Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I am loved.

Reminder that I am loved.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kids dash #SCSM2017

It's 2 December and the day of the Kid's Dash! The children skipped this run for 3 years, since their first / previous experience in 2014. Look at how teeny J was then!

This year, the t-shirts finally fit them both (I got them the same size) and being the seasoned racers they are, we left for their run with not just bibs on, but game faces too!

Roads were so packed. We strolled to our start point.

It was manic madness! There was no scheduled starts despite the organiser's best intents and by the time we got through, it was a mishmash of everyone who signed up for the run. It was a good mix of children running with parents / sans parents though, and I wonder if the kids will be fine to do so independently next time. After squeezing through crowds and crowds, we waited in the holding area.

Superhero and Princess

SCSM 2017!

One with my princess

Team boy - the hanging bunting's kinda cute

By the time it was our turn to get into the real start pen, the skies were dark.

Finally, we can see the start line.
Her nervous face

His excited face (he has been raving about wanting
to "run on the road" since forever before!)
The children made it to the front of our pen's starting line and it was so amusing to see them all excited/nervous/raring to go. J even wanted to do a proper runner's start (akin in a race on the tracks) and we had to tell him to chill. The husband and I devised a plan for him to race after J as he would be super quick, and me to run after K.

When the bell went off, the kids all DASHED! K really surprised us as she totally took off! They were so super speedy that I lost K for the first 50m of the race. I was able to catch sight of the husband then traced J in front of him speedily; and at some point we switched roles quickly for me to trail J and him to race after K. Phew, I felt all giddy from the stress of being cramped with the crowds, sticking close to the family and taking off so suddenly. I managed to snap some video of J doing what he does best, hi-fiving people for encouragement/fun; he picked this up from our past experiences at races and he does so love to do it. I think he just loves jazzing it up and passing on the love. What an extrovert.

The kids felt accomplished after the race and I made it a deal that they received their very own medals! Then just before we stepped out of the race zone for dinner, we had to take this family shot.

With my champions, on the roads, Xmas season - life is good!

The kids were on such a high after, recounting their race over and over; us giggling over their antics and moments that made them laugh/excited/annoyed.

They also enjoyed drinking H20 ("after exercise can drink this u'noe!") as they felt entitled to it. Ha! So adorbs. As always, it is such a pleasure and joy introducing the children to the fun dash. They are already so used to playing with devices that I am thrilled that they still seek joy in wanting to partake in such runs/outdoor physical activities. It will be impossible to limit/not have them play with devices, but I hope that the husband and I act as good role models for them to at least still appreciate and yearn for outdoor play.

This ends the race that they were looking forward to, and they did so well! I'm so proud of my little champs!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pre-run jitters

The children are on a short cruise with their beloved grandparents and the past few days have been peaceful and busy. On Thursday, the one night that the husband and I were free, we met to pick up the race packs.

One for posterity

After which, we had dinner and stopped by a bar for 1 beer (his) and 1 dessert (ours). I have been taking carbo loading very seriously (cannot make my sister un-proud of me!) and after a week of eating full; I am quite tired of it already (hah).

View from the bar
That evening, we talked about our home renovations, our upcoming holiday plans and the run. The husband asked, "what's your strategy?" I stared at him, clueless. I hadn't thought about it at all; I am doing this to complete and tick off the bucket list. I want to enjoy running it to some degree, with little pressure or pain. He told me that he will run it with me and that is one of the most romantic and sweetest thing honestly; I truly appreciate it (inside joke, though one person will appreciate this more than the other).

