Monday, 28 February 2011

Broken by the heat

Ironically, I wrote about pacing in my previous post and how I would ensure that I paced myself well to finish what I intended to complete. Somehow, my weekend training fell a bit short on what I planned, partly due to pacing but mostly due to the heat.

We probably had one the hottest summer in history, with the lowest maximum being at 29 degrees and had a record 59 days of temperatures over 30 degrees. The weekend just past however, had the mercury rose to about 38-39 degrees. When I did my 100km ride on Saturday morning, I could feel the sun piercing through my skin and I was sweating all over throughout the ride. One tiny advantage was the winds were pretty calm, blowing at about 10kph.

I averaged 29.3kph for the ride. I debated a bit on whether I should do a brick run in the heat, finally I forced myself to do a light jog for about 10 minutes, 2 rounds around John Oldham Park where I parked my car. Li-Ann and I spent the rest of the afternoon in Dome Cafe, Rendezvous Observation City Hotel in Scarborough.

Sunday morning, I had a bit of a sleep in after watching Inception on DVD the night before. Great movie, though I had a bit of trouble following the script. Entertaining, nontheless. I started my run at about 8am under the sun. The plan was to do a long run around my neighbourhood of at least 17.4km (4 rounds) and possibly extend it to 21.7km (5 rounds).

Well, the result was pretty disappointing, as once I completed the 2nd round, I gave up. The combination of the heat and my weak mind won me over that morning. Averaged about 4:30 per km pace for the 8.7km run. We stayed indoors for the rest of the day with the air cond on. But I brought myself to do another 2 rounds later in the evening, at much better pace of 4:23 per km.

Another week of high temperatures to come. Let's see if I finally log in a long run next weekend. I plan to reduce my ride back to 80km, hope that would help.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

On pacing

I did another 13km run this morning. My fifth and fastest one this year, so far. I clocked 56:52, negative splitting each 4.35km loop - 19:13, 19:05 and 18:33. Average pace was 4:23 per km, still a far cry from my 4:10 efforts mid last year, but I'm still pretty happy with the progress.

I'm re-learning how to pace myself. Training Bible Joe Friel wrote about pacing here. Previously, I would run my lungs out at the start of my runs, hoping to sustain the pace until the finish. More often than not, I find myself burning out towards the second part of the run.

In my running races, I rarely negative split. My personal best for the standalone marathon is 3:12:40, an average of 4:35 per km, but I paced 5 minutes per km for the last 12km. In long distance triathlons, I find myself racing off the bike, caught up with the adrenaline and trying to make up for lost time on the bike. Only to find myself taking long walk breaks on the second part of the marathon leg, where the REAL race begins.

I guess I am slowly beginning to realise that being a long distance triathlete, I do not need to run fast, but I do need to run steadily off the bike. Bill Scanlan wrote an article relating to this, here. I have coerced myself to do a brick run after my long ride for the past four sessions. No doubt some of them were shorter than planned and all of them were at a much slower pace than what I normally run the same distance at. But they have all been done at a steady pace.

And that would be my strategy for the run leg at upcoming Singapore Ironman 70.3. I would need to keep my anxiety in check once I get off the bike, stay disciplined, pace myself well and see myself running steadily towards the finish.

I'll start the run the way I'll finish it.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Being soft

Li-Ann is away in Melbourne for the weekend. I thought this would be a good opportunity to up my mileage without feeling too guilty of spending less time together.

Saturday morning, I did a 100km ride. The winds were somewhat moderate, but were still pretty challenging in some areas. The sun was out too, with temperatures around low to mid 30s. I clocked an average of 29.1kph for the ride. Planned to do a 6km brick run, but instead, settled for 3 loops of the park reserve at the Mounts Bay road Narrows Bridge intersection. I took approximately 5 minutes per loop, which I assumed was 1km each.

Sunday morning, the plan was to do 5 loops of 4.35km around my neighbourhood, totaling 21.7km. I have done three 13km runs since the start of the year, all of which I was able to hold a comfortable pace of 4:30 per km. I started the first and second loop quite well, 19:39 and 19:32 respectively. It was pretty windy but there was an overcast, which protected me from the sun and kept me cool.

But in the middle of the third loop, fatigue started to set in. My form was getting sloppy and I felt hungry, as I did not have anything to eat prior to the run. Slogged to finish the third loop in 20:20 and decided to call it quits. Completed the 13km run in 59:31 (average 4:35 per km).

Another 13km run instead of bringing it up to 21km. Slightly disappointed but better to err on the side of caution. Running with poor form could risk an injury, and being four weeks away from Ironman 70.3 Singapore, that's the last thing I need right now. Still, pretty satisfied with this week's running mileage of 29km, just shy of 30!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Belated Valentine's Day dinner

Of all the years of being together (over 4.5 years now) Li-Ann and I have only been physically together for two Valentine's Day, that includes this year. I noticed plenty of people in the city, mostly men, in the city clutching on to their bouquet of flowers for their loved ones. I only got Li-Ann a card.

