Monday, February 27, 2006

Just trying to maintain fitness

Last week was a super low mileage week with just two runs... one on Thursday (8k) and one yesterday (10k). My foot seems to be 100% cured which is a good thing, so all the rest I put in has really paid off.

I maintained a sub 6 min pace in yesterdays training just to ensure that I keep most of my aerobic fitness. It did feel like there was a loss of some fitness but overall I think I will be fine on marathon day as my target pace is 7 minutes slower per 10k, compared to yesterdays pace.

Just so summarise this Sunday's race plan, I hope to run my first 30k inside 3h20min. I will be carrying a bottle of Gatorade in the first 10k in my hand to prevent stopping at the initial water stations.

I will also be carrying a small pouch with 2 powergels, a pair of socks, a packet of rehydrating salts, some analgesic cream and my sunglasses. I did carry that pouch in my GE 30K race and I found it quite manageable.

I plan to take my first Gel at the 12.5k mark, the second gel at the 25k mark and the rehydrating salts at the 32k mark. I dont know if this might be overdoing it but I would rather be safe than sorry.

This week's planned runs are just 40 minute runs today, tomorrow and Wednesday at a slightly quicker than marathon pace. This should keep my muscles warm and ready for the race. I must review the carbo loading advice from Bob Glover today.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Finally... back on the road

After over 100 hours of solid rest and nursing of the injury on my left foot, I finally decided to strap on my NBs again. Yesterday was the first time in months I started my run before 7pm. The initial plan was to run 5 loops or 5.6k but in the end I was feeling quite comfortable and ran an extra 2 loops to make the total distance covered 8k.

I was running at a constant 6 minute pace throughout. My breathing was good and legs felt fine. My foot didn't show any sign of the pain even though I was being paranoid and kept thinking there was. At the end of my run however my legs did feel a little wobbly so I made sure I warmed down with some walking and proper stretching.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sudden progress

Little Nick has suddenly started talking non-stop from morning till night. It started a few months back with him repeating what he hears people saying, but now he can participate in full conversations and it can be quite fun.

He enjoys reading and learning new things. He has learnt almost half the alphabets and has even started counting. It's been a month since he has started going to Sunday School and he seems to enjoy his class but not the singing.

He spends less time watching Barney, The-Wheels-On-The-Bus and Sesame Street now, but would rather spend time reading his books and playing with his toys which is good. It amazes me how he even learnt by himself how to play pretense like setting up his own house or office. He will ride his bicycle or drive his car and park it outside his pretense office, and then he would go into his 'office' and do what he calls as 'work'

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend Runs

Kenneth (pm20) called me on Friday, asking if I wanted to run with him on Saturday morning in Klang. I agreed with him and he later told me that Martin (Lone Runner) would also be joining us.

On saturday, we met at the entrance of Taman Rakyat and started running from there, using the back routes of Klang and then heading to the main highway on Jln Langat before heading back to Tmn Rakyat. Total distance covered was about 8k. I felt that I may have pushed the pace too hard trying to keep up with pm20, and in the end my left foot starting showing signs of the injury again.

After the run, we had decided to go to Bukit Aman the next morning for a long run. I picked up Kenneth at 5am and we arrived at Bukit Aman by 5.30. Martin was there waiting for us. Before we started a friend of pm20, Jessica had arrived and we all started running together.

My foot showed no signs of pain when I started, and I paced with Martin while pm20 was running with Jessica.. hehe! By the time I had run about 4km and had turned left onto Jln Tunku and was making my way downhill, the pain suddenly hit, and oh boy what a pain it was. Such severe pain that I didn't know where it came from.

I was forced to stop and told Martin I was calling it a day. I asked him to go on ahead but he was too much of a gentleman for that and walked me back to Bukit Aman. We chilled out about 45 minutes and spoke to some of the other runners who were just starting to run including Richard (pm36) before some of the first batch of runners started coming back.

We left after chatting with some familiar faces, including Jamie, Lawrence, Adam and Tey. My foot was better by then but I knew that this was not to be the end of my problems with this injury. For the rest of the day my foot starting having sporadic severe-sharp-shooting pains which I can't for the life of me figure out where it comes from.