As part of the training, which is actually as hard as the run, I have some reflections:
  • Sickness sucks. There were a few weeks I was on total form, killing kilometres by the bulk and while my body ached, my mind was so happy and determined to keep on track. Then came the flu bug and it just made me all slothy and unwell.
  • Running can take place anywhere: having a partner who takes exercise as part of life is great, as we just run on-the-go; like on our trip to Japan within training period. As part of our upcoming holiday planning, I am talking trekking, walking, lots of nature and fresh air. Woot!
  • Doing only one thing is boring. I quite like running - it is efficient, it gives me fulfilment to see distance clocked (I'm not being on speed/time; accomplishment and finish is more for me) and my kilos on the Nike app go up steadily. However, when training, I have to run to train and over time, that makes it slightly dreary. Some days, I wish to do other forms of exercise so that's a bit of a strain.
  • The body is amazing - many have said that I should run at least 30km to get myself ready but I have not done so. I only did 2 runs that are longish, at 21km and 23km. These runs were a week apart and with the testing of gels on these runs, I felt pretty good from the 1st to 2nd run. It's been 2 weeks since and I hope that my 3rd and final long run will be as ok as can be!
  • Diet: I have always been pretty ok in my diet, eating whenever and whatever. The past week has been fun in carbo-loading (eat eat eat away!) and I have intentionally watched my alcohol intake the past month. I can actually count what I have had - no more than 4 glasses of wine and no beer. It was my company's D&D last night and I had 3 sips of beer. Proud of myself!
  • My toes: lessons picked up are that Vaseline works better than tape for my toes. I have also given up having normal toe nails (or any at all). I have also learnt how to manage and treat my own blisters. It's a good skill to know!
  • The husband is my rock. I deem my husband to be a fit man. He is an ironman, he is fit for work and besides being a great partner in sport, he is my rock. For him to be by my side will be so reassuring for me. Thank you, babe.
On the eve of the run, I still cannot imagine how my run will be, especially past the 20km mark; and I hope to remember these:
  • Try to enjoy it. On my YOLO run, I walked and did not beat myself up about it. It is ok to walk. It is still making distance (no matter how slowly - ever hear the story of the tortoise and the hare?)
  • Don't stress. I think I a quite a serious runner. My face is kinda frowny and I seem worried. I will try to remember to not worry about anything!
  • Look around - I will try to take in the sights, the people around me, the weather, the everything. It's all part of the experience.
  • I will be ok. Having no expectations can only be a good thing!

First up, the children are doing the run this evening and I am going to have some fun with them - hoorah! Counting down... 13 more hours!

Monday, November 27, 2017

23km - my last long-run

After my first long run during this practice period, I asked the husband to go for another with me. We set off on a Sunday morning, not too early; and I felt tired.... I wasn't sure how far I could go but I had an idea that I wanted to hit at least a 21km.

What made this run more challenging (and shady, a good thing) is that we ran the MacRitchie trails, which added challenge of trail and undulations; the run a week before did me good as I persevered and did not stop the entire trail; I felt proud of myself! The husband was in good form, despite not training at all (though to be fair, he'd been swimming/running for his biathlon so... still some training). Our route was sorta planned; estimated at about 20km.

We started off from the Polo Club, then through MacRitchie, past the trail forest to emerge at Thomson Road... past Upper Pierce Reservoir to Seletar Reservoir (I don't know if it's the right name, but it's past the Casurina Road roti prata). We only had 1 water point which we stopped at both to-and-fro directions. I also prepared to consume my gel (1 pack) and I learnt how to feel it course through my body and provide me with energy.

We stopped at about 19km, as we rounded back to MacRitchie and chanced into V2.
23km at final stop
At 19km, we were both tired and the chance encounter was a good break for us to chat and stretch. After bidding goodbye, the husband and I slowly walked our way back to the start point to end off our last long run before the run.

Beautiful end

We have never ventured to this end of the club and it was a peaceful end to our morning. That afternoon, we refueled with a ton of popiah and kueh pie tees and my body was not in as much pain as the week before. A much needed training slot indeed!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

YOLO - my 4th half marathon & my practise run

Running a marathon was one on the bucket list; it was kinda an idea that snuck around in my brain since my past halfs - my first in 2013, my first night-run but 2nd half in 2014, and my 3rd where I ran because it was paid for (cheap, but true!). Through time, my impetus to run faded slowly but surely as
I discovered yoga and HIIT. If I can keep fit and in good shape in different ways, why not? Why do I need to sign up for runs? Thus, the bucket list item of running a marathon disappeared.
So, I kinda gave up on signing up for runs. Until my not-sure-it's-most-brilliant-brilliant moment when I got sick and tired of muddling about (just about this point when I sure felt muddled)... and I signed myself up for a marathon.
-insert shocked face-
So, it started. My training. I started trying to do longer runs; and after months, I can comfortably hit 10km. I scheduled in more paid runs including the Asics one, to help clock distance. This YOLO, was one that came about quite serendipitously and thank goodness I ran it because it was my first long run and it hurt.

Waking up at an unearthly hour.

Creeping about the kitchen to feed myself

Reading material - I was trying to take note of drinking stations

I was meant to do the run with the husband, but he didn't make it (overseas travel), so I went all by myself. Yup. At the last minute, just as I was stepping out of the house, I remembered to tape my toes (preventing blisters through friction) - not that it really helped, so that's one lesson I learnt.

I drove myself to the Singapore Flyer carpark, very close to the start/finish line. Best decision ever - and honestly, while the area was slowly swarming with people, and there was some traffic, it's generally a really quiet and smooth drive.

Upon arrival, I headed to the loo. I held nothing at all except for things I needed during my run. Then I headed to the start pen.

