RunforFood: Report card after 18 months

Reportcard-June13

Back to mix of run, swim and cycle in June 2013.

 

It has been awhile since I blog about my #RunforFood regiment. The ritual to run for food is still going strong, and in fact, I do find myself improving in my fitness over the last few weeks. In May, I managed to catch a few runs while I was on business trip to Geneva, Switzerland. It was a fantastic weather (under 15 deg C!) to run! In June, I continue my running regiment, and augment with cycling and swimming to combat the hazy weather.

Runningreportcard-June13

4 mins more to achieve 200 hours of running time!

 

Running pace vs Distance

Running pace vs Distance – Increase speed trend is a good sign of progression

 

record-june13

A couple of under 30 min 5km run in June proves that the timings are not a fluke.

 

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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: Magic 22

Ever since I started a formal running schedule, I am making a steadfast progress. I am also constantly running (with walking in regular intervals) more than 4km in each running session. It may be just a short run for many runners, but it is something I would never have imagined 6 weeks ago. At the same time, it seems that I am addicted to running; There were occasions where I ran in the wee morning (such as 3am), and there were times where I ran for 3 consecutive days. I also do not feel as much stress on my knees as I did in my maiden run. All in all, everything seems to be heading in the right direction.

Drenched after the 2.2 run

On 22nd Jan, eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, I “feel” the motivation to run again after two consecutive days of sumptuous reunion lunch/dinner.  Coincidentally, it is also my 22nd run since 15th Jan! Just as I get myself geared up for the running, the sky starts to drizzle. I tell myself, the light drizzle will help to make a cooling run, but how wrong I was! Just less than a minute into my run, the rain starts to pour. I have to abandon my running schedule as it does not seem to be a quick passing rain. But I am very determined to complete a run, so I promptly switch to a 2.2km running route. It is also an opportunity to see how my stamina has improved vis-a-vis to my first maiden 2.2km run.

I remembered 6 weeks ago I had to stop every 400-600km just to catch my breathe. Thus, I aim to complete the run without any stop. The increasing intensity of the rain does help to spur me to achieve this goal, and I am glad I accomplish it eventually! The pace of the run was steady from start till the end. There were moments where I felt I could be struggling, but managed to overcome through controlling my breathing and consequently maintaining the breathing efficiency. By the time I complete my 2.2km run, the timer clock shows a timing of 13.38 min. While it is still far cry from my 12 min target (first goal), it still shows a vast leap from my earlier 14-15 minute timings. Most importantly, I completed the run in a harsh condition (with the rain pouring towards the end of the run) without stopping at all.

Running statistic for period 15th Dec 11 to 22nd Jan 12

With the 2.2km run, on the 22nd of Jan,  I have thus far completed 22 run with total of 70.76km.  Another new milestone achieved for me.

Run for Food: Month One

After running “aimlessly” in the last 10 runs, I decide that I need to have a proper running schedule to be effective. After some (google) research, I adopt the schedule published by Runners’ World, an 8 weeks plan to complete a 5km race.  I tweak the schedule further though. Since I have already had some head start with some running in the past weeks, I skip the “1 minute run, 5 minute walk”, and go straight into the “2 minute run, 4 minute walk”. On the side note, I import the running schedule into the Runkeeper app, which turns into a coaching tool, rather than just a time watcher. Neat!

The first run, guided through the formal schedule, was motivating. The run is essentially made up of 5 repetitive shorter run, with short walk break in between to overcome the huff and puff. Thus, the 30 minutes session was never anywhere breathless and draggy as before. By the 2nd week of the formal training, I move to the next stage of the schedule, i.e. “3 minute run with 3 minute walk”. It’s also the first time I break the 4km mark (although with walk break in between). That spurred me on further. By the end of the 2 weeks running schedule, I progress to the 3rd stage, which is “4 minute run with 2 minute walk”. In those runs, I was constantly pushing myself to run 4.2 to 4.5km, but I learn later that this is actually counter-productive to my running plan. (More about this later)

Running Statistics (15 Dec 2011 - 14 Jan 2012)

On 14th Jan 2012,  I completed 4.14km, at a pace of 7.32 min/km. That marks the completion of 17 runs, or 51.85km since 15th Dec 2011. A month has gone, and I do feel much lighter than when I first started. I was joking about this; If I felt like I was carrying a fullpack then (given my weight at that point), I must be running with SBO now. Certainly, I feel fitter as well, although probably just 5% of my fittness level 20 years ago. The question now is, will I continue this running habit, or will it be shelved a side once my hectic work schedule is back.