I've reverted to my oral anti-inflammatory tablets. I'm going to rest completely from running for one week. I shall be doing some cross training i.e weight training, stretching and brisk walking on my treadmill (with an incline). Hopefully these exercises will keep me from loosing too much of my fitness. I shall have to be very careful with my diet for the next two weeks as well.

One thing I have decided is that my pair of Nike Pegasus shall be washed and turned into my casual (jalan-jalan) shoes. I shall be using my New Balance if I do make it to the starting line of KLIM. After KLIM, I am going to invest in a pair of New Balance 766, 4E. I am almost completely certain that this injury was caused by the Nikes and the fact that they are really narrow and snug, and do not expand along with my feet on my long runs.

I've been adviced to consider registering for the half marathon instead. I did think about it and have decided that if I cannot recover in time for the full, I shall not be running at all in this year's KLIM. I don't really feel overly disappointed with what has happenned, as I've come to realise that this is part and parcel of running. As I'm still a new runner, there will be many more good and important lessons to be learnt, and there will be many more marathons for me to take part in again. So for now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Second run for the week

Looks like the weather forecast can't really be trusted after all. There was meant to be a thunderstorm in KL and rain in Klang in the evening, but instead we had great weather to run. My wife was having a training session in the EON Bank HQ in KL today, so after picking her up a little early, we left for home and reached at 6.30pm.

I was feeling lazy but still strapped on my New Balance shoes and started running. I thought I was going at quite a slow and conservative pace, but it turned out to be much quicker than expected. Total distance covered - 10.1k, Appx time - 61m. There were no indications of my foot injury giving and problems, and my foot is still fine today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lingering pain

By yesterday evening, the pain on my foot was almost gone, so I decided to go ahead with my run. I was feeling good after resting since Saturday morning and started to push the pace. Total distance covered was 10.1k in 54m50s.

After warming down and having my shower, I felt that dreaded pain on the lower part of the left foot's arch again. I soaked my feet in HOT water last night and applied some analgesic cream. This morning the pain was a little worse and I'm now limping a little while walking. Looks like this injury could be a little worse than I thought.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

3rd Circuit Run

I just don’t seem to have much luck with the circuit runs. In the second circuit run, I had a calf injury along with a nasty fall. Yesterday the weather was great and I thought it would be a really good day, but it turned out otherwise.

Firstly my plan to try out the pouch Tey had brought along in my run was a disaster as the pouch was just too big and was bouncing just too much while I ran. I was forced to ditch it after the first few hundred metres.

I was running well for the first 4 laps and my pace was quite comfortable. My split time was under 54 minutes at the end of lap 4 before my first water stop. Despite the cool weather, my socks failed me once again and were soaked through once I had stopped. I think perhaps the humidity level might have been higher than realized.

As I continued, a slight pain started to develop on my left foot, along the left part of the arch. I have had this kind of pains before while running with my Pegasus as the shoe is extremely soft, however it did not happen in my last 3 long runs so I was a bit surprised this time.

By the 6th lap the pain was becoming worse but tolerable. I was forced to start slowing the pace a little. On my 10th lap the pain was quite severe and I stopped to walk. Here I realized that I might have pushed it too much, as every step was very painful even with minimum pressure put on the foot.

I decided to call it quits and stopped after completing lap 10. This is really disappointing as these two weeks are supposed to see me peaking in my training. I knew that this injury would not last long, and that I should be fine to run again by Monday, but not being able to put in the planned mileage for the week was a little troubling. Today I can’t feel any pain unless I press hard on the spot, so I should be back on the road tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Nice tempo run

It's been awhile since I did my last tempo run. Running at almost marathon pace for most of my runs over the last few weeks has made me feel a little sluggish, so instead of my planned 10k again I did a tempo run of 5.6k. Appx time taken was 29min (5m20s pace).

