23 December 2007

Farewell 2007, Welcome 2008

Honestly, I am glad that 2007 is over. It was a year of big changes in life as well as disappointment in terms of my running. Firstly, I got married hence finding the time to run was a bit difficult (we were in long-distance relationship previously, hence I had freedom to run). Secondly, we've moved back to Singapore which is really not a conducive place for running (humid, crowded, lack of races). Thirdly, after 3 years of consistent training, it seems that my running performance has plateaued. My mileage and PB history so far:

2005: 3575k, 14 real PBs+ 8 first race PBs

2006:, 3700k, 7 PB

2007: 3300-3400k, 1 PB

All in all, I had little to cheer about in terms of running.......

I've been thinking a lot about my running plan for 2008. When I returned to Singapore in October, I thought I would solely focus on 5k/10k/21k since marathon training would be a humungus challenge given the heat/humidity, new job, and lack of running places. However, since then I have had a mood swing.

Firstly, I didn't fare too badly from the weather judging from my last two races (not great time, but okay). With more time, I think I should be able to tolerate the conditions better. Perhaps I should treat this as 'heat training' and hopefully I can perform better when I do 'cool weather' races. Secondly, there are possibly no 5k/10k races in Singapore until April or May next year. How motivating is that?

I've been searching the web for races in the region. Given my measly mileage in the last 3 months, I think a marathon in 1Q is definitely not a viable option. 2Q is more realistic - a couple friends from Perth will be running Canberra Marathon in April, but I am unsure whether I'll be in a racing shape 3.5 months from now. Domestically, there are two new marathons, namely Sundown Marathon (night) in May and Lion City Marathon in June, but I doubt I can race to the best of my ability in humid conditions.

The most viable option looks like Gold Coast Marathon in early July. It seems to have all the tick in the boxes - it is fast and flat, with a decent field size (not small but not gigantic), pacer group availability, good weather, and a nice place to go for a short holiday with my wife. It is also a good 6 months from now. I can simply do base building for a couple of months before jumping into marathon-specific training for the next 3 months and then into taper.

Here are my tentative (but not complete) races for the first half of 2008. Once the local running calendar is out, I might do a couple of track races (3k, 5k) such as Allcomers Meet, SAA road relay etc.

30 Mar: 10k/21k as part of Kuala Lumpur Marathon

The probability of doing this one is probably 80-90% as KL is about 1hr by air from Singapore. Probably will do 10k or 21k to gauge fitness shape (albeit a hilly course)

31 May: 'marathon training run' or relay as part of Sundown Marathon

This is a new marathon/ultra to be held at night time in Singapore. I'd say the probability of doing this one is about 60-70%. If I do it, I might run

the relay (two-person team) or the full 42k as a slow training run - five weeks before Gold Coast.

8 June: Saucony Passionrun 15K

The probability of doing this run is about 50-60%. Basically I will use either this race or Phuket HM in the followng week to gauge my marathon goal shape.

15 June: Laguna Phuket Half-Marathon

If I don't do the above, probably I will run this one because we can combine this with a holiday. Since this is 3 weeks out before Gold Coast, I might either run the HM at all-out to test my marathon shape or simply at marathon-goal pace for pace familiarization.

6 July: Gold Coast Marathon

Barring any injuries or physical/mental breakdown, this would be the GOAL race for the first half of 2008.

10 December 2007

Quiet Time

Ain't much goin' on last week….

Have done very little running - only 3 x 30-45 minute runs plus a short fartlek session in the last 8 days. There is a new X factor that possibly can hinder training, namely tropical downpour during the monsoon season. The rain could go on and on for more than 24 hours non-stop. We had a couple of those days last week.

My weights has ballooned to 70.6kg due to Singaporean yummy but fatty diet as well as low mileage.

I expect my training to be very minimal this month. Will spend this week in Bangkok, Thailand for a workshop so perhaps I can only afford to have 3 training runs at most. For Christmas, my parents will be coming over hence there will be little running. For New Year, we'll go for a holiday in HK Disneyland.

I look at the local running calendar and there are virtually no races for the next 4-5 months (some charity/fun runs could exist but not in anyone's radar at the moment). This has deflated my running appetite a bit.

Perhaps it is a good time for a break. A full month to rest the body and mind in order to get ready for next year.

Will think about my goals and planned races for 2008 in the next few weeks. Due to busy schedule, please expect delays in posting a blog. Also, need to do a bit of negotiation with my wife, possibly for running 2008 Gold Coast marathon in July.

02 December 2007

Singapore Half Marathon 2007 (too many people !)

Finished the HM in 1:32:xx.... slightly disappointing....

My 'cool weather' HM is 1:27 and I was hoping to get 1:29-1:31 in Singapore, taking into account the temperature differential. At the end, it wasn't the temperature that was the main problem, but it was the 'traffic congestion' that slowed me down.

The event was just too big - 40,000 runners participating in the 42k, 21k, and 10k. The marathoners started at 5:30 while the half-marathoners started at 6:15.

Was doing Ok for the first 6k, averaging 4:18 min/km. After that, I started to catch the slow runners and walkers (5-7 hours marathoners) and had to zig-zag my way through for the next 10k. During this segment, my pace slowed down to 4:28 min/km - a lost of almost 2 minutes. I couldn't count how many times I got bumped left and right because I was trying to navigate my way through.

After 16k, we had a turnaround point and it was free traffic from there. My pace improved to 4:16 min/km for the last 5.1k . However, I couldn' run any faster as my hip began to get very tight and the mercury began to heat up.

Garmin GPS measured total distance as 21.74 km (av. 4:16 pace). I think the zig-zaging during km 7-16 led to the extra distance.

I think the organizers should design a different route for HM-ers in order to prevent 'bottlenecking'. Also, slow runners should learn race etiquette by keeping left at all times. Met the 11th place finisher from Australia at the finish. He has a PB of 1:13 and finished the HM in 1:24. He was very disappointed with the organization and lack of discipline/knowledge of slow runners.

Otherwise, a good flat course and nice weather for Singapore standard.Well done to all !

Position: 28 out of 7402 overall, 5 out of 871 in Male 35-39