, New Balance’s latest running shoe, to my running gear inventory. I have been planning to get a Vibram Five Fingers “Barefoot” running shoe, but has put the thought on hold after doing my research. Not that it is bad, but I think it will require a lot of getting use to, and I thought maybe I should try a “near” Barefoot running shoe first before going for the “extreme”. Minimus Zero seems to fit the bill and I will be trying it out soon.

Run for Food: Four months and going strong

Since I accomplish my 10km goal two weeks ago, I went on to set a new goal, which is to complete 15km by 31st July. While this means I have 4 months to prepare myself for this stretched goal, I know the extra 5km will be a lot more challenging than what I have overcome in the last 4 months.

So I try to complete at least one 10km run every week. Earlier this week, I was hoping to push myself to do a 11km run, although mentally I merely conditioned myself up for just a 10km run. Eventually I could only complete 10.5km distance, which goes to show how (lack of) mental strength can influence one’s ability to complete a task.

15km goal

15km goal

Then two days ago, I decided I would stick to a 60 minute run but with a relatively faster pace (anything less than 7 min/km for a 60 minute run is considered fast at this moment for me :P) It was  a good workout, as I managed to maintain an average pace of 6.49min/km (excluding the first 5 minute of slow warm up jogging). Probably one of the fastest pace I had, if not fastest, for the distance I was going through.

Today, I decide to try for the 11km distance again. I plan my route carefully so that it will be mostly flat ground for most part of the run, and also keep the run within East Coast Park as much as possible.

I start the run at a decent pace (7:08 min/km) but gradually slow down to an average of 7:25-7:30min/km as I know I cannot afford to “puncture” at the early stage of the run. The 4km run to East Coast Park en route Mountbatten and Tanjong Rhu Road is therefore easy. Physically I feel I am still in splendid condition so the entire 4km run along East Coast Park remains relaxed. (In retrospect, I could have increased my pace to 7:10-7:15min/km …)  Nevertheless, I do start to feel the strain coming on my two ankles as I reach the 6-7km, despite wearing a Phiten Titanium ankle brace on my left ankle. Thankfully, the strains remain to be just a small niggling pain and do not interrupt the run.

The 8th km is a difficult one though, particularly because I have to run across the highway via the overhead bridge.  Every time I reach the other side of the highway, my heart beat would usually jump up by 10, given the elevation I have to go through.

With just 2-3km away from my planned destination, it does spur me forward. Sometimes, you just need to constantly find the right motivation to keep you going. 🙂 In the last 2km, I pick up my pace and accelerate gradually. I find that I am not struggling despite the acceleration, so now my challenge is to extend such accelerated pace for another 1km in my subsequent runs! Finally, by the time I hit my planned destination mark, I complete the entire 11.01km route. Another milestone to my 15km goal has attained!

T.G.I. Friday's Jack Daniel's Grilled Baby Back Ribs

As of 20th April, I have completed 71 running activities, and 393.98km. Specifically, this week I have completed a total distance of 30.64km, by far the furthest I have covered within a week. Guess what’s the reward for this accomplishment feat?

After all, that’s the whole motivation behind each run — “Run for Food”  🙂

Run for Food: 10 km milestone

Runkeeper came out with a feature recently, where one can add a goal and the activities would be used to track the progress of achieving the goal. The goal can be a running distance goal, a racing achievement, or simply a weight loss target.

10 km Goal Setting

Since I have been running 8-9 km frequently in recent runs, I thought I should set a goal, to push myself. So I set myself to target a 10km distance completion, by end May. It turns out within a week, I accomplish my goal, albeit unexpectedly.

On 4th April, I start with the intent to complete a 9km workout. Having ran through Mountbatten area in the previous run, I decide to stretch myself with a new route where I will run to Katong Park, before heading back via East Coast Park. I start the run a little too aggressive though, with the first km’s pace at 6.29min/km, and maintaining between 6.40min/km to 7.05min/km over the next 3km. I know this is not sustainable, so I begin to slow down my pace, but still average around 7.20min/km. By then, I am already running along East Coast Park, and the fresh air and park serenity help to keep the run going.

Running enroute Katong Park and East Coast Park

By the time I reach the defunct East Coast Mc’Donald, I have covered 8km. I know if I were to run all the way home from here, I stand a very good chance of  hitting the 10km mark! Cautiously, I slow down my pace in the 9th km, keeping at the pace of 7.38min/km. It is a calculated move that pays off. In the last 1km, I steadily and progressively increase my pace, averaging at 6.32min/km. The thoughts that I’ll be finishing the run and that I may reach my goal way in advance, motivates me to accelerate in the last km. Amazingly, by the time I reach the door step of my home, the distance covered is 10.01km!  There you go, meeting my goal within a week of setting. The reality is up until now, I have never thought I will ever cover a 10km distance, certainly not with my condition 3 months ago.

Achieving my goal, 4 weeks in advance!

By now, I have completed 64 running activities, covering a distance 325.97km, since 15th Dec 2011.  “Run for food” continues 🙂  Yaaaaaahooooo!


Run for Food: 10 kg off, 4″ gone, Mee Pok stays

new record!

3 months of workout, finally breaks the 85 mark, lost more than 4 inches, and 10 kg of body mass. Considering that I have not changed my diet plan (ok, I do take a more “normal” in-take these days, but still, I love all the mee poks and or-luas and can’t live without them), I think it’s a great progress, isn’t it?

Run for Food: Worst and Best Run … all in Week 15

Have my worst and best run all within week 15.

I would have thought my first run in December last year must be the worst run of the decade. After all, I can only run 500m before dropping to a walk to catch my breathe. But no, after the run on 19th March, I have to say that has to be the worst run. Granted, I ran slightly earlier than usual, at 4pm. It would be hotter than usual, and indeed the heat was a killer. I also felt a strain on both my feet. But it was my mental condition that failed me miserably in that run. 3km into the run, my mind started psycho’ing me that the weather is too hot, my feet are breaking, etc. I gave in eventually, disrupted the run and walked for almost 3km. I picked up my pace again in the last 1km, covering a total distance of 7.41km,  but the fact I surrendered myself totally during the run, was unforgiving.

In the same week later, I stretched myself further to complete a 9km run, the furthest distance I have covered to-date. The run was not entirely easy, although the first 6km was quite comfortable, but perhaps I had over estimated myself and did not pace myself well enough. On the 7th km, I was struggling with my pace that any slower I would be just doing a brisk walking. Fortunately, I regrouped myself again in the last 2km, and managed to finish the run as planned.

a 9km running log

By now, I’ve completed 58 activities, 280.73km and I am just few kilometres away from hitting my month’s 100km mark 🙂

Run for Food: Magic 8

I have not been blogging for a while. Surprisingly, in my third month of running, I am still keeping to the “run on alternate day” regime. There were a couple of instances where I only run after 2 days of rest, either to give my body a well deserved rest, or my body decided to protest (with a flue or something). And since I’m beginning to run longer distance (i.e. more than 6km), I have started alternating my running between 45-50 minutes endurance run versus 30 mins of interval training.

Since my last blog post, there were a couple of magic “8” moments.

On 18th Feb, for the first time, my weight went below 90, and is 80-something now.

Eighty-Something for the first time!

Then on 5th march, for the first time again, I have completed more than 8km of running route.

First 8km attempt

At this time, I have completed 55 running activities, completed 245.33km. Notably, in February, I have covered 92.6km, despite having 5 fewer runs than in month of January. The motivation “Run for Food” continues.