I told myself, think about the food. Hopefully the run continues 😉

 

Run for Food: Run #8

With all the running gears I could have possibly think of, I completed 7 runs within 12 days. A casual conversation with a friend over a hearty breakfast, prompted me to explore getting heart rate monitoring device. After researching on Garmin Forerunner series and Polar RS series, I decided to get Polar RS300X. While both series offer heart rate monitoring functionality, I went for Polar simply due to the consideration the brand origins (portable heart rate monitoring for Polar, and GPS tracking for Garmin). Nevertheless, I am sure Garmin Forerunner is a good product as well.

Polar RS300X

Polar RS300X comes with a trademark Wearlink+ heart rate monitoring technology chest strap, a transmitter, and a watch that receives and records the data from the transmitter. As I discovered later, while RS300X monitors  the heart beat constantly, it does not log all the raw data, but only aggregated data. What it means I would not be able to plot out how my heart rate fluctuates throughout my run, although I can tell my maximum and average heart rate, and the heart rate zone I am in during the run. It is not a big deal for me, at least for now, but for serious runner, I think a Polar RS400 or higher model range might be more suitable.

My first run with a heart rate monitoring device was revealing, and shockingly as well. My heart rate was at one point pumping at 180 beats-per-minute(above 90%), and average at 173. Running has become more scientific indeed (as when I was younger, I would just run and run). I noted that I was running at an unhealthy heart rate zone. Not only I am running close to my maximum heart rate (which is 185 beats-per-minute), it’s in a maximal or red line zone where I won’t benefit much as far as fat-burning is concerned.

By now (29th December 2011), I have completed 18.53km, over 8 runs. I knew the distance is nothing to shout about, particular to regular runners. But for someone who had not run for the last 10 years (or maybe even more), this is an amazing start, at least for me.

Ops .. zero heart beat.

Run for Food: Day Ten

Running gear

After my maiden run ended up torturous, I decided that I need to run more than just once a week. I knew I need to do more short run, instead trying hard to complete a long distance within a running session. The approach will also be kinder to my body I reckoned. So I began running on the alternate day. By the end of the second run, I thought my knees were giving way; Just imagine a tonne of weight bouncing on a pair of wooden stilts.  I decided to get some supporting gears (and proper running shorts and shirts as well!), and that marked the beginning of my running “investments”. By the fifth run, I had all my knees and ankles “covered” up with the Nike knee and ankle sleeves.

On day 10, I decided to time my run. By then, I already could feel the improvements in my breathing control and I would require fewer stops to complete the course. But the runs were getting  monotonous, so perhaps timing could help to motivate further. I ended using “Runkeeper” Android app to time my run, while at the same time listen to music using my 5 years old Motorola S9 bluetooth headset. My first official timing? 2.17km in 14:54 mins, or average pace of 6.53min/km. Obviously a far cry from my official personal best record (8:05 mins for 2.4km), but compared to my maiden run ten days ago, this is a big leap.

 

Run for Food: Day One

I never had formal training for competitive running until I got enlisted in the Army. Since then, I had the opportunity to represent my unit and formation in long distance run competitions. I was at my peak of my “running career”, and also participated in a couple of marathons (finished “leisurely” and back then, taking part of marathon was  never a fashion statement unlike these days)

Since I left as a civilian, I had not been maintaining my fitness level so  it plunged and crashed. At one point, I did spend a couple of months reshaping my fitness, but got seriously injured along the way. And the rest is history.

Fast forward to today, I could not walked briskly for 100m without huffing and puffing, let along complete a 2.4km run.  My fitness level was at the valley, while my weight was unthinkable. I seemed to fall sick easily too. As I approached the 40 years old mark, I told myself my lifestyle needs a makeover. For the last 18 months, we have been walking regularly as we would bring our Corgi furkid for a daily neighborhood walk or a weekend walk at the park . Then came the resolution recently that I need to pick up my running again.

So I dropped by Adidas store to get myself a pair of running shoes (I’m a sucker for the 3 stripes, tbh). I told myself I need to run at least once a week. But lo and behold, it turned out to be more than that.

On 15th December 2011, I started my maiden run since 2000. It was around 11pm, as I wanted to make sure the weather is cool and air is fresh.  Despite that, the run was a torture one. It took me more than 18 minutes (did not time, so no exact timing) just to complete a 2.2km. I had to stop my run multiple times during the course, just to catch my breathe and recover the fatigue. By the time I completed my session, I felt like as if I had done a marathon. That was how pathetic I was. Strangely, it did not demotivate me, and instead propelled me to increase the frequency of the run (strangely as well!).  And this is just the beginning …