I really felt good after that run, what surprised me was that I was able to hold pace and did not feel out of breath or tired at the end. I believe that all my marathon endurance runs would also help me in maintaining pace if I were to run a 10k race anytime now. I should put in a few more of these type of runs before the marathon just to stay sharp.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Running with the gang

Yesterday Peter, Lim, Lee and Ajeep turned up to run. Albert dropped by before we began just to say hi to everyone. Everybody ran at their own pace, while Lee decided on some brisk walking. I started my first lap with Ajeep and Peter. Ajeep stopped to stretch after the first lap so I continued on with Peter, but halfway through the second lap he was already picking up pace so I decided to maintain my pacing as there was another 7 laps for me to run.

I saw that Lim and Ajeep had stopped after 4 to 5 laps, and Peter after the 6th lap. On my next three laps I had some cheerleaders everytime I passed the main courtyard. Peter decided to join me in my final lap and this gave me some renewed strength to give a little push in that lap. Total distance - 10.5k (9 laps), Appx time - 68m. I am glad that so far I've been sticking to my training schedule for the week.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

KLIM training log

I was just looking through my KLIM training log and even though it's nothing to really shout about, I am quite happy to have managed in getting this far considering my various committments and not to mention that I am still relatively new to the running scene.

Many looking at my
My KLIM 2006 training log might be of the opinion that my training is highly insufficient. I was looking through Bob Glover's suggested training program for beginner marathoners and I find that I am not far of from his recommendations.

At this juncture, there is no real point in looking at one's mileage and saying that we are sorely lacking, instead as
Jamie nicely put it, we should be confident that we have trained well (even if we have not). I strongly believe that I will be ready for a good performance in my debut marathon!

Besides putting in all the mileage and training that I could, I have been taking in all the advice possible from other experienced marathoners and have also been doing a lot of reading. All this has helped me understand the other 'little' but very important things one should remember while gearing up to the marathon like a proper diet, carbo loading, hydrating and sufficient rest.

Many have asked me 'WHY' I decided to train and participate in a marathon? To them the type of strenuous training they see me going through is mind boggling. To me however it has become really an enjoyable experience, one which I would not want to exchange for anything. I just tell them 'the very fact that it is extremely challenging is the reason I want to do it'.

In his book 'The Competitive Runners Handbook', Bob Glover put it very nicely when addressing why many people want to run their first marathon. He said "The glamour and tradition of 'the classic distance' captures the imagination. It's 'there', like the highest mountain to climb. The marathon is larger than life, having a profound impact on all those who meet its rigorous training and racing demands. Finishing a marathon proves you can set a lofty goal and achieve it. It gives you the confidence to take risks and make important changes in other aspects of your life".

While training and struggling through the pain at times, I try to capture the image of me completing 'that classic distance' for the first time. This helps me stay focused and keep going. With just less than four weeks to go I am still feeling good and have not doubted for one moment my decision to run a marathon. I look back at the day some seven months ago when I could barely run for 10 minutes and tell myself that it is truly worth it.

Decent mileage

I've told myself I need to clock in some decent mileage over the next two weeks and put aside all excuses. Yesterday I managed to leave office early and was home before 7pm. By the time I started running it was just after 7.

I decided to do a marathon paced run of about 15k. I started at a really conservative pace as I would be doing in the marathon and picked up the pace slightly towards the end. Total distance covered - 15k, Appx time - 1h38m.

My New Balance shoes are really starting to pale in comparison with my pair of Nike which have become really nice to run in. The shoes felt really stiff and slightly uncomfortable yesterday. The New Balance socks are of no help either, and I ended up with a blister on my right foot. This reaffirmed my thoughts about sticking to the worn out, cheap socks!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Recovery run

Yesterday I was not feeling as tired as I thought I would have after Sunday's long run. Perhaps the Endurox really does work, and perhaps my body is recovering faster now as I clock more mileage consistently.

Reached home at 7.15pm and after munching on some of the left over new year cookies, I got into my running attire and started running at an easy pace. This was one of the few times I didn't clock my run with my stop-watch and once again it was one of the more enjoyable runs I had. Total distance - 8km, Appx time - 50min.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Another 30k bagged

I woke up at 4am yesterday and quickly got myself ready. The previous night's sleep was not good and saw me waking up every other hour. CB Leow arrived at my place by 4.40 and we left soon after. When we arrived at the Bukit Aman carpark and saw so many runners getting ready for their weekend long run, the atmosphere alone inspired me.