We thought of going out for dinner on the weekend before Valentine's Day but decided against it, as we reckoned that most places will be packed with people having early celebrations. So we made arrangements at a place nearby, Bada Bing Cafe in Woodlands, overlooking the Jackadder Lake, specifically on Wednesday night, as they had a live band performance.

To be honest, the live band performance was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, the singing couple were nice, but they needed a bit more energy, in our opinion. The food? Really tasty, we ordered the chicken breast and pork cutlet.

Here's to many Valentine's day to come :)

Sunday, 13 February 2011


...not from alcohol consumption though, sorry if I have disappointed you, haha. It was primarily from this weekend's training and jostling with the strong winds. I swapped my bike and run days as it was forecasted to have over 30kph of winds on Saturday (yes, I'm soft that way) and I heard gusts were over 50kph.

The 13km run I did on Saturday felt pretty good, again I didn't push myself too hard but I held a firm, controlled pace. I was able to negative split each 4.35km loop. I supposed as the distance progressed, my legs warmed up and even the controlled pace started increasing in speed. I clocked 19:27, 19:12 and 18:53, totalling 57:32 (average 4:26 per km).

Sunday morning, the winds were just a tad bit calmer but not doubt still strong, at about 27kph. I planned a 100km ride, increasing the distance slightly from last week to build up my endurance. I experimented with my cleat adjustment, pushing it all the way to the back, and it felt good! I finished the 98.58km ride in 3:29:09, averaging 28.3kph. Was meant to do a 6km brick run, but couldn't be bothered. In the end, I jogged around the carpark for about 12 minutes.

Feeling pretty tired and sore now, which means I did put in quite an effort, despite the average times. I can't imagine how it was like just a few months ago when I did 5+ hour rides training for the Ironman.

Just a shout out to my dad, who's 56 years young as off Thursday, a very happy birthday! Wishing you all the best in your undertakings, a great year ahead and may your (annual) marathon this year be cramp-free and completely enjoyable!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

No sense of time

I consider myself a minimalist when it comes to training with gadgets. I do not use a heart rate monitor, GPS or a power meter. I've only recently bought myself a cycle computer with cadence, which I use only when I'm spinning on the wind trainer.

But I am a numbers geek when it comes to calculating my pace and training times. When cycling, I find myself tracking the distance against the elapsed time so that I can calculate my average speed, I do this every 10 minutes or so. When running, I glance at my watch nearly every 5 minutes. I call those my checkpoints, I have 6 checkpoints even on my 4.35km training loop! And I track my times at each checkpoint to the second, knowing that if I slow down on one, I need to increase the pace on the next to make the time. I even have checkpoints for swallowing saliva as it builds up in my mouth, which I normally do at about every 10 minutes!

However, lately I have been more carefree in terms of tracking time, especially with running. This has partly to do with the fact that I'm still easing into my runs and not wanting to put any undue pressure. The past few runs I did without the stopwatch but I did check the time before I start, and I did catch myself glancing occasionally at my watch to check how I was going.

Well, I cannot get rid of my watch completely when I run, it's just very unnatural for me. But I have to say, the past few runs without the stopwatch have been somewhat liberating for me!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Chinese New Year goodies

A bit belated, but here's to wishing all my family, friends and blog readers a very happy Chinese New Year! May the year of the rabbit hop you to good wealth and prosperity!

Chinese New Year isn't exactly the season to be buying gifts. But I got myself a couple of items from Wiggle. A pair of Shimano 105 PD-5700 pedals. My current Look Keo Classics are beginning to wear out, and I suspect that the constant sideway foot movement on the pedals is one of the causes of my soreness. Have yet to install them yet, I thought I had the tools to change the cleats, but looks like the standard screwdriver just wouldn't do. Will drop by the bike shop later.

I also got myself a new floor pump, as the one I have now requires an adaptor for the presta head. I have placed the current one for sale, if anyone is interested. Willing to sell it cheap or for trade with some inner tubes.

I caught up with the ex-KPMG boys on Friday night for a drink. It was nice catching up, but I didn't stay long. I was a bit tipsy just after one glass of draft beer. I think it was because I had an empty stomach.

Saturday morning, I woke up to really strong winds, somewhat above 30kph. I expected that, so I was anticipating a slow ride. It turned out to be even slower than I hoped for, I completed the 82km ride with an average of 27.5kph. I then did a brick run, didn't push myself too hard. Completed 6km in just under 28 minutes (4:40 per km average).

In the evening, one of our friends played host for a Chinese New Year get-together dinner. There were lots of food with to-die-for dessert - pecan pie and banoffee pie! We played a few rounds of Monopoly Deal before I called it a night just after midnight. I woke up this morning, only to shelf my plan to do a 13km run. So I did some weeding instead. Maybe I'll run later in the afternoon.

Darling fiance comes back tomorrow :)