As far as I could worm forward

The start was delayed and here, I'm going to bullet note my run progress:
  • Drinking water (3 big gulps) and not starting the run caused me to need to pee. Flag off was delayed (logistics error, boo to organisers) and everyone stood waiting around for 50 minutes. My wait was probably about 35 minutes as I only entered the start pen past 5am.
  • At the 2km mark, I made a toilet stop.
  • At the 11km mark, I saw a professional runner on his way back. How mad quick was that!
  • My right hip muscle started to twitch and ache past the 10km mark and it escalated.
  • In sync with my plan and hydration station, I consumed my first-ever gel. It was orange flavoured and not awful.
  • The plasters did not help my toes.
  • I walked at several points in the race because I was just not feeling it.
  • I felt energetic with the gels, but I felt heavy and could not push myself more.
  • I started to walk but enjoy the walking; not worth stressing as I was not gunning for any time at all.
  • It was a relatively cool morning and I am thankful for that.
  • At the 16km mark, I had to stop at a hydration point to stretch. The ache in my hip was increasingly uncomfortable/painful.
  • When the mind is weak, the going is near impossible.
  • I was in pain towards the end because my toes were squishy and rubbing hard against each other (the tape!)
  • I managed to jog the final 2km because I wanted to finish the race.
ZOMG so long.
Shot with the girls who did 10km, except that the silly organisers
shortened the run to 7km without informing any runners.

I was totally aching when I met with the girls. My hip ache was screaming for me to do something about it (it was one of those pains where I couldn't resolve just by stretching) and my legs super achey that I nearly-cramped on a few occasions as I was walking - ouch. I made it to the car safely and spent a good 45minutes stretching the sh*t out of my legs because oh-so-painful.

arghhh the pain, and arghhh I did it!
Lesson to self: don't only tape random toes. I had a giant blister on my
3rd toe (right foot) and I had to self-operate it thrice.

Hooray at least NIKE applauds my achievement
Truly, the run was an awakening for me. It was necessary because I had not done any long runs prior to this and it gave me a taste of how much pain I would be for the real run. It also taught me that the gel that I ate helped me. While I could have been mentally stronger and ran more, the gel surely helped in my energy levels not crashing; and I actually felt better than I expected.

Still running - last 2km

Serious face

I learnt a few key lessons and here are my parting thoughts:
  • Not pressuring myself to perform helped me just cruise along
  • Consuming the gel made me more aware of my body and how it can help
  • I held the small bottle of water throughout the run but I did not need to actually, so it's a decision I have to make if I want to hold something for the full run
  • Aching legs are surely a pain and this made me realise that the pain will go away.
  • Just keep going.
A good overall experience to add to my training, gahhh!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 8: bye bye Japan

In a blink of an eye, we have come to the last day of our #happyfamilyinjapan holiday. Oh, good times fly by indeed. On this morning, we decided to take it easy. Breakfast was on our own - the girl went to Maccas with the grandparents; the boy and I headed out to seek food while the husband finished packing up.


Because he let me get coffee first, I let him choose his breakfast (Maccas bleargh)

On the way back (we tapaued everything because we needed to feed the husband too), we spotted a role model in the form of a local Japanese man. Look at his choice of beverage - this was at 10am in the morning! Given our running count of beer through the holiday, I had to sneak a snap and share it with my fellow beer-chuggers.
Breakfast beverage - beer.

A worthy team-mate for sure.

We checked out of the hotel and made our way to stroll down the street to Tokyo Tower. It was less than 30minutes away and while it was pretty hot, I thought it was way better than rain. Off we went.

Papa-girl duo.

Tokyo Tower spotted! But first, the shrine

We strolled through the shrine compounds for a while and then made it around it through to the main sight.

The truth is, we drove past this on Mario-day. But I guess it's not the same if we did not step foot within it.

Up on the tower!
Peeking all the way down

On a very clear day, we could possibly see Mount Fuji (we didn't that day)

It was a touristy event that I guess is apt for our last day in this country, and I tried to spot as much as I could with the help of maps they provided. We finished off this episode with our last Cremia.... I recall not being hungry at all but it felt like something we needed to do for no-reason at all but just because we could (ice-cream at anytime on a holiday? Checked!)

We made it back to the hotel on foot (coffee stop on the way) and began our adventure to the airport. We had to lug all our luggage with us from hotel to subway to change another subway train then the airport. No pictorial evidence of how we looked (maybe a good thing? though similar pictorial references can be seen from our last luggage commute) but we made it. All luggage and humans were not harmed in the process of commuting. Woot!