We started running in a big group at around 5.35am. I was initially running with Jamie but at the Bank Negara KTM station decided to press on and use this run to see if a faster pace would result in any kind of negative consequences at the later stages. There is no better place than in training for a runner to try out different pacing.

I reached Jln Duta in appx 31m. I was running alone at this stage so I continued at the same pace and reached the Hartamas Petronas in appx 59m. I stopped to buy a bottle of 100plus before continuing. This stop alone took more than 3 minutes. After making one loop beyond the Petronas, I continued back towards Jln Duta with the bottle of 100plus in my hand.

My watch showed appx 1h30m before I made the loop at the Income Tax building. I bumped into Jamie, Tey and Chen who were making their way back to the Petronas. I had slowed the pace a little bit by this time and managed to reach the Petronas again in appx 2h03m. Here I stopped again and bought my second bottle of 100plus, once again spending over 3 minutes in the process.

I tried maintaining my pace but was starting to tire once I reached Jln Duta. My watch showed 2h35m when I was crossing under the flyover. Further up the road as I approached Jalan Tunku, I stopped and walked for a minute or so before continuing. This helped me regain some energy to push on.

When I reached the JKR traffic lights, I decided to go straight instead of turning left as this would save me another climb (I later found out from Tey that this shortened the route by almost 1k). I reached the Bukit Aman carpark in appx 3h10m while the total distance covered should be about 29k. Later I had a hearty breakfast with Tey, CB Leow and Chen before leaving.

Earlier that morning, Jamie had passed me the Endurox (sports drink mixture) he had bought for me, and tried it for the first time when I reached home. I hope it will be as good as I've been told it is. Tey has also bought me a pouch which I will be using for my marathon. I plan to carry enough beverages and gels to avoid or minimise stopping at the water stations. I am starting to get quite excited about the race. 4 weeks to go and these will be the most exciting but difficult weeks of my preparation!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

CNY Long Run

I had planned with Tey (pm22) to do a 30k long run from Bukit Aman, using the PACM practice route. It was set for the 3rd day of CNY which was Tuesday. I arrived at the car park just before 5am and managed to spot Tey after awhile. SL (pm41's sister) and her boss were also there.

The first 10k to the Petronas at Hartamas saw me running at quite a brisk pace. I reached the Petronas in about 59m which was much faster than my normal LSD pace. The others were just about 100m or so behind me. Tey was kind enough to carry 100plus and plum water for me. I drank some of the 100plus at the Petronas before continuing.

The second 10k saw us running back to the Income Tax office at Jln Duta and making a loop before returning to Hartamas again. We maintained a 6min pace and reached the Petronas in appx 2h02m. We took a much longer than expected break here of about 6mins before starting the return journey.

On the way back, we met Shine who was doing a 20k run. I think we maintained close to a 6 min pace until we crossed Jln Duta. It was from there onwards my mind started telling me that I was tired and needed to rest. My legs and breathing were fine, but as experienced in my past runs it was my upper back, shoulders and neck that was aching. I think this might be due to my posture and the fact that I sway my head when I get tired.

So anyway I ended up taking a few walk breaks over the last 4k inspite of Tey's dismay... haha and we managed to reach Bukit Aman in just under 3h20m. Tey was ahead of me towards the end as I walked back to the car park once reaching the Bukit Aman traffic lights.

On a positive note, I know that my legs are able to handle the distance and perhaps it could be another 5k or so (hopefully) before I hit the wall. I am more confident now that I will complete the distance come March 5th.

I am a little confused about my pacing however. I know I have the tendency to slow in the later stages of a long run. This is partly due to my shoes and socks which would be soaked by the time I reach the 15k mark. Both Jamie and Tey can vouch for that. So what I feel is that in order to make up some time, I need to push in the first 20k instead of holding back.

This is what I did in this training run and did not suffer any visible consequences besides having a better time. I know that there is going to be a higher chance of me clocking a much poorer time if I run the first 20k too slowly, as regardless of my leg condition I will slow down quite a bit due to the discomfort of my soaked shoes and overall body fatigue. Perhaps some of you more experienced marathon runners can advice me here.