At the airport, we checked in our luggage (WE REALLLY MADE IT!) and it was time for lunch. There was a difference in preferences, so we split up - which made it easier for us to snag a table too.

Team ramen - the husband, the boy and I.

Keeping him occupied.

Team K with the rest with their choice of Japanese restaurant

After lunch, we met up and went for a stroll within the airport. We headed to a Hello Kitty shop, the boys went to play with some fake planes and the viewing gallery...

Up. Up. And away!

We met a friend at the airport who was on their way back too; how fun. What a pity we didn't plan better so that we could have met them at Disney too. Ah well.

The flight back was uneventful (or maybe I should not wait 2 months over to recap the holiday...) and I think we all came home with full tummies and happy memories.

The trip would not have been made this amazing... if not for...

1) The sister and her busband - they were so active and deserve full credit for planning and suggesting the itinerary
2) Everyone's patience - travelling with kids is never easy and everyone in the group helped share the load of the children which made a difference. I didn't feel too judged for their behaviours (not that they were bad, but it's not the same with children on holidays)
3) Everyone's can-do-attitude - whether it was what we wanted to eat, or do, or play, or go; everyone played a part in contributing (sometimes silence is the best form of contribution) in one way or other. We would not have met our beer count if we didn't all pull our weight (this may rank higher on the pleasurable can-dos); nor would we have had this much laughs if we didn't just go with the flow in the spirit of fun (our Mario adventures was a key highlight for sure and ranks most-talked-about-highest-hits-on-social-media-cos-we-cool-like-that)

I know the children had fun because they had the company of the extended families to play with, they went to Disneyland (even I had fun because the children are old enough to take fun rides - whee!) and it's definitely a check off family to-dos - fun for all, all for fun!

A full recap of our holiday here, from day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ASICS Relay 2017 - 2nd year running, a new PB

Colleagues rallied to sign up for this ASICS relay again this year, as it was a pretty fun event last year. I signed up gamely, because I am meant to clock mileage (gasp) and this year, I ran with a different team.

With the experience from last year, I was more prepared with my diet through the day. In the morning, I had my usual breakfast then headed out for a short volunteer stint. By the time it was over and I met up with the family, it was time to go for lunch by the time we headed out.

We ran an errand of picking up the race pack for YOLO, had this pretty nice ramen (Nagi), and I bade farewell to the family as they headed home to rest pre-class; while I had the afternoon to myself. Knowing that I had the run, I devoured all my carbs from the ramen bowl, which I know would come in handy (carbo loading FTW).

I was truly tired, and I decided to head to a safe haven to rest - my office. It didn't make sense for me to go all the way home, as my race was nearer to where I already was; plus I was well-equipped with all that I needed; and so that's where I spent my afternoon. I was so tired that after arranging some seats for best-possible comfort, I fell asleep. I needed the nap and it actually felt pretty restful! I took my time to get ready for the run and at 4+, I made my way. It was just a few train stops away.

Race village sighted
It was such a crowd! We had a rough meeting spot and by the stipulated meeting time (530pm), not everyone had rocked up, so this was the group that made it into this first shot.

The earlier ones
D, C and I were first runners so we left our stuff with the rest and headed to the start pen. Flag off was at 6pm.
Start pen
And.... off we went! I was kinda pumped (slightly) because after running sub-60 last year, I was kinda hoping to do it again. I was also trying out running in a face with my new race belt (Fitbelt) and newer set of shoes.
Happy to share that I did it! According to my Nike app..
Fastest 10km recorded - woot!
To be honest, there's may be some untruth to this because
1. I did stop to have water on several occasions
2. I did walk on some occasions - 2 were due to slopes and fatigue, 1 major stretch was due to a human roadblock in a bottleneck area of the race.
3. I had to jog slowly on 1 occasion where I nearly came to a stop clarifying the race information with the marshals - it was not clear which item was meant to be passed on to my next relay runner
The app stops if I come to a standstill which doesn't take into account the true run wholly, but given that I did put in decent effort to run when I was running, I'm quite happy with my performance. The weather was lovely, sunset was a quick descent due to the pending rain and I got caught in it the last 1km, so I'm quite lucky. The rest of my team (esp runner #2) got more of it, so I can't complain.

Helpful colleague who prepared all these - our personal food/hydration point

Here's one of all of us runner #1 post-race
Running log has been sporadic, but I do have this record from last December. It's been a love-hate r'ship with running these past few months, primarily because of my training (inserts weh weh face); but it all adds up to my personal strength and experience. So, all good!

Race village - pretty lit
Another run, another record, another lesson to self. Checked!